Seven Quick Takes: 11/15/13

Hello all! In addition to my usual Quick Takes post today, I have also posted a Pintester Movement post so make sure you check that out as well……you can find that RIGHT HERE. Now that I’m done with my self promotion let’s get on to a Holiday Edition of Quick Takes…..Holiday? You may be asking…..yes, Holiday!

1.) I love the Holiday season….Thanksgiving, Christmas, snow, the lights, the music, hot cocoa, candy canes, baking cookies, wrapping and giving gifts, turkey, mashed potatoes…..I could go on, but I won’t. I think you get the idea….I love the Holidays!

2.) This Holiday season I’m also looking forward to the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special….I’m a nerd, this should not be news to you…..I have gotten completely hooked on Doctor Who and the thought of David Tennant coming back makes me pretty happy!

3.) I’ve been playing Christmas music since Halloween, the tree and lights will go up on Black Friday, and we will be watching Band of Brothers like we do every years while we put up the decorations. It is a tradition that we started a few years ago, and we can get through the whole series in a weekend so it just kind of works.

4.) Also in December (and, I know this has nothing to do with the Holidays, it’s just something I’m really looking forward to) The Hobbitt: Desolation of Smaug comes out! I am can’t wait to go see this one with my family!

5.) We are gearing up for the Children’s Christmas musical, and our Choir and Orchestra concert in just a few weeks and they are going to be so much fun. As soon as the director can find me a husband someone to play my character’s husband I will be able to start rehearsing with the kids, and I am so excited!

6.) I volunteered to bring a sweet treat to my next book club meeting, and I’m looking for some kind of coffee cake, or brownie, or a bar of some kind to take. I’ve been scanning Pinterest (not that I really needed a reason to do that) and have come up with a few ideas but I was wondering if you had any tried and trues recipes that you use, anything that is your favorite, or that you just want to share!

7.) As I always do, I’m linking up with Jen at Conversion Diary. Go check out all of the other Quick Takes, and (*Warning* more self promotion ahead….remember to check out my Pintester Movement post)!

Bonus # 8.) Check out these hand painted shoes I posted about last week…you won’t regret it!

Blessings for warm and Happy Holidays!



The Pintester Movement: Part Two

Hi guys! I’ve decided to join the Pintester Movement again! This time I will be doing a DIY Home Decorating project….that doesn’t sound hard at all does it!

I decided to tackle the “DIY Chevron Lampshade”. It looked like it would be fairly simple, so I didn’t bother clicking through to the instructions, I just tried to figure it out from looking at the pin (maybe that is where things went wrong….hmmmm?). Here is the original pin.

It looks easy! Tape, paint, and lampshade. 
I started with a lamp that I got for free at a garage sale. 

I had already applied a coat of paint here, but the lamp shade was a reddish color….I painted white, and then pink to get the shade the base color that I wanted (I also painted the lamp itself black to match my room decor). I let the paint completely dry. I gave it about 36 hours.
After the paint was dry, I started taping it off for the chevrons…..painter’s tape didn’t stick, at all. I thought it was because of the paint, but nothing worked. I ended up using some heavy duty, water proof first aid tape. Thankfully that worked……
….medical tape worked, but I can’t make a chevron to save my life! After my (wonky) chevrons were taped off I painted over the whole thing again……
Once again, I let it dry overnight because I didn’t want to ruin the paint. Once it was totally dry, I pulled all that tape off…..
….to reveal some pretty interesting looking chevrons. 
Altogether, it wasn’t too bad. I can think of some things that I might do differently if I were to try this again, but at the right angle you can’t tell how uneven the chevrons are, and I’m not planning on taking three days to do a lamp….ever again! 
My lamp certainly doesn’t look like the inspiration pin, but I think it has character! I really can’t complain about a free lamp…so what if I can’t make a chevron to save my life…The important thing is that I like the lamp, it works, and it actually looks good in my room…that is a “Pin Win” in my book! 
Make sure to check out the rest of the Pintester Movement, being hosted by The Pintester! 

7 Quick Takes: 7 Quick Pics

Happy Friday once again! I’m posting early (much earlier than is normal for me), because hopefully at my normal posting hour I will be on the road towards my weekend conference (watch for a few posts regarding the conference coming soon.) so 1:00 a.m. it is. I realized today that I’ve told you guys a lot about my quilt: the basic layout and pattern, all of the embroidery, what kind of progress I’m making…. but I never showed you proof of any of this, allow me to remedy that today with 7 quick pics of my quilt-in-progress. 
1.) This is the quilting station that I’ve set up in my room. I turn on some music (crank it up is more like it) and sew away until my eyes get tired or the creative juices stop flowing.
2.)  using waste canvas, I have embroidered some of my favorite titles unto the books. Here is the Harry Potter series…. 
3.)…..Gone With the Wind (sorry, it’s a little blurry) 
4.) To Kill a Mockingbird 
5.) Les Miserables….
6.) The complete works of Jane Austen
7.) Quotes from some of my favorite authors, and books will go in some of the big empty spaces. 
 I have had such a great time working on this! I can’t wait to finally have it all done and be able to show you my final product (and first quilt!). If you would like to READ something (other than just look at pictures…) check these out: 
Linking up with Jen like I always do….make sure you go check out all of the other QT-ers. 
I hope you all have a lovely weekend! 

Pinterest Told Me To……Told Me To!!

Do you guys read Sheaffer’s blog Pinterest Told Me To?? If not, you really need to check it out. What she does is takes outfits that she sees on Pinterest, and recreates them. She gives sale alerts for lots of different stores, and tells some pretty great stories. You really do need to check it out…, now to the point of this post.

Recently, Sheaffer posted about wearing coral and mint. Definitely not something I ever thought I would do let me tell you. (actually, this post will be full of firsts for me, you’ll see in just a bit.) I have both colors (in abundance) in my closet, so I figured why not give it a try what’s the worst that can happen right? I have to tell you, I was not disappointed! The colors really do go so well together (first number one for me: Coral and Mint.) I thought I would share with you what Pinterest Told Me To told me to do:

Here you have it, Coral and Mint. I love this outfit so much! I will definitely do this again (first number two: full length picture with my face included….what got into me this week!?)
I cannot stress this enough…..CHECK OUT PINTEREST TOLD ME TO! You won’t regret it! While you are at it, check out Sheaffer’s friend Shay’s blog Mix and Match Mama this is another one that I know you will love!

Take a cue from me this week, and try something new! I had fun with this, and who knows you may see my face in more pictures from now on….I’m pretty pleased with how this turned out!

Enjoy the rest of your week, and be looking for a post coming up about the progress of my quilt! 

The Pin Tester Movement

If you are anything like me, you have boards on Pinterest full of things you want to try right? You see it, say to yourself  “I’m going to try that! I can do it!!” and you never actually get around to doing it….I know I do! Well, I decided to join “The Pintester Movement” and finally try out one of those many pins that I said I would try. Here’s how it went.

I saw this pin on Pinterest for homemade Cheeze-It crackers.


I followed the directions to the letter. It was really easy to make, and they were delicious but something was off. They were really moist, and chewy. Not crispy and crunchy like a Cheeze-it. I played around with the recipe a few times, changed the type of cheese I used, baked them longer, nothing helped. I honestly don’t know what to do to make them crispy. If you would like to try the recipe for yourself here it is: {with notes from me, Meg, in black}…

8oz shredded cheddar cheese (I used sharp aged white cheddar) { Author’s note: I did NOT have 8oz of ONE cheese…I had 3oz of shredded mozzarella, 3oz of shredded colby jack, and I made up the last 2oz using string cheese….}
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 tbs unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp salt
3 – 4 tbs ice water
DIRECTIONS: (These are Shopgirl’s Directions…with my Pictures)

1. First, mix together the shredded cheese,  half of the salt and the softened butter. (I used sharp aged white cheddar cheese, but you can use whatever kind of cheese you like. I shredded my own cheese just because I think it has better flavor and melts better, but you can use pre-shredded too to save some time!) Add in the flour and mix until the dough looks like little fluffy clumps. Then, with the mixer running begin adding the ice water and mix until a soft dough forms. (use as much ice water as you need for a dough to form).
2. Divide the dough in two, form each into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes. Then, roll the dough out on a floured surface into about an 1/8 inch thickness and using a fluted pastry cutter, cut the dough into about 1 inch squares.
Meg’s Corner Shelf
3. Preheat your oven to 375 deg F and line your baking sheets with parchment paper {if you don’t have parchment paper, don’t sweat…silicone baking sheets work great}. Transfer your little cheez-its onto the parchment paper, make a hole in the center of each with a toothpick, then sprinkle them with the rest of the salt. Bake for about 7 – 10 minutes (baking time will depend on your oven, just watch them carefully so they don’t burn!), or until they have puffed up and the edges begin to brown. Let cool before eating. {…or don’t let them cool…they taste great right out of the oven.}
Meg’s Corner Shelf
Even for turning out really soft,chewy, and bigger than I imagined, they still had great flavor and are amazing right out of the oven! I wouldn’t necessarily call this test a fail, but I don’t feel right calling it a win either. So it’s  a draw….a very tasty draw. Try it, you just might like it. 
Now I want to urge you to pick a pin from your boards and get to testing! You might just find that you love whatever it is you try! Don’t worry if you fail, or if it isn’t what you expect join the movement, and test those pins!
Check out the Pintester for more…well, pin testing! Have fun testing!! 

p.s Go ahead and give me a follow if you like! I write about just about anything you can imagine. Sewing, cooking, books, movies…….

7 Quick Takes: 2/22/13

Joining up with Jen at Conversion Diary for yet another edition of Quick Takes….I’m going to get right to it because I have to be at work soon, so….away we go!

1.) I am heartbroken after the end of Downton Abbey Sunday night. I won’t give anything away I promise….I just want to let you know that I’m quite upset after what took place…..

2.) Also on Sunday nights, I watch Food Network’s Worst Cooks in America and it makes me so, so, so grateful for the fact that my mom taught me to cook at a young age. I LOVE to be in the kitchen cooking so needless to say this is one show that I hope never to be on.

3.) Sticking to the TV theme that I inadvertently created…in March I will once again be trying my hand at the Jeopardy College test…… what could possibly go wrong?!

4.) Saturday I am heading back to my old high school to hear the bands play in Michigan State Band and Orchestra Festival. I always loved festival as a student, but I’m pretty excited to sit in the audience for the whole process. From the stage performance to the sight reading room…it should be fun to be on the other side of things for once!

5.) I stopped scrapbooking after high school, when we had to do the mandatory (read: ridiculous) senior scrapbook. I already had many, many, many scrapbooks that I had done on my own and when I was done with the senior book I gave away a lot of my supplies, and just started storing my photos in boxes….that is, until I discovered the Smash Book via Pinterest. The link is to a blog from a woman who will tell you the best ways to use the book and it’s pretty much fool proof!

6.) I picked up a Smash Book for myself last week and can’t wait to use it while on vacation this year! We will be heading to Disney World in Orlando! I was seven years old the last time, and I don’t remember a lot about the trip, and I’m looking forward to ten days in the sun, with my family, and just relaxing! There is one souvenir that I am looking for, and maybe one of you can help me…..

via Pinterest…links to generic tumblr with no added info
we still have a LOOOOOOOOONG time to plan our trip, and I’m not entirely sure yet where we may be going as far as Disney Parks, but I am so excited for this trip with my family!
7.) Let me leave you with a this……
Our choir and orchestra did this song on Sunday morning, and each and every time I play it I get to a point where I have to just put my horn down, and bask in the glory of the Holy Spirit. This is Keith and Kristin Getty’s, The Power of The Cross….enjoy!


Homemade Granola Bites

It’s snowing here today, for about the third day in a row, and I’m hunkered down; working on my psychology paper, watching Downton Abbey on NetFlix, and figured that I would take a small break and share this recipe with you.

I love making these homemade Granola Bites, I eat one in the morning for breakfast with a smoothie, and it keeps me going for hours. They are delicious, you can add to them whatever you want, and they are easy to make and store.

The recipe is this:

1/2 Cup of Nut Butter (Peanut, Almond, Cashew) I use peanut butter, to please everyone’s taste
1/3 Cup of Honey
1 Cup of Old Fashioned Oats
1 Cup of Shredded Coconut (I use unsweetened because this recipe is sweet enough already)
1-2 tablespoons of some kind of flavoring in my latest batch I used vanilla, and in my first batch I used maple  you can mix it up to be whatever you want.
1/2 Cup of some kind of mix-ins: Chocolate Chips, Butterscotch chips, dried fruit.

Throw it all in your mixer, and mix until well combined. You can scoop them out into little balls, or wrap them as small bars. This recipe is entirely yours to have fun with. You can literally do whatever you want to with this recipe. I do however recommend that you store them in the freezer, they hold up much better that way, than at room temperature.

 Gather your ingredients

 Throw them in the bowl and mix well!
Mix VERY well

 and store. I use leftover containers. I stack them in two layers with parchment paper between them. 
I also scooped some right onto small squares of parchment (using the same scoop from above), 
and wrapped them up as bite sized granola bars! Then I tossed it all in the freezer to store. They are quite tasty, and really easy to do for breakfast with a green smoothie, or some kind of protein smoothie. 
With this recipe I cannot stress enough to just have fun with it. You can honestly put whatever you like into it, fruit, chocolate, nuts. The possibilities are endless! HAVE FUN!

7 Quick Takes: 11/30/12

It’s FRIDAY! and that means that it’s time for yet another installment of 7 Quick Takes. I’ll be joining Jen and the others, over at Conversion Diary like I always do…go read the others and add your link!

1. My last QT post was all about Black Friday….I know that I said I wasn’t doing any shopping that day, well….I was wrong. I ended up at a bookstore to buy gift cards for those people on my list that don’t like anything. While I was in line my attention was drawn to a display of Christmas CD’s and I just HAD to add another one to my collection. I picked up A Capella group Straight No Chaser’s CD, Holiday Spirits. You absolutely HAVE to check these guys out, they will blow you away! Here, let me show you….

2. My actual Christmas shopping is done….technically. I’m doing homemade gifts, so I don’t consider buying paint, embroidery floss, or canvases to be “Christmas Shopping”. I have one cross stitch project finished, another one started, and two finished paintings….however, my list keeps growing! I still have to start another cross stitch project, and a few small sewing projects. I really hope I’m not cutting it too close this year!

3. We had our first combined rehearsal for Messiah this week. Our church choir will be singing along with four area high schools (one of which is my Alma Mater), and a local Chorale. I know that it’s only been a few years since I graduated, and my former director is still there, but man did I feel old! I may only be a few years older, but a lot can change in those few years….

4. I really forgot how much fun it was to sing Messiah….it was four years ago when I did it last, this time I feel like I know what I’m doing, and I SOUND like I know what I’m doing! I’m having a great time  being a part of something that is so special to our community.

5. In addition to singing in Messiah , I will be playing in the orchestra for our church’s Christmas concert the next weekend. This is what I love! As much as enjoy praising God with my voice, when I can glorify him through song, and play my horn….that is what truly brings me joy!

6. I signed up to bring an appetizer to my staff Christmas party. I thought to myself “oh, this’ll be great! I have all kinds of recipes pinned to Pinterest!” This thought, all though true, turned out to be quite misguided. The majority of the recipes that I have pinned are deserts….so any suggestions on something that is easy, and can feed a crowd would be quite appreciated!

7. Winter Semester ends in THREE WEEKS!!! It’s not like I’m counting or anything : )

7a. Advent begins this Sunday, I want to wish you all a wonderful advent season!


Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie- In a Coffee Mug!

Dad went to the pantry Saturday night, and between his odd mumblings about this college team, or that team…he mentioned something about there being nothing in the house for a snack. I, being the Pinterest addict that I am, set about clicking through my boards for that pin that I pinned just for an instance like this….Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Mug. YUM!

Here is what you need so you can make it yourself…..

1. Melt one tablespoon of butter in your mug(s)
2. To the butter add one tablespoon each WHITE and BROWN sugar
3. Add one egg YOLK , a few drops of vanilla, and a dash of salt
4. Stir this mixture together, just like you would if you were making a full batch, you’d cream all of these ingredients together then add the dry stuff. 
5. Next, add one quarter of a cup of flour to the butter, sugar, egg mixture. 
6. Finally, stir in two tablespoons of chocolate chips (but seriously, that’s just a suggestion, I ALWAYS use more than that!)

To cook: For one minute cook on high heat in your microwave.

(This is what it should like like when you take it out of the Microwave)

 You can top it with just about anything; vanilla ice cream, cool whip, even peanut butter would be good. The possibilities are endless! Just have fun with it!

I topped ours with FROZEN Cool Whip, it was so YUMMY! It was a hit with the family too….I will definitely be making these again!


Cross Stitch Canvas Painting

So, I have been seeing this pinned all over Pinterest lately, and figured that if you can paint it as a mural on the wall, why not scale it down, and put it on canvas. 
With that thought in mind, I grabbed a canvas and set to work. 
I started out by drawing a grid on my canvas with a pencil and a ruler. 
Then, using this existing cross stitch pattern that I dug out of my overflowing craft basket,

I started blocking it out on my grid, adding the dark lines that, if cross stitched, would be considered the back-stitching.

I changed up the color scheme from the original. 
The original is a sunflower, that uses three different shades of yellow. 
I mixed up three shades of pink, from dark to light, and followed the pattern. 

 Now it’s time for the back-stitching. Back-stitching when you cross stitch is meant to bring out the details in the stitch work. In the original painting because of the contrasting colors you can clearly see detail.

In mine, because the colors are SO similar I ended up doing the back-stitching.

 The almost-but-not-quite-finished product. I’m going to finish it by painting my aunt’s name on the bottom in cross stitch script. This will likely be her Christmas gift this year.

It still needs to be cleaned up a bit, I achieved what I set out to do!