Thursday, January 31, 2013

valentine's burlap banner

Can you believe tomorrow is February 1st? {I can’t believe my baby will be 4 months tomorrow, already!!!}

valentine's banner2

Here’s a quick Valentine's burlap banner {or really for anything you can think of to stencil on it}. I was inspired by a star one from West Elm last spring and have kept the idea in the back of my mind since then.
I will post the tutorial for you tomorrow if you want to make it this weekend to get you in the Valentine’s Day spirit! :)

Sharing at:
Craftberry Bush-The Inspiration Gallery
Jennifer Rizzo- Fabulously Creative Party 
Chic on a Shoestring-Flaunt it Friday
Finding Fabulous-Frugalicious Friday

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

making labels with picmonkey

So, I feel much more with it today to finish up this tutorial. Most of it I wrote on Friday before I got hurt {so it should make sense, ha ha} but I just couldn’t even focus on the computer screen yesterday to finish it up.

So, here is my tutorial for creating labels using picmonkey. It may seem like alot of steps, but it goes quick and couldn’t be easier. I wrote this tutorial assuming not everyone has ever used picmonkey so bear with me if you have some experience with it.  I played around a bit to figure out the best way to make these, so I hope you can benefit from my trial & error.

label tutorial

Open and ‘create a collage’ {you don’t need to have any pictures imported}. A generic 3 cell collage comes up and just begin deleting 2 of the cells to create one, big, blank cell. Save file.
Luc and craft label pics 038

Luc and craft label pics 041

Luc and craft label pics 045

Reopen, this time select ‘edit a photo’ at the top. Click on overlays and scroll down to labels.
Luc and craft label pics 046

Click on any label style you like. {if you just stay with the basic picmonkey, the “royale” images will not show up, for $4.95 a month I thought it was worth it} One tip, select a simpler design as you will need to cut out the label. Glad I thought of this before I created the labels. ha ha
Luc and craft label pics 048

Once you click on your shape, it will appear on your blank “photo”. Then you can manipulate the size, color and location on your page.
Luc and craft label pics 051

Luc and craft label pics 058 
For ‘color 1’ just click around until you find one that you want. For ‘color 2’, I just clicked the transparent box because I liked how the little bit of the paper I printed on showed through. Note, this option is only available on the royale ones and if you prefer a royale shape but want a solid label, you can just select the same color in 1 & 2 to create a solid label.

To resize, just grab onto a corner of the label box and drag to desired size. I played around with this so I could get two labels wide on my printed sheet.

Get your label exactly how and where you want it because now you can use the ‘duplicate overlay’ which will re-create as many labels from the first one as you can fit on your page. This feature is your best friend, because it saves you the time of having to recreate the same label over and over and over…
Luc and craft label pics 060

Move all the labels to where you want them. {this is where it took some trial & error. I needed 7 labels so I was hoping to have all on one page to save paper. I realized the labels are bigger than appear on screen so only 4 would fit per page. This will depend on what size label you are doing}.

Once you are satisfied with the page layout, then it’s time to add the text. Tip-the text does not stay on the label if you move it around, so make sure you are satisfied with the label position before adding text. :)
Luc and craft label pics 062

Now it’s time to add the text. Click on whatever style font you like and it will highlight in blue and then click ‘Add Text’. A text box will appear in the center of the page.Just click and drag to the first label. Once you have it over your label, you can change the color & size of the font. Jot down the color code and the text size so all your labels are uniform.
Luc and craft label pics 063

Luc and craft label pics 068  {note my color is FFFFFF which is white and I made it 72pt font size}

Keep selecting and adding your text like you did the first one and dragging it to the next label and so on and so on.
Luc and craft label pics 072
{these labels are all the same color, it’s just the picture of the screen}

Once you have text on all your labels, save your file and print out.
{I just printed mine from Windows Photo Gallery on a heavier ivory cardstock to give the label structure when hanging}.

Luc and craft label pics 074

Okay, so that’s all there is to it. Let me know if you have any questions, or a better way to do something. We can learn from each other.

I hope you give these a try. I’d love to see what you create! :)

Monday, January 28, 2013

tutorial for labels delay…

Sorry I am not able to do the post on the picmonkey labels today. I had a head injury over the weekend that I am still recovering from. Although minor, I am still battling headaches and sleepiness. I hope to be back to normal in the next couple days.

Friday, January 25, 2013

using a decanter for everyday purposes

I love making ordinary things beautiful. Life is too short for ugly things! :)

Why not decant your mouthwash to display on your bathroom counter?

Decant Mouthwash LB
I found this decanter at Home Goods {so it doesn’t have to be expensive} about six years ago and have been decanting ever since. You can buy the ginormous bottle of mouthwash from Costco and then just fill a pretty decanter as needed. I think it’s lovely and it’s the little things that we do around our home that makes it feel special, don’t you think?

Misc blog pics 033

Thanks to everyone for the sweet comments about my “cute, cute labels”. I will post a full tutorial on Monday so you can make some for yourselves!

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

organizing with cute, cute labels

new table and craft labels 101
It’s the season for organizing, isn’t it?
Reed’s arts & crafts supplies have grown extensively. I love coloring, drawing and doing crafts with him and exposing him to the creative side of learning. All the supplies seemed to have gotten dispersed in a few different places from the sheer quantity. In an effort to use the rooms we have I decided that the dining room would be used more. {It doesn’t have to be used only for entertaining} We have been using the dining room table since this summer for games, puzzles and crafts {now we eat dinner in there every night at the suggestion of Reed since Thanksgiving}. So, with doing crafts in there, it only made sense that all the supplies be stored in the dining room as well. With  trying to fit all of our furniture in this intermediate home, we put an antique sofa table in the dining that was previously in the living room. Since this storage was going to be on display on open shelves, it had to look good! I sorted all the different types of supplies and then put them in their own baskets that I found at Target. Then I made the cute labels on picmonkey. I wanted the labels to look good yet be subdued so as to not draw attention to themselves in the dining room. I liked the gray label & twine with the grayish baskets. Making them in picmonkey could be my new addiction {I want to label everything this way}! I tied them up with some hemp jute twine.

new table and craft labels 087lb

new table and craft labels 088lb

new table and craft labels 089lb

Cute, right? Have you used picmonkey yet? Have you tried making labels? I do have a tutorial if you might be interested…what do you think?

Sharing at:
Craftberry Bush-Inspiration Gallery
Chic on a Shoestring
Finding Fabulous
Savvy Southern Style

Monday, January 21, 2013

cute leftovers


Hi. How was your weekend? Ours was pretty good, both boys did not sleep great either night so we were a bit tired all weekend. But, sunshine all weekend sure helps. We had beautiful weather all weekend. Bright blue sunny skies and highs in the upper 50’s.

I made two loaves of vegan and gluten-free banana bread on Friday evening {all the baking I have done recently is from the babycakes cookbooks, she has never let me down}. I added vegan chocolate chips to one {scrumptious} they are both gone…sad. And what is even sadder is I just took more bananas out of the freezer {do you freeze bananas before they are about to go bad?} to make more…and then realized I didn’t have enough agave nectar to make more.  I never imagined that baking sans eggs, dairy and wheat could be so delicious.Think I  am a wee pit addicted???  You would never know they are different than the traditional baked goods. saved!

I snuck out for a few hours on Saturday to do some much needed errands {I am trying to be good about letting Luc nap in his bed and consequently get nothing done on days I bring Reed to school} and do some shopping alone. I picked up a few new items. :)

Yesterday we went to the park at 9am so we could get home in time to skype with my mom. Even though the high was close to 60 degrees yesterday, it was freezing at that time of morning. Everything was frosty and slick to play on so we decided to go on a nature walk instead. Jeff kept remarking what a gorgeous morning with crisp air and clear blue skies. I froze! I even had a down coat on but my pitiful self was still freezing at 38 degrees. At least it did warm up and by the end of the day we were out in the backyard doing bubbles while Jeff heated up the grill for dinner. :) We had chicken sausages and this kale salad. delicious.

So, how do you store your leftovers?

We have used glass containers for years and still do, but sometimes I need a bigger container or wished I didn’t have to transfer from the serving bowl to a storage container. Then I discovered, bowlovers…

How cute are these?



You get a set of six for about $15 plus shipping. You can Really cut down on your plastic wrap use with these and just throw in the wash when they get dirty. Check them out {here}, they have a few different versions like gingham, holiday, Christmas, salad, and these original ones. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

eat your veggies

Eat Your Veggies Collage
So, after yesterday’s post of decadent brownies…I thought I should give you some really healthy food ideas. LOL!

In an effort to eat healthier, we try to eat alot of vegetables. I try to get in 3-4 servings a day and want to challenge myself with getting more. I try to focus on eating seasonally. In summer, we eat fresh, raw vegetables & salads, but come winter, I find it more of a challenge to think of new ways to prepare them. You can only steam, saute and roast veggies so much and it gets a little boring! I started a new board on pinterest that is for vegetable-focused dishes only. So, when I am meal planning and find what entree to make, but don’t know what to put with it or want to make an entree that is vegetarian focused,  I can go to my {eat your veggies} board and get some inspiration.

Above are just a sampling of what  I have pinned so far. There are quite a bit more for you to go check out {here} and I will continually be adding to it as I come across great ideas.

Hope these give you some fresh new ideas on how to make getting more vegetables into your daily diet. Here's to a healthier 2013!

Have you found creative ways to add veggies to your meals? What recipes do you make?

Have a great weekend! 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

brownie bites: have two, they're gf & vegan

Brownie Bites

It’s been a busy week, I feel like it should be Friday already…
I have been playing catch up with my household chores since I pretty much did nothing last week. Between feeling like I was always in the car to and from the preschool or just emotionally wiped out with this BIG adjustment, I just didn’t feel like doing anything but missing my sweet boy!
So, if you’ve had a rough week {or frankly if you’ve had a great week}, what could be be better than indulging in some decadent, homemade brownies? If they are vegan and gluten-free! It makes me feel a little less guilty about the ridiculous quantity I have eaten. We are fudgy-brownie people and these are exactly that, although you can bake them a bit longer to achieve a more cake-like texture if you prefer that.

{Gluten-Free & Vegan} Brownie Bites
makes 48
1 cup garbanzo-fava bean flour
1/4 cup potato starch
2 Tbsp. arrowroot
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. salt {I use kosher salt}
1/2 cup melted coconut oil {refined}, plus more for muffin tins
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup hot water or coffee {coffee really brings out the flavor in chocolate}
1 cup vegan chocolate chips {I used the mini chips I had on hand}
Mix all the dry ingredients together. Add the 1/2 cup of oil, applesauce, vanilla and coffee. Stir until smooth. Using a rubber spatula, fold in chocolate chips until they are evenly distributed.
Use a melon baller or small scoop to add the batter evenly into the mini-muffin tins. Bake the brownies on the center rack for 10-15 minutes, turning 180 degrees half way through. Finished brownie will have firm edge with a soft center, but a toothpick should come out clean. Let brownies stand in pan for 10 minutes to cool.

***refined coconut oil gives your food a more buttery taste and no coconut flavor***

You will truly enjoy!!!

I know, here it is the new year and I should be posting about eating healthy food, right? Actually, I do have a post for tomorrow that will do just that! But, these are a little better for you since they are vegan and gluten-free. :) And a little indulgence isn’t all bad.

Monday, January 14, 2013

turn simple into special

Cut out toast copy

I love taking something so simple as jam & toast and making it special.  Now Reed gets excited about picking out the shapes and eating these. We started doing this with Christmas cookie cutters and have kept it going…now we are onto hearts.

What do you do to turn everyday ho-hum into something a little special?

Friday, January 11, 2013

greenhouse design studio

Have you heard of this online store?

I love discovering a new store that is dedicated to providing green & sustainable products. And, it’s such a beautiful online store! Have you ever been in a store and wanted pretty much everything because it’s so beautifully displayed? That’s how this store is, even though it’s not brick & mortar. Each product is styled so beautifully in the pictures. I came across it in the February issue of Country Living. It was started by a previous exec for Pottery Barn who wanted to spend more time with her family and provide eco–conscious products.  Love that!

And, besides finding treasures for yourself or a gift, a portion of each sale is donated to environmental causes. 

Here are some items that caught my eye.

GHDS Collage
GHDS Collage 2

I restrained myself and picked out these two things that are more practical right now.

linen bread bag
{excited to store my homemade bread in this instead of plastic wrap and it’s supposed to keep bread fresher, longer}
GHDS bread bag

Beeswax candle
{Besides being all natural and non-toxic to the air you breathe, did you know that when lit, it removes odors from your home?}
GHDS candle

My shipment has been sent…I can’t wait to receive it!

Have you come across any new products/stores that are eco-conscious? Please share, I’d love to hear!

***I have in no way been compensated for this post, I just love sharing my discovery of green products. :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

organizing ribbons & wrap

I don’t know about you…but I love collecting pretty ribbons and wrapping paper throughout the year as I see them {much to my husband's dismay}. As I was putting it all away this year, I just couldn’t stand how disorganized it was! Ribbons were in two different boxes. The wrapping paper was all in one container, but had some rolls that had such little left or was terribly wrinkled, it didn’t make sense to keep it. And I may have just picked up a few more rolls when I was at The Container Store before Christmas to add the collection.

Holiday wrap organization collage

I started by sorting & discarding all the "useless” wrapping paper and added the new rolls I purchased. I have stored my wrapping paper in long, ‘under the bed’ storage containers that have a lid for years. It works great. Then I went through all my tissue paper & gift bags and kept only what was in pristine condition. I put them in a big paper shopping bag you get during holiday season. Next up was the ribbons. I purged through those too and kept only the ones that were nice. For a ribbon spool that is open, I re-roll it and then tape the end so it stays together. I put them in shoe boxes to keep them organized and then put those in one big box labeled ribbons so I never have to guess where they are. In this house, we store all the holiday wrap in the attic so, the wrapping paper container, ribbon box and tissue bag all went into one large box so all we have to do is pull out one box next year.

Non holiday wrap organization collage I was so pleased with how the holiday wrap was organized, I thought it was time to refresh the non-holiday wrap too! This had been done just a few years ago, so it wasn’t too bad, just needed a little clean out. I decided to keep all the tape & cutters in this container instead of having them in both holiday & non-holiday containers. I discovered I have 7 scotch tapes…see this is why it’s important to stay organized?! You buy not knowing what you already have…This container is actually stored under our guest bed in my craft room so I can access it easily throughout the year.

Yeah, I feel so good when I get things organized!

What does your wrapping paper situation look like? Hope you find some of these ideas helpful with organizing your own wrapping paper & ribbons. :)

Monday, January 7, 2013

a cookie for breakfast on the 1st day of preschool

So my sweet Reed had his 1st day of preschool today, sniff, sniff. Reed {and mom} both did well. :) I know he will enjoy it, but it’s definitely going to be an adjustment for both of us. I love having him at home. How do they grow up so fast?

Reed first day of preschool collage

I wanted to make it a Very special day for him. It was kinda a crazy morning…I hate crazy. I even got up at 6:30 {and boy did that really hurt this morning} so I could get ready before either of the boys woke up. I don’t know why…but even despite me getting a head start, 2 hours still seemed rushed. I asked a sweet friend/ neighbor to come sit with Luc while I brought Reed to preschool. I didn’t want there to be any other distraction with bringing him into school for the first day or for him to feel like I was leaving him to go be with Luc, now.  It was good.  :)
We started off with a healthy breakfast, of course. Ha Ha, you were probably scolding me thinking I gave him a cookie for breakfast…This “cookie” couldn’t be any healthier without flour or sugar and a bunch of ‘good for you’ ingredients!

Banana Breakfast Bar/Cookie
3 mashed ripe bananas
1/3 cup applesauce {we use unsweetened}
2 cups oats
1/4 cup almond milk
1/2 cup of raisins {optional}
1 tsp. vanilla
2-3 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of salt
mix ingredients together and scoop on baking sheet
***I flattened mine before baking since they don’t spread much***
bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 min until they start to get golden brown

After we took some pictures and I dropped him off at school, I raced home to chat with my friend that watched Luc, fed him, put him down for a nap, and then printed out a clipart sign and made the “buttercream”  frosting {we use non-dairy margarine} and iced several cupcakes {I made Sunday night} to have waiting when we walked in the door. It was noon before I knew it and it was time to pick him up. Whew!

I treated him to Chick-fil-A. Have you heard of it? We had never been to one until we moved here. For fast food, it’s pretty good. Reed is able to get the grilled chicken nuggets {since he can’t do the breaded because of food allergies} and they give nice books in the kid’s meal instead of some stupid toy! Down here it’s everywhere since Atlanta is it’s headquarters. They have a great outside playground, too!

When we got home, Reed of course was excited about his cupcakes and I let him indulge in two of them since they are the mini’s…then the three of us {Reed, Luc and I} cuddled under a cozy blanket on the couch and watched a show. Sitting there, I was overtaken by how blessed I am to have two wonderful, sweet, healthy boys and I just can’t get enough of them. :) But boy was I exhausted from the day, already. :) The days he has school are going to be busy ones! So much for my leisurely lifestyle, ha ha

Thursday, January 3, 2013

5 ideas to reuse holiday cards

What do you do with the cards you received after the New Year? Do you just toss them in the recycling bin? How about re-imagining some of them into holiday decor for next year?

I just love these little boxes. How lovely it would be to decorate your holiday home with these here and there or give them as gifts with homemade candies or soaps next year?

holiday card boxes

Make ornaments or punch out smaller circles of the cards and make a garland
recycled ornaments

Embellish holiday cones for filling with treats at place settings or hanging on your Christmas tree
 holiday cones

Make Gift Tags
gift tags

monogram gift tags

I just love ideas to repurpose something you already have like this! Hope you are inspired to try some of these of these ideas rather than just tossing your cards, I know I am. :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

health starts in your kitchen

Well, Happy New Year! I am looking forward to this new year.

I have talked about how we aim to eat healthy and how I mostly cook homemade meals so I thought I would share with you what I actually get on a grocery trip.

What we eat 017

We rarely eat out and try to eat organic, unprocessed food and keep the food as whole as it can be. We also try to limit our sugar.  I do usually have some dark chocolate around to satisfy any sweet craving, though. :) Every year it seems we add some additional healthy practice. I am thinking this year is going to be about limiting wheat. Last year we added more vegetarian or vegan meals. If you are looking to overhaul your eating habits, but it seems so overwhelming, just pick one thing to focus on for a couple months and then add another and so on…

We get our weekly groceries at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods and buy organic meat from Costco once a month. If I need a specialty meat or fish, I also get that at Whole Foods. I love having that store so close!

I really try to buy alot of produce! I used to find winter to be challenging for what veggies to eat, but am finding more and more that I really enjoy. I discovered kale last year and just love it!

Recently, my new find was broccolini (or baby broccoli). I had heard of it, but just  tried it when we went out for our anniversary this past month (it was a belated date with having a baby and all). It tastes similar but softer and the floret is different. It’s great sauteed. Have you ever tried it?

What we eat 011

This week I was able to get most everything I needed at Trader Joe’s. I prefer to purchase more from there since frankly their prices are better than Whole Foods’, but sometimes their produce selection is hit or miss and they don’t carry all the special dietary items I need for Reed.
What we eat 014

What we eat 015

I try to find recipes that will use up ingredients I already have in the fridge before it goes bad. The meals I planned are winter minestrone, chicken gyros, tacos, garlic rosemary breaded chicken and maybe a pizza or pasta where I just ‘get creative’ and use up what I have to create a dish and then just pair a vegetable we have with what entree I made.

I always do some type of meal planning each week and then just decide what I am going to make on the given night. I only cook about 3-4 nights a week thanks to leftovers! I love leftovers!!! ha ha

Saturday was cold and rainy so I decided to make the winter minestrone. I chose that recipe because it called for butternut squash and white wine. Both of which I already had from recent recipes I made and it needed to get used up before it went bad. I used to throw so much spoiled food out…I hated that! So now before I meal plan, I go through our fridge/freezer and pantry and make a list of what we have to use first.

Here is how the winter minestrone turned out-delicious and soooo comforting when it's cold! (I substituted kale ilo spinach since we just had spinach on Christmas)
minestrone 084