Tuesday, September 30, 2014

PEICD (PROJECTS EVEN I CAN DO): FALL DECOR


As Wade and I feverishly cleaned the house this weekend for friends to come over, I realized it was probably time to make the house a little less summery and add a few fall touches.  There's nothing like people coming over that actually forces you to clean/decorate, am I right?  I don't go all out with seasonal decorations, but I did want to bring in the autumn colors. 



I decided to change up my fall decorations a bit from last year, though.  I wanted to try something a little different, a little less traditional, but didn't want to spend a lot of money.  With just a few additions and tweaks to what I already had, though, I was able to put together a look I really love.

Here are a few easy things I did that added a little extra pizazz. 

Terrariums
I don't think what I did are really true terrariums, but I didn't know what else to call them.  Landscapes, wooded scenes?  Well, regardless what you call them, I love how they turned out. 

I wanted to create something that added height and little pops of color that wasn't a type of flower, so I gathered the following supplies and put these little landscapes together.  I already had the glass jars and collected the twigs from my yard. 


In just a few minutes, I had these cute little jars.


Use Items Around the House
I wouldn't say I'm a hoarder, but I have accumulated a lot of odds and ends over the years.  I'm trying to be better at utilizing what I already have instead of going out to buy something new.  Sometimes it's just about seeing what you have with new eyes.

I used the striped table runner I got on sale a few months back.  I like how it's a contrast against the oranges and yellows of the typical fall color pallet.  Then I brought this little guy up from our Christmas ornaments stash and thought he fit in just perfectly with the acorns.


And you'll never guess where I found this basket.

It's my bike basket!  I really needed a cornucopia of sorts, but this basket worked just as well since it had a flat side.  I just covered up the hardware with leaves and corn.

Fresh Seasonal D├ęcor
I love using real pumpkins and gourds to liven up a space with a little pop of orange.  You don't have to store them all year, and they usually last through the season. 

I also filled mason jars I had lying around with popcorn kernels and stuck a tea light in them to add a bit of extra ambience. 

I was a little worried that the heat from the candle would cause the kernels to pop, but alas no popcorn was made.

I was trying to think of something catchy to write on the mason jars.  I was seriously considering "It's fall ya'll", but ended up with this instead.  It could use some sprucing up, so any suggestions are welcome:)



How do you transition your space from season to season?  Any easy projects to share?

Friday, September 26, 2014

GETTING CRAFTY WITH HEY PAUL STUDIOS


Crafting + Beer + Food Truck + Awesome People = My idea of a perfect way to spend an evening.

The other night, Meg and I headed to the Eat | Drink | Stitch event hosted by the lovely Kristen from Hey Paul Studios.

And guys, I was in love.  This event was the epitome of what I've been searching the past few years for--gals crafting the night away while sipping a delicious drink.


Kristen supplied cute fabric, quirky embroidery designs, and a rainbow of colored thread to choose from.  It was then up to us to decide how we wanted to customize our designs. 


The event was held at The Big Rip Brewing Company, which was the perfect location.  I hadn't heard about this brewery in North Kansas City before, but after visiting just once, I can't wait to go back.  They have a great patio that would be the perfect way to spend an afternoon sipping samples of their craft beer.


I'm not usually too adventurous when it comes to beer.  Give me a Miller Light, and I'm good.  I have to say, though, that I did really like this beer. 

While I did like their beer a lot, what really struck me was the name of the brewery.  I'm a nerd at heart and wonder a lot about the universe, so their tag line, "Lighten up dark matter, have a craft beer" really stood out to me.  So much so that I had to use my craft fair money to buy a t-shirt and a glass.  (If you want to know more about the big rip theory, click here.)


Thank you, Kristen, for a wonderful night!  It was inspiring to be around all these crafty ladies, and I love any reason to get to hang out with Meg more.  In fact, it always boosts my creativity when I hang out with people who are doing such fun things around my city.

If you're in the Kansas City area, check out Hey Paul Studios for details on the next Eat | Drink | Stitch event and also check out Kristen's shop where you can purchase one of her beautiful hand embroidered pieces.


Monday, September 22, 2014

BOOZY SNOW CONE RECIPE


I mentioned how delicious our boozy snow cones turned out for a little blogger get together a few weeks ago here, and now I'm back to share the recipe with you!

Meg was so sweet to come over a few days before the event to help me make the syrups.  I found a few general recipes online, but figured we could kind of wing it.

The biggest lesson we learned is that a little simple syrup goes a long way.  Remember that this is a very concentrated syrup that you only need a very small portion of to make a big impact in your drink.

We made two different flavors: strawberry basil lime and lemon berry (we made an alcoholic and non-alcoholic version of this flavor).


Strawberry Basil Lime
--2 cups of water (for a big batch)
--1 cup of sugar (We used Truvia for a lower calorie option. Make sure to buy the baking blend version.)

This will make a large batch of simple syrup.  If you want to make a smaller batch, just adjust the amount of water and sugar, always keeping the ratio of 2 parts water to 1 part sugar the same.

--3 cups of cut up strawberries (there isn't really an exact science here, just add a healthy serving of strawberries)
--4-5 basil leaves
--1 lime

Step 1: Add your water and sugar to a saucepan and heat over medium heat until all the sugar dissolves. 

Step 2:  Once the sugar has dissolved in the water, take the saucepan off the heat and let cool for about 30 minutes. 

Step 3:  Pour the cooled sugar water into a bowl and add the strawberries and basil.  With a potato masher, mash the fruit and leaves.  You're trying to get the flavor into the sugar water mixture. 

Step 4:  Next, with a fine mesh strainer, strain the mixture into another bowl.  Then squeeze the juice of one lime into the syrup and stir. 

Step 5:  The final step is when you add the vodka if you want to make this snow cone syrup boozy.  Meg and I had a difficult time figuring out how much vodka to add.  We started off with 3 ounces, then moved to 6, and onto 9.  Right before the party, Meg added more, and they turned out great.  I guess this part depends on how boozy you want the snow cones to be.  I would suggest starting slowly and adding a little more alcohol at a time to get to the taste you prefer.

Drizzle some over some shaved ice and enjoy!

 
Lemon Berry

Everything is the same as the recipe above, except swap out 2 lemons and about 2 cups of blueberries instead of the strawberries, basil, and lime.

What I loved about these recipes is that they didn't require us to stick to a strict recipe.  It's just a lot of taste testing as you go and adding together flavors that sound good.  Thanks Meg for helping me make these delicious syrups!  It was a great excuse to hang out:)




Have you made simple syrups before?  Any flavor combinations I should try next?

Friday, September 19, 2014

CRAFT FAIR!



As the air turns crisp and the leaves become tinged with a bit of yellow, I'm reminded that it's craft fair time!

Weekends seem to fill up with little booths popping up around town, each filled with interesting wares and goods that the maker has lovingly designed.

I'll be at the Shawnee Town Craft Fair this Saturday (September 20th) from 9-4, which will mark my 4th year doing this event.  If you're in the Kansas City area, stop by and say hi!

The majority of my evenings and weekends seem to have been spent prepping for this event.  I've even enlisted the help of my mom who always comes through with helping me package and then is my favorite sidekick the day of the show.

This year I'll be introducing a headband bar!  Now people will be able to purchase either a packaged headband or create their own by selecting the color band they like and then different buds.  It's something I've been wanting to incorporate for a while now, so I'm excited it finally came together.



I'm in the home stretch now.  I get so nervous before these types of things.  That's why it's so nice to have my mom there to buy me ice cream if things aren't going well:)  Hopefully the weather will hold out, and it will be a beautiful day.  

Check out last year's craft shows here and here, and read about my thoughts on success here.

Do you have any craft fairs or street festivals you like to visit each year?


Monday, September 15, 2014

THE LADYBUG


The other day I went to the track to run.  The sun was just dipping below the tree line, and the air still held the heat from the day.

My knee still isn't 100%, so I did sprints back and forth on the cushioned track.

After my last sprint, I was bent over with my hands on my knees to catch my breath and noticed a little ladybug trekking across the track to get to the grass on the other side.

She had made it to the middle of the track and was moving steadily along, up and down the rough terrain.

What seemed like a smooth, cushioned surface for me to run on was actually filled with mountains and caverns, upon microscopic inspection.

I watched her for a few minutes and wondered if she knew how much farther she had to go.

For me, I could see the span of her journey from beginning to end and knew she was halfway there.  But she could have no idea.  Even the high points would not be able to give her the vantage point she needed to see how far she had come or where she was going.

She just kept moving.

I dropped my hand to her.  She blindly climbed onto my finger, not knowing if it would be her salvation or her demise.  I then walked the two steps to the grass and let her climb down onto a blade of grass.  She quickly disappeared.


I'd like to think I helped her in some way to complete her journey and that she understood the assistance.

Could she ever really know, though, how much danger she had been in walking across a busy track with feet pounding over her route?

Would she have even wanted to know?

It made me think how we're not all that different from this ladybug.  We aren't able to see the full picture, to truly see how far we've come and where we're going.  We just keep moving in the general direction of forward and hope that we make it to the other side.

The "right" answer constantly eludes us.  Should we keep plodding along on our way or venture onto a new path?  Either way, if we stay constant or take a new opportunity, we are still blind to what the outcome will be.

Years from now, though, we'll be able to look at our journey from beginning to end.  We'll see how all those decisions and long walks across rough terrains got us to where we are.  How each decision was not just "good" or "bad", but that it did transform us and our part in the world.

We'll actually be able to take our eyes off the road and look around us to appreciate the intricacies of everything we couldn't see before.

And best of all, we'll  finally understand the point of it all.  How our life, this journey fits into everything else.

We'll be like I was that day, seeing the big picture, the road the little ladybug was on, and knowing there was a beautiful sunset shining down on this little ladybug's path even though she never looked up to see where the light was coming from that illuminated her journey.    




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I'm linking up with Meg's Mingle Monday link up today.  Stop by to meet some new blog friends.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

PEICD (PROJECTS EVEN I CAN DO): PAPER LANTERN DIY



As promised from my post about the Boozy Snow Cone Bash, I'm back to show you how to make these adorable paper lanterns.  They can either add a fun pop of color during your daytime get together or light up your backyard with a beautiful glow. 


Plus, they're relatively easy to make.  If I can do it, then you can do it.  I promise. 

If you look really close, they're no where near perfect, but that doesn't matter.  They look cute from far away and weren't all that time consuming to make.  And the best part is that you can make them in whatever color you want that fits the motif of your party.

Paper Lantern DIY

Supplies:

--Tissue paper
--Gold spray paint
--Popsicle sticks
--Glue gun
--Crepe paper for decoration
--Piece of cardstock or scrapbook paper

Step 1: Spray paint a ton of popsicle sticks gold.  Better get to eating those bomb pops and fudgsicles:)  Actually, I bought a box of jumbo craft sticks at a craft store.  Each lantern takes 16 sticks to make, so I just lined up the sticks and painted away. It was kind of a pain since the sticks kept blowing over, but I just did one side to save on time.

Step 2: Once the sticks have dried, it's time to make the form of your lantern.  Fire up that hot glue gun and connect the edges of two sticks together to form a corner.

Do this another three times until you have 4 corner pieces.  Then hot glue a stick to the top and bottom of each corner to connect the corners into a square shape.



Step 3:  Cut four pieces of tissue paper to fit into the windows of the lantern.  Before you fully glue them into the lantern, tie a piece of string onto two sides so that you can hang your lantern if you like.   


Step 4:  Next, cut a piece of scrapbook paper or cardstock to fit the bottom of the lantern, and, you guessed it, hot glue it on.



Step 5:  You're almost done!  Now just add any decoration you want to the lanterns.  I added some fringe I cut from crepe paper. 



Now just hang them up wherever you like.  I put them up in the tree in my backyard for our Boozy Snow Cone Bash.  They were fun and colorful amidst the dwindling sunlight.


Then as the sun goes down, just add a battery operated flameless candle to each lantern and enjoy the glow.



I hope the weather stays warm enough to use these a few more times this year.  Maybe I can cut holes in the tissue paper to make it look like a carved pumpkin.  Hmmm...that's not a bad idea...

Stay tuned for a boozy snow cone syrup recipe and an easy flower crown DIY coming over the next week.