Showers in May Just Mess up the Rhyme

I took my inspiration for Etsy-awesomeness-finding from the current weather conditions outside of my window today…no hail-themed items, though…

 

1. Handmade Grey Cable Bag by effybags

2. Say My Name Initial Necklace by makepienotwar

3. Man in Raincoat Print by delaflamant

4. Big Rain Cloud Mobile by leptitpapillon

5. Sunshine Coral and Glass Earrings by BlueDoveStudio

6. Umbrella and Rain Drops Hand Carved Rubber Stamp Set by GreenGardenStamps

 

 

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Getting Our Hands Dirty

I really wish that I had a green thumb!  I don’t.  I don’t know what the opposite of having a green thumb is, but my thumb is that color.  I wish that I could keep a plant – any plant – alive, but it never seems to work out for me; however, when The Redhead gave me a hand-painted (by her!) flower-pot, I felt like with her help, we might be able to successfully grow our own little flowers.

This is her getting frustrated that I wanted to take pictures of her present instead of getting down to business and planting something in it – you can see her face getting more and more miserable with every shot (geez, Momma!).

I love that even simple things like planting seeds feels like a new and exciting adventure to a three year old…she loved the idea that she was going to get to plant something in “mud”.

Now, the best part – getting our hands dirty!

A little water (hopefully, we’ll remember to do this on a daily basis so the plant will actually grow).

Dirt, sun, water and a great paint job – if I were a plant, this would be the life for me!

 

A Delicious Farewell to Soup

I love soup!  Any day, any time.  I seriously ate a bowl of shrimp bisque a friend offered me at 7:45 in the morning once (and it was fabulous!).  However, as the days warm up, I am well aware that people’s hot-food threshold will be reached as we all look for stuff to make for meals that won’t cause us to further crank up the air conditioner, so here’s my farewell to soup for the season post, featuring the BEST soupy meal I’ve had in a really long time!

My friend, Randy, has a passion – no, obsession – for French Onion Soup.  He’ll order it no matter where he is eating, looking for an awesome bowl.  It only makes sense that he perfect his own recipe and, after some badgering, he gave it to  me!  I love his take on the classic:

One rainy day last week was a perfect soup day:

 

…so after The Redhead and I made a dash to the grocery store (after playing in puddles), I followed his instructions and made the BEST French Onion Soup ever, just like Randy promised!!!

 

The recipe calls for four large onions of any type – Randy says that he has used Walla Walla onions, other large Spanish onions or even small organic onions from the Farmer’s Market.  I chose a mix of white and red onions – just the normal, grocery store variety – with a few shallots mixed in because I LOVE shallots. 

I also made some really easy croutons out of sourdough bread by just tearing the loaf into smallish pieces, tossing with melted butter, a little salt and pepper and toasting them in the oven at 350 degrees for about ten minutes – yum!

In my opinion, a good bowl of soup is lonely without an equally delicious sandwich, so I put together some toasted ham sandwiches with some fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and basil – aren’t ingredients this time of year so pretty?

I asked Randy if I could share his toiled-over recipe and he said definitely, so here you go if you want to rebel against the warming weather to recreate the magic in your kitchen!

Incidentally, I just found out that Randy has recently made a dream move to Maui!  I wish him luck and the time of his life! 

 

Repurpose Those Pesky Plastic Eggs!

I think I’ve mentioned how excited I am that Spring is finally here – it is definitely my favorite season and it’s taken FOREVER for it to come to Minnesota, so I’m really grateful!  Along with Spring comes all kinds of fun stuff, like tree buds and green grass and Easter….and with Easter comes not-so-fun stuff like rouge strands of Easter basket “grass” that gets stuck in my vacuum and hoards of left over plastic eggs. 

The Redhead has approximately fourteen million of these plastic eggs strewn around the house, emptied of their sugary contents.  I threw away most of them but then a miracle happened and I saw this post  at Creativity in Progress: Brilliant!

I immediately heated up the hot glue gun and with a button, some beads, a sharpie and some random bits from my crafty left-overs, The Redhead had an absolutely adorable – and even personalized(!) – new little tea set!

She helped pick out some of the decorations – she especially liked the gold stars on her orange tea cup and then she played with them for an hour – they’ve quickly become one of her favorite play things!  She especially likes filling them up with Momma’s beads and serving them to us as “special drinks”.

 What a great way to re-use and repurpose junk I would have just tossed in the garbage can three months from now when I was sick of seeing them all over the house!  I’m tempted to use the other three million plastic eggs to make sets for all the little girls I know….

 

Silver White Winters that Melt Into Spring…

A few favorite things that put a Spring in my step ~ for your Etsy viewing pleasure!

 

1. Funky Red Flower Lunch Tote by SandBox Studio

2. Letterpress Recipe Cards by 1canoe2

3. You’re Cool Like That print by annatillettdesigns

4. Cup of Coffee Wedgewood Necklace Pendant by shimrita

5. Peanut Butter and Banana Toast Tote by stephaniemonroe

6. Sally Walks the Dog Drink Cup Cozy by chetanddot

 

 

Having them in Stitches

 

I’ve got the fever, folks – the Spring Fever!  I was cleaning out my closet and putting away my winter clothes (hopefully for a good, long while!) and I came across a dress that I bought a year ago on Target clearance because…well, it was on clearance.  And I liked the emerald green color.  Unfortunately, it was hideous when I actually tried to wear it (not a great quality when you’re talking about clothing).  It had a great hem to it so I decided to make The Redhead a skirt out of it instead of throwing it out and it turned out great-fitting, but kind of boring.

 Lately, I haven’t had a lot of time to spare, so I fancied her skirt up in one of the quickest and most fool-proof ways possible (seriously simple!) and I thought I’d share.  I’m gonna loosely use the word “embroidery” in this post, but in all honesty, this technique can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it.  I kept it super-SUPER-simple for my projects.  If you’re awesome at embroidery, embroider away!

You’re Going to Need:

A Design, Solvy (water-soluble stabalizer that you can get at craft/fabric stores), Pen or Marker, Embroidery Floss/Craft Thread, Embroidery Hoop

Step #1:

First of all, you just need to find a design that you like!  For me, I like to use simple designs and line-drawings.  For the Ice Cream Sundae design on The Redhead’s skirt, I actually used an iron-on transfer that I bought at Joann Fabrics a long time ago

For another project, I printed some line-drawings that were available on the internet.  You’re going to trace your design, so you can use just about anything – for instance, tracing one of the free, downloadable stickers here could be really cute (and you can adjust the size)!  

Step #2:

Use a little bit of tape to anchor a square of Solvy to your design and use a pen or permanent marker to trace it right onto the Solvy

Once the ink is thoroughly dry, place the Solvy onto the material that you are embroidering on and secure it with your embroidery hoop.

Step #3:

Let your creative juices flow with the color and style of embroidery you want to use!  I used three strands of thread for the thickness that I wanted and did straight stitches all around the tracing.  Just remember to sew from the front of the garment/project that you are embellishing and to knot your embroidery thread well each time you change thread. 

Step #4:

I don’t have any pictures of this step, which is sad because it’s my favorite part! 

I specifically use Solvy as my stitch reinforcer on these projects because it’s magic when it comes to its removal – it completely desolves in water but still leaves your stitches more durable!  Once you’re done stitching, remove the embroidery hoop, trim off excess Solvy and then dunk your project in a bowl of water and watch the Solvy disappear (you may need to rub off any undesolved Solvy with your finger in the water).  You can throw your project in the drier or let air dry and viola!  You’ve got a cute, embellished, fabulous something!

The awesome thing about embellishing this way is that it can be easily portable – you can throw the project in your bag to work on while waiting, riding the bus or watching TV and you can easily start and stop the project whenever you need to, which is a huge plus for me when The Redhead asks for a glass of milk, I get her a glass of milk, she spills the glass of milk and then requires another glass of milk.  No harm done to the project due to my lack of attention!

My Mom got a set of embroidered tea towels for her birthday that I did in the same way:

Before I knew it, she had distributed them throughout her house along with her Easter decorations!

I hope that you are finding great ways to get ready for Springtime – if you try this project out on something of your own, drop me a line and tell me how it turned out!

Under Renovation: Changes Ahead

I’m excited to have decided to change some things around the ‘ole blog!  I realized the other day that I’m not posting as much as I’d really like to and that’s because lately I’ve been more involved in other creative projects, events and fun things that aren’t necessarily food-related.  I decided that I’d love to share all of my adventures without being limited just to the culinary ones!  So I’m recreating this site as more of a lifestyle blog – it will still include lots of recipes and food events around the Twin Cities but will just also have a whole lot more.

Just to give you fair warning, you may see a lot of changes in the next few days – sorry if the site looks a little wonky as I change some of the elements of the blog, but it will be finished very soon!

I always really appreciate everyone who reads and I hope you like the new content!