Friday, March 23, 2012

Crap My Friends Make-Cheap and Easy Wall Art

Hello Blog Friends-

I'm sorry it has been so long since my last post. I've been on spring break and then I came back and had to adjust to the real world. But have no fear, I do have several projects to discuss. But until then, here is a very exciting guest blog post from Susan.

Cheap & Easy Wall Art
It’s time for another installment of “Crap Emily’s Friends Make!”

This Crap project is so easy that I am almost embarrassed—seriously, an un-trained monkey could have done it. Now, I know what you are thinking: “Oh sure, Su-Su that is what people always say about crap projects! And then before you know it 6 hours has gone by, I’m tied up in a mess of glue and modge podge with nothing to show for it!”

Well—I am here to tell you that this project is NO JOKE! It really is so easy that you could potentially train your toddlers to do it if you weren’t concerned about them ripping the paper or getting distracted by plastic dog bones, balls and such. (Editor's Note-Ha ha funny Susan. Way to make fun of my kid because he is attached to a plastic dog bone rather than a blankie or something. I'm Facebooking your mom and getting an embarrassing story from your childhood. I won't however tell Little Man what you said because then he would be sad and probably cry.)

I am very fortunate that I actually have a crap room at my house. It’s this beautiful space where I am at peace and spend hours upon hours of time working happily on all my projects. Okay, that is kinda a lie. I really do have a space, I am trying to make it more beautiful and who am I kidding. I never have hours upon hours of time to do what I really want to do which is CRAFT! (I love this room, I want to hide there. Well, now I can't I just told you all my hiding spot.)

I’ve desperately needed some art for one of the walls. Since it’s a craft room I wanted it to be bright, full of color, inspiring and just fun. But let’s face it—I’m cheap! So the thought of hitting up the local Art Galleries (Local Art Galleries-HA! That's funny) in the hopes of finding something really amazing wasn’t an option. I’ve left the wall blank thinking that eventually I would find something that could go there. And then I did—in Staples of all places!

It really is amazing where crap inspiration will hit you. Around Christmas time I was in K-Mart where I got a great idea for a DIY coffee mug to go with an office set I made Emily. I went into Staples to get a mailing tube and saw 2012 calendars on clearance. A Mary Engelbreit one caught my eye and made me think of my crap room! I thought I could take it apart and frame some of the calendar pages. So I bought the calendar and then went to Hobby o’ Lobby to see if frames were on sale (remember: NEVER pay full price for anything at Hobby o Lobby!) Lo and Behold they were 50% off (it’s as if the stars aligned for me to complete this project!)

The supplies:

I took apart the calendar and thought I would need to use my Fiskars paper cutter to cut them down to 12x12 size—but once I had them apart and placed them in the frames they fit perfectly and no trimming was needed! Even better! The instructions here are pretty simple—take apart the calendar. Figure out which prints you want. Pop open the frames and presto! Instant Art! I told you it was easy!

Initially I was only going to do two but then I found a third frame in my crap room that wasn’t being used for anything else—BONUS! So I decided to do a third. They are perfect and just what I needed for the space. The other BONUS is that you could easily change them out with different photos. I also think they would make a fun gift for someone. I think next year I am going to go on the hunt for clearance calendars with this idea in mind.

Here is the finished product on my wall:

Thank you Susan for a great post. However, you forgot to mention one very important supply. What kind of wine were you drinking :)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Cheese Tray

So, a couple of weeks ago my friend said to me "Hey, want to come to this event with me. My husband doesn't want to go. Did I mention there will be free wine?" While she had me at free wine I did have to locate a babysitter since my husband had to present in a class. But seriously, free wine? Umm, yeah. So, I got a babysitter and was in for a nice evening of recognizing women of achievement with other adults in a nice location. Yay!!

Well, we get there and I help with a few things since my friend is on the board and I didn't really mind helping. As it turns out the expectation of the planners was the some of the students involved would bring food and well, only a couple did. So, while drinking my glass of free wine and tasting some of the yummies the couple of students brought Julie said, "I have to go get food, want to come?" Well, since I didn't know anyone and was Julie's +1 for the night I figured I should, plus it would be fun. Off to HyVee we go to get a premade cheese tray.

The already made cheese trays aren't in the deli section, did you know that? And apparently HyVee can't make any ahead of time because they will dry out and get yucky, so if we wanted a premade one, the Hormel ones were over at the other side of the store. Please note, the woman really made it sound like we were terrible people for buying a Hormel tray. Lady, we just left the event we were at on a food run, do you really think we care? Well, after searching we found one lone cheese tray, and it was a sad little cheese tray. I think everyone wanted cheese for the big game last night. Ok, what are we going to do? Maybe the deli can whip one up for us real quick.

Nope, they can't. The young man was very busy and couldn't do that. However, he could give us a tray when we bought our sliced cheese. Alright, we'll take it. As Julie waited on the cheese I went in search of a plastic knife. Luckily I didn't have to look far, there were plastic ware packages right there. So, we buy the cheese, some crackers, and a fruit tray and off to the car we go.

The grocery store was about 6-8 blocks from the event. While Julie drove, I cut the cheese slices in half and arranged them nicely on the tray. Now, while normally I'm all for finding a quick and easy parking space, I was glad Julie had to parallel park (which she does really well, btw) because if she hadn't the cheese tray wouldn't have been done.

When we got in we took the extra cheese to the kitchen and as I was about to take the tray out to the table I was asked by one of the very sweet organizers if I thought we should cut the slices so it went further. I said "There is more, so I think we'll be fine." What I thought was "Seriously lady? The slices are cut and I made this stupid tray in the car. While it was moving!"

Needless to say the cheese tray was a big hit and we had more than enough cheese slices. And a great event honoring some great women.

It was totally a case of go as a guest, leave as the caterer. But it was tons of fun! Plus, there was wine. And a trip to the new wine bar after.

So, here is the now famous Car Cheese Tray:

Oh, and as a bonus, Julie learned how to e-mail pictures from her phone.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Easter Invite

Just a note-I can't get spell check to work. That is a bad thing for me. I appologize for any mistakes.

I know, you were expecting that my next post would be the second in the decroative towel series. Honestly, so did I. But I just haven't gotten there yet. Now, I don't want to say that my sewing machine and the towel supplies are sitting on my dining room table taunting me, but they kind of are. I need to just sit down and sew. The problem I find is that I can only do that after the little people go to bed unless I want their "help" and sometimes by that time, I don't want to do anything. Call me lazy, I don't care. And anyway, I'm rubber you're glue. Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you. Unless of course you say that I'm super awesome, cuz I am. So, my goal is by the end of spring break to have the towels and the potholders done. It could happen.

But anyway, not back to the point of this blog, the Easter Invite. I would really like my family to come to my house this Easter and I figured the best way to make that happen is to use the cuteness of my kids. And they are cute, I mean really cute, but I had to up the cuteness factor to get this to work. Hmmm, what could be cuter than my kids? Think, think, think. I know! Bunnies. So, I put the kids together with bunnies and made my invite. You would think the easy way would be to get some bunnies, put them with my kids, and take their picture. But between keeping the bunnies and my littlest children still and hoping the little people don't freak out if a bunny touches them or even looks at them funny I don't think that would be easy. So, I just decided to Photoshop some stuff. But of course I don't have Photoshop nor do I know how to use it. Plus I didn't want to spend money. So, I found a free program online, I had great fun with this program and I think my card turned out well.

I'm sure that if you are paitent and precise you can cut out the faces very neatly. I have a hard time being precise with my mouse, so that didn't happen. Also, I kept making mistakes and not saving things right and having to start over. I'm sorry I didn't take notes as I did this so you could avoid a similar fate. But, I didn't, sorry.

After I had the image complete I used PowerPoint to make the actual card. Using a blank slide I inserted the picture. Then I created a text box for the text. Once those were complete I grouped them together and saved the slide as a .jpeg This technique also works really well if you want to make a collage of pictures and use that as your desktop wallpaper. You should try it.

But back to the invite. Here is the final product. Pretty stinking cute if I do say so myself.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tea Towel-Part 1

I am so excited to actually be blogging about a crap, I mean craft, project rather than just another dinner. I was all set to start working on this last Friday night after the little people went to bed, but as it turns out dinner, a trip to Wal-Mart, and a trip to JoAnn by myself with the little people after a week of working and being sick just wore me out. So, I watched tv instead.

But last night I was set. This is my first attempt at decorative tea towels. At first I wasn't real sure about my fabric choice but once I got going I thought it was going to be cute.

Here are my supplies:

A set of plain white kitchen towels from Wal-Mart

Decorative fabric-this is black with cherries on it if you can't tell

Coordinating rick rack

Coordinating thread (I didn't use the thread because as it turns out I already had red thread. Why, I don't know, but it matched and I like that thread better so I used it) I did use grey for the bobbin because I didn't have white. I use grey for almost all my sewing when I need something neutral, it works great.

And a can of cider. I went with this instead of wine. I admit Crispin isn't my favorite and I didn't drink it all, but it was still a nice treat.

I cut the fabric into a strip 4 inches wide and the cut it the width of the towel plus 1/2 inch. And as it turns out I wasn't being careful when I cut the fabric so the ruler slid so I had to fix it and the strips ended up being more like 3 3/4 inches wide. Whatever.

I folded each end of the fabric over 1/4 inch and pressed it to make a nice edge.

I figured out where I wanted the strip and put it in place. Great news, I didn't have to pin. The fabric just stuck to the towel like storybook characters on a felt board at the library.

I cut a strip of rick rack about 1/2 inch wider than the towel and was ready to go.

I lined the rick rack up along the raw edge of the fabric and got ready to sew. Things were looking great. I was actually liking the fabric once it was all together on the towel. Zip zip zip a straight stitch along the middle of the rick rack and I was ready to turn the ends under. I removed my towel from my sewing machine and found it to be an EPIC FAIL!

My tension was all wacked out and it totally didn't sew together right. And no, I didn't check part way through. And yes, I know I should do this. So, I had to engage in some antisewing.

At this point, I was done. Defeated. Finished. I didn't want to do any more. So, I put the stuff down to work on another night. Hopefully tonight. So, there will be more to this story, just not now. But rest assured, as with the rice, I will make this towel mine. No, I'm not going to use the naughty blog. Sheesh people.

Oh, as for the tension. I think I know what happened. I keep my sewing machine in my dining room under a plastic cover, not a case, more like a plastic bag. Well, Little Man likes to touch things. I'm pretty sure he found the tension dial and moved it. We'll see tonight when I check to see if it was moved. You might be thinking poor Little Man, getting blamed when he might not have done it. Well, he probably did, and if he didn't he probably did something else that he didn't get caught doing.

Monday, February 27, 2012

This just in...

I have 7 followers!! Let's make it 10 people. Wow, if I had 10 followers I would feel super popular. I need to get out more.

Chicken and Spinach Pasta Bake

Ok, so first things first, I totally wasn't planning on blogging about dinner tonight. I really wasn't. Then I sent Susan a text to tell her I made a great Pinterest dinner and she said she couldn't wait to read about it on 52W. Great, no pressure there. But since I only have 5 followers I probably shouldn't disappoint one or I'll only have 4. And since 4 is less than 5, that would make me sad. BTW 6 is more than 5 and that would make me happy, so tell a friend. Apparently I do blogs on request.

The only picture I have is of half a pan of casserole. I'll post it later as an update, I honestly just don't feel like dealing with that right now. I'm tired and I'm watching Yo Gabba Gabba, a girl can only handle so much.

But anyway, let me share my casserole with you. The original recipe was found via Pinterest and can be found at

The main difference was that I used spaghetti instead of rigatoni because that is what I had on hand. I also forgot the salt and pepper.

So, here is what I did.

I cooked 4 chicken breasts in the crock pot yesterday. When I got home today I put on a big pot of water to boil and put about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a 9x13 pan with 1 cup of chopped onion (I love the bags of frozen chopped onions) and baked at 375 until the onions were soft. Ok, they got a bit brown. Next time I would use more onions, I didn't measure and I don't think I had a cup. So, by now the water is boiling and I cook just about 1 box of spaghetti. Next time I think I would use 3/4 of a box, or maybe even half. Then you mix the chicken which is chopped, 1 box of thawed frozen spinach (drained well), the onion, a container of garlic herb cream cheese ( I used Aldi brand). At first I couldn't get it to mix, then I microwaved the cream cheese until it was soft which helped a lot. Oh, I also added a can of Italian chopped tomatoes-drained. Dump it into the pan and top with mozzarella cheese. Bake covered at 375 for about 20 minutes, uncover and bake until the cheese is melted.

Like I said, I really liked this. My husband did too. Don't know so much about big brother, he had a band thing so he had a grilled cheese since dinner wasn't done. I doubt he'll like it, but you never know.

Ok, that is all I have to say. Susan, I hope you enjoyed this blog post. If it were a video post you would all see me trying to keep the little people from helping and hear the great songs about not playing in the road provided by the talented crew of Yo Gabba Gabba. And I don't care what the lyrics say, I'm pretty sure that they say Foofa, she's freaking happy not pink and happy. Seriously, check out the intro on Youtube sometime and tell me that isn't what it sounds like. Oh, and also, it really bothers me that you can see the zippers in the Yo Gabba Gabba costumes,

Alright, enough about YGG. Make this casserole, it is good.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Well friends, it is Lent. If you are Catholic it means giving something up. Sacrificing like Jesus sacrificed for you. If you aren't Catholic means trying to figure out why Catholics think giving up candy is a sacrifice even remotely similar to what Jesus did. And here in lies my dilemma. I was raised Catholic but now I consider myself Lutheran. So, to give up or not to give up, that is the question. (And here you thought the question was "What's for dinner?")

So, here is what I have decided. I'm going to have several Lenten goals that will hopefully help me to be a better person. Here they are...

1. Be the better person (note, not a better person; the better person)

2. Be healthier

3. Be more organized

4. Be more spiritual

Great you say, but what did you make? Well, I made fliers for two of my goals. It is much easier to have Lenten goals if they are on snazzy fliers, Susan said so. And she is smart so I believe her.

I plan on putting a flyer for each on my refrigerator as a daily reminder of what I'm doing. I will be making a flyer with a quote from Mother Theresa (thanks Susan) that I will probably have as my desktop background.

But here are my fliers.

I tried to come up with snappy names, heck I even went old school and got out my thesaurus, but I couldn't come up with anything, so it is what it is.

Whatever your Lenten/Spring plans are, I hope they work out for you. And remember, things are easier to do with a snappy flyer.