Archive for September 2011

Sweet Potato Brownies with Buttered Maple Glaze

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Yup, you read the title right!  This is one of my favorite desserts and I love to feed it to the girls because it gives them a shot of sweet potato. I know it's not exactly a healthy snack but what can you do?


1 c. butter
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups peeled and finely shredded sweet potato or yam (sometimes I use more...closer to 3. That's what I did today)

Glaze Ingredients:
2 tbs butter, lightly softened
2 tbs pure maple syrup
3/4 c. confectioners sugar (you can even use less since the maple syrup is so sweet)

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Blend in the vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt; stir into the butter mixture until it is just blended. Fold in the shredded sweet potato.  Spread the batter into the prepared dish.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Prepare the glaze by combining the glaze ingredients and stirring until smooth. Dollop on baked, hot brownies and smooth to cover as it melts into the brownies. Cool completely and cut into squares.  You could end up with 16 servings. Or 2, depending on how big you cut them.  ha ha ha! kidding. maybe.

Please make these. They are so delicious! And you can totally lower the sugar more, I think. Between the sweetness of the glaze and the sweet potato, I still think you could probably do a 1/4 cup of each one and they would still be plenty sweet!

Would these be good with an apple cider glaze?  Someone sub the maple syrup with apple cider in the glaze and then tell me how it tastes!  What yummy fall foods are you excited to eat?


Halloween Glam Wreath Tutorial

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This is my newest wreath creation. It's my Halloween Glam Wreath and it was pretty easy to do!  You can see more pictures here.

Step 1:  Gather your supplies. You will need 1 wreath form, about a half a yard ( maybe less) of white linen fabric cut into strips (I varied my lengths and widths), several long, wider strips of any white  fabric, glue gun, black/white/gray embellishments such as flowers, beads, etc., black thread, and 1 black glitter foam sheet.

Step 2:  Using your thicker, longer strips, start wrapping your wreath completely.  Secure every so often with hot glue.

Step 3:
Begin tying your smaller strips randomly around the wreath to create the look of mummy wrappings. I secured each tie with a small bead of hot glue so they would stay put. I varied where I tied the knot on the wreath, some are tied high and some are low.

Continue tying until you achieve the look you like. I ended up with strips every inch or so all the way around the wreath.

Step 4:  Glue on your embellishments. Lay them out first on the wreath before you glue to find the placement you like best.

Step 5 & 6:
Find a bat silhouette. I found one I liked on Google Images. Print, cut out, and trace on the reverse side of the glitter foam sheet. Cut out. My glitter foam had a adhesive back.  So I peeled it off after cutting it and I stuck it onto a length of thread. I then hot glued the bat to the thread to ensure it doesn't fall off.  Next I tied the thread to the wreath in between the strips so the tied part was hidden by the fabric. Then I put a bead of hot glue on the back to secure it to the wreath. And done!

If you make one too I'd love to see it!  Are you working on any Halloween projects?


Mod Podge Reglittered Shoes

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When I ended up with girls I knew I'd be in for certain things but I have been surprised by what I didn't know. I knew I'd be wrestling toddlers into tights for Christmas pictures. It never occurred to me, pre-daughters, that I would have to do it 10x in one day for diaper changes. I knew I'd be watching dance recitals. I didn't know the costumes cost $80 and you have to watch ALL the students dance. I knew I would wash pink clothes. I didn't know that I would end up doing 2-3 pink/red loads a week. And I knew girls liked sparkly things. I didn't realize that this would mean Jim I would have to continuously vacuum up the glitter that falls off the fairy dresses/fancy shoes/crowns/what-have-you constantly. 

It is amazing how much glitter actually floats around my home. When Ellie was crawling her little knees would sparkle in the sun. Jim more often than not goes into work with glitter clinging to his shirt. Molly thinks it's fantastic!  MORE GLITTER FOR EVERYONE!  And Jim was so thrilled when we came home from shopping with a brand new pair of silver glitter shoes from the Disney Store. HA! HA!  Molly decided they were Ariel's wedding shoes and she wears them all the time.

This is what they looked like a few days ago. Not much glitter left. She was bummed because I wouldn't let her wear them out anymore.

So I grabbed my trusty Mod Podge, a foam brush, some glitter and went to work!  I just slathered on the M.P. and shook on the glitter. Then I let them dry and gave them two coats of a clear spray canned glaze.

Here they are now!

Ahhhhh, so much better! 

She also had a pair of red ones. These had more issues than glitter loss. They are a mess. But she loves these shoes so I decided to reglitter them too but I couldn't find the same color/type of glitter so I just used whatever red glitter I could find. Not perfect but I will let her wear them to play. She will not wear these to school no matter how much she insists she should look like Dorothy in PreK 4.



Brain surgery? No. Did it make a 4 year old happy?  Yup!  Mod Podge rules.


Halloween Glam Wreath

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I love fall. Adore it, actually.  While we dated, Jim and I would spend our falls hiking and watching the foliage change color. I've been a little bummed that all of our fall decor is in  a POD in our driveway. It's like my mercury glass pumpkins and other lovelies are being held hostage by the POD people who don't want me to have a festive home.  I know I just have to be patient. So in the meantime I created a wreath for Halloween but I didn't want it be too literal. I wanted it to be a bit glam and a bit creepy. I settled on black and white because I love black and white. I used some leftover linen to make what I hoped would look like mummy wrappings and, surprise surprise, I hot glued an assortment of fabric flowers that I embellished with lots of sparkles and pearls. Guess that's the glam part.  It will look fierce when my door is painted black!  Oh and it was really hard to take pictures. If the white part wasn't too bright then the black flowers were too dark and vice versa. My camera isn't fancy so I did the best I could.

I'm pretty happy with it!  I'm really loving looking at everyone's fall and Halloween projects, too. It's such a fun time of year!


Kitchen Inspirations

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We are done taking the wallpaper down!  We are done cleaning the wallpaper paste off the walls!  We are done spackling the gauges in the wall board from our scraping!  It was a huge job!  I hope I never have to do it again now that it's almost over (still have the powder room to do...sigh). Already the kitchen is a million times better! 

Now it's perfectly clean. Even the spots around the outlets.

And my sweet James took down the tiles above the stove that turned out not to be Dutch children at all but rather, peasants from the middle ages gardening (that's right. Read that sentence as many times as you really does say "peasants from the middle ages gardening"). So my apologies go out to the Dutch children of the world! 


There was a big metal piece glued to the wall to hold the tiles.
It took off some of the wall board. Nothing that
can't be repaired!

GNARLY!!!  See ya, stove!

We came home after it was all over and I had a healthy snack of fruit as a reward. Ok, fine. Cool Whip out of the container with a spoon. And then we laid on the couch until it was time to go to my sister's to get fed.  We lead a sweet life. : ) 

So I'm here looking for inspiration for the kitchen and found these on Pinterest. I decided I'm going to take a few risks in this house I wasn't brave enough to do in our first home.   The kitchen can't get worse, I figure, so why not do a color I wouldn't have been brave enough to do before or take down a few cabinets to try out open shelving (my mother is shaking her head right now, "Don't do it. You aren't neat enough to do that.")  These inspiration pics are from Pinterest but I did link them each back to the original website from which they came.

Love the brown/white combo

This is the brown I'm going to try to do in the kitchen. 
Eventually we'll install 6ft tall beadboard along the breakfast nook walls
 so the brown will be more of an accent really.

Love everything about this. Love the kitchen cabs, love the counter,
 but I pinned it for the shelving.

Doing a subway tile back splash. May do marble if we can manage it.
Otherwise, just plain old subway tile. Can't wait.
 Planning on doing a herringbone pattern above
 the stove where the peasant tiles used to be.

Just a dream picture. Don't love the wall color but everything else is ok by me.
Hopefully we'll have paint pictures to show you all this week. I also have a Halloween wreath finished and some cute vintagey looking crates I worked on. As long as I can get some good pics I'll post those projects too!


Giveaway Winner!!!

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I am so excited to announce the winner of the fabric flowers giveaway is...DANA from Pieces of Me!  She was number 15 (selected via with her comment,

"Dana said...
I am following you! (And I added you to my google reader so I don't miss a thing!) "

I emailed you, Dana!  I hope you are thinking about your three additional flowers!  Can't wait to send it all out to you! Thank you to everyone who entered!  It is fun to think someone is going to win something I made! 

We are almost done with the kitchen. I'm heading over there today to wash the walls. Fun..not. But it will be worth it all in the end!

Hope everyone is enjoying your Thursday. Remember, the weekend is right around the corner!


Last Day for the Giveaway

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If you haven't entered you can find all the details here.  I will announce the winner tomorrow and we will talk via email about the additional flowers you want!  I'm so excited for someone to win my little bits of fabric love.  My readers rock and deserve a flower or two or fifteen!

and just for fun

Last October in the hats my sister knitted. My little pumpkin and my sweet apple!

Kitchen Progress

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2 more days to enter my giveaway!

Kitchen update!

 We bought a wallpaper steamer yesterday and we began to remove the wallpaper. Our process was developed in trial and error manner and it seems to be working. We start by peeling off the layer that has the pattern, leaving the papery layer on the wall. Then we perforate and steam. It slides right off with a little help from our scrapers. It's easier than I thought it would be . The toughest part is that they actually papered behind the window trim and the cabinets, as well as, caulked over it by the back splash.  Those are the spots that are taking us a while to do. When all is said and done it will look much better without the dated paper, despite the dated cabinets.  The appliances will be replaced before we move in because they are older than I am,  I think.

Here is what it looked like two days ago:

The paper was actually gold flowers with navy blue stripes. ick.

And here it is as of yesterday:

Tonight I finished the soffit above the sink and the back splash as shown in the picture. It was nice to be in the house alone. I opened the windows and listened to the night sounds instead of the radio. No one was calling "MOM!" and no TV was on. It was bliss minus the wallpaper paste stuck to my hair.

Thanks for everyone's comments, by the way. It is so fun to read and respond to you all!


Napkin Runner

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Don't forget to enter my giveaway!  You have until September 21!

I am beat!  We spent the day cleaning and taking off wallpaper. The wallpaper is a million years old and was put on well. It's not so hard to take it down but there seems to be an unending amount of it. But it's coming along and soon the kitchen will be brown with bead board instead of gold flowers with navy stripes. Can't. wait.

What else have I been up to?  Well, the other day I posted a picture of some fab napkins I scored at Home Goods at the bargain rate of 12 for 7 bucks. Can't beat that!  I loved the pattern and decided to sew them together to make a runner.  I used 3 18 inch napkins to make the main portion of the runner, half a napkin for each patterned ruffle, and half of a white napkin (also on sale) for the white ruffle. The brown ribbon is Liquid Stitched on. I love it!  I think it's going to be fantastic in my new dining room!!

And in more personal news my Molly started Pre-K 4 last week. She was so excited and I'm so happy to report she LOVES her school. I was so worried since we've moved and she's had a little bit of an adjustment. But she's making friends and her teacher is fantastic. We couldn't be more pleased.

She insisted on taking her pictures as a mermaid. That's the way mermaids sit but I'm sure you knew that already.  She also made me put those braids in her hair. She is such her own person!

Play Doh love

And if I'm going to post pics of Molly I can't leave my sweet Ellie out. I was playing around with Picnik with these just for fun.

This is one of those vintage styles. It reminds me of my old family pictures. You know the kind. Film kind.

So we plan on doing mostly house stuff this week. I hope you all had a great weekend! Can't wait to see all your new projects, news, kid pics, etc.


Pinterest Wreaths

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Remember to enter my giveaway! Plus I have a few new projects to show you this week!  I've been busy!

I can't stop thinking about wreaths for the front's becoming an obsession!  Look at these yummy ones I found over at Pinterest!  I linked the pictures to the Etsy shop or blog.

The colors are so soothing and pretty.
Padgett Hoke

I love the bandana idea. Never thought of it. People are so clever!
ItzFitz Etsy Shop

Love the unique colors.
Lydia's Cozy Corner

I've been looking at this for a few years now. This year I'm doing it without fail. Love it.
Martha Stewart
and for Halloween

The beauty is in its simplicity.
The Long Thread
I'm inspired!  Are you?  Have you made or bought a new fall wreath this year?