Thursday, January 26, 2012

birthday week has arrived!

My birthday was Tuesday, so Steve made me a lovely dinner and bought a cake from Cake Love, my favorite DC bakery.

Bacon wrapped tenderloin, bacon wrapped scallops and grilled asparagus with lemon. Oh, and wine, of course. That may seem like a lot of bacon, but on one's birthday, we don't pay attention to such minor details ;)

Strawberries inside the cake! Nothing better.

I'll be celebrating for the rest of the week. Tonight I am taking a Valentine making class at Paper Source followed by dinner with two friends, and then Saturday night I will have dinner with a few more friends at a place in Arlington. Sounds good to me.
Hopefully the corgi will arrive sometime this week too ;)
Do you celebrate birthday week too?

Friday, January 20, 2012

cork love!

I've been feeling crafty lately, and last weekend, I finished the wine cork wreath that I'd been working on for a few weeks! I've been collecting corks for a while now, and have made several things with them (remember the trivets I made?). Of course, the idea was from pinterest (where else?), and I saw several different variations of the wreath, and wasn't sure exactly how I wanted mine to look, so I played around with a few ideas.

I bought a wire wreath frame from Joann Fabrics (it was less than $3, and I believe it's 12" around?). I had first played around with the corks on the frame, trying to figure out how I wanted them placed, and wasn't liking it. I bought this bag of straw-stuff, and attempted to use it to fill the spaces, and figured I'd put the corks all over that, but the stuff is SO messy, and it actually looked weird, I thought!

I had this cranberry colored ribbon, which I thought might work well, so I wrapped it around the wreath. I wanted something for the corks to sit on, to give them some further structure. This worked really well! It was a wide ribbon, and I love the color, so I don't mind any peeking out between some of the corks!

I used a glue gun, for the most part, since it dries so quickly, but I ran out, and attempted using modge podge...which I am a huge fan of, but I had forgotten how long it takes to dry! I went out later and bought more glue sticks :)

I used mostly actual cork corks, not the synthetic ones- though I have a fair amount of those too, so I made a row of them going around the wreath, as more of a base for the main corks. Then I starting using the "real" corks, and placed them somewhat haphazardly, in not much of an order, in all directions! I tried to make the name of the winery visible, and in some cases, you can see the stains from the red wine, which gives it character, I think!

Yes, my glue gun is pink :)

It was somewhat time consuming, but fun, and I liked seeing the corks, as reminders of many of the wineries I've visited, from Virginia to New York to Washington!

Here is the final result, and I hung it on the pantry door in our kitchen!

Have you made anything from wine corks? Am I a little crazy to have so many corks lying around my house? :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

a pinterestly delicious meal!

Here comes another recipe, first found on pinterest, of course! I saw someone's pin and thought it sounded like something fun, and a little different. I love lasagna, but it's just so filling, so these bite-ish sized pieces seemed perfect! I thought they'd be a hit with the boyfriend too.

This is the original recipe that I followed, for the most part.

Lasagna Cupcakes

One cup of your favorite pasta sauce
1 lb hamburger meat
18 wonton wrappers
(note- I couldn't find wonton wrappers. I bought rice paper wrappers.
They DID NOT work. In the end, I used tortillas that I ripped into pieces).
8 ounces mozzarella cheese , grated
(note- I bought a tub of mozz balls and used one in each cupcake!)
3 ounces parmesan cheese , grated
4 ounces ricotta cheese

    Preheat oven to 375* and spray 6 serving muffin tin with Pam (I did all 12, haha)
    Cook hamburger meat, season to taste, drain.
    Assemble the lasagnas by lining the muffin tins with pieces of torn tortilla. I started with a dab of ricotta first, and then a mozzarella cheese ball and then a scoop of meat and spoonful of sauce. Then, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top of it all. I didn't follow this rule each time...I got a little wild and mixed up the order of some of the layers each time ;)
    Bake until the lasagnas are nicely browned, about 20 minutes.
    Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edges and remove from pan.

    Ready to bake!



    All in all, these were really delicious, and easy to make. You could certainly add other things if you wanted, like peppers or black olives or something else. Next time I make them, I may use a bit more sauce, as I like my pasta extra saucy. Also, maybe other kinds of cheese? More spices? Who knows! The possibilities are endless!

    What's cooking in your kitchen this week???

    Monday, January 9, 2012

    in my closet please

    I've stated my obsession with pinterest before, and I just adore it, like most of you, I think! I've found all sorts of clever ideas, things that seem so simple, but I wouldn't have thought of on my own! I'm not always the most creative, but I've found many things and then put my own spin on them, in order to make them my own.

    I love some of the clothing things I've seen, and outfits that people put together. I am far from the most fashionable out there...I am quite certain that I need help in that department! Again, I'm just not the most creative when it comes to my wardrobe and wouldn't think to pair some things. Does someone want to come over and play in my closet with me? Or sign me up for What Not to Wear? Stacy and Clinton are just too funny, I think!

    I saw this outfit this morning, and pinned it, and then realized that I actually have most of the pieces. Not the exact items, of course, but very similar. I have a similar styled dress, though with white polka dots. It has a wide red belt attached. I bought it at HM last year, but have never worn it, as it makes my shoulders look like a linebackers. I have a goldenrod colored cardigan very much like the one in the photo, and similar tall brown boots.

    So my question- how would I wear this? Would I just remove and ignore the red belt? Or would I belt over the sweater? Even though it's red? Button the sweater? Unbuttoned? What color tights would I wear? Brown? Navy? How would you make it yours? How can I make it mine?

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

    a wooden spool wreath!

    This Christmas, I tried to do more gifts with meaning. I wanted to do something that I knew would be special to the person it was for. My sister has long admired Jane Goodall, and interned for her a few summers ago. For part of her gift, I bought her a chimp guardianship and she loved it, as I had suspected she would!

    My mother has been quilting for about fifteen years, I'd say, and she was the one who inspired me to begin quilting and sewing. She's made some really gorgeous quilts over the years and is always there to answer the questions that I have with my quilting!

    On the long drive back from Iowa over Thanksgiving, I saw a photo on pinterest that I knew I had to make for her- a wreath made of old wooden spools of thread! I fell in love with it immediately, and will admit that I had a hard time not showing the picture to her beforehand!

    Wooden spools seem to have become a bit of a hot commodity among sewers, I think. I have a few that I'd found here and there, and I have them in a mason jar in my sewing room. I went onto etsy to find more, and they got expensive! In some cases that I found, they were five for $5! That seemed a bit much. I found a really sweet seller who had all sorts of fun spools at a great price and other things in her shop, so I ordered a few bags and had so much fun going through them. I should have taken more photos of a few of the individual spools, because there were some really cool ones in the bundles! I found a wire wreath frame at Michaels for about $3 and was ready!

    I brought them home with me and made it at my parents house, rather than making it before the holiday (yes, I am a procrastinator...), but I figured it would be fun that way. Since we were in NH for a week, I brought my sewing machine and tons of fabric, and did a lot of sewing while I was home. I packed my pink glue gun for this project and had a crafty cocktail night with my mother and my oldest friend in the world, Hillary, which was just perfect.

    Getting ready.....

    (don't you just love the plastic daisy placemats?! I figured my mother didn't want hot glue all over her dining room table!)

    Here's the finished wreath! I just love how it came out, and my mother does too. She looped a wide ribbon around it and hung it on the wall of her sewing room!

    I really want to make one for my sewing room too!

    Did you make any of your Christmas gifts this year?

    Sunday, January 1, 2012

    lovely beginning for 2012

    "May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books
    and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful,
    and don’t forget to make some art —
    write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can.
    And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”
    -- Neil Gaiman