Wednesday, March 31, 2010

We're Ready

The plans have been made....the seeds are started (tomatoes and peppers that is) we just wait. As my Grandma Eula would say, wait until you can go in the garden with your bare feet and feel comfortable on the soil.....then it's time to plant.

I enjoy mapping out my planting in the garden...I rotate each year from raised bed to raised bed. Farmers do it, so I figure I should too. Can I count myself as a farmer? I think I will.

Last year my dill and cukes made friendly early on....what perfect friends. I hope they're friends again this year. The dill pickle supply has run dry at the VanOort homestead. ;-)

I'm such a tease....didn't even tell you what I'm planting this year.
Thanks for reminding me Robin! :-)
In addition to the scallions, chives, garlic chives, rhubarb, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries already growing in the garden....I'll be planting:
Sweet Baby Girl tomatoes
Gurney Girl tomatoes
Sonora Hot peppers
Chile Sahuaros
Sweet Peppers
Snow Peas
Bush Beans
Winter Squash
Italian Basil

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Paper Easter Lily Tutorial

I'm going to do it. I'm just going to do it. Try my hand at a tutorial that is. NOW, I will forewarn, if you end up making a felt parakeet or a tin can sombrero I cannot be held liable...I've never done a tutorial and I just might stink at it. ;-)

This is a super cute project for your kiddos for Easter. Paper Easter Lilies!! And they really do actually look like a lily when finished! I saw this project over here but I will admit I remember VERY LITTLE Spanish from high school (wish I did). SO, I sort of winged it. I didn't take the time to Google Translate, forgive me.

The supply list is pretty short...white copier paper, green paper, green cardstock, tape and a little yellow paper.

Roll up the green paper, long side, around a skewer...or whatever long skinny round thing you can dig up. This takes a little patience. Trust me.

When your paper is rolled, tape it three times to keep it from unrolling. Remove the skewer.

Fold the cardstock in half long ways.

Cut shapes resembling leaves. Be sure to leave a little space at the bottom (fold side), as this is where your stem will eventually slide through.

Notch the folded end of the leaf.

Trace and cut around your great big grown up hand, or around your cute little kiddo hand.

Now you have notched leaves, a big white hand, a rolled stem and a little yellow stamen.

Roll each of your fingers around a pencil, just so.

Fold your stamen in half, roll one side.

Roll your leaves a bit as well.

Slide your leaves, curls down, onto the stem.

Tape the stamen to the stem. PLEASE do this step BEFORE the flower part...
trust me on this one too.

Now gently roll your hand, curly fingers pointing down around the stem and tape!

Friday, March 26, 2010

M&M Cookie Bars

MMMM, mmmmm, MMMMM!!! These are so good I shouldn't even tell you what's in them...or maybe NOT in them, rather. (no white flour, very little sugar, super good for you flax & whole wheat) My kids like treats....okay, whose kids don't like treats? So I try to make them as healthy as possible....for a treat that is! Give these a try for a little sweet yummy! You might be hooked. ;-)
Jen's M&M Cookie Bars
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup coarse ground whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs
1-2 cups M&Ms
handful of flax seeds (don't tell my husband)
1) Preheat oven to 375. Spray 15 x 10 pan.
2) Combine flour, baking soda & salt in bowl. Beat butter, sugars, vanilla in mixer bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beat well. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in M&M's. Spread into pan.
3) Bake til golden brown (10-15 minutes). Cool.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Making a List

Sale flyers always make me think ahead....when I see fleece on sale in July, I think toward Christmas....fleece robes, fleece hats, you get the idea. I always think to myself that I should make a list EARLY in the year of all the crafty things I want to make for my friends and family and then ACTUALLY start producing said projects before....oh....December!

There are SOOOO many awesome ideas all over the blog world. In fact I keep a tiny little notebook (categorized of course) of all the ideas that intrigue me.
When I'm in need of the book I go.

SO, I'm making a list. E.A.R.L.Y. I have several ideas for several people....these are some of my favorites. If you think I'm making this for you....well you'll just have to wait and see. :-) December 25th is right around the corner. ;-)

The ruffle scarf at Anything Pretty. Adore this.
The embroidered home outline at Something To Do. One for me too please.
The felt aquarium magnets at The Purl Bee.
People stationary at Just Something I Made.
Just to name a list gets longer everytime I get on the internet....
but this will get me started. ;-)

Springtime Mantel

I've been SLOWLY transitioning the mantel from Valentine's Day to Spring/ took a while...and a very messy, very full mantel. When I took away the Valentine's completely it looked pretty empty....but it felt better. Kind of like when all the Christmas decorations come much as I love them, it feels refreshing to have the house pared down.

Miss Cottontail hopped home with me from Goodwill this weekend. Really, how could I not? She was only $.38....and I have NO other rabbits, AT ALL. (see honey, I NEEDED this rabbit;-)

Come to think of it....everything on this mantel was either thrifted, free or created here on the VanOort homestead. Do you remember the "thankful" sign from here? And the mantel scarf from here? And the eggs? And the nests? The candles were another super duper find from the weekend....a WHOLE BOX of 12!

I'm thinking after Easter I'll replace the eggs with shells and the bunny with....hmmm.....well I don't know yet....but I'm really liking the sparseness of the whole show right now.

This is kind of an ick photo (oh brother, is my mantel scarf SERIOUSLY that crooked?)....but I thought it was really funny because you can see my feet in the mirror....and two little sets of feet next to me begging...."LET ME SEE THE PICTURE. LET ME SEE THE PICTURE. LET ME SEE THE PICTURE."

Happy Springtime!

Linked up to:

Get Your Craft On at Life as Lori

Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Chic Cottage

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Back From the Beyond

Spring has officially arrived at the VanOort homestead. Spring projects are all I can think of.

Um, hello? 9-1-1? I'd like to report a Mommy who crafts endlessly.

Our latest challenge came after our heaven sent trip to the Goodwill last weekend. Here she is....poor dated thing. You don't want to look this way anymore, I know. There there.

Oh goodness, how did you let your top get so rusty? Oh, they set plants on you...without a saucer....ahh, that stinks. It's a good thing I found you there, all lonely and super cheap, at the Goodwill. $2.38...yes, we can be friends.

Like I mentioned (maybe a gazillion times in this blog already) I REEEEALLY love the ReStore. I'm sure there's one near you...go ahead and Google, I'll wait.

Okay, that's enough waiting. On my last trip in, I checked out the spray paint aisle....SCORE! These four called out to me....first there was the frosted glass (nearly full)...I can see lots of potential there! Then a full can of gray primer...I mean really, WHO doesn't NEED gray primer? Enough said. THEN, the gray hammered metal (awesome...I used this to cover the poor rust covered top of my little beauty.) THEN I found this beautiful shade of springy yellow. Ah, I love you ReStore, let me count the ways.

HURRAY! This is my little beauty after a coat of creamy white (this can was already hiding in the basement for me.)

I took a little of this wirey was FREE last summer at a garage sale. Do you ever feel weird taking the free stuff? I do. But I took it anyway....and ran back to the car.

I then squirted the wirey stuff with my pretty yellow paint because I just couldn't get behind the pink and purple's just me....I'm sure it would have looked fine.

Add this GORGIE GORGEOUS TALLLLL white faux bois candle from the Goodwill, a few of the eggs I can't seem to stop making, and voila! A fun spring craft for the whopping price of $5.76.

I can TOTALLY picture this thingy with a big black candle at Halloween....or dressed all pretty for Christmas...or with a pumpkin on top with fall leaves....don't you just love versatile projects?
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Happy Thrifty Day To Me

As I'm sure you're tired of hearing already...I had a SUPERB thrifting day this past Saturday. SUPERB. So superb in fact I put lots of things back....feeling a little self conscious about the load I was pushing around the store.
After today, I'll stop talking about this wonderful trip....that is, until tomorrow when I tell you about a transformation of one of these little gems. ;-)

Love this big basket....I'm thinking it will be used to round up mittens in the winter...slide it right under the bench in the foyer.

Sorry for the dust...I was just so excited to take a photo RIGHT when I got home. I've never seen an enamelware tray like this...I just couldn't leave it behind. It SCREAMED summertime BBQ to me! And don't we all need to think about summertime BBQ's right now?

Now hang with me....this was a piece that the folks at Goodwill apparently thought HAD. NO. POTENTIAL. The poor thing was labeled $2.38. That's low for even Goodwill. I will admit it looked sad, wobbly, rusty...yeah, just wait till tomorrow for the reveal on this puppy. I don't usually move very fast on projects (my husband would attest to that. ;-) But this one was perfect for my Spring mood.

A Foley Food Mill!!! The old kind...not the new cheapy kind. Sturdy built, works perfectly....have ALWAYS wanted one! Where was this little darling when I wanted to make my own baby food but was too cheap to buy a shiny new food processor....oh the possibilities. And I even found the original leaflet that came with this little puppy online!

A wire wreath form.....plans for this coming up.

This big honker was the first thing I found on my thrifting trip delight. Probably originally had a big fake tree in it.....oh but do I have some springy spring plans for this too. Would you leave it this metal color or paint? To paint or not to paint, that is the question.

Happy Thrifting Friends!

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Most Beautiful China Ever Found (by me) at Goodwill

It's official. I may have found the most beautiful China EVER to survive the Saturday morning rush at Goodwill. There are times when I have a chance to escape to do a little thrifting and find NOTHING. NADA. SQUAT.
Then.....then, my friends, there are days when every star in the solar system is aligned just for me. I cruise up and down the aisles finding treasure after many in fact I unloaded about half of it out of sheer guilt. Looking around at the other folks in the store, thinking, do you people not see this stuff? Is it invisible to you, only visible to me with some super crafting power? I came home with a few treasures...the things I couldn't BEAR to part with.
These gorgeous little beauties were part of my bounty. Are they not divine? Do you not want to break into my house THIS. VERY. INSTANT. and make off with them in the dead of the night? Okay, maybe I'm getting carried away....but I LOOOOVEEEE them. The color, the style....oh will the Easter table be fun to set this year. :-)

After a very quick Google search I learned that the Harmony House brand was a line of china marketed by Sears & Roebuck in the 1950's. Are these colors not perfect? Cherry red, aquamarine, charcoal....oohh.....I LOVE IT!!! And apparently, as if the dishes weren't reward enough....I paid 1/10th their current value. The thrift store gods were shining down on me. MORE of the treasures tomorrow! :-)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

How to Build a Nest....if you aren't a bird

Springtime is here...robins are in flight, baby birds are right around the corner. SO, of course my crafting ideas have turned to blossoms, nests, spring colors....OUT WITH YOU DARN WINTER! Years ago I clipped an article from a magazine on how to build nests from natural materials. With all these springtime ideas rattling around in my head I remembered this article, dug it out...and thought.....THIS SOUNDS WAY TOO COMPLICATED. It involved fabric stiffener, soaking, drying in the oven for hours, more fabric stiffener. I'm not a patient person.
I figured if a bird can do it, I can do it. (Don't get me wrong, birds are amazing...but they don't even have hands. I do. Birds O, Jen 1)
The boys and I have been working on raking the yard this past week and all that dry grass motivated me. I collected a bag of grass/leaves/twigs, brought it in the house, stared at it for a while......then an idea.

Bowls are nest shaped...hmmm.....
This is what I did. Put sheets of plastic wraps inside your bowls, so your nest doesn't stick.

Arrange some grass/leaves/etc in a nest like fashion (if you have any bird friends this would be a great time to ask their advice for proper placement) I just threw some in, made a little well in the middle and there you go. NOW is the fun part. I had a partial bottle (1/2" left) of Aleene's Glue. Add some water to thin, shake it up. Now squirt it all over your nest, like mustard on a tenderloin. I put my bowls in front of one of our big ole heater vents...putting them outside in the sunshine and breeze would probably be speedier....but you run the risk of a bird heisting your nest. Mine took about 5 days to dry...that took patience.
When they are dry, peel off the plastic wrap and you now have a beautiful, FREE nest!! Add some eggs (Smaller than this dinosaur sized egg preferably!)

I added mine to the top of a thrifted/repainted candlestick holder (one with a pointy thingy on it to hold the the nest!) It's going to be part of my springtime/Easter mantel!
(pics to follow soon!)

Or you can have the cutest little model on the block hold it like a proud papa dinosaur. :-)
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