Thursday, December 30, 2010

$3 Rockin' Horse

Look at this homely balding little rocking horse I found at the thrift store for $3.00. It's amazing what a fresh hairdo and a new set of eyes can do. :)
This was Brenna's favorite Christmas present this year, which is funny since it was probably the cheapest. :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Turkey

Ok, so this past Thanksgiving I made the BEST turkey ever!!!!! If you are looking for a recipe for the perfect meal for your Christmas Dinner... Look no further! My husband and I had been at a friends for a Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner and the turkey was to die for... so I asked our friend what he did and he told us that he had simply Brined it...
Now, with all the experience that I had in my short culinary program experience (didn't get to finish :( but plan to!) and my LOVE for cooking, I had heard of it, but never tried it. I don't know why I hadn't cause it's the best thing ever!

Anyway, the recipe that I found was similar to the one our friend made for us. I found it on The Food Network website. It's from "Good Eats" Alton Brown. The reviews for this recipe had me begging to try it! Perfect 5 stars! (And might I add I don't think I have ever made anything of Alton Brown's that wasn't fabulous! And let me tell you... He knows his stuff)

So, here it is... (you can also find the link here) Hope you try this! It is DEFINITELY WORTH the extra effort! And yes, my turkey looked just as beautiful as the Food Network picture (below) when it came out of the oven!

(FYI Allspice Berries are just whole allspice!)

Good Eats Roast Turkey

  • Cook Time:

    2 hr 30 min

  • Level:


  • Yield:

    10 to 12 servings


  • 1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey

For the brine:

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 gallon vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
  • 1 gallon heavily iced water

For the aromatics:

  • 1 red apple, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 6 leaves sage
  • Canola oil


Click here to see how it's done.

2 to 3 days before roasting:

Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.

Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.

Early on the day or the night before you'd like to eat:

Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.

Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skinliberally with canola oil.

Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Upcycled shirt to a sweater dress

This old shirt was just taking up space in my closet and not getting worn. So I decided to turn it into a cute little dress for Brenna.

Since I already had the shirt to use for fabric this project only cost me 92 cents!

I think she likes it because she keeps saying "I pretty mommy" and twirling around.

So here's how you make one:

Step 1: Cut off the sleeves and bottom along the seams.

Step 2: I used one of Brenna's dresses that fits her just right as a pattern. I turned the shirt inside out. Then I lined up the neck of the pattern dress with the neck of the shirt and traced the bodice with a marker. I did this for the front of the dress on the front of the shirt and for the back of the dress on the back of the shirt. If you are new to making your own pattern there is a wonderful tutorial here.

Step 3: Cut along the marker lines. (This is a picture of the back piece).

Step 4: Next, cut the sleeves down to kid size and sew them closed. (I did this by holding the original sleeve over Brenna's shoulder to mark it before cutting). Also sew the sides of the dress together.

Step 5: Sew along the top of only 1 side. (I added snaps later so Brenna can actually get her head through this dress, I have made that mistake a few too many times).

Step 6: Pin the un-sewn shoulder together and flip the dress inside out.

Step 7: Pin the sleeve in place to sew on. I do this by turning the dress inside out and leaving the sleeve right side out. Then I line up the seam of the sleeve with the seam where the armpit goes of the dress and pin them together. Then I slide the sleeve inside the dress and pin all the way around. If you are new to sewing sleeves on there is a helpful tutorial here.

Step 8: Once everything is pinned pull the sleeve back out of the dress. It will now be inside out as well. (I always turn the dress right side out to check it before sewing the sleeve on. There is nothing worse than having an inside out sleeve sewn on).

Step 9: Sew the sleeves on and turn the dress right side out.

#10: Take the material that was at the bottom of the shirt originally and sew it into a tube the same size as the bottom of the dress.

#11: Pin the tube and the dress together for sewing. I do this by turning the dress inside out and leaving the tube right side out. Then I line the seams up and slide the tube inside the dress and pin the edges together. Then flip the tube out and it will be inside out as well.

#12: Sew the tube and the dress together.

#13: Sew snaps into the open shoulder.

Embellishing (optional)


Step 1: Using the extra material make tattered rosettes. I used this tutorial.

Step 2: Next, hot glue tule to the back of the rosettes.

Step 3: Hot glue all 3 rosettes with tool backing onto some felt to keep in place.

Step 4: Hand sew snaps onto the felt and also onto the dress. (This way you can remove the flowers when washing the dress. I don't know how well hot glue washes, but I don't really want to try :)


Step 1: Using a scrap of fabric sew a tube.

Step 2: Then sew a button onto each end of the tube.

Step 3: Using a seam ripper open a small hole on each side of the dress.

Step 4: Cut the tube in half. Trim each side to the desired length.

Step 5: Slide the end of the tube into the open hole.

Step 6: Sew the tube into place while sewing the hole closed.

Step 7: Sew the buttons into place on the dress.

If this is confusing at all please leave me a comment of send me an e-mail and I will clarify. Thanks!

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Distressed Menu Board

I wanted to share with all of you a fun project that I did to create my very own menu board! Even though I now have a menu board posted in my home, I still use my menu planning sheet to do all of my meal planning and shopping. I highly recommend using a planning sheet, it really helps you stay organized.

I have finally reposted a new Menu Planning Sheet for all of you... So, go check it out! You can find it here. I promise it looks way better than the last one. I couldn't figure out how to get Scribd to read my Mac document, love my Mac but sometimes I just understand PC better, I'm sure with time I will get better at it :) Menu Planning can be pretty rough sometimes so read up on my Menu Planning tab for tips and details on how to plan out a menu and how to make shopping and Meal Planning easier :)

So on to the exciting part... Remember this awesome shelf that my brother made? Well, he also made me this really beautiful calendar board to go with a calendar I had made for a gift, but I had made my calendar WAY too big, so it wasn't going to work. BUT... I had been looking for a menu board for quite some time and once I saw this I knew it was perfect for my menu board! Even though I couldn't use it for it's actual purpose I was able to come up with a new way to use it. With just a few alterations I could finally have the menu board that I had always wanted! And, I think it turned out SUPER CUTE! What do you think?
I absolutely LoVe it!

Here's a few close-up shots of the distressing...

Isn't the crown molding he used beautiful?!?

So here is what I did:
I simply used a chalkboard paint like this one to paint the center... A can like this runs about $5. So, it is pretty reasonable, and I even had some left over YAY!

Then I taped-off the framing where I didn't want chalk board paint and painted according to the directions on the can. Definitely needs multiple coats, and let dry between coats!!!! Once dry, I taped off the chalkboard portion of the board. And began painting the accent color on the framing. The calendar board was originally black and since I knew that I would be painting the inside of the board black with the chalkboard paint I decided to paint the framing white so that it would stand-out against the black. Then I sanded and scraped off the white paint, so that it would have a distressed look. I recommend using a polyurethane or a clear coat over the top. Once everything was dry I used this really cool chalk marker, made by Uchida to draw up designs for the grapes and the days of the week. (You can get these at pretty much any craft store in pretty much any color you want) I got the idea for the grapes off of the marker itself! Pretty cool huh?!?

This is how it turned out and I absolutely LOVE it!
One of the funnest projects I have ever done!

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A no sew fabric wreath

Lately I have wanted a little break from my sewing machine, but I had all this darling Christmas fabric. Hmm, what to do? So I decided to make this no sew fabric wreath.
This "frame" only cost me $3 (It is actually just 4 pieces of wood artists use to make their own canvases, I should probably know what those are called :)
I just LOVE the way the leaves pop out at you! Inspiration found here.

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Friday, November 19, 2010

A little knit dress

Remember this ugly thrift store dress I used to refashion this shirt? Well, I finally used up the rest of the fabric on a fun little knit dress.

What do you think? Excuse my white legs, I should have waited till summer. But lets face it, I don't think they would have been any tanner. :)

Inspiration with tutorial here.
I think the waistband is my favorite part.

Brenna insisted on being in a picture. Don't worry, she picked her own outfit. I cannot get her to take off the "princess dress" no matter what I bribe her with.
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Monday, November 15, 2010

Front Door Face Lift

The front door is one of the first things that people see when entering your home and should stand out and make a statement of who you are. Well, I felt our front door needed a little TLC since the moment I saw our house. It had really good bones, which was GREAT, but the color was all wrong... our house is grey and so was the door! (just a little darker) It just didn't POP the way I wanted it to. Since I didn't want to replace the door (can anyone say EXPENSIVE!) I decided that I would paint it. I have always wanted a red door, but because of the color of our house I knew that it just wouldn't look right. So I decided to paint it black instead, it would still make a statement without overwhelming to the rest of the house. Here's a picture of the before...

(I forgot to take a picture of the door before I started taping... So excuse the tape, sorry!)

The project was originally one of the first things on my to-do list, but because of other things that needed to be done, it became one of the last things on the list. So, I was excited that its time had FINALLY come! YAY! New paint here I come :)

This is the paint that I used. (can't beat 1 Quart @ Lowes for about $10 bucks, and you can even paint more than one door with this using multiple coats). It is specifically designed for doors. It is awesome! Really durable and looks great when applied. Beware, this paint is oil based... Oil based paints are really difficult to clean up after. So, I suggest using GLOVES, paint brush, and a roller you can just throw away after application, this saves you the headache of cleaning up forever! I promise... Trust me! :)

Because of the quality of paint I used and the fact that my door was already grey I chose not to use a primer. On to the prep work... Clean your door with a mild cleaner and dry thoroughly make sure to tape off all glass panels and edges of door. And along all sides and edges.

When I was ready to paint I did remove the door from the hinges and painted it on a horizontal surface. This made it easier to paint. (While my door was off its hinges, I used a plastic drop cloth to cover the door, this helps to keep out bugs and dust.) Following the directions on the can, paint your door and wait for paint to dry! I recommend having all your prep work done the day before and then painting first thing in the morning. Then waiting to reattach the door until evening, giving the door plenty of time to dry :)

So after a fresh coat of paint... I think it looks great and
What do you think? Better right?!?