Monday, February 28, 2011

Chicks and Coops

 These little chicks are kind of cute don’t you think? 

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I found them in the the grocery store.  Harris Teeter if you live in the Southeast.  I usually don’t buy holiday decorations from the supermarket but couldn’t resist these. 

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They had little pink bunnies and and little white lambs too.   I was able to resist them for the time being.

I think I’ve been reading too many urban farming blogs where they tell funny stories about their chickens and post cute hen and chick photos.    Take a look at this Chicken Coop.image

It belongs to Heather Bullard.  Gorgeous!


Or what about this one?  It’s actually “pretty”!  Visit The Fancy Farmgirl to see more.


You can go HERE and to download the plans for this one and build your own.

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I told my husband I want to put a chicken coop in the backyard and he just laughed.  I am sure the Homeowner’s Association would just laugh too. Oh, well,,,can’t have everything now can we. :)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

I Love Living In the Future!

Today, my husband and I sat on our deck, each with our laptops, and enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine.  We were having a prematurely warm Spring-like day.  I mean it was 78 degrees….in February!  We took advantage and putzed around a bit in the vegetable garden.   I have BIG plans for that garden this year.  Still too early to do anything but pour over the seed catalogs and dream a bit.  But I got my fingernails nice and dirty transplanting my lemon tree into a bigger pot.  If  doing that doesn’t get me some lemons this year, then I am going to give up.  I have been nursing this dwarf lemon tree for more than two years now and it barely has any leaves and only two branches let alone any lemons. 

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Anyway…..let me get back to the topic at hand which is… I LOVE living in the future!   As we sat on our sunny deck in North Carolina on a Sunday afternoon in February, my husband connected his I-Phone to our stereo and we listened to live radio out of Australia!  It was already Monday there.  And here we were on a Sunday afternoon,  in our backyard,  listening live  to tomorrow’s early morning traffic and weather report in Sydney, Australia.  :)

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A few hours later, my husband and son left to go hit some tennis balls and before they left,  my sweet husband changed the radio station to a station out of Paris, France.  So as I sit here  blogging,  I am listening live to a radio broadcast out of Paris.  Cherie FM 91.3.     C’est incroyable!!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spineless Classics


I Loved this when I saw it this morning over at Hip Hostess.  It’s the entire text of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen as an art poster!  How clever and unique!  It’s made by a company called Spineless Classics.

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Now why can’t I ever come up with a great idea like this?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Quick and Easy Low Cal Chocolate Muffins

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I saw these last week over at Butter Yum and knew I had to give them a try!  Patricia at Butter Yum said that she first saw these on the cooking show called Hungry Girl.  It’s funny because I just saw the Hungry Girl show for the first time a couple of weeks ago.  Some of her recipes seemed extreme and I am not a fan of artificial sweeteners and the show I watched seemed to use nothing but artificial everything…..I wish I would have caught the episode when she made these tasty muffins.    Patricia at Butter Yum said she hesitated posting these because she is known for being a “bake from scratch baker”.    But who can resist something this quick and easy?  If you have time, check out her blog…she really has some wonderful recipes. 

Anyway, the main reason they caught my eye….besides the fact that they are made of chocolate….is they only take two ingredients!  Yes, just two!  One can of pumpkin and one cake mix.  Each muffin has only 181 calories.   I read through some of the comments on Butter Yum’s post and someone suggested to add 1/2 cup of water because the batter is so thick.  So that is what I did. 

With your mixer,  combine your cake mix with 1 can of pureed pumpkin and the half cup of water.      I mixed for about 2 minutes on medium.  Fill your cupcake pan that is lined with paper cupcake cups and Bake at 350 for about 18 to 20 minutes.  That’s it!    These will definitely give you a chocolate fix if that’s what you need.

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Another comment on Butter Yum’s blog post recommend adding in some chocolate chips and another person said this works great with a spice cake mix too. The pumpkin and the spice cake together would make a great combo don’t you think?  Will definitely be giving that a try too.  See, I told you these were quick and easy!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Art of Adele Enersen



Let me start off with my favorite one….The Book Worm!   My friend Karen back in Michigan sent me an email yesterday filled with these sweet photos.    They are taken by Adele Enersen who lives in Finland and she creates them with her sleeping baby daughter Mila, out of the things she finds in her home.  She writes a blog called Mila’s Daydreams and while her baby girl is napping she tries to imagine and capture her dreams.  image

There is not much else in this world….


that is cuter…..


than a……


sleeping baby.  :)


And the Princess and the Pea.  How cute is that?


  Adele has a book coming out in 2012 called When My Baby Dreams that will be filled with photos and the stories behind them.  She describes it as a book that she would be delighted to see read to children as bedtime and naptime stories to send them happily on to dreamland.  Very sweet. :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Strawberry and Chocolate Pudding Parfaits

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I made these Strawberry and Chocolate Pudding Parfaits last night for dessert.

Quick and Easy.  Make as many as you like.  I got a few ooohs and ahhhhs with these.    Here is what you need.

Strawberry and Chocolate Pudding Parfaits

Jello Pudding Cups (one pudding cup per person)

Cool Whip (I like the Light version)

Fresh Strawberries

Fresh Bananas (optional)

Take a goblet or parfait/sundae glass and slice up a  two or three fresh strawberries and place them in the bottom of the glass. 

Scoop out about half of a pudding cup and drop it on top of the slices strawberries. 

Add a dollop of Cool Whip

Add another layer of sliced strawberries.

Add the remaining pudding over the strawberry layer.

Finish with another layer of sliced strawberries. 

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That is all there is to it.  Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  These are fun to make and fun to eat.

If you really want to make it even more fruity, mix in some sliced bananas with your strawberries. 


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Strawberry Cake Truffles


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I saw these Valentine’s Day treats over at  Scissors and Spatulas a week or two ago and me and my daughter, who was home from school for the weekend, decided to give them a try.   Stop by Jen’s blog  where she posted a great tutorial with excellent photos showing exactly how she made them. 

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These couldn’t be any easier but I will be honest, they are a bit time consuming and a bit messy, but they are so worth it!

Strawberry Cake Truffles

1 Strawberry Cake Mix

1 can of Cream Cheese Frosting.

Baker’s White Chocolate Squares

Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Squares

Decorative Colored Sugar or Sprinkles

Mini tart/candy sized paper cups. 

Prepare the cake mix as directed on the box.  After the cake is cooled, crumble the entire cake into fine pieces in a large mixing bowl.  Empty the entire contents of the can of Cream Cheese Frosting into the bowl. Mix together well.  With impeccably clean hands, scoop some of the cake and frosting mixture into small truffle sized balls and set on a cookie sheet line with wax paper. 

Melt your chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals being sure to stir after each 30 seconds until the chocolate is melted. 

Cover all of your cake truffle balls with the melted chocolate and set on the wax paper lined cookie sheet.  Place the color chocolate that you want to drizzle on your truffles in a sandwich zip-loc baggie and carefully snip a tiny tip off one of the corners of the baggie.  Pipe and drizzle the chocolate over your truffle balls. 

While your cake truffles balls are still wet from the chocolate, sprinkle on some colored decorative sugar on them.

Let them set.  Place the cookie sheets in the refrigerator to cool and firm up the chocolate.  That’s it! 

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These are so rich and delicious.  One is probably all you could manage in one sitting!    We couldn’t decide on which chocolate color combos we wanted so we decided to make both kinds.  Both are so pretty!   And I am sending every last one of them back to school with my daughter…well, minus two or three. :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pencil Rubbing Art Transfer

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Here is a little art project that I have been working on in my spare timeThe Graphics Fairy showed a wonderful  Tea Towel Project that someone had made with a graphic offered on her website a few weeks ago.  Well, I have loved that graphic and I printed it out knowing that I would create some thing with it. 


I liked it so much that I even contacted one of my favorite sources for stencils….Maison de Stencils and I am having a custom stencil made from that print. I want to be able to make a pillow and a few other things too from the stencil.   But, while I wait for my custom stencil  to be created, I decided to try a pencil rubbing technique that I have been wanting to give a try. 

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What I did was take a piece of freezer paper and cut it into the same size as the printed copy of the graphic I wanted to transfer.  It is VERY IMPORTANT to REVERSE the design of the graphic you are using  before you print it out.  This way you are getting a mirror image so that when you transfer it to you surface, it will look the right way.   

I taped the freezer paper (regular paper side up) to the printed copy.  Then I simply traced the  reversed print design that I could see through the paper and copied it onto the freezer paper.  The freezer paper allows you see the print and with my pencil I pressed down hard to make sure I got a nice pencil-lead rich copy of the print.    The goal here is to make it dark enough so that when you place it on your canvas and you rub on the back side of the pencil copy, the pencil lead will transfer to the surface you want the design on.    ( I do think you could do this project with regular paper too but the freezer paper is little bit more substantial in weight and the waxy side makes the rubbing transfer easier and helps prevent tearing in case you rub too hard.)

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Once you have the entire print copied on to the the freezer paper you are ready to transfer the design on to your desired surface.  I decided that I would experiment first with a small canvas.  I toned down a strong yellow color of some acrylic craft paint that I had with some white and mixed it together.  I then painted the canvas with the yellow paint and let it dry. 

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Once the canvas was dry, I carefully centered the transferred pencil design over the canvas and taped it in a few places to keep it from shifting.  Using the soft rounded end of a stencil brush that I had I began rubbing the waxy or shiny back side of the freezer paper with the pencil so that the design transferred to the canvas.  I gently lifted  a corner of the paper to check to make sure that the pencil lead was transferring to my canvas. 

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Then it was just a matter of taking a fine tip black paint pen (The brand I used was Sharpie but make sure it is a paint pen and not just a Sharpie Marker) and “painting” over all the words and the design that was now on the canvas.  Once that was dry, I mixed up a some purple-y blue paint and I delicately dabbed it onto my project so that my shaft of wheat in the design would look more like a bunch of lavender

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I think it turned out cute and placed it in my daughter’s room.  In a couple of days when I am positive the whole thing is completely dry, I am going to rub some wood stain over the whole thing to make it look older and soften the picture.  As I have said in the past, I am a wee bit impatient so my photos here today are all before adding the stain. 

Yellow Picture Moulins 053  So good luck if you give this pencil rubbing transfer technique a try.  And stay tuned because you know when I get my custom stencil back I’ll be back with some more projects with this great French graphic. :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Hershey Kiss Brownie Tarts For Valentine’s Day

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These are easy to make and are a fun way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.    I made mine with a leftover bag of Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses.  Just didn’t get around to baking with them during the holidays but the the red and white is perfect for Valentine’s Day.  Actually, these would be perfect for either holiday.  Since I realize that the Candy Cane Kisses are probably long gone from the store shelves,  see if you can find some red and white Hershey’s Hugs.  I also saw that Hershey makes a Cherry Cordial Creme  filled Kiss for Valentine’s day.  Any of these would taste great tucked inside a mini brownie tart.

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These are easy to make.

Hershey Kiss Brownie Tarts

1 box of your favorite Brownie Mix (I used a Betty Crocker Supreme Brownie Mix with a Hershey Syrup packet in the box.)

Hershey Kisses (Hugs)

Mini paper tart/candy cups

Mini Muffin Pan

Mix up your brownies according to the directions on the box.   Place mini paper tart/candy cups in a mini muffin pan.  I recommend you spray the insides of your paper cups with Pam Cooking Spray.  I did not do this step and my brownies are sticking a bit to the paper wrappers.

I used a small cookie scoop to add the brownie mix to each paper cup.  A spoon would work fine.  Fill approximately 3/4 of the paper cup.  Bake approximately 15 minutes.  I would periodically check on them after 10 minutes.   While they are baking, unwrap your Hershey Kisses.   Remove the brownie tarts from the oven and place a Hershey Kiss in the center of each tart and push into the tart gently.  Let the whole pan sit on a cooling rack to cool.  The Kisses will start to get soft.  Just leave them be and they will firm up as they cool.  After they are cool, move them to serving plate. 

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That’s it!  Cute and delicious.  Enjoy.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Stenciled Pillow Cases


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I was browsing around the blog world the other day and came across some inspiration over at Poofing the Pillows.  Stacey had some great photos posted of some beautiful pillows and things from Pottery Barn.   Thanks Stacey!  And I have always thought she has the prettiest blog header.  She had me at the red geraniums. :)



Anyway, these Pottery Barn pillowcases that Stacey posted caught my eye and I decided to make a set for myself.  I am a bit impatient and since the only color of fabric paint I have is black, that is what I went with.  But I WILL be picking up a bottle of red fabric paint soon because I can think of a few more things I might like to stencil with red paint and Valentine’s Day is almost here too.

So these were fun and very easy to do.  Here is all you need.

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Pick up a set of two white pillowcases.  I got mine at Target. 

Fabric Paint

Stencils and stencil brush.

My favorite sources for stencils are:  Maison de Stencils and Stencils On Line

Tip:  Place a sheet of paper or cardboard in between both sides of the pillowcase fabric so that the paint doesn’t bleed through and mark the other side. 

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Tip:  Iron your pillowcases before you paint them so that they are ready to go when you finished.  I still need to iron mine. 

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And here you go.  “Good Night” in French.  There are bunch of different phrases and languages you could go with on this one. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Super Bowl Food


This belongs in the Super Bowl Food Hall of Fame!

Let’s take a closer look shall we??? 

The stadium itself I do believe is constructed with Hostess Twinkies.  The end zones are filled with Chex Party Mix and Cheetoes.  And Doritoes and BBQ Potato Chips fill the sides lines.  I especially like the field itself which looks like it is a tasty dip made with guacamole ( the one and only “healthy” addition)  with Cheez Whiz (which really isn’t a food but that’s a discussion for another day) on one end and salsa on the other end.  The yard lines are marked with sour cream.

On further inspection, I would say the goal posts are made of Slim Jim’s.  The football players are little Vienna Sausages (could be Hot Dogs) with cheese helmets.

And I do believe I smell, I mean see some bacon.  Look closely at the perimeter of the stadium.  Toothpicks are coming out of the tops of the Twinkies and the bacon is being used to keep all the crunchy snacks in place. 

Such creativity!  And the MVP goes to…HOLY TACO.COM  for the Best Use of a Snack Chip, Condiments,  Sausage Meats, Cheese and Twinkies in the building of an unforgettable and edible Super Bowl Stadium!   Only in America. :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes


I want to make these!  This is what I do.   A bad habit.   I see a photo of something I like on line and I save it.  I saved this quite a while ago and would love to give them a try.  Forgive me for not remembering where exactly I found this photo.  And because I didn’t mark the site I found these on, I am not sure how they were made.    And if it is your photo I have borrowed here you have my apologies and thanks.  Apology for not giving credit where credit is due and my thanks  for the inspiration.  

I think these could be duplicated in a pinch with a lemon cake mix, a jar of lemon curd, and meringue.    Of course, a scratch lemon cake with lots of finely grated lemon zest, and home made lemon curd would be even better.  But either way, these are gorgeous and I am sure they taste like a million bucks!  (Note to self:  add lemon cake mix and lemon curd to grocery shopping list.)  :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Valentine’s Day Decoupage Subway Art


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Well, January was a complete blur!  And here we are in February already.   We’ve got the Superbowl just around the corner and Valentine’s Day in just a couple of weeks.  It’s been many, many, many moths since I pulled out the Mod Podge and so to try and jump start my creativity…which has been nearly non-existent as of late…I decided to make a piece of Subway Art and add a little something to my also non-existent Valentine’s Day decorations.  It’s not going to stop traffic or win any awards but it was fun to do.

Here is how I did it:

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First, I put together a bunch of words that I associated with Valentine’s Day in a Word document.  Then I played around with the font and the size of the letters.  I printed it out and then…VERY IMPORTANT… I sent it to work with my husband to have it copied on a real copier.  Regular home printer ink will run when you put the Mod Podge on it.  You need to have a copy made from toner from a regular copy machine and then your ink won’t run.

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I took a blank canvas that I had and applied several coats of bright red paint and then let it dry on the floor over the register.  :) 


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Then I took out my scissors…my red scissors because it’s a Valentine’s Day project :) …and I did a twisty curvy cut around all the words and phrases.  Let your scissors do the work and move the paper with your other hand while you cut.    I applied a coat of Mod Podge to the entire canvas and then started to place all the cut out words and phrases on the canvas and went over them with another coat of Mod Podge and made sure every thing adhered well.  Let dry.  DONE!

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Hmm, I just noticed on the 2nd line that “cupid” is folded over.  Augh!  Time to make a quick repair.