Welcome

Welcome to my page!
This is a passionate blog for turning something old into something new again.
For resurrecting dead furniture into beautiful new furniture.
For handmade treasures and creative ideas.
For deliciously scrumptious recipes and healthy eats.
Follow me and explore the use of color, textures, and everyday items to pull together a room without spending a fortune.

March 31, 2011

Inspirational Blog and Crafter of the Month!!!


There are so many truly talented and fabulous bloggers out there in Blog Land. 
I am so inspired and fascinated by all of the amazingly crafty things you ladies come up with. 
You have humbled me with your awesomeness!! :D
For instance, I found a brilliant blog today that I literally spent an hour on...
pouring over every word and picture...like a drunken man in a liquor store! 
Is that rude?? I hope not!


I loved Loved LOVED these ideas from Lillyella's blog.... 



 Look at how adorable her tissue paper napkin rings are!
 And her May Day flower cones are perfect

And I simply can not leave out her wickedly unique Ring Bearers Nesting Pillow!

So because of her creativeness and her bright and cheery blog, I am voting her my Inspirational blog of the month! I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

For my Inspirational Crafter of the month, I found..coincidentally enough...
on Lillyella's blog this lovely lady! 
The name of her Etsy store is LeatherBlossoms.
Check out her stunningly beautiful hair pieces and jewelry. 
I want all of them!


Love the rose and ivy necklace. 


This bracelet is so clever and perfectly made. I would love to own this!
 

Actually, maybe this is the one I want..Yeah..this one!



 This is just the tip of the ice berg for her. 
She has so many more wonderful things in her store. 
Please go and check her and Lillyella's stuff out. 
I promise you won't be disappointed!!

This headband would go with just about everything. 

 

The Vintage Pearl Giveaway!!!



I am so excited to share The Vintage Pearl's giveaway here on my blog. 
She has GORGEOUS jewelry and a fabulous blog page! 
She is giving away a $100 gift certificate to her store The Vintage Pearl to 5 lucky readers!!! 
How amazing is that??

Head over here to comment and find out how to win. 
Also, go here to see her designs.

March 30, 2011

Recipe Wednesday ~ Mushroom Risotto


Disclaimer: This is not entirely my recipe. I have adapted it from a Porcini Mushroom and Gorgonzola cheese recipe that I found on Everyday Italian.

Mmmmm...Risotto!
I love risotto. It is even fun to say...Risssottto!
Risotto is creamy, delicious, warm and comforting. 
I am very fond of comfort food and this is one of my faves.
You can eat it by itself or with a tender grilled steak. 
Rosemary Chicken or a blackened Salmon fillet go great with it too. 
So many options..this really is the ultimate side dish!!

My take on the Mushroom Risotto


Here's what you'll need:
  • Arborio rice - I used Gourmet House brand from Wal-Mart (only because that was all they had that day) so you can use whatever brand you prefer.

  • 5 cups of low sodium chicken stock (the original recipe called for 4, but I think 4.5 to 5 is better)
  • 1 1/2 cups of sliced Porcini or Portabello mushrooms (I used fresh Portabello instead of dried)

  • 1/2 stick of butter plus 1 extra Tablespoon - divided in half
  • 2 small shallots - minced
  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan & Romano cheese - I took out the Gorgonzola because I found it to be too strong for me
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine

  • 1 small clove of garlic - crushed
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Place chicken stock in a saucepan over medium - low heat to simmer.
Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a separate large sauce pan over medium-low heat. 
Saute the shallots and garlic in the butter until the shallots are tender and garlic is lightly browned. 
Really be careful not to burn the garlic... it will turn very bitter if you do. 
Remove the shallot/garlic mixture for a few minutes and set aside.
Take the other 2 Tablespoons of butter and melt in the skillet. 
Add the mushrooms and continue cooking until they are soft.
Once the mushrooms are soft, add the last tablespoon of butter to the pan and pour in the Arborio rice.
stir the rice to coat with the butter. 
Add the garlic and shallot mixture in.
Next, add the 1/2 cup of dry white wine and let simmer 
 until it is almost evaporated (STIR CONSTANTLY)
Stirring constantly is key to making creamy risotto.

Once wine is almost evaporated you can then add the 1/4 cup of heavy cream. 
Remember to be continuously stirring!
Add the simmering chicken stock 1/2 a cup at a time to the rice. Stirring the whole time (see a pattern?)
Let each 1/2 a cup almost evaporate before adding the next. 

Do this until all of the chicken stock is used.
This is how you get the creamy consistency and keeps the rice from being too hard. 
Once the stock is all gone, remove the rice from the heat.
Add the Parmesan/Romano cheese and lightly stir to help it melt. 
Serve and Enjoy!!



Ciao~







Extreme Personal Measures


March 29, 2011

Featured Artist Of The Week - Alabaster Rose Designs



I have had the distinct and great pleasure of stumbling (more like tripping and falling) over 
Melinda Barrowcliff-Reyes' beautiful blog and Etsy store. 
Her jewelry really captured my eye and my heart. 
I fell head over heels with her uniquely beautiful jewelry and her sweet spirit. 
She is one mega talented woman and I am so excited to post her as this weeks featured artist. 
Here is our interview.... 

1. How long have you been designing and making jewelry?
Since September 2009.


2. Are you self taught?
Yes, but not without lot's of hard work and frustration. :)

3. I think that is so cool that you are completely self taught. I really admire that in a person, when they can just pick up a skill and master it so seamlessly. Have you ever thought about teaching others your wonderful skill?
I have been seriously thinking about checking into teaching some classes, but I'm not sure how well I will do. I guess I'll never know unless I try, right?!

4. How did you get started in the jewelry making business?
I had always been interested in jewelry making but never believed it was something I could do until the year I almost lost my husband to a ruptured brain aneurysm. The whole experience taught me that life is way to short to be afraid to try new things and if you have a passion for something, go for it. So, I ordered some jewelry making supplies off the internet and that was it, I was hooked.


5. What are your favorite materials to use?
Lately I love using fine silver and sterling silver and hand texturizing it with a hammer for an aged appearance. I find I really enjoying hammering things, it's really good therapy!! And of course anything vintage, especially Vintage Miriam Haskell pearls from the 1920's and 30's. 
 

6. Where do you get your inspiration from?
Vintage pieces. I always feel so inspired when creating new pieces out of well loved and worn pieces from long ago. I really feel it makes such a beautiful statement and creates a piece that will be cherished for a lifetime.

6. How do you stay on top of it all being a wife and a busy mom of two?
It can be extremely difficult. Most of the time I create my pieces in the late afternoon when everyone is settling down after the day or late at night when everyone has gone to bed. It also helps to have a fabulous husband who encourages me to be creative and will watch the kids when I'm struck with a new design idea. A lot of the times, my kids will sit with me while I'm creating and give me tips and sometimes I will actually listen.


7. What are some of your favorite pieces? 
My favorite line that I have created by far is my Divine Vintage line. This is a line of jewelry with  bit of a French feel and most of the pieces in this line are adorned with the Virgin Mary. I love using the Virgin Mary in my designs, I fell like she guides me when I'm creating. This was also when I discovered Miriam Haskell, which was a jewelry designer from the 1920's and 30's who created jewelry for Lucille Ball, Joan Crawford, and a couture line for  Coco Chanel. I absolutely adore her vintage pearls, they truly have such history and beauty.

8. What one piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out?
To really and truly believe in yourself. If you are really passionate about something, stick with it. Even if it takes you a while to get the hang of something, like me with my soldered pendants, it has taken me 1 1/2 years to really be happy with the way my pendants turn out and some days are worse than others, just keep at it, with lots of practice you can become great!! Also, it's so important to get your creations out there for people to see, whether through blogging, a website, Etsy or local gift shows and flea markets. Blogging and Etsy has been an invaluable venue for my designs!


9. Any secret tricks or valuable lessons you have learned and are willing to share?
When I was teaching myself how to solder, I almost gave up until the amazing Martha Kinney from MJ Ornaments gave me some tips on soldering. She told me keep practicing and eventually I would get better. I always thought that was so amazing that she was willing to tell me some of the tricks of the trade so to speak, not many people want to do that. If anyone ever wants to know anything about my jewelry making, I would be more than happy to share it with them. That's what it's all about, helping one another, right?!!

10. One last question...How did you come up with the name Alabaster Rose? It is very beautiful!  

I came up with that name years ago and always said that if I ever had a business, that is what I'd name it. It reminds me of my mother-in-law that past away a few years ago, she adored roses, so it's kind of a tribute to her.

If you want to know more about Melinda and her phenomenal jewelry you can find her Etsy store here, her blog here and her Facebook page here.  Please stop by and say hello and look through her store. I have a feeling that you will love what you see!

Ciao!!

March 28, 2011

1/2 of 1/2 off = GREATNESS!!!



This weekend I had so much fun playing in the store 1/2 of 1/2 off
This store is a gold mine of fabulous-ness!! 
I think my friend and I were there for close to 3 hours. 
The greatness of this store is you can buy clothes and accessories for very little money. 
BUT...and there is always a big, fat butt...You really have to dig through a lot of garbage before finding something worth while. 
AND...there is usually something wrong with the clothes like a missing button or a faulty zipper. 
These are really minor repairs and so worth buying this way. 

FOR INSTANCE...

This dress is a Calvin Klein. Tags are still inside....I bought this for $9.00! The only thing wrong with it is the zipper is snagged. My seamstress can fix that for less than 8.00. So worth the money. I love this dress!!

Please bare with my absolute horrific photo quality. My phone is new and I am adjusting. I will post better pics soon..Promise!!!  

 This dress plus the belt was $6.00!! (I know...another black one??)

This adorable belt was only $1.00


These were just my purchases. 
My daughter had a blast trying on a lot of the prom dresses.
I ended up buying 4 dresses at $3.00 each for her to play dress up in. 
Some of the dresses had the original tags left in and were $140+ originally.

Seriously, If you have one of these stores near you..you must go. 
There is a lot of really really bad stuff in there, but there is also a lot of really really great stuff in there. 
My friend and I had so much fun, that we will most definitely be going back again and again!!

March 27, 2011

Oh 80's...How I Miss You!!!

My Zumba class is having an 80's night just for the heck of it.
Yes, I said for my Zumba class. 
Joining was the greatest.decision.ever!!
My friend Laura, my daughter Maddy, and myself 
decided we should go shopping for this particular occasion 
to see if we can find a totally rockin' 80's outfit to wear for our Zumba night. 
We were not disappointed!!
My friend Laura found a complete outfit with a bright yellow skirt 
and a Rainbow Bright shirt. 
She just needs to find some neon leggings to go under. 
She is awesome!!

This was just one out of a hundred outfits she tried on....




I guess I am a little pickier as I only came away with a David Bowie t-shirt. 
But...how awesome is this shirt??


I just need to find some neon green fish net tights and a ruffled skirt and I am good to go!!

Somewhere There Is A Bird Naked and Embarrassed!!



Ebay is a wonderful, wonderful place to find all kinds of fun and fabulous stuff to play with. 
My bright blue feathers came in on Thursday
and I spent most of my off Friday making feathered hair pieces. 
So.Much.Fun.

First I started with some brown felt. I picked this one because it reminded me of tooled leather


Then I cut out a shape that sort of looks like a tear drop with one straight end on it. Does that make sense??
Then I glued on the feathers using a hot glue gun in the arrangement I wanted


Once I covered all of the felt, I took some vintage clip on earrings or brooches and reconstructed them for these pieces



After I took them apart I glued them where I wanted them to be on the hair piece. Keep in mind this was my very FIRST attempt at doing this.


After I am done with the jewels I glue the alligator clip to the back of the hair piece


Trim off any extra felt that you see overlapping the clip or on the front of the hair piece. 


Here is another one I made.

The more I do these the more I can experiment and play with them. I really love making these and can't wait to get my hands on the rest of the vintage jewelry I found.





March 25, 2011

And So I Wandered.....



Yesterday I happened across a beautiful store in Pittsburg, Kansas called Rosa Bella Inc.
I don't even know why I felt compelled to go inside, but I am glad that I did.
From the outside it looks like a small boutique with some furnishings, but once you go inside it is enormous...
As in bigger than my entire house!
I found so many gorgeous things that I would love love love to decorate my home with. 
But...It wasn't just home furnishings that this store had...oh no! 
I saw jewelry, clutches, candles, pillows, wall art, frames, 
candlestick holders, sofa's, end tables, lamps, clothes, chandeliers, lotions, etc. etc. etc. 
I was really shocked at some of the prices for things. 
I was expecting some major mu-la to be involved but really everything was quite affordable.

I thought this couch looked inviting. A good book and a soft throw would make this even better.



This Flattie wallet was really cute. I really liked the flower on it!



Here's a better view of all the different styles and colors to choose from. So many options!!



I LOVED this lamp shade. I must find a way of making one of my own.


I have never seen a chandelier used as a centerpiece in a floral arrangement before. 


I really liked the concept of these pillows. Another must add to project list.



This desk was so intriguing to me. I loved the sides and feet. 

March 23, 2011

Smoked Sausage w/ Roasted Vegetables Baked Penne ~ Recipe Wednesday


Time for my Recipe Wednesday! 
I love sharing recipes and trying other people's recipes. 
There is something so fun about creating new dishes and tasting the fabulous creations
that other people come up with. 
Now if I could just have someone else do all of the cleaning afterwards!!


Smoked Sausage w/ Roasted Vegetables Baked Penne Casserole
  • Penne Pasta
  • Smoked Sausage - Sara Lee or Hillshire works
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 orange bell peppers
  • 1 or 2 summer squash
  • 1 zuchinni
  • 1 Jar of Paul Newman's Marinara
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 cups of grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • Italian seasoning

Start water boiling in a large pot. Once you get a rolling boil add salt to flavor the pasta. 
Dump entire box of pasta into boiling water and cook until almost Al Dente. 
Make sure it is still a little firm and not cooked all the way through. 
Drain pasta and set aside in large mixing bowl. 
Place the two links of smoked sausage in about an inch of water in a skillet. 
Make sure the skillet is teflon coated! 
Cover with a lid and let simmer until the water has evaporated, 
making sure to turn the links occassionally to keep from burning. 
Once the water has evaporated remove links and place on a cutting board to cool. 
Next, dice the peppers, squash, and zuchinni into bite sized pieces.
Don't make them too small or they will shrink down into a gooey mess. 
Lay the peppers, squash, and zuchinni on a foil lined cookie sheet. 
Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and some Italian seasoning. 
Drizzle olive oil on top of the veggies evenly and pop into the oven at 350 degrees until they start to turn brown around the edges. 

Once veggies are roasted, remove and dump them into the mixing bowl with the penne pasta. 
Slice the smoked sausages and add to the mixture of penne and veggies.  
Add the entire jar of marinara and 1 cup of the mozzarella.
Mix together well, then spread the mixture out into a coated (Pam) baking dish.

Top with the remaining cup of mozzarella and cut up the butter into little pieces to lay on top.
Then sprinkle a little of the parmesan on top of that. 
The butter will melt and help create a nice crust on the top of the casserole. 
Pop into the oven for about 20 minutes and let it turn a nice golden brown. 
Once it is done baking you can dish and enjoy!



She's Almost Done!!!!!



Notice that I call my vanity a she

Why? I really have no idea, but that's what I call it... her ...the vanity.

I am so close to being done, this is exciting for me.

All I need to do is line the drawers, finish the stool, and touch up one spot and she's complete!! 

Check out the progress!!



Picture 010

Picture 011

Picture 008

Now, I need to sit back and enjoy this....

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March 22, 2011

Wish List

I am head over heels for ShopRuche.com.  
They have the most drool worthy dresses, tops, and handbags...
don't even get me started on their jewelry.
They even have socks and tights!!

Ugh...I love vintage looking clothes and accessories.
Little bits of lace and embellishments really get me!
 This store will get me in big BIG trouble if I am not careful.

I know today is not Fashion Friday, 
but to tide you over until my official Tuesday post, I thought I would share my wish list with everyone!!

Do you have a favorite store? If so, Link below and share with us!!





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