Thursday, March 25, 2010

Springy Celebrations

There's no doubt that this is one of my favorite times of year. It's definitely my favorite time of year because the world warms up, the flowers start popping up, and the afternoons last longer. And it may or may not have to do with the fact that my birthday is the same week as the first day of Spring. I'm an only birthday is a very big deal to me, and I'm still confused why the mail still runs and the banks are open on my birthday. Whatever.

It's also JMom's birthday soon. This year the celebration was super fun because she may or may not turn an age that ends in a zero. I'll never tell, JMom! But to make the festivities even more, well, festive, my aunt and I gathered a large amount of gifts that, again, may or may not have equaled that same number that might end in a zero. It was so fun! I tried to disguise my half of the gifts so that she wouldn't suspect anything. It worked...she thought that I had had way too much time on my hands while decorating for spring (which is not necessarily untrue...).

Then the other half of the gifts arrived. Yep, this was gonna take a while.
But it was so much fun to do...makes me kind of excited to hit a birthday that ends in zero! JMom loved it, and Homey loved that JMom is patient enough to let her open the presents for her. Every. Single. One. Good thing there was dessert to go along with gifts! Check, check it:
The dessert buffet, complete with cake balls, based on the more intricate creations by Bakerella.
And my cake. MY cake. This has been my birthday cake for as long as I can remember. It comes from me, Strossners might as well be the only bakery in town, as far as I'm concerned!
And just to round out the display, I used my china. It's my great-grandmother's china, and it is perfect for spring.
And last but certainly not least is my floral sphere. Homey and I made this together right after I posted about spring inspiration. It was easy to do, and just adds an unexpected touch.
So that's how we do spring birthdays around here! I got some super groovy things that day, also, to add to my vintage glass collection. Stay tuned for everything you ever wanted to know about Jadeite!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring is Here!

And there was no better way to celebrate the first day of Spring than to have the fam over for the Birthday Extravaganza. I did indeed conquer the Beastly Sleepover and the Buttonholes, too! To me, that's a really exciting weekend! Who needs to go out in the world when you can round up little girls, wrap a gazillion birthday presents and sew buttonholes over and over again? It was a very busy couple of days, but I really wanted my home to scream "It's Spring!" in time for the Extravaganza.

My living room and adjoining "fireplace room" (there's no other name for's just the fireplace room) are largely brown and green. Most of what I do tends to be brown and green. I'm very adventurous.

In the fall, I easily pull out oranges and reds. For Christmas, anything Merry and
Bright goes. But I didn't have much to work with this year for spring. I had two pillows--this lovely robin's egg solid pillow (Target, maybe?) and this bright happy pillow (etsy).

This year I decided to try to pull out more blue and yellow. Here's how I did it:

First, I got super brave and got these curtains from World Market. I'm terrified of pattern, so this is big news.
The two shades of blue worked perfectly, and the tiny green dot pulled the whole look together in my green and brown cocoon. So at this point, I needed more blue! Something to draw the eye around the brown-ness.

So I worked on my hooks. I love my hooks...I saw a similar set up in an issue of Cottage Living, but I couldn't find one to fit this space. So my incredibly talented husband made this for me! It's perfect. I can change out the little decorations for each season. The Sepia Homey display stays year round...who doesn't love Homey in Sepia??
To add a springy pop of blue, I got this letter B at the craft store and painted this design on it. I like the way it turned out...for very little money!

Back to the hooks...look at the other small pop of blue...Hello, Little Bird! Another DIY project, but sadly he doesn't get to live at my house anymore. I painted him for JMom. So he has flown across town by now, but I just wanted to see what he would look like. Let's see if he would look as good across the room in the hoosier cabinet:
Oh, he looks splendid nestled in with my Jadeite friends! Maybe I'll just have to paint myself some birds to prop here and there. And more on my Jadeite friends soon. I promise to introduce you to all of them!

Moving the weird fireplace room.

With the new skill of making buttonholes under my belt, I feel like I successfully completed my spring decorating on a non existent budget. I finished my pillow covers...$3 worth of fabric to avoid buying new spring throw pillows for $15 a piece (at best!).
That is as close as I will let you get to the pillow cover. I don't sew. It's extremely imperfect, but from a distance, it's a suitable fix to giving the fireplace room a splash of blue. Maybe the blue pillows will draw the eye away from the mauve carpet. The bane of my existence, the thorn in my side, why, for the love of Pete, did they choose mauve. It won't be there forever, but it's there for now, so we will just continue to draw the eye away from it! Speaking of, I really didn't have anything cool to hang over my fireplace after I took down my Christmas decorations. I decided that I wanted a hip midcentury modern mirror. I figured something like that would look really cool behind my midcentury tufted chairs. But I haven't been able to find one, and moreover, if I do find one I can't afford one right now. So what's a girl to do? Paint it! This is where I've really lost my mind. I can't buy a mirror, so I paint a graphic representation of one? I mean, that's got to be odd, off kilter, weird. Or maybe it's just endearing. Anyway here it is! If nothing else it draws the eye away from the Sea of Mauve.

My disclaimer is that it really does look cooler (though no less odd, weird, or off kilter) in person because it's shimmery and it glows when it catches the light. For the other weirdos out there, I decided that this masterpiece is for sale. Maybe if somebody buys it I can buy a real life mirror! Side note: How easy is it to stack some lemons on your friend the Jadeite cake plate? Matches the chairs perfectly. And more yellow in the tulips soaking in the hobnail milkglass vase. Delightful!

Well, I figure that's enough of my green and brown life for now. More spring stuff and birthday stuff coming soon! Fun ideas, delicious cakes, and maybe even a little Homey. Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Speaking of Busy...

This B is super busy this week, so if the blog is quiet for a day or two, just know there is a lot of good stuff coming up! The rest of this week is full of Beasts, Buttonholes, and Birthdays. We are having a Beastly sleep over Friday evening, so there should be some interesting tales from Thing 1 and Thing 2 by the end of it. They love each other like sisters, but they also fight like sisters. It's supposed to be nice out so I plan to let them run a few laps, maybe get them to pull some weeds in the yard :)

Saturday is the birthday extravaganza since most of my family has a March birthday. I plan to have all my spring inspired decor ready to roll by then, so I'll be showing that off soon!

Somewhere in all this I really want to figure how to sew buttonholes. I have two pillow covers that are almost finished, just need some buttonholes! My sewing skills are very very limited. Seriously limited. So it will be quite a feat if I can get that done in time!

I'll have a play by play ready by the end of the weekend, so to all the loyal followers out there....stay tuned for more domestic adventures!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Deep Dark Domestic Secrets

Sometimes domesticity just doesn't work out for ya. Doesn't matter if you're "in the groove" or not...sometimes it just doesn't work. One of my favorite things to do is browse online cooking communities. I love to read recipes. I'll even spend an hour or so reading cookbooks I've had for years. It's just fun. I like getting ideas and challenging myself to things I've never tried before. Well...I guess it's better to do this reading, idea-ing, and trying when it doesn't really matter. When you haven't obligated yourself to some function at Homey's school. I guess that should be obvious. It is now.

Wanna hear a story about domestic un-prowess? Here it go: During Teacher Appreciation Month at Homey's school, parents are asked to sign up to bring various snacks, breakfasts, and sweets for the teachers to share. I love Homey's school. I love Homey's teacher(s)! I'm living a domestic, unemployed dream, so the sign up sheets were calling to me! Yes! I'll sign up! I'll cook for these wonderful ladies. I cook because I love. (Let's just remember that...I cook because I love.)

Well, breakfast went off without a hitch. It was something I cook all the time. We were a little late (it took an hour to cook, for cryin' out loud), but the pan was empty when I picked Homey up, so Mission Accomplished. They know I love them! Then we come to snack. Snack. What is this snack you speak of? Do people eat snacks? I was unaware that people could eat between meals. I must learn more about this phenomenon. I search and search for a semi-healthy treat I can make for the teachers at school and happen upon a lovely recipe for Blueberry Oat Bars on one of my online cooking community sites. Yum. I like blueberries! Oats! They're not so bad sometimes. I sometimes like oats. Let's try it!

(Disclaimer: I was off schedule all weekend THEN lost an hour due to daylight saving time. End disclaimer.)

So I start cutting in butter, mixing in oats, boiling a delicious blueberry concoction for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. I knew something was wrong, but I'm not a trained professional so I figured "what do I know? This might turn out fantastic! I'm already almost finished with it!" Um...heh-heh, go with your gut, sistah. In my exhausted, just optimistically domestic state, it didn't even register with me that 5 1/2 cups of flour have no business being made into bars with 2 cups of reduced blueberry mixture. I baked blueberries on flour. It's also stuck in my "good pan", and I have to get the hubster to try to pry it out without breaking my pan.

All this to make 2 points:

1. Cross-reference your online recipes when possible. I found an identical recipe on another site showing 1 1/2 cups of flour (hang head in shame...).

2. I cook because I love...and Homey's teachers: Dudes, I Love Y'all!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Quick But Easy Weekend Brunch

Does anybody out there still fix breakfast? (Yes, I said fix. I know it's not broken, I know those of you that aren't "from 'round here" say "make breakfast". Whatever. This is the Deep South. We fix it.) I'm not a breakfast person, really. I'm actually quite weird about when and what I eat, even though I adore cooking. Homey gets oatmeal or some bland cereal most days. She gets excited about Rice Krispies because it's the closest I get to buying a "fun" cereal. Actually I think it's teaching her to read. She insists on having the box of whatever she's eating on the table beside her to mull over while she's eating. I guess she's concerned with the nutritional information. Or just wants to peruse the recipes you can use the cereal du jour in. That's not odd, right? Anyhow, the Rice Krispie box taught her "Pop". Her first palindrome! We're very proud...

That has nothing to do with what I'm about to show y'all. Being a new and giddy stay at home mom, I have been reading recipes like it's going out of style. My new fun place to stop by and visit is PW's Tasty Kitchen. Seriously...loads of fun for your inner domestic superhero. So one Sunday morning, I was trying to figure out something that would be different and interesting for my family to eat. The hubster was sleeping in since he had worked the night before, so I figured Homeslice and I could make something fun, and maybe use up some berries I needed to use quickly. We could wow him with our domestic prowess. Enter panakuchen.

Yep. Found it on Tasty Kitchen. I had everything on hand so we whipped it up. Super easy, super quick. It's a German puffed pancake. It's very egg-y, and the batter isn't sweet, so topping it off with a touch of syrup, a sprinkle of powdered sugar, and berries on the side was just perfect. It is puffy, fluffy and light on top, and slightly heavier and more custard-ish on the bottom. It was a fun change with very little effort. If you've ever made popovers, it was reminiscent of that in a breakfast food kind of way.

Make it the next time you have time to laze around in the morning. Or when you think it's time to deviate from Snap, Crackle, and their palindrome brother Pop.
And those of you (ahem, Tracy) that actually cook in the mornings, I salute you.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

It's obvious lately that the BusyBs are obsessed with the coming of spring. The past 2 days have been just gorgeous here. The kind of days that you walk outside at 10am, and bask in the lovely sunshine. Then remember that you sent your hot natured child to school in a turtleneck! Ugh! Oh well...Homey promptly shed her layers when she got home and put a bathing suit on. With a tu-tu type shenanigan on top...all this in her efforts to be a Mermaid Superhero. That's how we roll. If you don't have a super power, turn on back around. Come back when you've earned a cape. I'm waiting for the forsythia and dogwood to bloom, ushering in Sister Spring, I realized that it has been eons since I have not been toiling away at work or school in the spring time. It's been many, many moons, and those moons have added up without my realizing it! But, finally, for now, I'm home. So I'm sitting in my nest, adjusting a twig here and a string there, hanging out with Homey. She is a surly beast at times, but very often we make a good team. We have been cooking together like there's no tomorrow. This is thrilling to me (once I got the hang of it). I'm not used to cooking with her. When I worked "out in the world", I cooked ahead, froze meals, and had it all worked out so that we could at least eat before 7. Surely that's enough time for a 4 year old that has to be in bed by 8.

Now, we can cook together. Which means that she is taking a moment to go get her stool or a kitchen chair so she can be part of the action. Also she is touching each individual ingredient. Is that weird? I thought so...for about 2.5 seconds until I realized that she is really interested and actually learning about what goes into our food. If she wants to see what flour feels like...go for it, Homey! If she wants to smell the vanilla every single time...great! And she's learning math...we read the recipe and she scoops out the required amount of [insert ingredient]. She's also learned to respect the kitchen. Her newest line is "When I'm a mommy, I can drink coffee, use a knife, and put my hands in the oven". Yes, Homey. Except it's questionable whether or not I should be even allowed to put my hands in the oven. I'm a little challenged with overall movement sometimes. A trait Homey seems to have inherited.

We are working together on so many other things too...we paint, we clean, we play, we imagine. She has her moments of being bossy and cross but there's no other place I'd rather be than in our nest with my surly hatchling.

Monday, March 8, 2010

"But I don't want to go among mad people,"

I've always been fascinated with Alice in Wonderland. As most of you know, Tim Burton's version has hit the cinemas. This is the perfect time of year to see such ethereal whimsy...when we're ready to toss aside the doldrums of winter. Anyone up for a White Rabbit? Eat me!

Turns out it's possible to be Alice! And vintage! And trendy! All these things without being costume-y. Check it out! Adorable:

Also, the White Rabbit reminds us about to watch the time (ha! "watch" the time, haha! Oh, never mind...) Daylight saving time goes into effect this Sunday at 2 am! Set your clocks forward! More sunlight...yay!

Speaking of time and 'bout this?

A china plate turned into a clock! Get out! How perfect for a springy kitchen decoration, especially for a tea girls, little and less than little, love a tea party!

More to come on tea parties...a fabulous way for little girls and mommas to enjoy treats and practice manners.

Jump through the Looking Glass with your spring decorating:I love nonsensical additions to decor.And look at this mirror that will almost match your Alice dress. How charming!

The story of Alice and her Wonderland adventures is such an inspiration for spring, for fantasy, and for fun!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Upcycled Storage--Yippee!!

Apparently, once you're 4 years old some things change. One thing that changed was obvious once Santa brought all the fun toys Christmas morning. There were fairy villages that included tiny fairy teacups. There were Barbies with far more pairs of shoes than I own. There was an animal jungle playground complete with precious fuzzy tiny jungle creatures. As I was sorting to see what was what, I realized that all the new toys for today's active 4 year old are tiny. Like, seriously tiny!

If these parts and pieces were going to last a week around here, something would have to be done. Yep, you guessed it...Storage Solutions! Luckily, while gainfully employed, our office made a ton of cookies from store bought tubs of dough to give as gifts to clients. I had no idea that you could buy cookie dough in bulk! Check out the large tub container on the left: It was made of such sturdy plastic that it felt like a waste to get rid of it. Surely it would have some use in my home or garage. Enter tiny Homey toys...It would be perfect to hold tiny precious jungle animals and fairy teacups! There were 3 containers, so I knew immediately how I wanted this project to turn out. So I called JMom. JMom deals with paper, scrapbooking, cutting...the crafty things that I am horrible with. I knew she could somehow maneuver darling papers to cover a cookie dough tub to create stylish upcycled toy storage for Homey's room. And I was right! She did it!

Aren't they cute?! There are so many scrapbook papers out there that you can definitely find something adorable to match your child's room. know what?? Maybe do one to match your kitchen. How cool would it be for corraling junk drawer items like books of matches, AAA batteries, and the little metal thing that you're not sure what it goes to, but you're pretty sure you shouldn't throw it away. Unfortunately, I do not have a need for another 5 lbs of pre-made cookie dough, but if anyone else does, please save the container! All you need to do is attach the paper to the container with Modge Podge. This container does taper making it a bit tricky, but a little bit of ric-rac (rick rack? Hmm, I'm not sure!) or other ribbon covers up any imperfect seams. Delightful storage solutions!! Try this project for legos, art supplies, Barbie clothes and shoes, and of course, a safe home for tiny precious jungle creatures.