Friday, January 14, 2011

Desk Blotter

In my guestroom/ office, I have my grandparent's beautiful mahogany bedroom set. Part of that set is a great vanity that I use as my desk. But I would hate to ruin the finish with  the heat from my laptop. So for months, I've had two pieces of cork as a "blotter" and coaster.

I decided I needed to upgrade the look a little bit, and hopefully make it match the black/ white/ silver/ red scheme of the rest of the room. (It's a work in progress)

I have a 17" laptop, so I needed a pretty honkin big piece of whatever. And since I was snowed in the day I did this, I was forced to see what I had around the house.  And look what measures 13x20, the Wii Fit box.

So I cut one side off.

I used a thin cotton fabric to cover this, so I lined things with a bit of white muslin I had from an old project.

I secured everything using hot glue.

First the muslin

Then the pretty fabric

Then two cork squares.

And here's how she looks installed!

I love how the black and white print coordinates with my made-over chair,but isn't too matchy matchy.
To finish this room, boy she needs a lot of work. New coverlet, drapery, paint, fix up the en-suite bathroom, new flooring. I've got a lot on my to-do list.  But first, I need to finish my bedroom!

Help for Sarah!

My friend Sarah over at Ooey Gooey Daily News has an entryway dilemma. It needs better function. It needs more style. It needs to be baby-friendly since she's expecting!

courtesy of Sarah
 She's debating several options, not sure what the best choice will be.

Well, what's the point of being friends with a professional interior designer if you don't get help?

So, Sarah, here are some sketches of your options:

Option 1:

Use your existing coffee table, and add some large pillows for cushion and comfort. A project to think about would be to upholster the top to turn it into a bench.

Add a floating shelf like this one for your accessories under the mirror. If it becomes a landing spot for keys, cell phones, etc., you can add another  smaller shelf for additional items.


Option 2:

Buy a console table like this one from World Market:
And put your basket of shoes on the shelf. You can change this to a lidded hamper-style basket once the baby gets old enough to investigate. 

Add a small chair like this one from CSN Stores
To the left where the green tote is now.

Option 3:

Build this plan from


For shoe storage and display space in one.

I hope this helps inspire you to make over your entryway!

Tissue paper wreath

When I was making my burlap wreath, I decided to try to do my own take on the coffee filter wreath that's so popular all over blogaritaville. Like Nester's or Middle Mama's .

But I LOVE coffee and was not about to sacrifice coffee filters to the cause. However, I did have a jumbo pack of white tissue paper I'd picked up for Christmas half off.

I used the outer hoop from my 12" embroidery hoop- the other half from the burlap wreath.
I cut several (like 10???) sheets of  tissue paper into 2" strips. Don't measure. You don't have to be precise. We are not preforming brain surgery here people.

So you will have a pile like this:

Using the same technique from my burlap wreath,  I pinched and glued lots of little strips until my wreath was nice and full.

Then, I flipped it over and used more glue to secure the strips over the hoop frame

I fluffed and trimmed the tissue paper to be full and pretty.

And then I hung her over my mantle with a pink ribbon.

But looking at the inspiration posts again, I may have to try Nester's coffee filter tree.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Burlap Wreath Tutorial

I never got around to writing a tutorial for my Christmas wreath, especially due to the fact I was horribly remiss in not taking pictures as I was doing it.

So I bought another embroidery hoop, intending to do just enough to write the tutorial. Then the holidays came, and I forgot got busy.

But now that I've taken down my Christmas decorations, my house was looking a bit lonely. So I broke out the glue gun again and make another burlap wreath for the front door. I didn't glue any decorations on this time, so I can change it with the seasons.

I love burlap, and not just because it's so "in". I love how burlap can transform a room, ground a high style, or gussy up some country. It can take so many forms, depending on how you treat it. Burlap also has great texture and is an awesome neutral.  It totally fits in my design aesthetic, so I use a lot of it.

So to make the wreath:

One 12" embroidery hoop
1/2 yard of burlap, cut into 8x4 rectangles
loads of hot glue

I used just one circle of the embroidery hoop for the wreath- it's just your circle form.

Take a rectangle of burlap, and pinch/ fold it together to make a "bow" shape.

Squeeze some hot glue on the top of your hoop, and stick the burlap on.

Continue doing this all the way around the wreath. Using a lot of rectangles close together will give you a fluffy wreath, less a shallower one.

Flip the whole thing over so the rectangles are on the bottom.

Using a load more hot glue, squeeze glue onto the exposed side of the hoop, allowing glue to drip onto the top of the hoop.  Fold the inner rectangles up and over, hiding the hoop. Secure with more hot glue as necessary.

You can then tie on bows or other embellishments, or glue them on  if you don't want to be able to change the look.

Here she is on my front door!

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

I took my hellion sweet puppy dog Alex for a walk to the park Tuesday afternoon. The cold air makes him frisky and he was in desperate need of some exercise!

Apologies in advance for the not as wonderful quality of pictures. I am hoping to upgrade to a Droid or Iphone sometime this year. The pink crackberry is about dead.

The snow had melted on the roads some, but there was still a wonderful blanket of white!

Alex was excited, and kept trying to pull me along. Come on Mom, Come ON!

The slushy mixture on the path meant I had some trouble keeping my balance. Alex was kind enough to show me the benefits of "four paw drive" and had no trouble at all.

It was so pretty all white .

While we were walking, it snowed just a little bit more. It was magical!

It was so quiet, Alex would stop and listen at the slightest sound!

We had a great walk! What fun did you have in the snow?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Datebook Cover

Even though I have not one, but two crackberries, a laptop at home and at work, I still feel the need to keep my appointments in an old fashioned datebook.

I loved the one I used last year- It was dated and weekly/ monthly, and also had nice big squares to write in, and ring bound.
But the drawback- no pockets or any place to put notes, coupons, etc.  So I put on my to-do list about October to make a cover for it.

I just bought my new 2011 calendar, and sat down yesterday to sew a cover for it.

I didn't take pictures as I went (bad blogger!), but if there's interest in a tutorial, I will make one.

Isn't it pretty!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Italian Spinach Tortellini toss

Since I was supposed to be out of town for work for a few days, my cupboards are looking pretty bare. Then the snow came and cancelled my flight, and therefore my trip. However, I still need to eat, and being snowed in means I'm not going to the grocery for anything major for a  few days!

I scrounged around in my cupboards and found the ingredients to make this. It turned out pretty well. This is proof positive you should stock up on staples!


2 roasted red peppers, sliced
1 c. diced bell pepper
1/2 c. diced onion
1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 tsp minced garlic
3 links turkey Italian sausage, casings removed
2 c. dried Cheese and Spinach tortellini
1 small can sliced mushrooms
1 tbsp Italian seasoning blend
salt and pepper
2 c. prepared Spaghetti sauce
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
1 c. reduced fat or fat free shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook the tortellini according to the package directions and drain. While it's boiling, brown the sausage in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once it's mostly brown, add the bell pepper and onion, and cook until the sausage is done and the pepper and onion are softened. Stir in the garlic and Italian seasoning and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add the mushrooms, spinach, and roasted peppers, and stir to combine. Add the spaghetti sauce, salt and pepper to taste, and cook until heated through. You can add some of the pasta water if it's too thick.  Stir in the cooked tortellini and chopped parsley. Serve with cheese sprinkled on top.

Yields 4 servings, about 1 1/2 cups each. 13 Points Plus per serving.
If you were going to serve this with a salad, I would suggest decreasing the serving size. It's very hearty and filling.

(Ways to reduce the points per serving: use a high-fiber unfilled pasta, use reduced fat spaghetti sauce, leave out the cheese, and/or decrease the serving size and/ or the sausage amount,)

Snow Day fun: Ribbon Bookmark Tutorial

Since Atlanta  received 4" of snow , the city is completely shut down. And I had a wonderful  two days off work. I took the time today to work on a few projects I've been meaning to finish for the blog!

I finally got around to writing the tutorial for one of my Christmas crafts. And made a few for Mom's friends while I was at it.

My momma, she loves to read. In fact, I'd say that's her primary hobby now that she's retired- reading.

And being retired and on her own schedule, she frequently "rests her eyes" while reading.

For a stocking stuffer, I made this bookmark I saw on

It was super easy! And I think it turned out very cute!
Here's the tutorial:

You will need:
Ribbon- cut at approximately 16" for a paperback book
Here's how to measure:

One ponytail holder
One large flat button
thread to match your ribbon

1. Take the ribbon and  singe the ends with a lighter.

2. Lay the ribbon face down on your table. Place the pony holder at one end, and fold the ribbon over. It will look like this:

3. Sew  to enclose the pony holder.

4. Flip the ribbon pretty side up. Take your button and sew it on  3-3.5" from the end of the  non-pony end. Figure this out by testing the fit on your book. Be sure to sew your button on really well, it's going to have some tension on it.

5. To use, Place the ribbon inside the book. Loop the elastic over the button to secure.

I think this is a great bookmark because it is SO hard for it to come out. So even if you put your book down and it gets say, knocked off the table by the cat, you won't lose your place!

I'm linking up to these great parties this week, so be sure to hop over and see all the fun projects!


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