Archive for November, 2007

Hardly Homemade with Meredith T

pumpkin-cake.jpg

…just a little Food Network humor.

Here’s a yummy pumpkin spice cake recipe I picked up at Weight Watchers a while back (don’t let the Weight Watchers thing scare you, though, because it’s delicious.)

Take one box of spice cake mix (Betty Crocker or similar) and thoroughly mix with one 15 ounce can of pumpkin (use just 100% plain pumpkin, not pie filling.) Add some sweetener to taste (sugar, brown sugar, Splenda, whatever– I used Splenda brown sugar blend.) Spray a pan with Pam or similar (I used a large pie plate.) Bake at 350 degrees until your fork comes out clean (about a half an hour.) Done!

Weight Watchers does not recommend that you top this with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. But I do!

November 29, 2007 at 9:00 pm 1 comment

Marble Magnet Mania!

I love making marble magnets.  I discovered these around this time last year, and I made quite a few of them as Christmas gifts.  The best part about making these as gifts is that you can really personalize them by using pictures that suit the recipient.  You could also draw your own pictures or use your own photos, which I haven’t tried yet.

The best tutorial I have found on making marble magnets is on the Not Martha website.  There are just a few things I would add: 

(1) Before you glue on the glass gems, hold them up to the light and make sure they don’t have imperfections in them.  Discard (or find another use for) the ones with too many imperfections– you won’t be able to see your pictures through them.

(2) I used Aileen’s Tacky Glue for this project and it worked really well (and has held up well in the year since I made my first marble magnets.)

(3) This year I used stickers as well as digital collage sheets and they worked great!  I did glue the stickers to the background to make sure that they stayed put.  If you search etsy for digital collages with 3/4 inch circles, you may find some pictures that you like and save yourself some time looking through magazines for pictures to use.  Once you purchase a digital file (they cost about $3 each), you own it and can print it as many times as you like (although the seller may specify that you cannot use them for mass produced goods.)  I used some from Piddix’s etsy shop, that’s a good place to start looking.

Here’s a sneak peek at this year’s marble magnet creations (I still haven’t figured out how to take good pictures of these)…

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On an unrelated note, I was excited to see some photos of the toys collected for the Mirabel Foundation at Meet Me at Mike’s blog today: here’s a link to the entry.  I was able to spot my little guy amidst all those fabulous toys (if you click on the first photo to enlarge it, he’s in the top row, fourth from the left.)  I wish I could jet to Australia to check out the display!

November 27, 2007 at 8:40 pm 4 comments

Good times and pies were had by all.

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Great family, great times, great pies… lots to be thankful for.

November 23, 2007 at 7:44 pm 2 comments

Finished Project!

Last night I completed my latest furniture project, an old chair sorely in need of refinishing, the newest member in my family of rescued chairs.

To refinish this chair, I removed the upholstered seat, sanded the wood down, and filled in the holes with wood filler. Some of the dents and holes were large so I had to apply two or three layers of wood filler. Then I sanded it down again, and wiped it clean with a wet rag. Next I applied a primer using a small foam roller.

Once the primer was completely dry, I applied my paint. I used a high gloss paint from Ace Hardware in a shade called “Wicker,” again using a small foam roller. The high gloss paint tends to be more durable for painting furniture. (From past projects, I know that there are also some specialty furniture paints at Home Depot and Lowe’s that will provide durability but are available in other finishes like satin or eggshell., if you don’t like the glossy look.) I had to give the chair two coats of paint and then did a few touch-ups to get good coverage. I made sure to let the paint dry completely in between coats.

Reupholstering a cushion like this one is very easy. I removed the old foam and fabric (yuuuuucky…) which had been nailed on. Instead of new foam or cotton batting, I used an old fleece blanket as my cushion (another upcycling success!) I cut three layers of the blanket and one piece of my upholstery fabric to a size that would cover the seat and reach around the back of the seat to a spot where I could staple it securely. I then used my staple gun to secure the blanket layers and the upholstery fabric to the seat. It’s best to start with one staple in the middle of one side, then one staple in the middle of the opposite side, and then to work your way around that way. You also need to keep checking to make sure that your fabrics are pulled tight and are not bulging anywhere.

Finally, I screwed the new cushion into place and… TA-DA! A lovely new chair. Here are the before and after shots:

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It’s hard to tell from the photo for some reason (okay, it’s because of my poor photography skills and bad lighting), but the chair was originally in much worse shape than the photo makes it look. Now it’s my new favorite chair. And did I mention I have LOTS of chairs?

…oh, no! Look who else loves my new chair already…

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November 20, 2007 at 11:36 pm 4 comments

I used to be a sweater…

…and now I’m a cozy pillow.

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I just love this pillow! Recently, one of my lambswool sweaters escaped my notice and ended up in the dryer. When I pulled it out, to my great disappointment, it was really fuzzy and too small for me to wear. I didn’t want to part with it, so I made this pillow.

It was a very simple project. I used my sewing machine for most of the sewing, so it took me less than an hour to complete. I cut out two pieces of the same size and shape from my sweater, put the right sides together, pinned, and sewed all sides together (leaving about four inches open for turning and stuffing.) Then I turned it right-side out, used a pencil to pop to corners out, and stuffed it with polyfill. Then I used a whipstitch to close the opening. Knit fabrics like this are very forgiving– there’s no need to stitch perfectly, because once you pull the stitches tight you can’t even see them.

I love settling in with a book and this pillow in the evening. It’s so soft and it’s just the right size (unlike the shrunken sweater!) As the holiday season approaches, which too often becomes a time of excess, I love knowing that I made something that otherwise would have been discarded into something that will have a place in my home for a long time to come.

November 19, 2007 at 8:42 pm 3 comments

Work Barely in Progress — Sneak Peek!

I’ve been so busy the last few days that I haven’t posted much, and today is no exception! But I did get a chance to run into JoAnn’s Fabrics this afternoon to use a coupon that was burning a hole in my pocket– and I found these lovely fabrics that I couldn’t resist. I’m planning on using them to make these, another fabulous project suggested by Posie Gets Cozy, another blog I love and will add to my Blogroll once I get around to making one!

(Sorry for the terrible photo quality, I took it with lousy light and will try to get a better one tomorrow!) Thanks for reading!

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November 18, 2007 at 12:45 am 2 comments

Thousand Words Thursday

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Just because a picture is worth a thousand words doesn’t mean I can resist saying a few about my ferocious cat. She is surprisingly docile in this picture but if you look closely, you can see that she has a fang!

I live in fear.

November 15, 2007 at 7:16 pm 3 comments

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