Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Casey's Elegant Musings

I don't want to stop writing this blog just because my computer is in the shop.  I will already feel like I am giving up on it, and the main reason I started this was to follow through with everything I started!

So, with that, I wanted to share a blog that I have fallen in love with.  This chick knows so much about the vintage style its not even funny.  From her hair, makeup, accessories and shoes, she looks like she is right out of the time period.  Her name is Casey and she lives in Virginia.  She does alot of vintage finds, but also makes her own clothing.  She recently just finished a 30 day challenge to herself to post 30 vintage inspired outfits for 30 days.  She had pieces she made, bought and that were thrifted.  There is also sewing tutorials.  One was a step-by-step guide to embroidering a cardigan.  It turned out awesome, and I really want to do one now!  Check out the link below if you get bored.  If you like vintage, you will like all her postings!  She is also on Facebook and YouTube.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy (One-Day-Out-of-the-Year-that-People-Pretend-They-Care-for-the) Earth Day!

I'm going to admit, that I'm not the most earth friendly person in the world.  I have been trying to get better, but my first motivation, for the most part, isn't to help save the earth.  Haha.  Great way to start an Earth Day themed blog.  My first concern is keeping my family and I healthy and maybe saving some money.  I do get satisfaction knowing that some of the things we do help the environment.  We recently bought a hybrid SUV, but our motivation there was to save money.  Our old one only got about 13 mpg and the new one gets 30 mpg, which helps us so much!  We do recycle, so I guess that is one thing that we do that is for the earth.  Now I don't feel so bad!

Since its Earth Day, I have a couple of sites that I wanted to share to help celebrate.

First, my friend, Rebecca, showed me a site called The Perennial Plate.  It is a website with about 10 minute webisodes from Daniel Klein, an experienced chef, all about all kinds of good food and exactly where it comes from.  Not from a factory, but from the farms and people that created it. 
The first season, Klein went around Minnesota visiting different people that practice sustainable living.  The episodes were posted every Monday for a year.  He visited a woman who gave up her career in corporate America to raise her own sheep and make her own cheese, a man that goes through the process of making your own maple syrup, and a couple who converted half of their garage into a green house (I want to do this!!!).  These are only a couple of the 52 that are posted. 
The second season will be starting on May 9th.  In this season he will be traveling all over the country to different places with the same sustainable philosophies.  If you know of any farm or person in your area that would make a good story, you can email the site and they may consider stopping!

If you live in Raleigh, or will be there this Saturday (like me!), the Handmade Market will be in downtown at Cobblestone Hall in City Market.  There will be 50 different vendors selling all their awesome handmade stuff!  It starts at 11am and goes till 5pm.  Admission is free, and if you are one of the first to arrive you get a free gift.  They are holding the market to raise money for Toxic Free NC, which is an organization that is fighting pesticide pollution in North Carolina.  If you give any kind of donation you will get a raffle ticket for a chance to win a gift basket. 

Blue Rose Reusables

My friend, Nikita, started a small business selling eco-friendly snack and sandwich bags.  They are adorable!  She has found some incredibly cute fabric!  You can buy a couple of these for Earth Day to help celebrate.  I'm getting the purple ones!  She doesn't have a website, but you can like her store by going to Facebook and putting Blue Rose Reusables in the search bar.  Or you can just click the link above.  Here's some info from her site and some pictures of the bags:

"These adorable and stylish snack bags are completely environmentally friendly! Stop using all those plastic snack bags! Fill these bags with your kids edibles and when you are done simply turn them inside out for a quick wash in the sink. For heavily soiled bags simply turn them inside out and throw them in the washing machine! Hang dry."

Monday, April 18, 2011

Nature Projects - Plants and Caterpillars

This weekend marked three weeks since I had bought all my veggies and fruits.  My strawberries started looking awful, because they were getting WAY too big for the small containers that they were sold in.  So, yesterday I finally made myself finish the two containers I had left to plant the strawberries, blueberries, bell peppers, and a couple of hot peppers.  This morning when I woke up, I went out to water my herbs, and the strawberries are already looking better!  Although, I did find that a bird ate the one bright red strawberry that was on it.  Oh well.  I need to look up some ways to fend off pests.  I already found that putting nylon stockings around tomatoe bunches will stop birds and bugs!

 Strawberries in front, blueberry bush in back.

Bell peppers on the left, hot peppers on the right. 

Two types of tomatoe.  Its funny, the front one is designed for containers, but is doing the worst out of the two. 


Cilantro and Garlic (in the front). 

Oregano.  My daughter decided to play in the dirt when I planted these.  Notice how they're all concentrated to one area. 



Up close look at the cilantro!  Its actually starting to look like the real thing!

The plans for the self-watering containers that I built were actually pretty simple.  They're really nice to have if you go out of town, because you don't have to worry about your plants drying up in the heat.  If you want to make your own, here's the link!  Self-Watering Container Plans  The materials are really cheap. The most expensive thing you will buy is the tools, if you don't already have them.  And if you compare the price to an already made container that's the size of a rubbermaid tub, you're saving about $130 by making it yourself!

A couple of weeks ago, my husband, Maggie, Brutus and I went walking on the Cape Fear River Trail.  We found hundreds of caterpillars crawling around.  So, being the nerd that I am, picked up about fifteen of them to take home with us to see if I could keep them alive long enough to turn into butterflies or moths. 
I did some research and found out there were all going to be moths.  Boring!  But Maggie does like watching them, so its alright.
After a couple of days, I started noticed that there were less and less caterpillars everyday.  Somehow, they were escaping the container we had them in.  Right now, there's only four cacoons in the container.  So, if you do the math, that's nine that we're missing.  Haha.  They are probably hanging out all over our house.  In about a month, we're going to have moths everywhere! 


Two more cacoons.

Friday, April 15, 2011

First Attempt at Sewing

So, it is my daughter's second birthday tomorrow, which I cannot believe.  I finally got "Big Little Felt Universe" in the mail and went the store to get all the supplies I needed for my first project.  I started making a purse for my daughter to try and give it to her tomorrow.  It is definitely not going to work out.

The first step is to sew 4 layers of felt together on two sides.  Like an idiot, I started sewing without pinning anything.  Already learned my first lesson in sewing.  If you don't pin, stuff is going to shift!  So I sewed the whole side and at the end every piece of felt ended up not being lined up and were all fanned out. 

Next, I pinned all the fabric with safety pins and started sewing again.  The first thing I did was not cut enough thread, so I had to tie it off and start with new thread.  I sewed all the way to the end, and the next step was to turn it inside out.  When I did this all the thread I had sewn started coming out!  I cut the thread before I tied it off!  What was I thinking?!  

Now it is two hours later and I am starting from the beginning.  I hope this is not what it is going to be like forever.  I guess I couldn't expect much since I have never sewn in my life.  Not even patches on my jackets.  My husband can do that, and I cannot.  I am a sad individual.  

I have to finish it, though.  I always start projects and never finish them.  I told myself I would use this blog to keep myself in check and from not giving up on things.  So, here I go, back to work!  Hopefully, I'll have some pictures of the finished product soon!  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Recipe: Turkey Stromboli

My family and I get in a routine of eating the same thing every week.  Its mainly my fault, because its a lot easier going grocery shopping with the same list then searching for recipes and having to put new stuff on it.  We needed a quick meal tonight and I really wanted to do something different.  So, I searched through my Recipe folder in my email (I knew it would come in handy one day!) and found a Turkey Stromboli recipe from my Tight Bod with a Pod newsletter.

Its really easy to make, its cheap, and it tastes really good!  My daughter, who for the past couple of weeks will not eat anything, took a couple of bites and said it was "yummy."  She didn't eat much, but she did eat it!  Its low in calories, high in protein, and also supplies a kid's full does of vitamin A for the day.  Oh, and I used chicken instead of turkey, but I'm sure either would be awesome.  We had half of it left over, and I'm sure that they are going to make a good lunch tomorrow.  Italian foods are always good leftovers.

Here's a picture of how my turned out. 
Not trying to be artistic or anything, the rest was ugly!  You can't see the chicken or spinach, but its in there!

Now, I am not an expert at using wax paper, I actually don't even know if parchment paper and wax paper are the same thing, but my dough got stuck to the paper and I had to end up scraping off the bottom layer.  SO, make sure you use some kind of spray or something (maybe the right side of the paper?) so your's doesn't end up like mine!  But enough about all that, here's the recipe:

Here's a shot of there's, just so you know what it should look like.

1 pkg (11 oz) refrigerated Pilsbury Thin Crust Pizza Crust
1 pkg (10z) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained*
1/2 c shredded Colby + Monterey Jack cheese blend
1 c pasta sauce, divided
1 lb turkey-breast tenderloins, cut into strips (chicken tenders can be substituted)
2 tsp low-fat milk
2 tsp grated Parmesan

* Forgot to thaw the spinach? Microwave it on high for 2-minutes, then press out the water in a colander.

PREP TIME: 15 minutes
COOK TIME: 20 minutes

NUTRITION PER SERVING: 305 calories; 27g protein; 8g fat; 31g carb; 2g fiber; 157mg calcium; 3mg iron.

1.Heat oven to 400 degrees.
2.Boil a cup of water on medium in large skillet.
3.Add turkey and return to boiling. Cover and simmer 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then chop.
4.Unroll crust into a 14″ x 12″ rectangle on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
5.Spoon half the sauce down the center, lengthwise, leaving 3″ on either side. Layer spinach, turkey, and cheese over sauce.
6.Cut 12 strips on both sides of crust. Fold strips over filling, so they overlap. Brush with milk and sprinkle with Parmesan.
7.Bake for 12 minutes. Serve with remaining sauce.

Serves 6

Can't Sleep... PINTEREST!

So, my older sister sent me a link to a website last week called Pinterest.  This will probably be the death of me.  

Its a website where you can go around and look at stuff.  I say "stuff," because it is literally anything and everything.  Hairstyles, art, funny pictures, amazing rooms, ANYTHING!  They describe themselves as a "virtual pinboard," which makes complete sense.

You can also request an invite and Pinterest will send you a link through email to link up with your Facebook or to make a regular login.  Be patient, though.  It took me about a week to get mine, since it is a newer website.  Once you're set up, you can go around the internet and find stuff to "pin" on your boards.  You can also browse through other's boards and repin their items or follow them.  You can have as many boards as you want and name them for easier organization.  For example, I have "Dream Home" and "Clothes I want."  You will want to do this, because once you start pinning, you won't be able to stop!

I will say this.  Be careful.  It is now 5:47 a.m. and I had been looking at the site for an hour before I started this entry.  It is ADDICTIVE!

Here are a couple of things to give you an extremely small idea of what is on the site:

Room Inspiration

Cool Photos

DIY Project Ideas

Dream Vacations

This is Just Funny.

I could definitely keep going, but I think you get the idea.  Make sure to check it out! 

Monday, April 11, 2011

What I Want to Do

I always need to write stuff down, otherwise I forget it.  Even when its something that I want to do in my life I need to.  It is pretty sad that my memory is that shot!  I guess its from being a mom.  So, here are a couple of things I want to do in the near future - meaning, the next couple of years.

Learn to Sew

I really want to learn how to sew.  I have been obsessed with looking at blogs dealing with what people have created.  It is so inspirational and I am so jealous!  I have found so many people modeling these amazing dresses that they have sewn from yards of fabric and thread.  I really love the vintage look (who doesn't), but to wear them everyday would be so expensive.  If I could learn how to do it myself, it would be so rewarding and probably a little less expensive.  Plus, all the clothes would fit me perfectly. 
I have a little girl and another on the way and I know there would be so many things I could sew for my kids, too.  I've seen alot of tutorials showing how to make felt food and I know that would be so much fun for me to do and for my kids to play with!

Have My Own Garden

I have started a container garden in my backyard, but one day I would really love to have a garden that I get all my produce and fruit from.  Its so much fun to watch all your plants grow!  The area I live in now is in the Sandhills of North Carolina and growing in the ground is next to impossible.  I had to make some self-watering containers out of rubbermaid containers, which have actually worked incredibly well. 
I will be moving to St. Paul, Minnesota in the spring of 2012.  I really can't wait.  I know the winters are horrible, but it is a great place to get information about self-sustainment.  There is even a store downtown where you can buy chicks to raise your own chickens!  I know I would probably have to have some kind of heated porch in the winter to grow all my plants, but it would be soooo worth it!  And probably better pest control if all the plants were inside!

Open My Own Online Shop

My husband has been in the Army the entire time we have been married.  He has worked to support our family with no question.  Next year, he will be getting out (FINALLY!) and we will be moving.  Whenever we get settled in Minnesota I want to take some sewing classes and after i get good, I want to start selling some things.  I understand it will probably take some time to get some skills, especially some good enough to sell, but it is something I have always wanted to do.  I also used to draw alot, so maybe I could sell some artwork.  I don't know what else I could do!  I am going to school for medical transcription now.  I hope that will help out some.  My goal is to do things from home, so I can stay home with my kids until they are old enough to go to school. 

Three things?  That's it?  I thought I would have had alot more than that.  Oh well, I'm sure I will have another post about this sort of thing sometime soon!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Felt Food Toys

I have discovered the wonderful world of felt food.  I haven't actually made any, yet, but I am already obsessed with looking at different tutorials and patterns.  There are so many different kinds out there!  Vegetables, fruit, sandwiches, pizzas, and cakes.  You name is there is a pattern for it out there.

I ordered a book called "Big Little Felt Universe" by Jeanette Lim that I have been waiting to arrive at my house, so I can get started on some projects.  I am so excited!  My daughter is 2 years old and really loves playing with her kitchen, but I don't want to get the plastic pieces, because there are so many and they are really noisey.  Plus, they would be a lot more personal if her mommy made them for her! 

There is an abundance of these on the internet.  You can actually find a couple of free tutorials, but I do not think they are as cute and as detailed as this ones in the book.  Here are a couple you might find interesting:

Umecrafts on Etsy (This is the author of Big Little Felt Universe!)

I'm learning that felt is very popular among DIY type parents.  Not only is food being made, but doll houses, doctor sets, tool sets, and books are being made as well.  It is a nice way to give something sentimental to your child that you won't mind them playing with, too!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The First Post

Lately, I have been really inspired to create.  Something.  Anything.  I just wish I had the time to do it.  With taking care of my daughter, Maggie, doing my medical transcription school, taking care of our house, and being pregnant, it seems so hard to find time to do anything for myself.  Also, funds are a little tight right now.  Hopefully, after I finish my school, the money situation will get better.  I can only hope!

I have been incredibly obsessed with researching.  That's about the only thing I have energy for right now.  All I have to do is sit, point and click.  I have found sssooo many awesome blogs, patterns for different projects, tutorials, free lessons, and articles.  Who knows, maybe that will be what this blog is about.  Or maybe this will be a future extension to an Etsy store.