I Won, I Won the Liebster Award!!

Monday, September 30, 2013

When Amy of the blog  Ms. Toody Goo Shoes, informed me that she had nominated me for the Liebster Award...at first I thought "WOW" and then I was like, "What on earth is a Liebster Award anyway?"


The Easiest and Best Bruschetta Bread Recipe You Will Ever Need!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

It's that time of year when we are enjoying the last harvest of tomatoes from our garden.  We didn't have a great harvest this year, but we did get to enjoy several yummy tomatoes.  There is nothing quite like a sweet, ripe tomato fresh off the vine, is there?

Mr. Diy is known as the Tomato-King in our family. For some strange reason, he is passionate about growing tomatoes. No matter where we have lived, he is like a little boy in a candy shop when it's time to go shopping for tomato plants for the garden.  He has grown some really cool varieties too - purple ones, little yellow pear-shaped ones. His favorite variety is called Sunburst; they're orange cherry tomatoes.

I have a couple of very funny tomato stories but I'll share just one with you today.  Very early in our marriage, like maybe the second year, back when Mr. Diy was first getting into gardening (and I knew nothing about it), he planted several tomato bushes.  They were just small and getting started and Mr. Diy had to go out town for a few days. I was given very clear instructions on how to water the tomato plants - ground only, no wet leaves...

The tomato plants were just starting to produce flowers. And I remembered hearing somewhere that if you wanted your tomato plant to produce better quality tomatoes, you should pick the flowers off (yeah, you can see where this is heading, right?) My misinformation led me to pluck ALL those precious flowers from Mr. Diy's plants.

Guess what he came home to?? A completely clueless wife who innocently thought she was doing him, and his plants, a HUGE favor! And completely bare plants. Yup, I think I recall a pretty heated argument!!  Don't think we had too many tomatoes that year either, lol.

So from that point on, Mr. Diy tends the plants, and I do the cooking :) See, we really are a great pair!

This recipe uses tomatoes, obviously best if fresh from the garden and plenty of fresh basil and parsley.  I love herbs and always have some growing as close to my kitchen as possible. Those I can grow :)

I have to credit my mother-in-law Joan with this recipe.  She's been making it as long as I can remember and it is SO easy and SO good!!

Measurements are approximate because no two tomatoes are the same size. You can't really go wrong with this recipe though. Just taste your mixture and adjust accordingly.  As you can see from my pictures, I had just a few cherry tomatoes and about 1/3 of a french loaf, but I was craving this and I managed to make it anyway :) Where there's a will...

Here's what you need:
A loaf of french bread, cut into sections
olive oil
grated parmesiano/regiano cheese blend (or fresh of course, if you have it)
2-3 tomatoes, chopped
handful of fresh basil and parsley, chopped fine
salt and pepper to taste
balsamic vinegar (optional)

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

While the oven is heating, chop tomatoes and herbs and combine in bowl.  Add salt and pepper to taste and mix. Drizzle with a little olive oil and a splash of balsamic if you wish.

Lay your french bread sections on a cookie sheet and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with the cheese. Bake until bread is lightly browned. Watch closely, it just takes a couple minutes.

Take out, let cool for a few minutes, top with fresh tomato mixture and eat.

I'll bet you can't eat just one...or two!!

Forget about the steak we just grilled...I could just eat the whole tray of these for dinner!!!

You have got to try it!

Linking Up to These Great Parties:

The Scoop NEWDIYLargeButton  DIY Show Off Place Of My Taste  C.R.A.F.T. DIY Vintage Chic

Make a Decoupage Photo Clipboard

Saturday, September 28, 2013

There are a lot of perks to being married to a Pastor.

Like being invited along when he married a couple on the beach in SW Florida. 

Yup, right on the beach. With the beautiful, glorious Gulf of Mexico a few feet away. Walking the beach with my inquisitive, precocious daughter, bare toes in the warm sand. Laughing as she pointed out everything in sight...a plane, the never-ending pelicans flying overhead, the pretty shells...

An Unconventional Wreath for Fall Using Deco Mesh and Chevron Burlap

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I have a very eclectic style. I love farmhouse, shabby, beach, cottage, French, and rustic with the odd industrial thrown in for good measure! Sounds like an identity crisis, right?

This deco mesh wreath is bright and includes a monogram painted to match! Find more at diy beautify.

I just like what I like, and I have no qualms about mixing styles. Luckily, that is very trendy thinking in decorating today, so I'm not weird, I fit right in (smiley).

Upcycled Chippy Wall Shelf for the Bathroom

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I don't think it will come as a surprise when I say I like a good bargain.

Even better when it's free...or almost free.

One of my favorite places to shop for good bargains is a Church Tag Sale.

Personalized Subway Sign as Artwork

Monday, September 23, 2013

I'm sharing tips and ideas for creating and painting your own personalized subway sign
gallery wall

How to Make a Gathered Flower - Super Easy Tutorial

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Are you ready for one of the easiest tutorials in the world??  When I shared my black velvet wreath earlier this week I promised a tutorial on the gathered flowers.

Aren't these flowers sublime?

They come together so easy, it's almost like magic!

Ruffled Velvet Wreath with Blinged out Mini Velvet Pumpkins

Thursday, September 19, 2013

I got a little wordy in my last post.

So I'm keeping this one brief and to the point, except for the title.  I splurged on that, did you notice, lol.

This wreath was created with scraps leftover from my black velvet pumpkins.

I used it all. I mean nothing went to waste.

Ruffle from the hem....check.

Ties from the waist....check.

Thrifty Bargains

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I love bragging about sharing my bargains and deals with others.

It used to drive my mom crazy. "Cindy," she'd say, "You don't need to tell everyone that you only paid $5 for those jeans." I think it embarrassed her a little bit that I was so vocal about being a thrifty shopper. I learned my thriftiness, after all, from her. But that didn't mean I had to tell the neighbors and everyone else!

Sweater Pumpkin Tutorial (and a bonus!)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Many of you have asked for a tutorial for my Sweater Pumpkins. They are oh-so-cute and soft and fun to make!

I only had a sleeve left from a sweater to create the white pumpkin at the left.

So this tutorial is for a small pumpkin.

But... I was feeling kind of badly.  I'm a new blogger after all, and didn't want to disappoint you.... so I decided that one little pumpkin just wasn't good enough.

I love my followers and want you to stick around {smiley face} and so I also made the big orange pumpkin you see here and I'm giving you that tutorial as well!

Okay, hope ya love me back :) Let's make a pumpkin...

Update: My photography skills have improved dramatically since I first wrote this post over 2 years ago! You can head here to see some prettier pictures...but then return here for the tutorial!

This post may contain affiliate links, which are always products I personally recommend! My full disclosure policy is available here.

Supplies needed

  • sweaters or shirts in your choice of colors Tip: children's sweaters or Ladies S are your best choice unless you want a HUGE pumpkin!
  • Tip: look for a sweater with texture - cables, ribs, or some other raised feature - check your local Goodwill (that's where all my sweaters came from)
  • dried beans (I used these ones - they were the cheapest and they're nice and small)
  • fiberfill stuffing
  • rubber bands
  • strong quilting thread 
  • upholstery needle (or other large, thick, long needle)
  • various embellishments for the stem area (wired jute, felt, ribbon, silk leaves, tulle, sticks, etc)

Instructions for the white sweater pumpkin

This is what I started with. A sweater minus one sleeve and its body (those are already pumpkins!)

If you want to make a large pumpkin with your sweater, cut your sweater straight across the body just under the armpits (see pic below for orange pumpkin).

If you want to  make a small pumpkin, cut the sleeve off at the armpit, straight across.

Turn your piece inside out and wrap a rubber band tightly around one end.

Turn it back the right way so the rubber band is on the inside.

Add some dried beans. You are not filling the pumpkin, just giving it some stability so it sits nicely and doesn't fall over.

For the small pumpkin, I added 2/3 cup.

Sorry for the terrible pic! Trying to stuff a narrow sleeve and take a pic with the other hand is, um, not easy!

You get the idea. Fill it with some fiberfill. Work it around so it is smooth and as plump as you'd like it.

I decided I wanted this pumpkin to have a long, funky stem so this is as full as I stuffed it.

I could have stuffed it much more and had a tall, skinny pumpkin. Hey, there's no "wrong" shape for a pumpkin...have you looked at them lately? ALL shapes and sizes :)

Tie it off with another rubber band, as tightly as possible.

This is where the wired jute comes in.  Start wrapping it around the rubber band at the base, and continue, pulling as tightly as possible.

Once I got close to the top, I decided to clip my sweater because I wanted the tip of  my stem to be narrower.

I could have left it as is; my pumpkin stem would just have been the same size all the way up.

Wrap all the way to the tip, pulling tightly. Then cut the jute and secure with a dot of hot glue. Careful, I always burn my fingers!!  You will be able to bend the stem at the tip to give it a cute curve.

At this point, you can stop. It's cute. Add a leaf or two for embellishments, some curled wire and call it a day.

If you want to learn how to add segments to your pumpkin, read on.............

Ok, this part was really hard to photograph, and I hope I explain it well.  If you don't get it, send me a comment and I'll try to do a better job.

Get a long, double strand of thick thread and knot the end. Push the needle up through the bottom of the pumpkin and come out at the top at the base of the stem somewhere. It's helpful to use a thimble or something flat to push the needle up and all the way through.

You can see my thread that is coming out at the top right at the base of the stem. Ignore the dried glue on  my thumb - ick!

The next step is to repeat what you just did.....wrap the thread around the pumpkin, put the needle through the base and bring it up at the stem again, but in a different section.

As you pull the thread tightly, the whole pumpkin with scrunch up and the segments will naturally form.

Here I'm showing about how much room I leave between segments. I left the thread loose so you could better visualize the process.

Repeat this step all the way around the pumpkin, up and around, up and around, pulling nice and tight until you are done and then tie your thread off well.

This is what the bottom of the pumpkin looks like with the 5 segments I gave it.

Adorable little "bum," isn't it?

Total aside - I'm Canadian...we say "bum", not "butt." It sounds much better, doesn't it?

You can see how the pumpkin is shorter and squatter than before I sewed the segments.

Whatever way you decide to go, it's adorable and sure to make a charming display in your home!

Yay, you made a pumpkin! Do you love it? Send me a pic, I'd love to ooh and aah over your creation!

I promised you a bonus tutorial, and here it is....with a slight variation on tying it off and the stem.  Enjoy :)

How to make a t-shirt pumpkin

 (works with sweaters too!)

This is what I started with.  A ladies Old Navy cotton shirt, very wrinkly too, haha (this one's been sitting at the bottom of my drawer since last fall!).

Yes, this is the same shirt....just better lighting.

So, to start, cut the shirt straight across, from armpit to armpit.

The following steps are shown first, and explained in better detail below the pictures.
Turn the shirt inside out and secure one end tightly with a rubber band (see white pumpkin tutorial for picture)

Turn it back the right way, add some beans and fill with stuffing until it's plump and full, see Step 1 above. This one took a lot more beans and a LOT more fiberfill!!

As per Step 2 above, thread a needle with strong thread and hand sew around the top. It doesn't have to be perfect. You can prick your fingers a few times like I did, ouch!  The idea is to just get all the way around to where you started. I started my thread on the inside and ended it on the inside (see Step 3).  Then you just pull tightly (not too tight that you break the thread though...that did happen to me the first time..doh) and tie off with well. 

You should be left with a small hole (that's where the stem will go) and a whole bunch of adorable gathers.

Now, at this point you can be done with the body of your pumpkin, just add a stem and embellies and call it quits.  I rolled some brown felt into a tight roll and hot glued it into my hole, then added some fabric leaves and ribbons. You could add a stick stem, the sky's really the limit here.

To take it one step further, because I'm anal a detailed person, make segments by following the directions I gave for the white pumpkin at the top of this page.  This extra step really took this pumpkin over the top in my opinion...it almost looks real :) And it's nice and squishy!

Here they are, displayed together in my little green wagon that I recently revamped. I think it's a charming display.

Enjoy making your pumpkins and proudly displaying them in your home :)

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This blog's content is for entertainment purposes only and is not professional advice. By reading this blog and attempting to recreate any content shared on it, you assume all responsibility for any injuries or damages incurred. Read my full disclaimer here.

The Secret Ingredient aka Gingerbread Muffins

Friday, September 13, 2013

In our home I call these gingerbread muffins so that my kids (and Mr DIY) will eat them! But they're really just pumpkin muffins with chocolate chips added!

Do you cook this way too? I'm talking about sneaking veggies and healthy stuff into our children's food any chance we get! Like shredded zucchini in the spaghetti sauce, oat flour and wheat germ in the chocolate chip cookies, almond milk in smoothies....even kale!

You know...sneaky mom stuff!

Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins | diy beautify

They are so good with dark chocolate chips; it adds such a depth of flavor to each bite! I'll share the recipe with you if you promise not to spill the beans.

Fall Door Decor

Thursday, September 12, 2013

I love burlap! It's cheap, comes in a variety of patterns/colors and just looks great however you use it.