Friday, October 28, 2011

The Bat Cave

Our house has become a bat cave!

Just like the Spooky Spider Web, this idea is courtesy of Dana at MADE.  And just like the Spooky Spider Web, this project is simple, inexpensive, and makes a big impression. 

Last night, using black cardstock leftover from my days of stamping and card-making, and the bat template (found here), I spent about 30 minutes cutting out the bats while watching Mad Men (a recent discovery via it!).  This morning Bailey helped me hang them up in the living room.  Our bats are flying in through the window above the front door. 

Spooktacular!  Bailey loves them because they are spooky, but not scary.  After Halloween, it'll be a piece of cake to take them down and save them for next year.  Only 3 days until Halloween...are you ready?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Silly Slime

 Slime, goo, flubber...whatever you call it, this stuff is just plain fun!  As soon as I saw this post over at The Picky Apple, I knew Bailey would love to make some slime.  Boy did she ever!  In the past month we've made three batches for her...yellow, pink, and green.  She can't get enough of the stuff! 


All you need to make your own slime is glue, Borax, water, and food coloring.  Borax can be found in the laundry aisle of just about any grocery store.  Dissolve a few tablespoons of Borax in a small cup of water.  Pour the glue into a bowl and thin with a bit of water.  Add your food coloring to the glue and mix well.  Now it's time to make the slime!  Add in a bit of the Borax mixture and stir with a spoon.  The glue mixture will immediately turn into a gooey blob.  I continue to add in the Borax mixture until all of my glue is "blobby."  You can always pour off the excess water after you're finished mixing.

At this point I give the blob to Bailey and as she plays with it, it begins to dry out and gets oozy and stretchy.  When she's finished playing with the slime, I put it in a Ziploc baggie and save it for another day.  It seems to keep indefinitely.

When I asked Bailey what kind of treat she wanted to take to her Halloween party at preschool, she immediately said "Slime!"  So this morning I mixed up a big batch of orange slime for her to share with her friends at school.  I packaged the slime in small 1/2 cup plastic containers and added some stick-on googly eyes.  I hope her classmates enjoy the Silly Slime as much as she does!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Boo! Wreath - Part Deux

My younger sister recently moved back to Texas after living in California for a few years.  I decided she needed a feathery Halloween wreath just like mine for the front door of her new house.  Jake and I made a quick trip to Hobby Lobby and found a wire wreath form, a black feather boa, a small wooden Boo! sign, and a package of glittery purple spiders.  This time around I used small pieces of black pipe cleaners to twist-tie the boa to the wreath form.  They blend right into the feathers and you can't even see them.  I used a few dabs of hot glue to attach the Boo!, the spiders, and a few of the glittery black bats leftover from my wreath.  I thought about attaching a big black gingham bow at the top, but couldn't get it to look right, so this wreath is ribbon-less.    

I'm still finding tiny black feathers all over my kitchen, including inside my toaster!  But my sister loved the wreath and it looks great on her front door, so this one goes down as a crafty success.

Monday, October 24, 2011


I have wicked pipe cleaner craft skills.  Oh yeah!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Halloween Treats

There are so many cute Halloween themed snacks and treats floating around Pinterest, I couldn't resist sharing them with you all this week.  All images are courtesy of the original idea source, via Pinterest.

How cute are these Spider Krispy Treats?  I'm thinking about making them to send with Bailey for her Halloween party at school.  The kids would love them! 

I have only attempted meringue cookies once before, with disastrous results, but these adorable little Meringue Ghosts make me want to give it another try!

Or maybe I'll just stick to making these Frightfully Easy Ghost Cookies.  With only three ingredients, even I can't mess these up!

Cheese pizza is one of Bailey's favorite foods, and she loves black olives, so she will get a kick out of these Mummy Pizzas.  I have a feeling we'll be making these for lunch a few times next week!

I hope your little ghouls and goblins enjoy these Halloween treats!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Boo! Wreath

When it comes to holiday decorating of any sort, I take a minimalist approach, which is really just a fancy way to say that I stick a few pumpkins by the front door and call it Halloween.  But last year I decided that I wanted to make a Halloween wreath to along with the pumpkins, so I worked my magic with a wire wreath form, a feather boa, and some twist ties and this is what I came up with...

They are impossible to see, but hidden amongst the black feathers are little glittery black bats.  I promise they really are there.  And there is also a sheer black ribbon tied into a bow above the word "Boo." 

Trust me, it's much more impressive in person!  ha!  When I put it up last year just a few days before Halloween, I promised myself that I would tweak it and give it some more personality before the next Halloween rolled around.  Hey, I've still got a few weeks, right?  I'm thinking of recovering the bats with some bright purple glitter (if I can find the right color) and giving the wreath a new bow, maybe something black and white like gingham or a damask print.  More than likely it'll still look exactly the same this time next year, but we'll see!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Quilt in Progress

My goal for this week is to finish quilting and binding this quilt (and then maybe organize that green basket in the back corner).  I'm about 3/4 of the way finished already, so in theory this should be an attainable goal.  I started by straight line quilting the length of the quilt, both vertically and horizontally, a quarter of an inch from the outside edges of the large squares, creating a large grid pattern.  I've already "stitched-in-the-ditch" around the small inner squares, so now all that's left is to stitch the inside edge of the larger squares (also stitch-in-the-ditch).  I have an entire jelly roll of these 2 1/2 inch strips leftover that will make the perfect scrappy binding.  If my darling son isn't feeling very cooperative at naptime, I may find myself burning the midnight oil to get this one finished, but I am determined to finish it this week!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Spooky Spider Web

Spooky, isn't it?  I love crafts that are quick and easy, and not to mention inexpensive.  Believe it or not, this spider web only took 10 minutes to make.  All you need is yarn (we used a dark charcoal gray) and tape.  Following this tutorial on the MADE blog (one of my favorites!), Bailey and I taped the yarn in a criss-cross all the way across our big kitchen window to make the foundation for our web.  Then, starting from the outer edges and working our way in to the middle, we looped the yarn around each piece of the criss-cross, forming the rings of the web.  Each time we completed a ring, we tied it off and started a new one a bit further in toward the middle, making 6 rings in all.  

There really is no way to mess this up.  The crazier and more crooked it is, the better!  Bailey had a great time helping me create the web and now she's looking forward to making a few spiders to put on it.  Spooky!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Favorites

Pumpkin patches are popping up left and right, and the leaves on the maple tree in my front yard are showing the slightest hint of orange.  That's about as close to fall as we get here in Dallas.  Sometimes I daydream about living in a place that has a great fall season, with beautiful changing leaves and crisp, cool weather that requires sweaters and boots instead of short sleeves and flip flops.  A girl can dream, right? 

It's the end of the week and time to share some more great recipes!  Thanks to Pinterest, I've been batting a thousand this week in the dinner department.  Each one of these recipes is a winner.  All images are courtesy of the original recipe source.   

Creamy bean soup with bacon...what's not to love?  This White Bean with Bacon Soup by Centsational Girl was just as delicious as the photo makes it look.  I used canned beans instead of dried, so this soup came together in no time at all.  My husband and I loved this soup.  My daughter gobbled it up.  My son threw the bacon on the floor and squished the beans in his hair, but he's only 15 months old, so I expected as much.  In time I'm sure he'll learn to appreciate the awesomeness of bacon.

I believe that no bowl of soup would be complete without a warm, delicious piece of bread on the side.  These Homemade Olive Garden Breadsticks by Full Bellies, Happy Kids were the perfect sidekick for the White Bean with Bacon Soup.  Making yeast bread from scratch can be messy and time consuming, but this recipe was relatively quick and was definitely easy.  I mixed the dough in my Kitchenaid mixer, then formed the breadsticks and let them rise while the soup simmered.  After rising for about 45 minutes, I popped them in the oven and 15 minutes later we were enjoying a delicious meal.  I cut the amount of garlic butter topping in half (even less than half the salt) and it was perfect.  We enjoyed these so much that I'm making them again this week!

On Monday afternoons, my daughter goes to ballet/tap dance lessons at the community center.  Her class ends at 5:15, which means that when we arrive home at 5:30 I am really squeezed for time when it comes to making dinner.  This recipe for No Boil Baked Penne by Plain Chicken is perfect for those nights when you want a great meal without a ton of prep time.  I had half a pound of leftover cooked ground beef seasoned with garlic from a previous recipe, so the prep time for me was nearly zero.  Mix everything together while the oven is preheating, pour it in casserole dish, cover and cook for one hour.  I had my doubts about not cooking the pasta first, but after one hour in the oven the penne was cooked perfectly and had the taste of lasagna without all of the fuss.  And this is a great excuse to finish off the homemade breadsticks from earlier in the week!

It seems like at least once a week we have breakfast for dinner..."brinner."  Brinner usually consists of eggs, bacon, and either pancakes or biscuits.  I have tried to make biscuits from scratch in the past with less than stellar results, so I usually fall back on frozen Grands biscuits, but this week I decided to give homemade biscuits another try using this recipe for 7UP Biscuits from Plain Chicken.  The combination of 7UP, sour cream, and Bisquick sounds crazy, but it seriously makes some of the best biscuits I've ever eaten.  Give it a won't be disappointed.

Have a great weekend!  :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Easiest Dress You'll Ever Make

This little dress is known around the craft and sewing world as "the pillowcase dress."  Pillowcase dresses are very popular at the moment and now I know why.  This is hands down the easiest piece of clothing I've ever made and since it uses less than one yard of fabric, it's also one of the cheapest. 

I threw this one together for Bailey during one of Jake's afternoon naps using this pattern and photo tutorial at Little Big Girl Studio for reference.  Next time I'll cut the armholes just a smidge bigger.  I used a piece of orange ribbon for the tie, but I have plans to switch it out for a hot pink ribbon as soon as Halloween is over. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Beach Towel Bath Robes

Before we left for our Florida vacation, I promised to give more details about the beach towel robes I made for the kiddos.  Better late than never, right? 

As soon as I saw this pattern for beach robes on MADE, I knew I wanted to buy it and make one for each of my kids to use after swimming.  Now that summer has passed, we still use them for drying off after bath time. 

I purchased two beach towels at Target for less than $5 each.  These thin towels were the perfect thickness to work with, not too bulky at all.  Ignore the single fold bias tape you see in the photo.  I had never used store-bought bias tape before and didn't realize until after the fact that what I really needed was extra-wide double fold tape.  Lesson learned.

I have to say, the $8 I spent on this pattern was money well spent!  The pattern comes in three sizes (9-18 month, 18 month-3T, and 3T-4T).  I made Jake's robe using the 9-18 month size, and Bailey's is 3T-4T.  The pattern includes detailed instructions and step-by-step photos for many different options...short sleeves or long sleeves, partial ties or full ties, lined hood, or no hood at all.  I chose to make my robes with short sleeves, unlined hoods, and partial ties (meaning they are sewn into the sides of the robe instead of wrapping all the way around through loops like a belt).  My towels were large enough that I only needed to use one towel for each robe, but I barely squeaked by on Bailey's.  Had I decided to go with long sleeves or the full tie, I definitely would have needed a second towel.  This is such an easy, versatile, and affordable pattern...I would recommend it to anyone! 

My kids love their bath robes!  I'm thinking of using a version of this pattern (no hood and long sleeves) to make some snuggly fleece robes for the wintertime, maybe as Christmas gifts.  I will be keeping an eye out for more great patterns from MADE!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

T-shirt Refashion

One day while strolling through the kids' clothing section at Target I saw this dress...

This adorable little sweater dress cost $15.  Not a fortune, but more than I wanted to spend at the time.  Besides, the dress is so simple that my first thought was "I bet I could make that."

Later that day I had a brief flash of brilliance.  I found this t-shirt hanging in my closet...

It was light brown and had a similar gathering along the neckline as the little sweater dress.  The idea was that I could refashion it into a dress for Bailey that would look pretty darn close to the sweater dress in Target.  I hadn't worn the shirt in a good while, so I was willing to sacrifice it for the sake of preschool fashion.

My plan was to keep the original neckline, hemline, and sleeves so those parts would look "finished."  Using one of Bailey's summer dresses as a guide, I cut the t-shirt up each side the entire length of the shirt, removing the sleeves.  I carefully trimmed the excess material from each sleeve and set them aside to use later.  Then I adjusted the neckline and length of the dress by sewing a new shoulder seam.  I reattached the sleeves, then sewed down each side of the dress and it was finished!

It's not exactly the same as the sweater dress from Target, but it's still cute.  And it was free...bonus!  I experimented with putting elastic in the sleeves, but then decided against it.  The pink flower is actually a hair clip that I just clipped on for the photo.  I need to make a pink fabric flower pin using this tutorial so the flower can be removed before washing.

Someone with more experience sewing clothing probably could have finished this in a half hour.  It took me nearly all day...yet another reason why I wouldn't last a day on Project Runway.  Sewing clothes (especially those made of stretchy t-shirt material) is so much harder than sewing quilts!  All in all I am pretty satisfied with it, although next time I will probably just buy the Target dress.  My little supermodel loves it, so that makes me happy!  :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Recipe Round-up

Over the past few weeks, we've tried a number of new recipes that are definitely worth sharing!  Of course, I never think to take photos until after the fact, so all photos are courtesy of the original sites where I discovered the recipes.

First up is a fantastic dessert recipe called Eclair Pie from Real Mom Kitchen.  I made this for a cookout at my sister's house a few weekends ago.  It got rave reviews from everyone who tried it!  Graham crackers, vanilla pudding, chocolate frosting...all the flavors of a chocolate eclair in one simple, delicious dessert.  What's not to love?

My family loves NFL football.  To us, there is nothing better than watching some Colts or Cowboys football on a chilly fall day while chowing down on a big bowl of chili.  During this year's preseason football, I had decided that this would be the year that I would find "the perfect chili."  I started compiling a list of recipes to try every other Sunday throughout the NFL season until I found one that my family loved.  Well, it's only the end of Week 4 and my search is complete.  This chili recipe by the Pioneer Woman is now the official football-Sunday chili in our household.  My husband enjoys his with crackers, while Bailey and I prefer Frito Chili Pie.  Leftovers get mixed with mac and cheese a day or so later for some yummy Chili Mac.  The Colts may go 0-16 this year, but at least we'll have great chili!

This Egg Tostada Frittata from Cassie Craves has become one of my go-to meals for a busy weeknight when I find I'm running short on time.  This is a great alternative to plain old bacon and scrambled eggs that I typically serve for "brinner" (breakfast for dinner).  The bacon and green chiles cooking together smell amazing and this is a great way to use up the last of a bag of Fritos when all of your delicious chili is gone.  I usually serve my refried beans on the side.  I was doubtful about the egg and bean combo, but it's actually really tasty.

Ok, all of this talk about food has made me hungry.  Time to go heat up some leftover chili!