Friday, March 29, 2013

We Are Loving Right Now - Volume 3 (and Some Winners!)

Today's link love goes is all about an obsession of mine....fabric! If you like to sew, chances are you have an impressive horde collection of fabric like I do. I've collected bits and pieces over the years by scavenging the remnant bin of my local fabric shop, buying different pieces at various stores, and stealing my husband's shirts (true story!) One problem I always seem to run into, though, is finding a wide selection of great prints, especially when it comes to finding quality knits.

Fear not, friends! I'm here to help you feed your obsession with some great online fabric shops that I adore.


1 - The Fabric Fairy Knit and woven fabric and trims. Great selection of knits, including kid-friendly patterns, and fantastic selection of sale fabrics. Also a good selection of different colors. You can also email the Fabric Fairy herself anytime for suggestions on what prints and colors go best together (super helpful for people like me who often question their color combos.) Fabrics are sold by the yard.
2 - Southern Fabric. Fantastic selection of designer woven fabrics in great patterns, including lots of colorful chevron and floral printss, as well as ribbons and trims. Most fabrics are geared toward adults (so go grab some and sew something up for yourself!) If you enjoy quilting, Southern Fabric also sells a wide selection of pre-cuts in gorgeous patterns. Multiple cuts of fabric available.
3 - Girl Charlee. One of the most extensive selections of knits I've seen, with new arrivals in all the time. Girl Charlee is the site I find myself stalking most regularly for knit fabrics (in fact, I liked them on Facebook primarily because I like to see all the new inventory. Fabric nerd.) Yard and certain half-yard cuts available.
4 - Banberry Place. LOVE this site! Beautiful selection of both knit and woven fabrics, as well as trims. I went on a little shopping spree recently, and walked away with some buffalo plaid knit, Flowers and Dots woven, and some of this funky tribal knit to name a few. I also love that they do half-yard cuts, because then I can buy a bunch of smaller cuts rather then spend my money all on a couple yards. They also sent swatches with my order, which was just mean because now I want to buy even more. Yard and half-yard cuts available.

Next time you're hunting for some fabric, make sure to check out these awesome shops out! I'm sure they'll become favorites of yours as well.

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Now onto our giveaway winners!
Thank you to everyone who entered the Firmoo giveaway to win $30 toward designer glasses, and thank you to the wonderful folks of Firmoo who are so generously giving 6 of our readers the chance to get their hands on some awesome designer glasses with a $30 credit to their store.

According to random.org, the 6 winners of the $30 Firmoo voucher are.....

1. #66, John M.
2. #10, Lindsay M.
3. #58, Mary C.
4. #30, Amanda M.
5. #54, Taylor-Lynn L.
6. #76, Kirk M.

Congratulations everyone! Have fun shopping for your new specs! Winners, make sure you check your email and respond so you can start your shopping spree :)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

FOOD: Almond Cream Cheese Roses


This ridiculously simple recipe is one that my mom used to make for us growing up.  We literally devoured every single candy within minutes of it being made.  I put a little twist on this by hand molding roses out of the candy dough.  These are small enough to not be sinful, but big enough to count as a whole dessert. 

I think these would be perfect to serve after a meal on a spring Sunday afternoon with fresh flowers adorning the table and the birds chirping outside.  Sounds divine, doesn't it?  I ate some last night after making these while yelling at Abby Lee Miller (Dance Moms) on my TV, covered in powdered sugar and cream cheese while my animals were trying to scale my sweatpants to get the cream cheese off my sweatshirt.  Not quite as peaceful and serene as the picture I painted up there, but I still enjoyed my treat nonetheless!

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 ounces cream cheese (do not use light cream cheese!!)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Food coloring

1 -  Put all the ingredients in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer.  I had mine on a medium setting and still ended up with powdered sugar all over the kitchen.  It will seem as if there is not enough cream cheese, but trust me, there is.  Just keep beating it until it turns into little chunks like the last photo above.


2 - Knead the chunks together until you get it consistently doughy.


3 - Split your dough 1/3 and 2/3.  You will need more pink than green.  Add one drop of food coloring to each batch.  Beat with your electric mixer until color is speckled throughout the dough.  Then, knead until color is consistent throughout.


4 - Take a small piece of dough and roll into a ball, squish into a circle using your palm and thumb.  Wrap the circle around itself to make a tube.  Make another circle and wrap that around the first tube on the side with the seam.  Repeat this over and over until your rose is the size you desire.  If your dough is too sticky for this step (sticking at all to your hands) put the dough in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.  It will harden slightly and take away the stickiness.


5 - Make your leaves using the same roll and squish technique and shape with your fingers.  Use your fingernail to make the impressions of veins in the leaves.  Attach the leaves to the rose by smoothing the dough together with your finger tips.


 6 - Present and enjoy!

If you are not a fan of almond.. you can replace the 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract with mint extract or any other flavoring your prefer.  Also, make sure to keep these refrigerated because of the cream cheese.  They will turn into a gooey mess if you don't! 

If you don't have time to make the rose, use a silicone candy mold to get a cute, easy shape.  I took the leftover dough I had and made a bunch of little leaves with a mold to bring to work.  It still looks great, but cuts the time in half. 

 
 
Check out our link party page to see where we link up each week!
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Monday, March 25, 2013

FOOD: Bunny Butt Cookie Pops (and some tips for working with royal icing)


I got up the courage to work with royal icing again. The first time I tried it was when I recently spent 4 hours baking and frosting sunburst cookies for Haley's 4th birthday party and my frosting muscles ached for 2 days afterwards. Yes, there is such a thing as frosting muscles. If you've ever used royal icing before, you know what I mean.

Decorating with royal icing is kind of like having a baby. The whole process is long and painful and halfway through you're pretty sure you can't do it anymore. But you power through anyway, and then it's finally over and you have this beautiful creation that you're so proud of.

Yep, I just compared royal icing to childbirth.

Ok ok, it's not like childbirth at all, but the end result is really pretty and professional looking if you do it right. However, I wouldn't suggest attempting to frost 60 cookies in one sitting like I did for my daughter's party. Probably not my best idea. This time around, I kept it simple and made about 20 bunny butt cookies with cute little pink tails for my daughter's preschool class.

Wanna make some too?


SUPPLIES: sugar cookie mix and supplies for mix (or homemade recipe, but I wanted to keep it simple), lollipop or cookie pop sticks, royal icing recipe, Wilton gel food coloring, cookie cutter, ribbon, frosting bags (or freezer bags), #2 icing tip, coupler.

MAKE YOUR COOKIES:

ONE: first, make your sugar cookies according to the instructions and cut out with your cookie cutter. Place your cookies on the greased cookie sheet and press your lollipop sticks into the cookies. Press some extra dough on top of the sticks to stabilize your cookies and smooth it down as well as possible.
TWO: bake and cool your cookies according to the instructions on the mix. Eat any cracked ones ;)

PREPARE THE FROSTING: 

ONE: make sure you have a good royal icing recipe. I really love Bridget's at Bake at 350. It has a nice flavor and consistency (and I did add the almond extract to amp up the flavor a little.) The icing you use to outline needs to be very thick! If it's too thick, just use a little water to thin it out.
TWO: if you plan on coloring some of the icing, separate some into a bowl and add a small amount of gel food coloring. As you can see, it really doesn't take much to achieve a bright color.
THREE:  you can use decorating bags for your frosting, but I really like using plastic freezer bags. They're strong, more affordable, and they zip closed so you don't have frosting overflowing out of the top as you decorate. Don't try using sandwich bags, they're too flimsy.
FOUR: just snip one of the corners of the freezer bag, insert the coupler, then screw on the icing tip. Then, fill with frosting and zip closed. No messy frosting coming out of the top of the bag!

FROST YOUR COOKIES:

ONE: first we'll make the tail. Keep a firm grip on the bag and begin to pipe your frosting on slowly. Try not to touch the icing tip to the cookie or you'll get broken or rough lines.
TWO: allow your outline to dry some, then add water to your frosting until it has the consistency of syrup and flood the inside of your outline.
THREE: repeat steps 1 and 2 for the rest of the bunny. Allow cookies to dry overnight (very important!) These need a lot of dry time to set up or you'll end up with smudged frosting.


To finish, tie some ribbon onto your lollipop or cookie sticks and enjoy!

General Tips: 
  • Make sure you're sitting somewhere you're comfortable being awhile. Frosting with royal icing take time! Choose a nice high table or counter that is well-lit and at a good height to rest your elbows while you decorate. 
  • As much as you might want to power through, take it slow as you begin to pipe on the outline so you can get nice, clean lines. If you go too fast, you'll end up with uneven, broken lines.
  • Use a #1 or #2 tip for frosting. I used a #3 and it doesn't blend as nicely with the flooded icing.
  • Practice, practice! I still need a lot of work, but it's been fun trying something I'm unfamiliar with. I know I'll get better with time (and hopefully I'll be able to cut down the amount of time it takes me to frost the cookies too :)




 
Check out our link party page to see where we link up each week!
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Friday, March 22, 2013

We Are Loving Right Now - Volume 2

It's time for another round of We Are Loving Right Now!  We love seeing what other people are into, so we want to share our faves with you, too!  I have somewhat of a shopping problem (hi, my name's Shannon, and I'm a shopaholic).  I use all avenues to find goods... malls, flash sale sites, catalogs, etc.  I like sales just as much as the next person, but if I find something to die for.. I usually don't wait.  So here's my latest impulse buys!


1 - ASTR Racerback High/Low Tank via Nordstrom - This top has made me so anxious for spring!
2 - Adair Bootie by 80%20 via Gilt - Seriously most comfortable heels I have ever owned!
3 - Sweet Revenge Strawberry Liquor - A dash of this in some champagne + fresh raspberries = BLISS
4 - Minimergency Kit via Pinch - This thing was a lifesaver at Disney World!
5 - Backup iPhone Battery via JCrew - I don't have this yet, but I will soon!
6 - Strawberry Lip Scrub via Basin - This stuff will change your life!
7 - The 20/20 Experience - Justin Timberlake - I'm pretty sure he is the most talented human on the planet.  If you haven't seen his most recent appearance on SNL... check it out here.  HILARIOUS

This weekend I'm hosting a jewelry party, so that will be fun!  It will be small, so it will give me a chance to do some really cute fun things for it!  Sometimes when parties get too big things get overwhelming and I can't focus on the small details as much as I'd like.  I want lots of fresh flowers around the house, though, that's for sure.  I think all of us ladies need a little taste of spring (being that it is spring, but still below freezing outside).

And just a reminder that if you haven't yet go enter
 for $30 towards a pair of Firmoo designer glasses!!

Happy Friday Friends!



Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Firmoo Glasses Review (and a giveaway!)

***This giveaway is now over***



Most of you probably don't know this, but I've worn glasses and contacts since elementary school. I still remember the day my mom propped one of her books up on the nightstand and stood me several feet away to see if I could read the title. I failed miserably, and we went out and bought my first pair of glasses soon after. My brother managed to escape glasses and contacts, but I lucked out with perfect teeth and no wisdom teeth (born without them!) See, you're learning all sorts of fun facts about me today!

I won't show you a picture of the first pair of glasses I ever owned, but I will say that they were salmon colored and I'm pretty sure sparkles were involved. Thankfully, my style has come a long way since then but even though the pair of glasses I had been wearing weren't salmon colored or sparkly, they were 7 years old and my prescription was very outdated. That's why I couldn't say yes fast enough when Firmoo offered to let me try out a pair of their glasses for free!


I love how a pair of glasses can instantly upgrade your look! Firmoo has an extensive online store,  including prescription and non-prescription glasses and sunglasses for men and women, so it was really difficult to choose one pair. I'm usually pretty wary of online shopping because I'm not there in person to see the product and try it out, but Firmoo took all the guesswork out of it by offering a virtual try-on system where I was able to upload my own picture to see how the frames looked on my face. I chose this pair and I love them! The shipping was fast and the quality is great. I especially like the matte finish on the pair I chose. Shannon says I have a real "hipster" vibe going on  with them :)



Firmoo recently launched their first pair free program, so you can get your first pair free too (just pay shipping!) And if you're not not happy with the fit or style you chose, glasses can easily be exchanged or refunded. Where else can you get a great pair of prescription or non-prescription glasses for practically nothing?

Now for the giveaway! Firmoo has graciously agreed to give a $30 voucher to 6 of our readers to use toward their designer glasses! So not only could you get your first pair free, but you could also get a voucher for $30 toward a pair of designer glasses! Sweet.

To enter, please use the Rafflecopter widget below. The contest will be open until 12AM on March 29th and the winners will be announced on the blog that same morning. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 18, 2013

CRAFT: Micro-Dino Taxidermy DIY


So I have in my living room what my family refers to as my "trophy wall"... even though it's covered with all fake animal heads.  I had some tiny spaces on it that I felt needed filled, so I came up with this to fill that void.


You'll need some plastic animals from the dollar store, some super thin plywood or cardboard, a box cutter, glue gun and paint or spray paint.



First, cut your animal in half.  Fortunately, the ones I bought at the dollar store were ridiculously cheap quality and cut easily.  After it's cut, paint/spray paint it.  I used Krylon's Metallic gold paint.


Next, make your mounting piece by cutting a shape out of your plywood or cardboard and paint it.  Then, glue the head onto the mounting piece with your glue gun.  



Voila!  You're ready to mount!  Just use some doublesided tape (if you don't care about having to repaint the wall when you take it down.)



Unfortunately, my wall is still a work in progress, so I'll be posting photos of the whole thing once it's finished (probably this week).  

This could be a really fun and easy project to do with kids.  I love how sophisticated the gold paint makes the dino heads look!  
 
 
 


Check out our link party page to see where we link up each week!
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Friday, March 15, 2013

Disney Recap and What The Heck Are We Going To Do About Google Reader??

The cyber world is buzzing with the news that Google Reader is being vaporized.  So, what do we do? There are 3 easy solutions to keep following eat.sleep.make. if you rely on Google Reader.
  1. Bloglovin - Just another reader
  2. Facebook - We always link to new blogposts via our FB page
  3. Subscribe via email - get our posts emailed directly to you
You can find links for all 3 of these in our right sidebar.  I, personally, prefer actually visiting the blogs.  I connect through our Blog Love page.  Nothing really beats seeing the beautiful designs of the actual blogs.  

Hopefully, this very strange change being issued doesn't shake any of you too much.  Fortunately, there are so many great ways to stay connected nowadays.  

Now onto the fun stuff!  I spent last week in Disney with my husband, mom and aunt.  We had a blast!  Well, other than me being sick 5 out of the 8 days.. I didn't let that stop me from having fun, though!

We were fortunate enough to stay at the brand new Art of Animation resort.  It was simply amazing!!!

Panoramic view from hotel room.

I fell in love for the first time with Hollywood Studios.  I never cared for it before, but this time around that all changed.  I adored the Pixar Parade the most!  (And we went on Star Tours 4 times.  I'm a nerd.)

Top Right:  On the way to Disney!  Bottom Right:  Building a Droid in the Star Wars gift shop!  Bottom Left:  Sick in Epcot trying to keep myself together.  :(


Epcot kicked off their annual International Flower and Garden Show.  The topiaries were amazeballs!  Plus, all the countries in World Showcase had special menus and kiosks for the event.  I highly recommend making your way there some year for the show!

Needless to say, I was happy to get home.  We had fun, but I had had enough of the crowds and craziness.  And I missed my animals!  We've decided next year we're going somewhere tropical and for grown-ups only.. maybe St. Lucia??  Anyone have any suggestions?

I'm feeling mucho refreshed now, though, and so ready to create things!  Happy Friday!!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fiery Tomato-Basil Mac and Cheese {Guest Post}

Today, we have a yummy recipe from Meredith K. on behalf of Hunts. I love macaroni and cheese, (and my kids live off the stuff) so this is the perfect easy weekday meal for my family! 

Enjoy!

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Fiery Tomato-Basil Mac and Cheese

Cooking for the Week: Fiery Tomato-Basil Mac and Cheese

When it comes to weekday cooking, there’s no better timesaver out there than leftovers. Some
nights it’s nice, even therapeutic, to whip up a leisurely meal in the kitchen, but on nights when you’re
ready to curl up on the couch with comfort food and a glass of wine, cooking can feel like a chore
instead of a treat. On nights like that, frozen meals just don’t cut it, which is where yummy leftovers
come into play.

Leftovers can get a bad reputation, but in reality, many casseroles and baked dishes actually improve
over a couple of days since the flavors get a chance to really blend together the longer they sit. They’re
also perfect to have around for busy weeknights or days when you just don’t feel like doing much of
anything in the kitchen. Plus, having a real meal for dinner is usually much more satisfying than any
frozen option, and is also much cheaper than delivery or takeout.

This fiery tomato-basil mac and cheese makes a whopping 16 servings—which is a very good
thing, because you’ll want to eat this dish for days. Mac and cheese is one of those meals like chicken
parmesan or your favorite easy
lasagna recipe
that’s always just so good, no matter how old you are or what kind of day you’d
have; a bowl of creamy mac and cheese makes bad days significantly better and kicks good days up to
great. Make this mac and cheese on a lazy Sunday and keep it in the fridge or freezer for nights when
you’re craving a good, quick meal. Enjoy!

Fiery Tomato-Basil Mac and Cheese

Prep Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 ¼ hours
Serves: 16
  • PAM® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
  • 1 16 oz package dry elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 2 14.5 oz Hunt’s® Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup packed fresh sweet basil, chopped
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 5 cups whole milk
  • 4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 ½ cups Italian-style breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Basil leaves for garnish
Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a 15x10-inch (4 quart) casserole dish with cooking spray (or divide up the mixture between 2 smaller dishes, like an 8x8-inch and a 13x9-inch). Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and place in a large bowl. Add undrained tomatoes and basil. Stir to combine and set aside.

For the sauce, melt ½ cup butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour; continue whisking over medium heat 5-6 minutes or until flour mixture is browned. Add salt; gradually whisk in milk until combined. Constantly whisk sauce 10-12 minutes or until it thickens and starts to simmer.
Remove from heat and add cheddar cheese. Gently mix until completely melted. Pour cheese sauce over macaroni dish and stir to combine. Pour into prepared dish (or dishes).

For the topping, combine breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and 4 tablespoons butter. Spoon evenly over the macaroni mixture. Bake 15-20 minutes or until top is golden brown. Garnish with basil leaves if desired.
Author Bio: This is a guest post by Meredith K. on behalf of Hunt’s®. For other easy, family- friendly dinner recipes, from macaroni to easy meatloaf recipes, visit www.hunts.com

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Thanks for sharing, Meredith! Be sure to check out www.hunts.com for more fantastic recipes like 30-Minute Chili or Baked Ziti Casserole.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

CRAFT: Earbud Makeover

Hey all!  I'm back from Florida!  I can't say that I'm refreshed, because I was sick practically the entire time we were down there and couldn't wait to get home and back to my own bed.  However, I did have a blast regardless.  I'm going to do a Disney post soon!  I'll share all my planning tips and tricks, what to wear, put in your purse... all that fun stuff.  


But for now, here's a super super super easy project I did recently.  This was actually at the request of my husband because he hates... I mean absolutely abhors, the feeling of the rubber earbud wires on his neck when he works out.  I came up with this easy, stylish and inexpensive solution.  It's also such a great way to personalize your earbuds!

Boring!

The technique I used was exactly how I use to make friendship bracelets when I was a kid.  (I'm assuming most of you did the same!)

Once you decide to switch colors, just do it as if you're starting from the beginning.  When you reach the volume controls, end the knots with another double knot and begin new on the other side of the volume controls.

I used some man-friendly colors for this one, but if they were my earbuds, you better believe I'd have some neons in there.





 
 
 
 
 
Check out our link party page to see where we link up each week!
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