Painted Pumpkins

I have been a pumpkin carver my entire life. No, my pumpkins were never spectacular, but they were fun and my own.

I remember as a kid we would pick out our pumpkins (usually at Target, no big pumpkin patch or anything). But then my dad would lay out a big beach blanket on our living room floor and my sisters and I would set out to make the greatest pumpkins. Usually we enlisted dad to scoop out the bulk of the seeds, as we were never fans of the gooey stuff. And every year we each came up with a fun new face/design and displayed our works of art on the front porch until they molded away. 

Then came college, and my friends and I decided we still needed to carve pumpkins. We would all get together and head out to the pumpkin patch, run through the corn maze and search the lot for out ideal pumpkin. Some looked for the biggest, some the best stem, some the smoothest skin, whatever the characteristic we searched high and low (mostly low) until we found the best pumpkin. And of course like any college adventure we made sure to take a TON of pictures. I think Charlie Brown would be proud.
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Well this year I haven’t been to the pumpkin patch, and I haven’t carved any pumpkins (yet). But I did help my godmother with her daughter’s wedding decorations…which you guessed it, included pumpkins. What we did for these pumpkins was a bit different. First we spray painted them so we had different colored pumpkins. Then we grabbed the puffy painted and started dotting away to make lovely swirls and designs. Here’s my favorite: IMG_1546

To make these super simple, unique and pretty pumpkins all your really need is puff paint and pumpkins! Then just squeeze the paint into dots in what ever shape, design or words you want. I took 4 of the pumpkins after the wedding and today the boyfriend is coming over and we’re going to carve two of them. 🙂

The lot of them.

The lot of them.

My tall skinny one.

My tall skinny one.

A nice round pumpkin.

A nice round pumpkin.

Tile Table

My sister gave me her old patio furniture when I moved into my apartment that had a patio. And of course I decided the nice white table needed to be spiced up a bit. Having helped me mom (rather, watched my mom and sister) tile our kitchen floor when I was like 12 I had some idea what to do, and of course this wonderful post helped quite a bit too. This post gave very thorough directions, but here’s the alterations I made while making my table.

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First part: Sand the table
I tried, but my arm and the measly piece of sandpaper were no match for this professionally painted and finished table. So I ended up taking a razor blade to it and calling it “sanded”.

Step 2: Determine how you want you tiles laid out and make any necessary marks.
I had a large mosaic type tile I was putting in the middle, so I marked where it would be so I could attach the outside tiles first.

Step 3: Apply Adhesive, I used a premixed adhesive.

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Step 4: Place tiles, separating with tile spacers.
(I got creative and cut up straws as my spacers. I also applied my outside tiles first. Here is where I made a slight mistake. My table was smaller then the space I needed for the size tiles I had, so my tiles all hung over the edge about .5-1 inch. I just went with it, in retrospect I should have thought this through better. This would have been better executed had I bought a piece of wood the size I actually needed the table top to be, and attached it to the original.)

Step 5: Remove excess adhesive with a sponge or towel.

Step 6: Let it dry. I broke up the project over two weekends, so mine dried for several days.

Step 7: Grout it. For this you need a lot of grout, apply heavily.

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Step 8: Clean up the grout. Then use a sponge to remove the excess and smooth it out. It works best with a clean damp sponge. I filled a bucket with water to rinse, as you don’t want the grout building up on the sponge. I found that I had to do this several times in some spots to get an even layer of grout. Make sure to remove grout completely from the tops of tiles. Let dry before using. (I let mine sit for a few days, but the grout you use should say how long it needs to dry)

Step 9: Enjoy your masterpiece!!!

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A few words to the wise: Make sure your original surface is large enough (see step 4) for the tiles to completely rest on. Mine was not and my tiles hung off about an inch on all sides. I thought this would be fine. And in all reality it was…until it was time to move. In my move almost all of the white surrounding tiles broke off. It was a bit sad, but I enjoyed the table while I had it. I have now given the table to my best friend for her new apartment, even though it is missing all the white tiles. The bright side now she can enjoy whatever project she decides to try on this neat little table.

Valentine’s Day

I know this post is waaay last season but hey, there’s always next year right? This past Valentine’s Day my boyfriend and I were doing long distance. I wanted to do something that was cute, fun and relatively easy to ship.

These customizable sweetheart cookies were just what I was looking for. I personally find regular sugar cookies to be boring and funfetti is my absolute favorite. Luckily I was able to find this recipe to make cake mix into shape cookie dough. I followed this wonderful royal icing guide, and employed the help of my bake savvy roomie.

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The only downside to these cookies is they were a multi-step process and ended up taking me several hours to finish. However I did enjoy getting to think of classic, funny, and personal cookie sayings.

Classic

Classic

Personalized

Personalized

Once I finished making the cookies, I packaged them up all cute in this little paint can like container, added a ribbon and headed to the post office.

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I also made this super cute card. All it took was:
Black Card-stock
Red Card-stock
adhesive
Cuttlebug with Disney cartridges
and obviously loving words

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The boyfriend loved the cookies and appreciated the card. So I’d have to say this was a pretty successful Valentine’s Day. 🙂

Pear Sauce

What do you do when you buy really good pears from Costco but only manage to eat half of them before they are too mushy to eat?

You make pear sauce!!!

What is pear sauce you ask? Well when I first heard “pear sauce” I thought of a sweet dessert sauce. Then I read the recipe and found it was actually just like the bowl of apple sauce I was coincidentally consuming while pondering how to use my overripe pears.

So I made some…and it was super easy! It also made my apartment smell quite nice.

I used this recipe as a guide.
My adjustments were:

    ~Mash with a potato masher and cut the boiling time to 7-10 minutes (however my pears were extra ripe so a longer time would probably be needed for less ripe pears)
    ~Omit the sugar-pears are plenty sweet enough on their own
    ~Add a bit of cinnamon (about 1-2 tsp for 5 large pears)

Now you’re probably wondering what to do with all this pear sauce. Well I have a few ideas:

    ~Add it into oatmeal as a natural sweetener
    ~Put a thin coat on an english muffin (I just bought some pumpkin spice english muffins, I think the sauce would be a nice spread for them.)
    ~Eat it cold in a bowl (with extra cinnamon)
    ~Warm it up and drizzle it over a bowl of vanilla ice cream

How would you eat your pear sauce?

Wonton Paper Madness!!!

This summer I finally got to try my hand at making different wonton type finger foods. Two of my old roomies came over and we made our entire meal using wonton wrappers and various fillings.

Appetizer Wontons

    Mozzarella Cheese
    Spinach and Cheese

Main Course

    Mix of spinach, carrots, onion and chicken: delicious dipped in soy sauce and siracha sauce.

Dessert

    Chocolate Strawberry
    Chocolate Peanut Butter
    (topped with powdered sugar of course)

These were all absolutely delicious. Our favorite appetizer was the spinach and cheese wontons. The main course was perfect. The desserts were also wonderful, but we were unable to agree upon a favorite.

For the appetizers and the main course we fried them in a pan with just a bit of olive oil. However, for the desserts we dropped them in hot oil and deep fried them. As you can see in the pictures we wrapped some like wontons and some like ravioli. The wrapping shape is really a preference but it was sometimes easier to wrap like a ravioli when you added a little too much stuffing.

Speaking of stuffing when using cheese fill to the brim because the cheese will melt and then they end up seeming a bit empty. All in all I’d say it was an incredibly successful meal.

Ooey Gooey Deliciousness

Next time I think I will try a taco inspired main course with diced apples and cinnamon sugar for dessert.

Leprechauns and Rainbows

Well this is a long overdue post, but hey better late then never right?

My roommate is slightly obsessed with Ireland, so she decided she wanted an Ireland themed party. So we whipped out the Jameson, anything and everything green and some good ol’ Dropkick Murphy jams and had a killer celebration.

Being the shortest person amongst my group of friends I found it absolutely necessary to dress up as a leprechaun.

But the real purpose of this post…our Irish themed birthday desserts! There was both Irish car bomb cupcakes (how cool does that sound?) and of course the Leprechaun ensured that there were rainbow cupcakes!

First: Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

All the Cupcakes


These were good in theory, but seeing as how most of us don’t like whiskey they weren’t that great in practice. However the few people that did like whiskey thoroughly enjoyed them. Now I didn’t make these and have no idea what recipe they used. But basically there is Guinness in the cake mike, Jameson in the ganache filling and Bailey’s in the frosting. The cake and the frosting were delicious, it was the ganache filling that I didn’t like. In fact the Bailey’s frosting was really really good!

Second: Rainbow Cakes
These I did make! I used a box of Pillsbury Funfetti cake mix (because we all know this is the ultimate birthday cake mix).


1. Seperate cake mix into 6 small bowls.
2. Dye each bowl a different color of the rainbow
3. Transfer first color (purple) into a piping bag. Or, if you are cool like me a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off.
4. Pipe some of that color into each cupcake paper. (Start by adding a little and then going back and adding more if you have extra of the color. I found that there was not as much mix of each color as I had anticipated, and therefore some of my cupcakes seem to be missing a layer of the rainbow)
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for all six colors.
6. Bake as directed.
7. Let cool and then Frost! (I frosted mine white and orange in order to complete our cupcake flag, but you could also make the cupcake 5 of the 6 rainbow colors and have the frosting be the final color.)
8. Share and Enjoy!

Beautiful and Delicious

PB&J-adilla

What is a PB&J-adilla you might ask…well let me tell you. It is simply a tortilla with peanut butter and jelly in it and grilled like a quesadilla. Let me also tell you it is wonderfully fabulous and everyone should try one for lunch (or dinner or breakfast) one of these days.


This is one of my new favorite lunches, the oozy warm peanut butter and sweet jelly…I don’t know why I didn’t think of making one sooner. Today I also added banana…which was a wonderful decision.

4th of July

Although I had to miss my Aunt’s annual 3rd of July party, this was one of the best 4th of July’s I’ve had. I started my day off by painting my nails red white and blue! Then I went about painting some festive shorts
and making some scrumptious desserts for a BBQ with friends. After our BBQ we went down the beach to enjoy live music and one of the best firework shows I have ever seen. I am not kidding you these fireworks were fabulous. They had music playing during the show that related to America or fireworks (ie Katy Perry’s Firework), and we were so close to the fireworks that you could feel them bursting in your chest…it was phenomenal.

Now the pictures of my nails were horrible but lets just say they were cute. (I received a lot of complements to back this fact up.) Each nail was red white and blue striped. And my toes were alternating solid red and blue.

The Shorts on the other hand I not only remembered to take pictures of but the pictures are also blog-worthy…unlike my fingernails.

Stars and Stripes

The Back

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The Truth of My Summer

I knew that my summer was going to be busy, but I for some reason thought I would be able to find an afternoon or two each week to work on some random craft…clearly that hasn’t been the case. I did however find time to do some shopping, hang out with family and friends and unpack most of my boxes, and well I guess those are a bit more important.

Last weekend however I was able to make these beautiful wine glasses for my friends 21st bday. I had originally planned to just make them all gold or silver because that is the color glitter I had. However I was lucky enough to be visiting my sister. She has every craft supply you could possibly imagine and therefore I had like 15 colors of glitter to choose from.

Before

After

This was a super easy project and didn’t take long at all (as long as you don’t count drying time).
Helpful Hing: Use a thick layer of mod-podge. This allows for more glitter to stick giving a nice even layer of glitter.

Summer on the Horizon

Books on Books!

Well it’s finals week and so inevitably I am having crazy urges to do anything, anything but study. But low and behold I need to study. Luckily I got to return my books from my research paper this morning…and man was that a HUGE weight lifted from my shoulders. Literally…look at this stack of books I accumulated over the quarter.

With summer right around the corner I can’t help but think of all the fun things I want to do. Although as much as I like to think of summer as being three months of free time and beach adventures…my summers are never actually like that. This summer I am taking an MCAT class, and working two jobs. Needless to say I won’t have hours and hours of free time.

However I do have a list of crafts which I hope to conquer this summer.

1. Glitter Heels


I have the glitter, I have the mod podge, now I just need to know where my favorite black heels are hiding. Any ideas?

2. Hula Hoop Chandelier

This is going to make my room next year look amazing!(super excited :O)

3. Ottoman

I have the odd desire to be handy with wood. This will be my first
go at it. I plan on making mine square rather then round; and it should at
least partially solve my shoe storage dilemma.

4. Finish up my bath towels.
This is a project I started last summer with my roommate. I definitely need to finish them so we have more than one towel decorating our bathroom.

5. Bowling Shoe Redo
I have recently acquired a pair of bowling shoes, and I can’t wait to
personalize them. I am thinking some glitter and neon paint is in my
future. 😉

7. Decorate my Own mugs

So this is a super easy project. One of my friends just made some personalized plates as a gift, they turned out wonderful and I am eager to make my own.

6. And maybe add some color to my hair!

There are also some sure to be yummy foods that I would like to make.

1. Girl Scout Samoas Copycat Cookies
2. My Dad’s Famous Spaghetti Sauce
3. Egg Rolls/Veggie Spring Rolls (and anything using rice paper or wonton wrappers)
4. Sangria
5. P.F. Chang’s Copycat Lettuce Wraps
6. Sirracha Salt
7. Chocolate Dipped Jalapenos (my bookmark for this seems to have gone missing, but I think I can wing it)

These are just a few of my ever growing “I should Try This Recipe” list, which is good because believe it or not, I eat everyday.