Wednesday, August 31, 2011

little picasso

my girlfriend's son may not know it yet, but I think he may have a knack for the whole artist thing.

Check out the abstract drawing that appeared in a thank you note from the birthday gift we sent him (he turned 2!);

Does it look like a bird to you??  His mom and I thought so too.  That's what got my idea going... I immediately knew that with just a few tiny tweaks and a color switcheroo, the little man could look like a semi-pro!

All I did was scan the card into my computer, and opened it up in Paint.  There I cropped it down to just the bird-ish drawing and erased two small lines from the original that were distracting from the real flavor of the piece (see how technical I'm getting? haha). 

Then I saved it and opened it up in PowerPoint.  There may be an easier way to do this, but this is the "blue collar" version of making artwork since I don't own Photoshop :).  After I opened it up in PowerPoint, I simply changed the photo to black and white. I had tried to do this step in Paint, but it got a little grainy/distorted when I saved it.  Not so in PowerPoint.  Then I actually printed it onto cardstock from the PowerPoint program, because I was able to resize it to the size more easily there than in Paint for what I needed for my frame.

Ta da! It looks like a neato abstract charcoal bird drawing to me! 

What do you think?  Is he a little picasso or what?  Are your kiddo's doing any artwork that deserves to be matted and framed like this one?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

kitchen + pinterest = ♥

I just can't wait to show you pictures of the kitchen...this past week the chief and father-in-law ceramic-tiled all the counter-tops! A new sink and faucet were installed...along with a few minor details...and it's finally complete!! Please come back next week for my big reveal!!! (like I'm really anybody important that I need to call it a "big reveal") (whatever)...

As I sit surrounded by mountains of pots n pans, snow cone syrup bottles and Home Depot receipts (covered in a film of grout dust)...I type this post...and since next week is going to be soooooo-over-the-top-exciting, i decided to just give you another roundup of my right-now-favorite-pinterest-kitchen ideas that I'm sooooo in love with...

from left to right...starting at top row

from left to right...starting at top row

Next week I'll show you how I incorporated so many of these ideas into my kitchen! 
I'm so excited to show y'all :) love to you sisters...♥

p.s. wanna see what other great ideas I'm dreaming of?

Follow Me on Pinterest
(grab a cup of tea and a couple hours :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Canning your Homemade Salsa...

Homemade Salsa is one of my favorite things during the summer time. It just tastes so fresh and delicious! This year I planted 4 Roma tomato plants and one beefsteak tomato plants in my garden because I wanted to can as much tomato goodness as I could. I have already canned whole Roma tomatoes, roasted tomato sauce and now some chunky salsa. I could not believe how many tomatoes I got from just those 5 plants and there are still tons and tons of tomatoes on my plants!!! Someone should have told me to open up a farm stand at the end of my driveway because I can't keep up! I do love it though!
I found my recipe for Chunky Salsa from Better Homes and Gardens. It is delicious and the perfect combinations of freshness and heat. If you wanted you could always add more or less of the poplano chile peppers or jalapeno peppers to adjust the heat. But what the recipe called for I thought was just right. 

Chunky Salsa:
* 7 pounds ripe tomatoes (about 20 medium) peeled if desired (I didn't peel mine)
* 3 cups seeded and chopped fresh poblano chile pepper (about 10)
* 1/3 cup seeded and chopped fresh jalapeno chile pepper (about 3 large)
* 2 cups chopped onion (2 large)
* 1/2 cup snipped fresh cilantro
* 1 cup vinegar
* 1/2 of a 6 oz can tomato paste
* 5 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 tsp salt
* 1 tsp black pepper

**FYI: Whenever touching or cutting the poblano and jalapeno peppers WEAR GLOVES!!! I am not kidding about this part. It is a must! Otherwise you could really hurt yourself if you touched your eyes or something like that. I wore my rubber kitchen gloves while touching, and cutting them**

While I am cutting my tomatoes I get all my canning supplies ready. I first get all my jars and lids sterilized so that when it comes time to pour the salsa in they are ready to go. See How to sterilize your jars in one of my previous posts.

Step 2: 
Seed, core, and coarsely chop tomatoes (you should have about 14 cups). 
Place tomatoes in a large colander. Let drain for 30 minutes.

Step 3:
Place drained tomatoes in an 8-quart stainless-steel, enamel, or nonstick heavy kettle. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently.

Step 4:
 Add chile peppers, onion, cilantro, vinegar, tomato paste, garlic, salt, 
and black pepper. Return to boiling; reduce heat.
 Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Step 5:
Ladle hot salsa into hot, sterilized pint canning jars, leaving a 1/2 inch head space. Wipe jar rims; adjust lids. Process in a boiling-water canner for 15 minutes (start timing when water returns to boil). Remove jars; Cool overnight. For any jars that do not seal refrigerate and use first. 

 Doesn't this look soo delicious!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Lulu's Sizzlin' Saturday... Flower Power Cupcakes

Lately I've been on a cupcake kick and this week I have decided to add some flower power!

First I frosted vanilla cupcakes with white frosting. Then I cut a bunch of mini marshmallows in half along the diagonal and dipped the sticky side in colored decorating sugar. Then starting from the outside lined the marshmallow halves up in rings on the top of the cupcake. Finally I finished the cupcake off with three colored, chocolate - covered sun flower seads sticking up in the middle.

And the best way to display cupcakes... (well... anything!) rainbow order!!!!

These cupcakes are beautiful but very easy to make!!
For more cute cupcake ideas check out my Cutie Pie Cupcakes!!
Have a super, sizzlin' Saturday!!


Queen Anne's Lace in Color

I grew up in the country, as in fields and cows and not many neighbors. I remember picking Queen Anne's Lace in the field behind our house. My sister and I would fill vases with colored water to place the flowers in so that the white lacy heads would turn color. I saw some Queen Anne's Lace this summer and realized I had never shared this summer activity with my own children. I guess we are more "town folk" now because we actually had to ride our bikes out of our weed-wacked, well mowed neighborhood to find some Queen Anne's Lace!

We filled disposable water bottles with different colored water...going for a rainbow of blossoms. I tried to explain that the color change would be subtle, just a tinge of color. I didn't want the kids to expect bright, brilliant flowers.

The colored water looked so pretty, we were so excited. We waited...a few hours later, no change. The next change. Two days change and some wind picked up and blew all the bottles off the table and all over the deck. Hummm...a rainbow deck? Interesting but not really what I was going for! I couldn't figure out why this didn't work.

Looking at the picture above I can tell why this probably didn't work, I think the stems were way too long. I don't think the water ever made it up to the lace!

Fast forward to try number two...

Smaller vases and shorter stems, way shorter stems. And what do we have here? Is that some color in those lacy flowers? Success.

Have a happy, color filled week!

Linking To...
Join us Saturdays at for
 the weekend wrap up party!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Art Party...

My little girl just turned 5, and I can't believe it! It seems like only 
yesterday I was holding her in my arms for the first time. 
This weekend we gave our little 5 year old an "art" themed birthday party. She keeps telling me that when she grows up she is going to be an artist and live in a house that I build for her in the backyard.... haha... She also thinks she's hilarious! I found lots of awesome ideas for an art party here. I took tons of pictures of everything we did and so I hope it gives you some ideas of your own :)

This was the theme:
Every Child is an Artist. 
The Problem is how to Remain
 an Artist once he Grows up. 

I bought a palate from Joann's and arranged the cupcakes in rainbow colors 
(the brush is a basting brush)

These were my favorite! Edible crayons. I bought the candy chocolate you put into molds, 
melted it and took a short rod pretzel, dipped both ends into the chocolate and let them cool in the fridge. Printed out the crayon printable and taped them around the pretzel.

Art palate cookies:
For these I could not find a cookie cutter anywhere so I
 took an old large heart shaped cookie cutter and bent it into the shape that I wanted.
 (a few minor tools involved like some needle nose pliers) 
Then decorated it with confectionery sugar icing, waited for it to set and then 
dripped/drizzled the other colors (made also from the confectionery sugar icing just with food
coloring added) 

Crayon cutouts:
I did the same thing with the crayon cutouts because again I couldn't find a cookie cutout.
Can you tell I love rainbow's!!

 Next Stop Decorations:
My wonderful father in law painted a chalk board runner for each table.
He took paper, the kind from a roll, spread it out and then painted
chalk board paint on one side. Once it dried the weight of the paint was heavy
enough to keep the runner from rolling up on itself. I put little tins of chalk on the tables 
so the little ones (or big people) could doodle away!!

What a perfect picture (this beautiful house is not mine but my mother in laws)
I have to thank her for having the party at her beautiful home because it's picture perfect...and it has a pool!

My mother in law made the birthday pretty..
Little L was thrilled when she saw all the decorations in her honor!!

These I LOVE: I found this idea while on pinterest and fell in love.
You find whatever color paint swatches you love (mine are rainbow of course)
put two back to back and sew up the three edges. Simple and Awesome!

Art Table:
I decided to do an art table for the little kids. And this is where the favors come into play. I found a bunch of 8x8 canvases at Michael's Craft store and painted them in solid colors (rainbow of course)
I brought them and a small paint roller and tray and white acrylic paint to the party and each child did their hand prints on a painted canvas. They took these home as part of their favor and each child received an apron with their name on it (iron transfers) with a basket that had homemade star crayons inside.

I bought the silicon molds from Michael's, took all my extra crayons and broke them up, put them in the mold and baked until they were melted. Then once they cooled in the fridge (just like candy) They come out of the molds perfectly.. and I love the star shape for little hands!

 Another picture of the favors with the apron..
This way they didn't get paint on their party clothes..

All the kids were so proud of their paintings! 
And we can't forget about the hours spent in that beautiful pool!

What a day.. Little L told me at the end of the day ..." I am officially 5"

Phew! it was exhausting but worth every second! I couldn't have pulled it of without my family!! Thank you all for the wonderful day you helped me and the hubby give to little L! 

A Marvelous Mess

The Girl Creative



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