Monday, June 28, 2010

DIY Topiaries

I bought some containers FOREVER ago at Michael's in their clearance section. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them at the time but something inside me screamed "grab them...grab them now, you fool!", so I did. I find more often then not that I am a total impulse buyer and then once I have the "subject" at home I determine what it's fate will be.

Sorry about the poor picture, I completely forgot to take a "before" picture of the containers until I was 98% done putting my first coat of spray paint on.

I put two coats of black spray paint on the containers and then let them completely dry for 24 hours.

While they were drying I started making my topiaries. First I had two stems of flowers from last summer. I had a great plan to make my own hair piece/jewelry for the wedding.

The first flower was too cream colored and would look awful against my white dress.

The second flower I thought would be perfect until I got it home as well and realized that it was too yellow looking in the middle and it just wouldn't do. So needless to say, I have had these flowers in my craft box for almost a year and wasn't sure if I would ever use them. I'm glad I found a use though because I was tired of going into that room and seeing them in the corner, staring at me and making me feel bad that I had wasted time, effort and money on that project.

Anyway, I cut the stems to the desired height I wanted and removed the floral heads and the leaves on the stems. The stems, themselves, are not identical but I doubt anyone would notice. I then stuffed a styrofoam ball onto each stem and then hot glued it, for extra stability.

Then I proceeded to cut off the ivy leaves from the sprigs that I purchased (also at Michaels).

Then I turned the stem upside down, so that the ball was on the bottom and started at the part where the stem was hot glued into the ball and just hot glued the ivy leaves around. I followed a circular motion and used the larger leaves first and then filled in the gaps with the smaller leaves.

I then took some styrofoam that I have in the shape of blocks and cut one in half. Then stuffed each piece into the bottom of the, now completely dry since it's been a whole 24 hrs, tins.

Then I pushed the stemmed topiaries into the foam in the tins and it was still missing something. Hmmm, what could jazz this up some?!?!

Excelsior, baby!! Heck ya! Not only will it cover the funky foam in the tin (very functional) but it will also spruce it up and take these beauties to a whole other level.

I love it!!! And since I was not blessed with a green thumb, I can still have my "green plants" year around and not have to lift a finger. These lovelies are going to work with me and will reside in my office.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fun at LL's Farmers Market

Two posts in one day; who is this nutty woman!!! I went to the Liberty Lake's Farmers Market again yesterday with two very good friends of mine. We met at their house and walked over the bike trail that goes over the freeway into the heart of Liberty Lake.

I had one thing on my mind this time...the crepe lady! I am telling you she makes the most light, airy, delicate little crepes ever. Their booth is hoppin all day long and with over 9 different types to choose from it is sure to keep the masses coming back for more.

That is her booth, the first on the right with the green top. It's right next to the wonderful herb/plant section from Kettle Falls. Anyway back to the star of the market...the crepe. My friend chose Red and Black berry crepe which looked amazing but I wanted something more rich and decadent. I chose the Dark Chocolate and Bavarian creme crepe.

OMG!!! I have literally died and gone to heaven. The bavarian goodness is inside and as you can see the crepe is swimming in the dark chocolate. Mmmmmm! Just looking at the picture is making my tastebuds stand up and my mouth salivate.

There is so many wonderful booths at the Farmers Market and the live music yesterday was phenomenal. Here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure. I was enamored with the florals this trip, as you will see by the pictures below.

See that hanging basket-$25.00!! I know, crazy cheap!!!

Stargazer lillies-$7.00 per bucket! Insane!!

Summer is here and attending the Farmers Market on a Saturday morning sure kicks starts the weekend and puts me in a fantastic mood. I highly recommend stopping into our neck of the woods for a good ol' fashioned farmers market. You will not leave disappointed; I can guarantee that.

Cherry Cheesecake Trifle

Oh I am in creamy, dreamy heaven! This recipe is rockstar!! On Memorial Day, The Hubs and I went to a friends house and the hostess (Katie West @ Pampered Chef) made this delish treat. You can find put about all of the products and tips right here. This dessert was so incredibly good that I went back for seconds...shhh! Okay, who am I kidding; I would go back for seconds on a ton of desserts. I am a crazy, sugar fanatic that would probably hook up an IV of sugar straight to her veins if she could. Can they do that?!?!  :)

Anyway we had a BBQ at work Firday, which means potluck! Woohoo! I knew what I wanted to make! Below is the original recipe but I will show you what Katie did, which is also how I made it.

Strawberry Cream Trifle-----------------------
Ingredients:1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 pkg (10.75 oz) frozen pound cake, thawed
1 qt. fresh strawberries
1 container (16 oz) frozen sliced strawberries in syrup, thawed
1 lemon
3 containers (8 oz each) blended strawberry yogurt
1 pkg (3.4 oz) cheesecake instant pudding and pie filling
1 container (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided
Powdered sugar

Directions:1. Coarsely chop almonds using Food Chopper. Cut pound cake into 1-in. cubes using Color Coated Bread Knife; set aside. Set aside one strawberry for garnish. Hull remaining strawberries and cut into quarters. In Classic Batter Bowl, combine fresh and frozen strawberries; mix well.

2. Juice lemon using Juicer to measure 2 tbsp juice. In Stainless (4-qt.) Mixing Bowl, whisk lemon juice, yogurt and pudding mix until smooth using Stainless Whisk; immediately fold in 1 cup of the whipped topping.

3. To assemble trifle, place one-third of the pound cake cubes into bottom of Trifle Bowl. Top pound cake with one-third of the strawberry mixture. Top with half of the yogurt mixture, spreading evenly. Sprinkle with one-third of the almonds. Repeat layers one time. Top with remaining pound cake cubes and remaining strawberry mixture.

4. To garnish, spread remaining whipped topping over top of trifle, forming a flat surface using Small Spreader. Sprinkle remaining almonds over whipped topping. Sprinkle with powdered sugar using Flour/Sugar Shaker. Create strawberry fan with reserved strawberry; place into center of trifle.

Yield: 12 servings Nutrients per serving: Calories 290, Total Fat 10 g, Saturated Fat 6 g, Cholesterol 40 mg, Carbohydrate 44 g, Protein 5 g, Sodium 240 mg, Fiber 2 g
Cook's Tip: To toast almonds, place almonds into Small Micro-Cooker(R); microwave on HIGH 1-2 minutes or until golden brown, stirring after each 30-second interval. Cool completely.

Katies's version (if you ask me is WAY easier):
1 package of angel food cake (or you can make your own from a box/scratch)
1 container of Cool Whip
1 package of cheesecake pudding & pie filling
1 can of cherry pie filling

You will mix the cool whip with the cheesecake pudding before making your layers.

Angel food cake, cut into bite size pieces

A layer of cake, pudding and pie filling! YUM!

It's super easy; you just do one layer of angel food cake, then pudding on top and then cherry pie filling on top of that. Then you repeat until all ingredients are gone or until the trifle bowl is filled. I promise you this, if you make this for the next family gathering or company picnic you will be a Domestic Diva! Okay, maybe no one will give you that 'official' title but with all the accolades you will recieve you will know that you are. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A fabulous giveaway at TDC!!!

Okay folks, Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick is having another FAB giveaway. You don't want to miss this one, I can promise you that so hurry on over to her site (here) and check it out!!! There is a total of 5 ways to be entered to win this amazing prize.


While you are there at her site, stay awhile and snoop. She is absolutely amazing and has tremendous amounts of tips and tools for every project, while keeping the pocketbook in check (hence her name). She was the reason I got into blogging; she is creative, witty, has her own fun lingo (luuurve!) and is super duper nice.

On another note, I hope to be back later tonight with a tutorial on how I am making my own topiaries. We have softball tonight so I can't make any promises that I will actually post it tonight for your viewing pleasure but I will try my darnest. And tomorrow is a potluck at work; wait till you see this easy peasy recipe I have planned.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

Good Sunday Morning to ya'll and Happy Father's Day to every man who is a father or going to be a father. It is important to celebrate your dads; they had a tremendous part in raising us, they were always the strong ones (who looked for boogey mans under the bed, killed those spiders or helped move all of your belongings into your own place) and they have an incredible amount of wisdom just waiting for the day their kids asked them a question. Hats off to you guys; the strong, the brave and the ever loving men in our lives.

This morning I decided to celebrate Father's Day with my husband. He isn't a father to any children yet (he will be amazing!) but he is a father figure in the lives of our animals so he too needs to be celebrated. I made a PG&B Frittata (Potatoe, Green Pepper and Bacon Frittata). This recipe can easily be adapted to any one's preference. There are so many options with substitutions so try it out and see what works best for your family.

1 tbsp of olive oil
1 C frozen hash browns
1 C chopped green pepper (about 1 small pepper)
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of black pepper
3 large eggs
4 large egg whites
3-4 slices of bacon, chopped
1/4 C cheddar cheese

Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add hash browns, green pepper, oregano, salt and black pepper. Cook, while stirring occasionally, until the veggies are softened; or about 5-6 minutes.

While those are cooking, place bacon on another skillet or griddle and cook until crispy. Then lightly beat the eggs and egg whites in a medium bowl. Reduce the heat on the hash brown mix to medium and add the bacon. Then pour the egg mix over the entire hashbrown/bacon mix evenly and let cook for about 3 minutes. Lift the frittata up every now and then to make sure all the egg mix seeps down to the bottom and cooks.

Sprinkle the cheddar cheese evenly over the frittata. Reduce to low and cook until the cheese is melted. Cut the frittata and enjoy your breakfast.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Fire it up!

I found a project on Better Homes and Gardens about building your own tabletop fire pit. You won't believe the amount of time I have spent scouring Spokane for the 13-ounce cans of clean-burning gel-alcohol fuel. Home Depot-nope, Lowes-nope; General Store, Big R and Cabela's I also struck out with. I then called Ace Hardware and I thought that I had found my match but when I got there they only had 7 oz cans and I needed 13 oz; this was proving to be a lot harder than I had anticipated. You can easily order this stuff, in the correct size, online at like Amazon but I certainly do not need to buy in bulk and besides I like instant gratification. You know, the kind you get from actually going to the store, seeing the product live and touching it while debating if it will actually work.

What you will need for this project:

  • a 10 inch pot; you can go as simple or extravagant as you want

ha ha, my little helper, Maude, is close by in case something goes tiddlywinks. I see you Maude, well your foot anyway!

  • a can of gel fuel

  • Rock, although I am sure you can use sea glass (that would be gorg!) or sand

First I emptied 2 of the 6 bags of Dollar Store rock into the pot. Then I placed the can of gel fuel on top. I was hoping this was going to work and the can would be stable enough in the pot. This stuff, the gel fuel, is highly flammable and stuff you just don't want to fuss with a whole lot. Once I thought the can was "centered" in the pot, I held it in place and started grabbing handfuls of rock and placed them around the can until it reached the rim. I actually only used 4 1/2 bags of my rock, leaving me rock for something else; maybe an accessory inside a bowl or a glass hurricane vase.

I lit the fuel and it worked but because it was so incredibly sunshine-y and beautiful outside (praise the lord-we need a little happy) you can't really see the flame. The Hubs and I are going to test it again later tonight; maybe a romantic dinner for 3 (yes 3-Maude, our Saint Bernard, will be included) on the deck.

This project was super-duper easy (aside from finding gel fuel) and it only took about 10 minutes to assemble and about $28.00 put of pocket. I'm looking forward to many dinners on the deck with our new "fire pit".

Added Note: I knew that ya'll would want to see this lit so I took a couple pic's last night to show you. It's pretty cool. The Hubs and I sat on our deck, with this lit, and watched the lightening storm. It was a great ending to a great day! *sorry the pics are so dark; it was difficult at best trying to shoot this at 10:30pm with no light.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Phase One-Deck: Flowers

Hi there! My project this weekend was to get flowers into the planter boxes that The Hubs built for our back deck.

For this project I enlisted the help of my mom. I don't know anything about plants except for the ones that I like and think are pretty. The Hubs and I received a gift card for a nursery for the wedding last year from his aunts (THANK YOU!) and he insisted that I go and look for plants. My mom and I probably spent a good hour or so at the nursery looking at every plant and smelling all the herbs. Of course most of the flowers I liked were annuals (very discouraging); The Hubs and I don't want to have to plant these boxes every year so we knew we needed perennials. I picked up a few flowers and then my mom said she had some seed and some flowers at her house that she would give me. Score!

Here are a few flowers/plants I got at the nursery:

  • snap dragons
  • dianthus
  • sweet basil ( I know basil isn't a perrenial but I wanted some herbs this summer)
First we filled the boxes with dirt that we dug up for the sprinkler system (this will be on another post soon, I hope). Then we began thinking of placement. We did the same "design" for each of the (4) boxes by the stairs and the box opposite of the staircase on the west side of the deck. Then we mirrored the same "design" for the boxes on the two corners. There are still two boxes (closest to the house) that are empty but we plan to do something totally different with those.

Also there are some more plants coming from my mom. I believe some creeping Jenny for the corner boxes. I am not sure what else she will be giving me but she is the expert in this scenario. I don't know a thing about planting and it was evident yesterday working beside her. I think my worst enemy is watering; I drowned the plants yesterday-ooops. They looked so sickly from being in the sun and transplanting and I didn't know any better. Good thing is Mom said I didn't kill them and then showed me the proper way to water.

Phase one is almost complete, just need a few more plants/flowers to fill in a couple gaps. Phase two is building benches between the planter boxes for additional seating. Summer is almost here and we are incredibly excited to use our deck more frequently!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Farm Chicks Show plus Farm Chicks Recipe

Holy cow!!! The Farm Chicks Show did not disappoint, folks! We arrived at about 10:30AM and the line was from the front gates, through the parking lot and a quarter of the way down Havana St.

When we finally got in I was on sensory overload; it was like my wires cross-connected, shorted and fried my brain. There was so much to see, almost too much to see, and the booths were decorated fabulously. These vendors pulled out all the stops. I know I promised pictures but there was just too much stuff to see, too many people to manuever around and to be totally honest I forgot about pictures until we were almost finished.

I did take one...I was trying to wrap my head around the GIGANTIC letters and thinking of a way to take one home without The Hubs noticing. Sadly, I left without because I knew that I would catch H-E (double hockey stick) for making that purchase.

The Farm Chicks Show is still open tomorrow as well; I highly recommend taking in all the sights. I'm not sure if these folks will be there tomorrow but Country Living Magazine (squeal!!!) was handing out their June issue AND they were giving autographs!

Our copies were signed by the Assistant Editor, Jourdan Crouch. There wasn't much time for chit chat seeing as there were so many wonderful women waiting for their copy as well but we did learn that she hails from Kentucky but is currently residing in New York. Oh what a dream!

Like last weekend, this morning I hit up the Liberty Lake Farmers Market and purchased some wonderful foccacia bread ($4.75) and a bundle of rhubarb ($2.00). I have been craving Strawberry Rhubarb Pie for what seems like ever and today was the day to feed that craving, literally.

As I prepared to make the pie I remembered that The Farm Chicks have a wonderful Rhubarb Crunch recipe here and what better way to honor their show this weekend then make one of their recipes. However, instead of 4 cups of rhubarb I put in 2 cups of rhubarb and also 2 cups of strawberries.

Our house smells so incredibly delicious right now. I love the smell of baked goods; I wish our home could smell like this 24/7! I will have a small, okay maybe a medium large size, helping tonight but the remainder will be sent to the in-laws. I'm sure they will love it, at least I hope so! Okay, maybe not so much that it's probably an incredible amount of calories or that it's possible the FIL will go into a sugar coma (not really, just kidding) but they won't be able to argue the heavenly taste.

I hope everyone has a scrumdiddlyumptious weekend!!!