Saturday, August 23, 2014

Recipe: Oh-So-Good Vegetable Soup

Healthy, delicious, and a great freezer food!
As we get closer to school starting up again I've begun to stock my freezer with quick dinner and lunch options.  This vegetable soup is anything but boring, and it is so versatile!  Serve it as a starter, a side, or a main meal.  Light in the summer, comforting during chilly weather, it goes great with sandwiches or on its own.

You can freeze it easily for lunch-size portions or in larger containers for the whole family.  You can add or omit ingredients as you wish, and the recipe is easily adapted to fit vegetarians- just swap out the chicken broth for vegetable broth.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Thrifting Thursday: Tea and Antiques in Petersburg

Today was one of those days where the weather is so perfect that you don't want to go inside.  The sun was shining, it was in the upper-70s, and a light breeze was taking away any hint of humidity.  In short, it was the best one can hope for here in the Richmond area in early August.

I spent my afternoon having a light lunch with friends at a tea house in historic Old Towne Petersburg followed by a stroll through an adjacent antiques shop.  The tea time experience was a full English afternoon tea experience at the Blue Willow Tea Room.  It was complete with scones, sandwiches, soup, and other deliciousness.  It was oh-so-good, and matched the quality of the great company of friends I hadn't seen in about a month.
Blue Willow Tea Room

Friday, July 4, 2014

Taking it All: How to Pack Heavy for a Trip

I know you're reading that title again.  Aren't we supposed to learn to pack light?  Every travel book out there tries to tell you how to live out of the smallest possible suitcase or avoid having to check baggage.  Heck, my own mother told me to pack light as I prepared for my upcoming two-week trip to Germany.  But she also taught me to be prepared for anything.  (As a child I don't think I was allowed to leave the house without a tissue in my pocket.)  As further testament to this, yesterday she reminded me to put a safety pin in my suitcase "because you never know!"

With all that being said, I want to pack heavy for my trip, not light.  I'm not backpacking across Europe; I'm not hauling my bags through the NYC subway.  There are wheels on suitcases and weight limits on airlines for a reason, guys, and that reason is people like me.  I'm going to show you how I packed my clothes for a two-plus week trip that requires me to have casual, work-casual, and professional clothing; is both a sightseeing and work focused trip; and in a way that still allows me room to bring home some souvenirs.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Cheap Date Night: Ninth Wedding Anniversary

9th anniversary - pottery
I don't know how many couples still cling to the traditional wedding anniversary gifts, but my husband and I find that exchanging traditional gifts is both fun and challenging.  It causes us to really think about how to fit together the yearly theme and the personality of our spouse.  This year we celebrated our ninth wedding anniversary together, which is pottery.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

DIY Ombre Throw Pillow

One Red Shoe's Tutorial for creating an ombre pillow using Rit dye

I'm always on the lookout for inexpensive throw pillows- as well as ways to update the ones I find in bargain bins while thrifting.  (If you don't believe me, check out how my piped-edge pillow and ruffle pillow got their starts.)

Recently I found a pretty white pillow for a dollar at the thrift store.  I thought it was nice, but the white was too much for my family room, which has blues in it.  So I handed over my George Washington and splurged on a bottle of Rit dye and a teeny spray bottle at the Michael's.

I wanted to dye the pillow, but didn't want to dunk the whole pillow into Rit.  It didn't have a removable cover, and I could imagine the problems that could come from soaking the pillow in stainable liquid and then trying to create an ombre effect.  Disaster!  So here's how I accomplished the look with minimal mess (and how you can recreate this project for yourself):

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Refashioning a Cat Sweater: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

 Making a cat sweater from an old sweater

There is a tad bit of embarrassment in writing this post.  On one hand, I feel a bit accomplished for knocking out a sweater refashion in under an hour.  On the other, I made a couple big rookie mistakes that affected the final product.  I blame the wine.

In any case, I wanted to show you the kitty sweater outcome so that you can use it to create you own refashioned pet sweater - yes, dog owners, it will work for Fido as well.  At the same time, I'm going to point out my mistakes so that you can avoid doing them.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Recipe: Homemade Toaster Pastries

Delicious, easy, homemade pop tarts
I know that baking often times takes a secondary place in the kitchen.  All of us are busy- I understand. And for me, cooking trumps baking every time.  Something about not eating cake for breakfast (what did Bill Cosby say about that again???).

Sometimes, though, we just want to create something a bit special while at the same time getting in and out of the kitchen as quickly as possible.  That's where this recipe comes in!

Cue the music for homemade pop tarts.  And yes, they're soooo much better than the original toaster pastries you buy in the freezer section.  And yes, you're going to have to give up discus throwing, since you may give up buying the hard aerodynamic ones in the box in the cereal isle.  If you have your pie crust already made an in the fridge or freezer, it's just as easy as taking it out and getting started!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Tutorial: How to Resize Your Jeans to Make them Skinnier

Tutorial on how to take in your jeans

Today I tackled that dreaded sewing project- trying to make a pair of pants actually fit.  A while back (June, 2012, actually) I found a great pair of Lucky Brand jeans on sale for only $20- brand new.  Since that time, I've stopped wearing them much.  They seem too big for me (I can only think that I was a few pounds heavier when I bought them) and the style of the legs is a bit too wide in today's skinny jeans market.

Now I'm not a skinny jeans type of person.  My body type dictates that I DON'T taper my pants at my ankle; I always need a bit of a boot or straight cut down at the feet.  But these jeans had too much material even at the thighs, which just made me feel two decades older and fifteen pounds heavier.

I've seen lots of skinny jeans refashions online, but I don't like the way that many of them are done.  The idea of just pinching the material along the sides and then sewing up the edges often times leads to twisty pants legs, and I didn't want that.  I also needed to re-fit the pants starting almost up at the hips.  So here is a tutorial to help you take your jeans in a size or two, while still keeping the fabric true to grain so the legs won't twist.  This takes longer than just making a new, quick seam, but ultimately will look more professional.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Bleached Tee, Doctor Who Style

Dalek Shirt

This tee is a Whovian's dream.  In fact, I can't take credit for making it.  My son actually is the creator of this Dalek work of art.  He had a girl at school who saw the Don't Blink! shirt we made for him (see it here), and she wanted him to make one for her.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

One Last Christmas Post- Felt Ornaments For All!

So I'm a little behind on my posting, mostly because I did an enormous amount of creating and crafting over the last few weeks and have not sat down to write.  Also, many of the things I created were intended as Christmas gifts.  Can't show those before they're opened (awkward)!

So in the spirit of the banana ornaments, I also made felt ornaments for both my husband and my son.  The relevancy to others may be slight, but I want to brag.  My family loved them and I think they turned out well.  So sorry, reader.  You're stuck looking at my family's silly ornaments.
John Egbert Homestuck Christmas Ornament

The first one was created for my son, who is an avid reader of the Homestuck web comic.  The main character, John Egbert, has a tee shirt with this little guy on the front.  It's one of his most recognizable features.  My son even has the same shirt (he was John Egbert this past Halloween).

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