Monday, June 25, 2012

Bow Clutch - It All Started With A Zipper...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Over Christmas, I visited my grandparents in Seattle, who were getting ready to downsize. I'm pretty sure I inherited my grandma's love for crafting. She is seriously so talented - from painting to sewing and everything in between. That being said, she has collected tons of fabric and crafting materials over the years, and needed to pass some of it along before their move. As much as I wanted to take it all off her hands, there was no way it would fit in our little one bedroom apartment here in Albany. Still, I did end up with some great things - like zippers!

As I was digging through my craft box the other day, I came across this orange zipper. For some reason, I'm really liking orange these days, so I took it out, and started looking around blogland and Pinterest for some inspiration. I found the most adorable clutch ever made by Amanda at Simply Homemade. She is one talented lady!

I followed her fantastic tutorial and made this little clutch on a rainy evening. Super easy and super cute.

For my front and back outer fabric, I started with solid canvas. Using my paper cutter, I cut some blue painters tape into small strips and attached them to my fabric.

Then I used dark blue fabric paint and painted the taped fabric pieces. I didn't soak the fabric with paint because I wanted it to look a little worn.

I removed the tape to reveal striped canvas. Ta-da!

Then I followed Amanda's tutorial to make my clutch. I love how it turned out!



Let me know what you think!

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Baseball, Brewery, Antiques

Thursday, June 21, 2012
After finishing boards, the hubby and I decided we needed a mini vacation from Albany, so we took a day trip to Cooperstown, NY. Let's just say I'm in love. Instead of taking the highway the entire time, we got off early and wove through the hills among the farms. It was so beautiful! The weather was a bit cloudy, but it made all the greenery just pop. I love the early June green that covers every living plant. It's so new and bright and fresh. Incredible.

The town itself is also adorable! Almost everything has a "baseball" flavor since Cooperstown is home to the Baseball Hall of Fame, which was our first stop.

Ichiro (Seattle Mariner) was all over the museum.

One of many NY rings

I'll be honest here. I have never been in love with the game. It's not that I don't enjoy sports, but baseball seems so slow to me, and coming from Seattle, we haven't exactly had the most exciting team to watch. All that to say, Andrew educated me on some of the history as we made our way through the museum and hall of fame, and I definitely have a new found appreciation for the sport!

It was great reading all the stories about dedicated fans, and seeing the pictures of some of the earliest games. In general, I find that knowing more about something gives it more depth and personal meaning. Rather than just seeing baseball as simply a sport, I started to see it encompassing tradition, unity among racial and socioeconomic groups, family bonding, music, food, and so much more.

If you are ever in the area, I definitely recommend taking your time through the historical evolution of baseball while touring the museum!

After the Hall of Fame, we headed to the Ommegang Brewery, just a few miles away. The brewery was fantastic. It is nestled between the hills, and feels like it's in the middle of nowhere, which is perfect. In the summer, they have concerts and camping - definitely a great spot for both!

(Explaining to Andrew how this lens works as we started our tour in the rain!)

Headed inside for some lunch!

The $3 tasting and the free tour were lovely. They also have a great restaurant with the best  fries. I'm seriously drooling as I think about them now. YUM! We'll be back at the brewery in July for a concert. Can't wait!

On our way home, we stopped at this antique shop. It was so big! Tons of neat things. We will definitely be coming back to Cooperstown again!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Simple Dishtowel Makeover

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My favorite towels to dry dishes are those simple flour sack towels you can find at Target or many grocery stores. They cost less than $4 per towel, and they dry dishes like nobody's business.

It's funny how a dish drying towel can make all the difference when cleaning up after a large dinner party, but it drives me nuts when I get stuck using a non-absorbent, yet very decorative towel. You know how it goes... you and a friend (or sister) decide to help cleanup by tackling the dishes. Friend takes washing duty, leaving you with drying duty. Your dish-washing buddy hands you one of a dozen china dinner plates to dry (since they have to be hand washed), and you grab the only towel in sight and start attempting to dry the plate. 

If you're like me, you try and keep up with the washer, which can be a challenge unless they are stuck scrubbing the turkey pan, or something. Anyway, you eagerly start drying that first china plate, but it seems like you're just smearing water around, and yet somehow, you're "drying towel" is soaked and you haven't even finished one plate! By the time you finally manage to get that first plate dry, the washer has completed about ten of the twelve dinner plates... you're behind. 

When this happens to me, all I can think is, "next time, I'm bringing my own drying towel..."

Well, as I mentioned, I love the flour sack towels for drying, but they are solid white in color, which can be boring if you're wanting something more decorative. So, where do I turn when I want to add a graphic to a plain towel? The Graphics Fairy, of course! For this project, I used her lovely oranges image. I decided a bit of color would be nice, and what better image for a dish-drying towel than food!

I opened it up in Photoshop and removed the background. (This isn't really necessary since you will cut out the fruit anyway.) I printed the image onto heat transfer paper made for ink jet printers. You should be able to find this at your local craft store, or online. 

Once printed, I cut out the image, peeled off the backing, and ironed it onto my towel. That's it! Super easy, but a great way to spruce up the best drying towels ever.

I've also used the Citrasolv method to transfer black and white images onto these towels. See this post if you're interested in that technique.

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Sunday Showcase

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Shrimp

Thursday, June 7, 2012
I love finding creative ways to eat those dark green leafy vegetables that are so nutritious, but sometimes not my favorite. Using them in a pasta sauce is a tasty way to enjoy veggies like spinach and kale.  For this recipe, I pulled out my food processor....
I forgot how amazing that thing is! 

I decided to make a spinach-based pesto since I had quite a bit of spinach that needed eating. While spinach pesto often uses walnuts or pine nuts, I didn't have any on hand, but it tasted great without them! Also, I should mention that this isn't your typical "pesto." As you'll see below, I added a few other things... (I take after my mom who is always "doctoring up" her dishes... and they taste incredible because of it!) Feel free to play around with amounts and ingredients. (I added more kale and parsley as I went along.) The recipe is below!


2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 cups fresh spinach
3-4 kale leaves, de-stemmed, torn into 2 inch pieces
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/2 Tablespoon dried basil
3 dollops of sour cream (I used light sour cream)
2 Tablespoons cream cheese
1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese (can use jar parmesan)
Salt to taste
Cooked shrimp - as many or as few as you desire
1 package thin spaghetti pasta, cooked


  1. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat
  2. Saute onion, mushrooms, garlic, lemon pepper, and crushed red pepper until onion is tender.
  3. Place entire mixture into food processor and pulse until coarsely pureed. 
  4. Add spinach, 2 cups at a time and pulse until blended.
  5. Add kale, parsley, and dried basil. Pulse until pureed.
  6. Add sour cream, cream cheese, and parmesan cheese. Pulse until blended. Add salt to taste.
  7. Toss sauce with freshly cooked pasta and shrimp. Pour rest of mixture into jars. Refrigerate for later use.
  8. Garnish with fresh parsley and enjoy!

 Here is the recipe as a JPEG to print. Enjoy!

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