Wednesday, July 27, 2011

DIY Wednesday {Anniversary Edition}

The long & the short of it is this: we needed more lighting.  During the day our house is great, the two large windows at either side of the room let in so much natural light that I don't ever have to switch on a lamp or overhead lighting.  But at night, it's a different story--we can't seem to get enough light, even when we turn on all available lights & lamps.  

We celebrated our anniversary a week ago & I expressed to Ben in that time how much I wanted a good overhead light source that would create ambient lighting in the room & also be cohesive with the decor we have going on.  Being the sweet & resourceful husband that he is, he convinced me that we could make it ourselves!

We did our homework, bought the supplies & went to town.  I already had an idea in my head of what I wanted & good thing we decided we could make it ourselves because I really haven't seen anything quite like what my little brain was imaging on the market.  I have seen some similar things, but they are uber expensive...and well, you know how we roll when it comes to house stuff.  

And here you have it: the final result & the BEST anniversary gift EVER!

i spy a little bob head :)

Just an aside, our overhead lamp actually plugs into a wall outlet..thus you can see we have rope, braided with electrical cord that drapes down the ceiling & wall & plugs right into the wall.  Logistically, it was something we had to do, but I actually think we improved upon our plan by making it corded---I LOVE the draping rope!

And that's what we made ourselves for our anniversary!

Nothing better than a little blood, sweat & tears to say I love you.  (ok, there was no blood involved...nor tears.  but sweat, yes.)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Low Fat Decadent Whole Wheat Chocolate Cake

While my family was here, I had to take them to one of my favorite places in town, a local flea market, where you can find me burrowing around most days of the week.  It's addicting. I may or may not have gotten my neighbor hooked also so we may be calling for some intervention soon.

On to the real excitement, while scavenging, I came upon this really neat Lincoln Beautyware Cake Tin.     

Awesome, right?  And perfect for our kitchen which bleeds right into our living & dining room, so everything can be all matchy matchy & happy together.

Being that I found this lovely, I had to make cake.  Right away.

My cake pictures are not that pretty, but trust me & the 4 other witnesses who ate it.  It was delish.  
Ben has already decided it will become his new birthday cake.

The best part?  No butter or oil & you can't even tell!

Ok, so here goes it.

What you'll need:

1cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup raw sugar
6 TBSP cocoa *unsweetened or dark chocolate
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 egg
1 cup frozen cool whip, thawed
4 oz reduced fat cream cheese
1/4 cup dark chocolate pieces

How to make:
Preheat oven to 350* Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
In a blender combine water, egg & blueberries. Add mixture to the flour mix. Whisk until combined. Pour into a greased 8x8x2 inch baking pan. Bake for 30 min. or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Mine took closer to 40 min. to be done, so just check often. Cool completely on a wire rack. Invert onto serving platter.
G some chocolate shavings for 
Whip the softened cream cheese & cool whip in a bowl until smooth.  Microwave chocolate chips at 50% for 30 seconds or until melted.  Mix melted chips with whipped frosting & chill.  Once cake is completely cooled, frost with cream cheese frosting.  
Garnish with chocolate shavings for good measure.  And if you're like my dad you'll want to toss a few chocolate chips on top.  And done!  

Super easy, extremely tasty & a much healthier alternative to the typical chocolate cake. 

Oh & just for the fun of it, I found these bad boys on the same day I found my cake tin.  Also, Lincoln Beautyware.  It was a winning day for me at the thrift store (and in the kitchen).

Monday, July 25, 2011

When you take your family to the city...

Barbecue, sight seeing& museums are all a must.

But when it's 100+ degrees outside, you can throw all that out the window because, cold & delicious ice cream trumps even the best of them.  

So you can venture to guess, on our first outing we skipped over all the tourist sights & eateries & just went straight to dessert...gourmet ice cream. 
I'm not a super-fan of ice cream in general, but this gourmet ice cream shop was well worth the trip.  I ventured out of my comfort zone & paired Goat Cheese & Wildflower Honey ice cream with Raspberry sorbet and it was WON.DER.FUL.

A few days before my family flew out, I found out that my 85 year old grandmother would be able to join us for the trip!  Such a sweet surprise & blessing.  Isn't she just beautiful?

After we fueled up with ice cream, we did in fact go to one of the museums...I promise we did actually tour it.  Although, I'm not sure if my family is the best at museum-ing.  We may have renamed a few pieces of art with names like "Buffalo Turds", and of course there is the adolescent giggling that we just couldn't seem to contain.    No wonder I have no recollection of touring museums as a kid...

Here are a couple of our more tame moments, captured:

We eventually did get to the barbecue, and ate at one of the best:  Jack Stack's.  What made this outing even sweeter was getting to meet up with dear friends.  Stellar company + great barbecue made for one fantastic evening. 

We also made our way to Oklahoma Joe's, visited some Amish farms, went biking & walking with the Bobster !  Like true family, they even endured a trip to a vegan restaurant just to indulge me.  True love, I tell ya.

And, what I'm sure was their favorite moment: they got to meet their grand dog, Bob.  Bob loved all his new family members, but had a particularly special affection for Mom'O. He barely left her side the entire trip & loooved to nuzzle up against her like I've never seen him do before.  There was definitely a special little bond formed there.  :)

Bob sends kisses your way & lots of love...especially to you, Mom'O.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Have I told you...

How much I looooove vacation time :)

It means play time.

Rest time.

Hubby time.




Memories Made.

today I'm relishing in it all, so posting about it will just have to wait another day.  see you tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

DIY Wednesday {Bathroom Re-do}

Hello hello.  DIY {Do It Yourself} Wednesday has been on a little hiatus, but I am excited to be back with a fun little post on how we re-did our challenging little bathroom.

A note or two before I start with the pictures...

Ben & I do not own this house, so we were pretty limited in the types of "improvements" we could make.

This bathroom functions not only as our master bath, but also as the upstairs guest bath.

Ok, so you can see from these two little notes that we definitely had our challenges with this bathroom.  One look at this first picture & you will see that we were definitely working with a very small space that needed to have the functionality to work not only as a master bath, but also as a guest bath when we have visitors.  And being that the house is not our own, we were pretty limited in what we could do to it.

So with that out of the way, now onto the fun!  Unfortunately my "before" pictures got deleted somehow, but just imagine the bathroom being shelf-less & all our toiletries scattered about the little sink area.  It was bathroom mayhem.

Our obvious necessity was some sort of shelving.  We didn't want to go with the typical over the toilet shelf system...we were hoping to find something unique that brought some sleek wooden accents to the room.  We also needed shelving that would "hide" our things.  I looove the way magazines make open shelving look in a bathroom, but let's be real...whose toiletries really look that chic & tidy?  

In only one day of looking we were thankfully able to score some really sweet wooden boxes from {my favorite}  Hobby Lobby!  {60% off at that!}  They were exactly what we were looking for!  
Modern, with a rustic edge & with closing cabinetry for hiding all our things! We decided to buy four & make a little shelving system of our own out of them.

A closer look...These did not have any sort of wall mounts on the back so we ended up screwing them into the wall with our drill, one screw in each corner to ensure that they would hold ample weight.

A peek inside {note, this is my "neat" looking cabinet, the other is a cluttery mess}


 We then found some great bamboo accessories {courtesy of CB2} including: soap pump, toothbrush holder, trash bin & floor mat.  Yes the floor mat is wooden & I love it.

Shower curtain: Target; Picture: Yellow Heart Art
See the awesome bath mat?? Now if only we could paint & re-tile...then it would really be spectacular. :)

Most importantly though, it is now FULLY functional, de-cluttered & spacious enough for both us & our guests to use.  YAY!

Monday, July 11, 2011

happy weekend (to me)!

 I know it's Monday, but today I am taking the day off!  Well, except for the morning dentist appointment I had, but I actually enjoy the dentist so it's kind of like an event to me :)

Yesterday was my final craft show of the spring/summer season & since I worked my tail off all week & weekend is my holiday.

Strawberry Swing was a first year craft show in the Kansas City area that I was SO thrilled to be a part of!  And for a first year show, I really do think it was quite the hit!  

The fair took place in the Alexander Major's barn, a really cool historic site right in the city!

love the bunting flag sign

my booth was in the barn which means thankfully, I had plenty of A/C!

the set up. It changed only slightly this time...with purses hanging from rope rather than from my screen door.

with Ben unable to come with me, I needed a light weight solution for hanging my bags...I think it turned out very cute!

Ok, so the best part of the fair was having one of my bestest friends in the whole wide world & her family SURPRISE me at the fair!  I haven't seen them in 6 months & they just moved to the area (yaaay!!!) I was so thrilled to have them there & to have them keep me company for awhile.  This is she, with me & along with her she brought her fantastic husband (also a great friend, who brought me coffee!) and her sweet son & mother!  

Definitely the highlight of my day!

The show was definitely worth it & was a nice successful ending to my first summer season of craft shows.  I have a few months to re-cooperate before the fall/winter ones begin!  One new thing for me at this show was my ability to take credit card payments!  It definitely helped bring in at least 1/3 of my sales...totally worth it.  

I used Square, which can be hooked up to an iPhone, Android or iPad & transacted payments with one easy swipe!

Loved it!  

That's all for now...I was planning to list some new wristlets today, but I think that will have to wait until tomorrow.

Happy Monday!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Little Treasures

It's always a comfort, when getting settled into a new place, to find a nook or two that you enjoy about the new area, whether its a park, a shop, a bench or a cafe..there's just something sweet about finding a spot that you love & can relate to.

I finally feel like we have found one or two little treasures in the area that we look forward to & that remind us of comforts we have enjoyed in the past.  It's such a simple thing, but I can't explain how nice it is to find something you love when you are new in town.

One of my spots is this great little cafe that cooks with farm fresh & gourmet ingredient with a rich & eclectic style. Love it.

And the other, we found yesterday.  A cute little book store, full of old & new books for fantastic prices! Truth be told, it was a bit of a drive to get there, but I think it's safe to say we will be up for the drive ;)  We decided recently that we wanted to up our collection of old books...not just for decor purposes, but for their reading pleasure as well.  With all the e-readers & such out there now, books are becoming quite a treasure & we would like to start a collection of classic hardback books that one day our kids can enjoy.  

And here's our prize for the day:  The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan.
$5 what.a.steal.

Ben & I both read this when we were children, although I'm pretty sure it must have been an abridged version, so I am super excited that this is the real deal.  And not to mention the book cover is awesome. Our future kids are going to be so cool when they read this.

Happy Friday!  Our weekend was celebrated yesterday, so it's back to work for both of us today!  

Oh & by the way....I have a great little giveaway going on at Wild & Precious, the blog...$20 shop credit to the Handmade store!  Check it out here.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4th Festivities

In true Carter form (at least these days) we celebrated the Fourth on the First.  Ben worked yesterday and all weekend long, so the First really was the only feasible day for us to celebrate anyway.

Good thing there was a firework show that day & some fun parties going on, otherwise we would have been popping cracklers & lighting roman candles in our backyard & lookin' a fool, like we got our dates confused!

Our neighbors cooked up delicious kabobs & burgers which we gladly indulged ourselves in.

We swatted flies left and right while they swarmed our food.  Literally swarmed.  It's ridiculous how many flies we have in the midwest.  

The finished deliciousness.

Aren't these the cutest patriotic cupcakes??  We totally mooched off neighbor food all night long.  And it was great.

Fireworks.  This just happens to be my one decent shot out of 20.  Whoever came up with the firework setting on cameras is crazy-that thing does not work.  It turns a perfectly good firework into a laser light show if you ask me.  

Saturday, July 2, 2011

An Upcycled Recycling Station

This has been our project for a few weeks now...what to use to make recycling bins that are tote-able, roomy & also unique looking.  Oh yea, & we didn't want to drop a lot of cash on the project.  Big surprise there ;)

Somewhere in our brainstorming we had the idea to use burlap coffee bags, which we get at our local coffee shop, and have used before for projects like this one.

Fun looking, cheap, large & roomy for putting lots of recyclables in them, and cheap.

Our only dilemma was, how are we going to hang these things??  We had some manila rope left over from craft show displays & decided to use it to make these guys tote-able & also to serve as a way to hang them on the garage wall.  

It's hard to see in the picture, but I basically cut a small hole in each side of the bag, ran rope through it, tied the rope off into a knot at each end & then sewed the area up around the knot to make sure the burlap didn't start to unravel where I had cut it.

And done.  3 super cool upcycled recycling bags.  One for Paper, Plastic & Cardboard.

For some reason they don't believe in recycling glass around here.

Hope you have a happy Saturday!  Today I am linking this shot up to Yellow Songbird's Saturday Snapshot! 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Summer Softball

Nothing better on a hot summer day than a softball game

 & a win, of course :) 

 Here are some pictures from the dugout...