Monday, January 31, 2011

Creative Estates Conference

We're so excited to be attending the Creative Estates Conference this April here in Arizona. This will be our first conference since launching our blog in November last year. Hubby's have committed to helping with the kids both on Friday and Saturday AND it's Michele's birthday on this is our little girly celebration.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Outrageous Chocolate Brownie recipe

A moment on the lips....forever on the hips

I'm telling you, I'm trying to stick to my fitness/diet regime, my husband and I are both training for races and I have a killer sweet tooth.....this is the BEST brownie recipe ever! I'm doing the Belly Fat Cure diet and was wondering..hmmmm what could I make for a dessert for Valentines day??? 
Well this is the ticket!

Check out the height, super moist and it even has a chocolate glaze topping! Yes the candy hearts were added for presentation, but you can always pick those off....or hey, eat them with the low sugar/carb values of this brownie, I think you can live a little!

Here's the recipe-

Outrageous Chocolate Brownie

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups Joseph's Maltitol Sweetener syrup (got at Whole Foods)
1 1/2tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Optional glaze: (option I think not....ummm have to! yum!)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
1/4 cup maltitol sweetener syrup 
2-5 packets Truvia, to taste

1. for the brownies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 8" square pan. In a bowl, blend softened butter with maltitol syrup and vanilla. Add eggs and beat well. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Add to egg mixture and stir until well blended. pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes. Cool Completely.

2. For the glaze: Heat cream and chocolate over low heat and stir frequently until melted. Remove from heat and whisk in maltitol syrup until smooth. Add Truvia one packet at a time to taste.

3. Pour glaze over the brownies and let set before cutting into 2" squares.

Ok here's the great part.....ZERO sugar and only between 5-20 carbs(which is only 1 carb point on the diet)!! 

You'll be happy you got your bit of sweetness on Valentines day and stayed on track! So worth it, give it a try
 P.S. Don't forget your cup of coffee with it too! :)

giveaways Katie's Nesting Spot

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Our First Feature!

Super EXCITING!!!  Amanda from Today's Top 20 featured the Ruffle Heart Burlap Pillow on her Blog and we are thrilled, to say the least!  Her Blog is so can find great ideas for sewing projects, general crafts, yummy recipes (stumbled upon a peanut butter chocolate brownie recipe that looks amazing, and if that isn't enough there is also a recipe for an Oreo cookie baked inside of chocolate chip cookie dough...O...M...G), free printables, and much more!  Go over and check out her it!

Today's Top 20

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ruffle Heart Burlap Pillow Tutorial

I'm not really big on putting out Valentine's Day decorations...not sure why.  Maybe because by the time I get my Christmas decorations down, put away and my house back to normal, I don't feel like going through the trouble.  That said, I decided to try to be a little festive and make something Valentine-y for the house using stuff that I already had on hand (how economical of me).  Over the past few months I've seen tons of burlap pillows in blog land, and although they never really seemed practical or cozy, they are pretty cute...soooooo that is what I decided to make.  Here is my ONE and ONLY Valentine's Day decoration :)...

Here's what I used to make it:

natural burlap
various fabric scraps
red felt
hot glue gun
pinking shears
straight pins
pillow filling
sewing machine

And here's how I made it:

First I cut 2 burlap squares about 12"x12".  Then I cut a heart out of the felt...I did it the old school way by folding the felt in half and cutting it until I achieved my desired shape and size. Then I pinned the heart to the center of one of the burlap squares and sewed it on.  I used my sewing machine, but you could probably get away with hand stitching.

Next, I moved on to the fabric for the ruffles...used 4 different ones and went to town cutting 2.5 inch squares.  I think I cut about 25 of each fabric but I had some leftover.

Then I used pinking shears to cut the squares into circles...I was able to stack the fabric and cut 4 pieces at a time.  The circles do not have to be perfect (I am one of those people who never believes other people when they say it doesn't have to be perfect...yes, I'm a freak like coming from me, they REALLY don't have to be perfect circles)!

To make each ruffle, I grabbed the circle from the center (with the fabric print facing in) and bunched it up.  

Then I dabbed some hot glue around the bottom center and stuck it to the felt heart...repeat a bunch of times.  It seems time consuming but it actually goes pretty fast.

Once the heart was completely ruffled, I turned the heart side facing in and sewed the two burlap squares together (I left a 6" opening so I could turn the pillow right-side-out and stuff it).  After stuffing, I used a blind hand stitch to close up the pillow.  I'm not gonna lie, this was not particularly easy with burlap, but I managed to get it done with some patience!

For a finishing touch, I added a decorative zigzag stitch with red thread.

And that's it!!!  My Valentine's Day decorations are done :)!

BWS tips button

Gettin' Krafty With ItPhotobucketToday's Top 20

HookingupwithHoHBeyond The Picket Fence

Thursday, January 13, 2011

So many crafts......

Cleaning out my office today.....heres a pile I made of all the "pending" projects on my goal is to finish all this before purchasing anything else...I have a plethora of craft materials to use and in my mission to be frugal and less clutter it is my goal to USE what I have, rather than buy more. So hard to resist...but I'm going to try my hardest!

1. Upcycle clothes
2. wreaths (how many does one need, really???)
3. redo old Christmas ornaments we made (new colors red/white). My tree years ago was brown and cream with birds....I dislike birds, what was I thinking?? Now its red/white candy cane theme which I'm IN LOVE WITH.
4. canvases to paint and decorate with fabric
5. Valentine decor...hey maybe to use on the wreath rings!
6. mini canvas totes...don't ask...impulse purchase
7. picture frames to do over
8. hangers for a fabric valance for my office I've yet to do
9. and the final and scariest one of all.....the roman shade pattern for my kitchen window

we made these with Stone Effects, sanding and craft paint, so much fun, now I just have to finish them by Christmas 2011...I think I can I think I can

Not sure if I like the top left one better or the bottom right...I'm bringing it up to Micheles this weekend so we can figure out everything I need to get going on it. Hopefully a future post, sooner than later! But I have to commit to a fabric choice...thats almost the hardest part!

Well anyway, had to share, this is only the craft projects, I have tons to do as far as home decor around the house, and hopefully those posts will be sooner than later as well!!

Too late for coffee now I'll be up until dawn....maybe a glass of wine.....

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Clip Picture Frame

Before Christmas, Shanty 2 Chic had a tutorial for cute picture frames on their blog.  I knew I wanted to make one when I saw them here, so I followed their tutorial and did my own version.  It was really fast and easy to make and I love how it turned out...I wish I would have made two...I gave it to Lauren as a gift :).  

I picked up all of the wood pieces at Hobby Lobby...medium plaque for the main part, a small one for the bottom and a finial.  The magnetic clip was in a 4 pack from Wal-Mart.  Everything was spray painted, the edges sanded and then glued together with E-6000.

This particular one holds a 5x7 photo...or whatever else you feel like displaying...look, Lauren is ready for Valentine's Day :)!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Abbey Bag - pin cushion/thread catcher

Here's my latest sewing project I did before Christmas to give as gifts to the sewing enthusiasts in my life.....its a Pin-cushion/Thread catcher.........and yes I did it all by myself with no assistance. I made 3 and I'm pretty proud of myself. I kept the first one for myself because it was..well.....the first one and was "rough" around the edges. I got the pattern from a local store called Scrapbooks Etc, the pattern is called "The Abbey Bag", then went home, rolled up my sleeves and got busy....heres the outcome.

Ok so its a pin cushion attached to a little bag...that I had to use fusible fleece and everything! Aren't you all impressed! :)

It required a "charm" pack of fabrics, but really if you have a bunch of cute coordinating fabric at home that'll work too. I just bought this because...well...heck thats what the instructions told me to do and I'm a rule follower! :)

Heres the inside of the bag...and even has a little pocket....I could stare at it all day I can't believe I made it, it was "sew" easy..pun intended

I have one myself too and I love that threads aren't dangling all over my table and floor now, its all in one convenient little bag that I can empty out. Such a great idea!