Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How NOT to Make Zucchini Chips

I've got my fingers crossed that in a few months you're going to notice a big change around here... me! I started Weight Watchers last week to overhaul my unhealthy habits and am feeling super motivated. I'm excited because I'm actually enjoying the program and not at all overwhelmed. How could I not be happy when I already lost two pounds?! Only thirty more to go haha!

There are so many recipes online that I thought would be great alternatives to my normal not-so-good-for-you favorites. The first one I wanted to try was for zucchini chips because I could eat crackers/chips all day long if I was allowed. I don't crave chocolate or cake but I do like me some salty cheesy goodness.

Well, it turns out that maybe I'm better suited to making mac n' cheese muffins and peanut butter pretzel bites than the healthy stuff. Take a look:

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cinderella Story: Chair Makeover

Does everyone religiously browse the PB catalog like me? I have been crushing on some fun and structured chairs lately but there was no way in heck I would pay more than $100 for each chair: see them here, here, and here.  I was lucky enough to come across two matching Chippendale chairs recently (FOR FREE!) and could not wait to recreate one of my favorite looks. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hot Air Balloon Embroidery Pattern

Isn't it satisfying to put the finishing touches on a project that you feel took way too long? Last night I finally wrapped up an embroidery piece that I've been working on for a couple of days too many. 

Sometimes even I'm amazed by where I find inspiration. I was taking Quinn for a walk about two weeks ago when one of the neighborhood girls ran up to pet her and had the cutest little dress on. It had the most charming hot air balloons all over (see here) and I knew right away that I wanted to have a bit of that dreaminess in my world. I thought an embroidery would be the ideal medium to showcase the playful beauty of the balloon and set to work to create a pattern I could use.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bejeweled Bar Pendant Necklace

I had mentioned here and here that I'm expanding my crafting horizons and venturing into jewelry making. For my birthday, I received all of the tools I'd need to start working with wire pieces (thanks, honey!) and a gift card to a specialty bead store from my amazing coworkers. Since I have no experience with this stuff, I decided to take it easy and create something simple. In less than thirty minutes I had this great bar pendant necklace and I couldn't be more excited to wear the heck out of it.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monte Cristo Waffle Sandwiches

Do you like breakfast? Yes? Do you like breakfast for dinner? Double yes? Thought so! Me too!

One of my favorites is a Monte Cristo sandwich... you know the one: grilled cheese with ham/turkey that is prepared like French toast. What's not to like?! Now let's take it one step further and throw it all together in a waffle maker. What do you get? Ooey-gooey, cheesy, meaty, french-toasty waffles! Yum!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Birthday Fun in Philadelphia

I bet you didn't know that Saturday was my 24th birthday! If you just put two and two together, then you now know that we moved into our house on my birthday last year. That was probably the most eventful birthday ever so this year I just wanted to take it easy.  I'm not sure if everyone else looks forward to their birthdays as much as I do, but I always feel like a little kid on August 18th. [Give me a few more years and this feeling will probably fade away haha.]

I think I feel this positively about birthdays because I'm married to the sweetest guy ever who goes out of his way to spoil me each year. In addition to the presents that blew me away (he knows me too well), the Mr. treated me to an afternoon in our favorite city. We visited the Philadelphia Art Museum's current exhibition: Gauguin, C├ęzanne, Matisse: Visions of Arcadia, lounged amid the gardens on the museum lawn, and had a surprise dinner at Davio's. The evening was topped off with some drinks and a delicious tiramisu.

Side note: If you get a chance to visit one of the northern Italian steakhouse's four locations, I highly suggest it. The Mr. and I both ranked our meals in our "top three." The food was astounding and all of the employees were attentive and professional. 

As I mentioned earlier, the Mr. got me some great gifts. Christmas had been a holiday full of kitchen gadgets but my birthday was made complete with tons of crafting goodness and some fashionable accessories on the side. You'll see a lot of the items in future posts and I'll be sure to point them out when the time comes.

I hope everyone else had as nice weekend as I did! Unfortunately, it left me with little time to really work on anything. Check back later this week for a delicious "breakfast for dinner" recipe and some crafty fun!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

LucKEY Neighbor {printable}

I still can't believe that exactly a year ago today we closed on our house and moved in the same day. While it's a super quiet "everyone keeps to themselves" cul-de-sac, we have the best next-door neighbor ever.  There's no doubt in my mind that we lucked out in the neighbor department.  A few weeks ago she gave us a copy of her house key and I've been meaning to get her one of ours as well. After bringing us a delicious homemade dinner, I thought it was about time we handed it over. Enter in the "Luckey Neighbor Printable."

I printed mine directly onto a sheet of grey cardstock then affixed it to the front of an envelope. That way the key could be stowed safely inside with copies of our contact info and a thank you note.

Mind you, the printable doesn't only have to be used as a way to hand over your house key to someone. You could make it into a Thank You card. It could be resized for little labels at the holidays. Or maybe you're just going on vacation and your neighbor is looking over your house.

Download your copy here.

If you like printables, you should consider following Spool and Spoon via email or through Google Friend Connect for others as well as tutorials and recipes that are sure to tickle your fancy. Also, did you know we have a Facebook? Hop on over so you don't miss any of the fun. 

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Top 10 Favorite Posts

Have I ever mentioned how much I love blogging? I really do. While I don't expect to make a living off of it (wouldn't that be the life?!), I have such a blast writing and DIYing. It's the best hobby I could have ever picked up. I've been really grateful, especially over the last few weeks, to see my following of readers grow tremendously. What I've come to realize though is that many of you may have missed some of my very favorite posts. Luckily for me (and for you, too!) Lena from Mom2 Memphis and Ruby is hosting a Top 10 Favorite Blog Posts link-up this week and the temptation was too much for me to resist.

I broke the list up into the two categories that Spool and Spoon is all about: food and crafts!

SPOOL {Crafts}
Starburst Mirror -- This is a new one, but I'm still pretty smitten with it. Sometimes I stand for an extra few seconds and stare at it when I walk through the door. I can't help but to smile when I see it.  
2 Lace Earrings -- Every time I wear these I get a ton of compliments. They are simple and stunning but the best part is that no one has seen anything like them so they're always the perfect touch.

3 Bookpage Banner -- Who doesn't love easy and practically free art? Very few things are better than that.

4 Cut Lace Carryall -- I love the versatility of this bag and the impressive savings off of the Anthro original make me love it a whole lot more.

5 No Sew Placemat -- This was made months ago and still standing up well to Aubrey's daily use so I thought it deserved a little shout out.

SPOON {Food}
1 Sangria Salsa -- This was a refreshing change at our last cookout and I think you'd like it too. I may actually like it more when paired up with some jello (i.e. a Sangria Fruit Salad), and not the pita chips, but that's just me.

2 Nutella Cheesecake Poppers -- For awhile this had been my most viewed post, and I'm not surprised why. These are pretty and delicious. What's not to like?

3 Creamy Champagne Fondue -- I made this for the Mr.'s birthday back in March and have been craving it ever since... Mouth watering. I could eat the entire pot full.

4 All-American Apple Crumble -- I have four words for you: these are the bomb. Nuff said.

5 S'mores Cookies -- With summer coming to an end, these will be the perfect campfire treat when there's no campfire in sight.

(Please don't mind the photo quality in the older posts. There is no going back after getting the best camera ever from my sweetheart of a husband.)

If this Top 10 didn't catch you up on all of the great things that you may have missed since March, I'm not sure what will. I hope this provided some inspiration and whet your appetite for more DIY projects and easy recipes! Please consider following Spool and Spoon through Google Friend Connect, by email, or on Facebook so you don't fall behind. All the cool kids are doing it :-P

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Monday, August 13, 2012

A Taste of Cape May, NJ

I don't generally write personal posts but this weekend was really nice and I just had to share.  We spent Saturday afternoon on the beach in Wildwood then strolled around historic Cape May.  The weather was not the best, but having a whole day down at the shore with people we cherish was exactly what I needed. You see, one of my oldest and very best friends is getting married at the Cape May Ocean Club next summer and I'm her MOH. I cannot wait! She and the groom-to-be invited the Mr. and I to accompany them to their tasting and boy, oh boy are we happy we accepted that invitation!

The restaurant is modern and stunning, all of the things you look for in a venue. And the food.... oh the food! It was to die for!

unfortunately, I forgot my camera so please forgive me for using my phone

We had a total of EIGHT appetizers, ONE salad, THREE entrees, and FOUR desserts. Definitely not the kind of meal that is going to help me fit in my dress, but I enjoyed every bite.

  • Crab cakes
  • Mini cheeseburgers
  • Shrimp Cocktail
  • Seared tuna
  • Gazpacho
  • Ceviche 
  • Smoked trout
  • Ribs
  • Red snapper with English pea risotto. That risotto is what dreams are made of. I saw it on the menu and thought "ugh, that sounds disgusting." Turns out that it was my second favorite thing of the evening... I feel a copy-cat recipe coming on! 
  • Roasted chicken with ginger-scallion potatoes. Best chicken ever. It's that simple.  
  • Aged rib-eye. Delicious and so tender and the red wine reduction was a perfect addition to the plate.
  • Cheesecake. My favorite dessert by far, then again, I've never had a cheesecake I didn't want to have a life-long commitment with.
  • Cannoli cream and chocolate chip cake. Everyone at the table raved at this combo and rightfully so, but the cheesecake had a crust that blew me away
  • Pistachio cream cake. Ehhhh. It had anise and I can't stand the licorice flavor. Enough said. 
  • Flourless chocolate cake. Please don't hate me, but I'm not a chocolate fan so this didn't entice me at all. 
The chef, Lulzim Rexhepi, was incredibly talented, our server was knowledgeable and personable, and the event coordinator seemed to really care about how everything was going. I'm excited to see what the bride and groom choose to have on their menu next year. There's no doubt in my mind that their wedding will be a foodie's dream come true. If you have a chance, I'd definitely suggest stopping by the Sea Salt at the Ocean Club Hotel for a mouth-watering meal, or even a couple of drinks. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Starburst Wreath

Have you heard of Pick Your Plum?? I just found it a week ago and have already made two purchases. I bought a set of craft paper labels and 4 packs of paper straws. Aren't they just dreamy? The colors and prints are so vibrant; I just had to have all four.

But, I have a problem. We don't have any children that are begging for fun straws for their milk. I don't throw cute little backyard soirres where these would be right at home. So what should I do? Make a wreath of course! A wreath? Yep! Considering that Summer is wrapping up (boo!), I figured that it's as good a time as any to replace my Hawaiian wreath with something a bit more transitional.

I went on a search and saw Yellow Mum's Sunshine Wreath and found myself drooling all over my keyboard. Even though Summer is almost over, Autumn is no where near here so it seemed a bit premature to whip this one together as is. Nevertheless, I pinned it immediately and figured I could put a spin on it to make it the best non-seasonal wreath ever. This is what I came up with:

As with most of my projects, it's pretty simple. You only need a handful of supplies:

  • 35-40 straws 
  • 2 old CDs
  • Hot glue gun & glue
  • Optional: paint (for CDs) and embellishments

1. If you'll be painting your CDs (I suggest you do), choose whatever color you'd like and go to town. Make sure they are completely dry before moving on.
2. Hot glue a single layer of straws in equal increments around the center ring on the CD. It took me 19 straws to get completely around it.
3. In between each straw, add another. This is what creates the trendy starburst effect! Don't worry if it's a little messy on this side because they'll get covered up soon.
4. Hot glue the second CD directly on top. See? I told you it would get covered up! If you'd prefer something simple, you could stop here.
5. Since it was a bit plain for me, I opted to add some embellishments. Since I used coordinating shades of gray and white, I wanted TEXTURE. I made a variety of blooms: pom-poms, a crocheted bud, a rickrack blossom, and a large ruffled flower. I affixed these finishing touches securely with some hot glue and I was done.

Isn't it lovely? Our front door has been open all day just so I can keep staring at it!

As you can see, we have a glass door so the straws are completely protected from the elements. I may have reconsidered this project if that weren't the case because I'm not sure how well the straws would stand up to rain.

We have a traditional colonial and the wreath brings just a bit of whimsy and pizazz to the front porch. It's modern but playful at the same time. Perfect combo if you ask me.

If you didn't already know would you have guessed that this was a couple of old CDs and a handful of drinking straws?! Probably not and neither will your visitors.

Even though I made mine as a wreath, I think this would be cute as a button in a nursery.

While it's important that I love it (and I definitely do), what do you think?

If you thought this was a great upcycling project, you should consider following Spool and Spoon via email or through Google Friend Connect for other tutorials and recipes that are sure to tickle your fancy. Also, did you know we have a Facebook? Hop on over so you don't miss any of the fun. 

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Friday, August 10, 2012

Craft Room Organization: Peg Board

I'm always on a quest to keep my craft room looking as good as it did when it was first finished. One of my favorite organizational tools has been my peg board. If this wasn't a gift from above, I don't know what is. The only problem is that I'm probably one of the most disorganized crafters out there and I never put things back where they belong. That is why I came up with a new way to ensure that all materials go back to their designated space. 

First thing's first: Get all of the tools and materials situated in a functional and aesthetically pleasing layout on your peg board.
...oh my! how did that empty wine glass get in the picture??

Then remove each, one by one, and trace the reverse side onto the back of the scrapbook paper you want to use. Be sure to label each so you know exactly which silhouette pairs with what tool. I had considered using contact paper but not only would I be limited by the pattern selection, I'd also have to take a lot of time sticking it on and removing it if I wanted to change the layout.

Using an x-acto knife, carefully cut out each silhouette. I also cut out strips to line the clear cups and bins.

Not only did I want pretty little silhouettes for all of the tools, but I also wanted labels for each cubby, cup, and container. Make a list of all of the materials you want to label.

I created a simple "stitched" label in PowerPoint and typed each of items in, then printed all of them onto a light grey cardstock.

Cut out the labels. Affix the labels to each silhouette and bin liner with double sided tape, glue, or glue dots.

Using a basic hole punch, punch holes at the top of each of the shapes and slide them over the hooks on the peg board. Replace all of your products and VOILA, a place for everything and everything in it's place!

a close up of some of the bins

I made little tags for the porcelain containers

The transformation took less than two hours, and the majority of that was spent creating the labels. If you'd like my PowerPoint template for them, feel free to shoot me a line. I absolutely love the splash of color over the grey walls, but most of all it's nice to know that I will never have an excuse not to put something back where it belongs. What do you think??

If you like this easy project, you should consider following Spool and Spoon via email or through Google Friend Connect for other tutorials and recipes that are sure to tickle your fancy. Also, did you know we have a Facebook? Hop on over so you don't miss any of the fun. 

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Poppy Curtain Tie-Backs

No one ever told me how long it would take to make a house a home. It's hard to believe that in less than two weeks we will have been here for an entire year and we're STILL in the process of accessorizing. A little (and slightly random) thing that I've been feeling like we needed were curtain ties for each of the windows in the living room. We have a very flowy and natural theme going on downstairs so I thought a big bold flower would be the perfect addition to the overlay curtain.

These are simple but stunning. They really transform the look of the curtains... just take a look.

Yards of organza (depends on how many and how big you want your flowers)
Matching thread
Coordinating button
Circle templates (small, medium, large to your liking)
Rotary cutter & self-healing mat
Material to be used as the curtain tie (I used thin rope)

1. Gather your materials

2. Cut out your circles. I used 3 large (11 inch), 6 medium (8 inch), and 3 small (4 inch).

3. Melt the edges over an open flame until they pucker. I purposely let mine burn a bit to coordinate with our white muslin and dark brown silk curtains. Arrange each layer until it begins to resemble a blossom and insert a pin through the center.

4. Sew a cross-stitch over the pin to attach each layer together.

5. Sew a button to the center of each flower. On the reverse side tack the flower to a curtain tie (rope, ribbon, fabric scrap, etc).

And there you have it, an eye-catching curtain tie back!

I know big flowers aren't exactly everyone's aesthetic but I am so enamored by them. They are delicate, earthy, and even a bit rustic. I couldn't be happier with how they turned out.

If you like this thrifty decor project, consider following Spool and Spoon via email or through Google Friend Connect for recipes and projects that are sure to tickle your fancy. Also, did you know we have a Facebook? Hop on over so you don't miss a beat. 

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