Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies, etc

Hello friends! Hope everyone has had a great mid-week. It's been kind of a run-all-errands kind of day for me and by the time I got done with all of it, I was ready to crash but alas, I still had supper to make. So I did that too. When I got dinner out of the way, I remembered I did have a recipe I wanted to try. I've told you all so many times how when I want to relax, I bake. So here I go...


This thing has been all over twitter... Chocolate Chip Cookies with cornstarch. Really, take out the baking powder and use the same amount of cornstarch as you would baking powder. The claim is: They are supposed to be soft when they bake and the batter should have an ice cream like texture.


And these are my findings:
  • the batter is thicker and ice cream-like. 
  • the dough retains its shape as it bakes [given you use a scoop and not a regular spoon to portion the dough out] check out how mounded the baked cookies are in the photo below.
  • it doesn't brown up as rapidly as the regular chocolate chip cookie dough with baking powder. Usually at about 9 minutes, chocolate chip cookies would be golden brown. These weren't. But I took them out of the oven anyway because they looked done [and they were].
  • According to my taste testers they are SOFT and GOOEY. To quote what Will said when he took his first bite, "Oh my God, this is soooo amazing!" And I believe him, because he rarely says anything about anything. So when he speaks, believe that every word that comes out of his mouth is from his heart.

The photo below is the second batch of dough that I baked for 10 minutes instead of the usual 8. They don't have darker brown edges, which I LOVE. I do not like burned cookie dough, it's bitter. Gross. I looked at the bottoms of them and they weren't burned either.

So guess what cookie recipe is going to make it in my holiday baking this year? I think you already can tell! :) I will share the recipe soon as I am able to transcribe all these gibberish that I wrote down on my notebook while I was baking the cookies.


Also, I did get a new addition to my kitchen last night. My facebook friends on my personal account have seen photos of it because I got excited and just went crazy and posted them. Here's a pic.

This used to be just an empty little corner behind our kitchen island and I have been wanting so bad to have a place for our Keurig because even how much we love it, it does take a ton of counter space... So my handy dandy husband put this together for me and now this little space doesn't seem so lonely anymore. I didn't want anything too permanent here because a double wall oven is in the cards for this room when it's time to replace the appliances, which isn't soon. The cabinet is from Ikea. I love the red and the glass on the top drawer. It's darling. There is a runner on top because we are getting a glass top for it and we don't want to ruin the top before we could protect it.

I am grateful for a really handy husband. :) He is just the best. Everything that is in this nook is a gift from him. He knows me too well and I've said this over and over again in multiple posts, I am not the girl to buy flowers or jewelry for. I'm very highly allergic to pollen, it's like poison to me... And I don't have any use for jewelry. Period. So he buys me stuff that I actually enjoy using from stores that I enjoy shopping from [Crate and Barrel, CB2, Pottery Barn, Pier 1, West Elm, Ikea, Restoration Hardware, Anthropologie, etc] He adds into it every time he feels generous, which is always. :) That's one of the reasons why I love him.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hello There!


I hope everyone has had a nice Halloween. We didn't do anything halloweeny [no, that's not a word]. I am not a big fan of the holiday. It seems to me like it happens, kids/people overload on candy and then nothing...  So I don't invest time or money on it. I did end up channeling my energies into other things, like play with my Silhouette. :)

I finally got a Silhouette Cameo early in October. I say 'finally' because I have been planning on getting it for like a year and a half now and I got it at an unbelievably low price. Getting it was one of those right place, right time kind of thing. My Cameo only set me back $70 as opposed to the $269 price tag it has on Amazon or anywhere else. And it was very very brand new when I got it because the person I bought it from did not want it at all.


I have played with it a ton. And I have cut quite a bit of stuff from it... and I am very very impressed by all that I learned about the Silhouette Cameo in comparison to my Cricut Expression and the other stuff I have that has to do with the Cricut. Here's my list:

1) The Cameo doesn't require cartridges, unlike the Cricut. However you do need a computer with the Silhouette machines. But what crafter/paper crafter doesn't have one nowadays? Also, as a Cricut owner, it is an awful feeling paying $20 for a cartridge just so I would get the one or two images I have my eyes on. The Silhouette images only cost 0.99 cents a piece and you can cut any .PNG, .JPG files you have on your arsenal. And if you have the Designer Studio software, you can cut .SVG files too.

2) The design software for the Cameo comes free with it. I paid at least $20 for the Cricut software. My bestfriend, Sara and I got ours from ebay and spent days, maybe weeks waiting for the right deal to come around. Then I spent at least $40 on Sure-Cuts-A-Lot just so I could use the fonts on my computer and non-Cricut .SVG files without depending on my cartridges. 

3) You had me at Print and Cut! Yes, the Silhouette has this capability and I didn't have to buy a totally different machine. I am able to print any image through my printer and cut them in my Cameo.

4) The detailed cuts are SUPERB! I can't tell you all how happy I was when I found out that I could load my vinyl into the machine without the mat! You could certainly NOT do this with the Cricut and there is no guarantee the Cricut blade won't rip your vinyl either. I am loving the presets on the Silhouette software.


5) I love the weight of the Cameo compared to the Cricut. I have tried to lug my Cricut around with me in the past, and none of them was a pleasant experience. I could probably load my Cameo in a plastic sack, that's how light-weight it is. 

6) The learning curve. To me, there is/was none. I am used to using the Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop and I am used to using paths, layers, adjustments etc. So for me, it was easy transitioning from the Cricut to the Silhouette.

I may have forgotten to mention some stuff, but the bottom line is, I love my Cameo. It is totally so much better than what I am used to.
John, my Husband has been wanting me to do this for a long long time. But I couldn't do it with my Cricut. I had forgotten about it until a couple of days ago while I was playing with the Illustrator and I bumped into it. So I laid the stuff out on AI and went to cutting this morning.

I also made this last week...


After I painted our kitchen, I found that getting rid of the wallpaper in there also required starting from scratch decorating-wise. So I really can't show much of it right now. It is in the works and John and I are in the process of figuring out the route we want to go design-wise for our kitchen because it has taken a totally different personality soon as I started rolling that grey paint on the walls. :) I wasn't surprised but it sure made me re-think our furniture choices and all kinds of other stuff. 

One of the things I had to re-think was our window treatment/s


We only have one window in the kitchen, but we have french doors leading into our back porch and backyard. There used to be lace everywhere in this kitchen. I love lace. Every time I go window treatment shopping, when I see lace, the search is over. This time around though, I decided against it but this doesn't mean I don't have lace anywhere in my house now. I have them all in my craft room.

I've seen a ton of these [photo above] on Pinterest. So I decided I'd give it a shot. I am on a sewing kick so this is a No-Sew project. I actually sewed the slats onto my fabric to secure it. The only tricky part is making sure that all the slats are on straight otherwise, your shade won't cover your window like it's supposed to. The level was my bestfriend during this whole process!


In addition to my subway art, I also added a few other things... I made sure we had a place for precious gifts and memoirs from loved ones. I am working on a really special display for Grandma Turner, John's Granny. In the process of making this house ours, we also don't want to forget that she is responsible for us getting it, and we want to make sure we are reminded every day of her and how wonderful she was. :) I will make a post for it very soon. 

I also did some shopping. Fall is when I do a lot of it because I love fall and winter, and this is also the time when summer clothes go on sale. So I go on a clicking frenzy online and spend most my days waiting for the UPS or the mailman to deliver the goods to me. I love shoes but we are very partial, we love Nike and I love Zappos.



Also got these gorgeous boots. They [may be] Nine West.


And last but definitely not the least, I put one of our trees up in the kitchen! :) To me, Christmas ALWAYS trumps halloween. I did buy two bags of candy, and made loots for my little buddies Reed and Riley [our friends' kids], everything else went to John's belly. He loves candy and he doesn't like sharing. 


So, I really didn't miss Halloween. :) I have had a really great time the past couple of weeks getting my house ready for Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year. I am ready for Christmas most of all. It's my favorite holiday. 

I'll be back soon for more updates. I am having a good old time working on our house. This has been a great year!

Laterz gatorz,


Tuesday, October 30, 2012



There's so much darkness around. Let your light shine!!! :) Create. Be happy. Make something. Give someone a hug. Tell someone you love them. 

Life is too short. 


Monday, October 1, 2012

Take a Peek into my Craft Room and A Tidbit About a Very Wonderful Grandma

Hey friends! :) I am feeling pretty darn good this morning so I thought I'd let you in to the room where all the creative magic happens, my craft room. There has not been a lot of crafting going on there lately as it's been kind of work-on-the-house-by-myself projects kind of month. John has been very very busy doing the things he loves and what little time he could spend with me at home, we usually spend going on day trips or antique shopping or just plain ole shopping for him mostly. I'm not good with going through racks unless I know exactly what I want and where to get it, I just get on my computer, click 'add to cart' and 'check out' then wait for them to come to me. :)

Okay back to my craft room.

It is currently a work in progress because my handy man is busy drumming. It's all about to end though. I think they only have one more month of competitions and parades. Yipee! And then,  maybe in the next few months or so, this craft room will be finished... Well, you know, for a while until I change my mind on some things and then we will be back and at it again.

This is what you see when you enter from the kitchen. There's a huge stack of magazines that I am going through on the left, they will be taken to the recycle center very very soon.


Meet my desk... There's been a lot of Project Life going on here, I also sew on this desk for now since my sewing station is yet to be built. But this table is so sturdy, it's not even funny. John built this thing to last.


My desktop by the way is almost 3/4 of a piece of plywood. It's pretty spacious, so spacious, all my junk is on top of it including the new adapter that Apple sent to me for my laptop FOR FREE because I panicked and I thought my charger broke! I called and told them, and they gladly said, we will send you a new one for free in three days. I love their customer service. Three days and tadah! I got a new adapter. And oh, my old adapter wasn't broken. Not sure what happened really and it wouldn't work, at least now, I have a back up one, right?! :)


And here is what John calls the "Pen Station" [pun intended! LOL] I do have a lot of pens and markers. I am a scrapbooker and crafter after all. I love to journal and doodle. I'm a girl and I like shoes and clothes but not as much as I LOVE shopping for new pens and markers. 

As for desktop storage, I am still on the lookout for some really cool, chic, good quality ones. I just don't have the heart to spend hard-earned money on flimsy storage especially the ones that I am going to be constantly moving or using...

To the right of my desk is this big window facing our front yard. This is where I get to watch people. Every so often, I get to watch my next door neighbor rinse out oil cans on the [sewer] grate, our neighbors are mostly old-er people, so they are bound to be very DIY-ish. They do their own oil changes. Also, I get to watch him clean out his paint brushes. So I pretty much know what colors they are in the mood for. They paint A LOT!  I have weird-er neighbors than that, but that's for another post! lol

This view just makes me happy. This photo was taken when it first rained after the drought all summer. So my berm looks a little sickly at this point. It doesn't look like that anymore.


If I was going to go outside, this is what I see. Pretty, isn't it?


And here's more of the tray of random pens and markers, ink pads, and other small tools I use pretty much all the time. Those two cups are both gifts from John. Unlike him, I use cups for storage not for coffee. :) In the background is my cube storage that someone is going to inherit when my built-in goes up that wall. Right now it's just holding a bunch of supplies and crafting tools I don't normally use all the time and seasonal stuff. It also holds little things that used to hang on my slot boards in the other house.


I love these cubbies! I bought these small Sterilite bins back in early August at the back-to-school section in Walmart. They were inexpensive and they fit so I loaded up my cart with six of them, made tags and voila! Storage! They hold adhesive, frequently-used clear stamps and punches, well everything that I use all the time really.



There's more storage planned on this side of the room. I am leaving it pretty much all blank because I don't want to be putting holes on the walls that I will later regret. All my pictures are hung on existing hangers or Command Strips. There's nothing more aggravating than filling in holes and patching them up. It's a lot of work!


And here's a view of the other side. This corner of the room has evolved so much in a mere three months! And it is going to evolve some more in the coming weeks/months soon as I get my handy man back.

Other than my storage search issues, I really have been loving crafting here. Like John always tells me, we are not cutting corners in this house, everything will be done right and we are not going to waste money on 'temporary' fixes, instead, we will save up and do it right the first time because after all it is OUR time and OUR money that gets wasted when we half-do anything. And I believe him. We've made those mistakes before. 

Coming from a place where help is not expensive, where everything that has to be done can be paid done, and a non-DIYing family, I believe I have done well! I've never worked so hard on something in my life as I have all the houses we have lived in. And the current house holds more meaning to us, but more importantly to John because this is his Granny's. He was very very close to her and her to him. So we are loving it like she would've loved it if she still lived here. Trust me when I say this: that woman had style! I know this from all the stuff we inherited from her. She had impeccable taste in furniture, and she took care of all of them too. She had no idea that all the time she put into taking care of her furniture would spare John and I  from all the expenditure of buying new [crap quality] furniture when we first got married! That is just one thing amongst all the many things that she has done [without knowing it!] for us.

I didn't get to meet her, she lost her battle with cancer a decade or so ago... but she is one who I have grown to love and adore through the family she has left behind, and most especially through the grandson  she so dearly loved who, I hope she knows has turned out to be a wonderful husband and friend to me. He is such a jewel!

Inheriting her house has been very emotional for John. Everything that we do here we do with so much care and we intend to do that for as long as we live here. :)

John's Mom always says, "I'm sure she is looking down at you kids with a smile on her face." 

I really hope she is. 


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Right Now...

Right now, I am sick as a dog but I am a happy girl. I've had a whirlwind of projects around here... and all of them [the end results, that is] so far have been nothing short of gorgeous.

Right now, I am looking at photos of what my kitchen used to look like [roughly 6-8 months ago] and how it looks now after I labored on it for a whole week. A couple of gallons of paint and hours and hours of taping and careful painting just makes the biggest of difference!

This last photo was obviously taken on Mother's Day. :) I couldn't find a photo that has no people in it... [Sorry, Mom! lol]


Right now, I'm physically exhausted but my heart is full knowing that not an ounce of energy that I spent updating my most favorite room in the house has not been wasted. At all. I spend most of my days in my kitchen if I am not out and about with the Aunt Betty.

Right now... I am realizing that I am in no way shape or form done. There's lots to do. But this is the fun part! The nightmare [a.k.a. Painting and Taping] is mostly over.

Right now... there's no photos of the other side of my kitchen because there's a mess of stuff laying on my island. I'm getting ready to make supper and I am unloading and loading the dishwasher. :) Just a lot going on. 

Right now, I am putting together a feast. My very busy husband has no percussion/band rehearsal tonight, thank God, so I could make supper and not have to worry about fixing something quick and don't have to watch him eat and hurry out the door. This is a rarity around this time of year for us.

Right now... Alka Seltzer Plus is my best friend.

Right now, I am browsing iTunes for a new good book to read.

Right now, I wish I could share all the other projects I've been working on, but none of them are ready to be photographed. There's lots of picking up and cleaning up to do yet.

Right now, my cup runneth over. I am just so thankful for all the people in our lives and all the things that we have been blessed with. Also thankful for all the energy, I don't know where it's coming from, but around this time of year, I get a  surge [of energy] and I am up and at it until the wee hours or until I am finished.

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Friday, September 7, 2012

DIY: { Fall Wreath + Monogram }


Hello friends! :) After the dry and nasty summer, I am sooo in the mood for fall. I can't wait to bust my hoodies, jeans and boots out. I'm just ready for cooler temps now.

Soon as the rain hit about a week or a week and a half ago, I went shopping for plants and got started weeding and pulling out [dead] weeds, busted out the water hose and dressed up my front porch for fall.


...and I am in the process of decorating my house for the fall and winter festivities. We don't really have Thanksgiving at our house because we go to my in-laws for that but we do have our friends over all the time because I cook/bake like a maniac when it's cold outside. 

So to kick start the craziness, I made a fall wreath, which was inspired by this. :) I by no means did not invent this this wreath. I'm pretty sure someone in blog land and the internetzz has made one like it. But I don't care, I wanted to make one and wanted to share with you all what I ended up with.

I was going through the thrift store originally for furniture I could maim, paint and re-purpose which was rather disappointing because I didn't find any that suited me but alas, I saw a pile of old Christmas tree ornaments, yarn and wreaths. And I came out of that store $4.50 poorer.

So here's what I got, I bought 4 boxes of whatever ornaments they had in that pile, I looked through the yarn they had and got the yellow, brown and orange, the white I already had and so did the glue sticks and time. Yeah, I have a lot of time in my hands. lol

Some of these pics are from my phone. [excuse the quality]

My 25 cent wreath.


I just took off the tops off of the ornaments and got to wrapping. There is no certain way to do this, just wind that yarn on the ornaments or foam balls [whatever you have] until you could barely see a trace of it under all the wound yarn.  


And then glue them to your wreath. :)

And here's what you will end up with! But, like the crazy person I am I thought it needed one more thing! How about A MONOGRAM?!

So I got to work and busted out my Cricut and my deep cut blade and cut an R from heavy weight chipboard and wrapped it in orange yarn and attached it to my wreath.


Here I am cutting different sizes on regular cardstock before I cut into my precious chipboard, to make sure I get the size I want and the right font style too. I didn't need to hook my Cricut to my laptop for this, I have enough font cartridges to give me enough options. I actually used the cartridge that went with my machine when I bought, Plantin Schoolbook. I cut my monogram at 5 1/2 inches and even if I used a deep cut blade, I did multi-cut my image just to make sure I get a really clean crisp cut. I do this anyway even with the regular blad and regular weight cardstock. :)

Now scroll down!


And, I am done... with this wreath at least. And I am quite happy with it. :) Now, if I can just think up something I could hang outside for winter... Hmmmm...

Laterz gators,


Thursday, September 6, 2012

What's Been Going On...

It's been a summer of DIY projects, home decorating, lots of swimming and tons of fun with friends and family around here. :) It has also been so hot and dry that most of the work happened indoors and we are just now doing the damage control from the drought outdoors. 

We didn't get to go on the road trip we planned on taking but after all that has happened and all the progress we've made in the new house, we absolutely wouldn't have it any other way. We'll take the road trip some time in the next few months or so. We have plenty of time for trips, but we need to make our house a home first and foremost.

John built me a desk. I painted it this beautiful aqua. Then he bought me the hydraulic bar stools for me to sit on while crafting. I was so tickled because he knew I was getting frustrated with all that I was seeing both online and in stores, so he went on a search on his own. He knew exactly what to get and why he believed I would like them... and surely enough when he brought them home, I was happy as a clam!

Here's one truth about me, I can't do just one project at a time. When I get started on one, all these other ideas pop in my head and depending on the availability of energy and funds, I get started on a couple or a few more. So while this desk was being built, I was working on picking out paint for John's music room. You can see it here.


John was very firm about wanting gray for his room... And gray he got. I'm married to a very selfless man, he will do anything for me and will give me the moon and the stars if I asked for it. So when he asks for little things like his own room, or gray paint or my old desk, I give it all to him. No questions asked.

I even cut the Pearl logo on his bass drum head for him. He wanted a sticker, was getting ready to buy one but soon as he realized it was not gonna look good on his set or probably not going to be the size he wanted , he sweet talked me into busting out my Cricut and cutting out the logo for him. Guess what he got? A Pearl logo. Yes, that logo on the bass drum is cut by YOURS TRULY, thanks to my handy dandy die cutting software that makes cutting all kinds of images possible. :)


We made this snare drum lamp too! I wish I took photos of the process, but it's so easy anyone can do this. It's the coolest thing in his room except I have to figure out a way to conceal cords. I'm just not satisfied with wrapping the cord with fabric. Given that this room took some work and a lot of patience to put together, I want it to be clean. And I don't wanna have to keep fixing it.

The lantern below is what inspired the drum lamp. I found a couple of brand new Ikea light kits during one of my thrift store excursions for $cheap so the next time I go to World Market I snagged two paper lanterns and got the two for $5 after discounts. :) I made this whole thing myself in two afternoons.

And here it is hanging in my pink/craft room. Such a gorgeous light piece!


With all the chaos going on with my craft room getting put together and John's room too, I painted our old wax-ruined end table. It's now sitting in my pink room underneath my coffee filter lantern.

I also sewed curtains for John's music room, I made a wristlet/s for my iPad out of scrap fabric, I made camera straps out of scarves I bought last year, and worked on Project Life at the same time while planning Vacation Bible School, too.  

Recently, I painted our hallway. I painted it pewter, a color I wouldn't have chosen for our two or three other houses in the past. We've gotten a lot braver with our color choices this time around, I believe. The wall hangings are by me too. The pictures on the right are from Flickr.


Then, an idea about a fabric-covered button turned into a coffee table converted into a tufted [end of the bed] bench that John and I are so so so in-love with!



We already had the coffee table and I had it sitting on the foot of the bed since we moved here. It had two glass tops that I had to constantly clean because, yes, it's glass! Glass is a pain on the neck! And it didn't used to be while, it used to have a maple-ish finish, but I thought I'd paint it so it would match our bed side tables. Then some fabric, foam, batting and the fabric covered buttons I made, and I have a bench.

I'm sure I forgot something, but I'll share some more pics here soon. :) 

Laterz gators,

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