Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sharpie Your Shoes

See my new shoes? I sharpied them! Let me explain…

I’ve had these plain white ballet flats for at least three years.
I never wear them. They make my feet feel ginormous, and they get splattered with dirt within five minutes of leaving the house. Plus, there are all those rules about when you can wear white shoes, and it all just gets very confusing.

I wanted silver shoes. I’ve wanted them for about a year. So, on our last trip to Wal-Mart I spent $1.45 on a silver sharpie two-pack. This afternoon I grabbed those neglected white shoes, cut the bows off the front, and went to work with a sharpie. It only took one sharpie to color both shoes.
They needed a little something extra, so I used this method to make two tiny flowers to replace the bows.
I love them! I’ve already planned several outfits around my shiny new shoes. The white pair would have been stuck in the back of the closet and eventually sent to Goodwill, but now they have new life. Side note: it is incredibly awkward to take pictures of your own feet!

Do you have something in your closet you’re just going to give away one day? Take a chance and try to make it into something you’ll love.

Oooh, and any fun sharpie stories? Do tell!


Saturday, January 30, 2010

dreaming of snow cream

There are a few tastes in this world that instantly take me back to childhood. The tangy sweetness of a Bill’s Barbeque lime aid transports me to muggy 4th of July nights, waiting in a park for fireworks to light up the sky. The perfect, buttery, gooey bliss of grilled cheese dunked in chicken noodle soup reminds me of Sunday afternoons spent devouring my Dad’s special super-duper grilled cheese sandwiches. And the cold, creamy sweetness of snow cream takes me to snow days spent making snow angels, constructing snow men, and tramping into a warm house to thaw from my big adventures.

If you have qualms about acid rain or germs, this recipe probably isn’t for you, but if you live with a five second rule, have been known to sample raw cookie dough, and don’t worry too much about a little dirt, you might just love snow cream.

You will need:
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 8 cups fresh, clean snow

Mix milk, sugar, and vanilla and refrigerate.
I used dark brown sugar, because that’s what I had on hand.

Once well-chilled, dash outside and gather eight cups of snow. Stir cold mixture into the snow and serve immediately. Freeze leftovers.

Yes, it looks like a sandy mess, but it tastes like heaven!

It’s still snowing here, so I might have to make more before the weekend is over! Anyone else remember snow cream? What are your favorite snow memories?



Thursday, January 28, 2010

Drumroll please!

And the winner is…..

A lovely lady who selected this pillow….
And wrote the eighth comment on the giveaway post….

Congrats Megan!

Please email me with your mailing address!

And, I just have to say one more time how thankful I am for each of you. It amazes me that people take the time to read my little blog! I get so excited every time I have a new comment or email from a sweet reader. Y’all constantly make my day!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Winter Skin - update

A had to give y’all a mini update on my dry winter skin issues, because the advice you gave was so wonderful!

Julia suggested mixing sugar into some olive oil to slough off dead skin and moisturize. This advice has seriously changed my life! I’m not even kidding. I just poured a spoonful of sugar into a cup, poured a little olive oil on top, stirred it up, and went to work.

Note: If your husband gives you strange looks for taking a solo cup of goop into the shower with you, just assure him that you read about it on a blog. Mine is fully aware that blogging is the root cause of all of my strange behaviors, including taking twenty pictures of one pillow, standing precariously on furniture to get a good photo angle, and being obsessed with cleaning with vinegar, “Why does the house smell like pickles?” “Well I was reading this blog….”

I’ve used this mixture all over, but I really like it for my face and lips. Nothing says classy like giant flakes of skin hanging off your nose. Regular scrubs have always been too harsh for me to use in the winter, but this clears off all that yucky, scaly skin and leaves my face feeling super soft. Not only is this method effective, it’s also practically free and natural.

Strand family suggested lowering the temperature of my shower water. I am cold natured and I LOVE hot showers, but she is so, so right! Saying no to the super hot showers does make a difference. I’m trying to lower the temp little by little, and I’ve also taken to ending my shower with a dash of cool water. This helps close my pores and lessen the risk of skin irritations. Added benefit - the cool water has also made my hair much less frizzy. Apparently cold water smoothes hair cuticles.

Tracy suggested slathering on the moisturizer while still a little damp from the shower. I’ve been doing this and using Avalon Organics lavender body lotion. Since I shower before bed, I love that the lavender scent is nice and relaxing.

Ladies, thank you for all these wonderful tips! My skin is doing so much better. If you also suffer from dry skin, be sure to check the comments on the original post for more tips. If anyone has any additional dry skin advice, please share!

Don’t forget to enter my one year giveaway – I’ll be drawing a winner Thursday night at 7:00.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

5 minute Valentine's decorating

When I thought about decorating for Valentine’s Day this year, the idea of adding another layer of “stuff” over my décor did not really appeal to me. Since the Christmas decorations have been packed away, I’ve been enjoying the airy feeling of having fewer things sitting around. I still wanted to do a little something to celebrate, just on a small scale. I came up with two super easy and super fast ways to add a smidge of love without going overboard.

As you can see, I used my glass fish bowls for this project.

For the large bowl, I grabbed a deck of cards and pulled out all the hearts. I tossed them randomly in the bowl (ok, I painstakingly fanned them out in an artist manner that looks casual) propping up a few numbers with special meaning. 6/23 is our wedding date.

For the smaller bowl, I reused some vintage seam tape and a retro valentine from last year’s banner.

I just coiled the seam tape in the bowl, and plopped in the valentine.

Easy peasy!

Do you decorate for the smaller holidays, or am I the only crazy person?


Monday, January 25, 2010

Sneeze If you please...

…because on this DIY Day, I can offer you a tissue from a pretty box.

Let's face it, only the most expensive tissues come in pretty boxes. As someone who can easily go through an entire box in a week (let's hear it for allergies!) I buy tissues based on cost, not the attractiveness of the box. But, I always stare longingly at the designer boxes because I am girly and like even the most mundane and utilitarian items to be stylish. So, I’ve had this tissue box cover idea glued into my inspiration book for a couple of years.

The problem is, this project has always intimidated me because it seemed like it was bound to involve math and measuring – things I do not excel at naturally. Need someone to find symbolism in the design of a sprite can, or deconstruct an e. e. cummings poem? I’m your girl. Need someone to draw a straight line or multiply fractions? Keep looking! But, my sewing skills have been improving and my distaste for the ugly tissue box growing, so I decided to give this a go and see what happened.

Step 1: I made a very not mathematically correct pattern by sticking a tissue box on a sheet of paper, scooting it about ½ an inch in from the edge (so I’d have ¼ of an inch seam allowance all the way around), drawing a line next to the box, and cutting it out. Next, I held the edge of the paper up against the box, folded it over the top, and drew a diagonal line towards the center of the box. I folded the paper in half and cut along the line. I made two of these, one with a bigger triangle shape than the other. I held them up to the box, to make sure that the triangles would meet in the middle of the box. It helps to just see them.

Step 2: I cut two of each shape out of some thin canvas type fabric, pinned the edges, and sewed.

Step 3: to make sure I wasn’t totally off, I fit my fabric tube around the box, so far so good!

Step 4: I ironed all the seams flat, turned up the edge ¼ of an inch, pinned and sewed.

Step 5: I stuck my tube back on the box, wrong side facing out. I paired up my diagonal edges, pinned and sewed them. Notice that this leaves a little gap in the middle for tissues to poke out.

Step 6: I folded over all the raw edges around the tissue hole, and sewed them as well.

And here is the finished box cover! This was much easier than I thought it would be. I would totally recommend taking the time to make a paper pattern. I know I made it sound complicated, but it really only involves wrapping paper around the box. Also, I think checking the fit of the cover on the box after each step really helps ensure that the cover will fit correctly. This took less than 30 minutes from start to finish (and I have no idea what I’m doing) and resulted in something pretty spiffy!

No more ugly tissue boxes for me! Be sure to enter my one year blogiversary giveaway!


Sunday, January 24, 2010

One Year Giveaway

It’s officially my one year blogiversary! If you haven’t introduced yourself, please do! I’m loving getting to know all of you a bit more.

To celebrate this momentous (well, to me) occasion, I’m having another giveaway! One of you will win your choice of pillow cover (fits 11x11 to 12x12 pillow)

EDIT:: I'm so glad BJ reminded me that I forgot to post an end date! I will let choose the winner on Thursday (1/28) at 7:00 PM.  So check back tomorrow night to see if you're the lucky winner!

You can choose ruffles

A lovely bike diagram

Or a fun vintage bike advertisement. Your pillow cover may be slightly different than these, as I'll be making it from scratch, but it will be very similar.

To win, comment below with your favorite choice. If you follow me or subscribe through a feed reader, you can earn another entry by commenting again and letting me know. You can earn a third entry by blogging about this giveaway and leaving a comment with the link to your blog post. Make sure you leave one comment per method so all your chances will be counted! I’m sorry, but I can only send to US address.

Thanks so much for reading this blog, leaving such kind and encouraging comments, and sharing your own great ideas with the blog world! I think this has been the most creative year of my life, and I’m so excited to begin the next!


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Getting to know you...

Hello, lovely readers! Today’s post is all about you. Let’s start with what I know about you. 13,447 of you have visited me this year. I can’t even tell you how that number blows my mind! 80 of you read Little Red Roost through Google Reader and 56 of you follow me. You have visited me from all over the world, including places like Croatia and Bulgaria. To be honest, I don’t think I could locate Croatia or Bulgaria on a map, although I have trouble reading the “you are here” maps in malls, so that’s not really saying much. Most of my visits come from the USA with Texas (Howdy!), Virginia (Hey Y’all!), and Georgia (Hi, Aunt Kathy!) ranking top 3.

So that’s all I know about y’all numerically speaking. What I really want to know are all those juicy personal details. So, I’m calling all you lurkers (yes, you!) to tell me a little bit about what makes you tick.

I wanna know:

-Who are you?
-How many candles were on your last cake?
-Where do you call home?
-What do you do?
-Do you blog? Plug away!
-What’s your most favorite thing in the whole world?
-What should I know about you?
-What do you like best about this blog?
-What do you want to see more of on this blog?
-And anything else you’d like to say. . .

I am really ridiculously excited to meet you!


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Just Do it!

This post is a little How-To, but it’s also a Go-Do. Let me explain. If you are like me, you have about ten itsy bitsy little things about your home that you’re not crazy about that you walk past everyday with doing anything to change. I am so guilty of this! Why is it that I can easily use my spring break to slap three layers of paint on an entire dinning set, but I can’t take five minutes to change out an ugly brown switch plate for a white one?

Anyway, it has always bugged me that all of the frames in this grouping are blue or white except for one. That little tan frame drove me nuts, but I never took the time to do anything about it, until this weekend.

First, I roughed the frame up with some sandpaper.

Then I took some French blue paint on a q-tip and used it to fill in the word, “sisters.” I got some paint around the edges, but a little swipe with a wet paper towel took care of that.

Next, I brushed on a coat of white paint. Note that light brush strokes kept the white paint from covering the blue letters.

After this, I used a dry paper towel to wipe on two more layers of white paint. This trick gives you a beautiful, weathered texture. If I wanted more wood to show through, I could have stopped at one extra coat.

Here is the finished product.

The colors tie together so much better now, but aren’t obnoxiously matchy matchy!

This is your challenge: Just do it! That tiny change you’ve been meaning to make forever? Go and do it this weekend! Now that I’m on a roll, I might even change out that brown switch plate.


Blogging flashback - posts you loved

I had so much fun looking back at my old posts yesterday, thanks for joining me! Today I took a very unscientific gander at my analytics page and my comments page to find your favorite posts.

Your number one favorite is Price My Space with the Nester with 1,798 page views and 19 comments, which just goes to show that we all love a party, a good deal, and imperfect décor!

My (little) big Bathroom Reveal came in with 1,427 page views. I suspect this is because a lot of people Google bathroom remodel!

One of many, many bird related project this year, A Little Tweet ranked 1,252 page views, due to the fact that we all love birds, and Kimba featured it in her DIY Day roundup. Thanks Kimba!

Yet another birdy project, Bird is the Word ranked second highest in comments with 16. Like I said, the blog world is all for the birds – hardy, har, har.

Finally, the one overlap on my list and yours, Bench Pressed Resolved came in with 18 comments.

If you are new to blogging, let me share with you from my vault of knowledge, garnered during one whole year of blogging (but seriously) if you want your blog to get bigger hits, join the parties on the bigger blogs. I linked every single one of these posts to at least one blog party. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they are also my most viewed and commented on posts. So, join a party, make some friends, and have some major blogland fun!

Once again, I can’t thank y’all enough for reading my blog and leaving lovely comments. It’s so nice to know I’m not blogging into a void!

Check back tomorrow for a post all about getting to know you, my wonderful readers!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

blogging flashback - favorite posts

Monday will be the one year blogiversary of Little Red Roost! When I read through my archived posts, I have two reactions:

1. I cringe in painful embarrassment at how awful my early pictures were – nobody told me to turn the flash off!

2. I can’t really believe how many projects I actually accomplished in one year. Let me tell you, trying to think of things to blog about is a great motivator for getting stuff done! So thank you for getting my butt off the couch!

Today, I thought it would be fun (at least for me!) to take a look back at a few of my favorite posts.

1. Favorite post so far: On Being a Homemaker
This has nothing to do with making/sewing/painting/DIYing anything – but it’s very true to me. I think I need to re-read this every month just to keep my priorities straight!

2. Favorite project: Bench Pressed Resolved
I love that my Dad and Brad redid the bathroom. I love that we painted all our thrifted and hand-me-down kitchen furniture a lovely heirloom white. But this little bench just warms my silly DIY heart. It was so out of my “I will paint every last stick of furniture white until you pry this paint brush from my tiny fingers” comfort zone. It’s kind of whimsical and dare I say, trendy, with the fun mod podged numbers.

2. Favorite posts that no one read – ok, like 15 people read. Junk Philosophy 1, 2, and 3.
According to my Google Analytic stats, these posts are waaaaay down on the list of most viewed posts. I had so much fun putting my decorating mojo into words, and it was worth it to me to spend some time defining my personal style. Still, I think these posts, especially #3 are pretty darn funny (or psychotic, depending on how you look at it) so maybe they’ll get rediscovered.

Tomorrow I’ll post a little run down of my most popular posts, at least according to your comments and my analytics stats. Have a favorite? Do tell!

And thanks to all of you who read my crazy rambling and put up with my less than superior photography skills- it pretty much blows my mind that I have actual readers!



I wanted to share some special, new-to-me décor items I added to the living room over the weekend. These pieces came from my Granddad’s estate and have the special meaning that only family treasures can.

I have often gazed longingly at vintage ball jars in overpriced antique stores. I love how the light shines through the rippled aqua glass. I’m so glad my Granddad kept these around – although I’m sure he’d think it’s a little strange I’m using them for coffee table décor rather than canning!

Can’t you just imaging how beautiful they are going to look with some fresh tulips in them this spring?

I made this plaid pillow cover from one of my Granddad’s shirts, using this tutorial.

The blue and red colors are perfect in the living room.

This is my favorite part:

My Granddad’s original painting. He was a very talented artist and left behind quite a few sketches and paintings.

The style and colors of this one have always made it my favorite. It’s a pretty big step up from my vintage paint-by-numbers! Ummmm…could I please paint this well?

I love that these items have a family history and will be treasured for generations to come.

What are your favorite family heirlooms?


Monday, January 18, 2010

Bithday Boy

On Wednesday, my sweet husband turns 26 (and will no longer be able to tease me for being closer to 30 than 20 without getting it thrown back at ‘em!). We celebrated with our families on Sunday night.

I made a little “party time” banner from some scrapbook paper.

We feasted on Swiss Chicken, Cesar Salad, and Smashed Potatoes. See recipes at the end of the post. Sorry for the lack of pictures, we were too hungry!

The birthday boy or girl gets to eat off of a special plate.

After dinner, Brad opened some presents.

Isn’t he too cute?

He was very happy to have a new golf bag.

We finished the evening with peanut butter filled chocolate cupcakes. Yum!

Happy Birthday to my amazing husband! I love you!
Birthday dinner menu:

Swiss Chicken (using 6-10 chicken breasts. Adjust recipe if using more or less, Can be assembled ahead of time)

- 6 – 10 chicken breasts
- 1 slice of Swiss cheese per chicken breast (I used 2%)
- 1 can 98% fat free cream of chicken soup
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- Herb seasoned stuffing mix
- ¼ - ½ cup melted butter

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken in a greased baking dish. Lay a slice of cheese over each piece of chicken. Mix wine and soup together and pour over chicken. Top with a thin layer of stuffing mix. Drizzle butter over stuffing. Cook for 45 minutes.
Smashed Potatoes

- Red skinned potatoes chopped into large chunks (I used an entire bag from Trader Joe’s – about 10 very small potatoes)
- ½ stick butter
- ¼ cup sour cream
- Handful of chopped chives
- Salt and pepper to taste.

Cover potatoes with water and cook over medium high heat until fork tender. Drain potatoes. Smash lightly with fork. Add remaining ingredients and smash until desired consistency.
Chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter filling

Make chocolate cupcakes using your favorite recipe. Use these directions to fill with peanut butter filling:

-½ cup of peanut butter
-¼ a package of cream cheese
-1 cup of powdered sugar
- 1/2 Teaspoon vanilla
- 1 Teaspoon milk

Beat peanut butter and cream cheese together. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla. Add milk to thin. You may add more milk if desired. This makes way more than you need for 24 cupcakes. You could try to half this (although this has already been halved from the recipe I used) or think of a creative way to use the extra.