Monthly Archives: April 2012

7 Clever Uses for Club Soda

Club soda is a great staple to have in the fridge…especially if you’re trying to lose weight (the carbonation helps fill you up and gives the illusion of a pop without the calories and sugar).  You can mix it with drinks, add it to cake recipes, or just enjoy it as is on a hot summer day.  There are also several other ways to put club soda to use, both in your cooking and around your house.

  •  Lighten up pancakes, waffles, cakes, muffins, and biscuits with club soda (substitute it for the liquid called in the recipe)
  • Give plants a mineral bath by watering your plants with club soda once a week.
  • Pour it on carpet stains and rub to remove the stain.
  • Use club soda to help remove bird poop and other stains from your car.
  • Beautiful blondes can wash their hair with club soda after swimming in a pool to help remove the green tint.
  • Add it to apple or orange juice to create a new fun and carbonated drink for kids!
  • Club soda will also help remove the stains from coffee cups and silver.

Knowledge is power!  Learn fun facts, hints and tips, and creative ways to use every day items with “The Buzz” posts on Thursday.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under clever uses

Framed Earring Storage

This past weekend was one of my favorite quarterly projects…Spring Cleaning!  I love spring cleaning so much that I do it once a season…sometimes twice.  Yes, I’m THAT person.  I’m that much of a nerd.

To be fair, I do have a lot of crap…and I live in an apartment with hardwood floors, lots of books, and windows that stay open quite often…so there’s lots of dust.  I also live with a boy…and, well, we all know how that goes!

So when I do my spring cleaning, I like to start one room at a time and just take my time going through things and throwing stuff away.  This year I started with my jewelry.  I needed a way to store all my earrings so I could see all of them at one time.  I had some left over wire shelves from my craft unit I showed you a few weeks ago, so I tied a ribbon to those and was able to hang hooked earrings on them.  It looks oh so chic!

As for my studded earrings, I needed a way to store them that wasn’t in a little bowl in my dresser.  So I decided I’d do double duty and create a storage system that was also decorative…bada boom!

These sweet earring frames are so easy to make and they’re a great way to store your studded earrings in a way that looks professional and stylish.

Earring Frames

Materials:

  • Wooden frames (I got mine at IKEA.  I think they come in a package of 5 or 6.  I only had to use 2 for this project.  These frames are 4 x 6)
  • 1 8 ½ x 11 sheet of felt, color of your choice
  • Scissors
  • Glue gun
  • Felt flowers (optional)
  • Ribbon

Instructions:

  1. Take the backing off the frame and remove the glass/plastic part.  Lay it on your felt and cut out a felt rectangle, using the glass/plastic as a guide.
  2. Hot glue the felt piece to the inside of the frame where the backing used to be.  Don’t put the backing back on because you want to be able to poke your earrings through the felt.
  3. That’s really all there is to it.  You can add felt flowers if you’d like to give it a feminine touch.  Then hot glue a ribbon to the back (if there isn’t a wall hook on the back of the frame) and you’re ready to go!
  4. To attach your earrings, poke them through the felt and secure them on the other side of the frame.

Done and done!  Moving on to necklaces…

Since I’m a renter, I can’t really drill massive and awesome storage units into my bedroom wall.  And since my apartment is small, I can’t really afford to waste space with units that sit on the floor and take up room…and since I’m a bit of a crafty minded person, I have a LOT of necklaces.  I needed a way to store and display them so they wouldn’t get tangled and messy.

I have to thank my brilliant man friend for this idea.  I had these great mini hangers that I also got from IKEA, but they put huge holes in the wall, which I didn’t want to do.  He suggested simply attaching them to my dresser, also from IKEA, and hanging my necklaces there.  Um…genius.

Instead of having to drill screws into the wall to hang up these awesome hangers, all I had to do was push a thumb tack through the hole and into the dresser.  My necklaces aren’t super heavy, so that was all the support they needed.  This is a great space saving idea for ladies who live in little lofts and flats.

As for my bracelets, which I don’t wear too often, I simply threw them on some glass vases (wait for it…ALSO from IKEA!) and threw some fake flowers inside the vase.  Boom.  Storage with style!

I was so excited with my jewelry plans that I really didn’t have time to finish much else!  I did clean up the bathroom, though…and next week I’ll have a helpful tip for renters who are looking to add some color and style to a bathroom they can’t really do anything to…

Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

Leave a comment

Filed under storage and organization ideas

My Last Supper Book Review

If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would your last meal be?  Would you be adventurous and try something new and foreign, or would you stick to something tried and true:  a meal you knew well and loved?

For the 50 chefs interviewed in Melanie Dunea’s book, My Last Supper, the infamous question of “The Last Meal”  brings many back to the days of growing up in the kitchen, helping mom, grandma, or other family members cook up simple pasta meals, while snacking on bread and butter.  While the thought of “The Last Meal” frustrates many chefs (like asking an author what their favorite book is or asking anyone to name their favorite song or food), the responses given in My Last Summer were so beautiful and simple.  While many chefs admitted that they would indulge in everything and anything, many said that their last meal would be simple and light…bread and fine olive oil, a light pasta salad, or just an evening filled with fine wine and friends.

Complete with beautiful photographs of every chef interviewed, My Last Supper is a real feast for all the senses.  Well known chefs like Mario Batali, Rick Bayless, Anthony Bourdain, Jamie Oliver, Jacques Pepin, Gordon Ramsay, Eric Ripert, Charlie Trotter, Jose Andres (my favorite!), Lidia Bastianich, and many more are asked a series of five questions, all having to do with the last meal.  The questions include: “What would your last meal be?”, “Who would dine with you?”, and “Who would prepare it?”.

For lovers of food and the people that make it best, My Last Supper is a beautiful coffee table book that will leave you questioning your culinary favorites…and what your epic “Last Meal” might be.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

Leave a comment

Filed under book reviews

Sweet Knit Scarflette

This sweet little scarflette is perfect for those colder spring nights when a full scarf is just too much.  It works up quickly and is so easy to make.  This scarflette is made using a baby cable stitch, but you can simply knit each row if you’re new to knitting.  If you want to give the cable stitch a try (it’s really quite easy!), this is a great project to practice with.  You won’t need a cable needle, but you will need knitting needles that allow for knitting two stitches together (I recommend a bigger size, like 10 or 11 US sized needles).


Sweet Scarflette

Materials:

  • Pair of 10 or 11 sized needles
  • Yarn (I used Red Heart Gold yarn.  It wasn’t a full skein, so you can easily make this with leftover yarn)
  • Large Button
  • Scissors
  • Tapestry Needle

Instructions:

  1. Cast on 42 stitches.  If you want it to be larger or smaller, cast on in multiples of 4 stitches, plus 2 extra stitches at the end.
  2. Row 1:  Knit 2, *Pearl 2, Knit 2; repeat from * to end of row.
  3. Row 2:  Pearl 2, *Knit 2, Pearl 2; repeat from * to end of row.
  4. Row 3:  As row 1.
  5. Row 4:  Pearl 2, *Knit 2 stitches together, leaving on needles.  Insert your right needle between the two stitches you just knitted together and knit the first stitch on the left needle again.  Then drop both stitches off needle. Pearl 2; repeat from * to end of row.
  6. Repeat Rows 1-4 until your scarflette is about 31 inches long.  Bind off.
  7. Sew your button on one corner of the right side of the work.  I just used some extra yarn to attach the button.
  8. Braid or crochet a loop for the button.  It should be about 5-6 inches long.  Use a tapestry needle to weave it into the scarf, tying it securely on the wrong side of the work.
    asdf
  9. And there you have a fun and cozy scarflette!  As I’ve said, you can use a basic knit stitch if you find the cable too difficult.  These fun little accessories also make great gifts for Mother’s Day!

Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

Leave a comment

Filed under knit tutorials

Pistachio Cupcakes

Hey everyone!  First of all, I’m so sorry I’ve been absent recently!  I’ve been crazy busy and haven’t had much time for blogging this past week, but I have something to make it up to you…

This past weekend was my future sister-in-law’s bridal shower…and I was in charge of the sweet table.  This is part of the reason I’ve been absent…since most of my free time was spent baking!  I experimented with some different flavors and techniques and, as a little treat, I’m going to share with you my recipe for pistachio cupcakes.  This is a great cake to make for a bridal or baby shower.

I made little mini cupcakes, but you can easily make larger ones or even make a full cake.

I also included some stamped orange sugar cookies, which were a HUGE hit!  Maybe I’ll share that recipe with you guys, too… 🙂

The shower theme colors were hot pink, green, black, and white…so I had a lot of fun with the dessert table!  Here’s how it all came together:

ANYWAY, let’s get to those cupcakes, huh?  Here’s a recipe that nut lovers are sure to go, well, “nuts” over!

Pistachio Cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcake:

  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1 package instant pistachio pudding
  • 1 handful crushed pistachios (optional)
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup club soda

Frosting:

  • 1 tub whipped frosting (white)
  • 1/2 package instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 2-3 drops green food coloring
  • 1 handful crushed pistachios (optional)


Directions:

1.  To make the cupcakes, place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Mix gently to combine.  Continue to mix until everything is incorporated and you have a smooth batter.  If you want your cupcakes to be a darker green, you can add some food coloring, but the pudding mix adds just enough color to make it a soft pistachio green.

2.  Pour it into prepared muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees F for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool completely before frosting.

3.  For the frosting, combine the frosting, pudding mix, and crushed pistachios in a bowl and mix until combined.  If you want to darken your frosting, add green food coloring.  I added 2 drops to get the nice green tint.  Decorate to your heart’s content!

Every Monday is a “Reci-bee” post, where I share my favorite recipes, recipe collections, and cooking and baking hints and tips. 

Leave a comment

Filed under cupcake recipes

Zamba Book Review

For Ralph Helfer, working with animals has always been a lifelong dream.  Starting out working in a small pet shop, Helfer learned all about the cruelties and abuse that can happen while training and working with animals.  Vowing to make a difference any way he knew how, Helfer made it a mission to do whatever he could to change the way animals were treated both in private conditions and in and on the farms of those who raised wild animals for commercial gain.

Now one of Hollywood’s top animal behaviorists, Helfer has completely revolutionized the way wild animals are treated and trained, using something he likes to call “affection training.”  It is used by professional trainers, zoologists, and even many animal lovers who want to form a better bond with their pet.  But in the beginning, Helfer needed a guinea pig, an animal to help him prove to the world that love and trust are much more powerful tools than anger and abuse.

Ironically, that “guinea pig” came in the form of a four month old lion cub named Zamba.  When Zamba came into Helfer’s life, he was well on his way to achieving his boyhood dream.  He had created a wild animal haven where everything from lizards to elephants received the very best care possible.  He had thought about and developed his “affection training” theory, though still lacked the one animal to help him prove his case.  Having wanted a lion since he was a boy, Hefler was confident that Zamba was the animal for the job.

Over the next 18 years, Zamba helped Helfer prove his theory ten fold.  Zamba and Helfer did everything together.  Where there was one, there was the other…and throughout the course of this beautiful and poignant story, it’s easy to tell that both of their lives were changed for the better.

Despite Zamba’s wild popularity in the 1960’s and 1970’s (he was a Hollywood star, gracing the silver screen in The Lion, The Greatest Show on Earth, and several hundered commericals and TV shows), his biggest achievement may have been his abilitiy to form a powerful and spiritual bond with the man who raised him.  Zamba:  The True Story of the Greatest Lion that Ever Lived is a story of friendship, trust, and the emmense raw power of love.

Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.

2 Comments

Filed under book reviews

DIY Tee Shirt Tote

So as I continued to work my way through my closet for spring cleaning, I came upon this old shirt which I love, but never wear anymore.  I didn’t want to cut it up too much, so I decided to make a cute little bag out of it!

These tee shirt bags are durable and awesome for keeping in your car for last minute grocery store runs.  I’m apologizing now for my terrible sewing directions for this tutorial!  If you have any questions about any of these steps, let me know and I’ll try to explain myself!

This is a great project for all those tee shirts that you love, but never wear.  I’m thinking specifically of those meaningful high school shirts, or shirts that a loved one gave you.  It’s great repurposing craft that’s easy to make and fun to show off!

Tee Shirt Bag

Materials:

  • An old tee shirt
  • Sewing machine and supplies
  • Scissors
  • Lining fabric (I used some complimentary fabric I had on hand)

dd

Instructions:

1.   Okay, first you want to find a shirt that you love that you just can’t wear anymore. For me, it’s this adorable giraffe tee. I love it but it’s just not appropriate for me to wear to work, etc. So first you’re going to want to lay it out flat so all the seams match.

2.   Next I carefully turned the shirt over and pinned it all around. I started at the bottom, then folded the sleeves back and pinned those down, then pinned the top (I also cut off the top collar before pinning, since I knew I wasn’t going to use it.

3.   Then I cut along the folded seam on the sleeves and removed them, because they were just nasty!

4.   So this is what my shirt looks like now…no collar and no sleeves.

5.   Next take out all the pins and then repin the front and the back pieces to the inner lining fabric of your choice. I’m using some old fabric I had on hand from when I made my shower curtain.

6.   With some extra discarded tee shirt fabric from the bottom of the shirt and the top, I created two sides and a bottom, which I also pinned to the lining fabric. Here are all the pieces: the back, front, two side pieces, and bottom piece.

7.   Next sew all the pieces to the lining. This will give your sewing machine the workout of its life!

8.   Once all your pieces are sewn to the lining, you’re ready to assemble! Starting with the front of your purse, place the bottom piece front sides together onto the bottom of the front of your purse (sorry if that’s confusing!). Sew along the seam you already made to attach the bottom piece to the bottom of the front piece. Repeat this on the bottom of the back piece of the bag. Here’s what your purse should look like now. Just a reminder, all your sewing should be done on the inside of the purse…as is the case in most sewing projects.

9.   At this point, or really anytime before this, you can hem the top portion of your purse. Fold the top down about a half an inch and sew so you have a nice clean line at the top of your purse. You could also do this step before you begin assembling.

10.   Next sew the side pieces on, first sewing them to the front piece and then the back. It may take some maneuvering once your purse is nearing completion, but just be patient and work slowly.

11.   I then took some extra lining fabric and created handles. Sew those into place and turn your work inside out so the lining is inside…and there you have it! A fun and stylish tee shirt bag!

I’m sorry if these directions are confusing and don’t make sense! Most of my sewing projects are very spur of the moment and unorganized…so if you have questions about anything, please let me know here or on the Facebook page.

Celebrate creativity every Wednesday with a “Creativi-bee” post, where I share easy craft tutorials, project ideas, and craft collections.

Leave a comment

Filed under sewing tutorials