Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Time is Here! Spreading the Good Cheer!

Ho Ho Ho! and Merry Christmas!
Tonight is Christmas in this Escobar household. Since this is only our second Christmas as a family  (and our first with the pup!), we are still working on making our own traditions that are separate from our big extended family traditions that occur on the 24th and 25th. This year that looks like us setting aside a night to have a nice dinner, read the Christmas story, and open the big gifts we bought each other and the pup. I think this will continue to look a little different each year until we get in a real routine. That being said, I thought I would show you a picture of the tree we will be sitting under tonight.

May your Christmases be merry and bright no matter when you celebrate it. Take time to love on those close to you and don't forget the One who has blessed you the most.
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:
and the government shall be upon his shoulder: 
 and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, 
The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."
Isaiah 9:6

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Sparkly Silvery Wreath

You may remember (okay probably not) that I got a wreath form from a thrift store for $2.75 a while back. Well, that wreath form is now wrapped in sparkly silvery snowy goodness. See?
 I needed something fairly simple to go with our red door, and red siding and red trim, and red... I really like red and I love how the parts of the house I can see out the windows coordinates with the decor inside so I am not complaining but it does require any adornments kept simple.

To make this wreath I used the following which cost me about $9:
  • Grapevine Wreath Form - $2.75
  • White Spray Paint - leftovers
  • Silver Spray Paint (it is holding up the wreath form in the picture) - shared with other projects so lets say $2
  • Floral Moss - $2 bag
  • 3 Sparkly Accents - $.75 each
  • Glitter
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Wire Cutters  
First, I spray painted the wreath form and the moss. I painted about a bag and a half of moss but only used about 1 bag on the actual wreath. (Moss leftovers are very nice to have around)

I used the white first as a base. I was hoping that as I played with the moss and put it on the wreath form that the white and moss colors would show through in some areas giving it a snowy, natural appearance. I ended up putting so much silver on it later that I lost my snowy look but I think the idea is still good.
Once everything is dry, I plugged in my glue gun, and got to covering. I recommend working on top of a trash bag or something easy to pick up. The moss can be pretty messy.  I just put off a small section of moss, slathered hot glue on the back, and stuck it to the form until I got this:
At this point, I decided it looked more dirty than silvery and snowy, so I took it back outside to add one more light coat of silver spray paint. I also decided it needed glitter, so while the paint was wet I sprinkled a very special mixture white and clear glitter on it all. (This look can only be achieve by storing your glitter together in a Ziploc bag and having it spill. A lot.)  It was working until I sprayed a clear coat on top of everything. I was trying to hold the glitter on better but it ended up changing the color of the silver. It became a much more industrial metal gray instead of pretty sparkles. It also made the glitter look odd and chunky. No worries, I just put another coat of silver on it and gave up on any snowy ambitions.
 Next, I took two of my decorative accents and nestled them within each other. Aren't they cute all nestled?  Then I just poked a hole in my moss and pushed them through bending them stems as needed to make it all lay down nicely.
I used wire cutters to cut the red bits off of their main stem so that they are easier to poke into the arrangement and then hot glued it all in place.
 I twisted on a wire off one of the silver accent's packaging and hung it on the nail in our front door (thanks previous tenants!) TaaDaa!
And because you haven't had to look at nearly enough pictures of Desmond yet:
Don't they look good together? I got a little artsy on the coloring of this next one:
Doesn't that face just say "Mommmm! Can I have my treat yet?" Here it is close up in case you cant hear/see it from that far away. That is the same sad puppy dog look that got him a home in the first place.
 I will be linking this post to the DIY Clubs monthly contest.
DIY Club

Monday, December 13, 2010

Antique Postcard Gift Tags

I used images off of the Graphic's Fairy's blog to make gift tags for all of our presents this year. I even took one of the images that is the back of the postcard and customized it to be the To/From section.

Here is a few pictures of the tags on the gifts under our tree. Which happens to be a dark shadowy corner so the pictures were a little difficult. It took me 7 or 8 test sheets to finally get it right but I am glad I stuck with it.

 Most of our gift were bought in Mexico so I collected shells with holes in them to include in the wrappings. I really like the coordinating but not idential look created. So now you know my secret, wrapping Christmas presents is a craft project for me. I try to never use bags unless absolutely neccessary. To create your own gift tags, I recommend starting in the Graphics Fairy's Christmas collection here.
I am linking to:
The Graphics Fairyhandmade projects

Noel NoooeeeELLL! Born is the King of Israaaellll!

Are you glad you just have to read that title and not actually hear me sing it?
I have a quick little Christmas project for you today. I got this cute little candle holder for $2 not long ago. It isn't terrible as is but I wanted more from it.

I love red and had to buy a can of red spray paint for another project so it got a coat too. I didn't prime it or anything, just started spraying. Here it is after the first red coat.
Looking good. Looking good but not done yet. I wanted to darken the red and bring out the details so I wiped on a dark brown miss-tinted stain from Sherwin Williams ($2.50 for the quart!) and then rubbed it back off. I was impatient so I only let the paint dry to the touch but not really cure when I started applying the stain. Combine that with the fact that I didn't prime the surface and you get the paint coming off of the areas you rub real hard. Not really surprising. I decided to go with it and I think it turned out nicely.

Not bad for a $2 candlestick and about $1 of supplies. I painted another set of candlesticks the same red but haven't rubbed them with the stain yet. They aren't white underneath and a different style and material so I am hoping the paint doesn't come off those but we will have to see.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Cookie Time

I wasn't able to make Christmas cookies with my mom this year. We just ran out of time. She was kind enough to send her sugar cookie dough with me so that I could make some when I got the chance. Thursday night my sweet friend, Laura, came over and decorated the cookies with me. (hint: if you need to revive pre-made dough, adding an egg and a little bit of oil to the dough in a mixer do it nicely) Here is Laura as we get started:
Isn't she gorgeous?
We had a blast drinking wine together, chit-chatting, watching White Christmas, and decorating. And I would go as far as to say we made some great looking cookies. This is one of the sheets before they baked.
Laura got to see my spazzy messy cooking style. And I think she still likes me, which just shows you how great she is.  Her hand washing consistency and thoroughness put me to shame, but she said that came from being a nurse.  Annnnd back to the cookies, here they are all golden and baked.
 And here is my wonderful husband decorating one with us:
He is super into comic books so his was a themed cookie (his blog is here in case you doubt my comic book claim) Here is his Green Lantern inspired treat:
The night was so fun. I really enjoyed the low key girly time and I hope I have started a new tradition. Well as long as next year I get to make some with my mom too.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I have been a long time subscriber to Dave Kellet's daily emails filled with comic strip goodness. He writes and draws the comic "Sheldon" about a boy genius, and his gramps, and his talking duck. It is like a little gift in my inbox every morning. A while ago he posted this comic:
Awesome, right? Well today he announce the availability of the shirt based on this strip that I now want for Christmas. Santa, do you read my blog?
If  this makes you LOL as well then you can get it here for $18.25+shipping. There were several days of knitting jokes so be sure to check them out at the knitting specific ones start here.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Tin Scrooge Might Even Like

I am sorry it has been so long since my last post. Between Thanksgiving with the family, a cruise with my hubby and the preperation for both, I just haven't had a chance to sit down and write. But never fear, I have been getting projects done and taking pictures so I should have lots to write about for a while.
But first, a picture from our trip. We had two cameras and I've only downloaded one so I might share more later when I've got the other ones available.
This was at dinner on the fancy shamcy night. It was a good trip with lots of "us" time. People thought we were on our honeymoon which I just loved. Okay, thanks for your patience, we will now move onto a project.
It is a simple silly little one but I am really happy with how it came out.
I started with a tin my mom gave me. It was a house that had "The Night Before Christmas" mice running around on it. That explains the shape if you were wondering.
I wanted to make sure the paint would stick to the shiny metal surface so I primed it with several coats of an oil based primer and then painted on several more coats of green acrylic paint.

I took these 3 pictures from The Muppet Christmas Carol (a classic for sure) and edited them in photoshop to get them just right and then printed them out. I used a razor blade on a cutting board to cut out the shapes I needed.

I then put a layer of mod podge on the back of the paper and laid it out on my tin being careful to get no bubbles. Once that had dried for at least 20 minutes, I covered the whole tin in mod podge. When that layer was dry, I used mod podge to glue a light white glitter to the snow parts of the picture. This also helped soften the cut edges. Then I super glued a piece of hemp twine to the lid to make it look more finished. For basically free, I think it turned out quite cute. My secret santa recipient at work said she likes Muppet, especially Kermit, so I hope she will really like it. Here are the other sides:

Opps! I guess I wasn't quite finished when I took this picture.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fall. Cooked Down, Swirled and Put in a Bowl

Just so you know, I'm not planning on this blog to be solely craft projects. There is no way I won't end up sharing cooking adventures and an absurd number of pictures of my dog with you. So just go ahead and get ready for that.

We had a couple over for dinner last night and that meant Wednesday night was spent cleaning and cooking and last night was spent eating and enjoying. That also means I don't have a project to share so I thought I would share the pumpkin soup I made.

I made this soup a few weeks ago using left over fresh pumpkin. At first, I thought the idea of pumpkin soup sounded unpleasant but then I saw recipes with curry in it and the idea took on a whole new flavor. (heheehee get it?) I was shocked how much I liked it. The couple we had over are pretty foodie so I thought they were a safe audience for my new favorite soup. (Hi Morgan! Thanks for following :)

You will start by sauteing 1/4 of a medium onion, 2 cloves of garlic, and a handful or two of carrots in olive oil. The carrots are for sweetness and color. You wont taste them at all.

These aren't quite done. I let them cook a few minutes more.
 You are ready to move on when the onion is fairly translucent. If you get impatient and  it isn't fully cooked it is okay. They will get a chance to cook a little more. See my cute helper? He helps by wedging himself between me and the counter/oven or laying down somewhere very near by. He also cleans up the pumpkin I accidentally fling on the front of the dishwasher. (I'm not a very neat cook but I promise it all gets cleaned up...eventually)

Okay back on track, once those are nice and cook, add in the pumpkin and 3 cups of chicken broth.  This time, I used canned pumpkin because I couldn't find a fresh pumpkin. I think the canned has a different texture that isn't as good but it definitely will do.

Make sure you get 100% pure pumpkin and NOT pumpkin pie filling.

Now is the time to throw in some spices and then let it simmer for a while. I added a 1/4 teaspoon of cumin, 3/4 teaspoon of red curry paste, a dash of clove, a double dash of nutmeg, a dash of pepper, and a triple dash of salt. That might be too much curry so just do what taste right to you. I am sorry for the inaccurate measurements. I know my dad would be cringing right now if he were reading this. (chemical engineer + cook = an interesting approach to recipes. and by interesting I mean wonderful, of course)

The soup before the blender.

Seriously, who keeps getting me off topic? Back on track, let the pumpkin simmer for a good while. You want it to tasted cooked and like the spices are melded well. Also, the olive oil used to saute earlier should create a sheen on top of the pumpkin. How long does this take? I don't really know. I ate dinner and chopped up veggies for the roast so may be 30-45 minutes? You want all of those spices to cook together. But be careful, if you let it get too hot it will try to boil and do this:

When you think it is done, you are going to blend it into creamy goodness.

Did you know blenders have a soup setting? I didn't either until half way through my second time to make this soup. It works pretty well too. I put the soup in the blender a third at a time and let it blend for a while since I wasn't liking the canned pumpkin texture. Just do as much as you need to in order to get it how you want.

When you get done blending, put it all back in your pot and add 3/4 cup of half and half. Let that cook for may be 10 more minutes.
The half and half will change the color and consistency of your soup.
 I like adding something to break up the texture. The first time I made it, I used small pasta shells for that  but I forgot them the second time and it was definitely missing. My dinner guests have done this before and added black beans which I think sounds wonderful. I didn't get a picture but it was really quite pretty served up in a white bowl with a sprinkling of parsley on top.

Okay so in short, the ingredients you will need:

1/4 Medium onion

2 cloves of garlic

handful of carrots

olive oil


1 can of pumpkin

1 1/2 cans of chicken broth (3 cups)

1/4 teaspoon cumin

3/4 teaspoon red curry paste (might be too much)

dash of nutmeg

dash of clove

3/4 cup half and half

cooked small pasta shells or black beans

I hope you get a chance to try out this soup. It really is good. Definitely taste like fall, cooked down, swirled, and put in a bowl.

This post is linked at:


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thrifting is the Beginning of Christmas Shopping

There is a HUGE thrift store near us that I have to restrain my self from stopping in every time I drive past. Seriously, it is HUGE. It is the size of a freestanding department store. Everything is clearly priced and they have a different category on sale everyday. Yesterday was my first time to go in and I think this place is going to become a frequent stop.

I got a few finds I thought I would share with you. The only thing I didn't take a picture of was the 9 foot Christmas garland that I got for $4. Not a bad deal and my first Christmas decor purchase of the season.
My splurge was this thermos at $6.

Doesn't it look great with my vintage picnic basket? I just loved the colors on it.

I got this wine rack for $2. You can kind of see that it is missing the bolts at the top. I might replace the bolts or I thought I might just tie it together using hemp or ribbon. That led to the idea of completely covering it like Mandi from Vintage Revivals did on her chandelier.  We will just have to wait and see what I end up doing.

 I got this great sconce for $2. We have similar iron work candle holders in our bedroom so I am sure it will end up there.

It was hard to take a picture through the box, but I got a tall candle with a sparkle holly adornment for $.21. My "Secret Santa" recipient at work loves deep reds like I do so I think she will like it. I am going to probably clean it up so it doesn't look like a gift someone didn't want. The giving is spread out over 5 days and is to add up to $20 so this will make it so I can spend more on another day.

I got tired of taking individual pictures so this next one encompasses my last few finds. I got the basket and the wreath for $2.75 each. I am going to take the Christmas liner out of the basket and use it to organize supplies at my sewing desk. I don't have specific plans on the wreath at the moment.
But I've got BIG plans for the book which was $.75. Just you wait. It is going to be super cool and look great in our library. The mug was $1.40. It might end up being part of my Secret Santa gifts but I think more likely I will keep it. It has a lovely crackling to the glaze and I've always had a thing for red and white mugs. I always ohh and ahhh at them at Starbucks but those are never $1.40. I also got a stocking stuffer for $.41 for my husband but since he is my first and only follower I can't tell you about it.