Something Sweet, Take Two

After I made myself a nice springy brooch, I still had lots of old bedsheets, er floral fabric, leftover and I just couldn't stop myself from crafting.

The "pendant" part is just fabric wrapped around 3 large beads and I braided red thread for the chain.

Sorry for the boobalicious picture. I'm not really that stacked, but wouldn't it be great if I was?



What's one of the best things about being unemployed? You can make cupcakes on a Tuesday afternoon. Don't worry, I'm still looking for a job, I just like to point out the bright side. Silver linings, people.

Can I just say how much I love this cake stand. Love. It.

They're just yellow cake (from a box) and butter cream frosting (from a can) but they are very tasty. It doesn't matter whether or not I made them from scratch, my kitchen still smells amazing, i.e. like cake. You know how candle companies make candles that smell like pie or frosting? They're for fatties like me.


Also, how precious are these cupcake liners? I snagged them during a random trip to Michael's and they were $2 for 75 liners. Not too shabby for something as cute as that. Confession: the only reason I bought a cake mix on Monday was because I wanted to use the liners as soon as possible. But also, cupcakes = yum.

The bottom is even cuter.

That's what he said.

The cupcakes looked fine on their own, but I couldn't resist adding some sprinkles. Because apparently I am an overgrown eight-year-old.


P.S. Here's my secret for putting sprinkles on cookies or cupcakes. Hold the dessert over a bowl or dish, something slightly larger than what you're sprinkling - and shake the sprinkles onto the dessert.

The bowl catches all of the stray sprinkles so you don't A) waste sprinkles and B) make a huge mess. Then just pour them back into your sprinkle jar for later.

A Little Something Sweet For Spring

I have a confession: when I'm home all day, i.e. unemployed, I get the urge to craft. A lot. The problem is I don't have any money to buy supplies, which makes me sad. When I'm sad I want to spend money, but I don't have any money, which makes me sadder. Vicious cycle, right?

Sooo, I raided my craft supplies and, searching for cheap and easy projects, I scoured the internet found this craft in my blog reader. Evie designed it as a bracelet, but I changed it to a brooch. I'm not a big bracelet wearer.

All I had to do was wrap some fabric - old Martha Stewart sheets - around some beads, trimmed it down to a rosette-ish shape and finished it with Fray-Check. You guys, I am seriously addicted to Fray-Check. I put it on EVERYTHING.

To turn it into a brooch I just stitched the fabric to a safety pin.

I have enjoyed wearing it as a brooch (obv) and as a way to fancy up a simple ponytail.

I have lots more of that fabric, a whole sheet set actually, so stay tuned for more floral sweetness.

Soap Gets A Makeover

By now we all know I like to hide functionality behind something pretty. Wait, you didn't know that? Get thee to the archives!

I apologize. I'm easily distracted. Anyway, this post is about my fancier-than-necessary kitchen soap. May I present to you dish soap on the left and hand soap on the right. Don't you just love the clean lines and absence of product labels?

OK, now that we've handled the introductions, it's on to the details. The dish soap is the easier of the two makeovers and, sadly, I can't take credit for this. I totally stole the idea from hubby's grandmother when we stayed with them a few weeks ago - Hi Grandma! All you do is pour dish soap into a cruet with the handy drizzle spout. Seriously, that's all you do.

As you can see, the spout makes it easy to drizzle just the right amount of soap into the sink, which is great for me because I am a terrible over-squirter with a regular dish soap bottle. Also, I realize the demonstration would have been easier to see had I not chosen clear dish soap. My bad.

As for the nitty-gritty how-to details, there's not much I need to tell you. Any liquid dish soap will do; I personally cheap out with the unscented grocery store brand. The nice thing about the cruet is you can save some dough by buying your dish soap in bulk, but you still have the convenience of a small dispenser. I'm also pretty sure any old oil cruet will work. I didn't buy this one for the project, I just happened to have it on hand.

Enough about that, now let's talk about hand soap! Thrilling, I know. Again, I can't take full credit for this because I was inspired by this genius design project by Nathalie Stämpfli I'd seen floating around the interwebs. You can click the link for more info, but here's the gist: liquid soap is mostly water. That's bad because water is being transported unnecessarily; the liquid soap is heavier, larger in storage and the packaging is made of plastic. Bar soap would be the answer if it weren't so slippery and generally icky. Take a peek at Nathalie's brilliant solution:

image source

A soap dispenser that creates flakes from bar soap! As much as I love her design, I can't sit around waiting for it to be mass-produced. So, armed with some DIY spirit and a rock-what-ya-got approach, I decided to modify the idea and make it my own. Even better, my version didn't cost me any money and I like free things. Being unemployed will do that to you.

The container is an ordinary canning jar - left over from some homemade apple sauce Luke got for Christmas - and the soap is grated Dove brand bar soap. For those following along at home, you can grate your soap with a plane or box grater...

... or with a fancy rotary grater.

I tried both but I preferred the rotary grater - it was faster. If you don't have a rotary grater, the box grater worked just fine. Just make sure you use a fine-toothed grater, because you want to end up with nice, small flakes like this:

After I had my flakes in the jar, I made holes in the lid to create a shaker. For those following along at home, I drew my hole pattern with a marker, punched pilot holes with a hammer and nail, then made the holes larger with a power drill. I could have used a special bit made for drilling through metal, but the lid was soft enough that it wasn't necessary.

Here's where I have to admit that you could very easily use a parmesan cheese shaker - you know, the kind on the table at pizza restaurants - instead of making your own. I didn't because I would have had to buy one and that would require a trip to Bed Bath and Beyond and I can't ever get out of there without buying stuff that wasn't on my list.

Once you have your shaker all loaded up, it's not hard to figure out how to use it.

I will say this: you're less likely to drop some flakes if you wet your hands first and the hotter the water, the easier they melt and lather.
I didn't bother, but you could always match your soap dispensers to your kitchen (or bath) decor by using stickers, ribbon, decals or colored soap. Me, I'm a sucker for clear glass and crisp white soap.

Extra Kitchen Storage

Even though our house is plenty big for the three of us, we don't have the biggest of kitchens. I do okay making the most of my cabinets and pantry, but I desperately need more counter space. I have been wanting to add some shelves over the trashcans for some time now and we finally took the plunge with these from Ikea. Yes, they're mounted assymetrically and, yes, it bothers me. They could be symmetrical if I was willing to cut the shelves shorter, but I wanted every last inch of space I would get. I just try not to dwell on it, otherwise I get all twitchy.

top: stand mixer, cookbooks :: middle: rag bucket, drying rack, green box, flour canister :: bottom: empty wine bottles, compost bin, bread box

I actually didn't help install these, but hubby said it was easy. My stand mixer, bread box, flour canister and grass drying rack moved from the counter tops and the compost bin came over from the kitchen cart that serves as a teeny, tiny island. Since I still had room to spare I added my cookbooks, previously living in the office, and a small bucket for dirty rags and dishtowels. Lastly I added a few decorative items and this green box (the one hanging out under the drying rack), which might be my new favorite thing in the kitchen.

It looks simple enough, right? It's just an empty shoebox (zero dollars) covered in green wrapping paper (zero dollars). I started out trying to add some height to the drying rack - it just looked so pitiful between the taller rag bucket and flour canister - and thought about a stack of books. Then I realized I could use a shoebox instead and snag some concealed storage. What do you think is hiding inside the green box?

A tool box! Of course most of our tools are out in the woodshed (I promise I'll take pictures of that someday, but it's ugly and not nearly organized enough yet.) but I like to keep a few things on hand in the house; safety glasses, hammer, multi-head screwdriver and some picture-hanging nails.

Last, but not least, I want to highlight my bookend. Well, it's not really a bookend, it's a brick. Anything heavy will do the trick and I am a nut for using non-bookends to prop up my books if it helps me inject some personality into a space. This particular brick came from Biloxi, MS - the same trip as when I looted, er found, this wood board that ended up being a wedding gift for the hub. I found a pile of bricks lying on an empty lot - the building probably got torn down after hurricane damage - and no one seemed to be using them for anything so I dug around until I found a mostly undamaged one. I'm a sucker for interesting building materials and this "ST JOE" stamped brick was too cool to pass up. I have a guess about why the brick says "ST JOE" but it's long and architecturally nerdy and would probably bore you to tears. If you have trouble falling asleep tonight, give me a call and I'll tell you all about it.

So, that's a wrap. You like?

Cute New Swimsuit

I just snagged this swimsuit* from Old Navy. Now that we've had a few warm, spring-y days I am already jonesing for some full-fledged pool weather. Yeah, I'm greedy like that.

*I would link to it for you but it sold out really quickly. Glad I got it when I did!

Yummy In My Tummy

We've been having some dreary weather lately and nasty weather makes me want chili. And, lucky lady that I am, my hubby found a way to make chili even better. He served it in a biscuit bowl. That's right, folks, a bowl made out of a biscuit!

Pay attention, this recipe is so easy and you're going to want to make it RIGHT NOW.

Step 1) Make biscuit dough, mush it around the bottom of a muffin pan and bake. We used Bisquick cheddar garlic, but you could go old school and make yours from scratch.

Step 2) Put your biscuit bowl inside a regular bowl to contain all the impending deliciousness.

Step 3) Fill with chili and top with sour cream, shredded cheese or your favorite chili toppings.

Step 4) Stuff your face. Then go back for seconds, I won't tell.
P.S. My nerdy little heart loves how my chili exactly matches my utensil crock. Why else do you think I included it in the picture?
P.P.S. If you want more precise recipe instructions, e-mail me (www dot gimmeakiss dot blog at gmail dot com) and I will send it your way!

The Wedding That Wasn't

As soon as Carolina Pear was official, our first order of business was to throw a fake wedding. OK, not really. Sort of. Let me back up.

Brettany, my business partner, works as an events coordinator for the Belmont Estate. Last fall the Belmont had a booth at a local bridal fair and Brettany laid out her booth with tables, chairs and linens as if it was a reception hosted by the Belmont. She thought it would look much better if we had some paper goods to jazz up the tables, so she enlisted me to whip up some place cards, menus and table numbers. Although we couldn't officially advertise - Carolina Pear didn't pay to be a featured vendor - it was great to have so many brides see our work.
For the sweetheart table we used a love bird motif for the place cards and table number card.

On the guest tables we used the same cage but swapped out the birds for the table number. Cute, no?

Each place setting got a menu card outlining the dinner courses.

All of the brides I have worked with, myself included, have more contemporary tastes so it was nice to do something with a hint of classical style.

Homemade Baby Shower Card

On Sunday we went to a baby shower for my good friend and I whipped up this card for her. I'm not a fan of store-bought greeting cards - especially when they cost up to five dollars! - but I still needed a way to identify myself as the gift giver. The best part? It cost me nothing.

The polka dot paper is actually cardboard cut from some toy packaging. It's easy to work with cardboard if you peel off the backing and corrugations. The brown paws are cut from the cardboard backing I peeled off.

Is it the most sophisticated thing I've ever made? No. Will I put it on my website? Probably not. But it's cute, it was free and it gets the job done.

God Bless The Internet

One of my favorite blogs, The Coterie, has a new feature where readers can submit fashion questions and the stylish ladies answer them and make recommendations. Since I love clothes but often feel like I don't know how to style myself, I jumped at the chance to get some free advice. Click on over to see my question and their response!

Be Careful What You Wish For

I was just complaining that I don't have enough time to blog because of test taking, baby wrangling and business starting. Well, I shouldn't have said that because now I have lots of time to blog because I got laid off.

I got the bad news last Friday afternoon, just a few hours after my whining post was published, but I've had too much on my plate to tell you until now. Tuesday morning we took ARE #2 and Tuesday afternoon we flew to Las Vegas to visit hubby's grandparents, which meant we spent the whole weekend cramming info into our brains and clothes into our suitcases. While in Vegas we have been spending time with family and helping around the house. Well, I'm helping when I'm not glued to my laptop. Resumes don't write themselves, people.

I already have some leads, so I'm feeling hopeful that I will find something that's right for me. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
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