Sep 28, 2012

This Week {illustrated}

I hope you have enjoyed a lovely first week of Autumn!  We kicked ours off with a hiking trip at one of the state parks close by, and it was beautiful!  Sometimes the best things in life are the simplest.

Just as we were driving back into town, we saw this gigantic cruise ship, The American Queen, going through the locks.  It is SO pretty!  People around here refer to it as "the floating wedding cake."

Sep 27, 2012

Driftwood Pennant Banner

I've discovered something about myself recently.  I have a tendency to start a project, start and finish a second (third, fourth, fifth...) project before the first one is finished, and then come back to the first project months later.  For example, I starting making a quilt in January, and it still isn't finished.  However, I have started and finished several other quilts and numerous other sewing projects.  Why is that?  Boredom, maybe.  You can only sit and hand-quilt for so many hours in a row.  Someday, I will finish my quilt.  I just know it.

Well, today, I finished a project.  At the beginning of summer, I mentioned to my husband that I wanted to make a pennant banner.  I was envisioning something weathered, beachy, and summery.  He promptly went down to the beach, picked out a cool piece of driftwood, cut it into triangular pieces, and drilled holes in all the pieces for hanging.  And the pieces sat for months.  He ended up storing them away for "someday."  That someday was today.

I posted pictures of a little vignette on one of our dressers the other day, and as soon as I took the pictures, I knew I wanted to hang a banner over the mirror.  After some searching, Marshall found the driftwood pieces, and I pulled out my cheap, acrylic paint.

I chose "autumn," but I'm thinking about making a "thanksgiving" one... for Thanksgiving.  Sometimes, I am incredibly original.

Marshall sanded across the letters very lightly with 220 grit, and I strung some twine through the pieces and hung the banner on the mirror.  So easy!

{free printable art, burlap & acorn bouquet tutorial, DIY  framed magnetic chalkboard}

It would also look great on a fireplace.  Ours is fake, so I usually try to draw the eye upward and away from the peeling faux brick.  There is only so much you can do when you don't own your home...

{fabric flower monogram, burlap & button autumn art, free printable}

You get the idea, though, right?

It was so simple to make, but I love how it spiced up the mirror a bit!  Sometimes, it's the little things...

Fall Party

Sep 26, 2012

Starbucks' Pumpkin Scones

We LOVE pumpkin.  We love it so much that I dedicated an entire Pinterest board to pumpkin food.  I've been trying out all the yummy looking recipes that I've been pinning for months (for some reason, it didn't seem right to bust out the pumpkin until a couple weeks ago), and this recipe has become a favorite.

Starbucks' Pumpkin Scones
They are absolutely delicious!  I'd never attempted scones before and found that the dough is very sticky and somewhat difficult to work with.

They are worth the effort, though!

Pumpkin Pie Scones (Adapted from Sweet Pea's Kitchen)
Yield: 12

2 C whole wheat flour
1/4 C + 3T brown sugar
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/4 cloves
1/4 t ginger
6 T cold butter, cut into 1" cubes
1/2 C pumpkin puree
3 T Greek yogurt
1 egg
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.
Stir together the dry ingredients.  Add the butter, and blend until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
Whisk together the pumpkin, yogurt, and egg in a small bowl.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix well.  Shape the dough into a ball.
Flour a flat surface, and roll the dough out into a 1-inch thick rectangle that measures 4x12 inches.
Cut the dough into three equal portions, and then cut an X through those portions to make twelve scones.
Place the scones on a baking sheet, and bake for 14-16 minutes.
Place on a wire rack to cool.

Powdered Sugar Glaze
1 C + 1 T powdered sugar
2 T milk
Spiced Glaze
1 C + 3 T powdered sugar
2 T milk
1/4 t cinnamon
1/8 nutmeg
pinch of ginger
pinch of cloves

After the scones have cooled, spread the powdered sugar glaze over the tops of them with a pastry brush.

When the powdered sugar glaze has hardened, drizzle the spiced glaze over the scones.

The unbaked scones can also be wrapped and stored in the freezer.  Just add an extra minute or two in the oven.

Wouldn't these be great with Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Lattes?  I know what I'll be doing with the rest of my pie pumpkins....
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Sep 25, 2012

Autumn Mantel & Vignette

I don't know about you, but I am loving the "It's Fall Y'all" link party!  I hope you've had a chance to look at some of the wonderful ideas for Autumn decorating.  Today's theme is mantels and vignettes, so without further adieu, our mantel:

Fabric Flower Monogram Tutorial

Burlap & Button Autumn Art Tutorial

Printable Art
And here is another favorite spot in the house that I spiffed up for Autumn:

Printable Art
Burlap & Acorn Bouquet

Click here for the It's Fall Y'all: Fall Mantels link party!

Sep 24, 2012

Apple Chips

Have you ever had apple chips?  They are so yummy and really crunchy.  I often find myself craving something crunchy, and these chips are completely satisfying.  I found a recipe for apple chips a long time ago that called for dipping the apple slices in a simple syrup.  They tasted great but didn't keep their crispness for more than a couple of hours.  I recently stumbled across this recipe and loved it!  We've kept these chips around in a plastic bag for a couple of weeks and have found that they are as crisp and tasty as if they had just come out of the oven.

You will need:
1 large Granny Smith apple
1 T cinnamon
2 T brown sugar

Preheat your oven to 225 degrees F.

Use a mandoline slicer to cut the apple into very thin slices.

Mix the cinnamon and sugar together in a bowl.

Dip each apple slice in the mixture, coating both sides.

Lay apple slices on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 1 hour, flip slices over, and bake for 1 more hour.


Sep 21, 2012

This Week {illustrated}: I ♥ Ikea

I have been pretty overwhelmed with projects lately, and Marshall and I agreed that I needed to step back a little bit and recharge.  After tying up some loose ends at the beginning of the week, I headed out to Chicago to visit my oldest friend (she's also my cousin) for some much needed girl time.  We spent most of our time talking, but we did find a little time to go to Ikea.

Oh, Ikea!  It was my first time shopping there, and I loved it.  I've browsed their site many times, but we don't have a store in Iowa.  We need one.

I could have spent a lot of money on fun things, but I tried to stick to things that we needed this time.  Here are some of my favorite (affordable!) finds.

A new bath mat to match our new shower curtain: $1.99
Several kitchen towels: $0.79 ea
Pretty plates from the "As Is" section... They were being sold at a discount after having been used for display: $1.00 ea
More appropriately sized shade for the PB lamp: $5.00
The perfect lamp: $15.00

Sep 20, 2012

Thimbleberries "Woodland Stars"

Here is my latest sewing project for BF:

It's based on the Thimbleberries pattern "Woodland Stars."

Out of all the winter fabrics they picked for this wall quilt, I think my favorite is the gold.  The quilt will be on display in the store, and you can stop in to take a closer look.  Wednesday was the first day of the Fall Shop Hop, so you may also find some pretty good deals if you head in this week!

Sep 19, 2012

Paperless Towels

As you may have guessed, I'm a big fan of saving money.  From a very young age, my parents did an excellent job of teaching me to be financially responsible.  They spent time every week going over their budget and every single penny they'd spent.  Nothing was unaccounted for.  I'm thankful for their good example and am finding out that having an example like theirs is hard to come by.

Years later, my own grocery trips are carefully planned out and are usually made in conjunction with other errands to save on fuel.  I examine all of the store ads to see who has the lowest price as I make my list.  I make a shopping list.    Everything we buy is categorized, and each category has a set amount of money allotted to it.  When the money is gone, we quit spending.  It's as simple as that.

One of the things I hate spending money on is paper products.  You use them once and then throw them away.  Paper towels are the worst offenders in my book.  You might as well be wiping up messes with dollar bills.  I bring you...

Paperless Towels!
I saw an idea for these online and immediately added them to my list of things to make.  I've made several sets for myself, changing things and adding things to improve them.  I LOVE them.  They fit on my paper towel holder, and I just tear one off, use it, and toss it in the laundry.  They are a huge money saver, and they are super cute.

The three rolls shown above will be for sale here, so hurry in to pick up a roll!  Each roll has twelve sheets (roughly 8 1/2 x 10) that are made with three coordinating prints on one side and terry cloth on the other.  The roll to the far left has holiday prints.  They also include a canvas roll that fits over most paper towel holders.  The snaps are plastic, so they won't rust or be too hot coming out of the dryer, but they do need to be dried on low heat.  Repetitive drying on high heat may cause the snaps to come loose and fall out.

If these go like crazy, I may consider selling them online.  If you're not in the Chariton area and would be interested in having them available online, let me know!  You can shoot us an e-mail at life.illustrated247[at]gmail[dot]com.

Sep 18, 2012

Autumn Tablescape

I've been looking forward to today's post as this centerpiece is probably my favorite thing in our home right now.  Marshall came home with a couple of old, beaten up drawers a couple of months ago thinking that I could use them somehow.  I knew they had potential but wasn't sure what to do with them.  And then I saw this:
I have tons of candles left over from our wedding and an autumn garland that never looked right anywhere.  Put them together with some artificial leaves, pine cones, and corn and...

Click here for my DIY Burlap Table Runner post.

The Lettered Cottage