Monthly Archives: April 2012

On Top of Spaghetti…

…as in, a recipe for Turkey Meatballs!

In starting this blog, I wrote that I would include some recipes, but I have yet to make good on that promise. Many of the recipes I do these days come from Pinterest. No shame. But I wanted my first one to not (this one is from my friend, Amy). This is nothing fancy. A comfort food (with a healthier twist), but it’s good.

Truth is, I’m not much of a spaghetti and meatballs kinda girl. Every recipe I’ve tried previous to this one are sorta dry. Not this one. Tender and moist (I think it’s the ketchup). Yum.

Ingredients:

1 lb ground turkey

1 small onion (I usually use less– like a 1/3 cup), chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 egg

1/2 cup breadcrumbs (or use italian breadcrumbs and forego the parsley)

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

3 tbsp ketchup

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

Mix ingredients with fork and shape into ping-pong sized balls.

Pour approximately 2 tbsp of olive oil in a medium/large pan over medium heat. Cook meatballs in pan until browned on all sides. Drain excess oil (if needed) and add 26 ounces spaghetti sauce.

Simmer on medium/low heat for 15-20 minutes until sauce has thickened.

Voila. Easy peazy.

Paired with whole wheat thin spaghetti, steamed broccoli, and jalepeno-cheddar toast and you have a tasty weeknight dinner.

I also like that I can make (even cook) the meatballs during Liam’s nap time and just heat with sauce at dinner time.

Bon Appetit!

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Decisions, dilemmas

Calling all do-it-yourself-ers. I need your advice. I’m stuck in a project and don’t know how to get out!

You know the dining table project I mentioned in my last post? Yeah, that’s the one. It’s starting to become a proverbial thorn in my home improvement side.

Seriously, though.

Here was my plan. We had this dining table that I got at a yard sale before I even started college, I think. (Weird that I got a table in high school, huh?)

It was already painted that cranberry color. Kinda fun, but I was over it. It was also getting a little worn, particularly on the table top.

So, I had hopes of painting the table a uniform, dark espresso color. As for the chairs, I wanted to have 3 mismatched pairs (using one “pair” from the chairs I currently had and making 6 chairs instead of 4) painted all in a creamy yellow. I bought 1 set on craigslist for $20.

I was feeling excited and set to work. I used a liquid deglosser along with a minimal amount of sanding to prep the chair surface.

After that, I primed one chair and then used yellow spray paint. I used 2 cans. The problem was, it was nowhere near covering the chair. At $6 a pop, I decided that was getting too expensive for a refurbish job.

A quart of Valspar paint was my next choice. And here’s where we stood.

Pretty nice, you say? Until you look closer.

See the brush strokes?

Kinda cakey-looking. Yuck.

I’m not sure how well the pictures capture it, but it’s rather disappointing.

I tried to go back and sand again (this time with an electric sander) and apply a super thin, even coat with a foam brush. Sadly, this didn’t seem to make a difference in the brush-stroked cakiness.

And, so, I am at a standstill. I’m not sure what else to do, and I don’t want to scrap the whole project.

Also, I’m having second thoughts about the yellow. I love the yellow. I think it ties in nicely with curtains. But it dirties easily. I used a semi-gloss paint, but I think that is not wipeable enough.

So, this is my dilemma. Advice? Thoughts? Encouragement? I’d appreciate it! 🙂

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Visitors Welcome

Surprise!

We made a (slightly) impulsive purchase last week. Our den has a real couch now!

In truth, we had been thinking we wanted to replace our “day” bed with a pull out sofa one day. I just didn’t think that day would come so soon!

I’ve been frequenting Craigslist lately hoping to find my last two kitchen chairs for a dining table project (which is not going so well right now, but that’s another story). And this sofa just came up and smacked me in the face. I called, I went, I saw, the husband (and our good friend, Micah) did some heavy lifting, and that was that.

It’s a big leap (if you ask me) in bringing the room into the more mature, put-together one that I have in my mind’s eye. Not to mention, it’s less awkward for people to watch TV at our house. Not that you’d come to our house for the TV-watching experience. We’re not exactly cutting edge.

Pretty good for $200, yeah? I thought I was getting a real steal. Maybe I did, but it had a few more flaws than I first thought (nearly always the case, in my experience). More like a very fair deal.

But, we’re happy. Plus, I sold our bed frame for $45, so it really only cost us $155! I also like that I can still use the same fun pillow creations with the couch upgrade!

Just to remind you of how the space looked before:

Maybe pull out beds aren’t known for their comfort, but, hey! You’re welcome to stay at our place anytime! 🙂

 

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DIY Easter Basket

Guess what?

I made Liam an Easter basket! I thought I’d get on it this year since this is his second Easter (granted, he was 6 weeks old last year at this time) and he’ll likely have future Easter egg hunts and/or Easter treats 🙂

My mom made one for all of the kids in my family growing up, so naturally, I wanted Liam to have a homemade one that he could call his very own as well.

I looked for some ideas online (Pinterest, too, of course) because I wanted to find something simpler than sewing one from scratch while maintaining some level of uniqueness.

I found just the thing! The problem was, halfway into my little project I realized it was going to be harder than a traditional cloth-sewn basket. Much harder than I thought.

But, it was too late to turn back. So, I pressed on. And finished this morning. In the nick of time.

Supplies:

6 (in the end, I used closer to 8) yards of cotton filler piping **approximately 59 cents/yard at Hobby Lobby

another 1 yard of skinnier piping (the diameter doesn’t so much matter as long as it was smaller than the bulk piping chosen) **approximately 32 cents/yard at Hobby Lobby

a variety of scrap fabrics (cut into 2-2.5″ wide strips)

long sewing needle

thread (I found quilting thread was stronger and easier to use)

sewing machine (to sew the strips together, although you could do it by hand if you had to)

a thimble (Trust me. It would hurt A LOT otherwise)

So, I started out sewing 3-4 scrap fabrics together, end to end, and wound them around my piping, folding the strip in half as I went so that it wouldn’t have a frayed yucky edge (I started the process by wrapping it around one end of piping and securing it before continuing the wrapping.)

Here’s what it looked like after the 6 yards were wrapped:

I'd say Liam is liking it!

I chose really bright and vibrant fabrics while trying to steer clear of too many “girly” colors. My mom graciously shared her stash with me, but you could buy a  honeybun of fabrics at a fabric store if you didn’t have any fabrics or wanted them to coordinate better. (I will warn you that it would be quite expensive, though.)

This is when the hard work really began.

I started winding the piping into a coil, hand sewing the rings together as I went. I tried using clear thread and plain white thread, but I found that quilting thread  made it much easier since it is stronger and more durable.

The tutorial I read said to go out seven levels before building it up for the sides of the basket. It made for a nice size basket, but it was sadly too short, really. After much encouragement from my mom (since I was feeling very done with my project), I bought another 2 yards to make it taller. In the end, I’m glad I did.

Did you hear that, Mom? You were right.

Here she is after the addition:

Next, was adding the handle. That’s where the extra yard of smaller piping comes in. I did the same process to wrap it, but it took much less time since it was so much shorter.

Again, the tutorial I read, said to get 39″ and make it 3 layers thick, but I chose to get an even yard (36″) and only fold it in half.

From there, all that was left to do was attach it to the inside of my basket!

Not too shabby, huh? I was just thrilled to be done with it. I get that way. I need more patience.

Anyway, here’s the boy enjoying Mommy’s hard work.

Makes it all worth it!

My goal was to make something original that he could use for years and years. Hopefully, it’s mission accomplished!

Lessons Learned:

I know I’ve probably scared everyone away from wanting to make a basket like this! I think my biggest problem was my expectation for how time consuming and hard it would be to make. I think that would make a big difference if I were to head into it again.

Also, I would add that it’s probably impossible to have too much stitching to secure the rows together. One of the other keys to stability was doing enough stitching in each spot to strengthen it enough so that it doesn’t loosen with wear.

Note that it’s important to pay attention to where your piping ends so that the basket looks level. (i.e. try to get your piping to finish around where you began stacking the piping at the bottom)

That’s it!

Happy Easter, everybody! Praise be to God that death no longer has the final word because of what Jesus did for us. How He loves us!

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Filed under DIY projects, Liam Knox