Top 5 Projects of 2012

Can you believe that 2012 is almost over?  It seems like it has flown!  Tadd and I are ready for 2013.  If it’s anything like the past year has been, then we are in for some good stuff.  Can’t wait to find out!

Instead of a typical year in review post, I thought I would share my top 5 most popular project posts of the past year.  I always find it interesting to see what posts people like to read the most.  And it’s always fun to reflect on all I have done in the past year!


This reusable produce bag was one of the first sewing projects I completed at the beginning of this year.  I believe it was the first time I boxed a corner!  And it was one of the first projects that seemed to go really smoothly from start to finish.  Successes like these are what encouraged me to keep going with teaching myself how to sew this past year.  And on top of that, it’s just plain cute!


I love a good sangria recipe.  And although I do love this very popular pink sangria recipe that I made last May, I think my all-time favorite version is the peach sangria I made over 4th of July weekend!  It’s my new go-to summer drink of choice.


If you know me, you know that fall is my favorite season.  When I saw this adorable fall fabric at JoAnn Fabrics, I knew I had to think of a project to make with it.  This lead to this reversible fall table runner, which was my very first ever sewing project where I made something just based on what I wanted, as opposed to following someone else’s tutorial.  It was also the first time I used a decorative stitch.  It obviously wasn’t anything super complicated, but I was still so pleased with how it turned out.


My chocolate chip cheesecake post from last spring has REALLY taken off in the past several weeks.  As I mentioned previously, this recipe has been pinned and repinned a TON of times now.  It’s super easy and doesn’t require a lot of ingredients.  I not only made it for Easter 2012 dessert, but made it again last week for our family’s Christmas dinner dessert!  It’s always a big hit.


This is, no question, the most popular post EVER on my blog.  It’s the closest thing I have gotten to going viral and it still gets a ton of hits almost every single day.  As a matter of fact, this post has gotten more pageviews than my blog’s regular main page!  Everyone loves these terracotta pot saucer coasters.  I’m glad everyone loved this project as much as I did, although I certainly did not come up with the idea.  I was inspired by this great post from the Joy Is At Home blog, and she was inspired by someone else and so on.

What were your favorite projects that you completed in 2012?  Any goals or ideas for 2013 projects?

Pretzel turtles and a bow wristlet!

Wanted to share two quick last-minute Christmas projects with you before I return to my pre-holiday to-do list!

This idea can be found in about five zillion versions on five zillion blogs and Pinterest pins.  I used this version from  All you need are mini preztels (the waffle shapes or the traditional twists), Rolo candies, and halved pecans.

Toast the pecans for 7 minutes in a 350F oven.  In the meantime, lay out your pretzels on a foil-lined baking sheet and top them with the Rolos.  Stick the Rolo-topped pretzels in the oven for 5 or so minutes, then smoosh a pecan half on top of each melty Rolo.  Viola!

I was worried that they would stick to the foil, but I put them in the fridge to firm up overnight, and this morning, they popped right off of the baking sheet.

Can’t get much more effortless than that.  I have seen other versions using Hershey Kisses (the white chocolate candy cane ones work great) topped with red and green M&Ms.

Second project is a sewing project.  I wanted to make something special for a relative that will be in town for Christmas, so I decided to make her a wristlet.  But I wanted to do something different from the wristlets I have done in the past.  I found this tutorial from, and decided to make it my own by using natural linen for the body, and one of my favorite quilting cotton fat quarters (beefed up with some medium-weight interfacing) to give a two-toned look.  I really love the size of this wristlet.  I might have to make one for myself.  I hope she likes her gift.

And with that, I am signing off until later this week.  Off to make my cheesecake and finish cleaning the house!

Polka, Dot? Why not?

On special request of my awesome cousin Kerry, I thought I would do an inspiration post about something she and I both love; polka dots!

What girly-girl doesn’t love polka dots?  I don’t even particularly consider myself a girly-girl, but I love them just the same.  Which I am sure you can tell from some of my fabric selections in my sewing projects…

What other classic pattern can be demure, sassy, cute, sweet, jazzy, fun, and even a little bit sexy all at the same time?




Polka dots don’t take themselves too seriously.  They are playful, but in an understated kind of way.  They can take something boring and utilitarian and give it volumes of personality.





How do you feel about polka dots?


Porch Envy

When Tadd and I were house shopping back in late summer/early fall 2009, there were a few houses that I fell in love with that just didn’t work out for one reason or another.  They all had 1 thing in common, front porches. While all of the houses we looked at were newer (less than 10 years old), my favorites were always the ones that were built in the style of an older house.

We put a bid on a house just like this, but blue. I love the L-shaped porch and the graduated columns!

The house we ended up with is great, but there is no front porch, which is something I often regret. When Tadd and I carpool to work, we pass through the Eola Heights neighborhood in Downtown Orlando to get to and from his office.  It’s a neighborhood FULL of charming older houses (mostly Victorians and Arts & Crafts style bungalows),  many with beautiful front porches.  There have been many times when passing through that part of town where I have turned and said to Tadd, “My next house WILL have a front porch!”

We do have a screened in back porch that we both really enjoy.  Our property backs up to a cattle ranch, and we have great views of the cow pasture and the lake beyond from our back porch.  And we get to see all kinds of neat wildlife (aside from the cows and horses from the ranch, we see tons of deer, wild turkeys, sandhill cranes, etc).  But as I’m sure all you other “front porch people” understand, it’s just not the same.

Below are some of my front porch inspiration finds from Pinterest.


Source: The Selliken Group – Portland Real Estate


Source: Gant Construction

If you have a front porch, do you use it?  If you don’t, do you have porch envy like I do?

Finally a new sewing project: Camera/Gadget Case!

As I mentioned in my previous post about the wristlet I made for my grandmother, I was actually in the process of making one more.  I finished it yesterday, and gave it to my good friend Melanie as a birthday gift.  She loves anything pink & black, and I knew I already had the perfect fabric to use for this project.  I seriously love these fabrics together!  Especially the pink & white floral.

I had a little bit of these fabrics leftover from this project, and was surfing around, trying to find something new to do with them.  Pinterest to the rescue, once again!  I stumbled upon this fantastic tutorial from Sew, Mama, Sew for a camera/gadget case.  What a fun, easy, cute project!  I absolutely love how it turned out, and it was really easy!   All you need are 2 rectangles of fabric and 1 rectangle of cotton batting (all three pieces should be 14″x5″), a 4″ length of thin elastic, and a button.  The whole project took me all of 30 or so minutes.  Love projects like this!

Linking up!:

 shabby creek cottage

Kitchen Inspiration Files

Originally I had thought we were going to do a shoestring budget kitchen makeover this year.  Now we know we have some exterior repairs to do (we need to add some gutters to our roof, and part of our front entry will need to be worked on), so depending on how much the not-so-fun stuff costs, we may have to delay some or all of the kitchen makeover.  So until then, I am just gathering ideas and inspiration.

Here is my kitchen as it looks now:

I know I have talked before about my ideas for what I have in mind to do:

  • paint cabinets white
  • add cabinet hardware
  • new pantry doors (I want french doors painted black with frosted windows or possibly curtains behind the glass)
  • white subway tile backsplash
  • butcher block countertop for the island with a new smaller prep sink & faucet
  • wrap the island in beadboard
  • new countertops for the outer counters, although I haven’t decided yet what I want to do with them…we might use one of these Rustoleum countertop kits

So since I’m not sure when we will be able to start, and because once we do get started on the kitchen, it will likely be a slow project and not done all at once, I am satisfying my desire to make it over by looking at inspiration pictures.  So many beautiful kitchens out there in Pinterestland…  Sigh!  Someday…

This is pretty much how I plan to makeover the island by wrapping it in beadboard.  Just picture it minus the extension and plus 1 prep sink.

Source: At The Picket Fence

Another beautiful butcher block and beadboard island.  This one has the subway tile backsplash too!

Source: Southern Living

This island is much bigger than ours, but it has a prep sink!  I love the little shelves with the spice jars and cookbooks.


A close up of my backsplash of choice.  So pretty!

Source: Kitchen Tile Backsplashes

This is another idea I have had is keeping the beadboard island white, and painting the rest of the cabinets black.  My walls are very similar to this color, so this would give me a really good idea of what the finished product would look like.  Although I think if I were to do that, I would have to go with butcher block counters for the whole kitchen to unify the space.

Source: Favorite Paint Colors

An example of french doors on a pantry painted black!

Source: Thrifty Decor Chick

More pantry french doors, this time in white with frosted glass:

Source: The Inspired Room

So I guess maybe you can see now the kind of look I am going for.  I am so excited to get started, but obviously our kitchen is functional as it is, so other stuff takes priority.  I am ok with that.  Nothing we have planned is particularly expensive, so we can just take our time and do a little here and there.  It probably won’t be done by the end of the year like I had hoped, but that’s ok.  It just gives me more time to gather inspiration and ideas.

Spring Fling Craft: DIY terracotta coasters!

I had been wracking my brain trying to come up with a spring craft to try for the Spring Fling party today. Then I remembered a Pinterest pin I had stashed away a few months ago. It was a short and sweet tutorial from a blog called Joy Is At Home, with an EXCELLENT idea on how to make custom coasters. She used small terracotta pot saucers, spray painted them, added some scrapbook paper, and voila! Cute, cheap, and simple!

On my way home from work, I stopped by the craft store and picked up the saucers ($0.99 each), and a piece of springy floral scrapbook paper ($0.59). The rest of the materials I had on hand (except for felt dots for the bottoms…I forgot to pick up those).

Below is everything you will need, minus the felt dots. Saucers, paper, something about the size of the inside of the saucers to use to trace on the paper (drinking glass), Mod Podge decoupage glue, small brush, spray primer, spray paint, and spray sealer.

Spray prime and paint your saucers.

Trace and cut your paper.

Once the saucers are painted and dry, apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to the back of the circles.

Center the circle onto the saucer and press firmly to ensure that it adheres. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes to dry a bit.

Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge on top of the paper circle. Make sure the edges of the paper are sealed. Carefully wipe off any excess around the edges of the saucer while still wet.

Allow this to dry for another 20 minutes or so. Spray the whole coaster with the sealer and allow to dry again.

Then you get to the step that I haven’t gotten to yet…Apply dots of felt to the bottom with a little hot glue to keep the coasters from scratching your furniture. I will be adding these to my coasters tomorrow.

And there you have it. Springy new custom DIY coasters. Total cost to me was about $4.50 for the whole set plus whatever the felt costs me. These would make great hostess gifts for a party, or housewarming gift. I also love that you can make as many or as few as you need.

Linking up with the Spring Fling craft party at!

Also linking up to the Drab to Fab Link Party at Sugar and Spice!

And the Addicts Not So Anonymous party at Addicted 2 Decorating!

And the It’s a Cinch Link Party at It All Started With Paint!

Sewing Project: Gathered-front clutch.

The past couple of days, I have been working on my most complicated sewing project yet.  Back in January, when I first started using my sewing machine, I stumbled across this pin on Pinterest:

The pin lead to an awesome tutorial from the Noodlehead sewing blog, and I was totally enamored by the finished product.  So cute, right?  I looked over all of the steps on the tutorial, and quickly got overwhelmed.  At the time, it looked SO complicated to me.  Especially the zipper part!  I figured I should probably start with simpler stuff, so I did.  I ended up starting with the throw pillows, then moved onto the tissue cases, then the coffee sleeves, and then the produce bag.  Each successive project was slightly more involved than the next.

After I whipped through the produce bag fairly easily, I decided it was time to revisit the gathered clutch tutorial.  I was a little scared to attempt the zipper, since I had read that sometimes even experienced sewers are intimidated by them.  But I just took it step by step; cutting the pieces and assembling each panel the first night, (including a divider pocket and credit card holders for the inside!)…

…And then attaching the zipper and assembling the panels together the second night.  I got to use my zipper presser foot for the first time!  So exciting.

The finished product is FAR from perfect.  As a matter of fact, I ended up with two holes on the bottom of the lining that I had to re-stitch together.  Although luckily with the lining pushed all the way down on the inside, you really can’t tell.  And the tabs next to the zipper ends are a little wonky.  But it’s usable and fairly cute.  I want to install a grommet and a small strap in one corner so I can turn it into a wristlet.

It’s hard to see really well on the inside (and my pics aren’t the best quality, I took them at night with my phone, so I apologize for that), but it holds two credit cards in the side card pockets, a cell phone in the divider pocket, and then keys, and some lip balm in the main compartment.  There is plenty of room for a few extra items as well.

I want to make another one because I know I could do better now that I know my way around this pattern a bit more.  But I must admit that it’s kind of cool to see my progression in just a couple of months.  I can tell my confidence in what I am doing is growing.  And it’s fun to make useful items that people like!

Linking this post up with the Transformation Thursdays link party at The Shabby Creek Cottage, Drab to Fab link party at Sugar and Spice, and the Addicts-Not-So-Anonymous link party at Addicted 2 Decorating.

More from my semi-productive weekend.

The weekend is almost over.  It seemed so much shorter than normal, even though it’s only technically shorter by one hour.  I don’t know about you, but daylight savings time always takes several days for me to get used to.  I am a much bigger fan of “Fall Back” than “Spring Forward”.

We have continued our weekend of doing not much of anything.  We did get out and run some errands this morning, which was nice.  I get cabin fever if I am cooped up in the house too long.  One of our stops was at JoAnn Fabrics, where I certainly bought some stuff.

I think I am starting to develop an addiction to fabric.  It’s terrible…I go into the quilting section, and immediately want to buy everything I see.  All told though, everything pictured (about 3 yards of fabric total) cost about $10 thanks to sales and coupons.  Not everything here has a purpose yet, but I’m sure I will find ways to use all of it.  For my next new project, I intend to try making a simple apron, so at least one of these fabrics will be used for that.  Also, can you tell I love graphic florals?  I need to start branching out into some polka dots and stripes.

Last night, I decided to try an idea I found on Pinterest.  My husband loves peanut butter anything, especially when combined with chocolate, so I knew it would be a big hit.  Just take canned crescent rolls, spread with peanut butter, and sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Roll up, bake at 375F for 11 minutes.  The result: YUM!  The peanut butter and chocolate get all melty and warm.  I had a very happy husband.

Oh, and at my husband’s request, I finally made him his very own manly coffee sleeve.  He had been requesting one for himself since I made the first one about six weeks ago.  Took me long enough to get around to it!  I hope he likes it.  I know it looks huge on the small coffee cup, but it was the only thing I had on hand to serve as a “model”.  It’s really the same size as the other ones I have made.

Sewing Projects: A reusable produce bag

The exciting news for this weekend is that there is no exciting news.  For the first time in a long, long, LONG time, we have no plans at all for this weekend!  Normally that would make me sad, but we have been so busy lately, that it’s actually really nice to have a few days with no obligations.  We plan to use it to relax and get stuff done around the house.

I decided to find a new sewing tutorial to try, so I turned to my “Sewing Projects” pinboard on Pinterest.  I knew I wanted to make something with only what I already had on hand.  I came across this tutorial for a reusable produce bag, which was perfect.  It only required one fat quarter of fabric, nothing more and nothing less, and I had recently bought a bunch of fat quarters on sale at Joann’s.  The instructions couldn’t have been more clear or easy to follow.

Before I knew it, I had finished my produce bag!  The design is a little different.  One handle is long, and the other is short.  When you place your produce (or whatever else you are carrying) into the bag, you loop the long handle through the short one to cinch it.  When you are not using it, you can fold the bag into thirds, then roll it up, wrap the long handle around it, and pull it through the small handle.  This makes it very compact and easy to take along in your purse to use at the farmers market or grocery store.