Sunday, February 7, 2016

my first crocheted cardigan!!

I am in love with Craftsy classes because they let me make this:

I have to say I was scared to make something that needed to fit me because that is just asking for trouble.  I'd never made a sweater or cardigan, but the online videos totally walk you through every step and the pattern was very detailed.  So you start with the back panel:

Then make two front panels (one for the left and one for the right):

So they fit together this so:

I have the markers in to know which is the left and the right.  Then the sleeves are made, but I made mine 3/4 length, so they look like odd trapezoids:

The instructions for seaming it together were nice and detailed in the video so I knew which stitch to use.  Once I got to seam all the parts, I could finally try it on.  And WHEW it fit!

I went through the buttons I had in a jar and found one that matched exactly - weird!  You can do as many buttons as you want, but I just wanted one at the top:

This the finished product, after the button and the trim around the neck, bottom, sleeve, and front panels are done:

I have to say I'm impressed with myself because I didn't think I could do it!!

If you want more details and pictures of the pattern and how to sign up for the class, it is a pattern on Ravelry!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

living room before painting

I had already moved the furniture and took down the drapes, but here are our before pictures - a whole lotta beige:

Last picture is funny, but you get the idea how everything is almost the same color!  So we bought some yellow paint to paint the wall with the sliding glass door/big window.  Yay!

Monday, February 1, 2016


With Jonas the storm (funny that's my nephew's name!) we got a lot of snow here, especially for Tennessee.  So I just took a couple pictures.  This is the overhand on our roof on the south was very drifty!

Our street looks peaceful:

We shoveled quite a few driveways because it turns out no one really owns a snow shovel!  Of course ours moved from Ohio...and usually you don't need one in Tennessee.  But it was such a pretty big snow - what we like to call "Christmas snow"!

Friday, January 29, 2016


Holly at work loves owls, so I decided to make her one with the leftover brown yarn I had from the longest scarf ever.  This pattern was not ideal and I had to modify quite a bit of it, but he still turned out quirky cute:

Amigurumi is funny because it doesn't seem to look like much when you start:

Then it magically takes shape!

I used yarn for his eyeballs since I didn't have my plastic eyes with me, and he can still see :)  And most importantly, Holly thinks he is adorable so that's all that matters!!  I have my next work person surprise in the works...

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

baked wings that were scrumptious!

It's weird picking new recipes to make now - the world is my oyster!  No cookbook to guide I've always wanted to try making wings at home.  I found a recipe online and was intrigued by the secret to making baked wings crispy: it's dusting them in baking powder.  Weird!

But it was worth a try, so I did it, and although they take a long time to bake, they are very easy and hands off - more hands off than the chicken legs I made for Andy that he loves so much.  I used the same spicy butter hot sauce to toss them in, and here was an image before scarfing them down:

Verdict - we LOVED them!  Andy prefers boneless wings but even he said they were delicious and actually easier to eat than the chicken legs.  They were crispy and as good as any wing in a restaurant I think.  Again, although they take a long time in the oven, they were worth it because most of it is hands-off time, which is nice.  It might be a weekend recipe unless you're an 8pm eater like some.  We eat at like 5:30pm, so this doesn't work for weeknights after work for me.  It's a keeper and going in the recipe box!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

christmas home improvement project

We spent a lot of our Christmas break doing a little DIY in the attic!  We had a hole in our garage that was rather small and we had to use a step ladder.  Not to mention it was covered in insulation up there and just not a great space for storage.  However, we stored our dead body up there and it was covered with insulation when we got it down.  So we saved up enough money in our home improvement fund to make it way better!

The solution: install a pull down ladder and make flat storage space up there.  Step one: cut the hole in the ceiling bigger to fit the ladder and frame up around it to be sturdy:

Step 2: pull down the awesome shelving Andy had built since most of it is going in the attic and take it apart to use the wood for the attic.  Hmmm, except to do so, all the stuff on the shelves needs to go elsewhere.  So then the garage looks like this:

This was the only before picture I snapped of the one side of the's basically all insulation and the board you see on the left in the picture below is something we set there as we were working on it:

Here is an in progress of Andy (I'm on the ladder in the garage taking it).  We worked from the opening out toward the end.  Andy is leaning over the insulated part that isn't done yet:

This is the finished "big" side:

In the picture above the last section (farthest away from the camera) is higher than the rest.  That's because we had wires running on top of the joists so we had to prop up the boards extra high to get them above all the wires and whatnot.  We propped them all up on 2x4s (as pictured below) but the back section was on two layers of 2x4s.

Then this is of the finished "short" side:

This was a common view...I was down below while Andy was above.  I was the assistant handing him all the stuff he needed.  After we got all the boards up there and secured, we put in the ladder:

It is awesome!  So convenient for getting up and down - yay!  So then we started filling it with stuff:

The picture above was the first one I could take without a flash because my dear husband also installed three lights up there.  It runs to an extension cord that we plug in down below in the garage (no possible way to close the door and leave the light on so that's nice).

Here's a picture of the other side...which is holding our Christmas stuff:

We aren't quite done in deciding what goes up there because some stuff we need to go through, but it has freed up closet space inside and quite a bit in the garage!  Yay!  Our garage will never fit Andy's van because it's just that small, but having more room for the mower and various projects is awesome.

Monday, January 11, 2016

my blog's top recipes of 2015

Every year I do a 'top recipes' summary of the previous year since I try a lot of new recipes on the blog.  Here are the previous years if you want to check those out:

Our favorites (in no particular order):
These are recipes Andy and I both deemed as keepers and that we really like/love.  This year has a lot of desserts because I made more desserts than I ever have due to my cookbook goal!  Reminder, click on the recipe title to go to the recipe.

So we'll first start with the non-desserts:

Crunchy Asian Romaine Tossed Salad
This is a great twist on a salad and is tasty with the noodles and the dressing!!  Now when my mom asks me to bring a salad, I have one to bring.  It was a hit with everyone, and browning the noodles and walnuts is totally worth the extra effort!

Hot Sausage Breakfast Casserole
We like spicy things, and this totally fit the bill in a breakfast casserole!  (Dad, this will be too spicy for you.)  I liked the layer of bread in there and really makes for a satisfying meal any time of the day!

Baked Fried Shrimp
I like shrimp, and I've made it a few ways, but this is hands down the BEST way I've ever made shrimp.  We gobble it up, and I could eat it every week.  It is a little tedious in prep, but totally worth it.  The best is when Andy and I do it assembly line so I do flour and egg, and he does breadcrumbs and places them on the pan - it goes much faster!  This was not from my wedding cookbook - one of the few recipes I squeezed in between the cookbook project.

Okay now to the desserts...this was actually hard to narrow it down to a manageable number because there were so many good ones!  But here were the top five desserts:

Watergate Cake
This cake surprised me with how tasty it was, and everyone raved about it!  It was my first foray into Dream Whip as frosting, and it has nuts which I usually don't love, but this cake was delicious and in a fun, festive green color (and frosted lopsided).

Nut Bars
This must have been the year of nuts - branching outside my 'regular likes' is a good thing becuase I always said I prefer desserts without nuts in them.  Since two of my favorite dessert recipes of the year have nuts, I can no longer say that!  These nut bars are so tasty and seriously addictive.  They would make a great 'cookie exchange' item.

Cherry Coffee Cake
I didn't have high expectations of this since it had cherry pie filling and looked like cobbler, but it was tasty in every way.  The cake part is made from scratch and has wonderful flavor, and the glaze is always tasty.  It uses pie filling, and Andy ate around the cherries since he isn't big on fruit chunks, but we both gobbled up this cake like nobody's business!  I even thought the cake part of the recipe should be used in other cake recipes too since it was so tasty.

Pumpkin Bars
I'd never made pumpkin bars, and now I wonder why I waited so long!  These disappeared fast at work, and we also kept quite a bit at home because we loved them.  They are so soft and moist and the frosting is very tasty....great for a year-round pumpkin dessert!

And last but certainly not least....

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cake with Buttercream Frosting
This is the only dessert on here that was not from my recipe book, but my mom was very specific in her request for her birthday cake.  This cake actually makes it into my top two best cakes I've ever made in my was dense and delicious without being too overwhelmingly sweet.  I highly recommend it!

So there you have it...the recipes we thought were tastiest that were on my blog in 2015.  Here's looking forward to another year of delicious recipes and minimal kitchen failures :)

Saturday, January 9, 2016

biggest scarf ever

As Andy will attest, I love making scarves and neck-related crochet things.  So I took on the biggest scarf ever!  I found it online and decided it looks pretty fun and easy.  And it is big:


In fact when I started it, I decided it wasn't quite big enough and even added on some.  HA.  The ruffles are cute, and I opted not to put on the flowers from the original pattern.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

delicious lemon pie, and easy!

I'm not usually a lemon pie person, but this pie is a delicious, light lemon pie that tastes like summer.  Yes, even in the winter!  I really liked it and put it in my keeper box!  It was also a hit with the family when I served it on Christmas Eve!

FYI I had never made 'cook' pudding...only instant.  But this was easy and set up just perfect...I highly recommend!

Lemon Delight Pie
1 package (3 ½ oz.) Lemon Pudding and Pie Filling - cook kind, not instant
½ cup sugar
2 ¼ cups water
1 egg (beaten)
1 baked 8 or 9 inch pie shell
1 8 oz. Container of COOL WHIP

Combine lemon pie filling, sugar, ¼ cup water, and egg in saucepan. Blend thoroughly. Add remaining water and cook as directed on package. Cool 5 minutes, stirring twice.

Reserve 1 cup of filling in medium to large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or wax paper; chill completely in refrigerator, about 2 hours. Pour remaining filling into pie shell. Cover with plastic wrap or wax paper.

After the 1 cup filling has chilled, stir until smooth; blend in 1 1/3 cups COOL WHIP. Spoon over filling in pie shell. Chill thoroughly before serving---about 3 hours.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

the cute monkey bellhop

I was asked to make a monkey for someone's niece (I think it was niece), so I found a pattern online that I thought was cute and free!  He has a little bellhop hat and is pretty darn cute:

You start by making the head, and he looked funny and a bit like Brutus Buckeye until he got ears on him:

Then a body helped immensely:

Then his hat and tail totally helped:

He sits on his own even if he does lean a bit forward.  I do document a bit of my details in Ravelry in case anyone is interested in making him!