The Blue Flower

As some of you know, I’ve been making fascinator hats. One of the challenges I’ve run into is…new ideas for decoration. A few weeks ago, I went to Michaels and I saw some cute flower hair clips. I thought they would be perfect on my hats. Except… they were $7 a piece. $7  DOLLARS, REALLY? I definitely couldn’t afford to put $7 flowers on my hats. But I did buy a couple, in the hopes that I could recreate something similar.

Here’s what I did.

I noticed the store bought flower seemed to be made out of 10 sculpted circular pieces of satin. Hmm…ok I think I can do the same thing. Luckily, I had a similar colored satin on hand.

First, I stiffened my satin to prevent fraying. On the store bought flower, the pieces were slightly burnt and the fabric was not stiffened.

After my the stiffening glue dried, I cut out my pieces. I wasn’t too worried about making them all the same size or shape. I simply cut them into round pieces with sculted edges.

 I also cut a piece of scrap felt to sew them onto.

Starting with the bottom petals. I folded the flowers in half, and then in half again.

 

I folded the center pedal into thirds.

Starting with the larget pedals ( Since mine weren’t all the exact same size) I sewed the petals from bottom to top.

Here is my finished product.

How does it measure up to the store bought flower?

Well, in my opinion…not EXACTLY like the store bought flower, but still cute in it’s own way. What do you think?

Thanks!

Krystine


Another Year, Another Birthday

As Krys previously mentioned, last Tuesday was her Birthday. I know it’s almost a week later but I refused to let Krys  post about her own Birthday, so better late than never!

Since we all had a pretty jam-packed day, we kicked off her celebration with a late with a dinner at Olive Garden. Of course, we made sure to eat lots of those delicious bread sticks and pretty much polished off our plates.

Krys & Travis

Krys & Travis

Then we retired back to the house and enjoyed some sweet treats; German Chocolate Cake & cupcakes while Krys opened up her gifts.

German Chocolate Cake

German Chocolate Cake

Although there was definitely a theme to her gifts this year, Krys really didn’t seem to mind.

Helmet & Shoes

Helmet & Shoes

Krys's New Helmet

Kry's New Helmet

Happy Birthday Krys and to many, many more to come!!

Yours Truly,

Mel


The Wall.

Ok, let’s be honest. How many times have you started a project with the very best intentions…but never finished?

I have to say, sometimes I have this problem. Ok, I have this problem a lot. But, blogging on Fox and a Parasol has kept me motivated. I know I can push through “the wall.”

I often get to a point where the project I’m working on becomes tedious…and that’s when I like stop and move on to something else. Something— less difficult. But I can’t. I have to…I want to… blog about my projects, so I will carry on.

Last weekend, I had every intention of finishing three projects…I was feeling very ambitious…however, they slowly started going….downhill…

I started making this dress form a Simplicity pattern. I picked this pattern specifically because it said “EASY 1 HOUR.”  I could totally do that, or so I thought. I figured it would take me more than one hour, but I thought I could finish it.

I tried to sew it together I failed, pretty epically actually.

I think part of my problem is the fabric I picked…maybe I should have gone for cotton. Maybe I’m just making up excuses, however with some help, I am going to try again this weekend.

I’m also going to work on my hats, hopefully I will get them up on Etsy Soon.

I also will be making more aprons, for sale, both on Etsy and at the May 7th Flea Market.

Oh yeah…and it was my birthday…so I was a little distracted ;-) ( Noooo, I’m not making up excuses!)

Do you ever hit “the wall?” What keeps you motivated in your projects?

Yours Truly,

Krys



Shoes, shoes, shoes

I thought that I’d share a new pair of shoes that I bought with all of you, and at the same time, do a quick shout out to one of my favorite crafting blogs.

First off, here are the shoes. I bought them at TJ Maxx Homegoods, and I think they’re very whimsical with the purple and the black lace overlay.


Shoe 2

I also have to mention the Company name because it’s so original. Printed inside the shoes it says, “BC because every cloud has a silver lining” and yes, the insole is silver. Doesn’t that just make you smile?

If you’re hankering for a pair of your own shoes that will bring a smile to your face, I have just the thing for you. Here’s a link to a cute pair of flats that you can make on Grosgrain. Kathleen Frances, has a wonderful way of using color and patterns, everything she puts together is so eclectic and chic that it makes me kind of envious.

http://grosgrainfabulous.blogspot.com/2010/05/shoe-redo-red-ruffle-flat.html

Grosgrain - Red Ruffled Flats

Adorable Red Ruffled Flats

Just thought I’d leave you with that, seeing as to how it is the weekend and all…and you’ve been forewarned; Grosgrain is horribly additive.

Yours Truly,

Mel


Super-Easy-Low-Calorie Chicken Tacos

One of my favorite things to do for lunch and dinner is to pre-cook chicken breast and use it in various meals.  Tonight, I made some super easy chicken tacos. The ingredients include:  2 green chili peppers, ½ onion, 2 jalapenos, 3-5 cups pre-cooked chicken, seasonings, a little EVOO and some water.

I start with chopping the peppers and onions. I like to cut the peppers into ¼- ½ x 2 inch strips. I throw the peppers and onions in the pan, add 1-2 tbs. of EVOO, a few tbs. of water and put the lid on the pan. The EVOO keeps the peppers and onions from burning while the water creates steam, allowing them to get softer quicker.

While the onions and peppers are cooking, I chop the pre-cooked chicken breast into small pieces. After the peppers cook for 5-10 minutes, I throw in the chicken in with the onions and peppers. If the chicken is a little dry, I throw in a few more drops of water, to once again create steam. The steam keeps the chicken from drying out.

Let your chicken cook in the pan for another 5-10 minutes and …you’re done!

Serve with your favorite taco dressings. For tonight, I used fat-free sour cream, La Victoria- Green, chopped tomatoes, salsa, and flour and corn tortillas.

I’m currently on a diet and carefully counting my calories, so here is the taco calorie count.

Mission Corn Tortilla – Super Size— 70 cal.

2 tbs. Naturally Yours Fat Free Sour Cream – 20 cal.

Peppers and Onions, about 2 oz – 23 cal.

¼ cup chicken – 50 Cal

2 tbs. La Victoria Green – 10 cal

Grand Total: about 173 calories per taco (give or take a little)

I really like tacos, any kind of tacos. But tonight, I was especially craving these tacos. Which is why I ate…4 (I’m only a Little over my calorie count for the day)

Yours Truly,

Krys


Review of Gingerbread Cupcakes

Since I’ve already received an inquiry, and I’m sure there will be more to follow, I’m posting a recipe review for the gingerbread cupcakes that we used in our photo shoot.

The recipe came from this book, ” Hello Cupcake!” by Karen Tack & Allan Richardson. Karen is absolutely amazing. For those of you that own it, you know what I’m taking about, and for those of you that don’t, I would suggest that you purchase this book. You can’t go wrong. It has so may tips, tricks, and decorating ideas you will absolutely fall in love with it,  just like I have. I mean, who knew that you could make your own buttermilk by adding a teaspoon of lemon to a cup of milk and letting it sit for 10 minutes to sour? Or that Starbursts, Laffy Taffy, and Tootsie Rolls make great fondant substitutes? Genius.

Hello Cupcake!

Hello Cupcake! by Karen Tack & Alan Richardson

When I review a baking recipe they’ll be graded on several different elements, using a five star scale. 5 being the highest and 1 being the lowest; with a total possible score of 15.

1.) Easiness (5/5)

2.) Taste (5/5)

3.) Worth Making Again (5/5)

For these cupcakes, the prep time was pretty quick. The longest part was waiting the 10 minutes for my milk to sour (for the buttermilk). Once the buttermilk was ready I put everything in the KitchenAid and mixed on low for 30 seconds. Once it was well blended I bumped it to high for 2 minutes. So all done, about 15 minutes of prep.

After placing the liners into the cupcake pan, I poured the batter into a ziploc, piped it into the pan and placed them in the oven. I set the oven at 350 degrees for 17 minutes.

Gingerbread Cupcake in all it's deliciousness

Gingerbread Cupcake in all it's deliciousness

To date, I have to say, these are probably some of my favorite cupcakes. People ask me what they taste like, and I tell them it’s just like you’re biting into a frosted gingerbread cookie. I promise, it’s completely true.  With that said, overall I give this recipe a 13 out of 15.

Easiness (5/5) Nothing beats tossing a box cake with some tasty additions into a KitchenAid and turning it on

Taste: (3.5/5) Needed a little more kick so I probably could have used a smidgen more spices

Worth Making Again: (4.5/5) They didn’t rise as much as I wanted them to but that’s probably because of the molasses weighting down the cupcakes

As for the frosting it’s just my go-to frosting of good old Crisco, sifted powdered sugar, meringue powder, vanilla extract, salt and water. I know that doesn’t sound that great, but think of the frosting between the Oreos and it tastes just like that. Sum it all up in one word? Yum.

Yours Truly,

Mel



Thrifting Trip

I’d been counting down the days until our thrifting trip, so when Saturday finally arrived, I was more  than ready. Armed with our camera, credit cards, and high hopes, we were off to Soquel Drive in Capitola for a day of shopping and good times.

The first place we stopped was, Front Porch Antiques & Design, where we met Nancy Kiel and her official greeter, a gray standard poodle whose name we didn’t catch. Isn’t he cute?

Nancy's Greeter

Her shop has some really nice pieces, and since she’s a decorator, it was as perfectly laid out on the inside as it was on the outside. To top it off, she even had a little garden on the side of the house and when the weather is good, she teaches gardening classes! http://www.yelp.com/biz/front-porch-antiques-and-design-soquel

Front Porch Antiques
After that we headed here and took a look at some restored antique furniture from Pennsylvania. Too bad we weren’t in the market for some furniture.

Crawford Antiques

Stacks of Refinished Mantles

Stacks of Refinished Mantles

We cruised for some lunch and ended up at The Bagelry: http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-bagelry-soquel where Krys ordered a pink Flamingo (I think it has something to do with salmon and plain smear) and I got a egg salad sandwich on a pesto bagel; not too shabby and not too bad on the pocketbook either.

We scored some deals at Soquel Antiques but I think my favorite places were the last two that we went to. We met Busy Bee (who’s only open from Friday -Sunday) and she was just the cutest lady.

Busy Bee

As soon as we got there Bee told us , “Not to worry about the prices. I’ll give you a good deal” and sure enough I walked away with an new table cloth, three new brooches, two hand mirrors and a little lamp shade. Pretty good for $10. Krys even got a blue vintage pleated hat and matching evening bag.

But the best was saved for last, Antila’s Antiques. Not the greatest name, in my opinion, but what a treasure trove! It was in the same parking lot as Busy Bee (right off of Soquel Drive) and it looked deceptively small from the outside, but inside the H shaped building housed over 40 different stalls worth of antiques to sift through.

Krys rocking a lacy apron

Krys rocking a lacy apron

Me and some cat eye glasses, do you like the look?

Me and some cat eye glasses, do you like the look?

We walked away with a tray, three plates, a little candy bowl, and the best find of the day…a pink parasol; how fitting!

Overall I’d say that this was a successful outing and I can’t wait until next weekend when we get to do it all over again. This time maybe the Monterey / Carmel area so that we can go to the Sea Otter Classic http://www.seaotterclassic.com/ for the guys.

Yours Truly,

Mel