Monday, May 28, 2012

Beaded Ribbon Necklace Techniques

Beaded ribbon necklaces are possibly the simplest type of necklace to make.  One of these little beauties might just be the perfect accessory you need to go with that new summer outfit.  All you have to do to make one is thread a ribbon through some beads.  But if you've tried this, you know that sometimes that's easier said than done.  

Here are a couple of tips and methods I've found that work for me...

Start with the right ribbon and beads.  The ribbon obviously has to be small enough to fit through the hole, so be sure to choose beads that don't have a microscopic hole and a ribbon that's not crazy-thick.  

After that, you can use one of these methods to string on the beads.

1.  Aluminum foil method:

Cut your ribbon at a sharp angle on one end and then wrap a small piece of foil around the tip, creating a sharp point on the end of the ribbon.  Be sure to squeeze and twist the foil tightly so it's small enough to fit through the hole of the bead.  

2.  Threaded wire method:

Cut a thin piece of wire and fold it in half, letting the ribbon rest in the fold, creating a threaded needle technique.  Then, just poke the wire through the bead and let the ribbon follow.

Once you've threaded all your beads onto the ribbon, tie it to the length you want it and snip the edges of the ribbon.

A little clear nail polish on each ribbon edge will keep them from fraying.

These necklaces are super-simple with the right techniques.  What will you wear with yours?

Sharing with a few more of my friends here.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Happy Memorial Day!

I'm hoping you have a happy Memorial Day
 with friends and family, enjoying the present freedoms we have and remembering those who have sacrificed to give them to us.  

Thank you, American military personnel and families!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Welcome to the South! Have a Biscuit.

Here in the South, we love a good biscuit.  Most of us will always love our Mamaw's recipe the best, but we're not so discriminatory that we can't appreciate biscuits in all kinds of other variations as well.  That's why we have things like Biscuit Festivals, which is where we loaded up the kids and headed to last weekend.  

Dozens of vendors lined the streets downtown with their famous biscuits in hopes of being voted the Best Biscuit of 2012, and we taste-tested as many as we could handle.

There was everything from the pretty...

to the unique...

But, one that was voted our family's fave was the Garlic Cheese Biscuit from Ruby Tuesday...

And since they were generous enough to pass out the recipe, I thought I'd be generous enough to share it with y'all...

Ruby Tuesday's Garlic Cheese Biscuits

3-3/4 cup Bisquick or Homemade Biscuit Mix (below)
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese.
1/4 cup garlic butter (below)
1-1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 cup ice cold water
as needed vegetable oil
1/4 cup melted butter for brushing

Combine biscuit mix, grated cheese, melted garlic butter, kosher salt, parsley, and water in a mixing bowl.  Mix gently using a rubber spatula to incorporate ingredients.  (Note:  dough should still have some lumps in it.)
Using an ice cream scoop, place scoops of biscuit dough onto a slightly oiled baking pan.
Bake the biscuits at 350
ยบ for 13-15 minutes, rotating once halfway through.  Once baked, remove from oven and brush with melted butter.
Yield:  approximately 13-15 biscuits.


Homemade Biscuit Mix:

9 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 cups nonfat dry milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3 tsp kosher salt
2-1/4 cups vegetable shortening

Mix all dry ingredients in mixing bowl until well incorporated.  Cut in the shortening using a pastry cutter.  (Mix should resemble coarse crumbles.)  Store mix in an air tight container until ready for use.


Garlic Butter:

1/2 lb butter, melted
1 tsp onion powder
2 Tbsp granulated garlic

In a small saucepan, melt butter on stove top, then remove from heat.  Stir in seasonings and set aside. (Extra garlic butter can be kept for several days in the refrigerator.)

Y'all enjoy those!  I'm sharing with a few more of these friends as well.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Strawberry-Apple Chicken Salad

Here's a little twist on traditional chicken salad that may be just the thing you're looking for to serve your girlfriends at that next luncheon or shower.  Or, make it for the family for a cool summer supper!  

Remember when I told you about my favorite way to cook chicken?  Well, we had some left over after a meal the other day, so I decided to experiment a little. And I think it turned out pretty yummy, so I'm sharing it with you.

Start by chopping up a medium apple into small pieces.  Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of Poppyseed dressing that contains cider vinegar.  (The cider vinegar in the dressing will keep the apple from browning.)

Next, dice up 3 or 4 strawberries.

Prepare some basic chicken salad by adding approximately 1/3 cup of mayo (or more, depending on your preference) to 2 cups shredded, cooked chicken that has been cooled.  Then, mix in the chopped apples and strawberries.

Serve it on your favorite bread, and enjoy!

Hope it's a hit at your house!  Let me know what you think.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Flowers for Cutting: Five of my Faves

I don't know about you, but I'm a fresh flower fanatic.  I've learned to make friends with faux as well, but I always try to fit a little flower money in my grocery budget each week for a fresh bouquet of something.  And one of the great things about summer is that I usually have something great in my yard that I can cut for inside the house as well.

So, if you're thinking about landscape plants or container gardens for the summer season, you might want to consider some of my faves.

1. Hydrangeas

I just bought this bush and planted it this season, and already I've had several new blooms. Click here to read all about growing hydrangeas.  

I had a gorgeous huge blue one at my previous house that I had grown from a cutting from my grandmother's bush that she had for years.  I so regret not bringing a cut of it with me to this house and I'm seriously considering sneaking over to my old house one night and snipping some off.  Anybody want to go with me?

2.  Peonies

I'm enamored with this flower.  Maybe it's because they only bloom for a short time and then they're gone until next year, or maybe it's because I have to guard the little buds with my life against the bunnies eating them before I can snip them and bring them in.  But, whatever it is, they're amazing.  And they smell heavenly.  Click here to read more on how to grow them.

3. Knockout Roses

When our landscaper was proposing a plan for our yard, he had me at the words, "roses on a stone wall", because even though I live in Tennessee, I love anything English garden-esque. And this year, the roses went wild and so did I.  

 For a couple weeks, there were so many blooms I couldn't fill the vases fast enough.  These flowers are a great choice for the Wow Factor indoors and out.  For more info on how to grow Knockout Roses, click here.  

4.  Hibiscus

This may be a flower you haven't considered cutting for indoors, but they can be a great pop of color in a small vase.  The great thing about hibiscus is that they bloom consistently all summer and they're relatively easy to get along with.  But, just like on the plant, the bloom only lasts for a day or two in a vase, so keep that in mind.  Want to know more about them?  Click here.

5.  Zinnias

If I had to choose, I think Zinnias are my favorite of all the cutting flowers I grow myself.  They come in so many great colors and they just scream "Summer!" when brought indoors.  You can grow them from seed or buy the plants for instant gratification.  These are perfect for putting in a cute bottle or vase and bringing to a friend.  This planter of them was from a couple of years ago.  I haven't bought mine yet for this year, but I'm on the lookout.

This pic is a great example of  how great they look in vases.  Ahh, gorgeous.

Hope this gives you some inspiration!  What kinds of flowers do you grow for cutting?


Monday, May 14, 2012

The Look for Less: Getting Your Pinterest Style Board into Your Closet

Ahhh, Pinterest.  That beautiful place where the food is picturesque, the ideas are genius, the quotes are funny, and everyone has a gorgeous house and a wardrobe fit for a queen (or a Duchess--have you seen this dress on Kate? Breathtaking.)

But, back here in Realityville, the clothing budget doesn't usually stretch far enough to cover all those gorgeous outfits we come across on Pinterest.  Take this outfit I pinned several weeks ago...

It was love at first sight for me and that gray chevron skirt (as it was for hundreds of other pinners), but I knew I'd never pay the $178 it was listed for at  

And then one day, I got a text from my sister who had spotted some gray chevron fabric at Hob Lob, so I did what I had to do and floored it to my local store to get some for myself.

And thanks to this fabulous, budget-saving, wardrobe-changing, watch-out-world post by my sister on how to make a basic skirt with a zipper, I now have my own version of the famous chevron skirt.

I know it's not an exact replica, but the total cost for my version of the skirt was less than $10, including the cost of the zipper.  

If that gray chevron skirt is on your Pinterest style board, you can find some great, affordable chevron fabric by clicking here or here.

And if you'd like a flower belt, I made mine using a basic elastic belt like I showed you how to make here.  

And then I used a regular faux flower and made a belt slide for the back with some scraps of canvas.  Basic instructions for a belt slide can be found here.

And now that I have overcome my fear of zippers, I'm on a roll.  Here's another skirt I made for around $12.  

It was inspired by this skirt from Anthro which was originally $118.

I know I've said it before, but if you will learn to sew, it can change your life.  There are many great sewing tutorials posted by bloggers every day.  My sister's blog is a great one. You can do this stuff.  Just keep in mind that it does not have to be perfect.  Don't worry--no one is going to XYZ {examine your zipper}.  

Now, go give it a try!

Sharing these ideas with a few of these friends.