Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Pickled Garlic Jalapenos



I started making pickled jalapenos a couple of years ago out of necessity more than anything. It was our first year with a garden and we planted a couple jalapeƱo plants thinking we'd get maybe a dozen peppers. Wrong. We ended up with several pounds. Hmmm. We realized pretty quickly that there was no way we could eat all of these peppers fresh and though we have a lot of friends, even they couldn't help us make a significant dent. Alas, pickling.


Pickled Garlic Jalapenos

makes 4 500mL jars

3.5 cups white vinegar
4 tablespoons pickling salt
2 lbs jalapenos
4 tablespoons minced garlic

1. Combine vinegar and salt in saucepan until boiling
1. Place jar lids (the actual top, not the twist on part) in separate saucepan to simmer and sterilize.
2. Cut and pack jalapenos into clean jars [I like to boil the jars as I'm starting to boil water for the processing]. Leave seeds and ribs if you like the kick, remove them if you don't.  Top each jar of peppers with 1 tablespoon minced garlic.
3. Fill each jar with brine, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Wipe rim of each jar and place jar lid on top. Twist on top holder until finger tight.
4. Process jars in boiling water for 10 minutes, right side up. Make sure all jars are covered by at least an inch of water. Remove to towel lined counter. You should hear tops pop sealed shortly after jars start to cool.

Wait 2 weeks to eat - these babies need to marinate.
These keep 1-2 years but always use your smarts - if the jars are looking cloudy or funky, toss them.

Enjoy these beauties on chili, in tacos or burritos, on nachos, or right out of the jar. I like to give them as gifts too!


Thanks for stopping by!
Cheers,
Bridget
XOXO

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Rake Hooks


Let me start off by saying that I am not some brilliant gal filled with ingenuity. At least not with this. People have been using broken rakes and other garden tools as rustic decor long before even pinterest existed. That being said, I flippin love them. They make me swoon. Maybe even blush a little bit.

Our rake broke this summer because I regularly, aggressively, abuse it. Nobody will tell you I'm a gentle or graceful person, nevermind gardener. However, I didn't cry too much. This broken rake had another life in its future. After a quick wire brushing and scrubbing, it still looked perfectly weathered and worn but without the jagged rusted parts. Now... where to put it?



Years ago, the hubs and I made a chalkboard out of a poster from homegoods. It has been sitting in our basement for a few years waiting for a home. Finally I caved and put it in our kitchen. But it's so plain! I wailed. Hubs rolled his eyes. Practicality rules in our house. Aha!  The rake! Badabing! 



I can't wait to hang all kinds of cute seasonal decor on this beauty. But please note. Unless what you are hanging is very light, please use more than one nail, preferably one on each end of the rake. For your sanity's sake. Otherwise the rake will swing to one side and it will drive you batty. Learn from me.

But really... can you imagine all of the possibilities???  Ugh... wreaths, holly, garland, ornaments, fresh flowers.... you should put one in your house and share all of the ideas you come up with in the comments section. and we can have a little rake-turned-hook fan club.

Cheers,
Bridget
XOXO

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Firewood Tote

Last Spring we chopped down a half-rotted crab apple tree in our backyard. It was dangerous - it overhung our house and our neighbors and it scared the poo outta me every time the wind blew. So down it came. We hired people to cut the parts that might do damage. And we did the rest of the work ourselves which, I admit, wasn't super smart but did save us a lot of money. So the tree came down (everyone's limbs stayed intact... get it? ha) and we chopped it all up and saved the logs for firewood. TONS OF WOOD.
Fast forward a year and the wood is finally cured. And thanks to my hunk of a hubs, it is now nicely chopped and stacked in the back of our yard. TIME FOR FIRES!


Nicely stacked at the back of the yard, this wood is in the perfect spot - it's not near the house (no critters, no ants, no termites...). BUT, it's a nuisance having to carry two or three logs at a time to the firepit. They're awkward. Ok, maybe it's me and my small arms, but I had to make like ten trips for our last fire. I needed a solution. So I made one. Boom.

Firewood Tote

What you will need:
-Wooden dowel 18'' x 2
-Canvas 21'' x 36''
-The Usual Suspects: thread, sewing machine, scissors, ruler

1. Cut your canvas to the above dimensions: 21" x 36". I used a leftover piece from another project.
2. Cut your wooden dowel into 2 pieces, 18" long. I used a 3/8" diameter dowel
3. Sew a 1/4" seam down the longest two sides of your canvas.
4. Fold your canvas in half the "hamburger" way - short ends meet together. Using a medium sized bowl (mine was about 6" in diameter) trace a half circle in the center of your short edges. Cut this out with your rotary cutter. This will be space for the handle.
  

5. On either side of the cut-out half circle, fold the edge down 1/4" and crease. Then, placing the dowel along the edge, fold the crease down over the dowel and pin. This will make a pocket for the dowel. Sew along this edge.


6. Sew one end of the dowel pocket closed along the 1/4" seam previously sewn.



7. Slide the dowel into the pocket and sew the other end closed along the 1/4" seam. 
8. Repeat steps 5-7 for the other side.




Now load 'er up and make a fire! There's never been a diet that couldn't (or shouldn't) be broken for a few s'mores. Just sayin'. Beach bod dreams aside, a roasted marshmallow is happiness in a bite. MAKE SOME HAPPINESS. 
Go forth and enjoy SUMMER!


Cheers,

Bridget
XOXO

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Bridal Shower Card Book

Just over a year ago, my friends and family threw me an amazing bridal shower. In fact, just the other day it popped up on my "on this day..." page on Facebook. I got a little bit misty, honestly. As awkward as I was in the center of attention, I felt like a queen that day. All thanks to some amazing women.


As I clicked through the pictures that surfaced on Facebook, a full-on case of nostalgia came over me. There was no hope. I decided to dig up my bridal shower cards. I knew exactly where they were - neatly piled in a basket... on top of a pile of other wedding and craft crap that I needed to find a place for. Real romantic. I had to fix this situation.
Years ago someone had told me they had their wedding cards bound, which is an amazing idea. I didn't want to pay for this and I didn't have the patience to sift through Pinterest [sidenote: is anyone finding Pinterest to be getting SUPER congested these days?], so I figured out how to do it myself. It isn't rocket science. But nonetheless, it came out perfectly and it was far less daunting than I expected. It was exactly what I needed to honor this little memory and keep it safe to look back on from time to time.




Bridal Shower Card Book

Things you will need:
1/4" wide Ribbon (length - about 2 feet, cut into 2 equal halves)
Scissors
Hole-punch
Bridal Shower cards

Start by stacking your cards - all with the bindings to the left - and in any order you choose. I chose to stack my cards from smallest to tallest and I aligned them all on the bottom.
  • NOTE: Depending on how OCD you are, you can do this a number of ways. I'm rather compulsive so I chose an organized route, but feel free to stack your cards in whatever order floats your boat.
Next, start hole punching. Choose a width between holes that will fit the smallest card at it's widest - this will ensure stability with the rest of the stack but won't leave the small card dangling with only one hole in it. Also, hole punch close to the edge of the binding, but not too close. You want to be able to open the cards when the book is finished, but you don't want them to tear easily. Also, be deliberate here, you don't want to oops on your most precious cards. Also, also, yeah. Don't mind my aforementioned OCD.


After hole punching your first card, align your second card with the bottom of the first, stacked. Hole punch through your first holes into your second card. This will ensure that your second card has the exact same holes and hole spacing that your first card had.
Continue this process with each next card (using the prior card as the hole punch guide).



Once all cards are hole punched, stack them neatly again. Pick your favorite card for the front. Maybe it has a sweet saying or maybe it's from a special person. Put it front and center and honor it.
Taking your ribbon, start threading each card, one by one. Tie the ribbon. Repeat for the second hole. Trim excess ribbon.



All done! Store is a safe, dry, cool place so the cards will last. 






This whole process took me half an hour. I'm pretty sure I did it while Joe and I watched TV. Extra time allotted for nostalgic reading, of course.
This post concludes our wedding season craft party... time for Summer crafts to happen!

Thanks for stopping by!
Cheers,
Bridget
XOXO

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Painted Bamboo Utensils



2 more bridal showers down, 2 to go! 2 weddings down, 3 to go!This year is in full swing. These casserole carriers are a hit. I almost forgot to tell you guys about the painted utensils! Along with a casserole dish and carrier, I included a set of bamboo utensils which I jazzed up a bit. Here's how I did it.
Using painter's tape, I wrapped the utensils to make stripes. It helps keep the lines clean. If you don't have painter's tape you can still do this, but eyeball it. Then using acrylic paint, I painted about three coats of paint, waiting at least twelve hours between each. Once done, I pulled off the painters tape and used a razor to clean up any uneven edges.


This is a quick, very easy way to spice up a pair of ordinary bamboo utensils. The acrylic should have no problem getting wet or washed.


Sorry for the lack of quality pictures, I think I got so into painting I forgot to take them! 

This would be an awesome pairing for hostess gifts, casseroles, or cake mixes. I might even try them at Christmas with a crockpot and recipes.

Thanks for stopping by!
Cheers,
Bridget
xoxo

Friday, May 6, 2016

Etching Glass

Etching glass may or may not be my newest obsession. I gave etching a try for the first time when I made my friend's casserole dish and carrier for her bridal shower. It came out AWESOME. I want one for myself!


The idea behind the casserole dish and carrier had to do with trying to go to pot-luck dinners, family parties, cookouts, etc. with a hot dish and no way to either carry it or keep it warm. The carrier takes care of that, but what about getting the dish back later? I wanted some way to write their new last name on the dish without having to resort to sharpies. You know, keep it classy.
I found etching cream on Amazon for only a couple bucks. Just be careful - it is an acid cream so be mindful when using it - don't let it get on your work surfaces or your skin/eyes. Also note, this is PERMANENT.

1. First I printed out their new last name onto printable vinyl. Then, carefully, I cut out the letters with an exacto knife (using a cutting mat underneath to protect my table).

  
hint: use a basic, straight font for easy cutting. 

2. Once I cut the letters out, I cut the strip of vinyl off the rest of the sheet. Carefully remove the backing and stick the name cut out onto your pyrex dish where you want it. Press down all over, especially corners and edges of the letters.


3. Using a small paint brush, paint over the name stencil with etching cream. Don't be afraid to glob it on, it will provide a more even finishing result. (Don't do what I did here... put something down to protect your work surface!)


4. Follow the instructions on the etching cream for wait time. Then rinse off in the sink. Peel off your name stencil. Tada!


I love personalizing and customizing gifts and it doesn't hurt when the gift is practical and will actually get used. An etched pyrex dish, a couple of cute bamboo serving utensils, and a casserole carrier make a great combo gift for bridal showers. DIY painted bamboo serving utensils will be next post! Stay tuned!
Thanks for stopping by, enjoy the bridal showers this season, and indulge in the cake and mimosas. Even if you have to bring your own. Just saying.

Cheers!
Bridget XOXO

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Casserole Carrier

Wedding season is rolling in and the first few bridal showers were this weekend. I love wedding season. It's a time of year when new beginnings are everywhere and I'm reminded that life is full of reasons to celebrate. My job as an ICU nurse can be hard - emotionally and physically taxing, and no matter how hard I try, I absorb the pain and suffering of the patients and families I care for. That being said, the reason I craft, blog, and focus on what I love on my days off, is to heal from that. It's important for me to remember that the joys in life are what keep us going; and we shouldn't struggle for reason to celebrate every day. Life's too short not to.

So, let's celebrate WEDDING SEASON. I'm admittedly falling off the organizing bandwagon. I'm ok with it. I'll keep organizing the house and I'll take pictures and post them at a later time. Wedding season is just too much fun to wait for. kthanks.

My college roommate, Marissa, is getting married this year and I'm psyched to celebrate with her. She was my lifeline during college and I'll never forget the days and nights we spent dreaming of our weddings. Real life took us on a breeze and so much has changed since college, but she still holds such a special place in my heart. She is brilliant and beautiful and I'm so glad I was able to celebrate her and her fiance this weekend!


My new favorite bridal shower gift is an etched casserole dish with carrier. I made one for Marissa and  I know it will get use with all of her mom's amazing Italian recipes.  I found a decent tutorial at 2 Little Hooligans and made a couple of small adjustments to fit my dish. I also added cotton strapping as handles instead of making the handles from scratch - that required about 1.25 yards of strapping. It was easier than making my own and I'm more confident they will handle some beating.




Check out the etching. Pretty sweet, right? Also super easy. I'll be detailing how to do that in my next post. Stay tuned.

I included a cover so that the pyrex content would stay contained


I can't wait to make more of these with some gorgeous fabrics. Talk about a perfect wedding, birthday, or Christmas gift! No more packing your casserole dish with towels to carefully carry to your potluck. I love a practical gift.

Thanks for stopping by!
Cheers,
Bridget XOXO

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Spring Door Swag

I've been working hard on fixing up my craft room, but I do confess, it turned out to be a much bigger project than I anticipated. So I'm taking a time out to share some Spring with you. Because I can't let this horror of a craft room get in the way of celebrating my favorite time of the year. Plus, if you can go outside, you should.


I wanted to change things up a little and make a door swag instead of a wreath. I have a lot of material left over from the wedding and this was a great way to use some of it. Remember my centerpieces? I created this swag with the grapevine sprigs and leftover flowers from the flower crowns and other wreaths.



What you will need::
- Big faux flowers of your liking
- Grapevine sprigs or other sprigs - you could even collect them from the yard
- Floral wire
- Wire snips
- Ribbon

1. Start by tying together a bunch of sprigs and twisting and arranging them to your liking. I had some plain and some that had been spray painted gold for the centerpieces so I arranged them so they were distributed evenly. Then I added a few eucalyptus sprigs to give it a little more bulk. I wired everything at the top.

        

2. Once your sprigs are wired together, you have a base to secure your flowers. You can pull your flower stems through your already wired bundle, or you can fasten them with more wire. Add as many or a few as you want. I'm a big fan of the big bright flowers, so I added lots.

        

3. Slip a ribbon through your securing wire and pull through. This will hang your swag.


Hang it up and take a pic. And wait for the real flowers to bloom! Happy Spring!




Thanks for stopping by!

Cheers,
Bridget XOXO