Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Taco "go to" meal:)

I love taco soup!
I love the speed at which I can make my family a tasty and healthy meal, which everyone likes to eat!
I follow a basic recipe with built in flexibility. Taco soup is easy to expand for sharing and freezing.
Ingredients are interchangeable and optional within the same food family. Okay...I will stop trying to sell it and just post the recipe:)

Taco Soup

1 lb lean hamburger browned with 
a large onion chopped-any color
a large green bell pepper chopped
1 pkg taco seasoning mix

1 can diced tomatoes
1 can rotel tomatoes
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can whole corn (not drained)
1 can black beans (rinsed)
1 can kidney beans
1 can Ranch style beans (rinsed)
Add chicken broth as needed.

Simmer for an hour or cook on medium for 30 min if they are hungry!

Top with sour cream, chips, chopped tomatoes, or serve with cornbread.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

DIY Shutters...a little bit of New Orleans flair

Not to brag...but this is our best DIY project ever! 
Shutters at last!

I love New Orleans flair. I love the colorful shutters, wrought iron gates, and hanging ferns that give New Orleans it's unique decorative flavor. 

When we built our home in 1995, I had shutters on my wish list but, as most first time builders, we found that our wish list needed to be chopped as the building progressed. 
This year,
This month, my shutters finally became a reality!

Shutters make such a difference!

This was one of our more fun DIY projects:) We began with cedar fence pickets and wrought iron pieces from Hobby Lobby (half price of course!)
We needed 8 foot shutters but 6 foot pickets were less expensive so Michael cut the dog ears off the pickets and cut the boards to size.
Three pickets across made the perfect shutter size and Michael cut these cross pieces for the front of the shutters

Michael cut cross pieces for the backside to stabilize the shutters.

We primed then painted the shutters with 2 coats of a beautiful teal "New Orleans" blue. The second coat always makes THE difference.

We did learn a lesson with this project. The left shutter above shows the result of painting too late in the day to completely dry before the dew settles on the still damp paint.

The finishing touch was dry paint brushing a matte charcoal black on the front of the shutters paying attention to the creases and edges.

Building these shutters was a breeze compared to rising them to the brick...good thing hubby is patient! Annabelle, our oldest little granddaughter was Grandad's building assistant!

VIOLA! New Orleans style, DIY, fabulous shutters at last!

A big happy and satisfied smile envelopes my face every single time I pull into the driveway! 
Good things DO come to those who wait...even if it takes 17 years!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Glittery Pumps an upscale project

My favorite black pumps were looking sad and worn, and had made it to the goodwill pile... but Martha Stewart glitter came and my pumps were saved by the UPS guy! 

The glitter is so fine that is goes on evenly and looks shimmery without looking garish.
After the mod podge and glitter dried I sprayed the shoes with 2 coats of clear gloss acrylic spray. I will store these in individual storage bags and never wear them in the rain! 
Bring on the holidays...I am ready to shine:)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A glittery monogram

I was cruising though the channels as I trudged on my treadmill one night when I saw it....the mother load of glitter offered on HSN. I normally avoid HSN for the dangerous nature of it's contents, however, when I saw the title Martha Stewart crafts on the TV guide I succumbed to my raccoon like instincts to posses anything shiny:) This glitter is truly beautiful. It shimmers and shines in a way I do not remember from my childhood glitter. I bought the whole set, enough to last a lifetime!

One the projects perfect for this glitter was a monogram A for Annabelle's room. 
Hobby Lobby has these new huge wooden letters!

Annabelle's new bedding was the inspiration for the colors.

 Brittany used a chevron stamp with antique gold paint for the background. 
Perfect not required!

To make the letter show up more I painted hot pink acrylic paint on the edges.

I had these chipboard flowers in my scrapbook stash which were 
mod podged with the new glitter. We didn't have purple glitter, so one flower was 
painted purple then topped with a thin layer of mod podge & white glitter.

We laid out the flowers for placement and then used
 hot glue to adhere the chipboard flowers to the A.

A is for Annabelle, who is adorable and actually into crafts as a 2 year old:)
I am now looking around my house for more fun things to glitter.
 I am leaning toward something one of my retreaters said recently 
"I have a special relationship with my glitter!"

Friday, October 5, 2012

Absolutely creatively free:)

When is the last time you made something and celebrated everything about your creation without even so much as one negative thought about how it could have been better? I have been thinking about this all week about after seeing the pure joy on my granddaughters face as she finger painted. She was filled with such merriment as she drew what she declared were pumpkins, fish, bears, daddy, and trees. In reality they were the enthusiastic scribbles of an almost two year old. We praised every little brush stroke and with each positive declaration that she was an artist she beamed! She then painted her hands and legs and toes and exclaimed "Annabelle did it!"

I marvel at her self confidence, enthusiasm, and delight in all of her own creations. 
As I observe her joy I want to feel this way again. I need to forget about following the DIY tutorials and professional project instructions. I would like to ignore the rules governing the perfectly decorated room in the magazine and do something unexpected just because it makes me smile. I want to experience the wonder of my unique creative talents instead of comparing them to others. I really want to be able to look at my latest project and declare to myself...good job, that is amazing, you are an artist... and declare as Annabelle...I did it!
I want to feel the total freedom of creative joy that Annabelle feels!

Why do we shy away from, and even shun compliments?
Is it possible to enjoy, and with humility, momentarily indulge in wonder of our unique creations? 

I want to fully immerse myself in the peace and joy I feel in the process of creation. 
I want to forever banish the voice in my head that finds the flaws. I need to take my own advice that I give in album classes I teach..."This is not an English paper ladies, it is a craft does not have to be perfect!"
I want to feel like Annabelle...maybe I should finger paint my toes too:)