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Thursday, January 31, 2013

{Top Ten} January

January started a little slow due to the holiday-hangover, but I made up for it with a flurry of small and easy projects. I'm so thankful for those of you who stop in every day, every week, or every Leap Year. In case you dozed off somewhere along the way, here's a recap of January.

Hi Sugarplum January Projects

I became instantly {Smitten}with a new-to-me pillow source. Affordable monograms? Sign me up!
The Anthropologie-inspired Confetti Vases were a hit on Pinterest.
I whipped my sewing machine out for the second time ever, and made a Deer Head Applique Kitchen Towel. With pom-poms no less!


Hi Sugarplum January Projects

We got a little sappy when talking about Clove Oranges.
I shoved my face with two batches of Peanut Butter Cup Frito Bars.
Plastic Animals got the best of me again.
I shared a personal health scare, all in the name of giving you a chance to win $1,000 from Clorox! (Seriously people, this is not chump change. Have you entered?)



Hi Sugarplum January Projects

I cleaned up my mantel for Winter, and got sneaky with some Faux Birch Logs.
More snacking ensued with Sweet & Spicy Pecans.
My obvious obsession with my name continued, with my cheery new Desk Nook.


Whew! I'm pooped...maybe I should take February off? No way...tomorrow kicks off a Week of Sweet! I have a whole gaggle of Valentine sweetness to share. Did you have a favorite January project? What are you favorite kinds of posts to read around here?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Clove Oranges {aka The Best Smelling Things on Earth}

Isn't it funny what little things our memories hold on to, and how they shape what we like? I love black olives, but is it because they remind me of eating them straight from the can while playing cards with my grandparents? I reeeally don't like licorice, but is it because I ate a dirty piece I found in the street as a kid?

Same goes for Clove Oranges....they always remind me of Christmas because I made them with my family every December. It was a memory I meant to make with my own kids this past holiday, but we never got to it. I stumbled across the jar of cloves last weekend, and instead of kicking myself for not finding the time, I decided to create new memories, and make them anyway!

Clove Oranges at Hi Sugarplum

Cold weather keeps us indoors long past December, and this is the perfect afternoon project to do while cuddled under a blanket. All you need is a jar of whole cloves and some oranges.

Clove Oranges at Hi Sugarplum

Using the sharp end of the clove, just push it in the fruit, arranging them in the pattern of your choice. If your orange is particularly tough, or your thumb a little sensitive, use a toothpick or skewer to poke your hole first.

Clove Oranges at Hi Sugarplum

As we sat together in the quiet house...chatting, laughing and creating, I realized that was actually the memory that makes me love Clove Oranges so much. I love the conversations that come naturally when working on something peaceful with my kids. And since there's no right or wrong way to these, everyone was content to create their own patterns and designs.

Clove Oranges at Hi Sugarplum

Clove Oranges at Hi Sugarplum

And instead of these getting lost in the Christmas hustle, they get to take center stage as a cherry and bright centerpiece for the gray months of January and February. Not to mention, they smell ah-maze-ing!

Clove Oranges at Hi Sugarplum


Clove Oranges at Hi Sugarplum

So what little memories have impacted your tastes and activities? Do you agree licorice is a nasty little candy? Can you smell the clovey-citrusy goodness through your screen?!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

{Super Bowl Snack} Chocolate Peanut Butter Frito Bars

Oh yes, you read that title correctly! When I stumbled across this recipe in our newspaper a few weeks ago, I knew these bars would be mine. I mean, they are one big mosh pit of the best foods ever invented....Fritos, peanut butter cups, pretzels, chocolate and butter!

Chocolate Frito Bars from Hi Sugarplum


 chocolate frito bars recipe card

I got greedy with the Fritos and added too many, so my crust didn't set completely. Darn, I was just forced to eat all those loose pieces.

 Chocolate Frito Bars from Hi Sugarplum

I trimmed around the outside with a sharp knife so my bars would have clean edges. Darn, more loose pieces to eat.

 Chocolate Frito Bars from Hi Sugarplum

The plan was to have these as a Super Bowl snack, but they're gone. Like, the whole batch gone in one day. Darn, guess I'll just have to make another. Git in mah belly!

Chocolate Frito Bars from Hi Sugarplum

Mr. Sugarplum grew up in the Bay Area, so there's Niners Mania going on in our house right now. Who are you rooting for...Ravens, Niners or the commercials? What ridiculously gluttonous snacks do you whip up for game days?

Monday, January 28, 2013

{DIY} Faux Birch Logs & Winter Mantel

Welcome back, friends, to another week of action-packed fun (can you see the sarcasm dripping off those words?)! It's a good start for one of you, though...I announced the winner of the HeartGram. Go see if it's you, and shoot me an email (winner had no email address listed!).

I loved, loved, loved our mantel draped with jewel tones this past Christmas. But I also love when you pack up the holiday decor, and are left with clean and minimal again.

Winter Mantel with Faux Birch Logs

I've found a formula for styling the mantel that works for me...balanced height, something shiny, and at least one living object. In this case, the candles and stems add height, the silver candle sticks shine, and branches cut from our Magnolia tree, along with a piece of driftwood from this trip, bring the natural elements.

Winter Mantel with Faux Birch Logs

Next to the hearth, I threw a sheepskin (like I used to recover the piano bench) over the little stool...which is actually a camel saddle. For reals. My great-grandfather worked in Afghanistan, and used it while he was there. Whenever I think of getting rid of it, I remember these are the types of things that give a room character and life. If you have something not available at a mass retailer, hang on to it!

Winter Mantel with Faux Birch Logs

Winter Mantel with Faux Birch Logs

This is a double-fireplace, with the other side in the Family Room. Since installing the TV over that mantel, we decided having fires wasn't a great idea....which means time to spruce up the fireplace box.

Winter Mantel with Faux Birch Logs

After cleaning out most of the ash, I gave the grill a fresh coat of black spraypaint. I love the look of birch logs, but we aren't privy to them around here...so I improvised.

Winter Mantel with Faux Birch Logs

I picked out just the round logs from a pack of grocery-store firewood, pulled off most of the rough bark, and gave them light coats of flat white spraypaint. Not enough for solid coverage, just a dusting.


Winter Mantel with Faux Birch Logs

I'm sure you Canadians would notice the difference if you stopped by, so I'd have to distract you with a hot toddy. No one around here will know my secret. Unless we decide to light the fire...that could be a problem. Disclaimer: That was sarcasm. I don't plan to burn wood that's been sprayed with flammable paint. I suggest you don't either.

Winter Mantel with Faux Birch Logs

I love our fresh Winter Mantel....which will likely be the Spring Mantel a few months from now. What do you think of the faux birch logs? Want to come sit around our fire-less fireplace and drink hot toddies?

Links to some of the projects seen in this post:

Friday, January 25, 2013

Melt My Butter X

Hey, hey, happy Friday, friends! It's time for another round-up of This Really Melts My Butter (I'm Southern, it's a requirement to use Steel Magnolia references whenever possible). I pretend I'm showing these for you, but really it's my own selfish bookmarking system. This is some of the genius going around in this talented Blog Pool....

I'm duplicating this project faster than Lindsay Lohan can finish a body shot! Home Sweet Heavenly Home made their basic-builder garage door look totally custom, for a whopping $10! There's no getting around the big thing, might as well give it some character!


Jennifer at Chronicles of Home made this Faux Capiz Shell pendant. Like made it from scratch, and using totally affordable supplies. You won't even believe what she used for the shells.



Mandy at Vintage Revivals is always busting out ingenious ideas...this time it's her DIY Sharpie Wallpaper. Can you even imagine the possibilities?!

DIY Sharpie Wallpaper Tutorial @ Vintage Revivals 

Pantone told us what we already knew...that emerald green is gorgeous and this year's hot color (hello, green striped door!). Jennifer at Dimples & Tangles knows it too, and transformed this China Cabinet!

 


I've tackled random-spaced wall stripes, and symmetrical wall stripes...and calculating the spacing is a total chore. Erin at Home Everyday just transformed her bathroom with perfect Stripes, and gives the best tutorial on how to figure out your own spacing. 

 

 
Traci Connell at Classic with a Twist is a local designer that just completed an entire house, including this jaw-dropping kitchen.



Freckles Chick made gorgeous framed agate art....from a surprise source!



My blog-crush, Courtney of Courtney Out Loud, is sharing his fabulous style with us through fashion posts. It's full-blown Gap ads going on over there...LOVE him them!


CLake Top Army


My bloggie friend, Emily of A Well Dressed Home, just completed this gorgeous little girls room Those beds....that ceiling...the dark doors!!!!

AWDH K Gressle Big Girl Room 1 

Wow ~ totally amazing, right?! I'm pulling my military jacket out of the closet and painting every door dark, how about you?! But first, just a bit of Blog Housekeeping.... 


* * * * * 

Last chance to enter the HeartGram by Love Feast Shop Giveaway! I'm choosing the winner when I remember to Sunday. 

HeartGram Giveaway

And a big, phat WELCOME to crazytown my newest sponsor, Wild About Jewelry!! I am thrilled to have this fabulous and affordable (nothing over $40!) shop. I have a date with my computer Monday night! Until then, happy weekend, lovebugs!!

wild-about-jewelry-web-ad 

 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fight the Germ Battle & Win $1000!

A few months after Babygirl was born, I was a typical run-down, sleep-deprived, deliriously-in-love new mom. Oh, and I had mastitis, so the fever and chills of that didn't help with my overall exhaustion. So when my head started to hurt, I assumed it was just another piece of the postpartem joy puzzle. But the headache grew, until two weeks later my doctor sent me straight to the hospital suspecting stroke.

Thank God that wasn't the case, but a spinal tap confirmed I had meningitis. That good news landed me in the hospital for four days, totally sedated, until they were able to determine it was Viral (the kind you can get over), not Spinal (the kind that can kill you). A representative with the Center for Disease Control checked on me daily, but wasn't able to tell us how in the world, or where in the world, I contracted it. 

My run-down state likely made my body more susceptible, but the fact remains the initial germ was picked up through something I touched. All of a sudden, I was uber-aware of just how many objects we touch, all handled by others before us. *shudder* Which has turned me in to a flaming bit of a germaphobe...but can you blame me?!?

Avoiding Germs

Avoiding Germs

Avoiding Germs

We now have strict rules in our house to help fight germs....especially right now with the flu running rampant!

* Always cough and sneeze into your elbow, instead of your hand.

* Everyone washes their hands with soap and warm water, for a minimum of 20 seconds as soon as they get home, and before eating. That's about the length of time it takes to sing the ABCs.

Avoiding Germs

* No one is allowed in their beds without first showering, and putting on clean pajamas. I've heard my kids freak if a friend gets on their bed in street clothes....music to this neurotic mama's ears!

* Adhere to bedtimes that keep them well-rested and their immune systems strong.

* And the biggest preventative measure we take, is using Clorox Disinfecting Wipes and Clorox Clean-up Cleaner with Bleach on most every surface...especially doorknobs, light switches, security alarm panel, faucets, remotes and game controllers. When used properly, they kill 99.9% of the germs that cause colds and flu.


Granted we still get an occasional illness, but these measures bring me some peace of mind that I'm helping to protect myself, and my family. But enough of the icky sickness and germ talk, let's get to the good stuff!! (You didn't think I'd tell that awful story for nothing, did you?!)

Win a $1,000 Visa Gift Card!!!

Visit Clorox.com to learn more about the importance of disinfecting, and other tips for keeping you and your family happy and healthy.
*Use as directed

Which are your favorite Clorox cleaning products that help keep you and your family healthy? Tell me in a comment, and you will garner an automatic entry into a sweepstakes where one participant has a chance to win a $1,000 Visa Gift Card.
Good luck, little ducks!



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

{Smitten} PB Teen Monogrammed Pillows

While the big purchases can be nauseating exciting, it's the small things that make my heart race. Little touches, like a new tea towel, basket planter, or magazine rack, can make all the difference in a room. And not having to save for months makes the purchase that much sweeter. My latest objects of affection are throw pillows from a very unexpected source...PB Teen!

PB Teen Monogrammed Pillows

And you'd think because it's part of the Pottery Barn family, they'd be pricey...but this cotton cover was less than $30....and that includes the embroidered monogram and shipping! There are 11 patterns and 23 monogram styles to choose from....definitely hard to not go crazy on the credit card!

PB Teen Monogrammed Pillows

I also snatched up this cheerful needlepoint pillow for just $30...it reminds me of Jonathan Adler pillows that retail for $100 and up.

PB Teen Monogrammed Pillows

The colors make me so happy, not to mention, they coordinate with virtually every room in my house! Which I guess means my house looks like a bag of tropical Skittles. Taste the rainbow.

PB Teen Monogrammed Pillows

I've been playing musical pillows and trying them out in every chair of my Living Room...I haven't settled on a favorite spot yet.

PB Teen Monogrammed Pillows


PB Teen Monogrammed Pillows

Given that the store is geared towards teens, some of the colors and patterns are a tad juvenile...but I found a huge selection that would look great in any room of the house. These are a few of my favorites.

 PB Teen Throw Pillows

You see why I'm smitten?! Have you shopped at PB Teen? Think you might now?!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

{DIY} Deer Head Applique Tea Towel

Texas doesn't get much of a Winter, so I love to embrace all the shapes, fabrics and textures that accompany cold weather, as long as possible. Just because Christmas is packed away for another year, it doesn't mean we have to remove all traces of the chilly season. I had a hankering to make a custom tea towel, so I decided on an appliqued deer head. As long as there's no Rudolph nose, it's more Winter than Christmas!

Reindeer Applique Tea Towel

The supplies are simple and inexpensive (isn't that a given for me?!)...plain kitchen towel, fabric swatch for applique, and Heat-n-Bond Lite. I found this pack of Kitchen Towels for a few bucks at WalMart, and my fabric is actually an old plaid scarf I no longer wear.

Reindeer Applique Tea Towel

Ever since I made Faux Antlers, I've been smitten with deer heads, and thought the Wintery symbol paired well with the wool fabric. To get the shape, I searched 'Deer Head Silhouette' online, and traced it directly off the screen in the size I wanted, then cut it out.

Reindeer Applique Tea Towel

Using Heat-n-Bond gives your applique better shape, and prevents movement or puckering when sewing. First you adhere the Heat-n-Bond to your applique fabric, then adhere the applique to your towel. Sounds complicated, but it really isn't.

Cut a piece slightly larger than your shape, lay the textured side directly on the back-side of your fabric, and iron the paper side to adhere the Heat-n-Bond. Then trace your shape on the paper side, keeping in mind it's the reverse.  

Reindeer Applique Tea Towel

Cut out your shape, peel off the paper, and position the applique on your towel.

Reindeer Applique Tea Towel

Iron it in place, adhering your applique to the towel. To keep the edges of the applique from fraying in the wash, you'll want to seal them with a simple zig-zag stitch.

Reindeer Applique Tea Towel

Your eyes are not deceiving you....this is indeed a sewing machine...and I'm the one operating it!! Painfully Very slowly, I sewed around the perimeter of my deer head. Had I thought this through, I'd surely have chosen a much simpler shape as my first applique attempt!

Reindeer Applique Tea Towel

Don't look too closely, but you get the idea of how it should look. Hard to tell, but I was indeed sewing sober.

Reindeer Applique Tea Towel

And to further punish myself, I opted to add pom-pom trim to the bottom edge of the towel. Pom-poms are like frosting is to cake.

Reindeer Applique Tea Towel

Considering this was only my second attempt at sewing (read my first tearful experience here), I think it's not too shabby. Granted I won't be opening an Etsy shop anytime soon. An experienced sewer could probably knock this out in about 30-minutes.

Reindeer Applique Tea Towel

Reindeer Applique Tea Towel

I pat myself on the back every time I see it hanging in my Kitchen. I'm already dreaming up applique options for the next season...or dare I attempt a monogram?!

Reindeer Applique Tea Towel

Reindeer Applique Tea Towel

The Ikea sewing machine I had went bye-bye, and I'm making friends with a big-girl machine (thanks for the recommendation, Courtney, I loooove this one!) Hopefully that means I'll finish those Dining Room drapes I keep talking about. *snort* 

 Check out more fun and easy projects in the Project Gallery.

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