My Not So Perfect Rag Wreath

Hello Friends,

I wrote this post last year and thought it might be good to post again. I was looking for this wreath in my closet so I could hang it back up  (thinking about Valentine decor). I might just have to make another one because I could not find the one in these pics. 

I was recently asked by my online friend Denise, over at Sun Kissed Studio if I would like to join in on the “Craft O’ The Month Party” I said “sure why not”. I’m in, I will make a craft. The craft this month was to make a Valentine Themed Rag Wreath. I’ve never made a rag wreath, nor had I ever seen one before.

Thank goodness for Roundy Rounds post on how to make a Rag Wreath. She had great instructions with beautiful pictures of her colorful wreath. I had no problems knowing what supplies I needed or how to make the wreath after reading her post. No wait, Roundy Rounds had the pretty pictures and she  had a link to this post that gave me the instructions with pics.

Off  To The Store I Go

I got my inspiration for the fabric I chose by viewing  this blog.

I walked around the fabric store forever looking for the perfect mix of colorful valentines fabrics before I decided to pick a nice “ivory”. I got the fabric at $3.99 yd which was 50% off. I think it was drapery lining fabric or something, you’d think I’d know since I grew up in fabric stores. I did know it was pretty, with a bit of a sheen, and it was cheap, no I’ll say inexpensive.

Next I was off to find the wire frame. I was shopping at Jo Anne’s Fabric store and they had the wire wreath frame for $1.49 for the 12″ wreath. Oh, and I got some red satin ribbon too. Which by-the-way I didn’t end up using.

Supplies – 12″ wire wreath and 1 1/2 yd. of fabric for  less than $10

I Went Right Home and Started Making My Wreath

Step 1 – Cut the strips of fabric. I made mine around 2″ x 18″, as you can see I didn’t worry too much about them being perfectly straight. Maybe I should have worried about that, but I didn’t.

Step 2 – Take one fabric strip wrap it around the wreath and tie a knot like this.

Keep wrapping and tying bows until your wire frame is covered. When you think you are done you will probably need to add more. At least that is what happened to me.

Step 3 – Now to add something special to my wreath. Right now to me it looks like a shaggy round thing that’s not so special and needs a little love. Ah ha, that’s it, I will add a little love.

So I got out some copper wire from my beading stash.

And then I found a little love heart, leftover from some bridal shower cards I made awhile ago.

I then made a free-form wire heart and attached the LOVE charm to it. I attached the wire heart to the wreath using 1/8″ pink satin ribbon that was sitting in my craft cupboard waiting to be used.

My Wreath Still looked kind of sad and blah. I wanted it to be very simple, but I didn’t want blah.

I thought for a moment, and back to my bead collection I went. After going through  my beads I decided on a few Swarovski crystals. Everything looks better with a little glimmer, don’t you think?

I think the few crystals helped a lot. When the wreath is on my wall without the crystals, you couldn’t see the heart in the center it just faded into the wall. The crystals gave it just a bit of pop so it brought your eye to it.

It was really hard taking a good picture of my finished valentine wreath on my wall. The lighting was not my friend and my picture taking skills, well let’s just say I’m not a pro. I used my handy dandy iPhone that’s cool isn’t it LOL.

Drum Roll Please ……..XXXXX……

Here is a picture of MY NOT SO PERFECT RAG WREATH

Every time I walk by this wreath I play with all the bows trying to make them even/perfect. Then, it came to me that the beauty of this wreath is it’s not perfect. Now I’m happy with my little valentine rag wreath just as it is.

I can’t wait to see all the other wreaths everyone made. I hope you enjoyed this post. I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave a comment.

Happy Crafting,

Tamara

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Caprese Salad Bites

Perfect Holiday Appetizer

CapreseSaladBites copy

Ingredients

Grape or Cherry Tomatoes
Mozzarella Balls (size of cherry tomatoes)
Fresh Basil leaves
3 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/2 TBS Balsamic Vinegar (if you don’t like the dark color use white balsamic)
Coarse Salt
Pepper
Dried Oregano
Toothpicks

The measurements given are estimates, I never measure when I make this.

Start by whisking in a bowl the EVOO (olive oil), Balsamic Vinegar, pinch of salt, pinch of pepper, and a sprinkling of oregano.

Cut the tomatoes and mozzarella balls in half. Cut the basil leaves into small pieces as shown in the picture.

Assemble

Pour the olive oil mixture onto a pretty plate. Next put a piece of the basil on toothpick followed by the mozzarella and tomato. Make sure the tomato has the cut side facing down so it sits on the plate well and soaks in the wonderful flavor of the oil mixture. Continue until all your tomatoes and mozzarella are used up.

If desired drizzle a little bit of EVOO on top, then sprinkle a pinch of salt over the top along with a pinch of oregano for color.

Cover with cling wrap and put into the refrigerator until ready to serve.

This recipe is always a big hit everywhere I take it. Its light, refreshing, and a nice break from all the heavy holiday dips and such.

Bon Appétit

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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Soup for a Cold Winter Night!

I had a butternut squash sitting around for 3 weeks and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it. When I bought the squash I wasn’t paying attention and thought I bought a spaghetti squash, OOPs!

I decided to make soup and went in search of a recipe. I found a recipe by Andrew Weil on a Martha Stewart video.

I modified my recipe slightly and I have to say it came out delicious. My husband loved it too. The roasted vegetables makes all the difference by giving it a rich earthy flavor. I give you a printable recipe at the end of the blog.

Start with a clean 2-2.5 lb. butternut squash. Cut it in half lengthwise.


Next use a spoon to scoop out the seeds.


Peel the skin off the butternut squash. I also added 1 small sweet potato with skin removed. I just didn’t take a picture of it.

Next you want to…

Cut the squash into chunks.
Quarter 2 onions
Clean 4 cloves of garlic and leave whole

I also peeled and cut into chunks 1 small Jazz apple because that is what I had. I placed everything into a roasting pan. I had the oven preheating at 400 degrees F

I seasoned the vegetables with 2 tbs. of (EVOO) extra virgin olive oil
1/4-1/2 tsp of powered chili powder ( this is my best guess, I never measure)
Pinch or so of Chili Pepper
1/4-1/2 tsp White Truffle Sea Salt. You could use any salt you like.

Mix the seasoning into the vegetables evenly.

Roast the vegetables for 40-50 minutes stirring every 15min. until fork tender.

When the vegetables are done take out of the oven and place into a stock pot.

Add 4 cups of Organic Low-Sodium vegetable stock to the pan. I then pureed the vegetables with an immersion mixer. You could also puree in a food processor. Warm the soup in the pan to desired temperature.

To serve I added a sprinkling of parmesan cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and a pinch of oregano for color. The soup tasted amazing and made the house smell wonderful.

Have you ever made butternut squash soup?

I hope you enjoy!

Print Recipe

Recipes and Memories

Mexican Spiced Shredded Beef

Printable recipe at the end of post.

Do you have some favorite recipes that you have been making for years and years?

I love shredded beef tacos and burritos, and  I was  craving some last week,  so I decided to make my favorite recipe for shredded beef.  I’ve been making this shredded beef  several times a year since I was around 20 years old, and newly married. I have the recipe pretty much in my head, but something made me go look for the printed recipe anyway.

I looked high up in the cupboard and found my treasured recipe box. I found the recipe I was looking for grease stain and all. Then, I started flipping through the recipes that I have collected over the years. Looking at all those recipes I’ve collected from dear friends and family brought back so many good memories of my days as a young wife and nurse. Many of the recipes are from my nurse friends at the hospital I used to work at. I’m glad I saved this little box of memories. I smiled when I found a spaghetti recipe from my dear friend Debbie, who passed away much too young. It made me think about how excited we were to make a homemade meal for our husbands. I also found the over achiever list of cookies and baked goods my friend Janell and I made one Christmas. It reminded me of all the flour on the floor, when we dropped the giant bag on the ground. I’ve never purchased 25 pounds of flour again.

I wonder if collecting, and looking at recipes on my computer, will give me the same satisfaction years from now, like this little box did today when I looked at it.  I’m glad I saved it.

My Old Recipe for Shredded Beef

Ingredients:
4 1/2 lb. bone-in chuck roast
15 oz. can diced tomatoes
7 oz. can diced green chilies
3 Tbs. Chili Powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 cloves garlic minced
salt, pepper, & cayenne to taste

Tortillas, avocado, grated cheese, lettuce, or any of other favorite fixings

Cooking Instructions 

Line a roasting pan with heavy duty foil. Leave enough hanging over the edges to wrap up the meat to seal in juice. Place meat onto the foil. Rub seasonings over the roast. Cover the meat with the tomatoes and diced green chiles.

Wrap and seal the foil to seal in the juices. This also keeps the meat from drying out and makes the pan easier to clean.

Cook in a 300 degree oven for 4-5 hours.

Make sure to take the meat out of the oven after 2 hours to flip the meat and check how it’s doing. It should look something like this.

After 4-5 hours your finished meat should look like the picture  below. It is done when it easily shreds apart.

Carefully lift the meat out of the pan and into a container to shred the meat. You can add as much of the juice as you like.

That’s it you are now ready to make great tasting tacos, burritos, sandwiches, or tostadas!

Good things to know

> Left overs freeze well
> Boneless Chuck Roast works great. I just buy what’s on sale
> Can be made in the crock pot, but I like oven method best
> Great recipe for parties
> It will become a family favorite if you like beef

Print Recipe

Bon Appétit

This Saves So Much Time – Why Don’t I Do It Every Week?

When I go food shopping, I say to myself, go grocery shopping, come home, wash the produce, and cut it up. I also plan on storing it all pretty in the fridge. Why is it I only do this about 1/3 of the time, maybe?

It’s not hard, and it doesn’t take that long. Wash, trim, and pop into containers to use in salads, packed lunches, and dinner recipes. Nope, I still don’t do this as often as I would like, even if it is easy. Probably because my back hurts after bringing in all the groceries and finding a place to put them LOL. I think… forget this, I’m sick of food at the moment. Well, until I remember the candy bar I had the checker hand me at the cash register, so I could stash it in my purse. Hey, it’s my bonus for doing the shopping.

I’m going to try to do the veggie prep more often because it really does save a lot of time, and it makes meal prep much easier. We will see what actually happens.

Do you wash and chop veggies right after grocery shopping?

A real refrigerator for two people not set up for a photo shoot.

Great For Pest Control

I was sitting on the patio this morning sipping my coffee when I saw this beautiful dragonfly grab and eat an insect midair. Wish I was faster with my phone camera, it would have made a great picture.

One less bug in my backyard. I like that kind of natural pest control.

How To Make A Clay Pot Fountain

A few weekends ago my husband and I made this super easy clay pot fountain. We love water features, and  love the sound of running water in our compact backyard. We also live near a busy street and the sound of water helps to soften the noise. (See fountain running, video at the end of this post)

It’s always a nice thing when you can make something out of unused materials that are sitting in your garage

For this project we used old Italian clay pots that we had sitting around in the garage,  just waiting to be put to good use.

It was 5 or 6 years ago that we made our first fountain, and it’s still running.  I first decided I wanted to try and make one after reading an article in a Martha Stewart Magazine http://www.marthastewart.com/269918/pyramidal-pots-water-fountain

I thought the fountain was beautiful, and I had to try and make one. I also, just happened to have, lots of Italian clay pots sitting around that needed a new purpose.

My way of making the fountain is slightly different from Martha’s. The first time I tried to make the clay pot fountain, I followed the directions in the magazine exactly, and used foam sealant per instructions. Unfortunately, I did not have good luck with it. The sealant took way to long to dry, was messy,  and it didn’t seal the hole. I may have done something wrong, I’m not sure.  I didn’t let myself get discouraged by this, I still wanted to make the beautiful fountain I saw in the MS magazine. So, off to the hardware store I went to find a new way to seal the holes in the pots. I was determined, and I wanted to complete my DIY fountain project in one day.

At the hardware store my husband and I found a solution to seal the holes. The solution was Waterproofing Tape. No standing around twiddling our thumbs waiting for foam sealant to dry.

Here is my way of  making a Pyramidal Pots Fountain

Supplies Needed

• You will need 3-4  sturdy clay pots for the pyramid.
We used pots sized from bottom up.
20′, 16″, 12″, & 8″. They need to have a hole in the bottom. And the hole has to be large enough to insert the tubing. I prefer Italian Clay Pots, because they are very sturdy. Note: We live in Southern California so we don’t have to worry about freezing temps.

• 2-4 smaller pots 8-10″ in diameter- To use inside larger pots.
• 4 bricks
• Fountain pump
• 1- roll Waterproofing Repair Tape
• Small Rocks
• Level and Scissors


Let’s Start Building The Fountain

> The first thing you want to do is gather all your supplies so they are handy.

> Pick a spot for your fountain and make sure it’s level. Remember, you will need to have an electrical outlet close, so you can plug in the pump.


> Start with the largest pot, the one that is going to go on the bottom. Make sure   it is clean and dry. This will help you make a good seal with the waterproofing tape.

> Cut a piece of waterproofing tape, peel off backing, and cover the hole in the pot.

> Cut several pieces of tape and crisscross to make a good seal.

> Move the base pot to the location you have chosen. You will build the fountain in place. It’s not advised to move the fountain after it is built.

> Use two bricks on the bottom of the big pot. Cut a piece of pump tubing. Important: make sure tubing is long enough to reach the top of your fountain when it’s finished   (approximately 4 feet). You can cut any excess later, but it won’t be good if the tubing is too short to reach the top.

> Place pump with tubing on top of bricks. Make sure the electrical cord is toward the back of the fountain so it won’t show when you are finished.

> Feed the tubing through a small pot and sit the pot over pump on top of bricks.

> Feed tubing through the next base pot, mine was 16″
> Use some waterproof tape to make a seal around tubing
> Place 2 more bricks and another small pot

> Continue building your fountain in this manner until you get to the top pot. See image below

> Check to make sure the pots are level. Adjust as necessary. Note: If you need to move the fountain use caution to not break the seals or pull out the tubing

> Fill the Pots with water and turn on the pump. Use caution or you might get wet.

> When you see everything is running OK carefully add rocks to the top 2 or 3 pots. Use the rocks to direct the flow of water.

That’s it! You are now done with your Clay Pots Pyramid fountain. It took my husband and I about one-hour to make our fountain.  I hope you make a fountain of your own. I would love to see pictures.

Sit Back, Take a Deep Breath, and Relax for the next 30-sec. as you watch and listen to the running water

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you have a question or don’t understand the directions, just leave a comment and I will do my best to answer them.

Cheers,