Thursday, February 21, 2008

Oreo Kisses

OK, it's a little late for this year's Valentine's goodies, but in the interest of all things chocolate, please head over to Bakerella's for her delightful kissy-twist on the Oreo Truffles Recipe I posted about at Christmas (scroll to the bottome of this post). And while you're there, take a look at some of the other beauties she's created. Like these and these and these. YUM.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Happy Birthday to a Fellow Baylor Girl!

Kari Cake
Originally uploaded by thingspondered
Today is Kari's 40th Birthday...please stop by Kari & Kijsa's blog and wish her a Happy Birthday...and look around while you're's a great blog. These sisters share wonderful design ideas, artistry, and Diet Coke. And they're Baylor girls!

So, in her honor, I've "decomposed" this song (sung to the tune of "That Good Ol' Baylor Line" or "The Good Old Summertime" for you non-Baylorites):

That 40th birthday girl, that 40th birthday girl,
She decorates and she creates her treasures just like pearls.
With Diet Coke and Kijsa's help, she'll redesign the world
And leave it prettier than before, that 40th birthday girl!

Happy Birthday, Kari!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Bye Bye Birdie

(I totally hate that musical, by the way). So remember when I shared my ideas for the Widows' reception at our church? Well, today was the big day. I thought I'd post a few of the highlights.

Here's the buffet centerpiece:
The plants are Dusty Miller. They were sold in 6-packs in the Walmart nursery, and they were 50% off, so I paid 84 cents per 6-pack. My original intent was to use English Ivy or another trailing plant, but I just couldn't find any cheap enough and in small enough pots. We cut the 6-packs apart and wrapped the little pots in burlap, then tied them off with synthetic raffia ribbon. We also tied on little "You are loved" tags. In addition to this centerpiece, we clustered several more Dusty Millers in pots on a few of the tables.
plants plants

We put squares of burlap on the tables, then added a large twig, a next (or a pot with Dusty Miller), a few eggs, and a couple of glass bowls filled with crinkled paper (we put Robin's Egg malted eggs in these bowls).
table decor

table decor

I even made cute little nest cupcakes. But I forgot to take a picture of them at the reception! Here's a picture of the buffet table, and you can kind of see them:

When I realized I didn't have a better picture, I took the leftovers out of the freezer and took this picture of a few cupcakes on top of the washing machine! And just so you know, after I took this picture, I had to eat one. Oh yes I did. And just so you know, Brian had to eat one too. I love frozen frosting. Reminds me of those little Baskin Robbins ice cream cone clowns I used to get as a kid. But I digress. So anyway, here's a closeup of the cupcakes on the washing machine. The colors are kind of wacko. In reality, the jelly beans are very pale mint green and a pretty turquoise blue. I only made small cupcakes for the reception, but I made 4 large ones because I had a little extra batter.
Nest cupcakes

At the end of the reception, each of the widows received a long-stemmed rose:
roses & nametags
(the cute nametags, by the way, were made by another deacon's wife, Rosalyn)

They also took home a Dusty Miller plant and a box of goodies:

We had a good time visiting with these sweet ladies. Some of them are under 45. Some of them are newly widowed. Some of them have been widowed for many years. God tells us to care for the widows and the orphans, but we were blessed today by our time with them.

It was a fun reception, but now it's time to put all the birdies and nests away. I'm going to share one nest with one of the ladies that was there today. But now? Right now it's time for this little chickie to get some rest!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Unfailing Love

Happy Valentine's Day, y'all!

I wanted to share a special valentine thought with you. I just got this Breaking Free Day By Day devotion book (based on Beth Moore's Breaking Free Bible Study), and here's today's entry:

Though the mountains move and the hills shake, My love will not be removed from you. Isaiah 54:10


The Word of God uses the phrase "unfailing love" thirty-two times, and not once is it attributed to humans. Every single use of the phrase refers to God and God alone. Although the love of others can be rich and meaningful, only God's love is unfailing.

He is not only the answer to a thousand needs but a thousand wants. He is our chief desire in all of life. Oh, God, awaken our souls to see - You are what we want, not just what we need. Yes, our life's protection, but also our heart's affection. Yes, our soul's salvation, but also our heart's exhilaration. Unfailing love -- a love that will not let us go! blessed today, and know that you are loved!


I'm grateful today for my sweet husband. See the pretty flowers he brought me? I love you, Brian!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A Little Bit of Yumminess

Hmmm...this is my 3rd post in 2 days with a title that begins with "A Little...". I guess I should crack open the thesaurus or something!

In the meantime, I thought I'd post a couple of recipes that I made for our Superbowl party Sunday night. The first is one I've made several's a favorite.

Salted Nut Roll Bars (original recipe found here)
DSC06529 nut roll the photo above shows them at appx. 1" x 2.5", but really, they're quite rich, and 1" squares are just about perfect. I just got in a hurry Sunday night and hacked them into big chunks!

It's delicious, except it's made with peanuts, which I may or may not be allergic to, but which make me sick to my stomach, so I'm thinking I'm allergic, but everyone else loves them...oh, excuse me, I do tend to run on, don't I? Well, they're so yummy, I'm sure you'll forgive me. And if you, like me, have trouble with peanuts, then you'll love me for this variation on the original recipe:

Salted Pecan Log
pecan log
For this version, I use the same instructions as above, but I substitute a bag of white chocolate chips for the peanut butter chips, and I substitute 16 oz. +/- of shopped pecans for the peanuts. The pecans will be tastier if you toast them first, and I prefer to salt them lightly before toasting. You can also toast them unsalted...but then it won't be a Salted Pecan Log! (I'm such a legalist!)

Yum. No really, YUM. I mean it...YUMMMMM! Please go try them, ok?

The next recipe was new to me. It's a variation on a party favorite that every true Texan knows and loves: Chili con Queso. But this one has spinach and cream cheese and :::sigh::: bacon. I had a few leftover sauteed onions, too, so I threw them in.

The recipe for VELVEETA Cheesy Spinach and Bacon Dip is here.

Cheesy Spinach & Bacon Dip

It was pretty good, but we all thought it could use a tad more "kick". (And that's coming from a "gringa mouth".) I used the mild Rotel, so you might want to use original Rotel or add some salsa. Either way, it's a nice twist on the old party standby.

Bon Appetit!

A Little Birdie Told Me...

Our church has an annual Widows' Reception, to honor and minister to the widows in our church. The deacons and their wives host the reception, and this is the first year we've been involved. I am helping with the decorations (along with 2 other lovely & talented ladies). Since we'll be on the verge of spring (it comes early in South Texas!), we decided to use a birdie theme. Here are some ideas I sketched up:
Nest sketches
(click image to see it larger)

Next, I created a "palette": bird's nest palette

Then I went shopping. I decided to start at Goodwill, as I was looking for inexpensive pottery/ceramic containers. Our plan is to purchase nursery 6-packs of English Ivy or other ivy-like plant, break up the 6 packs into individual "pots", wrap the pots in kraft paper or burlap, tie off with twine and a tag, and place the little pots into a larger pot. Some of the pots will also go on our cake stand towers. At the end of the reception, each lady will receive a long-stemmed rose from a deacon. She will also receive one of these little ivies, and a take-home box of leftover goodies. So I was looking for roomy pots at Goodwill. I spent $9 on all of the pots/planters. After the shopping trip (see what I found, below), I enlisted Brian to help me. We took a walk along the roadsides that surround our neighborhood. I, with a large basket, and Brian with a pair of pruning shears. I'm sure the neighbors wondered what we were up to! There is a greenbelt just outside our neighborhood, and we went and trimmed out creeping vines that are growing in / killing the trees. We also picked up moss balls and twigs. We went home and I started building "nests". It was a messy process, but I think they're pretty cute. I had to make some of them smaller because I was running out of materials, but I think it's good to have variation. So here's what I bought and made:

The little green planter I purchased on a previous trip to Goodwill. The eggs are resin, and hen-sized. They came from our family's store. Here's a closeup of the little white planter in front:
cherub bowl
And here's a closeup of the largest nest:
big nest

It's going to be a dessert reception, so I'm thinking I may try to get these adorable cupcakes made. So cute!

I'll take pictures at the actual event and share them later. Then I may have a few nests for sale in my soon-to-come etsy shop...stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Cool Cats...and Dogs!

A week or two ago, we had several very cold and windy days. Normally, we leave our dog, Reilly, outside while we're at work. She has a very insulated doghouse, courtesy of Brian's brother (thanks, Blake!), and she enjoys being outside where she can chase the squirrels. One day was so cold, however, that I worried about her. Yet, keeping her inside in her kennel all day didn't sound much better. I started thinking about buying her a sweater. Now, our dog is kind of rough-and-tumble. It's hard to picture her in a cutesy dog outfit. And Brian wouldn't have it! But when I saw her shivering inside, in her kennel at night, I decided we had to do something! I went to the closet & pulled out a really old pair of sweatpants. I stuck her head down the leg and pulled it out the foot hole. Brian was cracking up! Next, I felt for her feet and cut little holes for each front foot. Finally, I cut around her belly, in front of her rear legs. She seemed to really like it. It's a pitiful sweater...kind of like Charlie Brown's Halloween costume...but she's awfully cute in it. I convinced her to model it for you:
Baby, It's Cold Outside Baby, It's Cold Outside
Isn't she a cutie?

Not to be outdone, Grace decided to strike a pose as well:
Gaze Upon Me

And then the kitties tried to tell us that they could use sweaters too....but they made do by snuggling with Brian:

Maybe we should've turned on the heater!

A Little Valentine's Love for YOU!

valentine basket
Originally uploaded by thingspondered

Just for you, dear readers! This Valentine and the cute little puppy and kitty valentine below are scans of vintage valentines that I purchased several years ago. I scanned them and used the scanned images in some projects for our family's store (now closed). I eventually sold the originals, but recently rescued these scans from my old computer. They were originally formatted in Microsoft PictureIt (no longer available), so I had to do some work to get them into .jpg or .pdf format.

pet valentine

These 2 images, and many more, are available to you, my bloggy crafty friends, for FREE! This one contains doilies, bits of old letters, an old wedding invitation, and a picture from a friend's wedding album, and some fabric swatches. These would make great scraps and layers for a homemade valentine or other project. This one contains scans of actual vintage valentines...very cute ones!

Please go take a look, and let me know if you create something special with these!

Happy (early) St. Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 1, 2008

It's like a ghost town around here...

Yep, I've been a little short on posts of late. I blame it on an astronomical mountain cedar count (which makes me congested & sleepy). A high cedar count is 500, but this week we've had cedar counts in the 20,000's! Achoo! Anyhoo, between sneezes, I've not been terribly productive or inspired. But all that is about to change, my bloggy friends. I have all kinds of posts bubbling out of me. Watch could get messy! But really,

I'm not messy, I'm creative!
And hey, I have a spiffy new Valentine's blog design...that counts for something, doesn't it?