January 27, 2012

Andes Mint Chocolate Chewy Cookies

It's the last Friday of January? Seriously? 

On the first Friday of the month I put up a picture of the children's table and chairs I got off Craigslist. I was supposed to have it done by today for the "after" party at Shine Your Light. But the day after committing to finish that project I decided to quick re-do a desk first. The operative word in that sentence being quick. The desk is still not finished. 

I started the table and chairs 2 nights ago when I realized this was the last week of January and haven't finished yet. sigh....

But on a positive note I was able to run up to the kitchen and make some yummy cookies in between paint drying/stripper....doing whatever stripper does!

While grocery shopping the other day I saw some Andes Mint Chocolate baking chips and thought they'd be so good in some chewy chocolate cookies!

I got the recipe for the chocolate cookies somewhere on the net last spring. I made about 300 and packaged them for my little sister's wedding favors, that was a long day ;)

So here's what you'll need to make them:

1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup semi-sweet morsels
Andes chocolate mint baking chips

(semi-sweet morsels not pictured, oops!)

Cream together the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl gently stir the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

I had to quick show a pic of one of my favorite Christmas presents from this year, my stainless steel measuring cups and spoons from William Sonoma! :)

Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture while beating on low until it is completely combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes until firm enough to handle.

When chilled take a heaping tablespoon size of dough and roll it in a ball, flatten with the palms of your hands and place on cookie sheet (I use my Pampered Chef stoneware). Then sprinkle with your Ande's baking chips.

Bake for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees. You want them to still look somewhat doughy and not crisp at all when you take them out. Let cool for about 5 minutes, transfer to cooling rack carefully. They're fragile, but that's good, once completely cooled they're not as fragile, but they're still nice and chewy in the middle!

Now get out a BIG glass of milk, you're going to need it. ;)

January 19, 2012

Kitchen Chair Makeover

After days of stripping and sanding the desk I'm working on I needed a little break. So yesterday I thought doing some painting would be a nice change of scenery.

I had been looking for some chairs for my kitchen table for almost a year and finally last week I found these at my Savers store.

They were a bit wobbly and didn't have the exact look I was going for, but after a year of sitting on and looking at folding chairs I was willing to give them a shot. I even had a coupon :)

I only needed 2 because we have 2 benches for the other sides of the table. It's a long story, but the table and chair situation has been a work in progress....hopefully I'll get it all finished soon and then you can hear how it has all come together :)

So anyways, I started by removing the seat cushion and taking off the 2 old layers of fabric.

I'm not sure what the underneath flowered fabric was. It seemed like it maybe had once been someone's house coat and it was GREASY. ewww, ewww, ewww, I washed my hands really well after that :(

I used a painters drop cloth to recover the cushion. It was my first time doing a project with one, I know I'm a little behind on that trend.....as usual ;) The color is a little too white for me, but I'm on a tight budget right now so it will have to do. Putting a colorful pillow on the chair helps though :)

I painted the chair with 2 coats of Annie Sloan chalk paint in Old White. Then I distressed all of the edges with fine sand paper. As I distressed I got really happy, it was looking awesome! I used some tinted Ralph Lauren faux technique glaze over the paint to darken and age it a bit.

I just took a scrap piece of an old t-shirt, dabbed it in the glaze, then wiped it on the chair. Nothing to it. I'll try to remember to takes pictures of the process next time!

When I have some extra cash I am going to run to Home Depot for some wood glue and polycrylic to fix the wobbly-ness and protect the finish. But for now this will just have to do! :)

January 16, 2012

A Progress Report

My house is a mess. There is nothing to eat. We're DANGEROUSLY close to running out of toilet paper. Why?

Because I had a vision :) 

And because my sweet, sweet husband supports my visions :)

So while I am itching to go back down to the basement, put my goggles and gloves on and finish stripping the other side of this beauty, I unfortunately have to hit some grocery stores first!

January 13, 2012

Preschool Tote Bag

Over the Christmas/semester break we decided to switch our daughter to the preschool where our son attend's school. She was very excited about it :) 

The back pack she had been using was a few years old from the nursery years of her life and at her new school they encourage tote bags so the children can pack up their own things a little easier/faster.

And honestly, I totally wanted to make a cute tote :)

Isn't it fun??

And of course I'm more excited about it than Lainey is :) Isn't that how things always seem to go?!

Anyways, I'm no expert on sewing and if you were to inspect it in person you'd surely find some flaws, but it is cute and functional and with some more practice I'll be able to keep my seams a bit straighter!

To get started I looked up tote bag tutorials to get a basic idea of the construction of a bag. The one I ended up liking the most can be found at The Long Thread.

I used some of their techniques but also added my own style and size to it :)

SO! To get started you will need: outer bag fabric, inner lining
fabric, coordinating pocket and stripe fabric, and twill tape for the straps (you can find it near the ribbon at the fabric store).

(pocket and straps not pictured)

The Measurements are:
Main Fabric: 14 1/2 x 15 (x2)
Lining Fabric: 14 1/2 x 17 (x2)
Stripe: 14 1/2 x 3 (x2)
Pocket: 8 1/2 x 15
Strap: 18 inches (x2)

To make cutting my fabric easier I made myself a cutting mat out of poster board from Hobby Lobby. I already had the poster board, the opposite side was a score board for my son's birthday party last summer. 

I just marked 1 inch increments all the way down each side and used a yard stick to connect them. It only has 1 inch marks and no 1/2 inch or smaller, so it's not the best solution, but better than spending $50 on a big one at the store!

Once you have everything cut take one piece of main fabric and one stripe and pin them together right sides facing each other.

Once you've sewn across the top with a 1/2 inch seam iron the seam down.

Repeat this with the 2nd piece of main fabric and stripe. 

 Next make your pocket. Take your pocket piece and fold it over with right sides facing in and pin up the sides. (sorry no pics) Sew up each side with a 1/2 inch seam. Turn it right side out and iron it. Fold up the bottom, unfinished edges about a 1/4 of an inch and iron.

I wanted my daughter's name embroidered on the pocket so I took this piece as is to an embroidery shop and had them add it. After that you should attach it to one of your main fabric pieces. I made the mistake of making the rest of the bag first, don't do what I did, attach the pocket first :) 

Pin the pocket to the front of the fabric wherever you'd like it to be placed, I just pinned it to the middle then took out my ruler and moved it around a bit making sure it was centered and straight.

The edges that you folded under and ironed should be the bottom of the pocket. 

Then sew it in place along the sides and bottom. I sewed it about 1/8 of an inch from the edge. This is where I get a little crooked at times and hope that practice will make perfect :)

Then take your 2 pieces of main fabric and pin them together right sides facing in.

Sew around sides and bottom with a 1/2 inch seam.

Do the same with your lining. It would look really cute to use fun coordinating fabric for your lining, I used some white curtain lining for mine because I had it on hand and was trying to keep costs down :)

When finished take one of the bottom corners of your lining and fold it onto itself lining up the bottom seam with the side seam.

Iron it in place. Measure from the corner (exactly where the seams meet each other) down 1 1/2 inches and mark.

Sew along your line, trim off excess leaving about 1/4 inch, then zig zag stitch along the edge. This will make it nice and strong.

Now do the same thing to the other corner of the lining and again to both corners of the main fabric.

Next turn your main fabric inside out and your lining right side out. Slip the lining into the main fabric lining up the seams.

Take one strap and slip it in between the lining and main fabric making sure it's not twisted. Pin one end 3 inches from the side seam and the other end 3 inches from the opposite side seam. Do this on the other side with your other strap as well. Finish by pinning the lining and main fabric together around the rest of the bag.

Start sewing, using a 1/2 inch seam, right before one of the straps, go over the strap and then all the way around the bag, stop right after you've sewn over your last strap, leaving a space between the 2 front straps. Pull the straps and bag through that space (it will take some maneuvering). 

Once you have it all pulled out iron the top seam that you just sewed and fold under the fabric in the opening. Iron it in place. Then sew about 1/8 seam all the way around the whole bag. 

And you're done! Whew! I think it took me longer to write the tutorial than it did to make the bag! :)

Now I just have to wait 4 more days until she has school again to use it!!

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January 10, 2012

A Passed Down Footstool

 I don't have any furniture or items that have been passed down t0 me from my family or anything, so I've never put much thought into passed down, sentimental furniture pieces.

Well, a few weeks ago my husband's mom gave me an old footstool that had been passed down in her family. We think that it originally belonged to my husband's great-great grandma who came to the United States from Holland in the early 1900's.

I was grateful for it and put it in my daughter, Lainey's, room with her other footstools for her to use with her tea party table. Then one day my husband noticed it there with all of my thrift store finds and recognized it. His face lit up when he realized (on his own) that this was the same little stool that he had grown up with, resting his little head on it while watching cartoons. It meant something to him that Lainey would grow up sitting on it and sitting her stuffed bears on it for tea parties. I have a whole new appreciation for this tiny, old footstool now. It's not just another piece of furniture that I picked up for cheap at a thrift store, it's a family heirloom! It's been used and loved by our loved ones before us, as a matter of fact each one of them actually recovered it!

Here it is after being loved by me :)

When my mom in law gave it to me it looked like this:

Sorry about these pictures, I recovered it at night while watching tv with the hubs. She had recovered it once years ago with the polka dot fabric. I pulled it all off and found this:

This layer was attached with nails instead of staples which made it a little bit harder to remove, but not impossible! So I pulled it off and found this layer:

This was the original layer so I stopped there. I'm trying not to spend any money this month so I needed to use what I had on hand to finish it. I painted the legs with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White and distressed and waxed them. Then I searched through my leftover fabric scraps for a piece big enough to fit over the cushion. I ended up with some tan linen. I just pulled it over tight and stapled it underneath folding it around the rounded ends. 

It was a quick and easy redo and looks so nice with Lainey's tea party table. Hopefully I will be able to recover these thrift store footstools soon too!

And one day when Lainey has a home of her own I'll pass this little footstool down to her. I hope that she too will make it into something that she loves to look at as much as I love it now!

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January 7, 2012

Kid's Table Set: Before

I picked up this kid's table set off of Craigslist this week.

Over at Shine Your Light they've started a before & after linky party where you post your "before" pic on the 1st Friday of the month and your "after" on the last! This sounded like fun to me and since I have a before sitting right there in my work room the timing couldn't be more perfect! :)

I haven't even decided what exactly I'll be doing to the set yet. Maybe the table one color and the chairs different, maybe something fun on the table top? Any ideas? Feel free to chime in!!

And because my older sister jokingly accused me of being/looking perfect over here on the blog I thought I better squash that thought immediately with a good pic of my work room :)

Do you like that, Marcy?? :) My whole house gets this messy on a regular basis in between my bursts of cleaning energy. But this room has been looking like this for years now!! Oh well, it's on my 2012 list. 

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