Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Build Your Own "Square Pizza" Party and Sleepover

Square pizza, you ask? But I see round pans. Read on...

There are two main considerations when hosting a sleepover for teenage girls. 1) What to feed them. 2) How to keep them entertained. Over the years, I've learned two more things. 1) They generally eat more than boys their age. 2) Leave them alone and they'll generally entertain themselves!

We have a lot of sleepovers for the kids. Between homeschooling and living out in the sticks, we want the kids to have plenty of time to be with their friends. Finding ideas to feed them is always a challenge.

From way back, our family has enjoyed making homemade pizza. In fact, we refer to it as "square pizza". Why? Pizza is generally round, but when we make it at home, we make it in jelly roll pans. I know. They're rectangular. But when Brack dubbed them "square", he was about three years old and to him, anything not round was square! We still refer to it as square pizza, and in fact, they've requested it as a meal for their sleepover at the lake this weekend!

I make my sauce and pizza dough ahead of time. Each kid gets a metal pie plate to make their pizza.

I set out tons of toppings for them to choose from and let them go to town!

I have a double oven so I'm able to cook them all at once. Everyone loves making their own pizzas! I guarantee you, this was the quietest they were the whole sleepover. Check back soon for my recipes for homemade pizza sauce and dough.

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter 2017 Tablescape

I just love it when I start with just a little seed of an idea, and then things just sort of fall into place all by themselves, don't you? I really love my Easter tablesetting this year. Last year was all about the bunnies, and they all showed up again this year in my buffet decorations.

This year "Easter eggs" is my theme. Let me walk you through it. 

Above is a quick look at the whole thing.

I began with this tablecloth I made a few years ago for a Miss Manners party. You can see it here. I had bought the material for pillow shams for Jewell's room, but never got around to them. I still absolutely love this pattern. Who knows what it may become next! It reminds me of watercolors and dyed eggs. 

My wicker chargers are perfect for this tablesetting. They ground all the swirly pastels and add a touch of nature. Perfect for Easter! You can see other ways I've used them here for Valentine's Day and here as a layer in last year's Easter tablescape.

I was going to say that these plates are my latest acquisition, but that's not true. I stopped on the way home from TKD today and found some pretty white ones and some blue glass ones at the local thrift shop! I'm telling you...you have to check in often. 

These are only a few weeks old though. Mama, Jewell and I had lunch at the lake a few Fridays ago, and we stopped at the thrift store. I found these plates for $1 each. They are "Heritage" by Pfaltzgraff. I love white plates, and use my everyday wedding pattern all the time. However, I've gotten a few chips on a few lately, and I want to give them a little rest. So when I found these, I snatched them up.

I got nine plates at $1 each. I got home and was putting them in the dishwasher and thought, why didn't I get everything they had? So I jumped in the car and ran back up. I got there five minutes before closing, but I got about a dozen salad plates at .50 each and a dozen or so cups and saucers for .35 a set! These are heavy, but I love them.  

I picked up these pretty pastel canape plates at Hobby Lobby this year when they were 40% off. I think they're normally $4.99 each. I chose one in each color: pink, blue, green, and yellow.

I found these little bird's nests a few years ago, and they've been sitting in my craft closet just waiting to be used!

I always keep a bag or so of moss to put around small potted plants. This comes from Dollar Tree. They carry it year round.

I was beginning to see a theme, so I ran back to Hobby Lobby the next time I was in town and got these eggs. Used my 40% off coupon, of course.

Tuck just a little moss in the nest...

Add three of the smaller eggs...

And there you go! They're the perfect size to fit on the little canape plates!

As you know, stemware is also a weakness of mine. I had several things that could have matched, but I thought these vintage blue stems stood out against the tablecloth. The pattern is "Virginia" by Fostoria.

I added the coffee cup and saucer for a little more white on the table.

You've seen these vintage white napkins before. I have to admit, I don't use them a lot because I don't want to deal with lipstick or coffee stains on them, but they were perfect for this setting.

My everyday flatware is "Austen" by Yamazaki.

I also picked up two of these "moss covered eggs in a basket" at hobby Lobby this year. (Admission - I pass by Hobby Lobby at least twice a week and can't stand to think of not using that 40% off coupon I can easily pull up on my phone!) I know I'll use these next year for decorating.

I didn't have any flowers ready for cutting, but I did have a little bit of white begonias left over from my annual planting I did last weekend. I placed them in this white gravy boat. After we finish dinner tonight, I'll move them into a pot outside.

I like cut flowers, but I also love using what I have! I love begonias, and besides the white flowers, the foliage has a little reddish-pink tint to it.

This is where things just started falling into place. I had forgotten I even had these until Gerald got down my Easter decorations from the attic. They're the exact same colors as the canape plates I bought!

I got them a few years ago off the dollar aisles at the front of Target. I can't believe I only paid $2.50 for them!

These ceramic egg ornaments came from Dollar General one year, but after Easter, so I think they were like 75% off the $1.50 price.

All my colors are there!

Another view...

And another from above.

I love this tablesetting! It's so cheerful and springy! We hosted Easter yesterday, and this table was already set. We ended up moving everything away except the tablecloth and several people sat there. I put it all back together last night when I cleaned up. We'll have our family Easter meal tonight and then I'll pack this away. 

My bunnies will hang around a couple more weeks until I change them out for a May theme. I've already got an idea for what I'm going to do. Anyone want to guess?

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Craft Closet Makeover - Step by Step Tutorial

Today I'm walking you through the process of how I made my craft closet. I was needing a space where I could craft and then close it off. No "rooms" were available, so I took the closet that was stuffed full of my supplies and spiffed it up a little!

I began by making a list of the items that would go in my closet, and then I started looking on Pinterest for ideas.

Here's the before...

It held everything, but it wasn't easy getting it out or back in!

I began by taking everything out. This gave me a chance to inventory what I had. Now I keep a list of the stamp sets, ink pads, etc. on my phone so I don't end up buying the same thing twice!

I removed the shelves and brackets. These went into storage in the attic. Who knows. Maybe I'll get the kids' playroom one day to use as a craft room! Then this could be turned back into a closet.

I patched holes and repainted the closet. Believe it or not, we still have paint left over from the build, and it was unopened!

Here's the part you can't see. I spent several hours one Sunday afternoon at Home Depot getting all the wood cut to order. I had drawn up the plans myself. I checked and double checked everything, then had the guy cut them. I think they'll make one or two cuts free per piece of wood. Be sure to catch them when no one else is there...

I used pine, so I primed it then painted it with more leftover paint - "Navajo White" by Sherwin Williams. This is what all the trim work in my house is painted.

I took the time to find where all the studs were, then I used deck screws to secure the pieces to the wall. I tried to be sure to secure through studs whenever possible, in fact, I only went into the studs. It was just a matter of how many times a piece of wood intersected studs. The more, the better.

This is a brace to hold a shelf. All the shelves were braced by wood and brackets to make them stronger.

My holes were not pre-drilled. It was all up to me. I made sure to keep the extra drill battery charging at all times.

I keep thinking my parents will give me my own drill for Christmas since I keep borrowing theirs!

Here are the top wood braces and a bracket to support the top shelf. I really wish I had done two braces, but that shelf just holds the shoeboxes, so it's been fine so far. 

For shelving, I used melamine. More on that later. Brackets also went directly into studs.

I really did the whole things myself - design, purchase, oversaw the cutting, painting and installation. Jewell took photos for me as I went, and she did hold the wood braces level so I could screw them in. Girl power!

Top two shelves installed.

As I said, I used the melamine shelving. It is lighter than solid wood, and it has a surface that is smooth (for writing) and wipes clean. It was cheaper, too! I used this melamine edging tape to finish off the edges. 

Measure for length and cut about 1/16" longer.

Line it up on the shelving. (The edges are a little rough from cutting. These sides face up near the top and down near the bottom, so no one is any the wiser!

Using a hot iron and no steam, cover the melamine strip and apply heat and pressure.

Doesn't that look great!?

About halfway there!

In my design, I made sure to leave space for my ink corral (an old cassette tape organizer) on the left side. I already knew where everything was going.

I stole this cool acrylic chair from Brack's room, but he was having none of it. Oh well...

I intended to go back and paint over my screw holes, but I haven't yet. Once everything was loaded in, they weren't as noticeable.

A handy half shelf.

It's hard to see, but the shelves are not as deep as the desk. The desk fit perfectly into the space. I wanted the shelves a little more narrow so I could reach things while seated and working.

Design took me a week to work on. I wanted to be sure it was the best use of space and that it was right dimensionally before I bought materials and had them cut. Purchasing and cutting took most of a Sunday afternoon. Painting took a day - not a whole day, but I would prime, go do something else and come back. Paint a coat, leave and do something else. You get the idea.

Installation took the better part of a Saturday. So all in all - it was a three day job!

I have soooo enjoyed having a home for all my crafting. It's wonderful to know where everything is and be able to put your hands on it immediately!

Full disclosure...It doesn't look like this right now! I'm working on invitations for Brack's birthday party, but it doesn't matter. I just close the doors!

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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