Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Repurposed Wine Bottles

When we looked at a rental house for college, the guys who lived there had a display of their trophy drink bottles above the cabinets.  Ugh, not cute, but typical college house decor, I guess.   So I left wanting to give the girls a better option (without spending a lot of money, of course). 

I had seen out in blogland where wine bottles were sprayed with spray paint and some decorative bottles were sprayed then antiqued.  And to be honest they never really interested me until I saw the bottle display that the guys in that house had!  Ugh!

I got the best inspiration and instructions for how to spray the bottles here at Ruffled.   Those colors really stand out! 

For mine, I used spray paint colors that I had on hand already.  I did spray prime the bottles first, just thought that would be "nicer" if you can make a painted bottle "nice".

Excuse the flowers, I just stuck artificial ones in to see how it might work. 

I like the color of the blue one.

They add some height to a mantel display or vignette.  I used a couple on my spring mantle.

They're not much to look at on their own.  But when combined with other colors and maybe more items in a vignette they work better.   They might be added to centerpieces for weddings or showers for inexpensive decor.

And certainly an improvement over "trophy" bottles!


I'm linking up to:
Spring Spray Paint party at Thrifty Decor Chick and Wow Us Wednesdays

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Braised Short Ribs Crockpot Style

Who knew what new experiences in the kitchen cooking with the Sweet As Pie Cooking Club would bring?   I have rarely eaten short ribs must less cook them!   Yet I was looking forward to trying the Pioneer Woman's Braised Short Ribs .

Short ribs are not in demand around here.  I bought the only 2 bone-in packages that the grocery store had.  Then I headed to the kitchen to get out my dutch oven.   Uh...the dutch oven?   Oh.  No.  I.don'  At least, not one that can go in the oven.  How have I made it this far in life without one?

Ok.  Quick.  Plan B.  Most roast and baking that requires 2-3 hours in the oven I do in the crock pot.  Not because I don't own a dutch oven, but because I was a working mom who wanted to have real food ready after a day of work or soccer or whatever to feed the fam when it was time to eat.   So why not throw the short ribs in the crock pot instead of the oven?   So there it is...Plan B...crockpot style.

Pioneer Woman covers all the steps and ingredients in detail in the recipe link above.  I started with regular bacon since I had that on hand already.  If you want to use pancetta and have trouble finding it, check the deli.  In my neck of the woods, it would most likely be found at the deli counter instead of the meat counter.

Season the ribs with salt and pepper.  Then roll them around in the flour.  Again, Pioneer Woman does the details of this messy process in her post.  I gladly refer to her for that!

Carrots and onions all chopped and ready to go.

Grab the red wine with the most unique name you can find just for fun.

Everybody in the pool.  Well, almost everybody!

Now, everybody's in the pool.  The crock pot that is.   Add the fresh rosemary and thyme.  Cook it on High for 3-4 hours or until the meat is falling off the bones.

We had both creamed potatoes and the Creamy Goat Cheese Polenta that PW mentions in her post.  The creamed potatoes were just in case we didn't like the polenta...another plan B.

I always thought polenta was just "grits".  And just grits would have probably worked here.  I wanted to give polenta a try too.  So would any yellow corn meal do?   What about self rising?  ???  I don't know, so I got the plainest yellow corn meal on the shelf and went with it.

Corn meal, water and salt.  Doesn't sound very appetizing now, does it?

Add in the goat cheese and it becomes a rich and tasty side dish.   Goat cheese is kinda strong, so beware if you try it. 

On a scale of 1 to Heaven (as the PW rated them), I'd say they are not Heaven, not really even close. The ribs were very good though.   I prefered the polenta with mine, but the meat-and-potatoes Bassman preferred the creamed potatoes.    He enjoyed some of the leftovers last night and said it was good again.


Pin note:  This is simply my experience with this recipe.  If you'd like to pin it, please click on the Braised Short Ribs link at the top and pin the Pioneer Woman's original recipe and post.

Now I'm linking up with:

The Sweet As Pie Cooking Club and Tasty Tuesday Parade of food at: 

Beauty and Bedlam

Tag, you're it!

Last week I was spring cleaning blogging along and saw an email where I had been tagged!    Huh?  What?  How?   Lori at Bleak 2 Unique tagged me!  I like Lori's blog and enjoy her craftiness and before and afters and that she shares her faith with us. 

I quickly learned that Tag is a bloggie get t0 know you game!  Fun!  I haven't played tag in years! 

Here's the way it works:

Post a photo and 11 random things about yourself 
Answer the questions that the person who tagged you asks
Create 11 new Questions for the people you tag!
Contact them and let them know they have been tagged!

I'm it, huh?  Post a photo?  Well, just take a look over there at my profile...yeah, that's me.

11 Random Things about Me...
1.  How's this for random...I just finished a tube of SweetTart candy.  It seems to be my favorite lately.
2.  Grandbaby #2 is on it's way.  Another girl.  Can't wait to spoil her!
3.  I come from a large family, 4 brothers and a sister.  There was no way and still is not possible to keep up with everything we are all doing.
4.  My favorite color is blue.  Can you tell?  Actually, there's a reason for the blue on my blog.  I'll post all about that one of these days.  Stay tuned.
5.  I'm a Mom of twins.   One child is a blessing and two is a double blessing. 
6.  I don't like to run.  I do exercise almost daily, love aerobic classes, walking and weights but don't expect me to run.  (Unless I need to run from something, I guess!)
7.  I love Reubens.  Whenever I eat at a new restaurant, I get the Reuben if it's on the menu.  With mustard please, no thousand island dressing.
8.  I love that scarves have been in style, I wear one every chance I get!
9.  I am ready to go to the mountains.  Maybe Blue Ridge.
10.  I am also ready to go to the beach.  The gulf, of course, or maybe the Bahamas.
11.  I have an IT background and my patience is thinning.  I sometimes get frustrated with blogger and my 3 year "old" computer.  Am I alone? 

Now for my answers to Lori's questions:

1. How much time a week do you spend blogging?

It varies really.  I just do it for fun so at least 10 hours.   Multiplied by 14 if you count Tagging posts like this one and Liebster Award posts.  LOL!

2. How many different states have you lived in, and which one is your favorite?

I have lived in one state my whole life.   Neither college or career or family or any other reason has interested or required me to move.  Alabama is my favorite :).
3. Are you a "half glass full", or a "half glass empty" kinda person? Explain a little

I'm a realist with a half glass full.  I find that I'm usually hopeful when others are saying "nah, no way".   There are times when we find ourselves in circumstances that we'd rather not be in so stay positive.  There is ALWAYS hope.  Nothing lasts forever!

4. Can you laugh at yourself? Give an example

Yes, I am laughing at myself now as I am answering these questions!  Not that the questions are bad, it's just me.  I guess you have to be here...

5. When you lay down to sleep...what do you think about?...or do you just sleep?

Fortunately when I lay down, I just sleep.  Unless the night sweats wake me up and I find myself thinking about my to-do list!   Just being real, my friends.

6. Would you consider hosting a HGTV show? What would you call it and what would you do?

I would be flattered at the opportunity, but nah, not for me.  I don't like being the center of attention.  I find it difficult sometimes to speak to a small audience much less thousands!  If Kevin and Layla of  The Lettered Cottage couldn't get a HGTV spot, then I know I'm way down on the list.  I'll stick to my just-for-fun blog!

7. How many Pinterest pins have you actually done? If so, was it successful?

I've done 32.  Yes, I actually counted!  I cook pretty often so it's not too difficult to knock out a recipe that I have pinned to try.    That and a handful of crafts.  I am a slooooww crafter and seamstress.   I would consider all but 1 a success.  It was a recipe with italian sausage.  Not bad, just not a keeper.

8. Does your TP roll over or under?...(Over is the ONLY way:)

Agree, over is the only way!  'Nuff said.

9. How many pets do you have?...What are they?

Let me be daughters have 4 pets.  When the girls were little, I didn't have time for pets.  Yet I knew the value of a pet to a child.   So I reluctantly agreed to having pets and had the whole "you're responsible" conversation.  Since they are away at college now, I had no choice but to adopt the pets as mine.  I mean, who else is going to feed and pet them?  And the cats need a face to swish their tail in when they jump in your lap, right? I...have 2 dogs and 2 cats.

10. When was the last time you played a board game? What game was it?

It's been a few years ago.  We had a ball with Apples to Apples.

11. Have you bought an area rug lately? If so, what brand, style, color etc. was it?

Nope, I have not.  I hope to be shopping for one one of these days after I get the hardwood floor installed!  My latest purchase was a couple of small sisal (I think) rugs to try in the sunroom.    I got them at Old Time Pottery so they were cheapo.  I love the natural look of the rug in a sunroom environment and just wanted to see how they would do before I purchased a large one.

It's been fun and as newbie blogger, I'm getting back to some  posts that are piling up and some much needed updates to my blog header, I mean look at how plain it is!  Maybe I'll come back to this one day and tag some many was it...11 questions?


Liebster Award and Where 2 or More are Gathered

Candy over at Pickin and paintin has passed on the Liebster Blog Award to my blog!  I was so honored and excited!  I enjoy Candy's blog and the shabby distressed look she creates.  I'm ready to do a chalk paint project after seeing her projects!  

The Liebster Blog Award {Liebster is a German word meaning "dearest or beloved"}
It's an award in the blogging community given to an up and coming blog, having less than 200 followers.  Now, I am to 'pay it forward' by passing the award to 5 other new, up and coming bloggers.  In the search (which takes time), I ran across several new blogs that I enjoyed very much!   

As I was searching for you, I noticed that a couple of you have something in common.  Your faith and blessings.  And your willingness to put it on your blog.  Not in a boastful way, but sharing it.  Not "in your face" kind of sharing.  Just the kind of sharing faith that we're supposed to do.  Offering support and friendship.  When I started my blog I thought I should share my faith along with other things in life that I love.  So it is possible that I saw your blog because you share your faith!  See?  He leads us that way.  "For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them."  Maybe we should create a "He Loves You" award?  I hope you are blessed because you shared your faith in some way. 

Now, let me say this is for fun so if you chose not to accept (as I almost did), no problem, and we'll all move on to our next post!

Shirley @ housepitalitydesigns .  Where It's All About the Hospitable Home.  I love her colorful blog header and the Pass It On Project!

Pam @ The Best Laid Plans loves to cook, embroider and other crafty projects.  And shares her family love too.  Enjoy!

Oh my, look at Francine's furniture updates @  Sky Blue Creations.  I love the old white and burlap chairs.

Lisa's thrifty finds and budget decorating  at Budget Design Girl caught my attention as I am trying to do the same thing!   

Check out Kristel's Pottery Barn knock-offs at The Velvet Door

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Penne a la Sisters

Since the Pioneer Woman blogged about her sister in this Penne a la Betsy post, I'll share a little about mine too. 

She's a high school math teacher.  That's why she has this look: 

I'll get forgiveness for that later.  Love ya, girl!  Actually, she's a good math teacher.  Big sisters just know these things.  Her students like her so that's a big clue.

Here we are about to watch a game.  Roll Tide.

Now on to the Sweet As Pie Cooking Club  recipe Penne al la Betsy.  Oh by the way, my sister doesn't like seafood so she didn't have any of this dish.  But this is definitely girl food.  And the Bassman liked it too.  He likes pretty much anything with seafood in it.

I followed the recipe verbatim from the cookbook.  So check it out or the PW website for the details. 

The shrimp look so good.  These came from the gulf.  Only "gulf" shrimp will do people!  Look for it.  Ask for it.  It costs a little more but it's worth it and helps our economy.

I used some white wine that I had on hand.  Hmmm, wines have odd names now don't they!

There is some confusion on the part of the amount of tomato sauce.  The recipe on the PW website called for an 8oz can while the cookbook version called for the larger 14oz can.   Definitely need the larger can. 

Basil is my favorite herb and I could've added extra!

Creamy, but not too heavy.  The recipe makes a generous amount.  I was curious how good the leftovers would be.  You know, some things are best eaten NOW and just shouldn't be warmed up again.    Other ladies at the Sweet as Pie Cooking Club had good results with the leftovers and so did I.  

I will spare you the picture of my empty bowl of leftovers tonight.  Yum!


I'm linking up with:

Monday, March 19, 2012

Simple Spring Mantel

Come on Spring!  I think the extra-warm temps have me impatient for spring.  And of course, all the wonderful spring ideas, crafts, mantels, and tablescapes get me excited too.

When decorating the mantel, I start out simple.  And usually add to it and adjust over the course of a few days...or weeks.  Or until something else takes my attention totally away from it, then I call it finished!

My friend painted the "faith" canvas.  I've known her since she was a little girl and she's in college now.   I had no idea she was so talented and I was happy to purchase some of her art!   The vases have a story too.  I'll share that later in another post.

This little bird came from The Dollar Tree.  I brought him home last fall and planned to spray paint him.   But I think his color fits right in with the black lines on the painted canvas. 

Not sure if he's happier sitting on the crate or on the nest!

Happy Spring!


I'm linking up today at:

 Boogieboard Cottage
 The Lettered Cottage

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Shabby College Key Holder

Another project for the college house was a key holder.   Of course, it needed to be cute and totally not embarassing to your friends.  So after a nice lunch, the Bassman went with me to Anthropologie to see if I could find something cute and not totally embarassing.   Lo and behold they had the perfect hooks!  And at $2.95 each, I actually could afford to pay for college and make a keyholder!  Here's the Bassman displaying them so I could get a picture to show the girls.

The wood is a cabinet or drawer front that came from the Habitat Restore.    I used paint that I already had since it wasn't going to take much to cover it.  The hooks didn't come with screws so after a trip to Lowes, we had antique finish screws to match the metal hook.  The Bassman helped out with the drill.

This project was done before I started my blog, so that means it was done without making a lot of pictures to show.  

I'm finding that the end result of my projects are "lightly distressed", but the girls are happy with it and that's what matters.  The college house decor has to be "cute", and I may not know what is cute and what is not...just sayin.  After sanding the edges and toning down the bright yellow, I sent it on it's way to Tuscaloosa.   The girls attached it to the wall with 3M command strips since it's not very heavy.

Here's the key holder in use. 

I like it when the college house projects are a success and now I'm linking up below!  

Have a great weekend!


 The Shabby Nest Chic on a Shoestring Decorating It's Overflowing

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy Pi Day

Cheers to you math teachers like my sister and math lovers like the Bassman and my daughters.  Thank goodness my daughters love math.  And if they needed help they could call on their Dad or my sister.  Me, I'm not so much help in the math department, I tend to be IT Mom.  And if you've seen the Staples commercial where they can't find IT Mom, I can totally relate! 

Anyway, back to Pi day.  I know you were wondering so here it is just so you don't have to look it up  π = 3.14159.  

Since I'm not such a math person, maybe I'll celebrate with some pie that I can relate to. 



Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Simple, Perfect Chili and not so chilly

It was 58 degrees outside, a perfect day to make some chili.  Well, ok, that's not real good chili weather but that's as chilly as it's gonna get for a while here in Bama.  So I best get on with making my selection for the Sweet As Pie Cooking Club.  Don't delay another day because tomorrow the temp is supposed to be back in the 70s!

I have a standard chili recipe that my family loves.  But I chose this one to try something different, not like chicken chili different, but just different.  Turns out PWs recipe is actually very similar to my standard as far as ingredients.    A friend of ours has won chili competitions out in Texas.  He will tell you that real chili doesn't have beans in it.  I will tell you that real chili does have beans in it cause that's the way it always has been, it just does.

Here's the beef...and garlic.  (Yeah, it looks green and nasty thanks to the fluorescent lighting...moving on)

...and the spices.  I usually don't measure the spices out into individual bowls.  Seems like a lot of extra dishes to wash.   But the recipe said to do it and I guess I wanted to be like the Pioneer Woman, so I did. 

I did have to add water a few times as it cooked.

It is simple.  It is perfect.  The Bassman liked it too.  I'll be adding more liquid, it was pretty dense.

Now, bring on the 70 degree days!  I'm ready!

I'm linking up with Sweet As Pie Cooking Club and Tasty Tuesdays at

Beauty and Bedlam


Monday, March 12, 2012

Spring Forward to New Life

Last summer I planted a few herbs in pots.  I used them as often as I could in the dishes that I made.  So flavorful, much better than dried.  Even looked for recipes to use the fresh greens...chives, oregano, cilantro, thyme and mint.  I moved them indoors into the sunroom for the winter trying to prolong their life.  I didn't have a clue if they would do well or not.  I'm not really much of a gardener much less an indoor gardener!   One warm sunny southern winter day, I put them back outside for a good watering and dose of sunshine, and forgot about them!  Oh no, frostbite!

But with spring comes new life.  And the oregano seems to have survived my treatment of it.

 And mint is a survivor too.  When the Bassman mixes a mojito, all I have to do is go out and grab some fresh mint!

 There are a few lonely green leaves struggling on the thyme plant, not sure it will come back though.  There is always hope.

  Just like these plants endure and survive the circumstances they are in, we can endure and survive our circumstances too.  All we need to do is look to Christ, the giver of new life! 


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Hospice Chili Challenge

Recently, I volunteered at our local Hospice Chili Challenge fund raiser.   I met some really nice people and ate some really good chili too!    While peeling about a ton of potatoes, I met the sister of my boss at my first job.  I won't say how long ago my first job has been!   I love chili, but I didn't prepare any for the competition.  So that freed me up to do lots of tasting.  After the tasting, I would be helping count the tickets to determine the People's Choice winner.   

See the Double Chocolate Chip Muffins I made?  They're way down at the end of this table of yumminess.

Bake Sale
After bidding on several things at the silent auction, I did win a nice tote bag and a haircut coupon.

Silent Auction
There were several old lockers painted by students.  This one raised over $300 in the auction. 

Lots of paintings, drawings, and photos from talented artists in the Fine Art section.

Fine Art Silent Auction

I thought this was neat.  It's a lion made of rope.  Supposedly, it was a craft made by seaman while at sea.

Lion craft

Then there's the chili.  There were all kinds of chili.  The chicken chili was wonderful.  There was also real estate chili, church chili, political chili, etc. etc.

This looks like Auburn chili, but it's actually rocket science chili.

Rocket science chili
...and the dental chili...I just had to ask if it was good for my teeth (ha ha)!

I did ask the politicians if their chili was political chili.  No pictures though, there are enough political pictures around these days.   Don't you think?

And the winners received a chili award.

Chili Trophy

A very successful fund raiser for a very worth cause.  

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