5/30/12

A Little Shabby Dress-Up

Hey everyone!  Okay, I promised to share a little project I worked on last week.  I've been thinking about doing this for awhile, ever since I was visiting Amanda at Dixie Delights.  She has a delightful blog, filled with such creative ideas for her home and fun ideas for doing things for and with your children.  She has 2 young sons, herself.  Amanda has a beautiful home, & I was inspired when I saw this lovely, skirted table in her entry.  Check it out HERE.

foyer 1
Amanda's table cover is made out of burlap.

This is the table I want to cover.  Ya'll have seen my Old Singer many times.  It fits perfectly on this angled wall in the entry, & it is one of my favorite spaces to decorate.

I've always been a bit limited in what I could do because of the raised area in the middle, so I asked 
The Man if he would make a wooden topper for it to level it out.

And in a flash, he had this ready for me.

He even offered to paint it for me -- he's just so sweet that way -- but it's always going to be covered, so I didn't see the need for paint.

I was so excited at this point that I had to get busy & come up with a plan for making this skirt.  I always plan things out on paper first, figure all my cuts, & then determine yardage.   I have a section
in my Smash Book (more to come later about this new acquisition) just for this purpose.

 I would love to have used burlap like Amanda did, but I have an allergy-issue with burlap -- it makes me sneeze, so I had to choose something else.  After making a quick run to Joanne's (with a 40% off coupon, of course), I decided on the same fabric that I've used on some other projects around here. 

It's kind of a linen-look fabric, with some slight texture, but very soft.  I know it's hard to see 
in this photo.  I just love it's very natural look, & it's super-easy to work with.  Plus, it's less than $6 a yard, so with my coupon, it was a very inexpensive project -- less than $30 for what I needed.



I got everything cut, & then started sewing & pressing, sewing, pressing, pressing, sewing -- oh, please stop me already!  Yes, there were lots of fabric strips to sew & press.  I place a large padded board on top of my craft/sewing room island, & this is where I can easily press as I sew.

Now, are you ready?
  

Ta-da!  It fit perfectly without any adjustments -- love it when a plan comes together!

I just love how it turned out!  I really like that I can add a contrasting fabric topper for a seasonal change when I want.  And I am already "wanting" to do just that.....lol!

Added bonus -- Abby (on the right) has a new place to hide!



So, what do ya' think?  I love it!  Thanks again, Amanda, for a great inspiration piece.
As always, ya'll are just the best!  I truly appreciate your visits & your comments.  Hope it's a great week for everyone.
CAS

I'm happily linking to:
 Cindy @ Skip to My Lou for Made by You Monday
Susan @ Between Naps On The Porch for Metamorphosis Monday
Marty at A Stroll Thru Life  for Table Top Tuesdays
Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays
Jenny at The NY Melrose Family for Whimsy Wednesdays
Gina at The Shabby Creek Cottage for Transformation Thursdays
Sherry at No Minimalist Here for the Open House Party on Thursdays
Heather & Vanessa  At The Picket Fence for Inspiration Friday
Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday
Courtney at French Country Cottage for Feathered Nest Friday
Karen at Sew Many Ways for Find a Friend Friday
Traci at Beneath My Heart for Best DIY Projects of May


5/29/12

A Perfect Day!

Hey, everyone!  I hope ya'll had a really wonderful weekend.  We had our "most fun" family gathering yet!  Don't get me wrong, we always have a good time when we all get-together, but this time was especially so.  And I think the main reason is because I was so much more relaxed about it.  I didn't get all crazy cleaning & preparing a bunch of stuff.  No one expects me to do all that, but I always do it
anyway.

Even though our children always want to bring food items, I usually make a bunch of dishes, too, just so we don't run out.....lol!  All this "craziness" really bothers The Man, because he doesn't like to see me working so hard & he knows I will scoop him into the fray of pre-party activity.  Soooo.....we decided to "buy" (gasp, cough, gasp) take-out barbecued spareribs from Joe's Barbecue (for any Phoenix area locals who might be reading this, this restaurant makes the best barbecue) & their fab baked beans; so along with the things our kids were contributing, I only made potato salad.

Our home doesn't get super-dirty because I'm pretty good at doing some tidying up every day; but I've always felt the need to do a "deep" cleaning -- vacuuming, mopping, dusting, etc. etc. -- before any company (including family) comes. This time, in all my "latent wisdom," thought about the 6 grands (ranging in age from almost 13 down to 16 months) running in & out of the house, glasses of fruit punch, dusty little feet, etc., and decided just how dumb it would be to vacuum & mop.  Wow, it doesn't take me long does it?

The other thing I usually make myself crazy with is taking pictures -- ya'll know what I mean, because most of you are "crazy picture takers," too!  Sometimes I feel like I get so caught up in recording the event or activity with photos, that I actually miss some of the fun.  I didn't even take the camera out until the kiddoes were in the garden, & that was just too much fun to miss.  I didn't even take any pictures when we were at the pool, because I was actually in the pool, splashing around with all the kids.  So much more fun than standing out in the hot sun with the camera.  Hellooooo......where have I been?

So anyway, my new mantra for family gatherings is "Keep It Simple & Enjoy!"  Of course I will do all the craziness when anyone else other than family comes over......lol!  I will for sure clean like a mad woman if any of ya'll want to visit.....wink, wink!


There were lots of flags around our neighborhood, including ours.  The early morning sun is
peaking over the house.


I still love my front door wreath & didn't want to change it, so I just added the 2 little flags to give it a little "patriotic" punch.

The 5 oldest grands descended on the garden & had so much fun.

They had a system -- the cousins in the back would collect hands-full of the little
cherry & pear tomatoes, & then pass them to their cousins in the front, who would then
drop them in the basket.

They took this all so seriously.

I purposefully did not harvest anything on Saturday or Sunday so the kiddoes would have plenty to pick.  I didn't get a picture of the basket when they had finished, but it was over-flowing with tomatoes.  Everyone took home a large bag of tomatoes, plus some squash.


This little Miss wanted to get in on the action, but the bushes were kind of stickery for her.  The older cousins kept her busy taste-testing tomatoes -- she loved them!

I gave a little "squeal" when she showed up wearing "salt water sandals!"  I'm so glad to see that some things do stand the test of time.  My own children always had these sandals for summer & that was 40 years ago -- sigh.

So, that's how we spent Memorial Day, and I wouldn't change a thing.  Everyone went home with full tummies, leftovers, fresh produce, wet suits & towels, and very tired children.  The Man & I collapsed on the sofa and enjoyed watching Pt. 1 of The Hatfields & the McCoys.  It was a perfect day.

 I actually have a creative project to share with ya'll this week & thought I'd give you 
just a little sneaky peek.

Are you curious?  I'll share soon, I promise.

Thanks for stopping by, & I do hope you will come again soon. 
CAS











5/28/12

Let Us Not Forget

Be mindful of why we are able to celebrate and enjoy this beautiful day.





Happy Memorial Day, dear friends!




CAS

5/21/12

A Small Birthday Celebration!

Hey everyone, & happy Monday!  I hope ya'll had a fantastic weekend; we certainly did.  On Saturday morning we went to a cooking demonstration at one of our local Bashas' Grocery stores.  Of course the main reason we went was because the handsome young chef seen below, was one of 5 who would be a part of this "Healthy Cooking" series.

AZ Magazine Healthy Cooking Event Series
Presented by Bashas'


Michael Stebner - True Food Kitchen
Yep, this young man is our son.  After his introduction, Michael said he was a bit nervous (absolutely not true) because the first chef who taught him the love of cooking was in the audience.  I was looking around to see who that might be when he said "My Mom is here today.  And my Dad also!"  My heart skipped a beat & then swelled with pride as everyone applauded.  He did an outstanding presentation (he truly did, I'm not just being prejudiced here), & everyone was clamoring afterwards to shake his hand, talk with him, & get his picture.  They were treating him like a "Rock Star," & treating The Man & I like the parents of a Rock Star!  It was such a fun experience!

The 2 dishes he prepared (everyone got to sample, too) are the following, & I added links to the full recipes of each.  They were both very good.




Avocado, Walnut & Manchego Bruschetta (Recipe HERE) 
 Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad (Recipe HERE)      

Next up on our weekend was a small celebration for our daughter's "41st" birthday on Sunday.  Yikes, 41 years!  How did that happen?  Anyhoo, ya'll know I like to make my own cards.  So about a week ago, I came up with one for our daughter.


  

The creative process -- just keeping it real!

Ta-dah!  I won't show you the inside because it's all sentimental, mushy & very personal......lol!

Amy is a big fan of The Pioneer Woman & loves Ree's first cookbook, which we gave her a few years ago for another birthday.  When The Man bought the latest one for me for Mother's Day, I knew we had to get one for Amy, too.  Perfect present!

And what could be better for the birthday cake than this Strawberry Shortcake Cake from the new cookbook (Recipe found here on her website)or on pg. 246 of her new cookbook.   This is the pic from Ree's website that I shared yesterday.

REE_6391

And this is my version.  



Sorry, but I didn't get a photo of a nice cut wedge because everyone was so eager to try it, that I completely forgot to take one.....lol!  I will tell you that it was a super-hit!  Absolutely delicious & very rich.  I think I would try making it next time without the cream cheese frosting & just add a dollop of whipped cream to each serving or make a small batch of the cream cheese frosting & only ice around the sides.  It is definitely an A+ recipe!

Our meal was very simple, just hamburgers & hotdogs (the kids' favorite).  I added a salad.....
 

Apple Salad w/Candied Walnuts, Bleu Cheese, & Pomegranate Vinaigrette (Recipe found HERE).  I also added chopped Red Pear in place of one apple & tossed in a few Craisins.  It is a delicious salad -- even the kiddoes liked it!

We have vegetable-lovin' kids, so this large bowl of "freshly picked from the garden" cherry & pear tomatoes were quite the hit for snacking, along with fresh pineapple.  I also added some slightly grilled pineapple slices to the burgers -- that was so tasty!

All this red & golden deliciousness was picked that morning.

I have a tough time stopping the action to take photos once everyone gets here, & we get into the business of visiting, eating & having fun.  Soooo.....these are my only pics!  I'll just try to do better with people pics next time, which will be in a week when the entire family comes for Memorial Day....lol!

As always, I truly appreciate your visits & most especially your sweet comments.  I appreciate ya'll & hope you keep coming back.
~CAS~

5/20/12

There's a New Party/Blog Hop in Town!

  Hey everyone!  Hope you are having a great weekend.  While checking out what's going on with those "Fab Sisters" (At The Picket Fence), I discovered a new player in town.  This blog hop sounds like great fun & a fantastic way to meet some new friends.  So go, go ..... check it out!

Network Your Blog...May Networking Blog Hop!

Photobucket



Now I'm off to finish the preparations for a family get-together to celebrate our daughter's B-Day! I can't believe I'm the mother of a 41 year old!  Well, I was a "child bride" ....... wink wink!  Ya'll know I got the Pioneer Woman's new cookbook for Mother's Day, so I decided to make this recipe for Strawberry Shortcake Cake for our dessert today.  I'll let you know how it turns out.  This photo is from Ree's website.




REE_6391
 I'll be seeing you next week!
CAS

5/19/12

I'm Truly So Spoiled!

Hey everyone!  I was so caught up in sharing our Spain vacation with ya'll, that I didn't take the time to share my Mother's Day treasures with you.  I truly am so very spoiled & mainly by my sweet, sweet hubby -- aka: The Man!  It's been a long-standing rule in our home that our children are not to buy presents for us for any of the special holidays.  Once-in-awhile, they will slip one in, but we just prefer that they use their money on their own families.  There is nothing that we need that we can't buy for ourselves & they have young families & all the responsibilities that go along with that.  That being said, The Man more than makes up for any lack of gifts, and he doesn't always wait for a special occasion.  Sadly, he is much more generous than I am.  I shamefully attribute that to the fact that I "love" stuff, so many different kinds of stuff, & he DOES NOT.  He is very difficult to buy for, so when I think of something unique to get for him, I am absolutely thrilled.  I've really got my "thinking cap" on for Father's Day!  Anyway, on to Mother's Day.

Some of these things I purchased for myself with some money The Man gave me.

The Man bought me the flowers but let me pick them out (he's color-blind, so he's not always sure about colors).  We got them at Costco -- they always have gorgeous bouquets!  It still looks beautiful a week later.

The Man knows that I adore Kirkland's, so we popped in there last Saturday.  If you haven't been to that store lately, you must go.  They just keep adding the most adorable things.  I love (& use) aprons & this one was just too cute to pass up.

Is this not the cutest little set of espresso cups?  We got hooked on espresso & cappuccino in the afternoon while we were in Spain, so I just had to have these.  Now I have to find an espresso maker....lol!  Do you like them stacked right-side up or..........

upside down?  I think they look cute either way.

I've actually had this grand fellow for a couple of weeks, but hadn't had time to show him off!  We were bumming around Burlington Coat Factory, looking at suitcases before our trip, & stumbled across this beauty.  The Man actually thinks my new-found love of roostery things is quite charming, so he's always looking for them.  He's the one who spotted this one.  I don't know what Mr. Roo is made out of, but he is super-heavy!

I'm the "Chief Cook & Bottle Washer" around our homestead, so The Man likes to keep the creative juices flowing, & he knows how much I adore "The Pioneer Woman."  This new cookbook just may be better than the first one -- if that's possible!

I'm pretty much a "girlie-girl" & love baubles & glitz.  The Man bought this little beauty & had.......

this put on the back.  He is just the sweetest man.  I've been wearing this a lot.

Well, now you know my "dirty little secret."  I am super-spoiled!  Not that many people find the "love of their life" the first time around, but I certainly did!  And, he's all mine, ladies, so back off.  You don't want to mess with a woman wearing an apron, sporting baubles & glitz, loaded up on espresso & having ready-access to knives & wooden meat mallets!  Okay, okay, I'm calmer now.  Would you care for an expresso or iced coffee?  Thanks for stopping by.  Have a great weekend!
~CAS~

5/15/12

It's a "Wrap" (finally) of Our Spain Vacay!

Hey everyone!  Between laundry & some house cleaning chores, I've been doing lots of photo editing today, & I'm tired!  I get impatient with this kind of thing and just want to be finished.  Are any of you like that?  Come on, be honest!  Anyway, I've tried to do photo collages as much as possible, just so it seems like there are fewer pictures, but this will be long anyway.  So grab something cool to drink & settle in.  I hope you enjoy!

This is the small fishing town (pop. less than 25,000) of Nerja.  It is very picturesque, & even though it has become a tourist destination, it hasn't succumbed to the concrete & high-rise buildings that has blighted many of the other Costa del Sol towns & cities.  I would loved to have eaten in this lovely little restaurant, but they were not open.


 The heart of Nerja is its spectacular Balc√≥n de Europa, the "Balcony of Europe", a magnificent promenade along the edge of a towering cliff, once the site of the great Moorish castle, with sweeping panoramic views of the Mediterranean and the small coves and beaches below, against an awesome backdrop of hazy blue mountains.  I now want to paint our fence & attach bunches of pots filled with colorful flowers.  Sadly, The Man isn't thrilled about drilling all those holes in the back fence....lol!

This was a great sunny spot to grab some lunch.  It was chilly & the sun & this most delicious pizza were just what we needed.  It was a great place to people-watch.

Is it just me, or does anyone else find this totally charming?  Few people have dryers or yards for a clothesline, so they just take advantage of the sun however they can.  Another very obvious thing, there were no big "gas-guzzler" vehicles.  Maybe we'll catch on to this trend when our gas costs 
over $7 a gallon.....hmmm?

After lunch, we had a couple of hours to just roam around & mingle with the locals.  The blooming tree is an orchid.  Love those & have it on my wish list for our backyard.

The next day's jaunt was to a small village up in the mountains not too far from Malaga. 

This area is known for it's olive mill & olive oil, so there were olive trees as far as you could see.  Some of the trees were a 1000 years old & still producing -- is that not amazing?  I really loved the almost austere look of some of the houses -- very plain but also beautiful.  I'm not quite sure, but it really looked like this gentleman was just taking his donkey for a walk.  Seriously, he walked the donkey down this long  lane, stopped for a bit & then walked back.  I think the donkey liked 
having his photo taken!

This little village had about 400 people, with less than 50 of them being men. No kidding!  It is home to a very old, but high-producing olive mill.  This place was beautiful & almost spotless.  We were divided up into small groups (all English-speaking in our group of 10) & invited into the homes of some of the village ladies where they provided us with lunch.
Sorry this pic is so bad, but The Man took it with his IPhone instead of using my camera....lol.  This is Juani & she was an absolute sweetheart.  She couldn't speak any English, but we managed to communicate anyway.  Her home was spotless -- every nook & cranny.  She served us a 5-course
lunch at her dining room table, & the 10 of us just ate & chatted away like family.  This could easily have been the highlight of the entire trip for me.

Juani's home is on the right in the pic.  
Something else I found very interesting & smart, are the window coverings that you see on most houses.  I know we have something similar here in the states, but they are everywhere over there.  They certainly would block out the sun & heat.

The rest of the photos are just random shots around Torremolinos, our hotel & on the boardwalk area.

I love flowers & plants, so I was enthralled with how beautiful & well-maintained everything was.  The bougainvillea in the first two pics are climbing all the way to the 3rd floor from two pots on either side of the doorway -- stunning!  There are lots & lots of round-abouts instead of stop lights or stop signs.  All of these photos were taken close to or right next door to our hotel.  It's hard to see in this last pic, but this is a "loaded" lemon tree.  I hope ours will produce like that!

Many of the boardwalk restaurants had these outdoor cookers.  They utilized an old metal boat to do their barbecuing in.  I'm not sure, but I think those are anchovies.  I had some fresh anchovies & they were tasty.

Again, pics taken with the phone, so less than great.  These were all taken in our hotel dining room.  The entire end of the room was glass looking out at the sea.  I was enjoying breakfast & watching the sunrise -- spectacular!


Yes, we did do a lot of eating, & enjoyed our fair-share of the "spirits!"  We actually got kind of hooked on Sangria, & this particular restaurant had the best.  My dinner that particular night was salmon & fresh prawns with some kind of light tomato sauce.  It was very good.  The Man does not like fish, so he had a steak -- can we all say "b.o.r.i.n.g.!"


                                                                     
Yep, we are at the Malaga Airport which means our wonderful vacation has come to a close.  We have enjoyed it so much, but we are ready to go home.  We are less than ready for the 26+ hours that it will take us to get there, however.  The worst part of it will be the last leg, Detroit to Phoenix.  Between a bad tire on the plane, a backup on the runway due to a storm, what should have been a 3.5 hour flight, took us 5.5.  And because of the storm, our take-off was like a roller-coaster ride!  Seriously, I had that little "paper bag" in my lap because I thought I was going to need it!  I didn't, thank goodness!  I felt like kissing the ground when we finally landed in Phoenix!

We made it home, safe & sound, & our body-clocks have finally readjusted.  It was truly a thrill for me to share my first trip abroad with this man who has been my hubby & best friend for almost 43 years now.  We are not yet ready to even think about another trip, but you just never know....lol!

Thank you all so much, those of you who have commented regularly, for being so kind with your comments & allowing me to share this trip with you.  My next big project will be getting my album put together.  After that, I am eager to get started on some home projects -- yay!

Thanks again for stopping by, & I look forward to seeing you again soon!
xoxo, CAS




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