Friday, April 12, 2013


I just want to start off by saying that Pinterest is amazing. Browsing the DIY & Crafts section has given me so many great ideas on how to spruce up my apartment, and the ideas are usually accompanied by in depth tutorials (thank goodness). 

For example, check out this amazing tutorial that Elizabeth over a E Tells Tales pinned on how to make bow pillows!

Realizing that my couches were in desperate need of some decoration (or really, that my face was in desperate need of something to rest on when I slept on the couch - which was regularly), I decided to make a couple of these pillows last fall.

Does the fabric look familiar?
(Hint: it's the same as the bar stools I recovered)
I won't bother re-typing the steps here (as Elizabeth really does an amazing job of breaking everything down), but I will note that when I was buying my pillow forms, I actually bought them a size smaller than what the tutorial calls for (accidentally). Fortunately, the entire process is so simple that it was pretty easy to adjust accordingly. 

After basking in my bow-pillow-making glory, I decided to use the same concept to make a couple more pillows for the couch in my bedroom (I'd like to say that I have a couch in my bedroom because I'm so fancy and chic, but really, it just didn't fit in my living room and looked  stupid in my dining room). 

This time around, I ran into an issue with my sewing machine. I'm pretty sure it was on some sort of drug (because you know inanimate objects and their drug problems), because it kept going rat's nest insane with the thread. 

I'm pretty sure it's because I threaded it wrong or something, though, because after re-threading it, I didn't have anymore issues. 

I also decided to forego making bows this time around. Instead, I affixed some iron-on fabric adhesive to some fabric (obviously), cut out a few flowers and petals, and ironed them all onto the pillowcases. 

Make note of the fabric used for the flowers - we'll be seeing that again.

I really like how they turned out, aesthetically. Unfortunately, they don't make for the most functional of pillows. After having slept on them a few times (yes, on the even smaller couch that is next to my bed - no, I don't know why I'm a crazy pants), some of the flowers are starting to fall off. I probably should have tack-sewn them in place after ironing them on to the pillows (is that a thing?), but I was pretty lazy an unpracticed at the time. Now, I'm even lazier, so I'll probably just let them be for a while then use some fabric glue to re-affix them later. The flowers aren't coming off completely, mind you, just detaching themselves at the edges. 

So comfy!
In any case, I'm actually surprised I was able to pull it off. After finishing them, I spent the next couple months annoying all of my friends and house guests by over-enthusiastically pointing them out over and over again. I'm pretty obnoxious. 

WHILE I CRAFTED: I watched Star Trek: Voyager

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sugar Galore!

Sometimes, I am blessed to find that I have an entire day to myself with no plans. These days are few and far between, but Saturday just happened to be one of them. I mean, I had plans to go to the Easter Vigil mass that night, needed to run a few errands in preparation for my family's Easter brunch the next day, and opted to sleep in a bit rather than go to my Jazzercise class, but still... that left me roughly 9 hours where I was both free and awake. I can't even remember the last time that happened! 

Rather than clean my car (both the inside and outside desperately need it), finally take down my Valentine's decorations, put away my clean laundry (which has been piling up for weeks - I'm pretty good about having clean clothes, but terrible at putting them away), reorganize my kitchen (I recently got some new bar-ware that won't fit in the cabinets and is taking up valuable counter space), mop my kitchen floor (which is currently is covered with a fine layer of goo), finally make some pillows for Kirsten (they were supposed to be her Christmas gift, but I haven't gotten around to making them yet - I'm the worst), Windex the physics homework and sentence diagrams off my mirror (my friends are pretty cool at parties), or put away any of the crap (figurative crap) that is covering my dining room and bedroom, I opted to spend the day doing the least helpful but still technically productive thing I could imagine: making cookies. 

Which I now need to cheer me up after typing
out that list of stuff I still need to do.

Even though my brother-in-law is lactose intolerant and my parents are usually on some crazy diet, I thought it would be fun and festive to make sugar cookies for our Easter Sunday brunch! 

I've always loved the idea of decorating cookies (it's why I have an entire drawer of cookie cutters), but have never been able to make a batch that didn't taste terrible. At best, my sugar cookies would be edible but bland and just not worth it... and I don't even want to talk about at worst. My chocolate chip cookies are usually pretty tasty, and I can make a mean carrot cake cupcake, but something about the sugar cookies would just go terribly awry every time. 

Until recently, that is. 

In December, I went to a St. Nicholas Day party that was having a baking contest. I didn't participate, but my friend Augusta brought these amazing sugar cookies. They were delicious and had this awesome thin frosting on them. I don't remember who won the contest, but those cookies should have taken the cake (ha!). After I probably creeped her out by being a little too into the cookies, she was nice enough to give me the recipe! Even better, she was also nice enough to allow me to share the recipe with you!

Augusta's Sugar Cookies
Makes about 5-6 dozen (Unless you make yours extra thick like me... then you get about 3 dozen)

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  1. Cream together butter and sugar.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla; blend well.
  3. Sift (or whisk) together flour, salt, soda, and cream of tartar.
  4. Add the flour mixture gradually to creamed mixture.
  5. Chill dough.
  6. Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness on floured pastry cloth. Cut with cookie cutters.
  7. Bake 6 to 8 minutes at 425 degrees F.

This was my second time making these cookies, and this new recipe has served me very well. I especially liked this batch, because unlike last time, I didn't burn any of them (one of my cookie sheets is permanently covered with heart-shaped scorch marks from when I used the very bottom oven rack)!

Hmm... something is missing. I guess it's time to dress them up!


  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Dash salt
  • Heavy cream
  • Combine the sugar, vanilla, and salt.
  • Beat cream in gradually until frosting reaches the desired consistency.
  • Augusta's Notes:
    • It takes about 2-3 batches of frosting per cookie recipe, depending on how much frosting you use.
    • Even a few drops of food coloring can make the frosting runnier, so you might want to leave it a little stiffer than you'll ultimately want so that it works out once you mix in the colors.
My parents gave me these, as well as a cake decorating kit, for my birthday last year!
The icing takes color really well (I've never been able to get such nice blues or blacks when working with store-bought cake icing), and spreads really smoothly. Also, it's pure sugar, so that's pretty awesome.


Attention potential suitors: daisies are my favorite flower.
Daisies and roses. 

A small sampling of the whole lot.

After I finished decorating all the bunnies, flowers, ducks, and other bunnies, I still had a fair amount of icing left over. As a result, I may have gone overboard decorating the last butterfly I had.

The Mighty Monarch!
I just love monarch butterflies, mostly because I love the Monarch on the Venture Bros. 

"You see, just like the flawless monarch butterfly from which I take my name,
the Monarch has many ways to sting."

WHILE I CRAFTED: I listened to my She & Him Pandora station.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Taking the Plunge!

When I moved into my first apartment after college (about three years ago), my parents let me rifle through their storage unit for furniture. This was the ideal solution for everyone, because they didn't want to pay for a storage unit anymore, and I didn't want to have to buy a bunch of furniture. I totally got the better end of that deal (especially since they then had to help me haul it across Texas, then haul it back when I moved back to Dallas - my parents are the best). Between that and the couches my sister gave me (she had gotten married only a few months beforehand, and they decided to keep her husband's set instead), I had a pretty sweet setup. 

There was only one problem: everything was hideous. 

Actually, that's not true. The tables, lamps, and pedestals look great, and the only thing hideous about the couches are the recent stains from where I dropped a red popsicle or fell asleep while eating. 

"I fell asleep watching the movie Amelie, and when I woke up,
I had spilled so much red wine on myself that I thought for a second I had been shot"

The two dining room chairs, however, looked terrible... and still do, in fact. They're this awful puke gold with puke green overlay that has stains on them that are probably also puke (unconfirmed). I mean, there is a reason they were out in storage. For the first year or so, I talked about replacing them, but over the past year, I've thought "why replace them when I could recover them for so much cheaper?!" 

Same story for the wingback that was in storage. Mom got it four years ago at a Second Chance sale that her company hosts. It's a flowery red color that she absolutely hates (hence why it was in storage), but it's really comfortable and amazing. I actually like the coloring, but it clashes with every single thing in my apartment, so it's time for that to go as well. 

So, for the past year, I've been planning on recovering these three chairs. I even did a test-run by recovering my bar stools, but I've been scared to take on these larger projects. I spent months stalling (and called it called "research"), but I've finally taken the plunge and bought the fabric. 

I'm really excited about the butterfly fabric that I got for the dining room chairs. I'm just worried about how easily it might stain. Well, I would be worried if not for the fact that I usually eat dinner sitting on the floor in front of my couch (I'm pretty good at being a grown-up).

I bought this from!

However, If I'm being honest, I'm a little worried about the fabric I got for the wingback. I had planned on just doing a solid magenta with white piping, but it was pointed out to me that a solid color (especially one that isn't that dark) would show stains, wrinkles, etc. really easily. I'm sure it'll be fine, but I'm just kind of nervous. 

Also purchased from Less than $8 a yard! 

All the fabric should be coming in early next week. Want to take bets on how long I'll stall before actually starting the re-upholstery?