Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cardboard Flowers

We had received a gift card to Sears and we finally decided that what we needed was new plates.  Sears carries the Country Living brand which has some beautiful patterns.  I was tired of plain white, so this is what I chose.

When I started unpacking my new treasures, I discovered that they were separated by these cardboard pads. 
I immediately thought that they looked like flowers and decided to recycle/upcycle them, but it took me a few months to get around to the project!  In the early summer I was on a purple/green kick (I have purple carpet that I absolutely LOVE in my family room.) and I made this decoration for my mantle. 

Almost everyone who has come to my house has commented on it, so here is how I made the flowers.  I think you could do this with die cuts or any other circular shape.

You need some base shapes, two or three colors of paper, some scrap fabric and some embellishments.  You will need a glue stick or some spray on glue, hot glue gun, rough nail file, ink pad, and an Xacto knife.

You will need to glue the paper onto the base shape and then cut around it.  I use a regular old cutting board and an Xacto knife.  After I cut around the shapes I like to smooth the edges with the rough nail file.  It works like a sanding block, but is small enough to get into all the cracks and crevices!

Because I was using a lighter color paper, I chose to ink the edges for some depth.  When I use dark paper, I like to leave the edges sanded for the opposite effect.  I use these little Cat's Eye stamp pads by ColorBox because they are small, inexpensive, and work really well.

Once you get both layers done, use hot glue to secure them together. 

The middles of the flowers are where you can get really creative.  Here are a few ideas:
I used several layers of heavy felt cut in free hand circles and secured with a lone button.  I did actually stitch through all the layers because I wanted the edges to stick up a little.  It looks better in person than it does in this photo.

For the all-button look I threaded each button with some thin jute before hot gluing them onto the middle of the flower.  No actul sewing involved here.

This is the free hand circle again, but it looks totally different with different fabric.  I just love this burlap!

I used a background circle of burlap here with a paper medallion on top of it.  It takes two strips of accordioned paper to get a circle.  I hot glued everything down.

I used a hole punch and jute to connect the flowers together.  I have Advantage hooks on my mantle all the time, so it is easy to switch out banners for different seasons or events.  They are even strong enough to hold my Christmas garland up!  A few strips of burlap completed the shabby look and I just let the ends of the jute hang down.

EZ Peach Cobbler

OK.  This blog is NOT about perfection.  If I always waited until something was perfect, I would never get anything done.  I say this like I am a pro, but this is a struggle for me.  So, here is a real life post.  No pretty bowl.  No fancy setting.  No fancy directions.  Just life.

Confession- I really don't like to cook all that much, but I do like to bake.  But I hate following directions.  I do not measure ANYTHING when I make a cobbler, so this is an estimation.  Give yourself the permission to be creative and give it a whirl.

My wonderful neighbor, Sonya, brought me some peaches on Monday.  What an awesome treat!  I just HAD to make a cobbler.

EZ Peach Cobbler

Fresh Peaches (cut in slices- enough to fill this 8x8 pan about 2/3 full)
Tapioca (a light sprinkling on top of the peaches- maybe a teaspoon or so)
You may want to add some sugar.  I didn't because the peaches were sweet. . .and I am on WW.


Oatmeal (About 3/4 cup)
Whole Wheat Flour (Or regular flour.  About 3/4 cup)
Brown Sugar (About 1/2 cup)
Cinnamon (About 1 tsp)
Melted Butter (About 1/4 cup. . . half a stick)

Mix all the topping ingredients together and then sprinkle it on top of the peaches.  Cook for about an hour at about 350 degrees.

Here's the most important part:  Just do it.  It's easy.  Not messy.  And enjoyable!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Simple Pillow Cover

This is my little pillow project that I did this afternoon.  It was prompted by two events.  The first was that I learned a cool new technique to print on fabric and the second was that I finally painte this chair my favorite, cheery green color.  I just love spray paint.  This is Rustoleum, which is one of the easier paints to use because it has a larger spray button.

I had a 14"x14" pillow form, so I decided to cut one piece of my fabric in a 15.5" square and then I cut two pieces that were 15.5"x11".  Those pieces will make the back.  I just used scissors since rotary cutters have been outlawed in my house since my DH got stitches because of one.  (He doesn't know that I actually do have three. . . I just don't use them often!)

Here's my favorite part.  I cut a piece of fabric to 11.5"x8.5"- the same size as a normal piece of paper.  I cut a piece of freezer paper the same size.  I ironed the fabric onto the shiny side of the freezer paper and it went through my HP Inkjet Printer!!!!  How awesome is that???  I ironed the result to stabilize the ink after I peeled the freezer paper off.  A little trimming, and this is the result.

I laid out the printed fabric onto the decorator fabric and pinned it down.  I didn't do that the first time and ended up picking out all my stitches, so take my advice and pin it down.

I used a zig zag stitch on the widest setting to sew the two piece together.

Then I turned over one edge (15.5" side)  of each of the two back pieces.

I quickly stitched the edges of the back pieces.

Now we have to put it all together.  The front of the pillow goes face up.  Then I put a ribbon on so that I could tie the pillow to the chair.  The back pieces go on face down- with the hemmed edges in the middle.  Then sew around all the edges.

This shows all the layers sewed together.  I clipped the corners so that they would turn better.

Turn the whole thing right side out and stuff the pillow in.  Voila!  A cute little custom pillow that is esy to change for seasons.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins- Weight Watchers Style!

My DS decided this afternoon that he would like to make Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread.  I absolutely LOVE , so we went and found a recipe with a four-and-a-half star rating and he got started.  Since we had big cans of pumpkin and he only needed half the can, I thought it would be fun to try a Weight Watchers friendly version (I am on week 3. . . 8.6 pounds down. . .woot!).  We were fully prepared to throw out our creations if they were nasty, but they weren't!  In fact, my DH thought they were BETTER than the regular version!  Go figure!!!

Here's our version:

15 oz pumpkin
2 1/2 C Splenda
2 single servings of no sugar applesauce
2/3 C water
3 eggs
2 3/4 C whole wheat flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 C chocolate chips (mini might have been better)

Mix everything together and fill muffin cups about 2/3 full.  Bake at 350 F for about 20 minutes.  You will want to bag them up when they cool so that they don't dry out.  This made 24 muffins.

PointsPlus Value. . . 3  (actually 2.6. . . so have two and don't feel too guilty!)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I Can Do Hard Things Freebie

My friend Becky has a favorite quote: "I can do hard things."  I was thinking about her and wanted to make a small gift for her, so I designed this for her.  We can all do hard things, but sometimes we forget that. 

Please feel free to download one or both of these files.  They are in an 8x10 format.  Print, add a frame, and you have a reminder of how great you are- or a gift for another awesome person!

I Can Do Hard Things- RED
I Can Do Hard Things- OLIVE

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Chocolate Mint Cake

I was watching one of my favorite local shows today and a contributor was making an ice cream cake.  Nope. . . not cake AND ice cream, but a cake with the ice cream in it!  I thought it was an intriguing idea, so I gave it a whirl.

Check out the recipe HERE.

To check out the creator's blog (Brooke Carn) go to  She has a beautiful, yummy looking blog!

I used a Devils Food cake mix and Hagen Das Mint Chip Ice Cream.  For the glaze, I melted 2 tablespoons of butter and mixed in a couple tablespoons of cocoa powder.  Then I added about 1/4 C of half and half (I didn't have any cream. . .) and then mixed in powdered sugar until I got the consistency that I wanted.  I had to cook it for longer than the box suggested. . . probably about 50 minutes!  It is a wonderfully moist cake with a delicious light mint flavor.  I think I will be making this again!


Thanks for stopping by this new blog.  The purpose of "Evening Birdsong" is to provide a home for all sorts of projects that help to feather our nests.  Mostly little projects. . .probably a few big ones. . . that make our homes a haven when we gather together after a long day.