Thursday, March 31, 2011

Running and Crafting

  My husband and I ran our second half marathon together (my fifth half in total) this past Sunday.  We started really strong and were on track to beat my best time (he is A LOT faster than me, but has been kind enough to run with me for two events now).  Then around mile 8, I started to break down.  The low grade inclines the first several miles were getting to me and my stomach was upset from the GU (a runner supplement) and Cytomax.  I started to slow down and ended up eliminating the lead we had on my time.  In the end we crossed the finish line to the minute that I have crossed the finish line three times before...2 hours and 38 minutes.  I was pleased to have finished, as always, however was so disappointed that I couldn't dig a little deeper to finish just one minute sooner.  Now I'm determined to do another so I can prove that I can beat my time.

  We've taken the last few days off and now I find I am getting antsy to start running again.  I found that during this training I was able to distract myself easier than I have in the past.  Since starting this blog, I have constantly been thinking of new projects to take on.  Running allowed me time to clear my head and focus on whatever I wanted.  I found that several of my ideas occurred during this time.  I guess that's why I am so anxious to get back to running.  It was nice to creatively think without being disrupted by daily surroundings.

  Who would have thought that running could bring more of my creative side out?!


Monday, March 28, 2011

Blog Button

Thanks to this post from

I was able to create my very own blog button!

FINALLY!  I've been working on this for several nights and have not been able to get it right...until tonight!  Yay!

First one turned out good, but now that I know how to do it I hope to create something better soon.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pillow Cover With Ribbon Flowers

I've had this bright colored pillow for a long time but haven't had it out because it just don't go with the look of any of our rooms.

Well I decided to make a cover for it today so that it could have a place somewhere.

The previous covers I did were button covers and worked well so I figured I would do that again but add a little something extra.  I wanted to try some of those ribbon flowers to put on it.  

I made the cover the same way I did the first time: .  Except this time I added the flowers.  

First, I had to sew on the stems.  I did them by hand because the thick thread I was using wasn't wanting to participate in the sewing machine.

I made three stems.  Next I made the ribbon flowers.  I cut a circle with the extra fabric I had.  Then I sewed the ribbon on, folding it as I came to the turns.

I think they came out great and were a lot easier to do than I expected.

Next I sewed them to the fabric so that I didn't have to deal with glue.

Then I finished sewing together the front and back of the pillow cover as I did in the previous post.

I think it turned out good but there was one negative.  Sewing the flowers on the fabric, raised the fabric slightly when I was pinning the edges before sewing the cover together.  It made one of the corners end up a little uneven...Oh well, maybe no one would notice if I wouldn't have said anything :)  My lesson learned for next time!

What do you think?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Floral Beauty

This past Saturday, my hubby was sweet enough to plan a date day for us at the Arboretum.  It was such a pretty day out with the warm sun and blue skies.  We strolled the beautiful gardens, took some great pictures and stopped a few times to enjoy some of the wine we brought along.  
I love spring time and the colors that come with it!  How can you not be in a good mood when you see all of these flowers in bloom?!  I hope you enjoy looking at them as much I do.

I love these tulips with frayed edges!

My hubby doing one of the things he does best...taking pictures :)

Happy Springtime!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Recipe Review

  My coworker told me about these Cinnamon Roll Pancakes from that I just had to try.  And boy was it worth it!  The recipe was easy to follow and did not take very long to make.  The cinnamon sugar filling was easy to apply to the pancake and it looked so pretty while cooking.  I will say that it is easy to get a little impatient when waiting to flip the pancakes over though.  You cook the pancakes on medium-low heat and don't flip them until the bubbles that appear on top begin to break.  However, that feels like it takes a while!  Her tip about carefully flipping the pancake is very true, as flipping them too quickly will spatter the cinnamon sugar mixture once it hits the griddle.
  It was difficult to get the cinnamon sugar filling as beautifully crusty as it was in her pictures, but it is possible that we didn't leave them there long enough (that whole impatient thing again...).  I'd still say ours came out pretty good though.  We did have to heat the cream cheese icing in the microwave for a few seconds right before putting it on top of the pancakes as it had begun to get a little stiff from sitting while the pancakes were cooking.  Otherwise we had no real issues making these.

  The pancakes had great flavor and tasted exactly like a cinnamon roll.  The crunch from the cinnamon sugar filling mixed with the fluffiness of the pancake was a great combination.  They were very indulgent!  In fact, both my husband and I commented that the cinnamon roll pancakes will have to be an infrequent treat.  Can't have too much of a good thing, right?....or is that usually interpreted differently :) 


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Three Cheese Stuffed Manicotti

 This is such an easy recipe to put together, especially if you have a few left over ingredients that you want to get rid of.  However, do note that the assembly can get a little messy.


8 oz Cream Cheese
8-10 oz Ricotta Cheese (I just used what I had left of the Ricotta and Cottage Cheese, approx 8-10 oz)
8-10 oz Cottage Cheese
Manicotti pasta
Sauce of your choice
Italian Seasoning
Parmesan Cheese to sprinkle on top

Step 1: Combine the cream cheese, ricotta cheese and cottage cheese.  Blend until smooth.

Step 2: Mix in italian seasoning and stir until combined.  Put mixture into a gallon size ziplock baggie and set aside.  Meanwhile, boil pasta according to box instructions.

Step 3: Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of a 11"x13" dish.  Once pasta is cooked, rinse in cold water so it can be handled.

Step 4: Cut a corner off the baggie and pipe cheese mixture into manicotti.  Fill half way and then turn pasta over and fill the other half from the other side.

Step 5: Place each filled manicotti in dish.

Step 6: Cover filled pasta with sauce and then sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.

Step 7: Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and melted.

Step 8: Serve and enjoy!  We thought a nice glass of red wine went perfectly :)

** One thing though....I would love to know from anyone who has an answer on how to maintain the tubular shape of the pasta better while filling it.  So many of them would tear slightly as we were filling them after they had flattened out from being cooked.  Any feedback would be appreciated as that is really the only hiccup that I haven't been able to correct in a very easy, delicious recipe!  Thanks!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Glazed Chair

We've had this chair move with us from our apartment to our house.  I'm going to say we've had it, in it's below condition, for at least a year, if not more.

We've talked a lot about making this chair a little prettier and this weekend we finally got around to doing it!

We bought the below items for the project:

Then we got started!

First we sanded the chair down, but not too much because we wanted some blemishes.  We were going to fill a few of the cracks in the wood but then decided that they weren't affecting the stability of the chair and we liked the character they added.  So we left the cracks.

Next, we sprayed the primer on the chair and then waited patiently for it to dry.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pillow Cover

 So, when I was really young I can remember making pillow cases with my paternal grandmother.  
(My sister, grandmother and me)
She had so much fabric in the room, I don't think I ever could have really appreciated it until now.  I've always had the desire to sew again, just haven't had the time or materials.  Well that has all changed!  My husband's grandmother gave us one, of her many, sewing machines that she was no longer using.
With that being said, I never really liked two of the pillows that came with our couch, so today I was determined to make covers for them!  

I went to the store and found the fabric and buttons I wanted and got started right away.  I bought two yards of fabric which was too much, but I wanted to be prepared since this was my first attempt on my own.  **Disclaimer:  I did do some research online for the amount of fabric I would need.  I also had to call my mother-in-law one time for sewing machine issues.  (Winding the bobbin...attempting to wind the bobbin...took several tries and wasted a lot of thread.  In fact, the original color I was going to use never took.  Luckily I had purple too and I finally got it!) we go!  My pillows are 20"x20" and here are the steps I took:
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