Google+ Nine Red: September 2012

Friday, September 28, 2012

Pinterest Picks: Slow Cooker Central

It's getting cold! To be fair, I'm a Californian, and it doesn't take much to send us packin'. Seriously, the moment it drops below 50 we all start shivering and hoping we won't freeze to death this year. I know, it's sad, but we all know it's true. We just can't handle it.  The cold weather does do me some good though, making me crave lots of soups & hearty hot dishes, and the crock pot makes that simple! There are a lot of sites out there dedicated to all the insane things you can do with a crock pot (brownies? In a slow cooker? mmhmm..) and of course, pinterest is the perfect way to keep all those recipes organized so you can actually use them. I remember, way back when, in the days of only bookmarks - I used to bookmark hundreds of things I wanted to remember, not realizing that I'd probably never. see them. again. Boo! So today I scoured up some good lookin' crock pot recipes, these literally can't get any easier, these clever people have stripped the work right out of it.  Just my style!
**If you're new to my Pinterest Picks posts, it helps to know that the pictures below are actually links, to the pin, which are links.. to the original source.  The internet is amazing! 

The classic. Chicken soup.  Great for a sick day, a week day, actually any day.  It's filling, comforting, and apparently simple.  Ditch those canned soups and go for fresh! You'll save money and your body will thank you for saying no to sodium.  I never realized canned soup was so wild about salt.

One more for the soup list, is this crazy taco soup.  Tacos were already good as is, but soup form? Taco night may just have to make two appearances per week..

Soups are obvious uses for the Crock, but suddenly there are all these other uses people have figured out. Like this one, cooking a whole chicken? How nice to come home from work with a fully cooked chicken waiting for you.  Stuff like this makes me think I should set up multiple crock pots so I can have a main dish, and a hot side dish.. and... can they make garden salads too? Haha... gross! Hey wait a minute, back to tacos:

Delightful! No, it didn't chop the lettuce and all assemble them into cute little tacos (that crock pot hasn't come out yet), but the recipe made some killer pulled pork that just falls apart.   I  haven't had my breakfast as I write this, and suddenly tacos sound like the perfecct way to start the day.. grr! But leftover lentil soup for me it is... (yes, you can have soup for breakfast!)

Hmm, seems I'm really picking on the tacos here - but this is a variation.  Seems the crock pot loves turning meat into tender delicious shreds, so ya gotta get clever with all the uses, right? Right. Lettuce wraps, tostadas, stews.... whatevs.

Hey, look who's here for dinner! It's meatloaf! I don't know why in the world meatloaf gets such a bad wrap (sp?).  You hear it in jokes all the time, and almost every movie with a scene from the 1950's seems to have kids that are so upset about its presence. What brats! I love and have always loved meatloaf, at least you don't have to rip meat off of bones all night, now THAT is gross (To me, anyway).  This recipe actually makes a lot of sense, because now that I can actually cook meatloaf - I can tell you, it takes a while! See? Those kids in the movies don't know how hard mama worked....unless she knew the crock pot routine. Hmm...

There is always room for dessert, so set up a third crock pot and get it cookin' up this beautiful bread pudding (ha! 3 crock pots, I wish!).  You know, this is some great photography  up in here - that bowl and strange little spoon make it look even more delicious.

There you have it, I'm starving and can't post another delicious recipe, why did I do this to myself? Hope you enjoyed these crock pot pinterest picks, I sure did! One more thing before I sign out here, there are a ton.. I mean a TON of crock pot recipes on this site: Slow Cooker From Scratch.  Prepare to be amazed and pin like mad, you could plan weeks upon weeks of delicious crock pot madness. I dare ya! Have a fantastic weekend!

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ultimate Flattery

I love getting emails from my readers, and this weekend I got not one but two wonderful emails regarding projects they've tackled.  I was so flattered! It's so fun to think that something I've posted about has inspired someone else to tackle it in their own home, and wow did they ever tackle it! These two did an amazing job.  Amy wrote me saying she followed my wall string art tutorial from way back, in her own home. Check out her awesome wall:
Boom! Oh wow, I love how it came out. I think my favorites are the large one on the left, and that one directly over the bed.  Wait, and that large one that is almost a wreath - oh they are all great! The placement is nice too, very good design Amy! She also plans to do a ladybug theme in her daughters room, and I hope we're lucky enough to see those pictures too. (Please share with us, Amy!)

Another reader, Abby, wrote me to share that she tried her hand at the Striped Round Table tutorial (that seems to have really been popular on Pinterest, thanks y'all!) and now has an adorable kitchen table.  Take a look at her table before, via craigslist:
Brace yourselves for the after shot:
Came out so cute! I love that she did matching chairs, they look incredible. You can tell by the glare that the finish is probably so soft.  I really like her stripes here too, the middle one is a little larger than the surrounding two.  This looks really nice, kudos Abby on a fantastic job!  Some tips we were discussing, that I should share with you, is how horrible & boring of a time painting spindles can be!  She was about to seal it when I suggested getting a spray seal for those chair spindles, when she replied saying she had done just that! Great minds think alike I guess, hehe. Seriously folks, this is a wonderful project to do - and if you try it, it's no longer just me suggesting some spray for those areas! It's just easier, and more fun.  And these things are supposed to be fun, too!

What do you think, didn't these ladies do a great job?  Special shout out & thank yous to Amy & Abby for sharing there projects with me, and allowing me to share with all of you! Give them a round of applause, or some comment-love since we can't hear each others clapping...

If you've tackled a project, I'd love to see it & share it with everyone here, just shoot me an e-mail and include your photos.  Have a fantastic Thursday - know what will make today even better? Tomorrow is Friday!

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How To: Fabric Bankers Boxes

I love when things are organized. Keeping them that way, however, is another story.  Now & then I get the urge, and dump out a closet or two for a full on cleansing.  Since I have no warning whatsoever as to when these urges will strike, I never seem to have a stash of adorable organizational boxes on hand.  Plus, it's hard for me to pay a pretty penny on "cute boxes" that will be stashed in a closet anyway - maybe I'm just cheap! I know it's all the rage right now to have your closet not only organized, but absolutely friggin' adorable too for all of pinterest to awe over  - but let's face it, that takes some dough!  And there's no way my closet is getting the cute-ify funds before the rest of the house does, am I right?

I always end up using whatever empty box is lying around, scribbling on the side of it in sharpie, and wishing it looked better.  So when I saw this post from Craftaholics Anonymous, it really hit home. Cheap, Cute, and could be made on the fly with scraps around the house. I present to you, Fabric Covered Bankers Boxes:
Nice, huh?  I've covered boxes in paper before in the name of being cheap thrifty, and they never make the long haul.  I've decoupaged it on, covered it in packing tape, you name it.  This though? Perfect solution.  Fabric is durable, adorable, and you could coat it in a polycrylic if you really wanted some protection from dust & dirt.  Plus, isn't it nice to know that a standard bankers box, which runs you all of $2 or so, fits perfectly into IKEA's expedit shelf? I'll say!

How do I know it's an Expedit? It's creepy, really. I have no idea how this happened to me, maybe I was struck by Ikea lightning or something - but ever since my first catalog, I've had their inventory completely memorized.  This is a strange, effortless phenomenon - I can even quote you prices most of the time.  And I don't sit around studying the catalog all day either - this is a mystery to me, but hey - it works, so why argue.  Plus to double check, I read up on the blog that it is indeed Expedit. :)   Which is Ikea's newer line of affordable shelves, I think they are steering away from Billy.  Whoah.... too much Ikea there.  Suddenly I want swedish meatballs....

I originally saw these boxes over at Craftaholics Anonymous, but it looks like the original post is from  Adventures of Brad and Kendra.  So head over to either one, spread some love if you're feeling it, and get yourself some bankers boxes.  No home should be without!

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

New String Art Designs: Halloween & Elephants

What a bad blogger I've been! I haven't been posting nearly as much, forgive me. After the vacation, I had to rush to finish up a ton of new string art orders, and I'm happy to say I'm caught up.  I'm also excited to show you the new designs! One of the great perks about having the string art so customizable, is the recipient and I come up with brand new stuff together.  I snapped a few photos before sending them out today,  here is a larger version of my sea snail - came out great:
She wanted it for a gallery wall, should look nice! Here's a festive take on my winter tree, a Halloween tree! This was a custom request, why didn't I think of this? I love it! Perfect Halloween decoration:
Another custom request was a spin off the bird tablets, this elephant:
I really like the Elephant! No - it's not political at all, that was a coincidence, haha. But I guess it could be, for the right person. Elephants are just plain cute. This is a birthday gift for someone, and was completely customized too.  So that's what I've been up to, plus three name plaques that I hope to be able to show you (and ship off!) tomorrow.

If you would like to order a custom tablet, get in touch with me here or browse the shop, I have a lot of custom orders set up & ready to go.  All colors of stain & string are customizeable.  Have a fun day!

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Pinterest Picks: Fall is here

Surprise! Today is the last day of summer! Snuck up on you, didn't it? I had a clue it was coming as the mornings got a little cooler, but I had no idea it was tomorrow! Sad to see summer go, but fall can be fun in it's own way, Halloween...Thanksgiving... just try not to think of spring & summer and you'll get through it! The best way I've found to combat the blues from knowing that it's about to get freezing (anything below 45 degrees is a personal state of emergency) is to just embrace it and ramp up for it. So for today's pinterest picks, I'm going to pull some pins that will hopefully get us all ready & excited for the Fall... click here to see my full fall pinterest board, otherwise - here we go!
Source: via Jesse on Pinterest

Pumpkins. We all love 'em.  An essential part of Halloween, and lately the pumpkin festivals have really gotten creative.  So there's something fun!  They have hay mazes, pumpkin culinary creations, pumpkin beer... and I don't know if they all have this - but one patch near here has a pumpkin launcher. It's as it sounds, you pay to pick a pumpkin out, put it in a giant sling-shot-thingy, and launch that squash out into the fields. Satisfying! Oh, and did I mention pumpkin beer?

And of course with pumpkins comes pumpkin carving. I, to this day, still love pumpkin carving. Plus, now with pinterest, there are SO many ideas literally at my fingertips. These are from Martha Stewart I think (pfft...ofcourse!) and show how you don't even have to do a face on that trademark squash.  With pumpkins being a dime-a-dozen you can get really creative and do all sorts of awesome alternative jack-o-lanterns.  Here's a pretty cool centerpiece with white pumpkins:
Source: via Jesse on Pinterest

I think to keep the top intact like that, this person probably hollowed the pumpkins out from the bottom. Clever! I've seen people painting pumpkins too, which by the way is really easy with chalk paint (remember this DIY chalk paint?) as that stuff sticks to everything and anything. Enough Pumpkins, never forget the main reason we enjoy fall, Halloween!  I'm not really a fan of candy, I'd take a steak over that anyday - but I LOVE all the crazy costumes, and here in Santa Cruz, Halloween takes over the whole downtown.  Everyone can dress up (and should) - I love this pregnant costume, best idea I've seen in a while:

Ha! That is so clever! and easy I bet. Next time a friend of mine is pregnant, I will insist on this costume. I'll even make it for them if I have to. Hear that future pregnant friends? I will make this costume for you! I guess it is a little gory. Who cares, so's Halloween. This is probably one of the lesser gory costumes, have you seen some of the masks? They are creepy just sitting in the store! Moving on, the most important thing in my opinion about Fall: THE FOOD.  Delicious, nutritious, ambitious & comforting food that heats your whole house & body.  My favorite stew, that I make every year is Drunken Irish Stew:

It takes a little while but it's so worth it. And yes, it's drunken - there's like 2 cups of wine and some beer in there, I swear it's not disgusting! The recipe is from one of my favorite cooking blogs, Crepes of Wrath.  I'm a picture person (could you tell?) and she does all her recipes in photos - step by step! You should make it. Or come eat it when I make it.

Oh my Goo-ness....all kinds of chicken & wonderful going on up there.   Cooking in the fall is probably my favorite.  Sure, we don't get to grill as much anymore, but I bet if we did that all year it would really get old (yea right).  At least when it's cold & dark outside, cooking becomes the focus of the night, everyone talking and helping - and it always smells amazing.  So invite people over, have everyone help out and make fall really fun, oh - and serve these delicious adult bevvies:

Hot butter rum!  If you've never had them, make this the year that you do.  They are delicious, effective, and terrible for you. And definitely not a drink you want to have any other time of the year.  It's hot & buttery, as the name suggests, and really only tastes good on a cold night.  If you pop these out at a dinner party in July, don't expect those guests to break your door down at the next festivity.  I'm kidding! I don't want to offend anyone who serves hot butter rum in the heat.  I'm sure you could serve them whenever, but why not keep them special for the holidays?

I've rambled long enough! Time for you to take it from here and find all sorts of ideas that get you ready and excited for fall.  Indoor projects you have yet to tackle, new cooking adventures, and tranforming your house into an orange & black explosion.  Whatever you do, make it enjoyable, stress-free, and most of all memorable! That way next year you'll be even more excited.  I'm not sure how your supposed to say "Happy Fall" so I'll just say.... Happy Fall everyone!

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

How To: Modern Leaning Shelf

I can't remember exactly if I have featured a Lowes tutorial before, or if it was Home Depot - either way, the two of them seem to be ramping up the creativity to get a good flow of projects out there for us. And why not? They have all the parts at the store - bring the ideas on! I spotted this leaning shelf a while back, and immediately pinned it. You'll recognize the style:
Stunning.  Best part is, this one isn't hollow laminate, oh - and you make it yourself! That always gets a few extra points, right?  The steps look pretty easy, labeled beginner, and can be found on the Lowe's blog, or click here.  One tip of advice, when you read the steps it's a little overwhelming & confusing, but once you click the "Project Diagram" it makes a ton of sense. 

Since you start with the raw materials, you have the steering wheel on this to totally customize it.  Stains, paints, you name it.  Plus, you don't have to lean this little darling on the wall (especially if you have kids, yikes!) it could easily be mounted somewhere.  What do you think, seem tackle-able?  Is that even a word...... anyway, thought I'd share! This is goin' on my project list, which is roughly 24 pages long, give or take. 

Good luck!


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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hawaiian Interiors

Part of coming home from a fantastic vacation is drudging through the post vacation blues.  I know, the positive outlook is to think things like "at least we got to go" and "smile because it happened" - but you all know exactly what I mean.  The souvenirs around you remind you of where you were last week, and all the pictures you get to go through and post make you miss it even more! OK - temper tantrum over, all in all, Kauai was an amazing vacation and I can't wait to go back!

All that warmth, sunshine & colorful surroundings does something to a body though - suddenly you get urges to wear nothing but tropical prints & redecorate your entire house in bamboo & palm tree prints.  The funny part too, is while you're there, in the stores... it all makes perfect sense! Hence why we had to buy an extra suitcase just to get it all back home. Oops! I behaved, most of it was souvenirs, though I am left with all kinds of great ideas of themes I could see incorporating into the house.  Now hold on a minute, I don't mean anything over the top like this:
Photo Source
Sure, this might be paradise for some people, but for me? It's a little too theme restaurant-ey...

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Kauai Update

Well, Kauai is absolutely fantastic.  I thought I would post a little more, but when they talk about "Hawaii Time" they aren't kidding - I adapted and therefore move much much slower here.  Everyone needs to put this place on their list, the higher on that list the better.  Pretty much everywhere you look is stunning, and almost always covered in tropical plants, flowers and birds.  Oh, and chickens & kittens.  Yep - chickens & kittens run this place, so many beaches we've gone to have had adorable stray cats (that won't come near us) and a guaranteed flock of chickens - cute! The weather is great, and only took me a day to get used to the humidity.  The wind howls through our room & is so refreshing,  I can't get enough.  Alright, let's get to the fun stuff, picture time! Here is the view from our room, I'm in heaven:
I don't ever want to leave, can you blame me? Here's the living room of our condo, and that couch & laptop is where I write from now.  What a rough life!
You may have noticed the chair on top of that table on the patio, haha - no, we didn't sit there! Ralph got me a GoPro for my birthday, and we've been having a LOT of fun with it. Time lapse are my favorite videos, and I've made quite a few this trip. I apparently cannot embed a video to save my life, so we'll have to do this link style, don't worry - they are all pretty short!
  • Snorkeling in Queens Bath:  This was great, a slippery & muddy hike took us down to the rocks, where we came upon a huge pool naturally filled with warm water & fish from the surf.
  • Ocean Time Lapse: This was the first day, just wanted to try the camera out and get some fun video goin.
  • Sunrise, Day 1: This was our first sunrise, and you'll notice it speeds up a bit, I'm still learning the settings!
  • Sunrise, Day 2: This one goes much faster, and has a different camera angle.
While those look like a sunset, it's actually the sunrise.  I'm amazed that we've been seeing the sunrise almost everyday - waking up between 5 & 6 a.m.! But, Hawaii is 3 hours behind California time, so that's like waking up between 8 & 9.  It's still really really weird. 
I love flowers, and just because we don't live in this condo doesn't mean we can't make it our own! I've been picking flowers everywhere we go and bringing them home, using cups as vases and filling corners with arrangements.  I wish we had Plumeria at home, they are so pretty & last a long time.  We drove up to Wailua Falls, which had a great lookout point over it - like I said, beauty everywhere you look. 
Above is Secret Beach, but seeing as how a good amount of people were going there, I don't think it's a secret anymore.  It is secluded, and in front of a lush green forest full of frogs & birds.  It feels like being on the set of Lost (which was filmed somewhere in Kauai...) or something.  Right after we hiked down to this beach, 3 coconuts came crashing down behind us - so Ralph,  Morgan & Aaron got to work:
Inside that huge husk is that coconut I'm holding up there.  It took them about a half an hour to get it out! And yes, we drank the coconut water.... how magical.  Ha! Well I'd better get today started, but I figured with waking up this early each day that I could squeeze in a post.  We'll be back on Monday, I should be posting  a few more time lapses on Youtube and pictures on facebook in the meantime.  Have a great Thursday, and if I don't post before then, a relaxing weekend too!

P.S. THE BEST book in the world to help you get around Kauai, is this one:

Seriously the best book.  It's written by locals and is very honest & specific.  Plus, it's full of quick references to find information fast. And the back cover is the 15 best beaches, so you can get out there QUICK.

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Spotlight: Murphy Bed, & Desk!

Prepare to be completely blown away.  This came through Design*Sponge last week, and I about dropped my grilled cheese & turkey sandwich, all over Lappy (laptop...).  This is exactly the type of solution I was thinking of when we looked at a less-than-large house the other night.  A solution to not letting your guest space sit empty and unused when you don't have guests, the Murphy Bed/Desk/Storage/Home Office/Sewing Station:
Can you believe this?  As it is it looks like some beautiful closet system with an added desk, but wait - there's more:
A pull here, a fold there - BOOM! You've turned this room into 3 different rooms, just like that.  Sarah, of General Assembly designed and implemented this beautiful beast for her clients, and it came out fantastic.   It's this type of space saving creativity that has always amazed me about cramped cities like New York, Tokyo.. or even San Francisco.  The white matching the white walls also makes it look open and airy, even though so much potential is packed away into what looks like about 16 inches of depth.  Hey, if you're going to put furniture against a wall anyway you might as well take it vertical, right?

What do you think, would you do something like this?  Head over to General Assembly and check out all their amazing designs & space saving creations, get ready to pin-it!  Have a great one :D

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Friday, September 7, 2012

Leaving on a Jet Plane

By the time you read this, I will be gone. TO HAWAII!  Unless you're on the east coast, then "Good Morning!" - I'm probably stuck in some crazy security line as we speak.  It's worth it though..... I've been waiting for this trip for about 9 months.  It didn't seem real when we planned it since it was so far off!  We were lucky enough to figure out a direct flight from San Jose to Kauai, and should be arriving 5-ish hours after take off.  One of the many perks about flying to Hawaii (other than the obvious) is that you gain 3 hours.  So you arrive thinking it's mid afternoon, but no - surprise! It's still morning. Something unique about us flying on this particular day, is our plane takes off exactly 30 years after I was born! Spooky, right? Well, give or take like an hour. It's probably a sign that we should move there ASAP.

We don't really have a ton of things planned, I figure the most adventurous & relaxing way to go about this is to let ourselves go wherever the wind takes us.  We'll probably just decide the next days plan after dinner & drinks each night - yes!  One thing we did have to plan in advance was the luau, which I'm sure many travelers would view as cheesy & touristy - but I don't care! I'm excited, and we don't live there so, surprise! We're tourists.  I love a great meal and a good show, and it's not like I get to see this stuff all the time! We're going to the Smith's Family Garden Luau on Monday night (they pick us up, sweet!) and here's a little video snippet:

I hope that worked, I'm not a big video em-bedder. Anyway, I'm totally coming home with one of those big ol' hats. Ha! Well if you've never been to Hawaii, stay tuned - I'll update when I can, and throw some pictures on facebook. I've never been to Kauai so this is new to me too, but every person I've told about this trip that's been there has a million ideas - so I have plenty of reading on the plane!  (Thanks guys!) Some of the really mouth watering suggestions are Queen's Bath:
Photo Credit: Rachelleb
Secret beach:
The Botanical Garden:
and the FOOD! 
I am so ready for this.  See that hot dog type thing? It's a puka dog. They sound awesome - a bun is hollowed out for a hot dog, and covered in some crazy tropical salsa.  The stacked sushi there is SPAM musubi, which is as it sounds.  Sushi made with Spam.  I just love me some salt.  

My batteries are charged, I've got five different pairs of board shorts, and my luggage is only half full so I can take home parts of this place with me. Have a fantastic weekend everyone, Aloha!

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Oh yes I did say Shenanigans! 

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Spotlight: Cross Stich Furniture

One of my favorite bloggers, Barb Blair of Knack Studios recently posted these amazing giant cross stitch furniture & rugs. I had to do a double take, this reminded me so much of my Grandma! Except that she didn't make rugs & sofas, more like wall hangings (amazing ones too!)... these are unbelievable, I can't imagine the time that goes into them.
Look at that - pillows, sofas.... rugs... what a great idea, and such a unique look.  With the stitches being so much bigger, I imagine this would come out pretty soft, and take less time too.   They are sort of industrial and modern, but cozy, charming & give the feel of handmade. If that makes any sense!  These beauties are made by the Belgian Designer, Charlotte Lancelot.

I think the ottoman, or a few pillows would be more than welcome in our house.  What do you think could you add these to your home decor? Enjoy!


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 Hey check out that sweet lamp on the left there too, cute!

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Retro Avocado

I just finished up another string art name plaque, but this one is a little different.  At the request of the new owner, she asked for the color "Retro Avocado" by Behr. I've never seen this color, and I loved it! I think it came out great.  Plus, I did something a little new and different this time, I edged each letter in a darker string. What do you think?
I'm getting quite the collection of custom orders completed, and I'm about to embark on another four (holy cow!) as soon as we get back from vacation.   Very exciting!  Here's the group:

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