Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I Love Spray Paint!

I seriously cannot count the number of things that have been spray painted in my house..

Even in recent history, that would make a long list.

I love the stuff.

I finally finished my desk area in the loft…

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I am quite excited with how it turned out…

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The desk was the desk left with the house, the desk that I was practically praying they would leave!!

The chair was one of my thrift store finds.

Both were loved  a little more, and look a lot better because of it.

I used a latex bonding primer on the desk (thanks Brooke!) and spray painted it, yes, spray paint.

The chair was also primed and spray painted.

New hardware and a seat cushion finished it off for me!

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I wanted organization to be prime in this space, so I went to get a magnet board.  Roberts has my favorite kind..  but they were out. 

For weeks.

Being the kind of gal I am, I made my own.  It’s not perfect, I chose the knottiest wood I could find, and I sincerely love all the knots and cracks..

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I also made a fabric bulletin board, for those smaller items that I don’t want taking up space on the magnet board.

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This goodie was a re-purposed item from the craft room.  Wall space isn’t prime in there, and it got put away until I could think of a use for it..

I used the Storybook cartridge and the Cricut, and now I have a nifty new place for incoming and outgoing mail and notes.

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I had to have a recycle bin here, this is where I sort through mail and newspapers, ads, coupons.. 

I found this basket at Michaels, used one of those coupons I LOVE..

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Another item, from another room, that got a facelift was this bookshelf that I have had since I was 15.  I love the thing!

It was built by the same man who built my cedar chest.  Both have proved the test of time and my love for re-arranging furniture. 

It was in the nursery, and was white then.  It got the same treatment as everything else, and was painted black.

The metal storage containers are from IKEA.

(I love IKEA just about as much as I love spray paint..)

Now for my recently discovered tips..

First off, prime, PRIME, PRIME!!!

Latex based bonding primers are available at most paint counters.  They can even tint them to help in the painting process for the following coats. 

My sister-in-law Brooke, bought a gallon to use on her project, and she loaned me some of it.

Thanks Brooke!!

It is awesome stuff.

For my thrift store find chairs, I used Kilz which is not only a primer, but a blocker for stains and odors.  It comes in a spray can which makes the process of painting all of those spindles a breeze!

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As for the paint..

My new favorite is this type of Rustoleum.

(I am not paid to say this..)

I have used a lot, and if the color I want is available in this brand, and even more importantly, this type of can, I get it.  There are obviously some colors that aren’t available in this type of can, but I love this kind..

American Accents (also pictured) is another favorite.

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Gloves…  may I suggest, strongly, that you wear some?

I bought two boxes just like this at Sam’s club.  I bought them to wear while making salsa for cutting and de-seeding the peppers.

(It also helped me look like a paranoid lady, because when I bought them, it was the same week that Swine Flu became the freak out that it once was.)

Turns out they have another purpose in my house.

Wearing gloves prevents the spray from getting on your skin and/or nails.  They are also fantastic for when (or if) the nozzle on your can starts to clog, and a nice stream of paint trickles down the side of the can to your unsuspecting hand.

They are also a good thing if you are painting outside, and the breeze (or sudden strong gust of wind) blows it right back at you.  Thinking of this, wear a jacket that you don’t care about..

(Isn’t this a nice, humorous image of me?)

If you do get paint on your skin, this stuff is awesome..

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A girlfriend brought some to me on Halloween.  It was by far the best trick-or-treat visit I ever had (especially considering the clown that came later that same night…)

I smells like butter cream icing and makes me hungry whenever I use it..

It is awesome stuff!

She got gum off of her little boy’s skin using this and a washcloth (with minimal scrubbing).

So that ONE time I neglected to put on my gloves, and got some on my hands, I remembered her telling me about the gum..

Paint came off.

No big deal.

Then, at the end of the day, when your project is all finished, take a hot bath or shower using it.

I promise, it’s awesome!

Monday, January 25, 2010


What to do with all that yarn, you know, just the remnants?
Not enough to make another beanie..
Not enough to make a sock..
Not near enough to make a whole afghan..
No probable scarves here..
You combine them all!
Here’s my afghan so far:
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It’s fun working with all these different colors, textures, and sizes of yarn.
It is even more fun remembering what projects they were used on.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Favorite cake: Mom's Chocolate Layer Cake

Well, one of my favs..
I had to have this one for my birthday today.
Like, really.

Mom's Chocolate Layer Cake

favorite chocolate cake (I like Devil's Food)
1small tub Cool Whip
2 bars Baker's unsweetened German chocolate
3/4 cup margarine

Bake cake according to recipe, cool, and cut so you have 4 layers.
Melt 1 1/2 bars of chocolate with margarine over low heat in a small saucepan.  Let cool in the fridge until spreadable, not too runny but not thick.
Start layering your cake..  bottom layer gets a coating of chocolate, then a layer of cake.  Cool whip goes on top, then another layer of cake.  Chocolate comes next, then the last layer of cake.  Top it off with Cool Whip and some shavings from the remaining half of the chocolate bar.  Let it set up in the fridge before serving.

This is also good for breakfast. ;)

Scrapbooking with your computer...

Just in case you weren't aware, Ali Edwards is doing an awesome feature this week.
She is doing a number of posts all about scrapbooking with your computer..  whether you want to do only digital, play with some hybrid, or whatever..  she is an awesome person to go to who knows just about everything!!
I know there are some of you out there...  she goes through every step.
It's good..
Really good..
Oh, and it's free.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Homemade bread..

I love warm, fresh, homemade bread...
Talk about fond memories from my childhood.
The girls and I made some today for the fun of it, you know, no school and all...
I used my favorite recipe, one that my best friend's mom used.  I loved being at their house.  We had a blast there, and it was a bonus if it was bread making day!

I like it the regular way, but it is really good making it the whole wheat alternative.  I usually half the recipe, my family is not as big as theirs was, and I do love my carbs, but if I ate four loaves of bread, with butter....
Let's not go there.
And a slice of whole wheat, fresh out of the toaster with butter..  forget about it.....

LeAnn's Bread

2 tablespoons yeast
1 cup warm water
13 cups flour
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
3 1/2 cups milk (may use dry milk, I like to, it's how you can use what you store!)
2 eggs, well beaten

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Put in large mixing bowl and add milk, sugar, salt, and oil.  Stir to dissolve.  Add well beaten eggs and mix.  Add flour, four cups at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add enough flour to make a stiff dough.  Knead 15-20 minutes.  Place in an oiled bowl and let rise until double.  Punch down and knead five more minutes.  Divide into four parts, shape into loaves, and place in pans.  Let rise until double in size, again, and then bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes.

WHOLE WHEAT:  Use six cups whole wheat flour and six cups white flour.  3 1/2 cups water instead of milk, and brown sugar instead of white sugar.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sunday night snacking: Scones and Honeybutter

When I wandered out to the freezer to get the breadsticks to accompany our spaghetti Sunday, my eyes fell on the strawberry freezer jam.
Before I knew it, I was craving scones.

Scone Dough

1 quart buttermilk  (you can also use milk + vinegar or lemon juice if you don't have any buttermilk on hand.  The ratio is 1 cup of milk to 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice.)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons soda
2 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
2 tablespoons yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons oil

Start by dissolving the yeast with a tablespoon of sugar in the warm water.  Mix the remaining sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt in a bowl.  In a large bowl, mix the buttermilk, eggs, and oil, then add the yeast and dry mixtures.  Mix well.  Start by adding six cups of flour, one cup at a time, and mix until smooth.  Add more four as needed until you get a smooth, lightly sticky dough.  (I stopped counting after eight cups, the recipe didn't state an amount of flour to use.)
Let the dough rise, and refrigerate until ready to use.
When ready to cook, roll out to 1/2 inch thickness on a floured surface, cut into squares, and let rise again.  Cook in oil until golden brown (about 350 degrees) turning once.
(This dough can keep in your fridge for a week.  Just cover it!)

We didn't have any honey butter in the house (I think we ran out when we had pulled pork last week..) but thanks to the good old internet, and a neighbor who loaned us some honey, we made our own honey butter.

Honey Butter

1 pound of butter (softened a bit)
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
dash of salt

Mix your butter on a low speed to get it soft to make the incorporation of the other ingredients easier.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix all together until smooth and chill before using.

We served ours with the freezer jam and honey butter.
At this point, I think we will have these again tonight!! :D

Friday, January 8, 2010


They are even traditionally scrapped...
You can count them!

Good news, I am getting caught up...
Better news, I can now do 6 more digital pages. :)
I do wish you could touch this paper..  it is flocked paper by Making Memories..  I saw it over a year ago, bought it, and love it!  I knew I had to use it on a Christmas layout.
The journaling:
this Christmas, the hotel was under construction so our pjs were Best Western themed.  everyone loved them!  brooke & austin were expecting tyler.  it was peyton’s first Christmas!  we were excited for that.  our Christmas was transportation theme it seemed..  lynn got a bike, ash got a scooter, and peyton got a ride on rolling horse.  we enjoyed our new gift, a cocoa maker.  we enjoyed spending the afternoon at mom and dad’s where the girls got another toy and we gave mom a new memory quilt to replace the one that got lost (kind of).  this one featured artwork from the grandkids.

Pulled Pork..

I know!!
I am all about food lately..
Just wait, I have even more coming!
This is another family favorite, thanks to my days when I would actually watch Good Things Utah, and our (then) new found love of Texas Roadhouse.
Merrill no longer loves it, he claims we don't need to go there to get the pulled pork..  mine is better.
Or so he says...
It has also been posted here.

Rib City's Pulled Pork

1 small 2lb-4lb pork butt "bone in", or pork collar, or roast bone in or no bone
1 bottle Liquid Smoke
1 Package of Knorr Vegetable blend spices (or Season Salt,Celery Salt,Pepper, Salt, Montreal BBQ Spices,Garlic powder mixed together)
1 bottle Rib City Sweet BBQ sauce ( I used Bull's Eye, Hickory smoke)

Spread all spices on Pork Roast or Butt forming almost a crust, or thick layer.
ear off 2 big pieces of foil to cover roast.
Pour 1/2 bottle liquid smoke into foil with roast. Wrap the 1st sheet then wrap it again with the 2nd sheet so the juices cannot escape when cooking.
Place in a shallow pan or cooking tray. Slow cook on convection bake or regular oven at 375 for 4 hours and then 275 for 4 more hours.
Unwrap and pull bone (if any). Take a fork and make sure that the meat separates easily. Leave cooking juice and put in bowl and pull with forks or gloved hands.
Add BBQ sauce.

This one was a real winner... no one could stop eating it. It was so tender, the foil was the only thing keeping it together.

I also started cooking it in the crock pot so my oven isn't tied up all day..  it is great that way too.  The only downside, you don't get the delicious crusty outer pieces like you do when cooking it in the oven.
We like to serve it with baked potatoes, or mashed, or french fires...  or steak fries. ;)  We also like Rhodes Texas Rolls with honey butter.  The left-overs are awesome!!

Yummy Corn Puffs..

Something very good lies in wait inside of this unassuming bag...  the contents are pictured below.
(And no, it is not fun stuff from Office Max purchased at 15% off...)

I got some of these last Christmas as treats circulated, petitioned someone for the recipe, found a version of it, made them, but they didn't turn out. :(
This year, I found the source, got the recipe, and they turned out!!
My family loves them...
(I think I do more though..)

Corn Puffs

2 cups sugar
1 pound of butter (I KNOW!!  But they are soooo good..)
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons Karo Syrup

Bring all ingredients to a boil and boil for 5 1/2 - 6 minutes (I would suggest the lesser..) and pour over the corn puffs (they usually sell them in the chip area of the grocery store in GIANT bags).  It's a good idea to do it in a paper bag, then fold the top and shake it up.  You can store it in the paper bag or in an airtight container.
I will warn you, the bottom of the bag is the best part. :)

I guess that I have to go scrap a traditional layout now too...  you know those goals!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sweet and Sour Chicken..

One of our favorites!
I have been cooking this for quite some time..  we are entering our tenth year of marriage, so at least that long.  Long enough, that as I got out the recipe tonight to make it (and I do only to make sure my measurements are what I remember them to be..) I thought it's high time it was promoted from my fluorescent green post-it note, to somewhere more permanent and worthy.
Hmmm...  blogworthy?
I do think so..

Sweet and Sour Chicken

1 can pineapple (chunks, tidbits, sliced, pick your favorite)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons corn startch
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup cider vinegar
4 beef bullion cubes (or 4 teaspoons if you use another form of bullion like I do)
green pepper, seeded and sliced
Chicken breasts (this recipe can make enough for 4 breasts)

Drain pineapple and save juice.  Set aside pineapple and add water to the juice until you have 1 1/2 cups of liquids.  In a large saucepan, add the liquid mixture, brown sugar, salt, cornstarch, and the cider vinegar.  Whisk over medium heat until the cornstarch is well dissolved.  Continue stirring and watch for it to thicken.  Once it stars to bubble and thicken, add the bullion and soy sauce.  Continue stirring.  Reduce heat so it is at a simmer.  Add raw chicken, either whole or cubed, the pepper and pineapple and let cook until the chicken is no longer pink.  Serve over rice.

Now we like to mix it up at our house..  we began breading our chicken and cooking it in a separate pan to PF Chang it up.  To heighten that, we started serving it over cooked angel hair pasta.  Any way you choose, you can't go wrong with this sauce!