Friday, February 22, 2013

Made-to-Order Lampshade

About two months ago, our cat was flying around the house being ridiculous, and knocked one of our matching lamps off the end-table in the living room. She broke the dang thing. Did I mention that they were matching?

Since I couldn't find another lamp to match the non-broken one, I bought two new lamps, kept the lampshades (which were not damaged) and everything was fine. Except I still had one lamp with no shade left. And no place at home to put it.

But with a new office at the insurance agency where I work full time, I knew I could use it there. The problem was, I still had no lampshade.

So I spent several months looking for said lampshade, finally found the perfect one on Walmart's website, and I ordered it (on clearance) for about $6. Wohoo, right?

Except when the box came, here's what it looked like:

Yeah. So you can imagine what the shade itself looked like. Pitiful. Unfixable. Sold out. Returned.

The search continued...with no results.

I finally decided to just get a plain lampshade and add some pretty embellishments.

I purchased a ribbon and what I call a "floofy" to add with the trusty hot-glue gun.

So I started gluing the ribbon on. Except I ran into a little issue.

The ribbon started to ruffle. I guess between the hot glue and the fact that the lamp was curved and not flat, it just didn't lay straight. So I ruffled/pleated it on purpose instead!

Then I added my lovely "floofy"!
And here's my final product, on the console table in my office, fixed atop the base!

Whatcha think?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Treats & Tries

For several years now, I have wanted to and planned on entering the Neighborhood Village Baking Competition at the Florida Strawberry Festival. If you're not from around Central Florida, you probably don't know what the Strawberry Festival is - no worries! It's smiliar to a state fair, but built around strawberries and hosted in Plant City - the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World! (If you're local, you KNOW what I'm talking about!)

I've been to the Festival every year since before I can remember. I've ridden all the rides, I've seen all the displays, I've sang in the entertainment tent, I've been to concerts in the grandstand, I've covered stories and events and I've worked the information booth!

But this year, I was determined to enter something in the Baking Competition. I really have no clue what I'm up against, but every year I walk through and look at all the ribbon-winning baked goods, and I wanted to try my hand at it!

So I chose this recipe: Strawberry Shortcake Cookies. (If you read about the Strawberry Festival above, you know that the yummy Strawberry Shortcake dessert is a big deal, so I thought maybe this kind of recipe would be appropriate!)

However, I knew I couldn't just run pell-mell into things. I couldn't just throw the recipe together, drop off the cookies and hope for the best. I needed to try it out first. But, as most of you know, I have to live gluten-free due to my Celiac's Disease, so I can't even test them, much less eat them, and, although my husband LOVES cookies, I knew he wouldn't eat all of my trial batches. What to do...what to do?

After much thought, I came up with a brilliant plan: I would give my test-batch to my husband's co-workers! (They LOVE when I send them food!) Then I would also have an impartial test audience!

So I made the cookies. What do you think?

Even though you bake them on parchment paper, it was a little tricky to not let the sugar burn! (And I can't be giving judges of a baking competition burnt cookies - that just won't do.) Once I got the hang of it, they came out quite nicely!

Since it was just before Valentine's Day when I baked these, I decided to make Valentines out of them for my husband's co-workers and our neighbors. (What about MY co-workers, you say? They'll benefit from the next batch, I promise!)

So, I grabbed up some baggies from Walmart, I already had the twine, and I found these cute printables (I can't for the LIFE of me remember where I got them!!! If anyone knows, PLEASE comment and let me know, I want to include a link!) to add, and voila!

I thought they came out really cute!

The general concensus is, everyone loved them! Hopefully the judges like them, too!

So, I'll make them again on Sunday night, and turn them in on Monday morning! Exciting stuff!!!

Do you enter baked goods in competitions anywhere? What has your experience been like?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Valentine's Day Shelf

When you live in a smaller space like I do, but still love to decorate, it's good to have a spot in which to be creative! So here's the Valentine's Day Holiday Shelf:

I adjusted one of my favorite pics of my husband and I for the frame (the frame came from Walmart, the pic was taken by Little Lane Photography), I added a vintage black pin to dress things up a bit, the hearts and other pics came from Valentine's Day cards, the Coke bottle came straight from the World of Coca Cola in Atlanta, GA, and the sweet little LOVE candles and black and white ribbon came from Walmart, as well.
The Happy Valentine's Day floral pick came from Big Lots (my husband picked it up and suggested it as a part of the Holiday Shelf, actually...I was so pleased!) And sadly, I can't even remember where the red vase came from. Probably Hobby Lobby - I've been known to purchase numerous items there!
Somehow this little spot of decor brightens everything for me!

As for Valentine's Day, my hubby grilled some chicken on his new grill, and I threw together some salad, honey-glazed carrots and garlic mashed potatoes. Chocolate for dessert, of course! These are my favorites: CLICK HERE

Since it's so odd to me to celebrate Valentine's Day in the middle of the week, we actually headed over to Orlando on Saturday and spent the President's Day weekend there to finish up our celebration of love!

Hope everyone had a fantastic holiday!

(Oh, and to see the original Holiday Shelf, CLICK HERE!)