March 14, 2012

Decoupage as Art - Easy How To


We are going to decoupage an art panel with colorful scrapbook paper and a laser printed image like you see above.

My children do not have the most interesting art on their walls, especially in my boy's room, so I got a little clever and decided to create some decoupaged artwork for their walls.

You will need:

Art Board or Unprimed Wood Panel
Background Scrapbooking Paper
Art Image Printed on Heavy Paper in Laser Printer
Mod Podge Gloss Lustre Finish
Craft Paint Brush
Rubber Craft Brayer
Paper Towels 


Step 1: Trim your background paper to cover the front of the art board.


Step 2: Print your image off on a laser printer so that it will fit on your art board.  My son, Matthew, found an image of a painting of football players that he liked, so I printed it off on our laser printer and then trimmed it to size.  

NOTE: You cannot use images printed from an officejet or inkjet printer because the Mod Podge will smear the ink.  Only images printed from a laser printer can be used with Mod Podge.


Step 3: Apply a coat of Mod Podge to your art board.  


Step 4: Lay the background paper over the board and, using your brayer, roll the paper back and forth in both directions making sure there are no bubbles in the paper.  Remove the excess mod podge glue from the edges with a paper towel or your brush. (Yes, this is green scrapbook paper you see above.  I do not paint like that ... ha ha)


Step 5: Mod Podge the center of the background paper that is on the art board.  Don't worry about extra Mod Podge on the background paper because you will be covering the entire image in the next step.

Place your artwork image in the center of the board over the area where you brushed the Mod Podge glue and after you have placed it correctly, use your brayer to work out the bubbles and make sure it lies flat.  


Step 6: Using your brush, cover the entire board and image with Mod Podge.  Remove excess on the sides with a paper towel or the brush.


Step 7:  Let the board dry for about 30 minutes then add another coat of Mod Podge to the entire surface in the other direction.



Step 8: Let dry for another 30 minutes and your picture is ready to hang!

Pretty easy, ay?  I made a set of 3 for the boy's room and hung them on their wall.  They love them and they were so easy to make.  Now, go make some of your own!  Be creative!  There is so much you can do with Mod Podge ... the creative choices are endless.


May 19, 2011

The Smell Of Fresh Cut Grass


This is what I love about Spring!  The smell of fresh cut grass.  What I can't believe is that my son is now doing the mowing. 


Wasn't he crawling around just yesterday? 


Playing with his hot-wheels cars? Building towers with legos? Putting together train sets and playing army in the back yard?


He is as tall as I am now, having gone through a series of growth spurts over the last 6 months.  He's all legs and outgrowing his jeans too.


Matthew will be starting high school this September.  I can remember posting right here the day Sarah started high school.  Now she'll be a senior in September. 


Yep, the years just fly by.  Now he's flyin' around on a zero-turn Kabota, and I think he has his eyes set on a Hummer and Nascar now.


Nascar - let's not go there.  I don't know if I could handle having my son race around a track at 180 with a smile on his face.


Maybe if he keeps mowing the lawn, he'll have enough of his driving fix that he won't want to race anyone.  What do ya think?  Will that work?




May 17, 2011

Fried Green Tomatoes - From Plant to Plate


Have you started growing your tomatoes yet this year?  We're getting a bit of a late start, but better a little late than not at all.

I can't think of anything I enjoy more during the spring and summer months than Fried Green Tomatoes from my own plants.  Yes, I love living in the South and I love good-home Southern cookin' too!  So today, I am going to show you how to make your own delicious Fried Green Tomatoes.

First, though, you'll want to start with a good, hearty, beefsteak tomato plant. 


I love the big, beefy tomatoes.  I love the sweetness to them.


We have a couple very large pots on our deck.  If you get a pot like this, you'll want to add a few more 1/8" - 1/4" holes in the bottom of the pot so that it has enough drainage. 


We use Miracle Grow and rich garden soil for our tomato plants each year.  Sometimes we plant 2 small tomato plants in the same pot.


Make sure, though, that when you plant them, that they are the same "kind" of tomatoes!  Last year we had Roma and Beefsteak tomato plants.  Although we planted them in separate pots and they were about 4 feet from one another, they cross polinated and the beefsteak tomatoes did not get as large as we would have liked.  So keep that in mind when you plant and keep different tomato plants far away from one another.


We like to get our children involved in the process.  They have fun planting and watering the plants (and spraying each other).  When we get them planted, we make sure they are near the pole that we stick in the center of the pot.  See that green pole in the center of the pot?  That provides stability for the vine to grow.  However ...


As the vine grows - and believe me, it will grow fast, you'll want to add the wire support around the perimeter of the plant otherwise it will fall over.


In a matter of weeks, we have ourself a nice, sturdy tomato plant!  This is last years tomatoes - the cross polinated one, so the tomatoes didn't get as large as I hope this years will be.


As soon as I saw those delicious green tomatoes, I'll bet you can guess what I was thinking while lickin' my chops ....


Fried Green Tomatoes!!  Let's fry those babies!!  I'm hungry!


First, you want to wash your tomatoes.  Then, carve out the stem.  Easy.


Next, make 1/4" slices.  Don't they look delicious?!!  My mother loves to make Fried Green Tomatoes.  It's one of her specialties, so I let her do the cookin' while I took the pictures.


Even the end of the tomato where you cut out the stem is good to fry up in the pan.


Yummy.  I can't wait to fry up these slices!


Now my mother likes to simply dredge the tomatoes in flour, salt, and pepper, and then place them in a frying pan with corn oil.  They turn out good that way, but I am going to give you an alternative recipe here.  The way I love to make Fried Green Tomatoes is to:

  • Place 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour in a bowl and set aside.
  • Combine 1 large egg and 1/2 cup of buttermilk in a bowl and set aside.
  • Combine another 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup cornmeal, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a shallow bowl and set aside.  (You can also salt and pepper each tomato individually to taste).  You are now ready to dredge the tomatoes through each bowl.
  • First, dredge each tomato slice in the 1/4 cup of flour, then dip it in the egg and buttermilk mixture, then dredge the tomatoes through the cornmeal mixture.  Delicious. 


Place the tomatoes in a shallow frying pan with corn oil - not too much corn oil, but just enough to cover the bottom so they fry up real crisp.  Also, make sure that your corn oil (I use Mazola) is nice and hot before you sit your tomatoes in the pan.


Flip them every minute or so.  I heat the oil on 9 - high, then when I put the first batch of tomatoes in the hot corn oil I turn the temperature down to about 6 or 7.  5 is medium heat on my stovetop.


As they are done, take them out of the pan with a spatula and place them on a plate or ...


on a cooling sheet like this (these were cooked in the cornmeal mixture).  Personally, though, I like them nice and hot.


And, so does my son.  Naturally, in our house, whose got time to wait for them on a cooling tray!  We dig in while they are good and hot and crispy - and these are my mother's Fried Green Tomatoes, made with her very quick and easy recipe of flour, salt, and pepper.  Hannah is looking for scraps I see.


You can garnish your Fried Green Tomatoes too.  They are the perfect compliment to your meal - and healthy too!


My favorite quote from one of my favorite movies:

"I found out what the secret to life is -- friends. Best friends."

--"Fried Green Tomatoes"

"Now go make yourself some delicious Fried Green Tomatoes, prop yourself up in your favorite chair, covered in your favorite blanket, with a good book, some iced sweet tea, and soak in the moment that is all your own" --  Susan V.

Would you like this recipe for your own?  Just click on the recipe box to print off the recipe or save to your computer in pdf.



May 09, 2011

Singer Is Sew Very Easy - And A Gift For You Too!


Did you have a good Mother's Day weekend?  I sure did and I want to share it with you.  First of all, my son, Matthew, helped me clean the whole house before the weekend.  That was his Mother's Day gift to me. 


It all began Saturday.  I invited some friends and neighbors over for a sewing party courtesy of Singer Sewing Machines, Simplicity Patterns, JoAnn Fabrics & Crafts, BurdaStyle, and Martha Stewart.  They asked if I would hostess a Houseparty and demonstrate the new Singer Confidence sewing machine and they would provide all the party favors and goodies - including the sewing machine!


The party box was filled to the brim with goodies.  I had streamers and pom-poms from Martha Stewart.  I had patterns from Simplicity, measuring cards from BurdaStyle, 4 yards of colorful fabric, project instructions, thread, and more - all for 16 guests. 


I had to have the party on Mother's Day weekend, so I was a bit concerned that not many of my friends would be able to show up, but fortunately, I had a good turnout and we all had a blast.


I added extensions to my dining table in our eat-in kitchen area and set it up with the new Singer Confidence sewing machine, my 5 y/o Pfaff 2124, and my 19 y/o Kenmore 150, that way everyone would have a chance to sew and share the machines and try out the new Singer Confidence.


I had prepared all the fabric for our project before the party and everyone brought goodies to munch on.  Big Bear also prepared a shrimp platter and cucumber salad and other delectibles for the ladies.  He's such a good bear.


We all made the same project, a roll up organizer for makeup, pencils, whatever you want!  It was easy and fun and everyone went home with a goodie bag, patterns, coupons, and more.  It was wonderful girl-time - something that I needed desperately.


I don't get enough girl-time, and having a few hours to laugh, converse, share, sew, and eat was definitely what I needed to start my Mother's Day weekend off with a bang.


This is Elaine - I couldn't drag her from that new Singer Confidence sewing machine if I wanted to.  She loved it and was quick to figure out all the decorative stitches it offered - 69 including button holes. 


I have to admit that I was very impressed with the size and quality of the machine.  I was also impressed with the ease of use and the quality of the presser feet and accessories. 


I don't know about you, but I like presser feet that are solid, shiny, and heavy.  There is just something about them that speaks of quality.  This machine has it all.


It does not do embroidery, but that's not the point.  What it does is provide you with a great machine to quilt or make clothes or draperies or work with upholstery.  You can make anything you want - dolls and handbags too!  It has a nice sturdy engine and I was impressed with the ease at which it sewed through heavier fabric.


By the time the party was winding down, not only had we all enjoyed the conversation and time together, but I had sold the machine to my friend - can you guess who?


You got it - Elaine.  I was so happy for her.  I passed on my hostess discount to her gladly and she got the machine for a song.  She was in love with it from the get-go and I can't blame her, it is a beautiful machine.  Everyone loved it!


I told her, of course, that this means she is going to have to bring it over regularly to sew with me.  I had so much fun that I've decided to put together a quilting circle.  Maybe a monthly get together.  I think we all need time with friends, don't you?


As for Mother's Day, I had a clean house, happy kids, a happy hubby, and a nice long afternoon nap.  Hugs and kisses from family, good wishes from friends, calls from my older daughters, and a special gift of a n.a.p. blanket from Brookstone and 2 Nicholas Sparks books from my daughter, Kimberly, in Arkansas.  I wished my own mother a Happy Mother's Day and praised God I still have her in my life.  All in all it was a perfect weekend. - and Elaine was still sewing :)


Would you like the goodie bag I shared with all my friends who attended my party?  Simply answer the questions below in the comments and you could win the goodie bag that all my guests received at my Singer Sew Very Easy Party!  I had a number of them left over and I want to share them with my readers!

How was your Mother's Day weekend? 

Did you do anything special? 

Do you sew and have a sewing machine?

What brand of sewing machine is your favorite?

I'd love to hear from you!  This is my Mother's Day Gift to you - my readers - for making my year and my life so remarkable. 

By the end of this week I will contact everyone who has won a goodie bag filled with patterns, thread, coupons, and more!

"By the way, the goodies are provided by Singer, Simplicity, JoAnn Fabrics, BurdaStyle, Martha Stewart, and Me!"

* * * * *

And the winners are:

(1) Willa; (4) Thadia; (5) Sandra Davidson; (6) Barbara - and you'll have to get yourself a machine!; (8) Kim - it's time to pull out that Janome Sweetie!; (9) Kayla; (10) Sara

Thank you everyone!  Please email me at [email protected] with your mailing address so that I can get your goodie bag in the mail!


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