Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Recap

On Thanksgiving we had two turkeys, tons of food, fourteen visiting family members and lots of holiday cheer at our house. My cousin Rachael baked the above turkey and Josh fried the other. This was my 28th Thanksgiving and I still haven't made a turkey : )

My second apple pie was even better. This time I added some powdered sugar to the crust and tapioca and vanilla to the filling.

My sister made the cute pilgrim hat cookies. She found the inspiration here.

This was our Thanksgiving table to seat sixteen! I made the Give Thanks vases using jars and puffy paint. I found the idea here. The 'I am grateful cards' were free printables from Pick Your Plum. Martha and my abundance of apples inspired the place cards.

Our 2011 turkey.

I framed vintage Thanksgiving postcards I found online.

I made this banner last year using Picnik and old book pages.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turkey Feathers

I started this family tradition when I was in high school. First I cut a turkey body out of cardboard. (My turkeys look like some sort of rare goose/chicken/turkey hybrid)

Next I use printer paper and scissors to make feathers. EVERY family member creates their own feather masterpiece. Each designer writes their name on the back of their work. Finally the feathers are taped to the cardboard body.

This is not a fancy project, but it has evolved into a makeshift family time capsule. Our feathers reflect what has been going on in our lives and current events.

If you look carefully, you will see feathers depicting school spirit, a presidential election, inside jokes, a marriage proposal and lots of creativity.

Some family members go over the top and incorporate mixed media or origami.

Our turkeys are also special because we have feathers created by family members who are no longer with us. Six years ago today my Grandpa Kregel passed away. On Thanksgiving Day 2005, we still made our paper turkey and we customized special feathers just for him.

This year I have so many blessings to be thankful for. I will be enjoying my day filled with gratitude, family, fantastic food, and quirky traditions.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Vintage Curtain Panels

On Saturday I found this giant tapestry at one of my favorite antique stores. It only cost me $5! The owner of the shop informed me that she has been salvaging goods from a professors house who used to travel the world. This fabric was likely purchased on one of his voyages.

The fabric slightly reminded me of some curtains I have been ogling at World Market. I knew I wanted to transform my new treasure into curtains for the family room.

Here is the family room before. The plain white Ikea curtains do not have the same exciting past as the new ones. (I will be hanging something different on the wall to prevent pattern overload)

Here are the 'new vintage' curtains. I think they add a lot more character to the room. (Please pardon my wonky hems. This was my second sewing project ever.) I also took down the 1991 mini blinds and added some sheers.

I did manage to get four small panels out of the tapestry, which breaks down to $1.25/panel. I am quite satisfied with that investment. I will show you a full shot of the room once I can convince some strapping gentleman to carry my home gym upstairs.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Apple Pie from Scratch

 Let me preface this post by saying this is the second pie I have ever made. I am by no means a pie baking expert.

I received these two giant bags of apples from my parents and I have challenged myself to use ALL of them. My first thought was to bake an apple pie for Thanksgiving. (which we are hosting at our house)

I intended to use a store bought crust, since making my own seemed too intimidating for this novice pie maker. To my astonisment, they were charging $3 for the prefab version. I could not bring myself to pay that much when I knew I had all of the ingredients in the pantry.

 I decided to do a trial run this weekend. I used the Pie Crust IV recipe found on allrecipes.com. I made two batches of this crust and let it refrigerate while I peeled and sliced the apples. It was surprisingly easy.

I used Grandma Ople's Recipe for guidance on the rest of the pie. (4,200 people gave it five stars, so I figured it would be a good starting point)

  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 8 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and sliced
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer.
  2. Place the bottom crust in your pan. Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Cover with a lattice work crust. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off.
  3. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until apples are soft.


I made a few adjustments to the above recipe. I used Golden Delicious apples instead of  Granny Smith. I tossed the apple slices with a teaspoon of cinnamon before adding them to the pie.

While the syrup was boiling, I added a 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg and a tablespoon of cinnamon mix.

I used kitchen shears to attempt making a lattice top. Next time I will roll the dough thinner and make the strips narrower. This version was a little too thick.

From scratch means a messier kitchen to clean up, but I did save $3!

Josh said that it was good, so after a few adjustments I will attempt to make another apple pie this Thursday.

Friday, November 18, 2011

'Live the Life You've Imagined' Part 16

I had big plans for this week. I had several adventures lined up to occupy my time while Josh was in New Jersey on business. Unfortunately, a nasty cold put a damper on a few of my plans and on a lot of my ambition. I spent most of the week in Lowell visiting family. These two giant bags of apples were one of my parting gifts. I see a lot of apple recipes in my future.

1. Road trip lunch break in Kalamazoo, MI. Alyssa and I bedazzled Mom.

2. Our final destination on the road trip was Frankenmuth, MI. We had dinner at Tiffany's. We enjoyed some greasy food, locals, and drinks.


3. My parents' kitten was quite amused with his image on the iPad. I was tempted to smuggle him home.

4. I found another branch of the library. It is located across the street from Lafayette's Full House set.

5. The main attraction in Frankenmuth was Bronner's Christmas Wonderland. We perused thousands and thousands of ornaments.

6. My sister brought me back this bracelet from Costa Rica. It is made out of a coconut shell. I also got some Costa Rican coffee. Thanks Alyssa!

7. I love Grandma Kregel's rotary dial phone. If we had a land line, I would try to find one for our house.

8. Wednesday night my sister cooked us dinner at Grandma's. Grandma promised to buy me a hat just like hers.

9. Fresh baked chocolate chip cookies.

Despite the cold, this week has a very happy ending. I told you here about how I quit my job because it no longer felt like the right fit. Well, I potentially have a new job lined up. I should start in 2015. I was just accepted into Butler University's physician assistant masters program. In case you are wondering what a physician assistant does, Wikipedia can explain the profession here.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! Mine will be filled with lots of celebration. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Give Thanks Entry

I really cannot take credit for any of this project. Last month I had plans to visit my BFF Stef around her birthday. She suggested we go shopping at the outlet mall.

A few days before our planned shopping trip, Stef emailed me this photo from Better Homes & Gardens. She mentioned that she had been reading my blog and realised I wasn't spending money in October. She came up with this inexpensive project for us to tackle and it only cost $2 to create.

We started with some old closet doors. Stef happened to have four of these on hand. I suppose you could have the friendly Lowes employees cut some plywood for you if you do not have any laying around.

Stef is a real woman and she knows how to use power tools. She taught me some new skills. Look at me removing those hinges!

We used rollers to paint the doors with Stef's leftover kitchen paint. After figuring out our word placement, we traced paper letters from Microsoft Word onto the doors.

Stef found the paint in the 'oops section,' so it only cost a dollar. She even has plenty of Cheese Whiz hued paint for future projects. I added a few leaves to make my giant give thanks proclamation even more festive.

Thanks Stef for the great idea and lots of fun!

linked: romantichome, chiconashoestringdecorating, sassysites, serenitynowblog, thirtyhandmadedays,

Monday, November 14, 2011

Inexpensive Thanksgiving Projects

I saw this thankful tree on Pinterest and immediately wanted to create my own version. I collected some branches from our yard and repurposed the gold twigs from my Halloween tablescape. I cut out leaf shapes from various color card stock.

I started our tree at the beginning of November. Every evening before dinner we write down what we are thankful for and hang new leaves on the tree. This project did not cost any money since I already had the card stock.

The wreath of golden leave was also an inexpensive project that I was able to create without buying any additional supplies. I followed this easy tutorial found at Aprons & Ambitions. Instead of using brown paper bags, I used packaging paper. I cut out the leaves freehand because I didn't feel like messing with a stencil.

I like taking time to think about everything I have to be thankful for. I also appreciate my projects more when they cost very little money.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

'Live the Life You've Imagined' Part 15

This is a quick summary of my week represented by photos taken with my phone. These are objects/experiences/etc. that simply make me happy.

{first snow}

1. Homemade pico de gallo chicken quesadillas.

2. On 11/11/11 I had the privilege of standing up in one of my best friend's weddings. We had our hair done at the beauty college and it was a fun experience.

3. Date night margarita.

4. Josh and I went to see Tower Heist over the weekend.

5. Since most of Nicole's bridesmaids live out of state, we had her bachelorette party on Wednesday. We started the festivities at New Day Meadery. I loved the interior and the meads were delicious.

6. More vibrant leaves.

7. Teeny tiny silverware. I have to figure out where to buy these little guys.

8. Josh is a happy camper now that it is fireplace season.

9. I told you about my adventure on Monday with my sister here. I purchased these sugary beverages for our trip. We used to drink these when we were little kids.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Going to the Chapel

One of my very best friends is getting married today. I am excited to stand up in Nicole & Colby's wedding on this very memorable date. I took their engagement photos in the spring as part of their wedding gift.

I also made them this ornament to commemorate the big day. I found the idea on Pinterest. To see the original tutorial go to Christy's Blog. I cut up their wedding invitation into strips and curled them around a pencil. I found the charm and glass ornament at Hobby Lobby. I did have the foresight to scan a copy of the invitation before slicing it up, so my husband knows where to go.

{it helps that I have pretty friends}

Congrats Nicole & Colby!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Tribute to Hot Dogs (sort of), Part 2

On Monday my sister came to visit and I thought I had the perfect adventure planned for us. I wanted to visit Frankfort, IN, home of the hot dogs. I figured it would be the ideal follow up to my first hot dog post and I heard there were some good antique shops in town.

Alyssa wanted a hot dog and I wanted some antiques. Unfortunately we didn't find either. Most of the shops were closed on Mondays and we could not find a restaurant serving hot dogs. We walked around in the rain to see all that Frankfort had to offer.

We didn't let all of that rain ruin our parade. We went to a few antique shops in Lafayette and found some great bargains. I purchased this school spirited button for $1. Sorry if you're not a Purdue fan, but I could not pass up vintage, trash talking memorobilia.

I also found this cute ring for only $2!

We found a hat box for $3 to house Alyssa's old lady hat collection.

{Alyssa was taking the hair dryer on a test drive}

Although we had to eat hamburgers instead of hot dogs on our adventure, we still amused ourselves and we now own some new treasures.