Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Embroidery Machine Adventures

Embroidery Machine Adventures

My adorable pink Embroidery Machine!
This year for my birthday I received a wonderful present from my parents! They picked out a Brother PE-500 Personal Embroidery System for me and I have been playing around with it since we arrived at the beach house.  The machine itself is very easy to use and looks cute while doing everything as well. The pink design and the fun touch screen are definitely highlights of its appearance, but the real question is, does it work? Answer: Yes!! If you have ever threaded a regular sewing machine and used a Brothers bobbin winder then this machine will seem super easy to use.  I am in love with everything it can do and can't wait to buy software for the computer so that I can do even more designs and fancier monograms.  I practiced on a towel with my initials several times before I made something for someone else, but I think I finally have the hang of it.
Practice Towel
I started out on towels since I practiced on them, and I quickly was able to turn out a large amount of monogrammed towels that looks nice, especially when tied with a ribbon and rolled.  These will make perfect gifts.  The hardest part of doing the towels is getting the hoop centered and getting it to keep the towel tight.  Be warned this step could break a few nails, but it is so worth it because they end up looking so nice! So the final results of some of the monogrammed towels are shown here:

After perfecting the monograms, I decided to try some bridal words for myself and my friends that are also getting married soon.  For this, I tried it on towels and pillowcases.  I love doing these because I think it takes something that would be regarded as plain or utilitarian and makes it decorative as well as fun to use.  The pillowcases were a gift for our friends Sam and Mason for their couples shower last weekend, and I think they will really enjoy using them.  Ben and I are excited about using the white his and hers towels on our honeymoon! I realized that the machine does punctuation marks so I would love to try doing some Mr. and Mrs. items as well.
  Examples of these below:
His and Hers Pillowcases, would be so cute for the honeymoon!
His and Hers towels, would also be fun on the honeymoon!
One of my favorite projects so far was my bride towel I did for myself.  I used hot pink thread on a white towel and embroidered "Bride".  I thought this would be cute to use at the hotel while I was getting ready for the wedding.  The word "Groom" fits in the same size print so I would love to see these done as a set at some point for some of our engaged friends.
My Bride Towel:
So those are all of my embroidery projects so far.  I tried a fleece blanket as well but it was sent off as a gift so I forgot to take pictures.  I will be trying to put a team name on a blanket tonight and will post pics if it turns out well too.  I am really enjoying using the machine and would recommend it to anyone who wants to try their hand at machine embroidery!
So much fun working on this tonight with my lovely friend Cameron! I think her blanket turned out really cute and will be super fun to have at swim meets!

UNCW Swim and Dive tied fleece blanket.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Lilly Pulitzer Wedding Card Holder

Lilly Pulitzer Wedding Card Holder

Card holder before
     I purchased a white card holder at the thrift store for $2.51.  The cage was covered in fake purple and pink flowers and ribbon.  I cut all of the decorations off the cage and pulled the rest of the hinge off that was coming undone.  After searching the craft stores, I picked up some white wire to fix the hinge so that the top stays on when it is opened.  I used the Lilly Print "M" that I painted last week to decorate the front of the cage.  I hot glued ribbon to the back of the "M" then hung it on the cage and glued the other ends down.  After that, I put the pink and green ribbon on top in a bow and voila, my Lilly Print Wedding Card Holder was complete! Hope everyone likes it as much as I do! Less than 50 days until we get to use it at our wedding!

Card Holder with matching guest book and canvas
After adding my own touches!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Painting Lilly Print Wedding Decorations

Painting Lilly Print Wedding Decorations

     Today I am starting one of many of my wedding projects! I am going to attempt to paint three canvases with Ben and I's couple initial to display at the wedding, an "M" to hang on our card cage, and our white guest book.  I am using the Lilly Pulitzer Mayflower print as my reference since it matches our lovely invitations that my creative friend Kim designed for us.  Depending on which item the print is on the colors look very different so I will be using pink and green shades from somewhere in between.

     After looking at several other blogs on how to paint Lilly print, I am ready to get started.  While I haven't found any that do the specific print I like, I think I have a better general idea as far as how to go about doing any of their prints.  I will be using acrylic paints and paint pens for this project.  All of my surfaces were white to begin with except the wooden "M" which was brown and will need a white base coat.  First I will do rough outlines and color blocking of the lighter pink shade on everything.  It's important that I paint all five objects at the same time so that the colors are all matching.  This is what everything looks like after the first coat of light pink paint.

     The next step will be to start adding the hot pink color on top of the shapes and then blocking it in even more with fine details using the paint pen.  I realized I don't have the right shade of hot pink paint or the right shade of green so off to the craft store I go.  The second step I used a slightly brighter shade of pink and edged the shapes.

     After finishing with both of the lighter pinks, the next step was to add the bits of green shown in the pattern.  For the canvases, I did an average of nine green spots so it felt balanced, and with the guest book and letter just put them where I felt they were needed.


      The final step was to fill in any spaces around the shapes with the hot pink and outline all shapes and edges with the same hot pink to pull the whole piece together.  This is the most time consuming step because I left a fine white border around all of the shapes to make them pop.  Here are the final results! I still have two more canvases to finish and will photograph them again once all three are complete.

I can't wait to use all of these fun painted projects at our wedding! Maybe once our wedding is over, I can start custom making painted projects and selling them on Etsy! Who knows where I can go from here, hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Making Pickled Carrots and Onions

Pickled Carrots and Onions

     Ben and I took a trip to the Veggie Wagon today a few minutes from the house where we picked up some local organic carrots, a butternut squash, and some garbanzo bean flour.  I tried pickled carrots for the first time while working as a nanny in the fall and really liked their sweet and sour taste.  So with some very inexpensive carrots from the Veggie Wagon I am going to try my hand at pickling them.  I picked the skinniest carrots in the basket but I think I will still cut them down a bit.  This is the before of the carrots:


1 tablespoon salt
Enough water to cover carrots when placed in a saucepan

1 pound carrots (cut long ways into quarters)
1 small onion (sliced thin into slithers)
1 1/4 cup water
1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2 garlic cloves (roughly chopped)
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of pepper
Few squeezes of lemon juice


-Wash carrots and cut ends off.  Cut long ways into quarters.
-Slice onion into thin slithers, set in heatproof container.
-Boil water in a saucepan with the tablespoon of salt.
-Once it is boiling, place carrots in the pan for approximately one minute.
-Take out and strain under cold water and place in container with the onions.
Waiting on the liquid to be added.

-Pour the remaining ingredients into the empty saucepan and bring to a boil.
-Let simmer for two minutes uncovered.
-Pour over carrots and onions.
Boiling the rest of the ingredients.

-Let cool uncovered, then store in the refrigerator.
-Let sit covered in fridge for at least one day before serving cold.
Cooling with the liquid added.

I used a standard recipe for pickled carrots and replaced a few things like the dill and I added a few things like the onions and lemon juice.  I will update with how it turned out after it has been in the fridge for a day! Hopefully they taste as delicious as they look and smell!

Update! These taste as yummy as they look and will keep for a very long time! I am going to try the same recipe and use shrimp instead of carrots next time, can't wait!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Beach House Life

Beach House Life

     After Christmas, Ben and I moved into his parents beach house in Carolina Beach, NC.  Our lease was up on our apartment in Charleston so in order to save money before the wedding we picked up our lives and relocated here.  I quit my job as a nanny and Ben transferred from the Mount Pleasant CVS Pharmacy to the Carolina Beach CVS.  I have saved up for the next few months so that I can spend some time working on wedding planning, and figuring out what our next step in life will be.  
One of our daily beach walks.
     The beach house was just built a few years ago and has been used since as his family's vacation home.  We are living in one bedroom and leaving everything else untouched so that his family can still come and go as they please without all of our mass amounts of stuff intruding on their vacation time.  We are enjoying being three blocks back from the beach and our daily walks to check out the waves.  Also, we are enjoying the lack of traffic and Mount Pleasant traffic cones covering the streets.  The beach is pretty deserted in the winter as well as many of the local hangouts so it offers a peaceful place to live in the off season.  
     Ben and I have quickly had to figure out what to do with such a large space to take care of and to live in.  Before living here, Ben and I shared our one bedroom apartment and now we are responsible for a four bedroom, three story home.  While we are not responsible for all of the aspects of owning a home, this has been a good test run for when we do.  We have had to figure out everything from having the pavement in the driveway poured, getting cable hooked up, putting up a mailbox, and the daunting task of finding a place for all of my coupon stockpile.
The other driveway is almost done!
     This has been a big week for us so far.  Yesterday we purchased a mailbox, which Ben will be putting together later today.  Today the cable company is here to install all of the cable and internet boxes and I couldn't be more excited! Although, I have enjoyed our time without cable because it has allowed us ample time to clean and get organized, I sure am excited to be able to watch E! News and all of the terrible TLC shows again! Hopefully by the time I am finished with this post we will have internet and will no longer have to use the neighbor's strangely named network "SpaceshipsoverCarolinaBeach"....
     Today, we contacted the post office about how to go about putting up our mailbox and I received a personnel call back from our Post Man telling me who he was and where to put it.  I have certainly enjoyed the benefits of living in a small town and dealing with such friendly people.  Our mailman personally called me today to let me know where to put our mailbox, it was so nice.  We would love to receive mail as soon as Ben puts together the new mailbox.  Let me know if you would like our new address so we can get some mail!
Eating locally on New Years Eve at Havanas
     Many people would find it surprising and funny, but I have actually been cooking meals for Ben and I.  He really enjoys when I cook Mexican food now that I have learned from Maria, a friend and former coworker of the family I worked for.  My specialty is pico de galo and homemade corn and flour tortillas.  I have been really trying to come up with meals that utilize our coupon stockpile.  Tonights menu includes a salad with olives and croutons and a pasta bake with red sauce and cheese.  I will post any fun new coupon recipes I come up with.  While not having cable has encouraged me to work on wedding plans, I fully intend on catching up with my favorite E! and TLC shows tonight.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

My Bridal Shower

My Bridal Shower
     Hey everyone! What a day I had yesterday! Ben and I are in Charleston at the moment for my Bridal Shower weekend.  We are having a wonderful time staying at the Springhill Suites by Marriott.  The view of Charleston and the Holiday Inn Riverview where we had the shower is amazing!  My shower was thrown by Ben's Aunt Holly and his two cousins Laura and Erin.  I spent last week planning for this weekend, making favors (more on that to come), dress shopping, and trying to diet a bit before we got here.  Everything was well worth it because the shower was so much fun!
     We arrived early to enjoy the view and see to any final touches.  The Holiday Inn staff had done a great job with the food and tables, everything looked great!  Guests started arriving a little before twelve and everyone enjoyed Mimosas from the nice bartender.  We ended up with over twenty guests! After everyone arrived we started getting plates and enjoying all of the fun finger foods.  Everything felt like a grown up tea party, complete with tea sandwiches, deviled eggs, and a unique cheese pineapple display.  After enjoying all the goodies, we had one of the hot pink iced cupcakes Holly had picked out.  They were displayed on an adorable cupcake stand and had faux diamond rings in them.  I think my flower girl enjoyed the cupcakes more than anyone, she had a pink mouth the rest of the day!
     After finishing the food, and several mimosas later, it was time for me to start opening gifts.  My favorite part of the shower was letting my flower girl who is three, help open all of the gifts.  Might have to start a new Pinterest trend because this was adorable! I recommend more brides do this, especially if you want a distraction from everyone staring at you.  I received so many lovely gifts from everyone, including more of our everyday china, silverware, bedding, and wine glasses.  Now we just need a house to put it all in!  
     As everyone was leaving, my Mom made sure they received one of the favors Ben and I made last week.  We used our shell chocolate mold and made pink and white seashells chocolates.  After they were done, I put them in cellophane bags and tied them with a ribbon and a fake diamond ring.  Finish it all up with a cute pink basket and I had an awesome shower favor that everyone seemed excited about and I am told the chocolate taste good too.  I should know, considering how much Ben and I sampled while making them! So that was my Bridal Shower, and now Ben and I will be returning to Carolina Beach today to continue with more wedding plans! I had a great time seeing everyone yesterday! Thanks to all who came, and we missed those that couldn't!

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