Tutorial Tuesday with The Empty Nest!

Welcome to Tutorial Tuesday, your opportunity to Teach Me Stuff!

We've had a last minute switcheroo with our Tuesday sponsor, but never fear, Janet from The Empty Nest has come to our rescue featuring her very own Sexy Milkmaid Apron!

If you are new here, this party is for your weekly tutorials. What counts as a tutorial? Anything to "teach me stuff" counts - a recipe, a kid's craft, a DIY project, how you got your baby to sleep through the night ... I'm not picky. (My weekly tutorial can be found right here.) Just link up below so we can all hop over to learn something new.

Now, on to this week's sponsor, Janet from The Empty Nest, featuring her new "Milkmaid" series of couture aprons. Couture? Aprons? Oh yes, you'll see!

Never has an apron been so beautiful, so sexy, such a work of art:

Janet's lovely half aprons are all fashioned from upcycled pillow cases, tablecloths, pillow shams and other thrift store treasures. They are then thoroughly cleaned, cut up, and put back together in a whole new way.

Chic embellishments are then added - yo-yo's, vintage buttons or maybe antique lace and doily's...Oh, just look at it up close! Squeal!

As Janet says, "Greet your man at the door after work wearing only one of these and I guarantee he won't care what you cooked for dinner...or even if you cooked at all!" Uh huh, she went there, and I love her for it! Check out her shop The Empty Nest to view her entire collection. Shower season is fast approaching, imagine a new bride opening one of these at her shower, how about for your best girlfriend's birthday? Always thinkin', people!

So, do I have you all in a lather over these lovely aprons? For your chance to win one of your own, just link up below. It's a party, baby!

Rules: (this is the part at the end of the commercial when the announcer talks real fast)

* Link up using the link to your actual post (not your general blog address) using your name and a the subject of your tutorial to generate interest.

* Add my button or a clickable link back to this post so everyone can join in.

* Visit and comment to all our friends. Show them some love! Meet some new friends! Learn something new!

Hope Studios

The time has come...Teach me Stuff!


Make Your Own Window Clings Tutorial

My kids love all of those craft kits you can pick up at Michael's or Target. I love them too, until it's time to pay for them, those puppies can be expensive! One such favorite activity is making window clings.

I figured out a DIY version and wanted to share. We worked on these pre-Disney, so I think you can figure out the theme we chose.


White glue
Ziploc baggies
Food coloring
Coloring book pages
Plastic slide-in page protectors


Fill the corner of your baggie with glue and add a few drops of food coloring.

Seal the baggie and begin to squish the glue and food coloring together to mix. The kids especially like this part! (Don't worry if the color is a bit pastel, the glue dries clear so the color will be more brilliant once dry.)

Here are our mixed colors:

Choose a coloring book page with a simple design (or use a design you draw yourself) and slide the page into the plastic page protector.

Snip the very corner of the baggie with your scissors.

I like to begin with a black outline first...(BUT I'm not a squirmy 7 year old who needs immediate gratification in the crafty projects. If you choose to move ahead before it's dry, the world won't come to an end.)

Now cut the corners from your other colors and fill in the spaces by squeezing the glue into the black outline. This doesn't have to be perfect! Swirl it! Drip it!

Allow your cling to dry overnight. Once dry, peel the glue design off the plastic page protector and place it on your window! Ta da! (And I believe you might be out less than 2 bucks. Bonus!)

Come back tomorrow for your very own chance to link up a tutorial. And for your trouble, I'll have an awesome prize you can win. Sound like a good deal? Here's a preview...


Sunday Funny

My mom sent me this video of a dead snake found at an abandoned water treatment plant in Fort Myers, yikes!

Oh, was that mean of me? Was this supposed to be funny for me or for you! Ha!



The Journey

Dramatic Black and White:


Hope Studios' Saturday Wrap Up

So, I've been playing catch up since we returned from vacation and even managed to get a few orders completed and shipped.

Earlier this week, I went house hunting with a friend and we saw this stool in a little cabin behind the main house. It was a matching set of two!

This crazy little stool won me over right then and there and I told her this was the house for her!

We are off to ski for one final weekend before they close the mountain - so have a great weekend!



Taking Sides - Feedback Friday

I was having a dispute civilized discussion with The Big Guy the other day with a girlfriend present. My girlfriend backed my hubs though I felt sure my opposing position was right. I felt a little twinge and then wondered why? Is she not entitled to her honest opinion, why would that upset me?

So, my question is, is there an unspoken rule about girlfriends always having your back or do you expect them to speak an impartial truth when asked to weigh in on a dispute discussion with your spouse? Okay, what if it's family?

Feedback Friday here, let's weigh in on Taking Sides!



Stuff I Learned!

Yep, I knew it...You're all brilliant.

Thank you for making my first weekly kick off of Tutorial Tuesdays a hit and for sharing all that brilliant stuff you have stored up there in your pretty little heads!

Before I announce the winner of the custom Hope Studios Frame, let me share some Stuff I Learned...

Fawn, from Frugal Home Designs came up with a fantastic book storage solution. Just look at how all the covers are displayed! I love the fun bookstore feeling, what an inspiration for kids to read!

No Money Mama created these darling birdies using only scrapbook paper, scissors, glue, and pipe cleaners! They are sweet, they are darling, they make me long for spring! These babies are going on my Spring Mantle if I can ever get around to creating it.

Tina, from Tina's Place (of course) teaches us the easiest way to donate unused household items just in time for Spring Cleaning.

Jennifer, from The Magic Brush teaches us some of her faux finishing tricks to get a high end look from raw iron stair spindles. This girl is amazing, for reals.

Did you know you can make a cute little girl's dress from pillowcase? Did you?!? Little Lizard King taught us how! Come on, that's dang cute.

And finally, Amanda from Serenity Now must know my weakness for all things cobbler since she posted her Berry Cobbler birthday dessert for us.

And now for the winners of Tutorial Tuesday....(drum roll please)...

Shelly from Surviving Munchkinland! Congrats Shelly, you have won the Memory Frame, I will contact you for your information.

And the $20 Hope Studios gift certificate goes to Tina. Tina, I have no way of contacting you, so if you read this please contact me with your email address.

I will be posting my own tutorials on Monday from now on to make room for this party. So tune in to learn how to make window clings with your kids. Next Tuesday you can link up for a chance to win another great prize from one of my generous sponsors.


Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies

There is still time to get in on the action at yesterday's Tutorial Linky Party. Prizes, people! So head on over and teach me stuff, you just might come out of it with your very own custom Hope Studios frame.


So, you know sometimes when you see an idea that is so deceptively simple yet brilliant and you feel like kicking yourself and saying "DUH! Why didn't I think of that?!?" Well, The Nester turned me on to Tidy Mom who did that and shot my diet all to hell in one fell swoop! Her recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies is a marriage made in heaven, it makes as much sense as peanut butter and jelly and yet it never occurred to me.

This is so simple I don't even have to type out a recipe. Tidy Mom uses a box of brownie mix and a bag of chocolate chip cookie mix, easy peasy. I did use the brownie mix, but then made a 1/2 batch of chocolate chip cookie batter from scratch.

I poured the brownie batter into a buttered 9x9 inch pan and dotted the top with the chocolate chip cookie batter...at 10 o'clock at night hence the terrible lighting.

Then I baked at 350 for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick came out clean.

After the pan cooled, I mixed up some simple Ganache. Here is Tidy Mom's recipe:

Chocolate Ganache

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate morsels
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
6 Tbsp butter

* In a small saucepan, heat cream and butter until just before the boiling stage.
* Pour over the chocolate morsels.
* Stir until smooth.

Pour ganache on top and spread it out evenly. You will want to let the ganache set up before cutting.

Cut and bring to your girlfriend's new home with a thermos of coffee. Sit on the floor since there is no furniture (Picnic, woot!) and plan all the fantastic projects this new home will bring your way! (Soul Sisters activiate! This new house is going to be so fun for all of us, we can't wait!)



Tutorial Tuesday Linky Party - Hope Studios

Hope Studios

Here it is, the premier of my weekly Tutorial Tuesday Linky Party! I have been gathering and scheduling some amazing sponsors to provide some great prizes for you over the next few weeks and decided to kick things off myself.

As most of you know, I run Hope Studios, The Shop when I'm not hanging out here with all of you. It's a little business I started back in December of 2007 painting custom Memory Frames. It's my baby and I love her. She keeps me busy and inspired every day.

Now, you can win one of my new designs based on the vintage subway signs featured in the home catalogs, like Pottery Barn, these days. This hand painted Memory Frame measures 16x16 inches and is painted black and ivory and highly distressed and lets us all know that "All You Need Is Love".

How to win? Link up your own Tuesday Tutorial below. What do I consider a tutorial? Anything that teaches us something! A recipe, an apron pattern, how you got your kids to sleep through the night... Just teach me stuff!


* Link up here using my Tutorial Tuesday button

* Include the title of your tutorial in the box to generate interest.

* Link to the actual blog post, not the home page of your blog.

* Visit and click some of the other links, you just might learn something.

What to do if you don't have a tutorial ready this week? Leave a comment sharing your favorite item in Hope Studios, The Shop and you will be in the running for a $20 gift certificate.

Good luck!



Vacation Awards Presentation

Okay, I'm back! I'm exhausted and a little sunburned and happy as can be that we had another magical trip to Disney.

I usually return from my trips with a presentation of awards for the strange/fun/silly moments we experience as a family. So here goes...

Most Excited Yet Patient Airplane Waiter goes to Munchkin!

Boy, this kid just couldn't WAIT to get to Disney. He waited and watched our plane forever before boarding. He was so patient!

Worst Day of Vacation Award goes to Wednesday! This is the day that was low 60's and rainy and one child developed croup and another was barfing in the elevator in a grocery bag. Good times... (Lucky for you, I have no photos demonstrating this).

Most Confusing Moment of Scolding goes to American Idol Experience!

We got a little excited when we heard Ryan Seacrest announcing the beginning of the American Idol show and we couldn't figure out how to enter the labyrinth of chains in the front, so the Big Guy began to lift his foot to step over the chain and this happened:

If only I'd been quicker on the draw with the camera!

A security guard resembling Emmanuel Lewis came from no where and scolded Big Guy then opened the chain with a shake of his head. I'm not sure my hubs ever quite figured out what happened or who was talking to him from down there!

Most Transformative Souvenir Shop Item - Rocker Wig!

I can't explain the actual transformation that takes place once this wig is on your head, so I'll let the pictures speak for themselves:

Most Common Activity Men Engage in While Standing in Line - BlackBerry!

The BlackBerry is to men, what the Nintendo DS is to children. It keeps them occupied so they don't whine and complain while waiting for something. I actually had to start sending text messages to have myself heard after awhile. I also threw in some smarty-pants messages about dorks who always check their BlackBerry's...

Best Boy Pool Thrower - Big Guy!

That guy can throw a boy in a pool like nobody's business! Woot!

My creation

And finally, the winner of Favorite Family Portrait is:

Splash Mountain!

Windy Poplars

Now, don't forget that Tuesday marks the beginning of our weekly Tutorial Tuesday Linky Parties! I will host the first giveaway and you can win by linking up your own Tutorial. I want you to teach me stuff!

Link up and include my cute little Tutorial Tuesday button found right here:

Hope Studios

and you just might win something cool! Want a sneak preview of this week's prize? Thought you might...

Check back here tonight to get a jump on the linky or catch me here in the morning!

Sunday Funny

Old rock stars? Here's the solution:


Favorite Family Vacation - Feedback Friday

I'm sticking with the theme here people! Tell me this Feedback Friday...

What is your favorite family vacation? Why do you love it? What do you do to make is special for your children?

Happy Friday!


Your Skin Fix, December Edition