Tutorial Tuesday!

No Sew Skirt:

Crack is Whack:

Hot Chocolate Dippers:

CLICK PICKS (last week's most clicked links):

#1 Handy Toothpick Trick

#2 Cinnamon Bun Waffles

#3 Harlequin Romance Dresser and Valentine Gift For Him

Now it's YOUR turn:

Please... (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 with all our friends. Show them some love! Meet some new friends! Learn something new!

Ready? Teach Me Stuff!

Hope Studios


Valentine's T-Shirt Refashion

This quick and easy t-shirt refashion is a great option for a stained t-shirt or just to brighten up a boring shirt! Think of the many ways you could adapt this...

Jeans pockets
Hat brims
The back of a sweatshirt

The possibilities are endless!


Fabric medium
Acrylic paints
Spray adhesive
Pencil eraser
Paper and scissors


Follow the instructions on the Fabric Medium, mixing it with ordinary acrylic paints, to magically turn acrylics into fabric paints!

Cut your shape from ordinary paper and spray the back of paper with spray adhesive. Let adhesive dry for 3-5 minutes and you will have a temporary bond, like Post-It Notes.

Line the shirt with a piece of cardboard and affix your "stencil" to the surface of your shirt.

Stamp the colors using the pencil eraser to the inside of the stencil. I like to move from darker to lighter, filling the entire area inside the stencil.

Let dry and peel off the paper stencil.



The Debate Rages On - Feedback Friday

I love a healthy debate, and thought I would continue last week's highly active discussion.

Two friends of mine got into a highly explosive argument over this post and are currently not speaking. I thought the subject of their discussion was worth opening up to all of you.

Last week we all discussed "Tebowing" and our feelings about it (btw, thank you for keeping the conversation productive and interesting. I learned a lot and loved following the debate!). My friends branched off into a similar discussion, off the blog, about American tolerance of Christian public displays of faith vs. public displays of other faiths.

One friend wondered if we would be accepting of a non-Christian form of "Tebowing"? It's Feedback Friday...Here was the basis of their debate and eventual argument:

Would you feel comfortable with a player on the football field in a Muslim/Jewish/Buddhist etc... posture of prayer?

Would you feel comfortable with a player on the football field with quotes from the Koran on his eye black?


John Deere Baby Shower!

I haven't been to a shower in years, but I was lucky enough to be invited to one over the weekend that was so unique! The couple is having a boy and decided to have a John Deere themed party to go with the baby's John Deere themed nursery. Now, before this I only knew one other person who would consider such a theme, and it's John Deere Mom!

The shower was green and yellow, with jars of cookie mix decorating each place setting. I can't believe I forgot to take a photo of it, but it looked just like this example from Pinterest.

One of the guests collected the fabric that covered each jar lid to make a surprise quilt for the baby.

There was a brunch buffet followed by a loooong cookie table for dessert (just like at a wedding), complete with John Deere boxes to fill and take home.

The mother-to-be received many useful gifts including several John Deere fleece blankets:

I made a John Deere themed quote frame, complete with tractor tire tracks (The Big Guy's idea):

Now that I read through this post, I wonder if a cookie table at a wedding (or shower) is a Pittsburgh thing or is it common in other parts of the country? Have you heard of this tradition before?



Tutorial Tuesday

Frosty Faces:

Leather Belt with Tassels:

Cinnamon French Toast Bake:

CLICK PICKS (last week's most clicked links):

#1 World's Best Lotion

#2 Dresser to Shelves

#3 DIY Giant Canvas

Now it's YOUR turn:

Please... (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 with all our friends. Show them some love! Meet some new friends! Learn something new!

Ready? Teach Me Stuff!

Hope Studios

How to Remove Water Stains From Your Table

Remember I mentioned we hosted The Big Guy's work party at home this year? Well, there was a little bit of damage I was sick about for weeks afterward.

Water from a chafing dish spilled onto the tablecloth and sat on the wood for the entire evening, causing these large white marks. The table had similar marks when we got it second-hand from a friend, but we couldn't remember what we did to remove them last time!

I hit the internet and tried a number of different tricks:

I rubbed toothpaste into the stain.
I used steel wool and lemon oil.
I used paint thinner.
I let mayonnaise sit on it over night.
I tried reasoning with it and explaining I didn't have the money to buy another table.

Nothing worked. I cried.

Then we suddenly remembered what had worked last time after I spotted Tidy Mom's blog! A hot iron!

We placed a thin towel (like those cotton IKEA ones that aren't terry cloth?) over the stain and set a hot iron on top and within 5 seconds the stains disappeared, like magic!

See, before:

And after!

**Update** I just saw part of a daytime show with Ty Pennington covering this very topic! He said that this method works with a table with a wax finish and the mayonnaise works on tables with a varnish finish. Good to know!


The Tebow Effect

It's been said that everyone loves Tim Tebow...except for everyone who hates him.

His religious displays at football games seem to be at the crux of the controversy and I have to admit, a little much for me too. My Steelers have Troy Polamalu, also deeply religious, who discreetly prays to himself on the sidelines...more my speed.

Just as many people applaud Tim Tebow for exactly what makes me uncomfortable about him, so which side of the fence do you lie on?

It's Feedback Friday...

Are you on the Tim Tebow bandwagon or are you among those who he rubs the wrong way?

Do you find "Tebowing" inspirational or unnecessary?


Needed: American Idol Dorks!

Dude! Wendy from Ordinary Miracles and I need your help! It's almost time for our second annual American Idol Fantasy League to begin (think Fantasy Football, only cooler) and we are looking for some of our bloggy friends to join us to form a team - don't laugh, we're cool man...We even made our own creepy league photo:

Just so you know, the Big Guy is NOT allowed to join our league for two reasons:

1. He made fun of us.

2. He made the comment that Paula Abdul was looking really hot last season. (Yes, honey, JENNIFER LOPEZ is hot) Clearly, he is out of the loop and, therefore, banned.

If you want to battle Wendy and I in our (free) fantasy league email me ( hopestudios1(at)gmail.com ) or leave a comment below and I will collect the addresses to add to the league website once it opens. Once the site is active (I think it's when voting begins) I'll send you log in info. and it's GAME ON!

In the meantime, watch tonight to see my city, the Pittsburgh auditions! I'm afraid there will be an abundance of freaks!

See you in fantasy land...


Tutorial Tuesday!

Paper Cake Baskets (I wish I would have seen this before I spent a mint on those waxed paper loaf pans for Christmas gifts!):

Hedgehog Mittens:

DIY Fabric and Vinyl Rug:

Cayenne Candied Bacon (I'm almost willing to chuck my diet out of curiosity!):

CLICK PICKS (last week's most clicked links):

#1 My New Rug and Family Room

#2 DIY Dress

#3 Top 10 Tutorials from RadCrafter

Now it's YOUR turn:

Please... (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 with all our friends. Show them some love! Meet some new friends! Learn something new!

Ready? Teach Me Stuff!

Hope Studios

How to Snack Smart - 100 Calorie Snacks

It's so tempting to grab one of those 100 Calorie Snack Packs, isn't it?

Let's come up with some healthier alternatives, thanks to WebMD.

1/2 cup slow churned ice cream

Did you know that slow-churned or double-churned ice cream is a process that reduces fat and calories while retaining the creamy texture? 1/2 cup has just 100 calories, protein, and calcium.

Saturated Fat: 2 g
Sodium: 45 mg
Cholesterol: 20 mg
Carbs: 15 g

1.5 Cups Microwave Popcorn

Some brands have just 100 calories. It's also high in fiber, which can help you stay full longer.

Saturated Fat: 0.5 g
Sodium: 220 mg

Mini Quesadilla

Sprinkle an ounce of grated low-fat cheddar cheese over a corn tortilla. Fold in half and microwave for 20 seconds.

Saturated Fat: 1.3 g
Sodium: 182 mg

Cottage Cheese and Cantaloupe

1/2 cup of cottage cheese has 14 grams of protein! Like fiber, protein can help you stay full longer.

Saturated Fat: 0.7 g
Sodium: 468 mg
Cholesterol: 5 mg

Three Crackers With Cheese

Choose whole-grain crackers and low-fat cheese and split it over three crackers.

Saturated Fat: 1.2 g
Sodium: 397 mg
Cholesterol: 7 mg

Fourteen Almonds

Almonds are rich in fiber and protein and super convenient on the go.

Saturated Fat: 0.63 g
Sodium: 0 mg

Six Whole-Grain Pretzel Sticks

This snack is cholesterol-free, low in fat and sugar, and provides more than 3 g of fiber.

Saturated Fat: 0.4g
Sodium: 257mg
Cholesterol: 0 m

Baked Apple

Core or slice an apple in half and then bake it at 350° F for about 20 minutes. You can sprinkle with a little cinnamon or nutmeg.

Saturated Fat: 0 g
Sodium: 2 mg
Cholesterol: 0 mg

Cheese-Stuffed Pita Pocket

Whole-grain pita pocket and stuff it with 1/2 ounce part-skim ricotta cheese.

Saturated Fat: 0.8 g
Sodium: 149 mg
Cholesterol: 4 mg

Blueberry Smoothie

Blend 1/3 cup of nonfat yogurt with 2/3 cup of frozen blueberries and ice.

Saturated Fat: 0 g
Sodium: 59 mg
Cholesterol: 2 mg

1/3 Cup Edamame

A third of a cup has more than 8 g of protein, 4 g of fiber, and nearly 10% of your recommended daily allowance of iron.

Saturated Fat: 0.5 g
Sodium: 4.5 mg
Cholesterol: 0 mg

3/4 Cup Frozen Mango Cubes

A 3/4 cup serving has just 90 calories and provides 60% of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.

Saturated Fat: 0 g
Sodium: 0 mg
Cholesterol: 0 mg

Eight Baby Carrots with Hummus

Dip eight large baby carrots into 2 tablespoons of hummus. Carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A and beta carotene, while hummus adds protein.

Saturated fat: 0.4 g
Sodium: 210 mg
Cholesterol: 0 mg

Apple Slices With Peanut Butter

Measure 3/4 cup of apple slices and spread a thin layer of unsalted peanut butter on each slice, don't exceed 2 teaspoons of peanut butter.

Saturated fat: 0.8 g
Sodium: 2 mg
Cholesterol: 0 mg

Yogurt With Sunflower Seeds

Stir a teaspoon of sunflower seeds into 1/2 cup of nonfat plain yogurt. Make sure to use unsalted sunflower seeds, especially if you are watching your sodium.

Saturated Fat: 0.26 g
Sodium: 0 mg
Cholesterol: 0 mg

Nonfat Greek Yogurt with Honey

Just 1/2 cup of nonfat plain Greek yogurt has 12 g of protein to help you stay full. Drizzle on a teaspoon of honey, and the whole snack totals 84 calories.

Saturated fat: 0 g
Sodium: 53.5 mg
Cholesterol: 0 mg

Half a Baked Potato with Salsa

Microwave a baked potato, skin on, for an easy snack that's loaded with vitamin C, not with calories. Spread a tablespoon of salsa on top to spice it up.

Saturated Fat: 0 g
Sodium: 124 mg
Cholesterol: 0 mg

Frozen Yogurt Sandwich

Spread two tablespoons of nonfat frozen yogurt between two graham cracker squares. Even with chocolate frozen yogurt, you're only looking at 84 calories.

Saturated Fat: 0.13 g
Sodium: 104 mg
Cholesterol: 1 mg

20 Pistachios

Eat 20 pistachios has only 80 calories and less than a gram of saturated fat. Plus, they're rich in protein, fiber, and several key vitamins and minerals. To avoid an unhealthy dose of sodium, eat them raw or dry roasted without salt.

Saturated Fat: 0.8 g
Sodium: 0 mg
Cholesterol: 0 mg

Frozen Banana Pop

Slice several peeled bananas in half and insert popsicle sticks. Coat each half with an ounce of low-fat plain yogurt. Put the pops in the freezer, and soon you'll have ready-to-eat low-calorie treats.

Saturated fat: 0.35 g
Sodium: 3 mg
Cholesterol: 7 mg

1 Cup Tomato Soup

Tomato soup is full of disease-fighting nutrients, but contains as little as 74 calories per cup, no cholesterol, and less than 1 gram of saturated fat. Look for labels that say "low sodium" and check the calorie count.

Saturated Fat: 0.19 g
Sodium: 471 mg
Cholesterol: 0 mg

1/3 Cup Dry Oat Squares Cereal

Pour 1/3 cup dry oat squares cereal into baggies you can keep in the car or at your office. Each serving has 70 calories and barely any saturated fat.

Saturated fat: 0.17 g
Sodium: 83 mg
Cholesterol: 0 mg

1 Cup Grapes

Grapes are loaded with water, which means that a whole cupful has only 62 calories. Grapes are also a terrific source of vitamin K and manganese, and contain some fiber to boot.

Saturated Fat: 0.1 g
Sodium: 2 mg
Cholesterol: 0 mg

Smoked Salmon Pinwheel

Spread 1 tablespoon of low-fat cream cheese onto a slice of smoked salmon (lox) and roll it up. This salmon pinwheel is high in protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Saturated Fat: 1.6 g
Sodium: 495 mg
Cholesterol: 13 mg

One Cup Jicama Sticks and Salsa

Slice the jicama into French-fry sized sticks and dip them in salsa for only 54 calories.

Saturated Fat: 0.03 g
Sodium: 235 mg
Cholesterol: 0 mg


Do You Play With Your Kids? Feedback Friday

My bloggy friend, Jennifer, from Mamma Made It Look Easy raised an interesting question this week about "playing" with our kids.

She mentioned that though she does activities with her kids she doesn't actually play with them on the floor. Here is what Jennifer had to say:

"I do stuff with them. I color with them, draw pictures for them, play games with them, talk to them about what they are doing, etc. I just don’t normally get down on the floor and play dolls or dress up or Littlest Pet Shop."

I realized I had to agree with her, I bike ride, do art and science projects, and play games with my kids but I really don't remember ever sitting down and really playing with toys with them (maybe that's why I had 3 boys in quick succession, so I wouldn't have to?). I began to wonder, are Jennifer and I normal?

It's Feedback Friday...

Do you play with your kids? Really play, with toys, on the floor, using your imagination?


6 Pack Abs Oatmeal - Pinterest Pass or Fail

I pinned this recipe for Oatmeal from Men's Health to my Workin' on my Fitness Board. It claimed to liven up boring oatmeal and keep you full till lunch. Since my big 4-0 birthday is coming up in May, I'm on a fitness kick for a birthday trip to Key West my husband is planning for April, so this looked like it was worth a try.

Powerfoods Oatmeal

1 cup 1% milk
3/4 cup plain instant oatmeal
1/2 banana, sliced
1 Tbsp peanut butter
1 tsp honey
1 tsp ground flaxseed
Dash of brown sugar

Mix everything together in a microwave-safe bowl and nuke for 2 minutes. Remove and let cool for a minute or two.

Per serving: 515 calories, 22 g protein, 75 g carbohydrates, 13 g fat (3 g saturated), 9 g fiber, 172 mg sodium

I give this a Pinterest Pass! This recipe was easy to prepare on a busy morning and tasted good. It was a little thin for my taste, but that could have been because I used old-fashioned oats rather than instant. I have to admit, I could only eat half the portion so that nutritional information was a little off for me but it was still filling and held me over until lunch.

Last week, Payne-less Photography Blog shared a Pinterest recipe for S'mores Bars she passed with flying colors.

And Northern Cottage shared a bunch of projects that have "Pin-spired" her on Pinterest!

What Pins have YOU tried lately? Drop me a line and I'll check them out!


My New Camera!

I got my first big girl camera (Nikon D3100) for Christmas this year and it's my new obsession! We are a super active family, so a huge 55-300 zoom lens for sports photography was in my stocking. I swear I've taken 300 photos since I got it...want to see?

Our new sport this year is wrestling! I love watching and love photographing it even more. The concentration, the agony of defeat, the pure muscle. Sometimes it's easy to forget these are little boys on that mat! Though I have to say it's a sport that teaches accountability, if you lose there is no one else to blame. You have to accept it and vow to improve. A great life lesson.

My middle son is methodical and works the moves. He thinks about the little things like wearing his opponent down by digging in his chin while slowly working his hand around for a half-nelson.

The coaches have labeled my youngest son's style as "unorthodox" and he usually goes for the muscle moves. He just makes them move where he wants them to go!

And of course, my oldest is still into ski racing. He got "new" hand-me-down) race skis from a generous neighbor this season and won a bronze medal last week!

Sometimes as I'm looking through my photo card I see some surprises since I'm shooting on continuous shutter...like this...

I will admit that this freaked me out a bit!


Tutorial Tuesday!

Braided T-Shirt Scarf:

Flirty Ruffled Apron:

DIY Microwave Popcorn:

CLICK PICKS (last week's most clicked links):

#1 Favorite Projects of 2011

#2 Frugal Challenge

#3 Entry Before and After

Now it's YOUR turn:

Please... (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 with all our friends. Show them some love! Meet some new friends! Learn something new!

Ready? Teach Me Stuff!

Hope Studios

Simple Dessert Buffet

We hosted a holiday party for The Big Guy's work last month and I was in charge of providing a dessert buffet for 21 guests in the height of the Christmas season. Not easy...or is it?

I came up with a variety of small desserts, including fresh fruit and nuts, that everyone could sample that didn't take forever to prepare. These ideas would be great for any get-together, chose them all or just a few for your next party!

1. Cheesecake with Caramel and Cashews - store bought cheesecake cut into small squares topped with caramel ice cream topping and salted cashews. Serve in little cupcake papers.

2. Panna Cotta with Strawberries and Balsamic served in tiny espresso cups.

3. Fresh Cherries and Spiced Nuts served in paper cups.

4. Oreo Truffle Pops Form the balls as directed then freeze.
Melt your candy melts (I used Wilton), poke a hole halfway into your truffle with stick, dip stick into melts, and place into hole to "glue" in place.
Now, dip the whole "pop" into the candy melts and place into a block of Styrofoam to set.
Store in fridge until time to serve.

5. Brie topped with Fresh Raspberries and Hot Pepper Raspberry Chipotle Sauce from Costco. (This sauce is so awesome! Just pour it over brie, cream cheese, put it in a crock pot with meatballs...this was a nice, less sweet dessert alternative.)

6. Fresh Raspberries Stuffed with White Chocolate Chips

I had this entire menu ready in one afternoon - and several things like the Oreo Truffle Pops and the Panna Cotta were made the day before.

I used several tips from the Project Wedding website to set up my buffet table - don't have a photo because it wasn't totally set up until right before the guests arrived.

Don't forget to come back tomorrow to Teach Me Stuff for Tutorial Tuesday!


Excessive Force? Feedback Friday

My blogger friend, Constant Complainer, occasionally sends me news stories to get a woman's perspective from my blog readers. Here is one such story about an 8th grade student gunned down by police after he pulled out a realistic looking pellet gun in school.

The story, from MSNBC, can be read in it's entirety here. To summarize, the student walked into a classroom and punched a boy in the nose then pulled out this pellet gun:

The police received a call about an armed student, they responded, the student refused to drop the weapon, and they used deadly force to bring him down. The police fired three shots, two of which hit the student in the chest and the back of the head.

The police feel they were justified to use deadly force in this situation and the parents feel that this was excessive and that a shot to "bring him down" would have been more appropriate.

It's Feedback Friday...

Do you feel that deadly force was justified in this case?

Do you think that because of the student's age the police should have fired a shot to simply bring him down?

Do your feelings change if you think of the boy as a student in your child's school vs. if the boy was your own child?


Removing Water Stains From Utensils - Pinterest Pass or Fail

I saved a Pin to my Housekeeping Board last week explaining How To Remove White Water Stains From Black Utensils originating at One Good Thing. Do your black kitchen utensils look like mine?

I only recently discovered this problem in my own kitchen, and didn't even realize it wasn't permanent! The recommended method for removal involved baking soda and hydrogen peroxide mixed to a paste. Rub the utensils and watch the stains disappear.

Did it work? Well, take a look at my after photo:

It was effective and bought me some time before my black kitchen utensils need to be replaced. Pinterest Pass!

Last week Patti told me about making Marbled Ornaments.

Wendy has been making recipes from Pintest - Creamed Eggs over Toast, Chicken and Black Bean Enchilada Bake and Christmas Tree Meringues. There are some passes and fails in there.

What Pins have YOU tried lately?? Drop me a link so I can check it out!

Your Skin Fix, December Edition