Thursday, March 31, 2011

I've been putzing around

In Illustrator.

That is, the free trial. I haven't bitten the bullet yet and purchased it. I am by no means a pro in Illustrator, but I've dabbled in it for work. Luckily, there are some awesome tutorials out there on the interwebs to help.

I made these invites for my sister's baby shower:

And these Thank You Cards to send after my baby shower. I thought it would be fun to do something personal and bring in the Ugly Doll theme of the nursery:

And these for Baby Z's bathroom:


I designed them to go with the owl bathroom accessories I got from Target:

I think they'll look nice in some crisp white frames collaged together. We'll see how it turns out once we get some time to paint the bathroom.

For anyone interested, here's where you can find the tutorials I used:

It's the little things...

I love Baby Z's crib. The only complaint I have is about the screws holding it together. While I certainly didn't expect them to be white like the crib finish, the way they sink into the crib just makes them completely noticeable. See?

But we knew this was coming. We took a long time to pick out a crib. The crib we ended up selecting had rave reviews about its sturdiness, looks, and safety. The only negative thing people pointed out was the screws. It's not terrible, but we can certainly do something about it. We removed the screws 2 at a time (to avoid having the crib fall apart on us) and we spraypainted the big screws baby blue. The baby blue screws will match the handles on the dresser we're redoing. We left the smaller screws in the crib and painted them white with a small paintbrush.

Much better:

I love how big of a difference some little changes can make :)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Onion Pie

Tasty, flaky, savory onion pie. 

Before you ask: yes, it gives you gas.'s tasty and oh so worth it. The smell of the butter and onions slowly cooking is deliciously intoxicating. It brings back memories of being in my grandmother's kitchen (the smell of the pie, not the gas). 

I've made onion pies before but I've always flown by the seat of my pants. This time around, I decided to find some recipes online and do some experimenting. I used this Vidalia Onion Pie recipe and tweaked it a little based on the ingredients I already had at home. 

Onion Pie

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
cold water

1 egg yolk and 1 teaspoon water for egg wash
1/2 cup unsalted butter
9 medium yellow onions
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese (I really like cheese)

Prepare the crust. Combine all the dry ingredients in your pastry blender and mix well. 

Add the butter into the dry mixture and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal. 

Slowly add water, drop by drop. Continue to do this until the dough sticks together without being sticky or crumbly. 

Place the dough in plastic wrap in the shape of a disk and place it in the fridge for at least an hour.

Butter a 10 inch pie pan. Roll out the dough and place it in the pie pan. Brush the egg wash on the pie crust and place the pie pan in the refrigerator until the filling is prepared. 

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. 

Begin preparing the filling. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat (I used a wok to have more room). 

Chop up the onions. 

Add the onions to the butter and saute them until they are translucent. Do not brown the onions. 

In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, the buttermilk, and the flour. 

Add this mixture to the onions. Season with salt and pepper and pour this mixture into the pie crust. Top with the shredded Swiss cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees and bake for 20 more minutes (or until center is set). 

Thanks to the cheese, the top of the pie becomes delectably crusty. The inside is smooth, creamy, and savory. Serve up a slice with some salad and you're in business! 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

DIY Embroidery Hoop Art

This is the last project I completed for Baby Z's nursery mural, to go along with the Button Art and the Wall Letters. Hopefully what I've been picturing in my head will piece together nicely on the wall above her crib. My goal was to find a cheap way to create a fun and colorful mural to add some color to the baby blue walls - I think I've been pretty successful (fingers crossed until we put all the pieces together). 

I've seen the embroidery hoop and fabric project on several sites like this one and this one, and decided to give it a go. Since the button art and wall letters would add different patterns and colors, I chose to just use the brown tree fabric we used on the rocking chair. To bring in the Ugly Doll theme we have throughout the nursery, I also added some Ugly Doll silhouettes. 

To make this project you'll need:

- Embroidery hoop
- Spray paint 
- Fabric 
- Scissors
- Iron 
- Stencil or a print out (depending on how you will draw the silhouette)
- Paint marker, pen, or pencil 
- Paint (I use the Americana brand)
- Paintbrush
- Mod Podge

Start by spray painting the embroidery hoop in the color of your choice. Let it dry overnight. 

Cut a piece of fabric to fit into the embroidery hoop. 

Iron the piece of fabric. 

Since I didn't know where to find an Ugly Doll stencil, I used a print out of a character that I cut out. You can use a stencil, a print out, or freehand the silhouette - totally up to you. 

Place the cut out on the fabric so that you can trace it. I used a white paint marker to trace the cut out since I was working with dark fabric. You can use a pen or pencil if you are working with light fabric, just make sure that you can cover it up with the paint. If you are afraid of your stencil or cut out moving around on you, use some double sided tape to keep it in place.

You can barely see it in this photo, but this is what my outline ended up looking like: 

Using your paintbrush and paint, start filling in the outline. Make sure you place something under your fabric (like wax paper or newspaper) in case the paint leaks through the fabric. 

You'll need to paint several layers on the fabric, depending on what pattern you need to cover up and what paint you use. I had some tricky red apples that just wouldn't be covered up. Here is what it looked like after one coat:

And two coats:

And three coats:

I'm not sure how many coats I put on mine - I stopped counting after 5. Just make sure you let each coat dry before applying a new one. Once the paint is dry, I'd recommend putting a heavy book on top of the painted silhouette overnight, so the fabric does not get bumpy. 

Place the fabric in the embroidery hoop and stretch it to fit. Make sure the fabric is nice and taut. 

Cut the excess fabric off so it doesn't show past the embroidery hoop.

Put a coat of Mod Podge over the entire fabric.

Once it is dry, add a second layer of Mod Podge on the fabric. Let that dry and add a layer of Mod Podge on the hoop as well. I also flipped the hoop over and applied a layer of Mod Podge on the back of the fabric, so the fabric would be nice and sturdy. 

Once it dries, you're all done! Repeat the steps as many times as you want, for as many hoops as you want. 

I'll post an update soon once we decide on the mural layout and put them up on the wall in the nursery. Stay tuned!