Cherish Yesterday...Dream Tomorrow...Live Today

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Another Bracelet to Match and the Best Banana Cake Ever!

I was at it again this week!  I had a necklace and earrings I had purchased on clearance at(of all places) Cracker Barrel.  I had to try to match it and make a bracelet.  I call this my carnival set and it was a blast to replicate the colors and the really cool beads.  I headed to Etsy and found very similar beads very inexpensively.  I also used some of what I had.  When I received the beads I ordered, I got to work making dangles.  I am getting better at that!  I measured out enough silver chain for a bracelet using one of my favorites as a guide.  I put a clasp on each end and added all the dangles.  I am very pleased with the bracelet.  I think it matches beautifully. 

I joined the Craftaholics swap again this year and have already received my partner's info.  I decided to try a brand new jewelry technique on her gift.  It took me several tries, but it was interesting to attempt something new.  I will share that soon after she gets her gift.

  I went to the dollar store last week and found the rainbow pill holder for a dollar(shown to the right in the picture above).  It works wonderful for small jewelry findings.  I purchased the set of similar containers for ten dollars on sale.  I hadn't been to a dollar store in a while but I can see it pays to pop in there from time to time to see what you can re purpose.  I also got a graduation card for fifty cents for a distant relative and six c batteries for two dollars for my Mickey Mouse pendulum clock.  I felt like I had kind of scored! 

Last, but definitely not least, is the best banana cake I have ever had!  It is slightly labor intensive, but oh so worth it.  Preheat your oven to 275 degrees.  Grease a 9 x 13 pan.  Mash 4 very ripe bananas in a bowl; set aside.  In another bowl, mix 3 cups flour, 11/2 teaspoons baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Set that bowl aside.  In a large mixing bowl, cream 3/4 cup butter and 2 cups of sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in 3 eggs and 2 teaspoons of vanilla.  Alternately add your dry ingredients you had set aside and 1 1/2 cups buttermilk.  I didn't have buttermilk so I put 2 teaspoons white vinegar in a two cup measuring cup and added milk to the 1 1/2 cup mark.  I stirred it and let it sit a few minutes and it was just as good as buttermilk for this recipe.  After all of that is added, add your bananas gently folding them in.  Transfer your batter to your pan(it is a lot of batter) and put it in your oven.  The recipe I went from said to bake for an hour, but I baked it for an extra half hour.  My toothpick came out dry.  I cooled it and made a cream cheese icing and put it in the fridge.  It has received rave reviews from the boys and my husband.  Enjoy! 

I hope all the dads are having a wonderful Father's Day out there.  I have one week left and it is Summer Break for me.  Have a great week and take care.  Nancy 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Cookie Bars, My First Jewelry Design, and All About Pillows and Mattresses

Hi everyone and happy Sunday evening.  I want to jump right in and share my first original jewelry piece. 

The bracelet you see at the bottom of this picture is the first piece of jewelry I came up with without a pattern or a picture.  I modeled it after the necklace pictured at the top of the picture.  I had a difficult time locating beads to come close to those in the necklace, but I am pretty happy with what I found.  The chain was a heavier gauge than I would have liked but I worked with it.  It was fun to start putting something together, and just see where it took me.  The perfectionist in me can find several mistakes and flaws but I am my worst critic.  I can't wait to start my next jewelry project! 

 I wanted to share these delicious cookie bars.  I got the recipe at Real Mom Kitchen .  I changed out a mixture of cherry and white chocolate chips for the chocolate chips and they were fantastic.  It is great to have an easy recipe like this to make homemade cookies without having to stand there and drop them tablespoon by tablespoon onto cookie sheets and wait for each batch to come out.  My family definitely enjoyed these! 

Now, grab a cup of coffee/tea/whatever and sit down for a cautionary tale.  Just because you spend a fortune and test drive a mattress for three minutes does not mean you will have blissful, healthful sleep.  It does not have a happy ending at all-at least not in our case.  We purchased a Tempurpedic mattress, the Cloud nonetheless, a little over a year ago.  It set us back almost two thousand dollars.  We thought it would just take some getting used to.  To skip to the chase, we threw even more money at it, buying various toppers to soften it as the name "cloud" was completely misleading.  By the time we were finished, my husband and I had not slept through the night without waking up in pain for over six months.  We broke down and bought a new mattress which was also expensive(about half the price of the first one) and while my husband was very comfortable on it, my hips continued to wake me up through the night.  I definitely liked it better, but it still wasn't perfect.  You won't believe what now has me sleeping through the night, every night:  a $10 body pillow!  I read on line what people have used to help control hip pain when they sleep.  My chiropractor had suggested putting a pillow between my legs as I am a side sleeper but the pillow kept slipping out when I fell asleep.  A body pillow is very long so it doesn't slip around so much.  I used one when I was pregnant and it saved my life but I didn't think of it for sleeping in general.  I can't believe the difference!  So now my husband and I are both sleeping.  Where am I heading with this?  Other than to give you some unsolicited advice about mattresses,  I wanted to show some flannel pillowcases I whipped up with some cute teacup fabric I had on hand.  I thought my body pillow needed some cuteness!

 I had enough fabric to make a couple of spare cases for the smooshy log shaped pillows we sleep with.  I hope I didn't lose anyone with that lengthy gripe session about mattresses.  Remember, it is only my opinion.

My school year is running down.  I have a week and 2 days before pre-k graduation.  I can't believe my first pre-k class is going into their junior year of high school!  I have enjoyed all the years I have done this.  I recently ran into two kids in a department store who were from my first class.   They both came up to me and gave me a hug.  I can't tell you how proud I was to see what a wonderful young man and lady they have become.  We talked for about fifteen minutes.  It gave me a warm feeling and makes me happy I do what I do. 

I hope you all have a great week.  Take care.  Nancy

Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Birthday Gift, Yummy Bars and an Old Favorite

Happy Sunday everyone.  There were some local festivities this weekend and everyone in town holds garage sales.  We were no exception.  My husband had last week off and he pretty much took on the rummage sale work.  I helped this weekend.  Between that and getting my flowers planted, I was busy.  I love it when my flower pots are all filled with beautiful color.  It makes the whole exterior look fresh and pretty. 

A good friend celebrated her birthday this past weekend.  I could not be with her to celebrate, however because she moved all the way cross the country almost two years ago.  I decided to make her a gift of jewelry. 

I was very happy with how the earrings and bracelet turned out.  She is a silver kind of girl and I hope she likes these.  I am learning quite a bit from the kits I get each month and I am ready to start branching out on my own.  I have some jewelry I am going to try to match to make companion pieces.  I will show you when I complete them.  I find beading relaxing and I can't wait to start designing pieces myself. 

I also returned to a tutorial that I have used several times before-and I will several times more!  These watchbands from Cluck Cluck Sew are so addictive and fun.  I don't think I will ever have enough of them.  I get compliments every time I wear one.  I am thinking of ordering another watch face in a bronze metal.  I also love all the brightly colored watch faces.  Decisions, decisions! 

I also wanted to share a yummy treat I tried after reading about it in a link party a while back. 

They are pineapple poke bars and they were devoured pretty quickly.  My husband loves pineapple and this recipe uses fresh pineapple.  The sauce on top isn't too sweet as it is made with sour cream.  It is definitely a keeper recipe.  Don't you love to try new things you see on these blogs we connect with in the link parties?  It has really broadened the meals I serve my family and my crafting choices.  I love it! 

I ordered a memorial stone and had it personalized for Billie.  I really appreciate all of your kind comments and emails after my last post.  I have come to realize as time passes that she was very ill and it would have been nothing short of criminal to keep her here for my selfish reasons.  I feel confident my husband and I did the right thing letting her go.  In the mean time, Mickey is getting more loving than she can handle!  But I think she is ok with that because she misses her big sister too.

Have a great week.  Take care.  Nancy