Sunday, October 2, 2016

Hello Mr. Pillow

I was browsing one of my favorite blogs one day when I noticed this...

That is just the cutest little pillow... So unique. So DIYable...

I'm not sure where she got it. I didn't ask. I just thought, "I can so make that. I have all the materials ready to go."

Materials needed: gray fabric, black felt, and white felt. Also, black and white thread. You can hand stitch or use a sewing machine like I did.

I tried to go by what I saw in the picture, and I think I got pretty close considering it was only one small picture at an angle.

I laid out all the pieces where I wanted them and pinned everything down before sewing. My stitch lines follow the outline of the pieces except for the tiny squares; I just stitched a straight line through those. For the middle, I zigzag stitched a bundle of white threads down the center then knotted a bunch of smaller pieces and hand stitched those in place. After that was done, it was just a matter of sewing on a back and stuffing it.

The result?

First Draft

Ok, so the strings were ugly. They didn't have the fluffy, hangy look of the original. I ended up cutting them off to nubs, and I think the pillow looks just as good without them.

Final Result

I keep this pillow on our couch. It's a good neck pillow for laying and watching TV. Everyone always covers their couch with huge pillows that take up all the space. You either throw them on the floor or try to rest your head on them only to end up with a crook in your neck from the sharp angle. I think smaller pillows are the way to go.

Jambalaya (~45 mins)

It's time for dinner. It's been a busy day, and you didn't prep anything ahead of time. Should you just give in and order out? No! Don't do it! You have tons of options for quick delicious meals! How about Jambalaya? What? You think that takes too long? Can Jambalaya be done fast? Say, in under an hour? And still be darn delicious? You bet.

So don't order out. We don't have to resort to that yet. We don't have to pull out the instant mac or can of tomato soup either. How about a big bowl of spicy, homemade Jambalaya instead? 

Serves: 4
Prep: 20 mins
Cooking: 25 mins

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 c chopped onion
  • 1 c chopped bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 6 oz andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1 c uncooked parboil rice (or what you have on hand)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 c chicken broth
  • 3/4 c water
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce (omit to reduce spiciness)
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 lb shrimp (shelled and deveined)

  1. Heat oil in large pot; saute onion, pepper, garlic, and sausage until onion is translucent.
  2. Add rice and seasonings.
  3. Add broth, water, paste, hot sauce, and chopped tomatoes.
  4. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Add shrimp and cook until pink. Discard the bay leaf.

Super quick! Most of your time is chopping a couple vegetables and adding seasonings. After everything is added, you can just walk away for those 20 minutes. Put a load of dishes in if you need to (you won't be dirtying many with this recipe).

Beef Stew (slowcooker)

Well, hello there. I didn't see you come in. I was a little preoccupied with this steamy bowl of beefy goodness...

Serves: 4
Prep: 20 mins
Cooking: 3-6 hours

  • 1/2 lb stew beef
  • 1/2 c flour
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 5-6 carrots, chopped (or a good handful baby carrots)
  • 4-5 potatoes, cubed (bite size)
  • 1-2 packages brown gravy mix
  • 3-4 shakes worchestire sauce
  • 3/4 to 1 onion, cut into thick wedges
  • 2 cubes beef bullion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shakes onion flakes (Ooo, that rhymes!)

  1. Cube beef into bite size chunks.
  2. Mix flour, salt, and pepper in a ziploc bag, add beef, and shake to coat.
  3. Optional: if you're in a pinch for time, brown the coated beef in a skillet in order to reduce overall cooking time to 3 hours instead of 6.
  4. Add carrots, potatoes, onion, bullion, and gravy mix to a slowcooker with 5 cups water.
  5. Add the beef on top and season with worchestire sauce, garlic, and onion flakes.
  6. Close the lid and cook on low 6 hours or high 3 hours (if pre-browned beef). Stir once half-way though.
  7. Also, optional: I like to add a little butter to mine when dishing up and then smash all my potatoes. Just saying.

Why pre-brown if cooking on high? Cooking stew meat too quickly can make the meat tough. Browning the outside locks in the juices and keeps the meat tender!

Is it necessary to put the beef on top? No, but I like to make sure my potatoes are nice and done.

Thrifty Finds

When I go to the thrift store, the number one thing I keep an eye out for is picture frames -- especially shadow box frames. It doesn't matter what ugly thing is inside them to begin with or what color they are. You can paint the frame and remove the art.

Here I ripped out pictures of a bird and a beach scene, repainted the white frame because it was scuffed up pretty badly, and used the like new frames to display my rock and coin collections.

All I needed was hot glue and white paper to use as a background, and this little addition was a big step in bringing life to my previously bare walled living room. Best of all, those frames cost $3/each!

I also picked up a couple framed chalkboards for $2/each. They were also in the picture frame aisle, and I found them both on the same day. They were probably donated by the same people.

Work required? Nothing. I just erased what was there and used a chalk marker to update them. I put them in the hallway leading to our guest bedroom and bathroom, and when they aren't decked out for the holidays, I update them to greet whomever is visiting at the time.

Here's a very sad looking wooden leaf I found sitting around for $1...

How about a fresh coat of gold paint?

Here's a mirror I found. What did I need to do to fix it up? Nothing. It already looked like this. I thought it would make a good addition to our bedroom.

It doesn't cost as much as you think to make your house into a home.

These were all finds from the Savers thrift store. It is my favorite. I've also found a ton of books and even video games. I found a Nancy Drew video game for PC *no scratches* for $0.99!