Friday, January 29, 2010

Favorite Friday Recipe: Crockpot shredded chicken

I'd like to talk to you today about two different garage sales of which I am a huge fan. One is the Citywide Garage Sale where vendors from all over the state (and sometimes out of state) come and sell their vintage/antique goods. Stalls range from experienced antique dealers to little old ladies who are just trying to get rid of some stuff in their house. Needless to say this is one of my favorite events and many of my finds come from there--including these colorful Thermo-bowls with wicked little feet. They keep your food both hot and cold, depending on what you need. And have I mentioned how cute their little feet are?

The next garage sale that holds equal space in my heart is the semi annual Le Garage sale. Twice a year, all the local boutiques in town get together at the Palmer Events Center and hold a mega sale. There are usually lots of deals to be had and they've slowly expanded it to housewares as well as items for the men in your life, kids, and pets. It is this weekend and it's time to get my game face on!

Anyways, back to the post at hand. Today I'll be sharing a recipe that I got from the gals at fashionism. It's a very simple crockpot recipe with just three ingredients. Then you get to put together all the fixin's you like to have in your tacos and you're ready for a party!

Crockpot shredded chicken (for tacos)


1 package of chicken
(you can use a whole cut up chicken, breasts, thighs, etc.)
1 package of taco seasoning
(I used chicken fajita seasoning but any would work)
1 can of chicken broth


Mix chicken broth and taco seasoning in crockpot
Put in chicken
Set on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours
Shred chicken with a fork (remember to pour some of the broth on to keep it nice and juicy) and serve with other taco sides

We decided on homemade style tortillas, pico de gallo, cheese, guacamole, sour cream and tomatoes for our chicken taco night. Here are the Thermo-bowls and Fiesta ware in action!

And another shot, with a better view of the cute little feet on the Thermo-bowls!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Flowers of the month: January

I love having fresh flowers in the house but it feels so decadent to be buying them all the time. So Jill and I decided that we'd trade off each month--she'll buy enough flowers for two arrangements for January, I'll buy February's flowers and so on. That way we each get flowers at least once a month and it's fun to be surprised every other month! We actually started this tradition last year, and although we (ok I) lost momentum around October, it was so fun that we decided to try it again this year.

Jill kicked off this year with some delicate pink spray roses for January. I wish I had thought to take a picture of them after day 3 when they bloomed even more. Roses have such an great classic vibe to them and yet the spray roses are petite and not overpowering like regular ones. They were also perfect in the glass jar--very simple and balanced out the formalness that roses sometimes have.The pink was a great choice too--I couldn't decide whether to put them on the kitchen counter where they could be seen all the time or on the dining room table set with an antique lace tablecloth. Thanks Jill!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wishlist Wednesday: Snack time!

There are not too many words that I react to with such delight as the words: snack time! I am never one to turn down a snack, big or small, and actually the running joke at work is that whenever anyone comes into my office I am always in the midst of eating something.

This post combines two of my great loves--snacks and kitchenware. Nothing sets the tone of a good snack more than arranging it on adorable plates. I love the following snack plate sets because they come complete with cups--perfect for tea and scones...and cookies...and cake...

Franciscan starburst snack plate set (holy grail--it sold on ebay for $$$!)

Cute retro print snack plate set in fun colors

Fire king snack plate set with a great blue mosaic

Monday, January 25, 2010

Vintage Monday: Franciscan Starburst

Today my finds come from the Austin Antique Mall! I didn't know that we had one so it was very exciting to discover it after living here for the past 7 years.

My experience at this antique mall was similar to my experiences at various others. It is very very crowded, packed to the brim with treasures, so much that it can be overwhelming. Some stalls were very neat and showcased their items beautifully, some were a jumble and made my eye start to twitch. All the pretty jewelry were locked away behind glass doors which takes away from the experience in my opinion but totally understandable. Price wise I thought things were on the expensive side though there were a few sales here and there (some booths up to 50% off as well).

Overall it's really interesting to see what items are considered collectible in different parts of the country. The Austin Antique Mall is definitely Texas/cowboy/cattle rancher themed. There were some great items though and I can't wait to go back and rummage on a regular basis!

I was able to score these Franciscan Starburst pieces from a store that was reorganizing (ie. a mess) so I got them for 50% off the listed price. This particular pattern is really popular on ebay so I don't think I'll be making a collection out of this pattern but I couldn't resist. Serving bowls are my weakness. As well as mugs with handles that look like big ears.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Favorite Friday Recipe: Kona Inn Banana Bread

Happy Friday! The weekend is almost here and I plan to catch up on some sleep, hopefully start another crafty project, and hang out with B and the puppies. I also cannot wait to sit at my kitchen nook and enjoy a leisurely afternoon tea complete with freshly baked banana bread. I love love love banana bread and have tried many recipes, only to keep coming back to this one. If you have some bananas on hand this weekend, give it a try!

Kona Inn Banana Bread

Ingredients (makes 2 loaves)

2-1/2 cups of flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of baking soda
1 cup of butter
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of mashed ripe bananas (approximately 6)
4 eggs


Preheat the oven to 350F.
Grease and flour two 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pans.
Beat the butter with the sugar together until it is blended and light yellow.
Sift in the flour, salt, and baking soda.
Beat the eggs, then add them to the mixture, along with the mashed banana.
Mix in all ingredients by hand until blended (I used an electric mixer on low for the most part)
Batter should be a little lumpy when you pour it into the loaf pans.

Bake the bread 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool on a rack (20 min if you are patient, 3.5 min if you're a hungry monster like me), slice, serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wishlist Wednesday: etsy goodies

Today my wishlist comprises of items found on etsy. I am seriously addicted to this site. There is a huge vintage portion that I scour daily for lost objects, but also a handmade section that is incredible! I love the idea of things that are handmade with love and care. The amount of detail, talent, creativity and work put into these items is just amazing. My secret dream is to open an etsy store one day though I have no idea what I'd put in the shop. Many of my handmade items are cobbled together with little to no quality control. These items are doubtful even for gifting let alone selling. (hence why all my jewelry making endeavors end up being gifted to my mom who will wear them out of duty--thanks mom!)

Here are a few handcrafted etsy items currently saved in my wishlist. Enjoy!

Chandelier in natural birch by Uncommon

Foxy pillow cover by humblecollection

Giclee print by JennSki

Felted pebble handsoap by delica

And get ready for a tiny squeal: a bell cupcake stand and bird vase by whitneysmith

Monday, January 18, 2010

Vintage Monday: Canoe Muffin anyone?

It drives me nuts when I can't find an item I have seen before so now I am super careful to write down any sort of brand name or distinguishing marks on items so that I can then go home and google to my heart's content.

A while ago, I saw this gorgeous Danish modern style flatware in a few pictures on other sites. They were sterling silver with a gorgeous rosewood handle. I attempted a few google searches but couldn't find much so I just filed that "wishlist want" to the back of my mind. Well then came the day when we braved the snow and ice to go to the DAV thrift store in St Joe. This thrift store in particular holds a special place in my heart. You have to dig to find the treasures, and oh the treasures you will find there. Old Samsonite luggage for $5? Thank you very much. Vintage pyrex for 99 cents? Well don't mind if I do. I always find great stuff here and that cold December day was no exception. There was a whole rack of silverware sitting on the shelves and I was quick to spot a wooden handle. Could it be? Score! We found a few butter knives, a fork, and a teaspoon (all for $1 incidentally) and so the obsession grew.

Even better was that I now had a brand name from the back of those utensils to research: Ekco Eterna. Soon, I learned that Ekco products began in 1888 in Chicago and were really popular in the 60s (which I guess is why mid century lovers geek out over this flatware). After more googling and ebaying, I finally learned the name of this highly sought after line of flatware....Canoe Muffin.


When I told B this strange fact, he held up one of the forks, pointed to the wood handle and said, "I guess it's because it's sorta shaped like a canoe". Ohhhhh. But wait, what about the muffin part? But seeing as I am a lover of all things muffin, I put aside my incredulity and began to stalk ebay auctions. These canoe muffins and I were meant to be.

And so after extensive haggling and bidding and anxiously awaiting the end of various auctions, we are now the proud owners of quite an extensive Ekco Eterna Canoe Muffin collection. B is always amazed at how we go from nothing to a WHOLE LOT of something in very little time. I like to call it being efficient, and maybe a tad obsessive if I am honest about it.

I am proud to introduce the Canoe Muffin collection for this Vintage Monday!

Here they are, all nestled in their little drawer:

A closer look at the butter knife, dinner and salad forks and soup and teaspoons:

A side look so you can get the full "canoe" effect:

Serving pieces (meat fork, ladle, pie server and serving spoon):

Iced tea spoons (or ice cream sundae spoons!):

And really if you thought the iced tea spoons were frivolous wait till you see these cocktail/seafood forks:

Canoe view:

I am now ready and equipped to entertain and throw a party in which every food item will have its own serving or eating utensil. A dream come true.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Wreath of the month: January

Here's my first wreath of the year in keeping with my "a wreath a month" goal. One down, eleven to go!

January's wreath was inspired by bleubirdvintage's pom pom wreath. I love the colors she used--so bright and fun. Her step by step directions are great too for a beginner.

Her version:

I remember making these pom poms back in the day and thought they looked warm and fuzzy and perfect for a winter wreath. I wanted to go with a neutral color and decided to reuse the yarn from my Christmas wreath project since that meant I didn't have to go back to the craft store. Hey my laziness and fear of the craft store = reusing resources = saving the world. One pom pom at a time.

So a side note about these little pom poms. My fingers still hurt from making these little suckers. The first few are fun, even rewarding, but then you break your first pair of scissors cutting these little pieces of yarn and then you get a bruise on your thumb and you start sneezing from the yarn dust and it all goes downhill from there. I was so relieved when I ran out of yarn.

To begin, I used a foam wreath form (again) and wrapped it with some scrap linen I had lying around (really I did--I'm shocked too). I then proceeded to tie all the pom poms on, arranging as I went. Finally, I had them all tied on and paused to admire my work. I tilted my head to look at it, and then tilted it the other way. And no matter which way I looked at it, it sorta looked like sea urchins on a wreath. So I then did what I could to remedy the situation, a familiar and effective strategy I turn to whenever I need a little "flair". I put another bird on it. This one was found at the Citywide Garage sale (good golly I mention them a lot, you'd think they pay me for this or something).

The breakdown:
Wreath form: $3.99
Yarn: free
Little bird: $1
Total cost: $4.99
Total time: 4-5 hours (mostly making the pom poms while we caught up on season 5 of Lost)

The final product:

It's grown on me since we've put it up. The little bird helps of course.

Oh and I was able to use the leftover pom poms I had to make a little decoration for my table. I just glued them to some sticks and set them in my favorite vase we bought from Bison Home in Melbourne. Perfect for days when I don't have fresh flowers to adorn my kitchen table.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wishlist Wednesday: all about bowls

I thought the middle of the week would be an appropriate time to share the many things on my wishlist.

Today, it's all about bowls! Gorgeous bowls that not only look great as decoration but serve a functional purpose. In our home, bowls are handy to put fruit and vegetables in, great storage for keys, loose change or dog treats, and perfect for displaying pretty objects.

Here are some of my favorite wishlist bowls:

Words cannot even describe how I feel about these felted wool bowls from delica's etsy shop . There's something about the warm and fuzzy felt and organic shape that I love. I can just picture putting little spools of vintage thread in these as decoration on my table or shelf.

The next set of bowls are by Fire King. Not only are they such a unique teardrop shape but they are nesting bowls as well! That's double the goodness! I first saw these at the Citywide Garage Sale and balked at the price for the set of three (and there was a crack in the smallest bowl). I did some research online, checked on ebay, and managed to win an auction for the medium and large bowl for a decent price! So I guess these aren't technically a wishlist item either, but I am trying to track down a small size now to complete my set now (well actually, I think the set comes with 4 bowls but I'd be happy with 3). My bowls are the delphite blue ones. Evidently there are jadeite ones as well but they are more than 2-3 times expensive. Now those are definitely wishlist items! (pictures from ebay and etsy)

Finally, a HUGE wishlist want: Catherineholm enamel lotus patterned bowls. These are so so popular right now and I've seen selected colors go for crazy prices on ebay. I keep hoping to stumble across them in a little corner of a thrift store somewhere but I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon. I might just have to track down the color I want and pay the premium for it. (Pictures from a Catherineholm fan flickr group)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Vintage Monday: finds from Missouri

Mondays are the absolute worst days (rivaling the Sunday night blues) and so I thought it'd be nice to introduce Vintage Mondays which will feature vintage/antique items that I've acquired and am presently hoarding. Quick note on definitions (just a general guideline, some people are sticklers) Vintage = 30 years or older and Antique = 90-100 years or older

Why the vintage/antique love? I guess I really like the sense of history and sentiment that comes with a piece--I wonder about who owned it last and like to believe that it was used with love. I also love that these items are relatively unique, well made (not as mass produced as things these days) and falls perfectly in line with the whole green mentality of reusing resources.

There are several methods to my vintage acquisitions: ebay, etsy, garage sales, thrift/vintage stores, antique malls, and a new source: B's grandma's and dad's attics.

Today my finds come from the latter. Because my mom is a thrower, I do not have many items from my childhood or further back. B's family on the other hand keeps everything which is too awesome for words. Today the items featured came home with us after our Christmas trip to Missouri.

A metal Rainbo bread sign from B's dad (he has one hanging in his kitchen as well). It was found in a barn on the farm. (pictured with an orange Melmac sugar/creamer set from the Citywide Garage sale and my Martha Stewart recipe box)

An old Underwood typewriter complete with carrying case. I have always wanted one and how special that B has memories of playing on this when he was little!

Old Fiesta ware from the 1940s. This collection completely eclipses everything I own (with one exception, and that's for another Monday). The story behind this: B's grandma started buying these plates in the 40s when she was single and continued purchasing them after she was married. Lisa (B's sister) found these in grandma's attic a couple of years ago and put them up for display in her home. I was so excited and amazed and jealous to see them--they are in good condition but you can tell they were used (some chips and cracks) which makes them even more valuable in my opinion because they were used and loved! Anyways, after years of hearing me gush about them, Lisa decided to surprise me with them for Christmas!! I was stunned and am still blown away by that gesture of thoughtfulness. And then I proceeded to get my grubby little hands on the box and run out the door before she changed her mind! The old colors are becoming increasingly expensive in the collector's market so I never thought I would be able to own a collection like this. And to have such a great story to go along with it!

Here they are sitting in our kitchen cupboard. (notice the empty shelf above for perhaps future pieces?)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Look I actually made something!

I am proud of my first wreath project here for many reasons. (1) Because I actually braved the craft store to get supplies (2) Because I didn't give up or get distracted and wander away and actually completed this wreath. And (3)because I actually took a picture of it. I've realized that one of my biggest challenges will be pictures for this blog. Words I've got, pictures are a bit trickier to attain.

Anyways, I was inspired to make this wreath by a post on designsponge, one of my favorite blogs. The original instructions called for some sort of twine/rope and to use Scotch Brite sponges and those crinkle scissors to give the leaves texture.

After two failed attempts to remember to pick up Scotch Brite at Target, I went with felt instead. I also got very overwhelmed at Michaels (craft store) and decided to go with yarn instead of the twine. I liked the way it turned out but note to self: when wrapping wreath forms, go with larger/wider yarn--this thing took forever to cover! The felt leaves I could've been more careful about cutting but at that point (Dec 23) I was already out of time to even display the wreath. B and I saw the little blue bird at Michaels and couldn't resist. Yes I am that crazy bird lady.

Here's the breakdown:
Wreath form: $3.99
Yarn: $2.50
Felt: $2.00
Little blue bird: $1.99
Total cost: $10.48 before tax
Total time: 1.5 hrs (but spaced out with many internet breaks)

Closeup of finished project:

Feeling somewhat ambitious after this, I've decided to try to make one wreath a month for the next year. I hope I haven't peaked too early.

Friday, January 8, 2010

I have succumbed

It is the year 2010 and I have started a blog. Finally. I am unsure of this endeavor for many reasons (privacy, self absorption, black hole of time, sheer laziness, etc.) but will give it a go nonetheless because I actually may have something to blog about now!

One of the things I've been mulling over in the past few months has been about fostering my creative side. In fact, this spinning ballerina illusion was what started it all. Click on the link, give it a try, and see which way you see the ballerina spinning; and if you can concentrate and focus and make her switch directions. According to the article, if you see her spinning clockwise you use your right brain more; and if you see her spinning counterclockwise, then you tend to use your left side of the brain more. Well you can imagine my surprise when I saw her spinning clockwise. Me? Right brained?

Here are words that describe right brained folks:
--uses feeling
--"big picture" oriented
--imagination rules
--believes, appreciates
--spatial perception
--presents possibilities
--risk taking

I looked longingly at the list of left brained words:
--uses logic
--detail oriented
--facts rule
--can comprehend
--reality based
--forms strategies

If I concentrate hard enough, I can get the ballerina to spin counter clockwise (left brain) but it does take effort. Whereas I see her turning clockwise effortlessly (right brain).

This got me to thinking about my natural preferences as well as my learned preferences. Long story short, I think I've spent a lot of energy in the past years fostering my left brained side and it's time now to start with the right side.

So then after a lengthy introduction, here we are at the main idea of this post and start of "I can totally make that". This phrase is something that I say often and very annoyingly to my friend Jill. The scenario is oftentimes like this: we'll be out shopping, Jill will see something cute to buy and I will inevitably say "I can totally make that". You can see why this is a really annoying thing to say when coupled with the fact that even if I could make that item, I never really attempt to and thus Jill is out of said item I talked her out of buying as well as item I never produced for her.

This blog will hopefully chronicle some of my crafty endeavors as I attempt to recreate different projects. I will try to post inspiration pictures and actual pictures of what I attempt. There will be some home decorating stuff in here as well as we have just moved into a lovely home. Definitely thrift/vintage/antique finds as I scour stores in town and wherever we travel. Some fashion to satisfy my inner magpie for all things bright and shiny. And random musings and pictures of penguins and puppies when the mood strikes!