Saturday, April 30, 2011

Simple Sewing Makeover

Well, I'm on a MAJOR sewing kick right now.  It started with the project that I'm just about to show you...  I made covers for my lanai chair cushions.

First of all, let me just say that I wasn't going to re-cover them myself.  I had every intention of taking the easy way out and buying some nice new ones from Home Depot or somewhere. 

Then, I looked at the prices.  Ummm... no, I'm not paying $25 for one stupid cushion that's not even that cute.  So I went to the fabric store and found some pretty heavy duty upholstery fabric. (I didn't worry about the "outdoor" fabric because these are technically not outside.)  I bought 4 yards of fabric (which turned out to be too much for this project, leaving me leftovers that were perfect for something else I'll show you soon.)  That 4 yards cost $20.00.  Basically, I got 4 brand spanking new--sorta-- cushions for less than the price of one new one from Home Depot/Lowe's/wherever.  I was a happy camper.

I really really love how they came out!

The colors are so much happier than the old burgandy cushions.

Happy, right?  :)

So, once I did that project, it sparked another...

You know how when you re-do one thing and it starts looking super spiffy, you start noticing that other things look pretty shabby?  Yeah, that's what's happening right now....

I took a good look at the cushions on my couch, and they looked pretty grungy.  Two years of living with a manly, dirty dude (a.k.a. my hubby who is always working on something outside) will do that.  (No, the dogs don't do it... I never have to clean up much at all when it's just me and "the boys.")  Well, since mt lanai was looking all nice, I couldn't have grungy, yucky couch cushions!

So I hit up the fabric store... again... 

I found some things I really liked, so I brought home some more fabric.  :)  Right now, I'm finishing up a couple of the pillows, so I'm not going to show you just yet.  You'll get photos in the next few days though... More before and afters... Yay!  So be on the look out.  

Anyhoo, that's what I'm working on this weekend, as well as hopefully taking a little "me time" to lay by the pool and work reading my latest book.  I'm taking Sunday all for myself, so I'll have more for you on Monday.  Have a happy weekend!

P.S.  I told you guys I would tell you how my scones from my Royal Wedding festive-ness turned out.  Ummm... They were UH-mazing!  I highly recommend trying that recipe.  
Yum. Yum.
They turned out just like the photo in the recipe. (This is my photo)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Fun Finds Friday: Pretty as a Princess

Since you learned yesterday that I've been really looking forward to the Royal Wedding (because it's a historic event, of course...), I thought I would show you some finds that I felt would surely make anyone feel just like a princess.  (Because let's face it, pretty much all of us girls have at least thought about what it would be like to have a prince come and sweep us away to a castle to be a princess... and that lucky lady Kate Middleton is living our dream right now!)  So... instead of the crown jewels, I'll show you some "gems" I found on Etsy that any of us commoners could enjoy.  :)

1.  Vintage Pink Clutch by DeborahsForgetMeNots -- If I were a princess, I would want a beautiful pink clutch like this with the pretty and sophisticated lace embellishments.

2.  Antique Style Rhinestone Brooch by BeBrooched -- Wouldn't this look beautiful on a nicely tailored colorful suit jacket? 

3.  Vintage Pink Pillbox Hat by Takity -- Ooohhh this hat makes me smile!  I wish it was still in style to wear hats like this everyday.  If I were a princess like Kate, I would have a collection of hats just like this!

4.  Rhinestone Hair Comb by IreneJewelry -- I would think a princess could wear jewels in her hair any day she wanted, and I would take full advantage of it.  I'd wear things just like this!

5.  Pink Rhinestone Ring by BevsVintageBoutique --  I'd also wear gorgeous rings 24/7 if I were a princess.  Luckily for us commoners, Etsy has gorgeous non-royal jewelry for us to have and enjoy. :)

6.  Tea Party Fine Art Print by ciaobellaphotography -- I don't know about you, but I've always thought about tea time when I thought about princesses.  This gorgeous print could help remind us that we all have a little princess in us, and we could all enjoy a tea time every now and then. 

7.  Vintage Gloves by TheSparklingCocktail --  What princess wouldn't wear gloves with a beautiful hat?  I know I sure would!

8.  Cinderella Crystal Slipper Shoes by euphoriabridal -- Ummm... I am pretty sure I would demand some Cinderella shoes if I were a princess.  My life just wouldn't be complete without them.  (Since I'm not though, I wish one of my engaged friends would wear some like these in their wedding... Talk about feeling "princess-y.")

I hope you guys enjoyed my finds fit for a princess!  Anything you would love to have?  Anything items I should have added?  Let me know!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tea and Scones, Anyone?

I have a little confession to make....  I'm one of those people who is actually sort of a teeny tiny bit excited about watching the royal wedding. 

Of course it's on the grounds that it's a historical event!!!

Well, um, for the most part it is.  Really, though, how many other future kings of England will I get to see married in my lifetime?  Okay, possibly a couple, but still...

Historical significance aside, I also just happen to love weddings.  It doesn't matter whose it is... a friend's wedding, a stranger's wedding, whatever... I just love seeing the pictures, checking out the dress, checking out the details, and seeing the glowing look of the happy couple.  This wedding just so happens to add an extra element to all of that...  The bride is becoming a flippin' princess! (I just felt like that word should be pink... I blame Barbie.)

If there's a single girl around who says she hasn't at least daydreamed an eensy weensy bit about becoming a princess (not counting the cynical people who find fault with everything or our ultra feminist friends who think fairy tales are sick and place women beneath men as possessions), she's lying.  We have all thought about it at least a time or two.  I'm just looking at this as a real, live Cinderella wedding, and I'm curious to see it!  (Add to that, I live on a rock in the middle of the Pacific, and when Kent leaves, my TV rarely leaves TLC or Hallmark channel, so I haven't been inundated with the overwhelming coverage that everyone else on the mainland has.)

Anyhoo... I know everyone has been "hating" on the royal wedding lately, so I feel a little silly making this confession.  If I'm not honest, though, what's the point?  I'm not being me.  :)  So here you have it.  I'm staying up tonight to watch.  Aaaaand.... I'm making-scones-and-drinking-tea....

Yeah, I said it.  I want to be a little festive.  (Not to mention it will fill some lonely evening hours)  I'm going to make some tea (nice hot tea, not good cold sweet tea like back home) and make some scones to enjoy.  I'll get the added bonus of having scones for breakfast over the weekend!  I think it's a pretty good deal.

I'm planning on making these

Yum!  They are cranberry orange scones, and I can't wait to give them a try!  I'll let you guys know how they turn out.  

Maybe I'm a little crazy, but I like to bake, I like tea, and I like weddings, so why not?  :)  Am I the only one, or is anyone else the least bit interested in the royal wedding?  Any plans to watch? Wear hats? Bake some scones?  

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What's Cooking Wednesday: Peachy Cheese Danish

With Mother's Day coming up very soon, I thought I would feature a recipe that would be a good one at a Mother's Day brunch or even for a surprise breakfast in bed for special moms.  I know if I were home, I'd think about making this for my mom and sweet Mimi that lives with my family.   What is it?  Well it's Peachy Cheese Danish.  Yuuuummmmy!

Start by gathering the ingredients.  You'll need 1 tube (8 oz.) of refrigerated crescent rolls, 4 oz. of softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup of sugar, a little lemon juice, and peach preserves (or a flavor of your choice).  I doubled this recipe when I did it, so that's why you'll see more of than four finished danishes... Is "danishes" a word?  I've never typed it out... Weird...)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and lightly flour a work surface.  Separate the dough into 4 rectangles and seal the perforations. Just pinch and squeeze and mash and whatever you have to do until it doesn't come apart anymore...

Next you can roll or just press them until they are around 7 x 3 1/2 inch rectangles.  Then, in a small mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar, and a little lemon juice (just enough to make the mixture creamy... not runny).  Mix it until it's nice and smooth, then spread over each rectangle.  Be careful not to get too close to the edges so you can roll it up without it squishing out all over the place.

Roll each rectangle up from one long side to the other so you end up with what looks like a 7 inch coil.  Pinch the ends to seal them, and loosely coil each piece onto a baking sheet.

 Top each one with a teaspoon or so of preserves, and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until a nice golden brown.

For the glaze that goes on top, combine 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 1-2 teaspoons of milk.  (Just put the milk in a tiny bit at a time until you reach the desired consistency.) 

 Drizzle the glaze over the tops of each, and enjoy!

Is anyone making any special treats for their mom this year?  Any special traditions for Mother's Day?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tail Wagging Tuesday: And the winner is....

Okay guys... It's time to find out who is the winner of the free soft pastel pet portrait! 

Thank you to everyone who entered.  I absolutely LOVED reading all the sweet stories about everyone's furry friends.  It's always nice to hear from other people who love their pets as much as I love mine!  I'm so glad I used to determine the winner because I'd have never been able to pick based on the sweet comments.  I wish I could have lots of winners!  (Maybe I'll just have another contest fairly soon.)  ;)

I was thinking about how I was going to announce the winner, and I didn't want to just type it out, so I enlisted the help of my two favorite four-legged guys.  (They were eager to help, but once I got started they were like, "What the heck?"  Just wait... You'll see what I mean.)   So without further ado, here's "Lindsay's Lookers" with the reveal!  (Okay, that was a lame attempt at a name like "Barker's Beauties"... It was worth a shot...)

Drum roll please!!!

Congratulations Katie!

Katie, shoot me an e-mail at TailstoTell [at] live [dot] com or send me a message on Facebook, and I'll tell you what I need to get started.  :)

Everyone else, there will be more giveaways in the future.  No worries!  I am planning on doing another if I get to 50 blog followers, so tell your friends!  

Happy Tuesday, and hope everyone's week is off to a terrific start!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Puppy Lovin' Paintings

I have a few new paintings to show you today! 

I've been working on these for the past few days, and I think I really like them.  They are painted on tiny and adorable 5"x5" canvases, and each one is designed to celebrate a specific breed of my favorite four-legged pals.  :)

I'm calling this the Puppy Love series, and I hope to have more breeds in the works soon.  I just randomly picked three to get started.  Since these little canvases are so small, and because they are wide enough to stand up on their own, I think they would be perfect to sit on a bookshelf or a desk at work to celebrate our wonderful, furry family members.  Let me know what you think!

The first one is a little Westie on a pink background.
 (I must say, I was inspired to do a Westie because of my new sweet friend Ann-Margaret and her sweet little guy named Tucker.)

Then, there's the little Chihuahua on a cheery green background.

And finally, there's the regal German Shepherd in yellow on a deep navy background.

I hope you guys like them!  I am taking suggestions for the next breeds/color combos, so if you have something you'd like to see, speak up!  :)  (Oh, and I would NEVER want to leave out our marvelous mixed breeds, so if you think you might want one of your sweet mix, take a photo of them so I can get their silhouette, and send it to me at tailstotell [at] live [dot] com.)

Hope everyone's having a magnificent Monday!
Don't forget that today is the last day to sign up for the contest to win a FREE soft pastel pet portrait.  It's super easy.  Click here to see the directions on how to enter.  Don't miss out!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Just a Little Tropical Sunset

One evening a few days ago, I was cruising around my neighborhood on my bike taking Duke on his nightly jog and pondering what I was going to do on my nails next.  When I rounded the corner on one of the streets in my neighborhood that overlooks the water, I was blessed to see a gorgeous tropical sunset. 

It was very similar to this one from a few months ago, and it was truly lovely.

I suddenly had my inspiration.  Just the other week, I met a new friend from out of town who noticed my hibiscus nails and told me that she used to like doing sunsets on hers.  I thought it was a cool idea and tucked it into my mental file for later, but seeing that gorgeous sunset brought it back to the forefront.  I decided to do a tropical sunset with a palm tree silhouette.

If you ever want to try it, here's what you do.

You'll need red, orange, yellow, white, and black polish, a scrap of paper, a fan brush, and a very fine tipped brush (or nail art pen)

Start with a base coat, and then paint your little toes solid orange and your big toes white.

I know, it looks silly at this point, but it will look pretty awesome in no time at all.
The white is simply there to act as a base for the next part.
For the next step, get your scrap of paper, the fan brush, and the yellow,orange, and red polish.
Put fairly large dots of each color in that order on the scrap of paper, making sure they are close enough that they touch.   (I learned through trial and error that it's best to have a little more orange than red because the red is a bit overpowering.)

Then, use the fan brush to pull through the colors.

You'll have to do this part quickly.  Sometimes the paint can dry really quickly or get sticky, and at that point it won't create a smooth coat.  As soon as you have mixed the paint,  drag the brush across your nail from side to side, making sure that the red is at the top (closest to you) and the yellow is at the bottom (the tip of your toe).

(Don't worry about it being messy.  I had polish all over the skin surrounding my nail after this step.  Just take a Q-tip dipped in polish remover to clean it up.)

After this step, it will look something like this.
Give this time to dry before the next step, especially if you use a nail art tool.

The final step is to add the palm tree. 

Once again, use your scrap of paper.  Add a drop of black polish, and use a VERY fine tipped brush to add the tree trunk first.  Follow that by the palm frond stems, and then add the tiny, individual "leaves" of each frond.  Finally, you may want to add a little piece of "beach" underneath the tree trunk.

I was working quickly, so I didn't get a photo after each little element, but this is what it ended up looking like.
(One more little hint:  Make sure you don't make the top of the palm too big.  I goofed on my first try and I looked like I had hairy spiders sitting on my toes.  I found that the key to this design looking like a palm was to have a thin trunk and a small top on the palm.)

As always, let your little design dry completely, and finish everything with a top coat like this.

Then you'll have a little tropical sunset to take with you everywhere you go!

What do you think?  Think you might try it sometime? :)

P.S.  Don't forget that tomorrow is the last day to enter for the free soft pastel pet portrait!  Don't miss it!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Good Book-Gone-Movie

Fridays are always kind of blah when Kent's away.  I guess it's because we usually always do something fun on Fridays-- whether it's going out or just ordering a pizza and vegging out on the couch.  Last night, however, I pretty much beat my "Friday blues" by going to lunch and to a movie with one of my good friends here.

I was soooooo excited to see the movie!  I'd been waiting for months for it to come out... basically since I read the book a couple years ago and heard that there would be a movie made.

Know what it was?

Water for Elephants

I read the book when it was really being pushed in the book stores.  (You know how they always have certain ones facing you, and then the cool cover and catchy title just draw you in?  That's what happened to me.)  I was a little skeptical when I first started reading, but when I really gave it a chance, it didn't take long to become completely immersed in it.  Perhaps it's just that I love reading about anything from that time period-- the 1930s and 40s, but it was a really interesting read.

If you haven't already gathered from the movie previews, it is a bit of a complicated love story between a man who pretty much stumbles into a traveling circus and the circus' star performer, who just happens to be the boss's wife. An elephant named Rosie, who is picked up from the remains of another traveling circus gone under, is the  four-legged lead character.  The book details the way of life for everyone on the road with the circus during the Depression, along with the animals.  The way the story was written, the interesting characters, and the harsh and sometimes brutal ways of life within a traveling circus intrigued me, and when I finished the book I thought about it for a long time.  Even now, it's one of those that I've read and find myself referring back to from time to time when I see, hear, or read something about a circus or sideshow.  I guess it's what book critics mean when they sometimes say a book is "haunting."  It just sticks with you for a while.

Needless to say, I was very excited to see the movie.  I was also a little nervous that it wouldn't live up to my expectations.  Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised with the movie.  Critics had harsh reviews, but that usually means that I'll love the movie. (I can almost always judge how I'll like a movie by critic's reviews.  If they love it, I'll hate it, and visa versa... Is anyone else like this, or is it just me?)  I felt that the writers/directors/producers/whoever did a great job translating the book into film.  It stayed very true to the book, and I always appreciate that.  The characters were veeeery close to what I had dreamed up in my mind, and I felt they chose wisely for just about every character.

I thought that Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson both did a great job and fit the bill for their characters, but I'm not sure that they had quite enough of a spark when it comes to chemistry.  I can't really think of anyone better, though, so I don't know.  Did anyone else see the movie last night and think this?

Anyhoo... I would highly recommend the book and the movie.  However, as usual, I think I would say to read the book first.  It fills in any gaps, and you know exactly what is happening in the movie... It's just like your seeing a projection of the story you already have in your mind, just on the screen. 

All in all, I'd say it was a great way to try and beat my "Friday blues."  I'm interested to know if anyone else has read the book and/or seen the movie.  If you have, what did you think?  

Happy Weekend everybody!  :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Lights, Little Touches, and a Little Ways to Go

A while back I told you about some plans I was dreaming up for a few different areas in our home.  One of those areas was the lanai.  It needed help... desperately.

Well, I started attempting to spiff it up a little just the other day.

Thanks to a tool cabinet Kent built for our carport before he left, I was able to find a home for the clutter that was paint cans, tools, and scraps from some of our projects.  With all of that moved out, it made a huge difference without costing a dime.  However, I still felt it needed some color.

While I was out and about, I found some Chinese paper lanterns with fun blues, greens, and purples, so I bought a couple.  Then, I decided that I needed some more and found a strand of blue ones on eBay.  It still wasn't quite enough, and when I found another strand and some "garden lights" at Home Depot, I snatched them up.

I really love how the lights make it look in the evenings.  What do you think?

Even the citronella candle looks kind of magical in the evenings with all the other twinkly lights...

In the daytime, however, the lanai is still not quite "there."

I need something for the wall opposite the table.  It's pretty bare.
(The boys think it's a place to sit and look cool...)

I'm thinking of a potting table, which someone suggested in my first "making plans" post, and I'm also considering making a wooden table/cabinet thingy... I just haven't done enough research to find out what is the most cost efficient yet.  Whatever it is, I think it should be painted a color.  These cream walls are so boring. (Technically, I could paint them, but we would have to paint them back before we leave, so I'm not sure it's worth it.)  I am thinking of creating a few fun paintings to go out here, but since geckos get in sometimes and pretend the window sills are their potty, I don't want to put a lot of time into anything that will be ruined.  

I also want to do something about the cushions in my chairs.  They are boring burgandy. (No, I don't have anything against burgandy.  I'm just not using it in my house, and it doesn't match anything.  These are just the cushions that came with the table and chars.)  I went to Home Depot and Lowe's looking for new cushions but the cheapest ones-- that weren't even cute-- were $25 and up!  I'm a little too cheap for that, so I'm planning on pulling out my trusty sewing machine soon and making some covers for these cushions.  Hopefully they will turn out okay. 

Any ideas or suggestions for things I haven't thought of?  It's always nice to "see" things through someone else's eyes.  :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Craftiness for my Cruiser!

Well, I told you guys a while back that I got my very own beach cruiser, and I LOVE it!  It's definitely one of my favorite things of the moment, and it's coming in super duper handy for exercising Duke while Kent is gone.  I've even used it to go down the street to the mini mart in my neighborhood several times to pick up an ingredient or two when I was missing something....:cough:.cough:... and-the-late-night-chocolate-ice-cream..:cough:.cough:..

Since I was using my super awesome cruiser so much, I thought that, of course, the next logical step was to get a basket!  I needed something to hold my keys, phone, wallet, doggie poop bags (since I'm a responsible dog owner), and whatever else while I was riding.   I searched online and couldn't find anything reasonable that I wanted, so I just went to Wal-Mart.  After standing in the toy aisle looking at my two choices-- wicker or black metal-- for about half an hour, I finally decided to go with the metal.  It was slightly bigger, and I felt it would hold up a lot longer... even though it wasn't that cute and didn't match my adorable cruiser at all (I may be just a little bit partial).  

By now you guys should know that if I don't like how something looks, I'm going to give it a little make over.

So that's exactly what I did.

I grabbed my basket, found some spray paint that pretty much perfectly matched the cream on my bike's fenders, and headed home.

The very first thing I did when I got home was make Kent put it on my bike as it was so that I could make sure it would fit right before I started personalizing. (This was last week when he was still around.) 
Oh yeah... He wasn't quite as thrilled as me since I pulled him away from "THE Cruiser,"  his 1967 land cruiser, to do this for me.

It fit, so I started work.  I spray painted the whole basket, and I was very patient... waiting a whole 24 hours for it to dry.  If I were to re-do this project, I would definitely get the super fast drying paint because the wait pretty much killed me.  When I start a project, I usually see it in my head finished, and I want it done right away so I can enjoy it;  this basket was no exception.

It looked great on my bike.  Yeah, I would show you a photo, but I got so excited about my next grand idea for it that I forgot to take one of just the basket and the bike. 

While I had been searching online for a basket, I stumbled upon some really adorable bike basket liners... some of which doubled as totes so you could just pull it out and have your keys, wallet, whatever, inside your built in little shopping bag.  These tote liners were REALLY adorable, and I NEEDED one!  Unfortunately, I'm kind of a tight wad, and $40 or more was just waaaaay more than I was comfortable paying for one of these.  Soooooo..... I decided to make my own.

Oh yeah, another hobby of mine is sewing.  I know, I'm all over the place... painting with oils and acrylics, re-finishing furniture, wreaths, soft pastels, sewing, jewelry making, and whatever else strikes my fancy... I just can't help it.  I love making stuff!  I got my sewing machine years ago when I was in middle school, and although my parents thought I was nuts, I taught myself to sew.  I've made coats, blankets, skirts, dresses, quilts, pillows, and tote bags... yep, tote bags.... BINGO

I remembered the basic concept for making a tote, so I just ventured out with no pattern and no real concrete plan...  just a vague idea of what I was going to do.  (Be forewarned.  My explanation of how to do this requires a little visualization skill in the sewing arena.  If you've ever made a tote, you'll get it, but if not, and you want to create this project, you may want to buy a pattern for a tote and practice first. If you're not into sewing at all, feel free to skip down to the "finished" picture... haha)

From some of the others I had seen, I liked the look of three different fabrics, and one of the websites (where you buy your own fabric, send it in, pay a lot of money, and get a finished product sent back to you) said to get 3/4 of a yard of each fabric.  That's what I did.

I stood in the fabric store for probably an hour trying to find something I liked that wasn't "Aloha" print... not that there's anything wrong with "Aloha" print, I just didn't want it.

I finally came up with these.
I also bought a couple of yards of fairly heavy interfacing to give it some structure.

Then, I needed a pattern of sorts, so I took some tissue paper I had, a ruler (just in case), and a pen (since I couldn't find a pencil downstairs) and traced the bottom and each side of my basket.

Again, at this point I got too excited and "gung-ho" to take many photos, but I'll try to explain what I did.

When I had everything traced, I cut out each piece and taped the sides together.  I only wanted one seam, so I when everything was taped, I cut straight down the middle of the back side.  Then I had the pattern for the sides of my bag.  (It wasn't perfect, and I had to make adjustments as I went, but I made it work, and it turned out fine; although, if I were to do it again, I might measure the top circumference of the basket and the bottom circumference and use those measurements plus a 1/2 inch seam allowance for each side.)

 My mess

I ironed the outside bottom and side material (the blue floral) to attach it to interfacing and cut it out.  I also did this for the lining's bottom (the cream color).  

Then, I sewed the outside and liner down what would be the back seam and attached each to the corresponding bottom.

At this point, I added a pocket to the back side of the liner.  After that, I proceeded to fold one edge of the green material over itself and cut it to the circumference measurement of the basket top in order to create a piece to fold over the outsides of my basket. (If you skip down to the "finished" picture, you'll see what I'm talking about.)   I also cut out pieces for straps and attached them to interfacing.  To create the straps, fold the fabric (already attached to interfacing) in half, iron it, then fold each edge to the center and iron.  Then sew along each edge to finish it.

When all of the pieces were ready, I assembled them by putting right sides of the outside and liner together, putting the green foldover piece in between, and putting the handles in between facing down.  When everything was pinned, I sewed around the top, leaving enough of an opening to turn everything right side out.  Finally, I finished it by putting a finishing stitch along the top edge of the tote, closing the hole that was left. 

Then I had my tote.  :)  (Again, sorry if that sounded like a lot of jibberish if your not a sewer.  I just thought I would share my basic idea with anyone who might pull out the sewing machine from time to time.)

 (I used the same process as the straps to make the strip of fabric for the bow.)

What do you think?

 I am pretty proud of my little bike basket liner/tote.  I've used it several times now, and it serves its purpose perfectly.  Making it also kind of got me into a sewing mood, so you may see a tote of some sort in the shop soon, so be on the lookout!

I'd like to take a minute to welcome my new "official" followers.  :)  Thank you guys for joining me.  It means so much! 

Pssst.... If you haven't already, go enter the drawing for a FREE soft pastel pet portrait!  Last day to enter is Monday, April 25th, so go do it now... plus, don't forget you can enter two times.  ;)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What's Cooking Wednesday: Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Happy Wednesday everyone!  It's time for another installation of "What's Cooking Wednesday."  :)

The recipe I'm sharing today isn't actually a "new" recipe for me... It's just a family favorite.  My dad found this recipe in a Farmer's Market Bulletin years ago, and we've been making it ever since.  Back home with my mom, dad, sweet Mimi, my brother, my sister, me, and whoever else wandered up for dinner, we would quadruple** the recipe!  Here, though, with just Kent and me, I follow the single recipe and we enjoy leftovers a time or two.

 Yum yum!

Now, without further ado, here's the recipe for them! 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and gather 1 pound of beef, 1 cup of milk, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1/2 cup of cracker crumbs.  Combine all of those ingredients, and form about 10 or 12 meatballs.  Place them in a single layer in a dish

Cook until almost done.  Depending on how many you cook, the time will vary.  Just watch them.  When I made this exact recipe, it took about 30-40 minutes or so to reach the "almost done" phase. (Then again, my current oven is a hunk-o'-junk.)

While these are cooking, chop one medium sized green pepper and one onion.  Then combine with 1 cup ketchup, 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 cup of sugar, and 1/2 cup of cider vinegar in a small to medium sized bowl.

When the meatballs are almost done, take them out and drain the grease.  (Unless you want to leave it in there for some reason...)  I use a couple of paper towels and tilt the pan to the side.  

(This was before I drained them.)

Finally, pour the sauce over the meatballs, making sure that each one gets coated, and bake until done.

When the meat is no longer pink, take them out and enjoy!

I love serving them over rice with a little extra sauce... yummy yummy.

It's also great with mashed potatoes, vegetables, and good old-fashioned Southern biscuits... Mmmm Mmmm 

Hope you guys give this one a try and enjoy them as much as my family does!  Let me know if you decide to try them or think you might in the future.  :)

**If you decide to double or even quadruple this recipe, be wary of doubling or quadrupling the milk... Just eyeball it.  You want it moist, but not soaking wet.  

On another note, I spent the entire day yesterday doing a major cleaning in my house, so maybe now I can focus more on my artwork.  Yay!  I can't stand to be in a messy house.  (Maybe I'm a little bit O.C.D.)  I was lucky to take a couple of breaks to talk to a sweet friend from waaaaay back on Skype, and then talk to my Daddy for a while.  :)  Kinda made my day.   Hopefully today will be just as productive, pleasant, and exhausting!

P.S.  Don't forget to enter for the free pet portrait giveaway!  Entering is as easy as leaving a comment (or two actually because you have the chance to enter twice!).  Hop on over to yesterday's post if you haven't entered.