Monday, June 27, 2011

Movie Monday!! "The Best Years of Our Lives"

So Movie Mondays are where I will review the movies I have watched recently and give a thumbs up, down, or hovering somewhere in the middle.

Today, I' m starting with "The Best Years of our Lives" from 1946. This is about 3 men returning from their service in WWII who have to return to the lives they left behind.

 Homer is a sailor who lost both his hands in the war and now must face his family and fiance`. He and his family have a hard time adjusting to his disability and Homer does not want to be a life long burden to his girl. His story had my tears running.

Al (played by Fredric March)is returning to a family that has grown up without him.  He feels like he doesn't even know them anymore and has to start all over again. Fortunately, they all love him very much and that makes it much easier! His wife is played by Myrna Loy so there are plenty of laughs in this movie too!

Fred (played by my boyfriend Dana Andrews) was a fighter pilot <sigh> and when he comes home, he can't even find the wife he had met and married within a month of going off to war. Turns out, she took a job at a night club and moved into an apartment while he was away. While he can't find her, he runs into Al..and his pretty yet sensible daughter, Peggy (see where this is going?). When Fred does find his wife, she turns out to be a gold digger type and is not satisfied with their new life on a smaller paycheck.

I adored this movie! It made me cry, laugh, and fall in love. Thumbs up!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Make your own disco ball!

Here's a fun craft to use up those old CDs that come in the mail. It's super easy and we could all use a little extra shimmer in our lives!

All you need is
one or two unwanted cds( like those AOL ones I saved for god only knows what reason!)- or more depending on how big you want it to be
Gray or silver paint- I used acrylic but you could use spray paint too
1 styrofoam ball- mine was about 3-inch diameter but you could certainly go bigger
String/ yarn if you want to hang it and a needle or other tool to make a hole in the ball

Here's what mine looks like:

First, I punched the hole through from top to bottom using a yarn needle.

Then,  paint the styrofoam ball with silver or gray paint (I used acrylic paint and a paint brush but that was a little messy so you might rather spray paint it)

While that is drying, you can cut up the CDs into small pieces with craft scissors. I found it easier to cut random shapes than to try to make them all the same size and shape.

Next, glue the CD pieces onto the ball in whatever order you like. I glued them in small sections allowing them to dry before glueing more on so they wouldn't slide around.

Last step is to add the string. Fold the string in half and slide the folded end up through hole in the bottom so that you have a loop come out at the top and the two ends should still be hanging out of the bottom. Tie the two ends in a knot large enough to keep them from sliding through the hole.

How cool is that? I think I will hang mine on the christmas tree this year. Or out on the cherry tree over the summer to keep the birds away. Or in a window to reflect the light. Or....maybe I should just make a few more! Let me know what you do with yours!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Cinnamon Bun Pancakes for Father's Day

What to do for the father who has it all and nowhere to put anything else? Make him the best  breakfast ever! I saw a recipe for something like this online and thought : I could do that! Ever distrustful of other people's pancake recipes, I had to make it my own, of course.  So I pulled out my trusty pancake recipe and experimented with making the filling and icing just right. And for once, I didn't burn the bacon!! YESSSSS!
So, here's how I did it:
First, I mixed up the pancake batter. If you have a tried and true pancake recipe, you can use that instead and just add the filling and icing!
Pancake Batter Ingredients:
1& 1/4 cp all purpose flour
2tsp Baking powder
1 egg
1&1/3cp milk
1tsp vanilla extract
Beat the egg well until bubbly. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Add egg, milk, and vanilla and whisk until just mixed. Be careful not to overstir. As soon as everything is wet, stop.
Set bowl aside and prepare the filling:
1/4cp butter
3/4cp brown sugar
1TBS cinnamon
In a microwave safe bowl, microwave these ingredients until butter is melted. Stir everything together. Scoop filling into ziplock bag.
Set bag aside and prepare the icing:
2TBS butter
2oz.cream cheese
3/4cp powdered sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
Melt butter and cream cheese in microwave then stir until well mixed. Add sugar and vanilla and stir until creamy.
Now it's time to get cookin'
Melt some butter on the pan/griddle you will be making pancakes on. Let the pan heat up a little before you pour the batter on. I used about a quarter of a cup of batter per pancake. Snip the corner of the ziplock bag and squeeze the filling mixture onto the pancake in a swirl pattern. Flip the pancake when the bubbles in the pancake batter start to pop. Cook a minute more on this side then transfer to an oven safe dish so you can keep it warm in the oven while you make the rest of them! I got 6 good sized pancakes out this. Here's what they should look like at this point:

mmmmm, oh! okay back to the instructions (ahem, where was I ?):
When all the pancakes are cooked (p.s. I suggest scraping off the pan before pouring on another batch. ), Put them on plates and scoop icing over them. The last step is to eat them, of course!

And a sweet little strawberry from the garden. So Cute :)
Here is the bacon that I did NOT burn. LOL. Just in case any of my friends/ family don't believe me...
What did you do or make for Father's Day this year?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Camping and Sewing

 Two things that don't always go hand in hand but in my case, I had a nice two hour train ride on which I was able to bust out my needle and thread! That's the beauty of hand crafts- you can take them with you! I will rarely be seen waiting without something in my hands. Since I was going camping, I had "rugged" on the brain when I decided to revamp an old pair of cut-off jean capris.
Here they are before the makeover...booooring!

I decided to put some patches on them to liven them up.  First, I cut out two squares from two different fabrics that looked nice together. Then, I fused them onto the leg of the jeans with an iron and fusible web in the place I wanted them. All I had left to do was stitch around the outsides so I threw them and a needle and thread into my bag for the journey.

Here's the finished patches up close. I zig zag stitched around the outside of each patch (just be careful not to sew the legs together) and then voila! They are ready for summer!

All I did to dress them up a little was run a pretty scarf through the belt loops and tie it on the side.
And now for the camping pictures...
The sunset looks like it came straight out of a Maxfield Parrish painting!

And the oldest covered bridge in the US was right on one of the hiking trails in Glimmerglass State Park!

Here's the view over Beaver pond. We almost picked a campsite here but the spot we ended up with was much better and a much shorter walk to a real bathroom!
Forget the Baseball museum. This is where we had lunch...The back of the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown. Absolutely the most picturesque place I have ever eaten with a fabulous view of Lake Otsego!! Plus, it was right across the street from the Farmer's Museum, another neat place to wander around.
Afte all this adventure, it was time to catch my train. Fortunately, it was running late so Chris and I practiced our swing dancing on the platform to the song in our heads. Oh, crazy kids these days! ;) 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Embroidered Dreams

So my boyfriend and I had our one year anniversary a few weeks ago and I wanted to give him something AMAZING, of course, but not just some useless little knick knacky thing (guys don't do knick knacks, you know). SO...I finally came up with the idea to embroider some pillow cases! 

It was so exciting because they are beautiful AND useful. I came across a design but I didn't have all the stuff to transfer the design to the fabric so I just freehanded it on there with a lead pencil (fortunately, I am artistically inclined).  The fun part was picking out the colors to use in it!  I was even working on it on the train ride out to visit him- he lives a couple of hours from me :(  He had no idea, hahahaha!
They came out really well and now he can be reminded of me every day! Not that he needs reminding...

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Today, I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies!! They are so good I just have to share the recipe. I was doing my occasional browsing through dessert recipes on the internet ( is my favorite) and I noticed several cookie recipes that called for instant pudding mix in the dough (?!?!) so I thought I would throw some into my next batch.  The results were mighty tasty, if I do say so myself! I used vanilla pudding but I would imagine you could play around with different flavor combinations like chocolate or orange.

Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies
2 1/4cp all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1stick of butter
3/4cp brown sugar
1/4cp white sugar
1pkg vanilla instant pudding mix
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2cp chocolate chips
1cp chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the flour and baking soda in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
Cream butter and both sugars in a large bowl. Stir in the pudding mix. Add eggs and vanilla. Stir until well combined. Stir in the flour mixture a little at a time then add the chips and nuts.
Drop by rounded spoonfuls on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for ten minutes or until the edges are lightly browned.
Be sure to let them cool off a little before tasting them ~ I had to learn the hard way..OUCH!
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