Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Damask Bow Frame

Thanks to my sister-in-law, Megan, I was introduced to Pinterest in October.  However, I didn’t really take the time to figure out how to add my own boards and such until this past month when on New Years day, I had extra time to myself with the lap top AND my hubby was at home.  What a fun tool!  I’ve been enjoying all the great ideas for crafts.  One of the fabulous things I’ve seen is for ribbon holders.  Such as this or this…I prefer this one though.

I was so excited about these holders, that last week, I stopped by Goodwill and picked up a frame  for super cheap that didn’t have any glass.  It luckily had a double thickness of cardboard, which is what I needed.  I used my trusty can of white spray paint to make it match Vivian’s room, and this is what I made:

IMG_1178Here it is with a few of her bows on it so you can still see some detail….IMG_1179

I love it!  I was able to use a scrap of material that I ABSOLUTELY adore that I don’t have much left of  wanted to use again in Vivian’s room and can’t find any more of at any of the nearby stores (the shop I got it in is in Scottsdale).  I realized once I started that I didn’t have as many ribbons in these colors as I had thought.  But I decided to use what I had instead of running out and buying more.  I think my thriftiness paid off because I am really enjoying my creative use of ribbons to make it look more than just functional but actually a bit artistic.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Ladies Only: Craft Night!

With the exception of December, I’ve been holding a craft night on the third Friday since school started.   It has been a really fun excuse to get some girlfriends together and just work together on our many projects.  I’ve also had fun thinking of different ways to “tweak” my spread.   Here are the different months of what my spread looks like.  August is the first month and I went a little nuts with the food and had so much left-over that I have since scaled back on the treats. Winking smile












I really love having an excuse to use the season as a theme for an “event”.  I’ve just had the ladies bring their own projects that they need to work on, but I’m wondering if I should have the option of a pre-designed craft for those ladies who don’t think that they are as “creative” (though we all know that’s not really true).  What do you think, would you rather go to a free-for-all craft/scrapbooking night or something where a specific craft is taught?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Lasagna with the Slow-cooker

I love the slow-cooker.  Living in Arizona has pretty much made the slow-cooker my best friend since it is the one thing that really keeps the heat down in the house in the summer (which also helps keep the electricity bill down too).

The one thing about the slow-cooker that bothers me is that if you don’t pick your recipes carefully, everything ends up coming out looking like a big pile of mush.  Yuck!  So when I noticed that there were actually two recipes for lasagna in my slow-cooker recipe book, I was VERY nervous to try one because it was difficult to believe that this:


Could possibly make something that looks like this:


Of course, the presentation was not as lovely as this, but the taste was delicious.  Sadly, I did not get a chance to take a photo before my husband and children devoured it while I was teaching piano lessons (which is the reason I needed to use the slow-cooker anyway).  I think the presentation would be much nicer if it was covered with an extra helping of cheese as it was plated and then perhaps fresh basil or parsley but that’s just an extra.

I tweaked the recipe that was in the book a lot but not the method so here’s my recipe for slow-cooker lasagna. 

Slow-Cooker Lasagna

for a 4-quart slow-cooker

One 8 oz. package of Lasagna noodles

1 lb. ground beef

1 onion, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

2-4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed

1-2 4 oz.  jars sliced canned mushrooms, drained

6 cups of tomato sauce (I used homemade I had frozen but you can used the cans, 8 oz. = 1 cup)

1 tsp. ground basil (or 1 Tbs. fresh)

1 tsp. thyme (or 1 Tbs. fresh)

1 tsp. oregano (or 1 Tbs. fresh)

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1  1/2 cups ricotta cheese (or you can substitute and use drained cottage cheese)

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese



In a large sauce pan, brown ground beef when almost browned drain, add the onions and green pepper and mushrooms  cook until soft then add garlic for the last minute or two to avoid over-cooking.  Add spices and stir, then add Tomatoes sauce allow to simmer and remove from heat.

In a separate bowl combine mozzarella, ricotta (or cottage cheese) and parmesan.  Stir until combined.

Divide lasagna noodles into three equal piles.


In the bottom of an ungreased slow-cooker, spoon 1/4 of the sauce on the bottom.  Top with a layer of noodles.  I broke each noodle in half and turned them to try to cover the circumference of the cooker.  Top noodles with 1/3 of the cheese mixture and another layer of 1/4 of the sauce.  Repeat layers two more times.

Cook in slow-cooker for 4-5 hours on LOW.

Because the noodles are layered this way, they don’t taste under or over cooked but just right and the flavors of the cheese and sauce merry nicely because they are cooked together for such an extensive time. Enjoy!