Wednesday, December 26, 2012

~Small Wooden Cabinet--Part One~

While looking over Craigslist one day I spied this vintage beauty:

It is a small wooden cabinet.  For some reason the arches and clean lines of the piece just grabbed me.  I knew it would be a beauty fixed up. It is perfect for the  Etsy Shop.

Inside there are 3 fixed shelves making it a small, enclosed bookshelf.  The entire piece is solid wood and sturdy.

It had the most amazing knob...

It is solid brass, heavy, and old!  Sadly, there is just the one knob. So I removed it and will use it for another project.

The cabinet was a fantastic price!  I emailed the owner at 11 o'clock at night and told her I would pay $5.00 more than the asking price if she would hold it for me til the next morning. {I would have payed even more for the piece--it was that cheap to begin with}.

The next day I picked it up and fell in love.

It is now painted deep, rich Aubusson blue {ASCP} and has some gorgeous Anthropologie knobs...

Check back soon to see the finished piece... 

~Holiday Broccoli & Cheese Casserole~

My family is not a fan of the traditional 'green bean casserole' that is so popular for holiday meals.  You know, the one with the crispy fried onions?  Personally, I don't mind the green bean casserole but there is a recipe for something even better...

The Broccoli and Cheese Casserole!!

This recipe is a crowd favorite for my family and our guests.  Year after year it is wolfed down with rarely any leftovers.  The recipe is deceptively simple for how great it tastes.  Just 5 ingredients.

The KEY ingredient for flavor is the dried onions!!

Casserole (12-14 servings)
3-4 lbs     Fresh Broccoli (can substitute with frozen broccoli if desired-just as good!)
2 cans     Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/3 cup    Dried Minced Onions
4 cups     Shredded American Cheese
1.5 cups  Panko Japanese style bread crumbs

In a large stock pot, bring to a boil 4-6 quarts salted water.  Meanwhile, cut up the broccoli florets into bite size pieces.  Once the water is boiling, add the broccoli and cook (blanch) for 60-90 seconds.  Drain. 

(If using frozen broccoli, no need to blanch it-just allow it to defrost somewhat before layering). 
Spray the bottom of a  9 x 13 casserole dish with cooking spray.  Layer 1/2 the broccoli, 1 can of soup, 1/2 the onion flakes, and 1/2 the cheese.

Repeat.  Once second layer is on, sprinkle the bread crumbs on top.  

I was in a hurry when I bought the broccoli and I could have used more...but you get the idea.

Cook in the oven, uncovered, at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes or until casserole is bubbling.  Serve immediately and ENJOY!

Wanna make it a main dish?  Just add some precooked diced chicken.  Yum!

Does your family like the traditional 'green bean casserole'? Or like my family...not-so-much?

~Tutorial: Wood-Grain Bird Silhouette~


This brief tutorial will show the basic steps to create a wood-grain silhouette.  In this case I used a bird-on-a-branch stencil I bought from Amazon. {Stencil Link Here}.  I thought it was pretty cute.
The vintage bread box started out looking like this:


First line the front of your project with painters tape {I overlapped mine but found that when it came time to peel it off it was easier if the tape was in a single layer-not overlapped}.  Then center and tape on your stencil.

Once the stencil is in place trace the outline with a fine-tip black sharpie.  Then the hard part--remove the stencil and cut along the sharpie line with a xacto knife.  I acutally found it was easier to use a Dull blade versus a sharp one.  This is the most tedious part but once you're done peel away the tape and you should be left with something looking like this {please excuse the flash-these pics were taken late at night on my phone camera}:

Next grab your paint and paintbrush and get ready to paint!  I used my trusty Purdy brush and Antibes Green Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  The awesome thing about chalk paint is that it does not require any prep work for the wood {although this piece was pretty gunky so I did a light sanding first}.    Make sure to really press down the edges of your painters tape before painting to minimize leakage underneath.  Then go to town!  I used a light brush stroke and tried to paint from the center of the stencil out.  
Once you are finished painting, while the paint is still damp, use your xacto knife and gently lift up the edge of the tape and peel away.  If there is any leakage wait until the paint is dry and gently scrape the excess paint away with the xacto knife {but don't worry too much about it--once you distress the piece any minor imperfections will look intentional}.
Here is what the bread box looked like the next morning completely finished but before I had distressed it:

Note the rough paint edges that will get sanded away during the distressing process

I did a fairly heavy distressing using a 220 grit sanding block and finished the piece with a coat of walnut stain, clear wax and a gorgeous Anthropologie knob. 
Now...ta da...the finished bread box {again}...distressed and ready to go into the Etsy Shop:

What do you think?  What stencil projects have you done lately?  

Sunday, December 23, 2012

~Beef & Pork Chili~

I have been craving chili lately so this weekend I decided to make some.  The recipe I used is super easy and so yummy.  It smelled amazing while cooking and is also budget friendly.  Perfect for a crowd!

Chili (8-10 2 cup servings):
1.5 lbs  85/15 Lean Ground Beef
3/4 lb  Extra-Lean Ground Pork
1  Medium Yellow Onion
2  Celery Stalks
3  Medium Green Bell Peppers
4  Cloves Fresh Garlic
1 pkg  McCormick Chili Seasoning
1 can  Stewed Tomatoes 
1 can  Red Kidney Beans (drained)
1 can  Ranch Style Beans (un-drained)
1 can  Tomato Sauce
1 can  Rotel Tomatoes and  Green Chili Peppers
1 tsp  Crushed Red Chili Peppers (optional)
2 Tbs  Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Black Pepper


Pre-heat heavy bottomed stock pot or large dutch oven on medium high heat.  Pour in olive oil.  Add ground beef and ground pork.  Brown meat until just a little pink remains.  Add onions to meat.  Cook until soft, stirring frequently.  Add chopped bell peppers, celery and stewed tomatoes. 

Cook 5-10 minutes until all vegetables soft, stirring frequently.  Add minced garlic and canned Rotel tomatoes with chilies.  Cook additional minute.  

 Add Chili seasoning, tomato sauce, kidney beans (drained) and ranch style beans (UN-drained).  Add crushed chili peppers (if you like a kick to your chili). 

Cook for 10-15 minutes on medium high heat (should be a medium boil), stirring frequently and then reduce heat to low.  Simmer on low heat for 3-6 hours.  Once done add sea salt and black pepper to taste.  

Garnish with shredded cheese, diced white onions, diced avocado and some chopped fresh cilantro.  
Serve over rice, potatoes, hot dogs or just on it's own and ENJOY!
Cost Breakdown:
$5.83  1.46 lbs Lean Ground Beef 85/15
$3.99  1 lb Exta Lean Farmers John Ground Pork
$0.59  Yellow Onion (1)
$0.25  Celery (2 stalks)
$2.40  Bell Pepper (3 @ $0.79 each)
$0.25  Garlic Cloves (4)
$1.25  1 pkg McCormick Chili Seasoning
$1.39  1 can Contadina Tomato Sauce
$1.39  1 can Del Monte Stewed Tomatoes
$0.99  1 can SW Red Kidney Beans
$0.99  1 can Ranch Style Beans
$1.25  1 can Rotel Tomatoes and Chiles
Total= $20.57 /10 servings =$2.05 per serving

What cravings are you having this winter?  Do you have a favorite chili recipe?  Be sure to check back for more soup and stew recipes coming soon.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

~Thrift Store Love~

I live in a beautiful, small (by CA standards) town named Yucaipa with a population of 50,000 residents. The Serrano Indians were the original settlers of this lovely town. They named the area 'Yucaipat' meaning 'green valley'. The town is nestled in the San Bernardino Mountain foothills and sits at a higher elevation than most other Inland Empire cities so there is a sense of clean, fresh air and a rural vibe.

Photo courtesy Yucaipa Chamber of Commerce
Photo courtesy Yucaipa Chamber of Commerce 

Yucaipa hosts many awesome events such as summer Concerts in the Park...

Photo courtesy Yucaipa Chamber of Commerce
The annual Iris Festival... 

Photo courtesy Yucaipa Chamber of Commerce
And the weekly Yucaipa Certified Farmers Market in Historic Uptown Yuciapa...

Photo courtesy Yucaipa Chamber of Commerce
It also features fishing, hiking trails, and summer water slides at the Regional Park.

However, what I love the most about Yucaipa are the 
thrift stores!


A&A Thrift & 'Tiques

Where I live there are no fewer than (count them!) 9 thrift stores within walking distance of my home.

Jewels' Treasures Antiques

Did you get that?  I said WALKING DISTANCE!

The Italian Pickers

Nancy's Second Hand Treasures
I frequent these thrift stores so often that they know me by name and what kind of pieces I look for for my Sweet Macedonia Etsy Shop

Set Free Jesus Hands Thrift Store
 Several of them have my phone number and will call me whenever they get pieces in stock they know I will like.  

Yucaipa Antique Mall

Bargains Galore Thrift Store
    I love thrift stores.  I love browsing.  Looking at furniture.  Imagining what I could do with that funky chair or retro lamp. It stirs my imagination, and the best part is that most items are just a few buck apiece.  How great is that?

Do you have a favorite thrift store?  What has been your greatest find?  How many stores are near your home?