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brown paper packages: March 2012

Friday, March 30, 2012

{friday favorites}

What does Friday mean?  Well, this week it means the beginning of Spring Break, which I am so excited for.  It also means finishing up some fun projects--three new beds--and I can't wait to see the end result.  It also means date night with my hubby, a long run, lots of family time, and hanging out with friends.  I ♥ Fridays!

Today it also means it's time for Friday Favorites...just a few of my favorite things.  They could be brand spankin' new, or something that's been around forever, but they are things that I'm loving right now!
.....

{Laughing Cow Strawberries & Cream Cheese}

I am in love with Laughing Cow cheese, and I eat it all.the.time.  You just can't beat 35 calories for what tastes like 300!  My favorites are the Queso and Garlic & Herb, but the newest flavor, Strawberries & Cream Cheese is fantastic, and offers the sweet, in addition to savory.


.....
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Thursday, March 29, 2012

{turtle brownies}

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

{let's talk sheet metal!} message center and more...

Sheet metal has been around forever, but that's because of its versatility and vast decor organizational possibilities. I have used it over and over in projects, and I'm never disappointed.

This time around, I used it for a message center for my kitchen desk area, to replace a smaller version. I don't have much space, and I needed  to have a place to clip up checks to be deposited, wedding announcements, cards, pictures, and all that kind of stuff. The one I was using just wasn't big enough, but I still needed something that would fit in my limited space. Well, you all know my love for old windows, and I seriously have about 10 of them in my garage, lol.  Lo and behold, I had one that was the perfect size :)

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Monday, March 26, 2012

{giveaway} cutey

Sunday, March 25, 2012

{poundcake with lemon cream & strawberries}

My roots are Southern, and my grandmother is one of the reasons I love to bake.  I grew up eating her biscuits & gravy, fried catfish, grits & eggs, (and more) and I'm Southern girl at heart. When I was 8 years old, my grandmother gave me my own cookbook (Strawberry Shortcake, of course), filled with her favorite recipes written in her own hand.  She passed away when I was 17 years old, and it is one of my most treasured possessions. 

This poundcake is her recipe, and it is divine.  The cake is dense but moist, and because it has lemon extract in the batter, it's perfectly paired with the lemon cream and strawberries. I'm not a huge fan of angel food cake, so this is my version of strawberry shortcake.  We always serve it on Easter Sunday, and many times after that through the spring and summer.

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Friday, March 23, 2012

{scribble shop craft challenge} quiet books

I was recently asked to join a few other bloggers to participate in a craft challenge. We were to receive a random box of supplies from Scribble Shop and make something using as many products as possible.  I was excited to try something a little different, so I jumped on board.

Here's what came in my box: 

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

{medals clipboard + an amazing silhouette deal!}

When you run a race, it's all about the tee shirt...and the medal. :) After race day is long past, they are the visual reminders of what you worked so hard for.  My tee shirts I wear all the time, but I wanted a place to keep my medals, and hang them where I could see them and be motivated by them, instead of being tucked away. When I saw this on pinterest, I knew I had to make one to hang in my closet. You could make one for any kind of medals--and would be super fun in a kid's bedroom too!

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

{photography with lei} how to lighten an image

Hello again!  I want to start a simple "how do you" series.  What do you think?  Possible topics would include popping color, covering blemishes, correcting color, using actions, adding a watermark, cropping, removing objects/swapping heads, etc.  You are welcome to send in your ideas, too!  Just email me at photosbylei@yahoo.com

Today's question is "How do you lighten an image?"

First of all, I always start my workflow with a little sharpening. So open your image in photoshop, click on Filter, then Sharpen, then Unsharp mask:

Then this window will pop up and you will set your settings like so:
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Monday, March 19, 2012

{spring wreaths for your front door}

It's official...I have spring fever.  We are seriously being spoiled by all the sunshine around here, and this weekend I couldn't help but take out my favorite spring wreath and put it up on my front door. I got it a couple of years ago on clearance at Target, and I'm still in love with it! It could easily be replicated, using a grapevine wreath and flower sprigs of your choice--they are just hot glued in place.

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Friday, March 16, 2012

{using an old window as a frame}

You all know my obsession with old windows, lol.  I really wanted one in my girls' room, and I found one that I thought would be perfect to frame a really large photo of them.
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Thursday, March 15, 2012

{four layer dessert}

I first discovered this recipe when we were in college, and I fell in love with it right then and there. I love all the layers--individually, and together!  The shortbread crust is nutty, rich, and buttery, and when it's paired with the delightful cream cheese and pudding layers, it's pure heaven.  The whipped cream  is the perfect topping...it's so, SO yummy!  I really could eat the whole pan.  :)

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

{bunny bait}

This fun mix is perfect to munch on during any Easter gathering--as favors, in a cute bowl as an appetizer, or even as place cards. Tie it up with ribbon in clear bag or jar, and you've got a darling gift for a friend, neighbor or teacher.  Or...make up a bowl and watch it be eaten in less than 30 minutes, lol.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

{spring chevron banner}

I was lucky enough to try out the Spring Flowers die from Lifestyle's brand new Blossom collection, and it was the perfect addition to this fun spring chevron banner. It's being displayed on the mantel for now, but I think it would be so cute in a doorway, as part of a party tablescape, across an old window, or above a bed.

Using clothespins means you can leave your twine up, and just switch out the banner pieces when it's time for the next holiday and season--a huge timesaver!!

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Monday, March 12, 2012

{giveaway} the rusted chain

Happy Monday!  I hope you all had a fabulous weekend!  We enjoyed superb weather, and took full advantage of it by being outside as much as possible.  My kids were filthy dirty the entire time, and loved every minute of it. 

We're going to start the week off right with a super fun giveaway from our newest sponsor... 
 
This darling shop features custom jewelry, including hand stamped necklaces, bracelets, and more. 
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Thursday, March 8, 2012

{popcorn cake}

Yesterday was the most beautiful day.  It reached almost 70 degrees, and when it's normally in the 30's this time of year, it was a very welcome surprise.  With my windows thrown open, kids playing outside all afternoon, and flip flops on my feet, spring was definitely in the air, and it was the perfect day to make one of our favorite treats...a popcorn cake!

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

{easter ideas roundup}

We are a month away from Easter, can you believe it?  I'm so ready for spring, but it feels like it was just Christmas, lol. There are just so many fun and creative ideas out there to celebrate Easter, and I'm excited to share some of my favorites with you today. What drew me to many of these was their kid-friendliness...I love including my kids in as many holiday activities as possible, and many of these ideas are perfect for getting them at the kitchen table or counter, right along with you!

{fun treats}


(brown paper packages)
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Monday, March 5, 2012

{DIY mason jar soap pump}

About 10 years ago I fell in love with the most darling mason jar soap pump that I saw in a catalog...and I didn't buy it. I regretted that decision for a long time, because I absolutely adore them, but now I can make my own!  I'm SO happy with it--I can't wait wait to make a few more. :)

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Saturday, March 3, 2012

{please read before making the sour cream coffee cake...}

Apparently I should not type recipes when I'm surrounded by children, lol.  I totally left out the leavening from the recipe, and when to add the sugar...details, details.  :) My deep apologies to those of you who already made it---hopefully you'll try it again! 

I added them to the recipe, so you should be good to go now!


{weekend recipe: sour cream coffee cake}

My parents were here this past week, and while my dad was wrestling with the kids, my mom was whipping up a yummy sour cream coffee cake--that was devoured in approximately 3.2 seconds.  Thankfully, my mom saved me a piece, and hid it way up in the cupboard, so I at least got to taste it--and I'm so glad she did!

The sour cream makes it delightfully moist, and when you "sugar" the pan (which I do just about every time I use a bundt pan, and it makes a HUGE difference...my little secret ☺), it gives the outside crust the perfect crunch.  Add the creamy glaze, and you've got a winner--just right for a weekend morning breakfast.  


{Sour Cream Coffee Cake}

Batter: 
2 c. flour
3/4 c. white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2/3 c. butter
3 eggs
1 c. sour cream
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder

Filling:
1 c. walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)
1/4 c. white sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Glaze:
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
2-3 T. melted butter
1-2 T. milk
3/4 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together filling and set aside.  Mix the flour, soda, and baking powder together in another bowl and set aside. Add softened butter to mixing bowl, and beat in the sugar. Add eggs one at a time, then vanilla.  On low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and sour cream until well mixed.  Grease a bundt pan with cooking spray, then pour in a few tablespoons of white sugar.  Move the pan around, so the sugar totally coats the inside of the pan.  Dump out any excess sugar.  Spoon half of the batter into the pan, sprinkle half of the filling, add the rest of the batter, then the remaining filling.  Use a knife to swirl them together.  Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  When cool, remove from pan onto a plate, and drizzle with the glaze.  To make the glaze:  add the melted butter and vanilla to the powdered sugar, then add just enough milk to make a thin glaze.  I like mine a little thicker, so I don't add as much milk!


Enjoy! 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

{labels, labels, labels!} + silhouette promo

I love and use my Silhouette just as much  probably more for organizational purposes as for home decor. It's ridiculous how excited I am about labels...it's a sickness really. Today I'm going to show you two different labeling ideas--one using chalkboard vinyl, and the other with frosted glass vinyl, and I love them both!

{chalkboard labels for your food storage or pantry} 

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