Friday, July 8, 2016

Blueberry EVERYTHING!!

Y'all.  You thought our life was crazy already.  It just got a WHOLE lot crazier - meet our newest little addition to the family - Maddie Margaret Prascher!

I mean, come on.  THOSE EYES.

Yeah, I already got a lot of crap for the name Margaret, but hear me out.  I wanted to name her Maggie, but my BIL and SIL used to have a dog named Maggie.  Honestly, I wanted to name a baby Margaret, but my husband vetoed that both times we had a girl.  Boo.  Surely, we could name our new dog that, right?  RIGHT??  Wrong.  Only ONE of my kiddos wanted to name her Margaret, and he's the one who was so frustrated that the others picked Maddie, that he started calling her Maddie Margaret.  You know what?  I love it!  So now, that's what I call her :D

What does this have to do with blueberry EVERYTHING?  I'll tell you.

We used blueberry picking as a ruse to keep the kiddos in the dark about our new puppy surprise.  The puppy breeder and the blueberry patch were only about 45 minutes apart from each other (2 hours away from us), so we figured we'd kill 2 birds with one stone.  

First up was blueberry picking, for obvious reasons.  We went to Blueberry Hill Farm in Edom, TX, and they had so many berries!  They said it was the best crop they'd seen in years!!  Needless to say, we picked a LOT of berries.  How many you ask?  11 pounds.  Yes...11!!  Oh, and a pint of blackberries that they had already picked, because YUM!

 Of course, with that many, we've had to get creative and try new recipes.  I immediately went to Pinterest (since I'm obsessed) and found so many yummy looking ones.  So far, we've tried blueberry lemonade, blueberry pie filling, blueberry pancakes, and blackberry jam.  AH-MAZING!!!!  The blueberry pie didn't last the night on the 4th of July, and it was SUPER easy to make.  Actually, they were all pretty easy to make.  I was surprised by that.  I'm thinking of making more of the filling just to use on ice cream or something, it was THAT good.  Up next on the menu are blackberry jam scones, blueberry jam, blueberry scones, and possibly a blueberry margarita.  I'll let you know how those turn out.

Here are the links to the ones we've tried so far:

Blueberry pie filling from Kleinworth & Co.
I made this and poured it into a pre-made graham cracker crust.  Oh my stars, to die for.

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Yummy Life
Made this with blackberries, and it was super easy.  I didn't make as much as this recipe calls for, so I'll try later to write out my proportions for those of you like me that *cough* don't know how to can and just want enough for one container.  

Blueberry Lemonade courtesy of Syrup and Biscuits
This was so tasty, but a little strong.  I doubled the water amount because I'm a wuss, but for those of you that like it strong, keep it the way it is :D

What are your favorite blueberry recipes?  I'm still looking, and if you have links, I'll post them here :)  

Saturday, January 30, 2016

DIY Plate Hangers

Hello, all!  To those that have been following for a while, you know that we've been working on fixing up our house for the past couple of years.  Well, we're finally - for the most part - done with the major "get the house not gross and crappy" phase and are moving into more of the actual decorating phase.  

Our dining room has the perfect empty wall above my edible printer that, in searching Pinterest, I knew I wanted to cover with a gallery of plates.  However, there were only a few ideas on how to do so, and none of them seemed that appealing to me.  Let me explain...

First off, I was not in any way, shape, or form going to spend a ton of money on this project.  All the plates were bought at Goodwill over the course of a year for CHEAP.  Like 29 cents cheap for some of them, and no more than $1.50.  I would just check over that section every time I went through, and would usually come away with a few good ones.  I actually ended up with too many to put on that wall and ended up sending them back to - you guessed it - Goodwill ;P

When I started doing some research, I found 3 main ways to hang them on the wall:

1.) Gluing safety pins to the back with super glue, as seen here.  Some people complained that it would ruin your plates, which is a valid concern if your plates are nice.  I couldn't care less about that with my Goodwill plates.  But I do care about the printer sitting underneath them and I don't trust my gluing skills that much.

2.) These bad boys:

Found here:

Not so pretty.  And they remind me of bugs...I'm weird, I know.  Last option:

Found here:

These are brilliant!  However, the cheapest I found them for the smallest plates was $2.  That is almost 10x what I paid for the small plates at Goodwill!!  Uh uh, no way, not gonna happen.

So I started looking at the design, and can't be that hard to duplicate, can it??  Turns out, not at all.

First up - you need to get some scissors, duct tape (in whatever color you want - I chose white to match the plates) and these little guys:

D rings are commonly used in sewing, and I found them on the notions wall at Hobby Lobby while they were 50% off, so I paid $1.00 for 6.  So, right now, our total lands at 16 cents each hanger.  Add in the duct tape, which was $4.99 at Hobby Lobby, minus my 40% off coupon, came to a whopping $2.99.  Oh, and tax.  So for the 11 plates that I ended up hanging, it cost me - wait for it.... 50 cents each.  Boom.  (mic drop)

Here's how you can do it, too :)

Take a length of duct tape and cut it in half vertically, so it can fit through the D ring.  Slide it sticky side down over the flat side of the ring, which will be on the bottom.  The "D" should look like it's laying on its back.

Sorry this is fuzzy, but I hope it can give you some idea of what I mean.
Then stick the 2 sides together so you now have basically a strap with a D ring sandwiched on one end.

Figure out where you want the top of your plate to be, and lay the strap down in that direction.  Make sure that you place the D ring above the rim of the bottom so that it will lay flat against the wall.

Cut a few more strips of duct tape and tape the strap to the plate.  Rub it on really well.

And you're done :D  Sturdy, easy, and cheap.  Love when things work out that way!!

To hang the plates on the wall, I saw a trick that suggested tracing the plates onto paper and hanging those on the wall.  I went one step a bit more than that.  First, I laid out all the plates on the ground in the arrangement I wanted.  This was really hard for me and took the most amount of time.  I couldn't figure out what overall shape I wanted them to be or which plates to put where.  But I finally got there!

In process of figuring out how I wanted to hang them.
I took a Sharpie and labeled all the plates with a letter to keep track of them.  I laid them upside down on a piece of newspaper (sorry, didn't get pics of this step), and traced them.  I also marked where approximately the hanger was so I would know where to nail, and of course labeled them with the same letter so I knew which ones went with which plates.

Using painters tape, I taped the newspaper templates on the wall and got them lined up the best I could...stupid light switch was in the way and messed up my order, but it's fine.  Just don't look too closely.

Then all I had to do was hammer a nail angled up where I had marked the hangers on the templates...

...pull the paper off and hang the plates on the nails.

I thought it looked a little plain, so I added some vinyl decals from the Silhouette store (and one I designed) to a few of them.  The jury's still out on how I feel about them, but I figure I'll leave them around for a little while so I can make up my mind.

Anyway, there you have it.  A cheap, simple, easy, and fast way to hang up your own gallery wall.  If y'all use this method, I'd love to see how yours turn out!

***UPDATE - after months, these did start loosening because of the weight of the plates.  If you are proactive, then you should have no problems and can either stick back on or replace.  But please, do not use this method to hang anything valuable.  One of my Goodwill plates fell off because it was so heavy.  It didn't break, because it fell on the carpet, but just wanted to let y'all know in the spirit of full disclosure :D***

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