Monday, September 30, 2013

Life Lately

Lately I've been:
  • Enjoying some time off work with a trip to Disney World
  • Preparing to move and (unsuccessfully) trying to pack my current apartment and get rid of as much as possible
  • Enjoying having straight-across bangs again (I'm sure this won't last for long and I'll be cursing myself for cutting them)
  • Decorating for fall (even though I'm moving) and eating all of the Reese's pumpkins.

Goals for October:
  • Go to as many apple orchards and cider mills as possible.
  • Make more real meals and bake more things from scratch.
  • Get rid of junk.

Favorite Posts from September:

Other Links:

What have you been up to this month?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Crafty Superstar

Hey guys, I just wanted to quickly let you all know that I'm featured as the Crafty Superstar over at Cut Out and Keep this week! Most of my projects are up on the site already, and a few more are on the way. The site has a lot of cool features and projects, so you should definitely check it out!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Homemade Sausage Balls

Hey guys, I'm out on vacation for a few days and haven't had much time for blogging. Luckily for  you, my friend Caro has volunteered to share a recipe from her southern roots with y'all (I'm pretty sure I can't pull that off...) But anyway, these sound delicious. Enjoy!


Hi there! My name's Caro and I'm a wearer of many hats who blogs at In The Meantime. I've been living in Chicago for almost five years now, but I'm still constantly discovering regional differences between the south and the Midwest. This is especially true in regards to food so I thought I'd share the recipe for one of my all time favorites: sausage balls.

A few years ago, a friend and I threw a "Girlsgiving," which was essentially just a sleepover that spanned the entire holiday weekend. There was eating, drinking, and Star Wars. It was awesome. It was also the first time I realized that sausage balls were not a nation-wide thing. When I offered to bring some, no one had any idea what I was talking about. Then I couldn't find the frozen variety ANYWHERE. (The stock boy at Jewel-Osco looked at me like I was crazy/possibly a pervert but I guess that's the risk you take when you ask someone, "Where can I find sausage balls?")

 To combat this travesty and satisfy my own constant cravings, I've mastered the homemade variety. (Which really speaks to the skill level of this recipe, because I once lost my eyebrows trying to cook a frozen pizza.) If any of you are looking for a super easy crowd-pleaser to add to the rotation, look no further. I've never met a meat eater who didn't like them.

This recipe is stolen from my grandmother and it makes a big batch but there are variations all over the web.

Homemade Sausage Balls
  • Ground sausage, 1lb 
  • Baking mix, 2.25 cups 
  • Shredded cheddar, 2 cups 
  • Pepper, 1 teaspoon 

Put everything into a big bowl and knead it with your hands. It'll mix more evenly if you let the sausage completely de-thaw before starting. Roll the mixture into small balls and place them "1 apart on a greased cooking sheet or baking stone.

Cook at 350° for 18-20 minutes. If you want them to be actual balls and not flat on one side, turn them halfway through.

That's it! Depending on how big you make them, you'll end up with around 50 sausage balls to enjoy as a finger food or entree. If you're a fan of dipping sauces, I'd like to suggest plain old syrup or one of the following:
  • The Paula Deen: 1 cup mayo, 1 tablespoon mustard 
  • The Sweet One: 1/2 cup mayo, 1/4 cup yellow mustard, 1 tbsp dijon mustard, 2tsp honey, 2tsp lemon juice 
  • The Spiced One: 1/3 cup mayo, 1 tbsp hot sauce, a pinch of garlic powder, and a pinch of paprika. 

If you try them, let me know what you think! Is anyone else already a fan of these? I refuse to believe my pocket of Tennessee was the only place these suckers were practically mandatory at elementary school holiday parties.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Happy Fall

It's finally officially fall. I always love decorating for holidays, and this is my last one at this apartment, which has been really fun to decorate, so I decided to get an early start. Here are some snapshots from around my apartment:

What is your favorite way to kick off fall?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

DIY Scalloped Wall

A few months ago, I made this polka dot wall in my living room. More recently, I got an idea to switch it up a little. The actual project was really easy. I basically just cut each of the circles in half and taped them up in rows to make little scallops. Since I had two different colored circles I decided to do one row in one color and the next row in another color.

I'm thinking that it would be cool to just use the half circles at the very top of my wall and just rotate colors. Or if I do go with multiple rows I think I'll keep most of them full circles so there's no wall showing like there is in these photos. What do y'all think I should do? This is obviously a very important issue...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Girls Night with Barefoot Refresh

*The product and promotional item were provided by Barefoot Wine and Bubbly for this review.

Earlier this week, I received some free samples of a new wine product from Barefoot Wine to review. Free wine? Yes please! However, I always get a little nervous about doing traditional product reviews, especially for food and drinks, because I tend to just like everything and I don't want to say boring things like "it was really good." So I had a few of my girlfriends over for a wine tasting shindig. They helped me come up with some more interesting things to say.

Before we get to the fun part, I'll tell you a little about Barefoot Refresh. The wine comes in four varieties: Crisp White, Sweet White, Summer Red, and Perfectly Pink. Each one is a mixture of different wines and flavors. The two I chose were Crisp White (Riesling blended with Chenin Blanc) and Summer Red (Pinot Noir Rose blended with Moscato).

I shared both varieties with my girlfriends and the feedback was really positive (so this isn't just a result of me liking everything)! Some of the ways everyone described their Barefoot Refresh experience: "sweet, but not too sweet," "perfect for people who might not like regular wine," (but most of my friends are wine lovers, so they liked it too), and of course: "refreshing." Basically, it was almost like a mixture of wine and fruity drinks in that it actually quenched my thirst a little bit and was great, whereas regular wine is just great.

We enjoyed our drinks with just a fun night of eating doughnuts, talking about TV shows, and smashing the patriarchy. I love a good girls' night in, and I'm pretty sure that Barefoot Refresh was a perfect complement to it. None of us are exactly "wine snobs" but we love enjoying some delicious beverages every now and again (read: all the time). So long story short: highly recommended.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Fall Roundup

I've done a few different types of fall projects on this blog over the years, so I thought it would be cool to put them all in one place. There are a few projects here that are pretty similar, but they show a couple different ways to do things.

simple fall wreath // zombie hat // apple pie for dummies // leaf mosaic candle // easy ghost decoration // candy corn bunting // leaf candles // fall wreath

I'm really excited to make even more this year - fall is my favorite! Do you have any favorite fall projects?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

DIY Black Cat Shoes

I've seen a lot of flats lately that have little cat faces on them, and I think they're really cute. Luckily, I already had an abundance of plain black flats lying around so I could try to make my own.

What you need:
  • plain black ballet flats
  • hot glue gun
  • yellow highlighter

Start by cleaning off the shoes to make sure there's no dust or anything. Then use your hot glue gun to just make three dots on the top of each shoes to represent the eyes and nose of the cat. Add a little mouth right under the nose, and then add three skinny whiskers on each side. Let the glue dry, and then take your highlighter and draw over the hot glue to make it really stand out. You can skip this step if you want a more subtle look, but I like the neon addition and I think it almost makes it look a little halloweeny. Now, you can also add some little kitty ears above the eyes by just drawing little triangles, or if your shoes have bows like mine you can just let those serve as the ears. It probably makes it look a little more like a bunny than a cat, but that's fine. I like bunnies too!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My New(ish) Gallery Wall

I have a problem, guys. I seriously can't stop re-decorating my living room. Last week I decided that the few paintings I had hanging on the wall above my TV had to go and it was about an hour before I thought the wall looked too bare and I decided just to throw everything I had up there. The result was this gallery wall kind of thing that is still definitely a work in progress but I'm sort of liking it.

It includes: a map of Middle Earth, my DIY pom pom wall art, a black and white print of my friends, two vintage fashion advertisements, an embroidered bird hoop, three postcards that I bought from Renegade Chicago a few years ago (I can't remember the seller though - let me know if you recognize them!), another vintage postcard, my DIY light up constellation canvas, and another picture of my friends.

So basically now I'm just looking for a few little things to fill in the rest and then maybe I'll be satisfied? Probably not, but we'll see.  What do you think?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

DIY Embroidery Hoop Photo Display

This project gives you a really fun and different way to display photos, and makes it really easy to switch out new photos every once in awhile if you so choose. It's also great for polaroids or other weirdly shaped photos that don't fit into traditional frames.

What you need:
  • an embroidery hoop
  • yarn
  • paperclips
  • photos


Start by tying about six strands of yarn (mine are about 4 inches long each) to the inner circle of the embroidery hoop. Then tie paperclips to the ends of each strand of yarn. Attach the outer circle of the embroidery hoop and tie one strand of yarn (about 1 1/2 the diameter of your hoop) to opposite ends of the hoop. Then take another strand of yarn that's the same length and tie it perpendicular to the first strand. Attach your photos to the paperclips and then hang the hoop from a ceiling hook using both of the top strands of yarn. Done! I'm really liking how it looks and how easy it will be to add new photos all the time.


Monday, September 9, 2013

Sponsor Wattlebird

Earlier this year I decided to take a break from offering advertising on this blog because it was just getting too complicated and I had a lot of other things on my plate at the time. But I feel a little more stable with my schedule now and I've decided to offer ads again, but I'm going to keep it simple this time.

Beginning in October, regular sidebar button ads (150x150px) will be offered for $5 per month and included in one post per month. I'm also going to offer one special for the end of the year - just $10 for advertising space from October-December. Those are typically my best months for traffic. I can provide more information via email: wattlebirddesigns at gmail dot com. I'll also accept a few trades with other bloggers and giveaway sponsors again. So email me to reserve your spot and I'll put your ad up through the rest of September for free!

Friday, September 6, 2013

DIY Embroidered Flower Shoes

So I'm still working through my huge collection of canvas shoes, and I have a lot of ideas for how to spruce them up. Here's another simple idea that just takes a pair of shoes, some embroidery floss and a needle.

Decide where on your shoes you'd like to add some flowers. Take your main color of embroidery floss and make about four 1/2 inch stitches right next to each other, then make four more running across perpendicular. Take your second color and make four stitches running diagonally just covering the middle where the two other sections intersect. Then you can take some green (or whatever color) and just make a little leaf running from the center out in between two of the petals. Cover as much of the shoes as you'd like. I did a few different colored flowers but kept them along the sides. I think I might add some more throughout the rest of the shoes. What do you think?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Flip Bangs Tutorial

Here's another tutorial for hiding awkward bangs. It's pretty basic, but a little more interesting than just simply pinning them back.

Start by separating your bangs from the rest of your hair. Push the rest of your hair back, and take your bangs off to one side down to your ear and then flip them up and pin them above your ear as shown in the second photo below. Once pinned, add a little volume to your bangs by slightly teasing them at the roots with a comb and then spray them with hairspray. Take the rest of your hair back down over your ear. You can either leave it down or go with a side ponytail. It's that simple!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

DIY Light Up Constellation Canvas

This is one of my favorite projects I've worked on in a long time. I love making things that light up because I don't actually have a light in my living room so I like to come up with creative ways to add light to that space at night. This one was really easy and fun!

What you need:
  • 1 wood framed canvas
  • black, blue and white acrylic paint
  • paint brushes
  • 1 strand of lights, preferably battery powered
  • scissors
  • tape


Start by painting your entire canvas black or dark blue. I just mixed both colors throughout the canvas so it's different shades in different spots. Do two or three coats. Then choose which constellation(s) you want to include and use the back of a paintbrush dipped in white paint to mark each star. Once the paint is dry, use a small pair of scissors to poke holes in each star. Then take your strand of lights and tape it around the inside of your canvas. Turn the lights on and enjoy looking at "stars" from inside your home.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Alcoholic Butterbeer Recipe

It's September 1, which could mean a lot of things to different people: cooler weather, pumpkin spice lattes, etc. But to me, September 1 is Hogwarts Express day. Time to go back to platform 9 3/4 and prepare for a new school year. So in celebration of that, even though I still haven't received my owl, I've prepared a new butterbeer recipe. Enjoy!

Mix 8 oz cream soda with 4 oz light beer and 1 tbsp butterscotch schnapps. In a small saucepan, melt 1tbsp margarine and mix with 2 tbsp brown sugar. Remove from heat and mix 1 cup marshmallow cream and 1 tsp butterscotch schnapps. Pour the cream sugar/beer mixture into a cup and spoon the marshmallow cream mixture over the top.

If you're looking for a non-alcoholic butterbeer recipe, I did share this slushie version last year and it's also pretty delicious. What's your favorite magical beverage?

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