Thursday, December 16, 2010

This Lil' Birdie Likes Food: Cheerio Bars

Two posts in one day!  YAY!  Both food!  YAY!  Bad for diet but who cares!

Cheerio bars.

I think these might just be the perfect snack.  Salty, sweet, peanut butter, cheerios... What's not to love?!

What you'll need:

5 cups Cheerios
3 tbsp butter (yes, this must be real butter.  because I say so.)
1 bag mini marshmallows
1/2 cup peanut butter (crunchy, smooth, organic, doesn't matter)

Toss all the butter into a big ol' pan and heat it over low heat.  Don't burn your butter (it smells icky)

Once it's all good & melted, toss in your marshmallows & keep it on low heat
Now, you want these to completely melt.  No big ol' lumpy clumps.... It should look less like this and more like this...
When you get here, dump in your peanut butter and stir it all up...
Obviously I used crunchy pb cause that's all I had and it's just better that way....
Then take it off the heat and throw in your cheerios...
Mix well and be sure you've greased (aka: Pam'd) a glass baking dish...

Then dump your cheerio/marshmallow/peanutbutter mixture into the baking dish...

I stuff my hand into a plastic bag and push it down flat.  Like such.

And then you just let them cool and then cut into squares.  Cheerio Bars.  Yum!

P.s. This recipe is super easy to half which is what I did for this recipe since I had a half a bag of marshmallows cause I ate the rest.... :)

This Lil' Birdie Likes Food: Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie

I promised this recipe a few days ago, but I'm a smudge late.... Apologies!

I could live off of Chocolate.  Couldn't you?

So this year, for Thanksgiving, instead of basic pecan pie (icky nasty caro syrup filling nastyness), I decided to make Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie.  Yes, you read that right.  Chocolate Chip.  Pecan Pie.  Yum!  And that's exactly what it was! YUM!

This was my first time ever making pie, and let me just say, it was super simple!  Here's how you do it:

You'll need:

Pie Crust (refrigerated, uncooked, just one in the pack of 2)
Chocolate chips (semi-sweet) 1 cup
Caro syrup (light, 1 cup)
Brown sugar (1 tightly packed cup)
Vanilla extract (1.5 tsp)
Whole pecans (1 cups) 
Chopped pecans (1/2 cup)
Butter (2 tsp, melted)
3 whole eggs
(not shown, 1/2 tsp salt)

Unroll one of the pie crusts and press it into a 9" pie pan (mine's pyrex... never burns the crust!  My dream pie pan?  This one... so pretty!)

Then mix all of the ingredients except for the whole pecans together in a big bowl... It'll be really soupy...

Then pour it all in your pie pan...
And then just top it with your whole pecans & bake for 50 minutes at 350degrees F (if the edges of the pie crust start getting brown too quick, cover them with foil).  Cool completely on a wire rack and you can store this for up to 3 days before you need to serve it (covered with foil, of course!)

Then consume....
Best served warm with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, and a lil' chocolate syrup.  Decadent?  Yes.  Necessary?  ABSOLUTELY

Enjoy :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

My Favorite Things Part 1

I'm picky by nature.  I can't help it.  So here are a few of my favorite things (and trust me, I'm picky enough to say with authority that these are the "best"....)

Mascara (but only this or Lorac Lotsa Lash)

Pretty much anything burlap, ruffled, or from Etsy... Even better? All three in one!

Truthfully, I love anything sweet but apart from cupcakes, these are my favorites...

Cheerio bars.  Yum!  I'll share my recipe tomorrow -- trust me, you NEED them in your life :)

Merry Christmas in 12 days!! YAY!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

This Lil' Birdie is Crafty: Felted Flowers

So I'm pretty much the queen of flowers right now... They're pretty much the ultimate accessory for me!  I wear them on jackets...
(UGH... that FACE!!!)
I wear them on belts....

And more than anything else, I wear them on shirts...

Dresses up that insanely boring ol' t-shirt doesn't it?

Well, because I love ya so very very much, I'm going to show you how to make this adorable houndstooth flower!
This lil' guy has become a staple on my red winter jacket just to spruce things up (especially during football season... Roll Tide!), and really this is incredibly easy to make.  And of course, it's hot glued (like most every craft project I do...).

Here's what you need:
-1 piece of felt (not felted wool fabric; I'm talking cheap-o felt squares in the kids craft section at Hobby Lobby 4/$1.00... I picked houndstooth, but there are about 60 other choices -- glittery silver, anyone?)
- hot glue (surprise surprise! <--- it took me 4 times to spell that right....)
- 1 pin or clip or something to attach it to your clothing/headband/whatever...
- Pearls, beads, or something to cover the hideous center of the flower (you'll see what I mean in a minute)
- 15-ish minutes & some Advil for the hot glue burns (no, seriously)

Start by drawing & cutting out 6 large petals, six smaller petals, and a circle (not pictured) from your felt square....
I free-handed mine which is why they're really not perfect.  Just as an fyi, on printed felt it's easier to draw & cut from the back (non-printed) side... I used a sharpie.

Next, you're going to use your hot glue gun to smudge (yes, that's a real word) the ends of each of the petals like this...
 Just make a little accordion fold & get some glue in between.  No worries if they're perfect, you won't be able to tell.  Do this to the 6 big petals, and then the 6 smaller petals just fold the bottom corners towards each other & glue... you'll see... I didn't take a picture...

Then you'll glue each petal onto the felt circle you cut earlier... Start with the bigger petals on the bottom & just arrange them to look like a flower-ish thing-a-ma-doo....
Easy as pie... with hot glue burns... yum!

Then do the same thing with the smaller petals but this time you'll glue them on top of the bigger petals.  I like to arrange them pretty before I start glue-ing....
See how the smaller petals are just glued at the bottom instead of the little accordion I showed you earlier?  Easier to do... Prettier on top....

So see what a hideous center we have there?  No worries, this is where your pretties come in!  I used one big pearl and tiny grey-ish pearls to cover the center.. Just hot-glue them into place....

I made one the other day and used a beautiful vintage button I bought from Etsy.... It was beauti-mous!

Then glue your holder (pin/barrette/etc) to the TOP of the felt circle on the backside... very much like what we did for the Pretty Flowers...

And voila!  You're done!  Now go wear your flower with a big ol' smile (proven to make you feel better about everything -- flowers & smiles that is!).

I'll post a picture of my flower on my coat soon... Until then, go make your own & link to pictures of yours if you do make these (and P.s. these make GREAT Christmas presents... I probably just ruined a few of my own gifts... )

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tis The Season To Sparkle

I LOVE Christmas!  It's my favorite time of the year!  Christmas carols, cold weather, twinkle lights, glitter, garland, oh it's all wonderful!

I like to enjoy my Christmas as long as possible, so I decorate the weekend after Thanksgiving, and this year was definitely no exception.

And I wanted to share my holiday world with you!  And just so you know ahead of time, for every "crafty" thing I show you, I'll post a tutorial over the next few days including a few recipes and LOTS of hot glue :)

Christmas isn't Christmas without a cute wreath... I got the idea from The Eclectic Owl & her adorable Alabama wreath.

Close-up.  Love it!

My bare lil' Christmas tree.  To explain, yes, I own a HUGE 7 foot pre-lit artificial tree.  Yes, I have the space to store it as well as the space to put it up.  No, I didn't put it up this year.  Why?  Well, mostly cause I'm lazy and didn't wanna haul the whole thing out, decorate it, and then have to un-decorate it and put it away.  And partly cause I'm lazy and didn't wanna have to haul the whole thing out, etc....

So instead I have this lil' baby adorable tree ($29 at Hobby Lobby, folks!).  It wasn't pre-lit, so I went ahead and strung up a Dollar Store strand of lights.  How do you do your lights?  I zig-zagged back and forth and missed the back of the tree.  Growing up, we wrapped all the way around.  Again, I'm lazy.  I do things my way.

My colors are gold, cream, and crimson...

But this just looked a smidge boring & so I pulled out some of my lime green ornaments from my "bright" colored days....
And we ended up with this!  Now, I've still got some major tweaking to do (which will include adding some burlap birdie ornaments!!!), but I have to say, I absolutely love artificial Christmas trees because I get to position the branches where I want them.  No offense to God & His Divine wisdom, but it's durn near impossible to make a real tree bend where you want it.  Plus, they make me sneeze.

I pretty much hate that bow at the top.  The ribbon is adorable, but it didn't make a very good bow.  I'm thinking about ordering this...

Burlap ribbon from Ballard Designs.  Hi, my name is Ashleigh, and I'm a burlap addict.  (P.s. Thanks, April, for showing this to me!)

Wouldn't that make a beautiful bow?

And of course, there's the GORGEOUS tree skirt that Sister made for me.
Yeah, it's a little big for this tiny tree (and tiny table), but it's still cute & will be perfectly perfect for years to come!

Let's get one thing straight, I hate ornament hangers.  They're just not pretty.  So I was inspired by our baby's first ornaments at work, and this year, I hung all of my ornaments with ribbon...
Like this!  Shimmery, glittery gold for red (and green!) ornaments, and a pretty red grosgrain for gold ornaments. 

And if you look at that picture of my tree + skirt, you can see some presents hanging out under there (!!!!).  I'm a simple Christmas paper kinda gal, so I used basic craft paper from Hobby Lobby ($3.99 for the BIG roll & it was half off!) with some red velvet ribbon (the kind most people use for bows) and this is what I came up with...
Sweet and simple Christmas gifts (after I took this picture, I added ribbon down the side of the package you see here... made it look precious!).  I'll tell you how to make this bow later (it involves hot glue...) and I'll even show you my fool-proof way of wrapping boxes (trust me on this one, I wrap more gifts on a daily basis than you wrap for Christmas!)...

One last thing to show you and then I'll end this longest post ever...

I live in an apartment (I'm sure we've talked about this before) and so I don't have a mantle.  I'm making do this year (like every other year) with my hall tree...
It feels very Pottery Barn-esque, doesn't it? (Apart from the yoga mat/ work mess on the right... sorry, it'll be gone tomorrow when I head back to work!)  And don't you LOVE that window pane up there at the top?  Thanks, Sister, for hanging it.  And thanks, again, to April for going to the Antique Store with me to find it!

The Christmas trees at the top used to light up different colors, but now that they no longer work, I'm considering spray painting them a creamy white & bedazzling them in cream glitter.  What can I say, I love some sparkle! 

And there you have it.  My Christmas decorating is done.  Well, I lied.  Of course, I have some other pretty things to add around the apartment (coffee table, bar in kitchen, dining table, etc.), but these are my big ones!

How are you decorating this year?  Anything new or all the same traditions you've always had?  Share & link to your pictures so I can get some good ideas!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

This Lil' Birdie has a Blogging Sister

My beautiful sister...

(Sister is on the left; that's me on the right)

started a beautiful blog...

You should go visit!  I promise you'll love every single post (all one of them!).

Happy Thanksgiving, all! 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What This Lil' Birdie Wore: A Week with No pictures

Umm... so I have no pictures for you this week.  Why? you might ask.  Well, I can't find my camera.  I'm starting to think I might have thrown it away, it's so very lost.

If I find it, I'll post my pictures.  Otherwise, use your imagination :)

Pretend I look like this & dress this cute (on a normal basis)....

I like people with good imaginations :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What This Lil' Birdie Wore: The Late Edition

Okay... so I'm a good day behind on my What I Wore Wednesday.... so this is What I Wore Thursday... sorry!

Linking up with the Pleated Poppy for this one...

Here was last Thursday.  My first day back after being sick, so let's just say this outfit is a little lacking...

Again with the hair back.  Can you tell that I hate this awkward growing out length?
Tank: Old Navy
Cardigan: Target
Belt: J. Crew
Jeans: Banana Republic
Shoes: Seychelles at DSW

Wore this to dinner with B.  On the phone trying to figure out where we were going.  
Cardigan: Target
Tank: New York & co
Jean leggings: Old Navy
Brown booties: Private Gallery

Saturday... ended up working even though I wasn't on the schedule.

So I decided to take my WIWW picture at work!  LOVE this piece of furniture by the way.  Someday I'll show you around my work... for now, back to the clothes...
Sweater: The Limited
Jeans: J & Company
Boots: Skechers from Victoria's Secret
Cute flower pin you can't see:  I'll post a tutorial soon :)

Sunday... no picture... Sorry!  Rushed rushed to get to church on time, and then changed into comfy clothes right after...

Another picture at work :)  Apparently I wasn't feeling very creative this day...

T-shirt: Ann Taylor Loft
Scarf: Gorgeous cashmere from Apparel Market when I was buying "baby stuff"
Jeans: J & Company (again)
Boots: Skechers from VS (again)

Note to self: wear jeans LESS!

Tuesday... no picture...

On the phone with Mommy before heading to work to interview new girls!
Cardigan: Target
Belt: New York & Co
Flower on Belt: Made by me :)  Lots of tutorials to post!
Pants: New York & Co (need to be hemmed 'cause I'm SHORT!)
Shoes: Seychelles from DSW (my go-to work shoes)

And that's that!  What I Wore Wednesday Week 2! 

Aren't y'all glad I finally cleaned up my hangers so the floor is less cluttered?? Me too!  

Sunday, November 14, 2010

This Lil' Birdie is Crafty: Kitchen Artwork

I think kitchens need a little artwork too.  But I'm not a big fan of rooster prints or anything like that, but I did figure out a really cute kitchen art idea not too long ago.

My grandmother passed away last year (God bless her sweet sweet soul) and my sister and I split her many many sets of beautiful silver.  Some sets were fully matched, and then there were some random stragglers like these...

These guys were just destined to become kitchen artwork (they told me themselves)... and here's how I did it!

To start with, these were in some serious need of a good cleaning.  Since I didn't have silver polish handy, I used the next best thing...

Yep, that's right.  I washed my grandmother's silver with Comet.  And it worked wonderfully!

A little water, a little Comet, and look how pretty!

All cleaned and purdy.  Yes, there's a new one in this picture from the last.  One was in the Comet cleaning bowl when I took the first picture.

So I bought some shadow box frames from Hobby Lobby for half off not too long ago, and some scrapbook paper, and I covered the inside backing of the frames with this paper...

And it makes the perfect background for silverware artwork!

All I did was take a tiny bead of hot glue to the back of each piece and stuck it on the backing.  Do I recommend everyone hot glue their grandmother's silver to the back of a shadowbox frame?  No, not really.  Did it work for me?  Yes!

Then I just popped the backs back into their frames, used my favorite Halcyon Green to accent the frames, and voila!

Finished product!

I decided to hang these on the only real wall in my kitchen, and it just adds a cute little touch that was definitely missing before!