Saturday, December 10, 2011

Homemade Holiday Decor

As soon as I discovered that the bush on the side of our house has branches that look like little trees, I knew I had to create something with them. Well, how about a holiday centerpiece for our dining room table? Yes!
This is the type of project that could be recreated in many different ways depending on your taste. This is how I created it.

Here are the supplies you will need if you decide to make one like mine:
- branches
- dry craft foam
- glue
- newspaper
- scissors
- white paint
- paint brushes
- funky ribbon
- lots of glitter
- mini ornaments
There are a few things not pictured above that I found helpful as I created since I was winging this:
- tape
- twine

First, create a base. Glue together the foam pieces to create a shape you want. I used 5 bricks (~3x3.5x8 each) to create my base. After gluing them together, lay them on a flat surface to dry. You can also buy one bigger foam piece and shape it to your liking, I thought the big pieces were to expensive so I connected little ones.

Next, wrap your foam in newspaper to keep it from shedding foam bits. Make sure to put the side with tape face down so that when you put in the branches, the tape is not in the way. Then wrap in whatever you would like! I decided to leave mine covered in just newspaper cause I'm a fan of the newspaper look. But, you could wrap yours in anything really, burlap, dry moss, wrapping paper, fabric, etc. Once it's wrapped, insert the branches. Just poke them right in and make sure not to go all the way through the foam, that will decrease stability.

After putting the branches in, gently pull out each one, fill the hole with glue and carefully push the branch back in.

Time to paint! I chose to use white acrylic paint so it would look like snow, but you can really paint them any color with any type of paint. Just keep adding paint until it looks right to you.

Then comes the glitter...glitter everywhere! I started by mixing a little of my glue with water to make it thinner. Then I sponged it onto the branches and base and sprinkled glitter all over. Soon I was just adding glitter to my glue slurry and painting that on...the more glitter the better. Then you can use the acrylic white paint to make little white mounds on the base and sprinkle them with white glitter.

Just glitter and paint till you like it.

Add whatever type of string or ribbon you would like to the base and hang the ornaments.

And your done! I plan on adding some little snowmen or something to the base of mine. 
Now, go make one! It is fun and easy and the only thing that I needed to buy was the cheap too! I bet that you have most of these supplies in your home as well. And if you don't have a bush that creates little tree-looking branches, well any branch will do!

I hope you all are enjoying the holidays so far, they are my favorite!
Tomorrow the holidays at our home will get even merrier...we are getting another dog! You will have to check back in...I am sure his homecoming will be worth a post :)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Flour, sugar, fruit and love.

When my Aunt Dianne asked me if I would bring a couple pies to our annual Thanksgiving get together this year, of course I said yes. I was told store bought would be just fine...but I quickly decided otherwise. This was my opportunity to make homemade first pies ever. How I got by this long without having made a pie before I am not sure. But I was excited to see what I could do. Step #1? I love this site because it has reviews followed by lots of good suggestions. I settled on two fruit pies: Peach-a-Berry Pie and Three Berry Pie. Then came the decision that would really determine how much time I wanted to put into these crust or homemade? Homemade. I went with  Ruth's Grandma's Pie Crust. I made the dough the night before and refrigerated it overnight. Then Thanksgiving morning...while listening to the Thanksgiving Day Parade from the kitchen, I created my first pies.

While making the pies, I used a couple kitchen gadgets I had never used before. The stainless steel scraper thingy and the pastry cutter. The scraper was a gift from family that I'm sure Nate has utilized, but I hadn't yet. It worked great for scraping pie crust off the counter. The pastry cutter was a garage sale find from a few years ago. I had no idea what it was when I bought it, I just liked it's age and the red handle that would match my kitchen. Since then it has lived in a kitchen drawer. It worked perfectly. I imagine it will get more use with time and look forward to adding to it's patina.

Rolling out the crust and getting it into the pan and on top of the pie in one piece was the hardest part (the filling was easy). It seemed that the dough was a little dry, but then again, I really had no idea what I was doing. For the peach raspberry pie, I just laid on a classic top, but it looked so boring! So, I added polka dots. Polka dots make everything better. Then for the triple berry pie, I made a lattice top. I realized part way through it may have been a bit ambitious,  but I did it and it turned out! Overall, once I had the pies assembled, I was just hoping they would look better after baking!

No cat hair was added to the recipe. 
I stopped Filibuster before he could get any closer.

Luckily, they looked better and much less amateur after coming out of the oven. Thank you heat. The family liked them...which was the mission accomplished!

Did I really just make an entire blog post about pie? Yup, I did. Totally worthy of a post in my book and I recommend you make a pie if you have never done so. Super satisfying.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

First Snow

As I sit here on the couch, the first snow fall of the season is floating past our window. 
I love snow. 

"I am younger each year at the first snow. When I see it, suddenly, in the air, all little and white and moving; then I am in love again and very young and I believe in everything."
-Anne Sexton

Little Penelope is slightly skeptical, 
she has a love hate relationship with the snow.

 After watching Penelope frolic in the snow for a bit, what better then to curl up on the couch with her, magazines and a bowl of chili. Being cozy is the best. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Our Front Porch

Welcome back to The Slice! I knew when I made my first blog post on Oct. 30th, there was a chance I wouldn't be posting again until after we had our Housewarming Party on Nov. 13th...and I was right. We were just SO busy preparing that I didn't have a chance to get back here until now. The Housewarming Party was a great success with around 100 people stopping by to help warm up our new nest, have a bowl of chili and get a tour! Now that it's behind us, it's time to start sharing our house with you. As I make posts about our home, I will tell you a little bit about the space, what we have done to it so far, what we plan to do in the future and also about whats in it. I tend to find the majority of our furniture and decor pieces at garage sales and thrift stores...creating quite an eclectic bunch. I think I will kick off the "tour" with the front porch...I LOVE our porch.

Our porch stretches the entire span of the front of our home. It is lined with windows along the front and sides and then has a series of three windows looking into our living room. Unfortunately it's not insulated well, so we won't spend much time out there in the winter...but I know we will make up for it in the warm months. During the warmer months, we remove the storm windows that lead into the living room and the cats go in and out, they love spending time on the sunny porch when it's not so cold. Aside from filling the porch with furniture, we haven't really changed anything else since we moved in. Next spring we plan on repainting the wicker furniture, the floor and the walls.

When Nate and I moved into our last place we had a little sunroom. Shortly after moving in, my mom showed up at our door with the wicker rocking chair! I love it and plan on spending lots of time in it during the warmer months reading magazines. The rest of the wicker furniture was a lucky on the curb down the block from our old place! It also lived in the sunroom at our old place. It's really fun to have a real porch to house all of it now.

We currently do not have a mailbox, so a basket under a table inside the door currently serves as one. The wooden table is from a garage sale and the pale blue set of drawers was passed down from a family member. I have no clue what it's original use was, but I love how it's age shows.

This table is just to the left of our main entry door, I got it at a garage sale a number of years ago. The man who sold it to me kept apologizing for the condition it was in. I had to repeatedly tell him that it was PERFECT the way it is before I convinced him I was serious! I love the layers of old paint. Hanging above the table is an art piece that was a wedding gift. It is made from the base of an oil drum, it's one of my favorite things in our home. The candle scones are from Marshalls and the wreath is from "Target Basement" which is located on the lower level of a Salvation Army in Minneapolis. They sell new Target items on the cheap for various reasons...bad packaging, display items etc. I am excited to add things to the wreath for the changing seasons. 

These are three vintage theater seats that are just to the right when you enter the porch doorway. Nate got them from his place of employment years ago. I get a kick out of the names carved in one of the arm rests. I plan to reupholster them at some point (the fabric is not original).

While taking photos of the porch this morning, I couldn't help but capture a few shots of the squirrel that was eating all our fall pumpkins on the front steps. Obviously he was having the time of his life. So much for my fall display lasting through Thanksgiving! Oh well, I think these shots were worth it.

While wrapping up this second blog post, I am realizing that I just might be one of those bloggers that creates really long posts every time...hmm, only time will tell! 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Welcome to The Slice!

Hello and welcome to my first post on my first blog! I have been following numerous blogs over the past few years and enjoy them very much but I never thought I would start a blog myself...that is until my husband and I bought a house. I love seeing the work that others do on their homes (or apartments!) and the transformations and creativity are always inspiring. We moved into our first home in early September of this year and are still settling in but have already started some projects. I am not sure what exactly will end up being included in this blog and only time will tell, but I imagine it will include projects, photos, family, adventures, thoughts, everyday life and much more. My hope is that eventually this blog will be a source of inspiration to others, a place where one can find ideas, learn something new or simply take a peek into someone else’s life…my life…in our little slice of Minneapolis. So, here goes! Stay tuned, follow along and welcome to This Mini Apple Slice.