Friday, August 30, 2013

Fall Craft Series - #2: Mason Jar Ring Pumpkin

Today, as part of my Fall Craft Series, we will be making mason jar ring pumpkins!  I found this craft a couple of months ago and knew it was a great idea.  Absolutely perfect, I tell you!

Let's jump on in!


What you'll need:


-12-14 mason jar rings

- Orange spray paint (I chose not to use one because my rings were a gold color that I liked, but the orange would look great too!)
- Green designed fabric (try and use scraps, you only need a tiny bit!)
- Twigs
-String (I used a mustard yellow strip of fabric because I thought it was a cute touch so that is also an option)


Step 1:  Tie all mason jar rings together with some string and organize them into a round shape. This takes some work but once it's secure, it's good.


Step 2:  If you chose to use spray paint, go outside and lightly cover the rings with spray paint.


Step 3:  Once the rings have dried, cut out a couple leaf shapes out of your green, designed fabric and glue those to the top where the twigs will stick out of.


Step 4:  Place your short twigs in the opening between rings.


Done!


I plan on putting this on my kitchen table...but I may make more to place around my house.  I just seriously love these!


Happy Fall Crafting,
Meagan

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Hard Part

It's all starting to get harder.  

I never really knew how hard it would be to try and have bible study, keep laundry and dishes clean, my house picked up, do homework, and still have time to relax with my husband and do things we enjoy doing.  In the back of my head, I knew this would be a hard task to juggle, but I had no idea how awful you begin to feel about yourself when you come home and you were too tired to do the dishes the night before, or you had too much homework to wash any clothes and now, you have none.  I didn't know this would be a reason to hate yourself. I mean, girls always struggle with weight, looks, etc. but I didn't know that girls will all eventually struggle with how messy their home is. No one ever talks about this part of the complex sphere of insecurity.

Your house becomes a place of negative energy.  I know this sounds crazy, but when I walk through the door to see pillows not in order and blankets everywhere and clothes not folded and dishes not cleaned, it makes me want to run somewhere where order resides; where chaos isn't welcome.  

So, how do I fix this?

1. I must remember that my God is bigger than my mess. Psalm 31:5 says, "Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God."  I think this verse should bring comfort; when I read it, I don't just see the word "spirit", I see implications of "home", "mess", "life", "chaos".  When you commit your spirit to the hand of God, know that your whole life is in His hands, even the chaotic mess of your mundane life.  Your worth is not in how much laundry you complete, or how many dishes you wash a day, your worth belongs to the God of the universe.

2. Know that I am in a season of life.  Life is full of new experiences and new chapters and right now, mine is a messy, unorganized chapter.  School, marriage, friendships, work and God sometimes don't mesh in perfect harmony with each other, but even through my stress filled weeks and days of feeling hopeless, I see beauty. You have to remember that your life is beautiful, God made no mistake in putting you where you are.

3.  I have to make a schedule...and attempt to stick to it.  I'm a list maker.  I have lists for almost everything and I have to stay on top of them, but unfortunately, I've never been a schedule person.  Here is a tentative schedule I have made for myself, I thought someone else could use the help as well:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
6:30 AM - Wake up, make bed
7:00 AM - Breakfast
7:45 AM - Get ready for the day
8:00 AM - Leave for school/work
4:30 - Get off work/school
4:45-5:45 - Go running or to the gym
6:00 - Get home, start fixing supper
6:30 - While supper is cooking, organize living room (fold blankets, fluff pillows, etc.)
7:00 - Eat supper with The Farmer
7:30 - CLEAN DISHES directly after eating, no exceptions!
8:00-9:00 - Freedom: watch a movie, sew, crochet, board games, anything!)
9:30 - Get ready for bed (yes, we like sleeping...a LOT, so we go to be somewhat early most nights)
10:00-10:30 - actually try and sleep

Wednesday 
*This day is weird, The whole school/work part is the same, but afterwards it all depends on the week.

Saturday
8:00 AM - Wake up, eat breakfast
8:30 AM - Start laundry
9:00 AM - Turn on favorite show for background noise
9:30 AM - 12:00 PM - Focus solely on laundry and other cleaning endeavors.
12:30 - Eat lunch
1:00-3:00 - Freedom
3:00 - Turn your focus back to cleaning if you haven't already finished laundry/sweeping/dusting etc.
4:00 - By now you should know if you have made plans for the evening, if you have, start getting the stuff you need ready (If you're going to the movies:  get tickets, snacks, money ready; if you're going to a friend's home for a group night:  get food/game/etc. that you're bringing over ready; if you're cooking for people:  organize the ingredients and get it all ready to go.)
5:00-6:00 - Freedom
6:00-6:30 - Get physically ready for your plans.
7:00-end of night - enjoy time with people!

Sunday
7:30 - Wake up, eat breakfast
8:00-8:45 - get ready for church
9:15-12:00 - Church
12:30 - Sunday Dinner 
2:30 - Relax at home or friend's house
5:30 - Start fixing supper
6:00 - Eat supper
6: 30 - DO DISHES directly after meal, no exceptions!
7:00 - Put in a movie and have a lovely night with The Farmer.
9:30 - Get ready for bed
10:00-10:30 - Go to sleep

I hope this tentative schedule helps lay out what may work for you. It's really helped to see this written down.  

Have a beautiful week,
Meagan


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Applique Tank Top

I just signed up for my first half marathon and I couldn't be more excited! I have been wanting to run one for some time now, and I'm grateful that this chance has come sooner than later.  I can't wait to start training and pushing my body to a place its never been before.

This new adventure is what inspired this project.  I decided to run the half marathon a few weeks ago and wanted a training shirt that would help get me excited to train and run, but I couldn't find exactly what I wanted...so I made exactly what I wanted.

What You'll Need:
- Fabric:  I used a different color for each shape, but I think the same color would look nice too.
- Scissors
- Pen
- Plain tank top (Wal Mart is selling plain workout tanks for $4!)

1.  Decide what fabric you'll use for each letter/number and free hand the design on the back of the fabric--WARNING: If you write the shape on the back, make sure you draw it backwards so that when you cut it out, the front is the correct shape.

I wanted this to look almost hand sewn and not "perfect", so I used yellow thread to stand out and free handed the shapes.

2. Cut out your shapes and line them up on the tank top.  Pin them down in a few places and start sewing them to the tank top.

3. Go back and cut the excess thread off the tank and it's done!


Happy running,
Meagan

Sunday, August 25, 2013

My Week









Said "Hello" to a pre-Fall candle
Baked cookies
Enjoyed my living room view
Laundry
Started school...and homework
Finished piecing quilt #2
...more cookies
and...more cookies

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Canning Green Beans

Canning is both a tradition and a science. Although it is scary to start doing on your own, it is also a very rewarding practice. Today, I'm going to show you all how to can green beans!

What You'll Need:
- Green beans:  I would get more than you think you'll need and if you don't plant your own there are farmer's markets and local grocery stores that provide them!

- Mason jars:  Get as many as you think you would like to have over a period of time.

The following can be purchased in a kit:
- Jar grabber
- Lid magnet

- salt

-pressure cooker



First you need to snap all the green beans you have picked or purchased.  The Farmer and I picked ours about 3 days before canning them. Once snapped, we kept them in a refridgerator.

After snapping your beans, and when you are ready to can, you need to wash them in the sink.  I washed mine in a sink filled with water and then moved them to the other side to drain.







Ad enough water to fill up the bottom of your pressure cooker and before using your cans make sure they have been cleaned! Put your lids in warm water while you fill your jars with beans.








Fill your jar with beans to the edge of the cap.  Push the beans down to make sure all the space is filled.











Ad 1/2 tsp of salt to each jar and fill them to the top of the beans with hot water.



Get your magnet and get the lids from the warm water and place on top of the jars and screw the rings on.  After you have gotten all the lids securely screwed on, place as many jars as your canner will hold onto the rack and close it up.



Before canning

Keep the pressure cooker at 10 lbs of pressure.  You'll have to play with the heat to do so. Keep the pressure at 10 lbs for 15-20 minutes and once the time is done allow the pressure to get back down to 0 and open the canner.  Use the jar grabber to take the jars out and place on a towel. Let them sit for 24 hours.  You will start to hear little "pop"s, that is how you know they are sealing.  After 24 hours check to see if all seals have been made by pushing down on the middle of the jar lid, if it doesn't move, it's sealed, if it pops down it was not sealed and should be used first.

This is the color they should be after canning.


There you have it folks: canned green beans!

Happy canning,
Meagan


Also, my shop is now open for business! Check it out for yourselves in the shop tab above.







Thursday, August 22, 2013

Fall Crafts Series - #1: Flower Canvas



Exactly one month from today, August 22, 2013, it will be the first day of Fall. This season never ceases to take my breath away. It's warmth, comes not from temperature, but from the hearty love of family, thanksgiving, food and celebrations. Each bonfire, barn dance, canoe and camping trip, birthday party, Thanksgiving meal, and fresh air hike bring me closer and deeper into my happy place. This is a season where people come together. 

This is also a season that has our homes begging for little Fall touches to grace their walls and doors. Today I have the first of 5 posts that are part of my Fall Crafts Series. 

Let's get started!

What you'll need:

- 3-5 canvases of various sizes. 
- many different colored fake flowers (since this is a Fall craft, try and get deep reds, oranges and mustard yellows). 
-tape 

Step 1:  Lay out your canvas and try and picture how you want your flowers to be placed.

Step 2: Here's the "hard" part--try and poke your flowers into the canvas. 







See?









Step 3:  Once all your flowers are poked through the canvas and are in the placement you desire, flip the canvas over and tape down the fake stems that are excessively sticking out.

You're done!  Now just find a way to get your art onto the wall and you are one step closer to bringing Fall into your home. 

Stay tuned for #2 of my Fall Crafts Series which will come to you next week!


Happy Crafting,
Meagan



Tuesday, August 20, 2013

First Day Jitters -- An Ode to the First Day

I have always had a special place in my heart for school.  
Although it can be the most frustrating place, the loneliest place and even the place you hate to be, 
it can also be a gathering place, an exciting place and a place of victory. 
School is a place where your dreams thrive; 
where anything you want to be seems possible.  
School is a safe haven of friendships and experiences, 
it guards your heart and your precious aspirations from the bleak, harsh reality of the real world.  
It's a place where, for 17 or more years of your life, 
you live and breath and bloom.

Here's to the first day of school;  
may it bring wonder, smiles and a deep rooted joy in our expectations.

Happy classes,
Meagan

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Shop Announcement

I love making things. It's one of those things that just brings me joy. Whether its food, craft or quilt: I love creating it all! One thing I piddled with about a year ago was appliqué sweatshirts. It was something to the effect of an experimental business for myself and it went about half and half. 

Some sweatshirts I made with more durability and some I underestimated how flimsy they were. Since then I've played with the fabric and my technique and I have perfected the appliqué sweatshirts. I am proud of them and they are something I want to take further.

Friday, August 23, 2013 I will be opening my blog shop for you all! When you go into the shop, you should see a place where you can choose the size and color of your sweatshirt and a comment section where you can request what letters you wish to see on your sweatshirt. 

By letters I mean college abbreviations: MSU, UK, LSU NCU, etc. 


College football and basketball are starting up so now is the time to purchase one!

(These pictures were taken on my iPhone 4S, I apologize for the bad quality, I advertised on Instagram when I did this last year.)


As of now, PayPal is the checkout option, I hope to expand into credit card options but for now this works best for me. 

I will be closing orders to the shop September 23, 2013. In order to stay on top of the orders while school is going on this is a necessity! I plan on opening it back up for a couple weeks in November to be available for Christmas gifts. 

I have future plans for the shop and I'm hoping to bring a new product to you guys soon (I'm working out the kinks to it now)!  To check out my shop as of now go to the menu bar below my blog title and clock "shop" and it will take you there!


Let's review:
-THIS Friday you can begin ordering your customized appliqué college sweatshirts!
-You have ONE month to do so before the shop closes.
-The shop may reopen in November. 
-Stay tuned for more from my shop!

If you guys have any questions, please comment below and I will be happy to answer them. 

Get excited,
Meagan

Friday, August 16, 2013

Prayer and Proverbs

Since arriving home from our honeymoon, The Farmer and I have both been working full time throughout the weeks.  My 8 AM - 4 PM job has kept me tired and busy as these past couple of weeks have pushed on and one thing that I have been trying to keep a priority is my 10 minutes of prayer and Proverbs in the morning.  I try and do a Proverb that matches the date (August 10=Proverbs 10), and then pray for my relationship with God, my marriage, my family and friends and any specific needs I have heard or have been asked to pray over. That ten minutes gives me peace, confidence, patience and endurance for my long days of "dealing" with people, who, more often than not, are in bad moods.

Even though it's only ten minutes, it really does change how my day turns out.  Being in communication with God gives you so many good feelings that help counteract the bad, negative ones that try and sneak into your heart throughout the day. The other morning as I turned off the Today Show and flipped to Proverbs 13, my mind was blown at how much my life was needing to hear it's soft, loving words of rebuke.

"The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing,
while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied."
Proverbs 13:4

"Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, 
but whoever gathers little by little
will increase it."
Proverbs 13: 11

"Whoever despises the word brings
destruction on himself,
but he who reveres the 
commandment will be rewarded."
Proverbs 13:13

"The righteous has enough to satisfy
his appetite,
but the belly of the wicked suffers want."
Proverbs 13:25

These four verses hit home for me. They gently reminded me to guard my heart from things such as "want" and being a "sluggard".  In a society where everyone is searching for the next "Get Rich Quick" scheme and everyone is on the hunt for fame and glory, but are unwilling to work towards that goal, it is hard to truly trust one's self and one's heart while being tempted by such deep rooted, intangible things. 

It is also hard to be truly satisfied with what we have.  Our culture is constantly coming up with more and more that we convince ourselves that we need.  It is unacceptable to our world when we emerge from our homes in clothing we bought at Good Will, and it is shameful when we come into public with the weight we have always carried and to them, that weight is not good enough.  I felt challenged when I read these verses.  I am challenging myself to tune out the voice of the world and be happy with how God created me and to be satisfied with what he has blessed me with.

With satisfaction in Christ comes a deep joy that will only remain if it its roots are grown into Christ.  I urge, no, I beseech you (I'm sorry, I love that word) to take the endurance Christ gives you and be happy in His creation of you and satisfied in what He gives you.

Enjoy your prayer and Proverbs,
Meagan

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Etsy Print Giveaway!

I have been obsessed with decorations lately.  I've pondered what to put on this wall or that wall, and I've carefully weighed what this candle would look like on that tray and what painting would look good over the TV stand.  The only room I have yet to truly conquer is the kitchen.  I have left it blank with absolutely no direction or idea of where I want to take it. After a couple of weeks of the continuous pondering, I finally found an amazing place where I can buy kitchen decor that I really like.

There's this website called Etsy. I know, you've never heard of it. *sarcasm detected*

While in this lovely land of vintage and handmade items, I found this amazing Etsy store called: SmartyPantsStudio.  The owner, Casey, makes prints to sell to the world.  Not only do these prints look amazing, they're witty and charming, too
. Using a home and kitchen play on words, the pieces are eye catchers that will make you want to read more.



Today, my friends, is an exciting day. Today is the day I host my very first giveaway, and, as you may have concluded from the preceding paragraphs, the giveaway item has been generously provided by SmartyPantsStudio!

What you're entering to win is, what I think would be, a perfect and funny way to decorate your kitchen.  Casey kindly donated an 8x10 print for you all to enter to win! (The print is pictured to your right)

Isn't this cute? I think placing it over the stove or on a blank wall, near all the action would suit both the print and your kitchen.  If you're like me, this is the answer to all your kitchen decor needs!

Let's get down to business.

To enter:

Step 1:  You see that lovely blue button to the right side of this post that says "Join This Site"? To enter this giveaway you must click that button and become a follower of my blog.

Step 2:  The picture below is the picture you must pay attention to. Step 2 requires you to click that picture which will take you to a screen that will enable you pin the photo.

Once you have clicked the blue button and followed my site, and once you follow the link and pin the photo specified on Pinterest, you will be entered into the contest!

The giveaway will close Monday, September 2, 2013.




If you don't want to enter the giveaway for this item, SmartyPantsStudio has many more options available! Trust me, there are so many fun, beautiful ways Casey can help liven up your kitchen.  Not only can you choose a pre-maid item, but Casey also advertises custom work that suits your style and color choice you could order as well.

I hope you all are just as excited as I am.  Show Casey some love and check out her Etsy store!

Thanks for everything, you guys, and thank you Casey for sponsoring this giveaway!

Enter away, people,
Meagan


Stuffed Peppers

I usually do not consider myself a fan of "stuffed things" (unless it is a "stuffed thing" that is chocolate or caramel of course).  I decided right before the wedding to do one last cooking spree.  It was our last night as a single couple (if that even makes sense), and it was also the last night of what we considered normal.  I perused the pages of my beloved friend, Pinterest, for ages trying to find something I haven't ever cooked before: and there she was! Green, stuffed peppers with rice, onions and lemon balm.

The following proportions were created for two people, so if you have more than that, just double, triple or quadruple it accordingly, and if you have multiple men in your party, just be safe and make a heck of a lot of stuffed peppers.

-2 green peppers
-1 chili pepper
-rice (I used brown rice but you could also use bulgar wheat if you're feeling extra healthy for the day)
-1/2 red onion
-My one regret is not adding as many vegetables, so please, add lots!
-about 6 leaves of lemon balm if you have the plant readily available, but if you don't grow your own herbs just use any of your favorite dried seasonings!
-shredded mozzarella cheese

This recipe was intentionally healthier than other stuffed pepper recipes I ran across.  If you're a meat lover, feel free to exchange the rice for ground beef, or if you feel this won't fill you up, add grilled chicken to the mix!

1.  Half the peppers and gut them.

2.  Cook and drain the rice.

3.  While cooking the rice, cut up the onions (or other veggies of your choice), chili pepper, and the herbs of your choice.

4.  Mix the rice, veggies and herbs/seasonings.

5.  Place the pepper halves in a pan and spoon the rice into them.

6.  Bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees.

7.  Pull peppers out and sprinkle as much cheese as you desire on top.

8. Put the pan back in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted.

There ya go, folks!

Enjoy those peppers,
Meagan


For a full "makeover" explanation see this post here.




Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Blog Makeover

I've really loved my time with this blog.  I have grown to look forward to posting and writing has been a way for me to get away from life for awhile.  I stopped and took a look around one day, and the thought occurred to me, "This place has potential."  I stepped back, and began researching other successful blogs.  What made them tick? What makes people come back? There's the obvious: the writing is interesting, the content is relevant to their lives and the person seems like a friend. There's also the subtle touches that keep readers coming back for more:  color, enjoyable photography, design, links, etc.  The Pinterest type world we live in today has raised the bar for all bloggers and I thought it was about time I started reaching for that bar.

I am not completely satisfied with everything yet.  I'm still learning the HTML codes and the CSS feeds that help make blogs fantastic.  It's like learning a language with clicks and whistles--nearly impossible; but I want this blog to be successful and I want it to be something I'm proud of.  

Today, I'm going to go through some of the new things you'll be seeing on this page and some of the new, exciting things you can be expecting:

New Colors:
I love pastels, and because of my love for them, I wanted to use them to help accent the atmosphere of my blog.  I added pale yellow, peach, mint, blue and some tan to random places throughout the blog as well as a quilt photo, with the blog title on it, from figtreequilts on www.flickr.com, which displays all of the pale, pastel colors I was going for.

About Me:
To the left of this post you will see a picture of myself and a little tag line about the blog.  I used to have a really long blog description and because of how much space it consumed I condensed it.  My picture also appears on the Internet tab at the top of your screen. 

New Navigation Bar:
Below the header image of the quilt, you will see a new navigation bar which allows you to go to the home page or the page which holds the week's most popular posts.

Popular Page:
I created the popular page so that those new to my blog could easily see what is most visited on the site.  I have future plans as to how I may grow this particular part but for now the top 5 visited posts of the week will remain on the page.

Instagram Feed:
To the right, you'll see my 8 most recent Instagram photos.

Blog Archive:
This has been there from the beginning, but I changed the colors and and placed it on the left.  This allows you guys to peruse all my past posts in order by month, day, etc.

Now, here are some of the more exciting changes to my blog:

Join This Site Button:
This part makes me super excited, you guys! I know following by email has always been an option but this is going to help me know how many readers I have and it will also enable more feedback from you all. 
To use: 
1. Click that blue button!
2. Choose whether to follow by your Google information, your Yahoo information or your Twitter account.
(spoiler: I have yet to test out the twitter part so if it does not work the way it is supposed to comment below and I will try and fix it.)
3. You are now following me! Welcome, kindred spirit.

Social Media Buttons:
A simple click of those lovely buttons to your right will take you right to my Pinterest, my Twitter and my Instagram where you can follow me on a more simple basis.  

Pin It Button:
On all of my photos you now have the option to pin what you love!  Just run your mouse over the photo you wish to pin and it will direct you to log into Pinterest and you can go from there.

Follow By Email:
Like I said before, it's always been there, but now it's a different color and it should be easier to use.  

And now, for the most exciting news of them all *insert drum roll*.....

Giveaways:
Guys, I'm doing giveaways.  I have been blessed by so many new opportunities with this blog and one of them has been giveaways! I have quite a few lined up for the next few months so stay posted to enter.  Remember that Join This Site button? It may or may not come in handy when it comes to giveaways...*insert mysterious music*...

This has been an amazing experience so far and I am looking forward to how it will continue.  I have a lot more I am seeking at changing but for now, this is the new and improved Novelties and Trinkets.

Enjoy, my friends,
Meagan

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Summer Favorites

These are a few of my favorite things (and recommendations for you):

Marriage:
'tis sweet.

Folly Beach, by Dorothea Benton Frank:
An easy, delightful summer read.

Sandals:
Comfy, perfect, etc.

White Cake:
It's so creamy it melts in your mouth.

Strawberry Jam:
Only the homegrown, "home-canned" kind for this girl.

Townsend, TN:
A perfect honeymoon spot.

Hiking:
Perfect way to combine exercise and amazing views.

Fellowship:
A true gift from God.

 Jack Reacher:
"Tom Cruise" should say it all, but there's so many amazing twists in this movie that you'll just have to go rent it right now and watch it for yourself.

Law and Order-SVU:
I can't even describe my love for this show.

"Build Your Kingdom Here"-Rend Collective Experiment:
Gives me chills.

Lemon and Basil Grilled Chicken:
Perfection.

Lemonade:
Only with Country Time powder and a real lemon squeezed in...mmmm.

Squash, Zucchini and Tomatoes:
Garden fresh is the best.

Enjoy your favorites,
Meagan