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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Best Roasted Chicken I've Ever Tasted

On a recent trip to Pier1 I found a roasting pan on clearance for just $25. I had only cooked a full bird once before. When I was 16 my mom had me cook our family's Thanksgiving dinner. It was a lot of fun but whole poultry just seemed a bit too daunting with out my mom in the kitchen to answer my questions.   I thought it was time to give it a try on my own, get some good use out of my new  roasting pan, and hopefully find another healthy meal to enjoy on a regular basis.

I did a quick search online and discovered Eating Well's Simple Roast Chicken Recipe. It didn't have too many ingredients, simple cooking instructions, and even had calorie information. I followed the recipe exactly instead of my usual glance and do whatever I want type of cooking. I'm glad I did. Even though  I was hesitant about using tarragon in the stuffing (I don't like the smell of it) everything turned out delicious! 

Nothing is so satisfying as a perfectly golden brown meat.

I served the roasted chicken, minus the onion herb stuffing, with roasted vegetables and a box of Stove Top Chicken Stuffing. I cooked on the rack above the chicken for the last 30 minutes. Just drizzle with olive oil and throw some extra tarragon and thyme with some carrots, pearl onions and mushroom caps.

Perfect side dish: oven roasted vegetables with thyme.
Want to try it for yourself? Visit Eating Well's Simple Roast Chicken Recipe.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Design Studio Update

Unused craft space from June 2011
Over a year ago I shared how you can build out your craft room or design studio for under $1,000 at Ikea.  I've loved using my ultra-functional and totally-beautiful work space but found the random extra pieces of furniture to be a bit combersome when breaking down the room for guests.  Each time we have visitors a bookcase, dress form and quite a few totes have to be moved next door into our office.

I decided to get some white Ikea Billy bookcases to utilize unused vertical space against the window. Not only do the white Billy bookcases look great with the rest of the room they are cheaper than the other color options. I only spent about $155 only spent on the 5 new bookcases! (That's a pretty great selling point if you got to convince your husband to let you update your craft room -- Ikea is much cheaper than Craft-specific furniture out there.)  I also invested in more black Kassett boxes to organize everything in.  This set up has 2 great advantages for serious sewers... the thin bookcases are great for holding bolts of fabric and the Kassett hanging file box is just wide enough to hold patterns. I also love the adjustable shelves so I can configure perfect spaces for boxes or organize and show off colorful supplies like fat quarters and skeins of yarn.

Update with Ikea Billy bookcases and more labeled boxes

Updated Design Studio.  It only looks this clean after Guests leave ;)

Once its time for guests to visit transforming this Design Studio is very simple.  The sewing machine fits tucked away in the desk alcove. The main work space is a gate table which breaks down to a very low profile and serves as a night stand for guests.  We carefully vacuum the floor several times to ensure all stray pins have been found before filling up a high queen inflatable bed.  Its not as nice as a real bed, but with some egg shell padding its pretty comfortable. Not too comfortable... you don't want guests to stay too long and keep you away from your current crafting projects ;)

Craft Room transformed into Guest Room

Want this craft room or design studio for your self?  Visit my first post about how to create a craft room or design studio for under $1,000 at Ikea.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Pink & Chocolate Baby Girl Jungle Animals Nursery

A friend recently had her second child, a cute little baby girl, and decorated her nursery in pink and chocolate brown with jungle animals.  She found some cute mass-produced nursery decor sets but it wasn't perfect -- too wild and way too much green for her taste. We got together, used the inspiration of her wall decal and designed a twin quilt, curtain valance, and crib skirt to furnish her baby's room. With an older son, my friend realized a traditional crib quilt would only last her baby for 6 months to a year, so instead she wanted a handmade twin quilt that could be grown into and used for years.

Lions, Elephants & Owls, Oh My!

The twin quilt features 5 large windows each with their own animal framed with random fabrics in magenta, floral, white eyelet, brown polka dots and pink diamond plaid and accented with magenta rick rack. Each animal is appliqued, hand embroidered and has sensory items like floppy ears or tails. The blanket is backed with an amazingly soft brown with pink polka dotted minky fleece.  Along with the quilt I made an adorable little stuffed giraffe with pink rick rack hair and cute brown rick rack horns.

Baby Mia playing with her handmade giraffe on her new quilt.

Initial design sketch of the twin quilt.

Quilt detail of Hippo with its floppy teeth and cord tail.

Brown monkey with felt flowers and embroidered tree.

Pink owl with fuzzy tummy and hand embroidered branch.

View our Pink & Chocolate Baby Girl Jungle Animals Nursery Pinterest board for more ideas how to recreate this nursery on your own.