Saturday, March 28, 2015

DIY In About 45 Seconds Burlap Initial Pillow

Burlap. I love it.

In fact, I just bought my third set of burlap drapes for my house without really realizing that they were my third.

Burlap is the new neutral.  Rustic chic, yadda yadda.  And I've really been loving the sweet burlap accent pillows I've seen either in Ballard's catalog .. Aww...for $60 each....wowww

Or on Pottery Barn's website....Cute.....for $35.50 for JUST the cover....yikes!

Or on various artists' stores on Etsy.  I've found a ton there, but again...a lot that were around $30 for just the cover.  


Well, guess what....once I get something in my mind that I want, I obsess over it until I get it.  This whole process usually involves spending $35.50 on a stupid pillow cover and $40 on the stupid insert for the stupid pillow cover.......BUT NOT THIS TIME!!!!!

I wanted to make a "J" initial pillow for my toddler's new "big boy" room that (SURPRISE!) has burlap curtains, a burlap train pillow (bought on Etsy) and a sweet vintage train theme.  So, on a recent trip to IKEA, I had a little creative inspiration based on a furniture painting project I'd done recently with a computer-made initial stencil. 

And the whole thing cost me like, $12.  Oh, and I also finished the entire project in about 30 minutes....with about 28 of those minutes spent on cutting out the "J".  So, if you also like the look of these pillows, but can't bring yourself to spend $80 on a puff of cotton, try this!

1. Purchase IKEA pillow cover "Vigdis" and pillow insert "Inner".  The Vigdis cover is not burlap, but it looks pretty darn close to it.  The website pic makes it look solid, but the actual fabric has a bit of natural texture to it, sort of like muslin.  Insert and cover are both 20" x 20" so it's a pretty decent size, too. ($10 total, plus tax probably unless you live in Delaware.  WHAT'S UP DELAWARE!)

2.  Go on your computer.  Sit down.  Open up an MS Word file (*this is starting to get high tech.  I know.  breathe.  we can do this)  Type the initial you want on the pillow.  Such as J.  If you want a J...type, "J" Follow me?  Ampersands are also very popular these days! Go ahead and ampersand that ish if you want! & & & & &!!!!!!!   Now, highlight your initial or ampersand and blow it up to the size of the page....try 400-600 point font.  Next, change your font to find the style you like for your pillow.  Keep in mind that it will be a stencil, so try not to pick a super thin font.  You can always bold it to see if you can "thicken" the font.  I *think* the font I used was  just plain old "Times New Roman", but I totally didn't write it down.  

3. Print your initial on cardstock.  I totally wouldn't use computer paper b/c it would be flimsy.  Buying a ream of cardstock (Staples? Michael's?) is totally worth it because it can be used for a lot of projects.  My only choice of size at Staples was 250 sheets the last time I bought it, so I just keep it in a drawer in my craft room and I'll probably end up printing my nursing home applications on it someday.  

4.  Carefully cut out the inner part of the initial, leaving the outer part as the stencil.  Use a little bit of tape to tape back together where you cut with scissors.

i just noticed my foot is in this picture.  sorry. 

5. As shown above, lay your stencil where you want it on the pillow.

6.  Now you need some paint.  Because I am an Annie Sloan Chalk Paint addict, I have about 8 half-full cans on hand for things like this. And YES, Chalk Paint can be used on fabric!!! Win!  I chose the bright red color "Emperor's Silk" because I thought it would make a good color accent in my son's room.  If you don't happen to have Chalk Paint on hand, either go get some or I guess any paint will do.  Fabric paint? House paint?  Who knows.  I tend to not put much "planning" and "thought" into things so I usually use what I have on hand, but ..... figure it out.

7.  Using a sponge brush (or...whatever brush you have on hand! But I like sponges.)  dab your paint in the stencil.  If it bleeds through a little bit, it's no big deal.  The whole point of the "rustic chic" is imperfect beauty, right???

8.  I didn't take a picture of this part, but after I did the red, I decided to hit it with a quick spritz of gold spray paint.  I don't know why.  I just thought it would look cool. Hence, the shimmer in this pic.  Next time I'd probably leave the lid on the spray paint.  oh well.

9.  Remove stencil, let dry, insert pillow insert thing and VOILA!  You're done!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Clean Eating (flippin'amazing) Shamrock Shaaaaaaake!!!!!!

Like......I can't.

LOOOK!!!! Look at it!!!

Smooth and creamy and minty and delicious!!!! The 16 year old me remembers slurping one of these down with a cheeseburger.

The 33 year old actual me looks at this and gains 5 pounds. Happily.

Look again...

Mmm.....I can even SEE the swirls of artificial mint flavor.

This.  Is the Shamrock Shake.

I love all things mint, and especially mint ice cream.  And's the mythological, spine-tingling treat that comes out but once a year to shine its green, minty sun on the earth.

Okay...."once a year" is equal to roughly February 26th-March 20th......a.k.a. "St. Patrick's Lead Up Weeks."

So, back to the 33 year old me with the size 6 dress I need to fit in for two weddings in the next couple of months.  I also have not darkened "Mickey D's" doorstep in many years.

:::Homer Simpson voice:::: Stupid health and stupid aging with its stupid stipulations like not eating milkshakes.  

So.......early March had me craving Shamrock Shakes as usual, but caught in a Catch-22 of artificial flavors and green dye. And every "imitation" recipe you find on Pinterest calls for "A cup of whole milk! A huge scoop of vanilla ice cream! Your soul!" 

Okay, if I was going to make one with WHOLE MILK and ICE CREAM I might as well haul my Chevy Equinox (jealous?) down to the McDonald's drive-through!!!!

I needed an "imitation" that did not include 487.6 grams of fat. So.....

In a frenzy of creativity and sheer desperation.....I did it.  I freaking did it.

I made......a 99% natural (you'll see where I needed that 1%), protein-packed, satisfying, "could-fool-a-leprechaun"...... Shamrock Friggin' Shake.

And I've had one every single morning since I stirred up the magic recipe.  And I can't hold this secret in my heart.  I must share it with the world.  Or at least, with the portion of the world that cares about health AND has their heart aching for a Shamrock Shake (roughly 98% of the world....probably).

So here it is........whip one up....take a sip....and jig yourself over here for a hug.

Clean Eating Shamrock Shake

In a blender cup (or, I guess blender....but I broke mine a long time ago trying to blend frozen bananas) blend:

- 1.5 cup almond milk (unsweetened, vanilla or sweetened) 
- 1- 1.5 frozen bananas......pre cut and frozen
- handful of fresh or frozen kale or collard greens (just do can't taste it.  Just put it in your freezer so you have it and DO IT.)
- 1/4 cup quick oats
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder  (I use "Gold Standard"'s  Whey Vanilla Ice Cream flavor)
- 1teaspoon mint extract  (do NOT use more b/c you think it will be won't be.)
- 3-4 drops of green food coloring (this is the 1% unnatural aspect.  and my mind needed to see it.)

Blend it up.....take a sip....and cry.  Cry minty, green tears.

(whispers)  I love you........