Friday, June 19, 2015

Neapolitan Brownie Ice Cream Cones


Nope. Look again. That's not ice cream. 

Those are scoops of strawberry, vanilla and chocolate brownies - perfectly poised atop an ice cream cone with more brownie baked inside.

Earlier this year, I discovered an easy recipe for strawberry brownies. (By the way, they are delicious.) All you have to do to make flavored "brownies" is just add two eggs and 1/3 cup vegetable oil to any cake mix. Who knew? Obviously not me. But I do now. And with that, I was inspired to make these Neapolitan Brownie Ice Cream Cones

They look so cute in a cluster, and would make a perfect summer party treat. BONUS: they won't melt.

You can find the complete tutorial featured on Handmade Charlotte.

Go ahead. Treat yourself to a triple-scoop of brownies. This weekend is Summer Solstice - the official start of summer. I can't think of a better way to celebrate!


Saturday, June 6, 2015

A Couple of Dirty Dennelers


Eric and his brother, Charles, rode in the 10th Annual Dirty Kanza Half-Pint last weekend in Emporia. Let me tell you, there's a reason why they call it the Dirty Kanza.

In a normal year, those riders would have bicycled 100 miles over dusty, gravely back roads in the Flint Hills. But this year, we've had rain, rain and more rain. The course was an absolute muddy mess, and almost-down-right unrideable at times. Eric said they carried their bikes for miles and miles during several parts.

We were able to meet up with them at the half-way point in Cottonwood Falls and replenish their supplies, help them scrap off the top layer of mud, and encourage them to hop back on their bikes and finish the race. 

I'm proud to say, that these two crossed the finish line in 9:33:41. Pretty remarkable, since only 357 of the 600 riders even finished at all. Charles came in 99th place and Eric was 100th.

It's too soon to say if they'll sign up again next year. The mud is still pretty fresh on their minds.















Friday, May 29, 2015

Doggone Cute Candy Bar Pups


Sometimes, an idea like this comes along and I'm like... "Well, duh, of course. How did I not think of that before? It's obvious that a Twix candy bar and a Hershey's Kiss would make a perfect wiener dog."

Am I right?

I wish all of my ideas came together this easily, and made me smile as much as these little chocolate dachshunds do. I still have a plate of them in my kitchen, just staring at me with those precious puppy-dog eyes.

I initially made them for my daughter's 2nd grade class at school. We were celebrating their teacher's retirement and her theme this year has been "Dogs." So I made 25 of these delightful dachshunds with a sign that said "It's been a doggone treat to be in your last class, Mrs. Braet." Those kids just loved trying to figure out what kinds of candies I used to make the dogs.

If you'd like to check out my complete tutorial, hop over to Handmade Charlotte

My husband pointed out the other night, "For someone who's never owned or even wanted to own a dog, you sure do enjoy creating a lot of dog projects."

Yes, I guess I do. Like this. And this. And this. Oh, and this.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Birds and the Bea


Last Saturday, Bea decided she wanted her dad to build a new birdhouse for the backyard. Not just any old birdhouse, though - a rocket ship-shaped birdhouse. Something fun to go with the rocket ship playset Eric built five years ago.

Those two headed out to the garage, and within an hour, they had it built and ready to paint. Eric just loves when the kids get interested in woodworking projects. He has fond memories of spending time in the garage with his dad and brothers.

Bea insisted on painting it orange and even added a little picture of a bird in a space helmet on the bottom.

Our new rocket ship birdhouse sits proudly on the corner of our deck trellis, waiting for it's first feathered guests. (It's quite large. I think you could fit an entire flock of birds in there.)









Monday, May 11, 2015

Live for Today, Plant for Tomorrow


So, who's gotten a good start on their gardening? I still have some pots to plant in the backyard. It usually takes me the entire month of May to get everything in the ground and growing.

If you live in Wichita and shop at Tree Top Nursery, be sure to purchase one of the 2015 gardening t-shirts that I designed. This year's shirt is a soft, heather green. I really like how the ink colors pop. 

Bonus, if you wear your t-shirt to the store, you'll save 10% off all your purchases this year. Which can seriously add up if you're a flower-fiend like me.






Sunday, May 10, 2015

My Ultimate Mom's Day

I bet I'm the only mom that was super-excited to get a trash can for Mother's Day.




A few weeks ago, Gabrielle Blair of DesignMom encouraged her blog followers to "think big, or small" and share their #ultimatemomsday wish on Twitter or PayPal's Facebook page. PayPal, would then randomly choose some moms and grant those wishes.

And yes, I wished for this Westco Spaceboy Trash Can. Why? Because I love it so much. I've wanted this silly thing ever since Eric built the rocketship playset in our backyard six years ago. And now it's mine! Thanks so much, PayPal. I was completely giddy when I heard that I'd won.

When we go to remodel our kitchen, this is going to be the centerpiece. Dagnabit. What was I thinking? Why didn't I wish for an entire kitchen remodel? Sigh. Oh well...

My Ultimate Mom's Day didn't stop there, though. My husband and kids surprised me this morning with all kinds of wonderful things.

Coupons for mowing the lawn. Yes, please!




Favor Flowers - I get to pick a flower, and Bea does the favor/chore.




This delightful, handmade ceramic calico cat with accompanying book.




And a brand new pair of running shoes. (To sweat off those doughnuts that we had for Mother's Day breakfast.)




Pretty awesome Mother's Day from my best gifts ever - Gus and Bea. 

I love you both so much.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A (Cookie) Dress to Impress


Food, fashion and fun combine when you craft these cute little sugar wafer cookie dresses. 

Surprise mom for Mother's Day or make a plate of party dresses for a sweet little girl's birthday party. Bachelorette or bridal shower? You bet. I can think of all kinds of events where these edible evening gowns would steal the show. In fact, Voortman's makes a cookies & cream sugar wafer cookie that would make one helluva "Little Black Dress."

You can find the simple, cookie dress tutorial at Handmade Charlotte.

Oh... and if you need a purse to go with them, try these cookie handbags.




And of course, you can't forget the shoes! Nutter Butter high-heals will do the trick.



Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Whale, isn't that a cute cookie?


Ahoy there, matey! Have I got a fun, little cookie to share with you today.

These 3-dimensional sugar cookie whales are easier than they look. I just baked a batch of my favorite, Kansas Sugar Cookies, cut them up into various, shaped pieces, and reassembled them into wonderful whales.

My favorite part is the candy melt water spout. Thar she blows!

They'd be a sweet treat at any baby shower or birthday party. For the step-by-step instructions, head over to my handy-dandy tutorial on Handmade Charlotte.


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Jane Jenni Wall Decal Artwork


Are you familiar with the brand, Jane Jenni? I just love it. Everything is so bright and happy and fun and simple and COLORFUL. It was a source of inspiration when I worked on the graphic identity for Redbud Pediatrics in 2011, and I even used some of the Jane Jenni items for d├ęcor in the clinic. (Like these buttons And these plates.)

Earlier this year, I discovered that Jane Jenni also has line of wall decals. I fell in love all over again. I wanted to use them in my daughter's bedroom, but I didn't just want to stick them all over the wall. I wanted to make them feel more like artwork. Something you'd see in a gallery. So, Eric and I bought a large sheet of plexiglass at Menards, and I applied the wall decals to the front of the glass. Then, we attached the glass to the wall using these inexpensive, aluminum sign standoffs (found here at Amazon.com.) Easy peasy.

I love how it adds a lot of color against the white walls, but still allows the room to feel light and airy. 











Saturday, April 25, 2015

A Nifty Little Reading Nook


Bea's bedroom is the smallest room in our house - only 10ft x 10ft. Space and storage have always been an issue. Mostly because kids just have SO MUCH STUFF! And it seems to be 10 times worse with a girl.

So, when we started to redecorate her room this winter, I wanted to make her tiny room feel big and airy. But at the same time, I wanted her to have a fun place to "hang out." She's getting to that age where she likes to be alone occasionally - to read or play on the iPad or listen to music. 

The perfect solution: a nifty little nook. 




Eric built this fun, house-shaped hideout with a few sheets of birch plywood. It matches the platform bed that he built for her almost 6 years ago. There's lots of storage underneath for her growing collections of "stuff." And somehow, I even managed to sew a blue, furry seat cushion. I have just enough knowledge of a needle & thread (plus, I watched every episode of Trading Spaces on HGTV from 2000 - 2008), to attempt sewing one. It turned out amazingly well. Just don't flip it over and look at my crooked seams.

Bea loves her comfy, new bedroom hangout. I especially like the little peek-through hole that Eric made on the right side. It allows me to check in, without disturbing her. 

I thought about hanging a mini chandelier light from the peak inside, but I haven't been able to find one that's corded and can be plugged in to the wall. Let me know if such a think exists.



A Jane Jenni wall decal in Bea's room. She's certainly our little book worm.

We accessorized with her bee pillow, stuffed dear and a sweet little framed sign.
Bea and her friend, Morgan, testing out the reading nook while it was being built.

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