Friday, March 27, 2015

Sweet & Salty Spring Blossom Snacks

My favorite blooms in springtime aren't the tulips and daffodils. (Although, they are certainly pretty.) I love the trees and bushes that burst through the grey of winter with bright yellow and pink blossoms. They never last very long, but against a deep blue sky, they are so lovely.

I spent part of last week's spring break outside, doing some necessary yard work. And I was inspired by those beautiful blooming branches to make an edible version of them in my kitchen. 

They're sweet and salty because I used crushed pretzels and melted chocolate. The candy coated sunflower seeds add just the right sprinkling of color. And they taste yummy, too.

Make some for a spring treat or to dress up your Easter table next weekend. Mine are still displayed on the kitchen counter in their blue canning jars. They look just like fresh cut branches from my yard. (Except for the ones I keep nibbling on.)

You can find my simple, step-by-step tutorial for Sweet & Salty Spring Blossom Snacks at Handmade Charlotte

Have a scrumptious spring!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Brace-faced Boy

Seems as if all of our friends and family members are enjoying spring break vacations this week, skiing, surfing or shopping. Unfortunately, Gus got to spend his in the orthodontist office getting braces - and a mouth full of other hardware that's suppose to expand and tilt and contract every inch of his oral cavity.

And yet, he's still smiling. What a guy. In three short years, we hope to remove all this metal and find a million dollar grin. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Spring + Winter = Swinter

Today is March 1st, so it's only natural that we got our first significant snow for the year. Enough to go sledding in College Hill Park, anyway.

We frolicked in the frozen flakes this morning, and ended our outing with a good ol' fashioned snowball fight.

I loved the snow and all, but I'm pretty excited that spring is nearly here.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sheep Rocker

My friend, Rachel, is expecting a baby in April, and I wanted to surprise her with something fun that she had pinned on her nursery Pinterest board - a Danish rocking sheep

So, naturally I begged Eric to build a similar version. And as always, he far exceeded my expectations. What a guy. He used white oak to create the wooden rocker frame, and I covered it in two wooly bath mats that I found at T.J. Maxx. Not too baaaad for our first sheep. 

I told Eric that every time he makes something special like this for a friend or family member, it's like he's making a gift for me too. I simply love to see the creations that come out of his workshop.

Congrats to the Chrisman family! We hope your "little" makes many happy memories playing on this lovely lamb.

(Hard to believe it's been almost 4 years since Rachel & Mark got married... some of you might remember the dessert tables I created for their reception.)

Friday, February 6, 2015

Volcano Valentine

Serve up a silly, chilly, ice cream volcano dessert that’s erupting with sweet sentiment. Kids and kids-at-heart alike will get a thrill from this pyroclastic pun-on-a-plate.

You can find the directions for this laughable, lava-ble, Valentine's Day dessert at Handmade Charlotte.

Just FYI...allow plenty of time for the ice cream volcanos to freeze completely. I was impatient (imagine that) and had some melting issues. Also, melted volcanoes taste just as delicious as frozen ones.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Project Popcorn

Ugh. We've spent the last 30 days, scraping the popcorn texture off of every ceiling in our house. And when I say "we," I mean Eric. Poor guy. He's my handyman hero.

It's been a messy process, to say the least. But it's finally done. 

Now I get to start the process of repainting every wall in our house. Yippee! I'm hoping to work on one room per month. Check back for some interior updates. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Our Little Knit Wit

Life is just one, constant, arts & crafts project with Bea. 

If I try to throw away an empty Kleenex box, she says "Wait! Can I have that?" And 30 minutes later, she's turned it into the Taj Mahal for our backyard birds. Or, she'll take all of our recycled newspapers, cut them up, and weave a basket for her teacher at school.

Such was the case last weekend, when she asked for some yarn. She said she wanted to make me a scarf. The only problem with that is, she doesn't know how to knit. And neither do I. But I let her play and experiment anyway. It kept her busy for a while, and she presented me with a wadded and knotted tube of yarn that was held together with 3 yards scotch tape. Naturally, I applauded her effort (as any supportive mom would do.) But I decided it was time to channel her creative energy into something I might actually be able to wear. So we went to Michael's and purchased a Quick Knit Loom kit. It was so easy to figure out. Especially with the help of some YouTube videos we found online.

Within 24 hours, Bea-the-Craftmaster had made the most adorable knit hat. And it fits our cat, purrrrrfectly! Whether Cake likes it or not. (P.S. She does not.)

We've already purchased some larger circle looms and Bea's now working on a hat for her dad. Hey wait a second, wasn't she suppose to be knitting me a scarf? Guess I'll have to put in another order.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Hungry Hippo Soup

I originally had the idea for this bread roll hippopotamus back in 2006. I was working on some cookbook designs for the Sedgwick County Zoo, but the project never got past the concept stage.

Fast forward nine years... and my hippo is finally emerging from his soupy slumber. Some ideas just take a while to surface, I guess.

Bea and I had a great time making these last weekend. She made the babies, and I made the moms. It was like working with Playdoh. But better, because we actually got to eat them when we were done. 

Our hippos are wading in a bowl of tomato bisque soup. But you can choose whatever kind you like. I think they'd look pretty hilarious in a bowl of chili too.

You can find my simple, step-by-step instructions for bread roll hippos at Handmade Charlotte.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Hot Cocoa + Candy Critters

It's 7 degrees today. SEVEN.

The only thing that can soften the blow of temps in the single digits, is a steamy cup of hot cocoa. And the only thing better than a cup of hot cocoa on a freezing winter day, is a cup of hot cocoa topped with one of these cute candy critters.

I'm especially fond of the little ski bunnies, swooshing down a mountain of whipped cream. But the penguins on iceberg marshmallows and the cardinals on snowy pretzel branches warm my heart too.

Make some for a hot chocolate bar at your next winter-themed party. Or make some just for fun. You can find my tutorials for these sweet treats at Handmade Charlotte.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Do The Shuffle

I've been helping my brother decorate his house for a few years now, and 2014 was all about creating a chic (and only slightly geeky) entertaining space in the basement. 

Like most guys, he loves TV, movies and gaming. So his must-haves included: a giant flat-screen TV, some serious theater seating, and a shuffleboard table to fill his long narrow basement. Check. Check. And check. After he purchased those items, I was given freedom to decorate around them.

I've said it before, but my brother is the perfect interior design client. He enjoys fun, interesting, and slighty-quirky d├ęcor. I don't think he's ever said "NO" to any of my wacky ideas. (And I only had to veto two or three of his video game-themed suggestions.)

Here are a few photos of how the basement has come together so far. I especially love the posters and knick-knacks that really bring out his personal interests.

The basement is long and narrow. Perfect for a 14-foot shuffleboard table.

Massive, comfortable, theater seating - with Mario Brothers pillows, of course.
Eric built this custom "Shuffle" sign to hang over the shuffleboard table.

I love this awesome, white credenza and the movie & TV series posters on the wall.
Kurt's always wanted a dog, so I got him this decorative bulldog at Target.

Quotes and accessories from his favorite movies - Caddyshack & Christmas Vacation.

Modern poster designs of some of his favorite TV shows and movies.

Illustrated posters of the Super Mario Brothers series by Christopher Lee.

He ordered these cool floating acrylic frames from Wexel Art Displays.

Some funky, multi-perspective, fractal mirrors from

I found these little silver men (holding the movie quotes) on Amazon.
Eric made the "Shuffle" sign out of a sheet of MDF board and painted it white.

The nieces and nephews love playing at Uncle Kurt's house.

A few, colorful, modern accessories on the white, glossy credenza.
Hanging glass orbs he got from

Some modern Nintendo controller posters on the wall and a bar table with chairs.

The perfect, comfy theater seats to sit, relax and stay a while.


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