29 November 2013

Christmas Wreaths

I had hundreds of ornaments leftover from my wedding four years ago.  We could have two, even three trees full of ornaments and still have extras.  So finally I decided to do something with them.  Found the idea on Pinterest (of course).  Bend a wire hanger into a circle, untwist the top and slide the ornaments on.  It is smart to hot glue the caps onto the ornaments first so they don't fall off.  I filled in any gaps and added more sparkle with the silver garland.  It is a surprisingly fragile wreath because the caps tend to snap, so I'm not sure that I would have wanted to buy ornaments specifically for this, but if you have a lot on hand it is a nice way to use them up.  I'm going to keep this hanging (in the storage room) instead of packing it away when the season is done, to help keep it intact.

This summer while I was in Oregon my Mom gave me a bunch of tulle.  I made a tutu for Cupcake, and this beautiful wreath.  I didn't want to spend the money on a wreath form (although if you do you'll need to cover it in white fabric before you start), so Aaron brought me home some sheets of Styrofoam from work and I cut out my own.  Cut the tulle and tie it on.  Hot glue stuff in the middle for pretties.  It is such a forgiving project, you can muddle your way through it and it will still look fantastic.  I already had the white snowflakes, so the only thing I spent money on was the red snowflake that I got at the dollar store.  If you like the style you can always use different colors and different middles for each season.  I've started one with cream tulle and will add autumn leaves in the center.  I'd love to see it in pink or green with flowers and Easter eggs for spring.  Or for another Christmas variety, just so the lower half in white, and add a Santa hat on top.  I guess this is my way of pleasing my inner-ballerina.

Tutorial for ornament wreath: here
Tutorial for tulle wreath: here, or here
How to cut tulle: here 

01 November 2013

Halloween dinner - chili con carne

I've decided that our traditional dinner for Halloween is now chili. Whenever I think about Halloween, the first thing that comes to mind is 2008 - we went trick-or-treating on Embassy Row in Washington DC and then had chili at at some friends' apartment near there. It was the perfect end to that day. In Mississippi (2009-2012), there was a chili cook-off every year at our church's Halloween activity. So. Halloween means chili for dinner. This was the recipe I made last night from a book, but not followed exactly. This is what I did:

1 onion chopped into tiny pieces
3 garlic cloves chopped
2 lb hamburger
          Put into your big pot and cook until the hamburger is fully browned. Drain off any excess liquid (I use a baster to suck it all up and put it in an empty can.)

2 cans of chopped tomatoes
1 can black beans
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 can of water (one of the cans after it's been emptied and rinsed)
2 cubes of beef bullion
3 tbl chili powder
cayenne pepper
          I only measured the chili powder. I just sprinkled in the other spices to taste.

Once the hamburger is browned, add everything else to the pot. You can simmer it for half an hour or more. Or you can cook it on medium for 10-15 minutes until it's hot, and then it's done. It was a darker flavored chili and really good.

We had cornbread with it, which recipe I apparently need to add to this blog because it doesn't look like I have yet.