Monday, January 31, 2011

Tuesday Tutorial - Cloth Napkins

We do 95% of our eating with food cooked or prepared at home. Though I love a good restaurant meal (heck, even fast food burgers or taco shop dining is a treat for me!), my husband prefers to eat meals that we have carefully made with ingredients at home. And I have to agree that a well-cooked meal is much more enjoyable for leftovers at lunch the next day than those tiny frozen "dinners".

We serve everything on dishes instead of paper plates and use cloth napkins instead of paper towels. It's different than living with my parents. I mean, I might have used a paper plate in the past to make a sandwich for lunch but a steak dinner on paper plates...nope, that doesn't work for me.

Real dishes for each and every bite at home make the food more real & less "snacky" to me. And cloth napkins elevate dining at home to a special level. I have so much fabric (really, you have NO idea how much fabric!) and some of the prints are just perfect for home decor. I thought I'd start off with making some cloth napkins and then perhaps place mats and a table runner at some point.

I have these two of my favorites...

PhotobucketSandi Henderson on the left and Paula Prass on the right

Heather Bailey has a perfect (free) tutorial for making cloth napkins on her website, HERE.

I put a set of four together in this green and yellow color combo on a weekend afternoon and we used them for dinner that night. Most of the time is spent pinning the hems. The sewing goes together simply, just straight edges.

I learned how to do a few interesting cloth napkin folds by carefully unfolding and studying restaurant napkins. Here is an online tutorial from Martha Stewart..

If fancy folding isn't your thing though, you can just use simple napkin rings to slide the napkins through.


Polish off the look with these pretty ribbon napkin rings in this tutorial, also from Martha Stewart.

But if the sewing machine is still foreign to you, I do have these pretty pink and yellow dotted napkins available for purchase in my Etsy shop, along with sweet braided ribbon rings that I accented with heart charms.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Weekend that Was

Well, it wasn't too much. Pretty mellow, actually.


Started off with The Boy spending the night at my parent's house on Friday night. He woke up that morning, assuming that since it was a weekend (and we didn't have The Girl) that he would be spending the night at his grandparents. He's done that for the last few weekends, so of course he assumed that was the set up this weekend too.

I called my mom after teaching my tumbling class on Friday and she said, "No problem, he can stay here overnight". I think she misses having him around as much as he used to be. After all, I moved back in with my parents before The Boy was born and we lived there until just before his 7th birthday. They have been such a huge part of his every day life and I think not having him there morning, noon and night has been a very big change...not only for him, but for them too.

They still pick him up after school every day but waking up to his sweet little face on weekends is apparantly still something they want and need!


Without the kids, Danny & I were free to converse without interruption, run out to the store without the need to help anyone with a seatbelt, stay up till after 9pm watching a grown-up movie and slept in till 8am without having to feed anyone breakfast. I cleaned the house in peace, Danny went to the gym and then we headed out for a matinee, The Fighter, which we both enjoyed a lot.

After picking up The Boy, we did some Costco shopping, then headed home for the evening. This morning after picking up The Girl and going to church, the afternoon was spent quietly at home with the kids playing, Danny napping, me doing a little sewing and then cooking dinner (baked chicken, veggies and homemade oven fries). It started to rain lightly in the evening and then quite heavy after dinner.


We ended the night with banana splits for dessert and Danny and I watching a re-run of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour on Comedy Central. Boy, does that make Danny laugh, which in turn makes me laugh!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

FIVE FOR FRIDAY - Bursting with Love

I wanna have a full out Valentine's Day party. I think it would be so fun to just invite people over, have a great dinner, eat sweets and enjoy the love and friendship of a group of people. I think I'm really just itching to entertain, it's been so long since I've had my own place...well, of course I can't just throw a party, I have to run it by my husband. He likes to entertain too and I know he'd want a say in the details. He's like me in that way, once we have a little seed planted in our heads, our brains start spinning into action and we start thinking of plans.

But sometimes (ladies, are you with me?), we have to plant that seed into the gentlemen's heads because they just aren't thinking so far ahead as to realize that Valentine's Day is just around the corner. I'm not that kind of gal who lets an event pass and then say, "Oh my goodness, I can't BELIEVE you forgot!!" because then not only would he be mortified and mad at himself, I'd be disappointed that he didn't remember. Plant that seed a few weeks in advance...I find that printing something out as a BIG HINT from online and putting it somewhere I know he'll see it just makes the best sense. Then he knows exactly what you need/want!

So here's a FIVE FOR FRIDAY, inspired by Valentine's Day (because you know it's just around the corner, right guys!)



Speaking of Valentine's Day parties, isn't this just the cutest set-up?! I think everything looks so much more delicious when it's coordinated and packaged and tied up in a pretty little bow, know what I mean? You'll get the PDF so you can print at home to your heart's content.



So I was planning on baking and decorating some heart-shaped cookies for The Boy and The Girl to take to school but I can BET YOU mine won't be looking this gorgeous! Seriously, look at the detail on these amazing cookies, I'm sure my poor hand would be a cramped mess by the third cookie. And at the variety of flavors you can choose...Meyer Lemon? Tahitian Vanilla? Bring it on!



Seriously, this is just one of the most precious personalized things I've seen around. More meaningful than just your child's name, it's an actual drawing of your child's made into a silver key chain. So perfect for Daddy or Grandpa...or me actually, I love it! The hard part would be choosing which artwork to use.

Edited to add this special offer:
Rita from Surfing Silver would like to offer FREE USA shipping through Feb. 1, 2011. Convo her at etsy so she can make them a custom order with the free shipping. Mention the "Five for Friday" post or the Painted Butterfly Blog in order to get the offer.



Need a little something for Mom? This is sure to be a hit, especially if she has a sense of humor. Fill it flowers first and she'll love it even more!



It's been a long time (many months in fact) since I've listed any of my own items, but here we go! I finally have some ready-to-ship items in my shop, all Valentine's inspired, including ready-to-ship girl's boutique clothing & accessories and home decor.

Don't forget to see this post to enter my GIVEWAY for your copy of the book Every Day Love! All you have to do is make a comment but you can earn extra entries by becoming a follower of my blog or by telling a friend.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Random Wednesday

1. Got some more things posted on Etsy. Things are coming along slowly but surely and I'm having a good time working my way through my fabrics, trims and supplies. I love these picture frames, I just know they would be so sweet in your home year-round. And of course I put a lot of love into painting them, polka dots are my favorite!


2. As you can see in this photo, The Boy is missing his top row of teeth.


Late last year, he developed an abcess because of some crowding in his permanent teeth that were coming in. The dentist noted that The Boy has both an extra baby tooth and an extra permenent tooth coming in on top, which was causing the crowding. So we decided to pull them and make space.

I paid the co-pay and that was that. Of course, yesterday I received a call from the dentist office saying that my insurance company wouldn't cover the extractions because the work was done in a specialist's office & not the primary dentist's office.

Of course the primary dentist sent us as a referral to the specialist because they wouldn't do the extractions but I guess that's neither here nor there. What it boils down to is that I owe them more money, ugh!

3. This picture is of a chicken and cannelini bean crock pot dish that I made recently.


I took the time to take a photo of it before I left for the day. Of course, this was Rookie Mistake #2 and didn't take the time to actually plug in the crock pot! When I came home after 10 hours, the food looked exactly the same...raw!

4. Conversation Hearts are in the stores already.

I haven't actually seen them yet, but I know they are there, hiding in those pink and red Valentine's aisles. Trying to avoid them like the plague because in years past, once I start, before I know it...I've eaten the entire bag.

5. I think I fixed the commenting feature on this blog so it opens it up to everyone. This means you don't have to have a Google ID to make a comment on my blog, just post away, I love hearing from everyone! Makes me feel like I'm not alone on the World Wide Web *wink*

Therefore, don't forget to get your comments in for the Valentine's book giveaway!

Add your comment to this thread to be included in my giveaway.

Tutorial Tuesday - Angel Chicken

Yesterday evening while at the grocery (picking up something I'd forgotten for this recipe) I started feeling a bit icky. My stomach was aching and cramped and I felt sort of faint. Just had The Boy with me and Danny was at school till late, so I just headed home and rested. Fortunately The Boy is pretty self-sufficient (when he wants to be) and he was able to take a shower, get ready for bed by himself and was in bed by 7:30pm...he's always very sweet when he knows I'm not feeling well. Maybe I need to "not feel well" more often?

After eating a little, I was feeling better enough to get up off the sofa and prep today's Crock Pot meal. It's always wonderful to know that I only have to do minimal work to get dinner done, especially when I wasn't feeling 100%. I prepared the mix in the crock and I stuck it in the fridge overnight.

I worked from home today so I was able to double check (triple check?) that the cord for the slow cooker was plugged in! As you will recall my Rookie Mistake, I've actually since done this one more time since then, ugh!


I received this recipe from a friend, who received it from a mutual friend after having it at her house for dinner a few weeks ago. It received rave reviews from them and sounded really yummy, with minimal work.

Though this recipe calls for Angel Hair pasta (hence the name "Angel" chicken), I had leftover whole-wheat spaghetti from dinner a few days ago. Also, I only had 4 breasts instead of 6. But this just meant that there would be more sauce (which means...yum!)

Here is the recipe link for Angel Chicken

Well Danny and The Boy LOVED it! The recipe calls for cream cheese with chives in it but I just used plain. I sprinkled on the chives just before serving. I served it with a veggie mix of broccoli, squash and carrots. It was just fine with the whole wheat spaghetti and there was a great amount of sauce to cover the noodles. The chicken was tender and sooooo good! Danny never asked what was in the ingredients, just piled the food on his plate, ate and said it was delicious (whew!). The Boy asked if he could have some leftovers for his school lunch tomorrow. That's what I'll be having for lunch myself!

Don't forget to add your comment to this thread to be included in my Valentine's Day book giveaway.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Giveaway Thursday!

Ever have a book cross your path just at just the right time for you to best appreciate it?

I'm reading one right's called Every Day Love: The Delicate Art of Caring for Each Other, by Judy Ford.

I picked up this book and have been reading it for the last few days. It's kind of one of those books where you can read a few quick chapters...but don't expect to skate through it all in one sitting. You'll need to slowly digest the content over the course of the day or maybe even all week before diving back into the next few chapters. I've been taking just 15 minutes to read and then journalling or just relaxing to think about the chapters and how I can apply them to my own life.

Valentine's Day is coming up. Could you use some Every Day Love?

I'm going to give away at least one copy of this book, Every Day Love to one of my blog readers. Because I have so few followers and even fewer that actually comment (ahem!), I'm going to see if we can drum up a few more people! So if you refer someone to the blog, they comment and they win, you'll win a copy of the book too!

I'll waiting until I have at least 25 comments before running the giveaway, so be sure to share with your friends.

To Enter:

1. Leave a comment...make sure to include your email address so I can reach you!

Get Extra Entries by: (leave a separate comment for each)

2. Become a Follower to the Painted Butterfly Studio Blog.

3. You're already a follower? Thanks! Just be sure to post that in a separate comment so your extra entry will count.

4. Post this link on Facebook and leave the link to your post in the comments.

5. Tell a friend. Tell them to follow this blog and comment that you sent them here. If your friend wins, you'll win a copy of the book too!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fictitious Vacations

I love shopping for clothes that I'll never buy. I love searching for party decorations and recipes for parties I'll never host. And I love planning vacations that I'll probably never go on.

When I was a kid, anytime we'd get a toy catalog the thing would be dog-eared and thoroughly read within a week, circled with my wish list for toys I would never receive.

And when I was a teen, I loved getting clothing catalogs in the mail so I could coordinate outfits and shop without actually spending a dime.

Now, I have a thing for home decor catalogs and children's clothes (please tell me I'm not the only one with $500 of saved outfits in their Gymboree shopping cart?).

But probably my very favorite Internet daydreaming comes in planning fictitious vacations.

This is a popular site for me.
Disney Cruise

Ahh, a Disney cruise would be a dream come true! And only $3000 for a weeklong cruise for four...what a bargain! *wink* Seriously, that's actually not that bad, since food and entertainment is included, it's just over $100 per day per person. But unless I come into a huge windfall, going on that vacation anytime soon is highly unlikely.

Of course then there is also the Walt Disney World Vacation ($3000+, not including air fare). I have never been to WDW and likely won't ever, but it's fun to plan where I'd stay and what parks I'd visit! Too bad it's so far across the country from us and we'd all have to pay for round trip tickets.

Disney World

Us at Disneyland

And the straight-up Disneyland resort ($800 for four people on the curent SoCal ticket special, two days & nights at a resort hotel, plus we'd need fuel & food). This is a more reasonable for us since we are within a quick driving distance. I've loved staying at the Paradise Pier and Disneyland Hotels in the past, the service is fantastic and the views, the pools, and closeness to the parks is great.


The Boy with Mickey

Hawaii was an option for a while, as an uncle had offered his home there for us to stay on our Honeymoon. However the plane tickets just for the two of us would be $2000 and then we'd still need to rent a car and pay for food. And you just know if there was a kitchen, my honey would want us grocery shopping and cooking at the house every night instead of eating out (sorry, but cooking isn't my idea of a vacation!). So for now, Hawaii is not a close reality for us.

In Big Sur

Road trips are always great. We took a road trip up the California coast and to Reno last spring vacation. The rental car was a reasonable price, we stayed in cheap motels (one night of which was free because of a promotional deal) and we stayed with Danny's family for a few of the days. The bulk of the spending was on fuel, food, a visit to the aquarium in Monterey Bay...but, we did have to buy impromptu tire chains to get through the pass when we got caught in a storm!

Big Sur

This is my favorite site to plot out road trips.

Rand McNally

I used the Rand McNally site when we took our road trip and it was wonderful to plug in the different spots along the way. They have since changed their site so you can't save your trips, but it's still very helpful to get the driving maps. Then when you are ready, you can print out the maps & itinery. I took each section and stapled them together then filed them in order inside a folder which I kept in the side door of the car. Totally organized and picky, I know, but we never got lost!

Now Danny is mentioning a possible trip to San to plan my next trip! Seriously, I think planning vacations is (almost) as fun as actually going on them.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday - Taking Photos in Manual


Hoping to start a new post feature each Tuesday that features tutorials. Hope to get my own tutorials that range from cooking to crafts photographed and posted soon, but for now we'll use some wonderful links from the World Wide Web! Ahhh, the power of the Internet...


This weekend I took the leap and slid my Canon Rebel XTI from Automatic to Manual.


It was a big leap for me...I've had this camera for many years and each time I've tried to shoot in Manual I've gotten frustrated and moved back to Automatic.


Shooting in Manual can really open up a new realm in photography. I know that if I'd been trying to shoot these photos in Automatic (a very bright day at the zoo), my pictures just wouldn't have had the same effect. They either would have been too dark when I was shooting in the shade or they would have been overly light in the bright sun.


All the photos in this thread are SOOC (straight out of camera), which means I did no cropping, no editing, nothing fancy in Photoshop. I adjusted the ISO and F-Stop, which you can read details about in the following helpful links:

The Pioneer Woman

The Rusted Chain

These are just two of probably thousands of Internet sites that have photography tips, these just happen to really break it down into something that is more easy to understand. Do a search online, pull out your camera's manual and just practice around the house. Write down tips of what works for you onto index cards and put them with your camera so you'll know just how to adjust your camera for whatever setting you find yourself in.


Now I just need to get better with focusing. My eyes are pretty crummy and I think I'm not holding the camera still enough when I depress the shutter. More practice, the crisp photos will continue to come all in good time!

Fuzzy wuzzy...

Much more crisp, hurray!

Apple Pie, Honey and Love for Sale

The weekend before last we headed up to Julian, a sweet little town up in the mountains. They are known for their apples, so of course we had to get a pie at Mom's, our favorite pie shop.

Their Christmas tree was decorated with apple ornaments, of course!

Since the weather was crisp, we were expecting to see some snow on the drive up but other than just a few small patches in the shade, the ground was dry. Generally on a snowy day, all of the native San Diegans would be inspired to play in the novelty snow for the day (because more than likely the next day it would be melted) and Julian would be a busy mess. Since their was no snow that day, Julian was pleasantly uncrowded and we were actually able to walk right up to the counter at Mom's without waiting in any lines and get a seat inside, something that has never happened before!


It was very cold (for all us native San Diegans) and sitting inside the warm pie shop, eating apple crumb slices with cinnamon ice cream was a real treat.



We shopped in our favorite corner store and sampled our way through the dry goods, including spicy Wasabi peas which I never thought I'd like, but did! We picked up our usual bear-full-of-honey and a jug of Boysenberry Apple Cider.Danny bought the kids honey straws which the happily sucked on as we wandered the streets.



I've been super-busy, gearing up to restock my Etsy shop. It's been all hearts and flowers around here for the last few weeks!

Please check out my Etsy shop, which I've just restocked with Valentine's Day themed outfits for toddler girls, some accessories and home decor. More to come!

Painted Butterfly Studio


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sweet Saturday

Look at me, posting on a weekend!

We got our new computer last night and my brother came over to connect it all together (thanks, Eric!).


We have it inside this red IKEA cabinet that for years just held a bunch of random sewing paraphenalia. It's always been one of my favorite pieces, now we just need a nice leather desk chair to match the sofa & chair. I like that we can close the doors and not be always tempted to be online (we'll see how long that lasts!).

Danny and The Boy are out and about running errands. They were going to take a fishing pole to the repair shop, walk around the lake and who knows what else! All I know is that I got a few hours of quiet time to myself to clean and putter around the house. Grandma volunteered to have The Boy spend the night so Danny and I can go out for date night. Not sure what we'll do yet, but you can bet I'm not going to cook myself dinner!



It was a nice bright and sunny Saturday morning so I was able to take some pictures of the current buffet decor. Would like to get some flowers for inside those vases, though!



And here is our new living room furniture set. I love the clean lines and the leather is a lot more comfy than I thought it would be. Next, a rug and some wall art (come on, honey, we're going to need to put some holes in these walls at some point!!)



After cleaning the house top to bottom, I made blueberry muffins. Technically the mix came from a box but I mixed up some chopped walnuts, brown sugar & cinnamon and sprinkled it on top of the batter in the cups before baking. Mmmm, the house smells lovely and I love the extra crunch of sugar and nuts crumbled on top.



Off to my cousin's baby shower now...she's having TRIPLETS!

Hope you all have an equally sweet Saturday :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

FIVE FOR FRIDAY - Dessert Stands

I bought a cake stand at a local antiques shop before the wedding with the intention of placing it somewhere on one of the tables as a centerpiece. However, the cake stand ended up being the largest piece I had and it would have just looked out of place on the tables so I didn't end up using it at the wedding at all. If I'd known my wedding cake was going to be so small, I would have brought it to use for that but in any case...Sorry, still have a hard time letting go of the Wedding Cake Incident

Anyhow, even though I didn't get to use the cake stand for its intended purpose, it's still getting a workout in its new place of honor on my buffet. It's a beautiful creamy white Fenton glass dessert stand with a scalloped edge and hobnails on the base. I paid half of what I've seen them priced at on Ebay and it still certainly was a splurge for me.

The cake stand in action during Christmas, along with a clear glass version that I did use at the wedding.

I used it to hold a glass jar of ornaments, a handpainted tote and votive holders during Christmas. Right now I have one of our wedding pictures in a bright green frame there with one of my milk glass rose bud vases. I plan on doing up something really cute with it for Valentine's Day, too.

So don't just think of dessert stands as just for dessert. Perhaps in a previous life, my stand was actually used to hold a cake but so far in my home, it hasn't held anything edible. Think outside the box and how you could use one to decorate in your house. On my FIVE FOR FRIDAY today, here is a variety of dessert stands to fit about any decor.



Zowwy, well, let's just start off with a bang! Three tiers of yummy goodness (and the treats aren't even piled on there yet!). Totally unique and handcrafted, each one of these stands are like pieces of art.



I would have a difficult time finding my favorite piece in this collection of upcycled stands. Created with a combination of patterned plate and candlestick, they are simple and chic and there is a style here to fit just about every taste. You know you could find a use for this adorable Valentine's version, right?



Super chic French ladies, ooh la-la! These come with glass domes so these would be perfect for an outdoor luncheon to hold teacakes and little sandwiches.



A set of four wooden cupcake stands in your choice of color, including these sophisticated metallics. Or course you could use them as shown to hold a cupcake but think out of the box and picture them with a sparkling votive candle as a centerpiece.



I just love this rustic, wooden cake stand. I think that more than any other dessert stand, this piece would be just as well at home on a mantel or shelf holding a bouquet of wild flowers.