Monday, November 26, 2012

DIY Paper Cone Tree

***I'm back! I didn't intend to neglect the blog, but last week we had some canine/computer compatibility issues. . . Indy tried to share Josh's lap with the laptop. The 125 pound dog won and the computer screen lost. 
We just figured out how to hook up the computer to the TV, so now I have a 46 inch monitor! We'll get a replacement screen soon, but for now this works. So glad to be back at it. Did ya miss me? :)***

Cone trees have been all over the internet lately. They are a super easy and cheap project so I thought I'd join the party with my own spin.

I shopped my house and pulled a few things that I already had on hand.

You can buy styrofoam cones for the base or you can be cheap and create your own from an empty cereal box-- yay for free!

I've seen the cones covered with many things, from ribbon to beads to felt. I had a paper bag laying around so I thought that it would be perfect to make an easy tree.

If you're using cardboard as the base, you should open it up and cut all the flaps and tabs. Then run some glue on the edge, like so:

Roll it into a cone shape.

Now you can either hold it closed like that until the glue dries or, if you're like me and too impatient, you can reinforce it with a few pieces of tape.

(Go with the tape. Life's too short to wait for glue to dry.)

Cut the bottom so that your cone lies flat.

Next I added a flat strip of paper along the bottom edge so that none of the cardboard would show under the first layer of triangles.

I then cut a bunch of triangles out of the paper bag and glued them in layers-- making sure to overlap with so as not to have gaps.

When I got to the top I made another small cone from the paper, just like I did with the cardboard.

You could stop there, but what's Christmas without a hint of glitter? So for a little sparkle, I smeared a thin layer of glue on the tips of the triangles and sprinkled on some glitter.

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Refinished Wooden Desk Chair

I've been without an office chair for quite a while now and have been on the lookout for an inexpensive replacement. Something wooden or upholstered, but not the big, black rolling things that are so common these days.

Just my luck the other night, Josh and I were driving around in his truck and saw this sad little chair on the curbside. It was a little wobbly and rather an ugly duckling with its stained wood and green vinyl seat. I knew a quick paint job and new seat cover would work like a charm. 

Here it is all sanded down. The seat was held on by four screws, so it was really easy to pop off. Josh tightened all the bolts and that got rid of the wobble.

Recovering the seat was easy because we just stapled new fabric over the existing vinyl. I had a few fat quarters on hand which were the perfect size. I pick up a few that catch my eye every so often because they are less than a dollar. I decided on a neutral but graphic pattern since I've not decided on the color scheme of the room just yet.

I used white paint I still had on hand, then screwed the seat back on, and it looks as good as new!

Not a bad little "before" and "after", huh? Especially since I didn't have to pay a dime.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Five Minute, Four Ingredient Cheesecake

So I was on Pinterest the other day . . .

: )

And this pin piqued my interest. Five minute, four ingredient cheesecake? Really?

I had to test it out. I didn't believe that it would all that great, but if it was . . . dangerous. As Emeril would say, "Yeah, baby!"

So for my great experiment I assembled the four* key ingredients:

  • 8 oz. tub of cool whip
  • 8 oz. block of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk

*This recipe is slightly misleading because you in fact need five ingredients. You need a graham cracker crust. Feel free to make your own, but in the spirit of the ease of this recipe, I bought mine.

The key to this recipe is to make sure that the cream cheese is softened to room temperature. If it's still too cool, it will cause icky lumps.

Cream the cool whip, cream cheese, and sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Add the lemon juice and blend until just combined.

Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 1/2 hours-- overnight recommended.

It really did only take five minutes to prepare.

My verdict:
I was impressed with how great it tasted. It does have the texture of a no bake cheese cake and a lovely zing from the lemon juice while still being luxuriously sweet.

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Sunday, November 04, 2012

How To Make Dried Orange Slices

This will be Indy's first Christmas. He's our almost 9 month old great dane.

And I'm a little concerned about our Christmas tree.

He's a pretty good dog, but I doubt his complete self-control. I've read somewhere that a lot of cats and dogs don't like the smell of citrus. So I'm going to try hanging some dried orange slices on the tree as a deterrent. 

Now if I can only prevent his tail from being a problem . . .

I used two oranges. I found using oranges with thicker skin dried out the best and resulted in less fragile slices.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Cut the oranges into 1/4" slices. Discard the end pieces.

Place the slices directly on your oven rack. Keep the oven door open a smidge to help air circulate.

It took about three hours to dry them out. I flipped them every hour or so to prevent sticking.

I'm stringing them up and hanging them in the kitchen for now, until we get the tree out. They look pretty with the sun shining from behind.

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