Friday, January 27, 2012

a wall that speaks to you...

A new house always has a plethora of projects waiting to get done {or as my husband says junk}. We have had a wall of nothingness for almost a year now, and after seeing the my new OBSESSION at Brownstone I know exactly what is going to fit and look amazing on our 10 feet of bare wall!
My new obsession!

"Wall of Nothingness" to the left
With a look in mind and a budget that won't break the bank set, I went to Textures to pick out my favorite box signs! These signs range from all sizes from 2"x3" to 24"x36", and they have words that can fit any house hold. From conservative, to faith based, to the couple that loves to entertain they have something that will show the personality of the home where they are hung. I can't wait to get them up and hung, I also plan to place some pictures amongst the signs just to make them pop a little more.....
I will let you know how the final product turns out!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Jewel of a Recipe

Attention: To all my Brownstone Village Blog peeps, here I am with a great recipe for a "cheese spread" that our featured vendor Pepper Patch is known for! I absolutely LOVE this recipe and have made it MANY, MANY times! It is good to have at a party, or just to eat for dinner when you are just too exhausted to make a FULL meal. 

The recipe is compliments of Texas Kickin' Jellies aka "Pepper Patch", who also makes the "Jewel Jam". Here are the 4 simple ingredients that are needed:
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese {shredded by you} :)
1 cup chopped green onions
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 cup of mayonnaise

Mix together above ingredients and mold by hands {or put in mold, make sure to put plastic wrap in mold first} and chill. Plate and cover with your "Jewel Jam" from Pepper Patch and add additional 1/2 cup of pecans. Serve with your favorite crackers! 

I sure do hope you like this as much as I do, until the next time {from the girl who loves to eat!


Friday, January 20, 2012

Never Board of Burlap

For those of us who troll the web as well as the Brownstone aisles looking for new and different ideas for the home, the growing presence of burlap is inescapable. From table runners to wreaths, the rustic material is everywhere, and I for one couldn't be happier. As far as I'm concerned, textures add to the personality of a space every bit as much as color and light. But what's form without a little function? That's why I chose to cover my office bulletin boards with some old coffee bags I found at a nearby flea market. It was remarkably easy but proved to make a great impact on the look of a few otherwise boring office accessories. My favorite type of craft!
  • First of all you're going to need to measure how much burlap is needed to cover the bulletin board you wish to use. Boards come in all different sizes and with or without frames. Anything will do for this project, just make sure your burlap is at least 3 inches larger on all sides of the board, so as to fold around the edge of frame. I used an old coffee bag with a design so I needed a board large enough to keep the image intact.
  • Next, you will cut your burlap. This can be tricky as the fabric has a tendency to stretch and move. Your best bet is to find one string or thread of the burlap and start to pull it out. Don't pull so hard that you break the string, but apply a bit of force. The rest of the fabric will start to buckle and gather, until your remove the entire string and are left with a channel that you can cut straight through to make an even cut.
  • Now place the burlap face down on a flat surface. Center your bulletin board face down on the burlap. Pull the burlap over the edge of the board and begin stapling along the top.
  • Pull the burlap at the bottom as tight as you can and staple it to the back of the board as you did the top. The burlap will still appear a little loose. Continue with the sides of the board.
  • As you staple the vertical sides of the board make sure you are continually pulling the burlap as tight as you can around the boards so as not to leave any wrinkles or waves.

This is where I stopped. I wanted the imagery of the old coffee bag to be the focus. However, if you are using plain burlap from the craft store, you may wish to stencil your burlap with a quote or image. Or perhaps cross some twine to better hold the photos and papers. As with all crafts you need to play with it and make it your own.

Keep Creative and Have Fun!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

That look is furrrrocious!!

I have always loved new and unique looks, so when I started seeing fur vest all over the racks at BSV {Brownstone Village ;)} I was ecstatic! With so many options it is hard to choose, and for someone like me who loathes dressing up, it was the perfect accessory to add a little spark to an outfit. Now comes the hard decision what color fur vest to buy......

Well obviously you all know that the decision was brown, they great thing about these faux fur vest is the versatility, you can throw it on with a baggy button up shirt, or dress it up with some pearls {i love me some pearls}! Sadly, my husband didn't fall in love with my vest as much as I did, but who really cares as long as you know you look good right??!?

Now if you are looking for a fur vest, you have TONS of options at BSV! Groovys has a great white one, and Rebecca's Ranch and Ward Girls both have the perfect brown and black ones! So get on down here and pick yourself out one before they are all gone!

Robin :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

"Kids spell love t-i-m-e." {John Crudele}

It is so easy to get carried away with day to day life: carpool, work, dinner, homework and sports. Even though you are with your kids during most of the time, do you really spend time with them? I mean quality time and not just, "Emma, please pas the green beans" and "Wyatt honey, the blackberries go in your mouth and not your ears."

We always talk about how we would like to spend more quality time with our kids, so this year for Christmas, my husband and I though we could do "Date Cards". I created twelve cards {6 activities with Mom and 6 activities with Dad}.

We brainstormed date ideas and came up with a variety of fun activities. Some are outings, while some are projects at home. We tried to keep them inexpensive....

The dates with mom are:
  • Shop for and cook a recipe of your choice.
  • Choose a craft or sewing project for us to do together.
  • Go to the bookstore for a new book and a treat.
  • Paint a picture together at Painting with a Twist.
  • Go see a production at Casa Manana.
  • Kid's Choice!
The dates with Dad are:
  • Shop for and grill a recipe of your choice.
  • Go to the barn and fish, ride 4-wheelers and hit golf balls.
  • Go out to dinner at a restaurant of your choice.
  • Have a movie night---at home or at the theater.
  • Enjoy a guitar lesson.
  • Kid's choice!
We put the cards in an envelope and hid them in the Christmas tree for Christmas morning. We were both pleasantly surprised that even though Emma was surrounded with gifts, trips and gift cards, she gravitated towards the "Date Cards" and took the time to read each card very carefully. We left it up to her to decide which date she would like for each month. It was funny to hear her reasoning, "I want to wait to grill outside until it gets warmer. That is definitely a springtime activity."

I am going to make a small book of the date cards along with some pictures of each of the activities. What a great way to give a gift that keeps on giving!


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Alright all my beautiful resolutioners! I want you to reach all your fitness goals, so for those days you can't make it to the gym, out on your run or group exercise, or maybe you're just doing the same old routine at home. Here is a quick work out you can get in at home {even while watching your favorite TV show :)}! In parenthesis are pointers on proper form and how to do it--this is just to avoid injury and for anyone who may not know what a specific move is. Enjoy :)

For the Legs and Booty:
-Squats {legs are hip distance apart, and pretend like you are sitting into a chair, the booty goes back and the knees DO NOT go past your toes--this is what can cause knee injury}
-Lunges {both legs are at a 90 degree angle and that back knee never touches the floor--but comes close!}
-Plie Squats {this is a wide squat that will work the inner thighs, toes are pointed to the corners of the room}
- Calf Raises {come up and down on the toes}
-Jumping Lunges {alternating lunges by jumping}

Do THREE sets of 12-15 REPS

For the Arms:
-Push Ups {arms come to a 90 degree angle shoulder distance apart}
-Triceps dips {you can do this off of a chair and make sure those elbows go straight behind you}

Do THREE sets of 12-15 REPS

For the Abs:
-You can really do any type of crunch from bicycles to sit-ups {make sure you are using your core to come up--don't pull on the head or neck}
-Plank {it's a must for a strong core hold for 1 minute}

Do THREE sets, Hold the Plank for 1 minute and do as many crunches of your choice for 1 minute

-High Knees
-Jumping Jacks
-Mountain Climbers
-Burpies {legs apart your hands come to the floor, jump out to a plank, come in, jump up to end}

Do THREE sets, doing 1 minute of each exercise!

Stay Fit Ladies!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Look at them Apples!

I am a self proclaimed Antique Mall JUNKIE! I love walking the aisles and finding someones old junk {or treasures} and re-purposing them to fit my home! I love to find things that may have a story, or come from somewhere far away, or are just plain cool! I am also a Pinterest JUNKIE, which I am sure most of us are by now! I have found many ideas on making shelves out of wire baskets, books, crates or even old wood pallets.

So, my mission was set, I was determined to make some book shelves out of old crates, I didn't really have any set ideas on what kind of crates, I just knew that I wanted crates that showed their age, had advertising, and didn't break the bank! I went to one of my favorite antique malls first that is in Fort Worth, it is a huge mall and I knew I would find something there....NOT! I guess wood crates are an easy sell, because every single one that I found was over $30! I know this may not seem like much, but I was looking for multiple crates {plus I am a recent graduate and a newlywed, so I need deals people!}

My next stop was a small antique mall in Mansfield, and boy did I find what I was looking for, and they had amazing people walking the floor there. An older gentleman noticed that I was looking at every single crate I passed, so he proceeded to tell me where I could get the biggest bang for my buck, which was of course his booth :), and boy was he right! He had at least 10 crates and all were under $15, he also had a back story for every single one!
So I ended up with 2 APPLE crates from Missouri and a dynamite box from south Texas, all for under $35!

I love absolutely all of them, and I think they added so much character to the little nook that I have right outside our bedroom! Let me know what you think!!!
Robin :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Poms Away!!

Come into Brownstone the day after a major holiday and you're sure to see at least one of the girls poofing a tissue paper pom or up on the ladder hanging them from the ceiling above the front desk. These bright and festive poms have become a fast fixture in all of Brownstone's seasonal decorating mainly because of how simple they are to make and how quickly they change a mood. One month the poms are brown and orange for fall foliage, the next, festive red and green in honor of the Christmas season and if you were to walk in today you would see romantic pink and red for Valentine's.

All that is needed to make your own tissue paper poms is a little tissue, a pipe cleaner, some ribbon and a bit of patience.

  • First layer 8-12 sheets of tissue paper in a stack on a flat surface. The more tissue you use the fuller your pom will be {I recommend using 10 sheets when using traditional 20x30 inch tissue} but if you are using the larger paper, a few extra sheets are not a bad idea.
  • Next, you are going to fold the entire stack of tissue lengthwise, back and forth, accordion-style into 1.5 inch folds.
  • Now, bind the middle of your tissue paper stack with a piece of wire or a pipe cleaner.
  • If you plan to hang your pom, now would be the time to tie a long piece of ribbon or fishing line to the pipe cleaner. If you plan to attach your pom to the wall or use it in a centerpiece without hanging, just ignore this step and move on.
  • The next step is what really gives your pom its personality. While all the tissue is bound together tight you are going to trim the edge into either a point or curve. The curved scalloped edge is a softer look and adorable for baby showers or wedding decor. But the pointed edge is a bit more festive and fun, especially with the bright colored poms.
  • Now comes the fun part. Fan out the tissue and start separating the tissue, one sheet at a time. Be careful not to rip the paper, but if an accident should happen, don't stress, once the pom is fully poofed out it is difficult to notice the little imperfections.

    Congratulations! You've mastered the art of tissue paper poms and now you are ready to experiment with all the color and size combinations you and your friends can come up with! Because make no mistake, one they see you can make these tissue paper balls of fun, they will all want your help decorating for their next party!
    Keep Crafting,

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Calling All Resolutioners!!

As you know, the "Biggest Loser" competition has begun here at Brownstone and I know many of you out there have your own "Biggest Loser" challenges. So, I thought I'd share a little helpful hints on how to not only begin but stick with your New Year Resolution.

First things first--pick a goal. The most important thing about this goal is to not make it too broad, for example instead of your New Year's Resolution being "I want to lost weight" make it specific to what you want to accomplish. Make it more like losing 10 pounds by summer, fitting into your old favorite jeans or maybe even running your first 5K this year. Making specific goals gives you something to work towards and when you actually get to your goal it will give you a great sense of accomplishment, which believe me feels awesome and will only make you want to set more challenging goals!

Next, make your goals reasonable! You are not going to lost 30 pounds in a month, it just isn't going to happen. So many people go straight to the "diets" and completely cut out their favorite foods--this is why so many people crash and burn then completely veg out then, there went all your hard work out the window. Diets are meant to be temporary so begin to make small and reasonable changes to your diet and make it a habit for a lifetime {Like try to intake more fruits and vegetables, take in smaller portions, and take in the healthy carbs...carbs are NOT bad just make sure to choose the healthy ones}. My best advice when it come to food is set aside one day of the week that you get to go out and enjoy your favorite meal and drinks. You will get no where by punishing yourself and taking away all the good foods you love!

Third, don't beat yourself up! No body's perfect, if you slip up and have a bad meal or eat those sweets your have been craving don't think it has ruined all your work. When you fall off your bike you get back on and keep going, when you fall off your journey of health and fitness just get back on and keep going.

And lastly, find something you love. If working out is going to be included in your resolution {which I highly suggest--its not only good for your hot bod ;) but great for everything else like your heart which effects your brain, your mood, your sleep and just makes you an all around happier person} find your "thing". Try cycling, maybe try that weird fitness class you've been looking into, find a group of running friends, anything to get your heart pumping and the blood flowing!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Everyone Loves a Pepper!

It's the new year, so that means time again for Brownstone's "Biggest Loser" competition that we have with all the vendors and employees every year! With competitive spirits at an ultimate high I though I would share one of my favorite red pepper recipes!

Roasted Red Pepper Dip
2 large red peppers
2 whole green onions, cut into 2" lengths
2 Tbs. fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 c seed and chopped tomatoes
1 clove of garlic
8 oz. fat-free cream cheese, cut into pieces
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Pinch of hot-pepper sauce
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat the broiler or barbecue grill to high heat. Cut off tops of bell peppers. Place peppers on the rack 6" from the boiler heat source, or on the grill rack, cook for 2 to 5 minutes {or until the skin is charred black}. Rotate peppers so that other side face the hear. Continue cooking until all sides are charred. Transfer the peppers to a brown bag, close the bag tightly. Let stand for 15 minutes or until peppers are cool enough to handle. Peel the charred skin from the peppers, discard skin and seeds. Transfer roasted peppers to food processor and roughly chop. Spoon peppers into a fine strainer, stir to allow the excess liquid to drain off. In food processor add green onions, cilantro and garlic. Process for 60 seconds or until finely chopped, add cream cheese, process 60 seconds or until well combined. Stir in reserved peppers, tomatoes and cumin. Mix well, season with hot pepper sauce, salt and black pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours {for the flavors to blend}.

Makes enough for about 18-20 people

Let me know how yours turns out!
Becky "GG"

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Once Upon a Baby Shower...

Do you have a baby shower for your second or third baby? What is the official baby shower etiquette? I threw caution to the wind and encouraged one of my best friends to have a shower for her second child. It had been over five years since her first daughter,Georgia, was born and if nothing else, it was a great excuse for friends and family to get together and enjoy each other's company. My friend Lisa begrudgingly agreed to a shower because she didn't want to seem greedy, but we came up with a library themed shower that would generate a complete children's library for sweet baby Charlotte. Once the theme was set, the planning began in a hurry and we enjoyed every minute of it! We had the shower at a family member's house and decorated in pinks and grays along with a book page garland, a book page wreath and lots of book details. Frankly, the invitations were my favorite. They looked like library cards sweetly tucked into the card pocket. We included a couple of custom book plates in each invitation for each guest to place in their books so baby Charlotte would know who helped build her library.

The dessert bar was provided by Sugar Bee Sweets and got rave reviews. The desserts each had a precious food label that coordinated with a favorite book title such as "I Love You Forever" Lemon Ice Box Pie and "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" Chocolate Chip Cookies. The overwhelming favorite was the pecan pumpkin pie in a jar, and it probably was the favorite because each guest was able to take a jar home as a favor. The shower hostesses gave Lisa and baby Charlotte a book shelf for all her new books and one special book {Lisa received Dr. Seuss' "Oh, The Places You Will Go" with the instructions to give the book to each of Charlotte's teachers to sign, and when she graduates from high school she is given the book with all the signatures of the teachers that have helped her pave her way to college.}
Hope you all enjoy the details of this shower as much as I did!