Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tutorial Twosday: Christmas Inspiration

Every year Mama Goodlaff, Sister Goodlaff, and I would go to a local craft fair on the day after Thanksgiving to get "inspiration."  This means that if we saw something we liked, we'd examine it closely, decide if we could make it ourselves, and if so, we'd head to the craft store to buy all the required parts to make it at home for less than half the cost and twice the fun.

I didn't make it to the craft show this year, but luckily for me, Pinterest is my online, year-round craft fair. Here's what inspires me to head to the craft store in preparation for the Christmas season.

First up, Noel wall art:

Take ordinary MDF letters and make them extraordinary with a little bit of paint and hot glue.  I really love the placement of the "O," because it adds this great sense of whimsy to the whole piece

I am madly in love with this next project.  I'm certain I have everything but the frame I need to make it, so I may take a stab at it soon!

I love it.  I really do.  Wire, ornaments, a frame, and done.  Come to think of it, you don't necessarily need a frame to pull this off.  I think if you were in a really small apartment, this could be a great substitute for a Christmas tree.

Happy Crafting!

Monday, November 28, 2011


With certain leftovers, it's all about transformation. Got mashed potatoes? Leave those puppies alone. They are already perfect. Turkey? Change it up.

The last thing I wanted to do with our Thanksgiving leftovers was make soup or Turkey pot pie. And I love leftover turkey sandwiches like nobody's business, but given the amount of leftover turkey and the fact that I didn't want to be sandwiches for the next two weeks straight, the Goodlaffs had to come up with some new ways to talk turkey.

Here are two ways we mixed it up, turning our leftovers into exiting new meals.

This first one comes from Food Network. Normally Sandra Lee drives me batty, but she demoed this recipe on one of Food Network's T-day specials last year, and I knew I had to try it. This is the second year in a row that we've done these Scallion Pancakes with Crispy Turkey and Cranberry Hoisin Sauce, and they just might be my favorite leftover remodel, ever.

Here's the recipe, courtesy of Food Network:

Scallion Pancakes with Crispy Turkey and Cranberry Hoisin Sauce

  • 1 (8-count) package refrigerator biscuits (recommended: Pillsbury Grands)
  • 8 scallions, sliced, some reserved for garnish
  • 3 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
  • Flour, for dusting
  • 1 cup canola oil plus 2 tablespoons
  • 4 cups leftover cooked turkey, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup hoisin sauce, divided
  • 1 cup julienned cucumber



Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

Remove the biscuits from the tube. Flatten out each one slightly. Place 1 teaspoon of sliced scallion into the center of the biscuit and drizzle with 1/4 teaspoon of sesame oil. Wrap the edges of the biscuit around the scallions and roll into a ball. Repeat with remaining biscuits. On a clean, floured work surface, roll out each biscuit ball into a round about 1/8-inch thick.

Heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add a rolled out pancake and fry until crispy, about 3 minutes per side. Once cooked, place in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining pancakes and canola oil.

Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of canola oil over medium heat. Add the turkey and soy sauce and cook until heated through. Turn off the heat and add the remaining teaspoon of sesame oil.

In a mini-food processor, combine the cranberry sauce and 1/2 cup hoisin sauce and blend until smooth.

To assemble: Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the remaining hoisin sauce onto a scallion pancake. Top with some cucumber, scallions, and some of the cooked turkey. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the cranberry-hoisin sauce. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Eat those and then tell me they're not the best things ever. I would recommend extra scallions on top, and because I tend to like the sauce a bit more fruity, I would add a bit more cranberry sauce to the hoisin mixture too.

The second leftover remodel? Buffalo Turkey Sloppy Joes.

Rachael Ray has this insanely good recipe for wingless buffalo chicken pizza.  I could eat a whole one by myself if my husband wouldn't look on in disapproval.  How about that pizza on a bun? Okay!

We didn't follow any recipe for this, we just decided to wing it (heh).  Here's my best guess at what we did:

Buffalo Turkey Sloppy Joes
  • About 1 1/2-2 cups of chopped turkey (most of ours was dark meat, and we both agreed white meat would have been a little better. Then again, neither of us are big fans of dark meat.)
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 2-ish tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • Hot sauce to preferred level of spiciness, 2 or more tablespoons (it's buffalo sauce, after all)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of crumbled blue cheese
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • Hamburger buns
Take the turkey, tomato sauce, butter, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce and add to skillet.  Mix it up. Heat turkey through and add blue cheese crumbles (how much depends on how much cheese you like).  Stir to combine.  Add about two thirds of your green onions to the mixture.  Remove from heat.

Crumble some blue cheese on the inside of your hamburger bun and broil until the cheese is melty and bun is crisp.  Add more green onions on top of cheese.  Pile mixture on bun and devour. Wear your napkin as a bib.

You could probably chop up some celery and add it to the mixture.  It might add a nice bit of crunch and fit in with the whole hot wings theme. 

Do you have any leftover turkey recipes to share with me? I'm taking suggestions...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Of Thanks

Being that it's Thanksgiving (and this is what you do), I thought I'd take a moment out of this crazy turkey-cooking day to note what I'm thankful for.

I'm thankful for new opportunities and adventures; for new places.  I'm thankful for old friends and for the new ones I know I'll meet soon. 

I'm thankful that I can knit things to keep myself warm in the winter.

I'm thankful that my goldfish are miraculously still alive even though I left them outside in the car overnight in freezing cold temperatures when we were moving up here.

I'm thankful that we found a couch that would fit in the elevator, and that we now have a dining room table to sit at.  I'm also thankful that our building has storage units.

I'm thankful for my family, immediate and extended.  We aren't normal, but whose family is?

I'm incredibly thankful for my husband, who is a wonderful, patient man who, for whatever reason, chooses to put up with me.

Finally, I'm thankful for the bird in the oven, the potatoes on the stove, and the cool whip in the fridge. Oh--and the green beans.  I'm thankful for the green beans...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tutorial Twosday: Nesting

This weekend, Mr. Goodlaff and I solved the long-standing problem of having no dining room table, and just in time for Thanksgiving. Last night we sat down to dinner at our new table and as we set our plates down on the table top, we realized we are in need of place mats.  It's fun moving to a new place and figuring out what you need and how to make it your own. 

In that spirit, I offer two tutorials for those of us that need or want to feather our nests:

First up, this Measuring Spoon and Cup Organizer tutorial.  I don't know about you, but I hate having to dig around in a drawer to find the measuring tool I'm looking for.  This clever girl took paint sticks and made them amazing:

If I could put screws in our cabinets without it coming out of our security deposit, I totally would. 

I know it's a little late for this second one, but I'm gonna share it anyway. 

 Looking for some last minute Thanksgiving decor?  Look no further:

How smart is this?  She took amber glass bottles, made vinyl letters, added wheat and came up with awesome Thanksgiving decor.  Instead of the vinyl, you could easily trace letters and paint them instead.

Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fighting Frostbite

I've lived in the Pacific Northwest for all of two weeks now, and my vast experience has proven that it's cold here in winter.  People wear fleece. People wear scarves. And people wear hats. All the time. Every time we go out, it seems that I'm the only one without proper head wear.  I tried to fake it for a few days by wearing one of those ear warmer headbands, but it just wasn't working. Apparently I have an odd-shaped head and the pathetic little scrap of fabric I chose to keep me warm kept slipping off my ears.  My ears were freezing, and I realized I was going to have to become one of the sensible hat-wearing Seattleites.

Don't get me wrong, I love this weather.  Nothing makes me happier than rain and winter and wearing sweaters, jackets, and scarves.  Problem is, I have a love/hate relationship with hats.  I love hats.  Hats can be so classy and chic (love!), but they never fit my huge head (hate). Beanies fit (yay!), but because my default hairstyle is a bun or a ponytail, to wear a beanie I have to wear my hair down (boo!).

A few years ago I discovered the perfect solution, and I've been meaning to knit this hat for a while now.  The prospect of permanently frostbitten ears spurred me to get on it sooner rather than later. Check it out:

Wait for it...

A beanie to keep my head and ears warm that also allows me to wear a ponytail!  I love it so much that I'm knitting another one in brown, and may have to make one in every color.  No more sacrificing ponytails for warm ears. 

This just might be the best knitting pattern ever.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tutorial Twosday: Inspiring Initials

I've actually had a chance to test both of today's projects, and I have to tell you that although I was initially doubtful of how they'd turn out, both of these tutorials were really easy to follow and had fantastic results.

First up, these DIY Monogram Mugs:

I just loved the way these looked when I first stumbled across them.  The mugs were so cute and really seemed to be forgiving to those of us who can't manage to color inside the lines.  The best part is that this project can be really, really inexpensive. 

I found a few plain white mugs at Goodwill for about .99 cents a piece.  The hardest part of the whole project was that I had to go to a few different stores to find the proper paint pen, and the tutorial calls for transfer paper, which I couldn't find.  The cheaper alternative is to rub graphite pencil all over the back of what you're tracing and let the pencil do all the work when you trace over it.  While I liked the block lettering, the English Major in me decided on something a little bit fancier, and I ended up with this:

You could easily make a few of these for holiday or hostess gifts, or completely overhaul your mug collection by mixing and matching mug styles, colors, or designs.

The next tutorial is something I stumbled across before my wedding, and I completely fell in love with it.  In fact, I ended up making some of these bags for my bridesmaids to hold all their goodies!

Canvas bag, plus paint, plus doily equals magic.  The project was really easy, and I ended up customizing it further by using different paint colors to suit each bridesmaid's personality.  Also, if you want the exact doily used in the original tutorial, get Wilton brand doilies (I found mine at Joann's).

Here's how mine turned out:

I loved these so much that I eventually made one for myself and one for Mama Goodlaff. I use mine all the time at our local farmer's market, and I've heard tell that Sister Goodlaff loves hers too!

Happy crafting!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Red Letter (Sorting) Day

If I never see another cardboard box in my life, it will be too soon.  I suppose it's too bad then that our "dining room" is overrun with empty, flattened cardboard boxes. Yesterday I took the opportunity to make lemonade out of these cardboard lemons, and made a really awesome mail sorter for our new, still disastrously unpacked home.  (It's called avoidance crafting.)

The best thing is that, due to my overabundance of craft supplies, I didn't have to buy one single thing for this.  I had everything on hand.  I rock like that.

A few weeks ago I saw this mail organizer tutorial from Choose to Thrive and stored it in my little crafty brain under "things to do with a cardboard box."

Given our current space challenges, and the fact that we needed an efficient mail sorting system, I decided to give it a whirl.  The project template and size were too large for the space that I had available, so I used the basic project idea and decided to wing it. 

First, I needed a cardboard box.  Thankfully, I had one (or 3,000).  I won't give you a play-by-play, but suffice it to say that over several hours, a cardboard box went from this:

To this:

It's not perfect because I didn't follow the old adage to measure twice and cut once.  As a crafter, I tend to be really impatient and therefore very tolerant of imperfections. Things will be crooked--so what? I made it out of cardboard, so I can't really expect much.

I covered it in fabric that I had laying around, added a few labels, a bow, and voila!  Organizer:

For being made of cardboard, I think it works pretty well. Doesn't look too shabby either.  All in all, a success!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Couch vs Elevator

One of the challenges of moving in to a new place is finding a way to make your old stuff fit into your new space.  The Goodlaffs moved from a 1600 square foot townhouse in the country to a 925-ish square foot city apartment.  Space is limited, and we have a lot of crap. 

We also had no couch.

Let me set the scene for you: one week ago, the Goodlaff army of movers (Mr. GL and I, FIL and SMIL Goodlaff) was frantically unloading our lovely little Uhaul. After several hours, we had finally found it--the indication that we had reached the back of our moving van--the couch.  As I walked back to the elevator from dropping another stack of boxes into our apartment, I peeked out one of the top floor windows to see Mr. Goodlaff and his dad (FIL) walking away from the building, couch in hand.  Um.  Wrong way, guys.  Then I saw them set it down next to the Uhaul. 

This was not good.

Apparently one of the--let's say "quirks"--with our new building is that the elevator is tiny.  And the stairwell had an un-navigable corner. And there's no freight elevator. All of these things added up to us not being able to even get the chance to try to fit our couch into our current apartment.

So, no couch.  No big deal, right? We'd go couch hunting on the weekend, and everyone would be happy.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Boxes, Boxes Everywhere

After a week of packing, frantic cleaning, moving what felt like millions of boxes, and schlepping all of our belongings up to our fourth floor apartment, we are finally moved in to our new home.  It's a lot smaller than our last place, which means we have to figure out what stays and what goes (or how much it costs for a storage facility).  Our couch wouldn't fit in the elevator or up any of the stairwells, so that means we have a little bit of couch-hunting to do this weekend. I have bruises everywhere from tangles with various boxes and furniture items.

Still, city life has its perks.  We walked to the grocery store last night to get the makings for dinner.  And, if I look past all of the boxes still piled up in our living room, I can see a pretty awesome view of the Puget Sound. 

The move itself was awful, but I'm thinking that things are looking up from here...