Saturday, October 27, 2012

give-away winner!

Twenty-two people entered (63 total entries) the give-away that I posted up last Friday morning.  Today we have a winner...

Congratulations, Erin!!!!  I'll be contacting you today and your prizes will be sent out early next week!  

Thanks to everyone that played along, checked out my little shop, and left me feedback on what you like, color suggestions, and even pattern suggestions!  I've definitely considered some and already made some of them happen, so keep an eye out for some new pillows in the shop late next week! 

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, October 26, 2012

recipes & a reminder

Sometimes I get into a bit of a f.u.n.k in the kitchen.  I mean, I have to prepare three meals all before 3 pm, so I hate spending the majority of my day in the kitchen.  Especially when I'd much rather be doing something else, like playing with Callan or working on a project.  But we have to eat, so I suck it up.  I didn't say I don't complain about it (from time to time) though.

Meal planning is one of my least favorite things to do.  It stresses me out.  I have no idea why.  It takes me forever.  As if choosing a meal was such a tough decision.  Gah.  

Baked treats on the other hand... hey, that looks good, BAM!, made.  Like these cupcakes.  I was in the mood to bake yesterday so I flipped through a few pages of cupcake recipes on Annies-eats (Annies-eats NEVER fails).  We had a bit of eggnog left in the fridge, so I whipped up half a batch (six) of these eggnog cupcakes.

If you're a fan of eggnog, make these.  They're pretty darn delicious.  The buttercream frosting is fantastic.  I did leave the rum out of the recipe so Callan could enjoy these, too.  These would be great for a holiday get-together.  Or a Thursday afternoon.

He doesn't complain too much when I make frosting.  Beater licking, new favorite past-time.

I pulled this recipe for "best-ever chicken fajita chowder" out of a Taste of Home magazine from the February/March 2011 issue.  So it's been sitting around for nearly 2 years and I had yet to make it.  With "best-ever" in the name, you'd think I'd have made it a little sooner.  Well, I don't have another chicken fajita chowder to compare this one to, so this one really is "best-ever".  We ate it for two meals (dinner, two nights in a row), and then the rest went into the freezer.  I'd make it again.  I even wrote it out on a recipe card.  I only do that for keepers.

I'm not usually a huge meatball/loaf fan, but this is another one of those recipes I pulled from a magazine (Better Homes and Gardens, May 2012), and hadn't made yet.  Despite not being a meatball lover, these spicy apple-glazed meatballs are really good!  I did modify it slightly, though.  Just a teensy dash of cayenne pepper (versus the 1/4 tsp the recipe calls for) to the meat and to the glaze, and then I diced up half of an apple (that's what those cheese colored pieces are on the meatballs, in the picture below) and tossed it into the glaze as it thickened on the stove.  My little man is a ridiculously picky eater, and he downed several of these!  That makes them a keeper in my book.  Destined for a recipe card.

Please tell me I'm not the only one that has a stack of recipes pulled from magazines, and printed from websites, just sitting around...only a handful of them ever tried.  Have you tried any new recipes lately?  Maybe a recipe, or two, from that stack? 

Oh, and don't forget to enter the give-away!  Today is the last day, so head over and enter, if you haven't already!  The winner will be announced on Saturday!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

behind the shop

There's something about whipping up a new pillow, tossing it on the sofa, and watching your room transform in the tiniest, happiest way.

My inspirations came from my love of quilts.  Beautiful, handmade quilts.  I love the process as much as I love the results.  Quilts take forever to make.  At least when you have a toddler, house projects, and daily chores in the way, I mean as your top priorities.  My pillows give me that quilt process satisfaction, and I'm pretty pleased by the way they turn out.  Plus they take a fraction of the time of standard quilts.

I came across this quilt, and fell in love.  The colors, the geometric pattern, the simplicity of the quilting.  Hence, my triangle pillows.

image via happy together

I wanted to find some large scale buffalo check fabric, in either red or green, so I could make some cozy pillows for the Christmas season, but couldn't find anything in the right color or within my price range.  So when I came across this quilt pattern, I knew this was the way I was going to have to go about it.  (Check out all the photos of this quilt, it's seriously gorgeous.)  I'm not complaining, though, because I really love how these pillows turn out.

image via craftyblossom

And then there's arrows/herringbone/chevron.  Hugely popular and the direction of the pillows that I'm working on now.  I'm not gonna lie, I'm kind of in love with them.  (Do you know the difference between chevron and herringbone?  Go here for a quick design lesson.)

Arrows.  There are so many beautiful arrow designs.

print from penandpaint, on etsy

print from katygirl designs, on etsy

Another take on chevron (my favorite kind of chevron - chevron meets arrows).

print from fancythatdesignhouse, on etsy

print from retromenagerie, on etsy

I'm a lover of herringbone.  One of my favorite patterns.  My dream is a rustic, wooden herringbone floor.  Dreamy, huh?


I want to create pillows that are family friendly, budget friendly, and beautiful.  And that's the goal of my shop.  It also gives me that creative outlet that I long for daily.  I love the added punch of color that a pillow, or two, can add to a room.  I love mixing and matching patterns in a space - it adds to a collected, and lived in feel.  I'm inspired every day and look forward to where that inspiration leads me.

"With quiet colors as a base, a room is easy to change and a pleasure to be in.  Add or remove a pattern, a color, something new or antique, a bit crazy or very classic.  Change anything, but enjoy."  (from page 110, "Love for Textures" [from Ikea])

{visit paisley sprouts, etsy shop, here}

Monday, October 22, 2012

thank you

I'm pretty overwhelmed by all of the feedback I got on Friday with the opening of my little etsy shop.  These were my shop stats when I went to bed on Friday night.

I had friends promoting (I swear I didn't pay them, or even ask them to!), many sweet comments were left, there was a load of "foot traffic" through the shop, and even a purchase was made!  (Huge thank you to Alison!  You totally made my day, just so ya know!)

I'm excited to get a few more pillows made (new colors and designs!) over the next week, or two, so keep an eye out.  And don't forget to enter the give-away on Friday's blog post.  It closes this Friday, so click here to enter, if you haven't already!

I'm so incredibly grateful for and touched by all of the support from my friends and family as I venture into this little handmade business.  Thank you, to all of you, who have sent me encouraging words and congratulations in the past few days - it means so very much to me!

Hugs to all of you!

Friday, October 19, 2012

etsy shop is now open!

It's here.

My etsy shop opened this morning!

Is it normal to be a nervous wreck?!

I still feel like I'm not ready, but I'll learn as I go and adjust accordingly along the way.  It's the technical stuff that gets me.  The products are ready to be packaged and sent out, so I suppose my worries are really minimal.  Despite the nerves, I'm pretty darn excited!

(If you're a veteran esty-er and have any tips or tricks for a smooth running shop, do share!)  

To celebrate my "grand opening", here's a little give-away!  One lucky person will win all that you see here, along with a few other goodies that I'll throw in before I seal up the package and send it on it's merry way.  Surprises are always fun, right?!

So, here's how you enter for a chance to win.  Actually, you'll have 3 chances.  Just follow the prompts in the rafflecopter below.  The give-away will be open for one week, and a winner will be announced on Saturday, October 27.

Good luck, and thank you for checking out my shop!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

an etsy shop

It's happening.

Friday, I think.

I need a few more days to obsess over just the right wording and shop policies and all that technical mumbo-jumbo.

It won't be fancy.

Maybe one day it might get a little fancy, but for right now it's going to be basic.


But because I'm so excited about opening up this little shop of mine (not to mention a bundle of nerves), I'm going to host a little celebratory give-away!  

The give-away will open when the shop opens, so keep an eye out.

I'm aiming for Friday.

Monday at the latest.

You can follow me on Instagram (paisleysprouts OR alleigh80) to stay up to date on the shop opening and new products.  I'll be posting all that good stuff on the blog, too, of course.

Off to edit what has already been edited, re-read what has already been re-read, and nail down a few more details and project ideas.

Monday, October 15, 2012

pumpkin cupcakes with pumpkin spice cream cheese frosting

This isn't the first time, and it won't be the last time that I declare my love for pumpkin.

I have an entire board on Pinterest that links me to delicious pumpkin recipes that I attempt to bake and cook my way through every Fall.

On Saturday morning, I opened up one of those big cans of pumpkin to toss a few tablespoons into my pancake batter.  That left 7/8 of a can of pumpkin just sitting in my fridge begging to find it's way into something yummy.  A mostly dreary Saturday called for a little baking.

I turned to my pumpkin board for some direction.  Ina Garten recipes never fail.  She kind of annoys me, but she's got skills in the kitchen.  So, I went with an Ina pumpkin cupcake recipe paired up with a Skinnytaste pumpkin spice cream cheese frosting.  Ina's cupcake recipe includes a maple frosting, but I'm fresh outta maple extract, so a spiced cream cheese frosting came to the rescue.

I made a few itty-bitties and a few regular sized cupcakes.  They didn't disappoint.  And the frosting was beater-licking good.  

Have you whipped up anything pumpkin lately?
Maybe you can't stand pumpkin and you have a different favorite fall flavor?
What's baking, guys?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

death is a funny thing

Not funny "ha-ha", but funny in the way that it makes you think as your world is momentarily turned upside down and filled with sorrow.

As we pack up and get ready to head to Pennsylvania to celebrate the life of my grandmother, the majority of my thoughts are filled with memories of Mama and wonders of death and eternity.

Last week, Travis and I sat down to watch a movie on Netflix.  After scrolling through potential movies, pushing play on one, and then turning it off because of the language, we searched for another one and landed on a Christian movie - "The Encounter - Paradise Lost".  Now to be perfectly honest, some faith based films tend to drag on. {This one did.}  Drag on in the sense that they include much more dialogue and back story than really seems necessary to send a point/idea across.  But despite that, the point is always made.  Usually tears are involved, on my part.

All week, a line from the movie has been echoing in my heart.

Jesus said to a man, who ached for his son that was taken, unexpectedly, from him, and pleads with Jesus to bring him back, "I can bring him back.  But if you could see what he's seeing now.  If you could feel what he's feeling. You wouldn't even dream of calling him back to this fallen world, not even for a second."

Isn't that so perfectly phrased?  As Christians, we ache because of the physical loss of a loved one, but the eternity that Christ has prepared for us is far sweeter than the sweetest life on earth could ever be.

Jesus [in the movie] continues, "And I guarantee you, that if you put your faith in me, you'll be reunited with Timothy forever.  There."

Just as the man was begging Jesus to bring his son back to him, Jesus pleads with us to put our faith and trust in Him.  When we give our lives over to Him, heaven becomes our eternity.  Knowing that we will, one day, see our loved ones who have passed before us in the presence of our risen King, is the greatest gift to have ever been given.

Mama may have left this world, but she is in a far, far better place, where we will, one day, reunite in His glory. If we could have her back, we would lovingly decline the offer.

I'm sure there will be lots of reminiscing, tears, and tearful laughter over the weekend, but we will all take comfort in the fact that she is living the most beautiful, everlasting life because of God's love for her and her love for God.  

And to that, I say AMEN.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

it's a beautiful day in heaven

Tonight, my Mama (my Dad's mom) went home to heaven.

Even in my sadness, I can't stop imagining her heavenly reception.
Reunited with her parents and siblings, grandparents, and other beloved friends and family that she missed on this earth for so many years.
My grandpa was among the many that greeted her at those pearly gates.
I can just hear them.

Grandpa: "Ruth! What are you doing here?!" (said jokingly, with a bright-eyed, open-mouth smile)
Mama: "Arne!  I thought I'd come say hi!" (spoken with such joy and peace)
Grandpa: "I hope you didn't have any traffic along the way!"  (said with a grin)
Mama: "[chuckle] Oh, Arne!"

The next few days will be full of tears and memories.
Memories of childhood, family gatherings, holidays, vacations spent together.
Beautiful, wonderful memories.

Tonight, Mama is with Jesus.
My heart and mind are overwhelmed.
My heart aches, but she is with Jesus.
And that brings me such great JOY.

Tears of loss and sadness meet tears of joy.