Brass Jungle Bookends

As happens sometimes, we spent more of today’s crafternoon in pursuit of materials than actually crafting. Which meant that it was even more satisfying when our hard work paid off. Check out these Brassed Jungle Bookends!

Little-known-fact: You can’t buy spray paint in Chicago’s city limits. This is not good news for crafters. So we started this crafternoon with a trip to the suburban Home Depot for some metallic spray paint. We picked up some tumbled stone tiles there too.

After our Home Depot hot dogs, we stopped at the Dollar Tree for some plastic animals.

Christy and I went for the Jungle variety, Avril opted for the dinosaurs. It was a tough decision.

We got home, took our goods out to the alley, and sprayed away. Take that Chicago!

While we waited for the paint to dry, we super-glued our tiles together. We had hoped to find some sort-of-like-brick-but-smaller-than-brick stones, but tiles turned out to be the best option.

Once our animals were dry, we pulled out some books to test how they stood best on their new pedestals, made small pencil marks under their feet, and then super-glued them down.

Then Voila! Jungle Bookends!

Here’s one view. You can see Mr. Lion up there on the top shelf.

Or the pair together:

Thanks to Little Green Notebook for the idea!


Pretty Pocket Jotters

Today I was antsy for a project but wasn’t feeling too much patience in me. So these pretty little jotters were perfect. They took less than 15 minutes to put together and I can’t wait to start using them!

Here are the materials:

The secret: Gorgeous wallpaper samples from Anthropologie! (shhh.) While drooling over the website one day, I saw you could order samples for free. So I took them up on it. They are perfectly lovely decorating these mini moleskin journals.

You can easily wrap a piece right around the journal using double-stick tape:

Round the corners to cover the entire front, or add some embellishments:

Gift a set of 3, or split them up among friends (one would mail in a plain old envelope):

I had a few extra wallpaper samples, so with those I went even smaller and made my own little pocket jotters. (I saw this idea over here. Only a matter of time before crafters ’round the world discovered anything free from Anthropologie.)

I just cut a few sheets of paper to be 4″x6″ like the wallpaper samples, folded them together and stapled in the middle:

So get to it! And be creative about the paper you use: sheet music, comic books, a page of poetry, anything printed! These couldn’t be easier and will be fun to fill…

PS: I wrote “Eucharisteo” on one of the Moleskin journals because I’ve been reading the book, “One Thousand Gifts.” The author is dared by a friend to write down one thousand things she is thankful for, so she tries it. Her beautifully written book chronicles how this act of giving thanks — Eucharisteo — softens her heart and gives her joy. These little notebooks seemed perfect for carrying around in a pocket or purse to jot down throughout the day the things I am thankful for.

Je vous aime, Quiche.

That means, I love you, Quiche. Oh boy, do I love you, Quiche.

I love the warm crispy crust, the creamy and perfectly salty sweet filling. I love eating it for breakfast, brunch, and dinner. And mostly, I love wowing my family and friends with such a wonderfully fancy dish while secretly “mwahaha-ing” over how simple it is to whip up. And trust me, I take as many opportunities as I can for a good wowing.

Here’s how:

Thanks to Marmie for this tried and true recipe. We grew up on this ham, cheese, and broccoli version (which I still love), but my quiche go-to these days is spinach, feta, and caramelized onions.

Play around with the ingredients to your heart’s content, but don’t change one thing: the perfect egg to cream ratio. Just don’t. 5 eggs. 2 cups cream. Perfect.

Here are a few other quiche secrets: 

  • Pre-made refrigerated pie crust
  • Pre-washed bagged baby spinach
  • If you include veggies (onions, broccoli, red peppers, etc), saute them first. It will pull out some of the water to prevent a mushy quiche. eww.
  • This time I tried using fat free half and half. It worked surprisingly well!
So first, just unroll your crust (home or store made) into a pie plate. Cover the bottom with caramelized onions (great how-to here) and feta cheese.

Add a generous amount of raw baby spinach.

Then pour in the egg and cream (5 eggs, 2 cups cream. Don’t forget.) over the whole thing. Top it off with some parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. (That makes it pretty in the end.)

Stick it in the oven for an hour. And it comes out in all its glory looking like this:

It saves well, and is best reheated in the oven (rather than the microwave) covered with foil to keep the crust flakey. Just another reason to bake this up for a crowd or a dinner for 2.

Here’s the recipe for Marmie’s Quiche:

1 unbaked pie shell
5 eggs
2 cups half and half or heavy cream
Fillings of your choice!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Fill the unbaked pie shell with cheese and veggies. (Saute any veggies for 3-4 minutes before adding to shell.) Add meat (ham, bacon, crab), finely chopped to shell. Beat eggs until smooth. Add cream and mix well. Pour into shell. Top with salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese. Bake for 1 hour.