Thursday, March 22, 2012

Easy Black Bean Salsa

I realize it's March, but it's been downright hot the past few weeks! And nothing ruins my appetite like the heat. So, this past weekend, after realizing I had several cans of black beans, I put together this easy black bean salsa that hit the spot. It's gone, if that says anything. And, at the hubs' request, I'll be making more. 

Here's what you need to make your own: 

1 can black beans 
1 can corn 
1 can diced tomatoes
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 avocado, diced
1 lime 
fresh cilantro (adjust to taste) 

Dice your onion, avocado and cilantro - this is literally the only prep work - squeeze the lime, sprinkle with salt and pepper, mix, then grab your scoops and enjoy!! It's that easy. 

And, I wanted to share an avocado slicing tip for you, which I didn't know for the longest time. The easiest way to dice it is to slice the fruit in half, then into segments while still in the peel. Like this: 

Photo courtesy of

Just wanted to pass on that helpful tip! Enjoy!! 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Easy Easter Mantle

Another mantle post  - did you see this coming? After celebrating St. Patrick's Day this past weekend (complete with corned beef), it was time to move on and celebrate another, more important holiday.

I tried to keep this mantle as simple as possible and err on the side of spring rather than the side of bunnies and plastic eggs. I bought only a few things, and put this spread together in a mere 15 minutes. Why, you ask? So that I could spend the rest of my time outside enjoying the 80 degree weather Ohio has been blessed with for the past week!

Here's what I came up with! 

An easy-peasy mantle! First, I kept my old eight-paned window and hung a plain grapevine wreath on it this time. I also kept my glass tealight candle holder, which I've had for a while, and used for my St. Patty's mantle as well. This time, though, I swapped out the tealights for speckled eggs I got at Hobby Lobby ($3), and stufffed a bit of moss in the center to add some green.

The best part of this mantle was that I was able to cut sprigs of forsythia directly from a bush in our front yard to add to the sides of the mantle. We had no idea we had one, as this is our first spring in the new house, so this was a great surprise! The yellow blooms are so cheery. 

And I love how they look inside my tried and true Ball jars. I've had these for a while as well, so I didn't spend anything here either.

And there you have it. I hope this provides some inspiration for your own Easter decor! And now, I'm back to sitting outside an enjoying this weather ... and our beautiful magnolia tree. 

We sure are lucky first time homeowners to be able to gaze at this beauty this spring! 

 I'd love if you pinned any of my photos in this post, or left me a comment! Thanks for reading!

I'm linking up to: 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spring Has Sprung!

Oh. my. goodness. How beautiful has the weather been this week?! Here in Ohio it's like someone flipped a switch, and it's entirely too nice out to be spending time on the computer! So, rather than detail projects, which I haven't done this week anyway, I thought I'd show you the sights and scenes we've been enjoying thus far. Here's a few photos of the way things are looking on Sixth Street ...


All this and March Madness, too! I tell ya - life is good. Hope things are equally as marvelous for you, too!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Burlapalooza Day 5: DIY Burlap Dog Collar

Thanks for tuning in for my final Burlapalooza post!

This last project had me a little stumped ... I had trouble picking only one more! Nonetheless, I had to decide. And I'm proud to say this one was my own brainchild. A labor of love for Dutchy Pants.

The pup needed a new collar - her green one had a lot of miles on it. It was fraying and faded, so rather than buying one, I thought I'd try making my own using some of the burlap scraps I had from the previous projects this week.

Let me just start by saying this project was not as easy as I had hoped! All of the tutorials I saw online were for collars made with webbing and ribbon, which would have been much easier. Working with such a small amounts of burlap was extremely challenging for me, but I must say, I'm very happy with the end result.

So, if you feel up for the challenge, here are the materials you will need to make your own burlap collar:

1 D-ring
1 Parachute Plastic Buckle
1 Strap Adjuster
Colored Thread
Stitch Witchery
(It would also be helpful to have an old dog collar handy to use as a reference.)

First, I cut my piece of burlap. I made sure my it was at least three four inches longer than the length of my dog's old collar when I had it expanded to maximum length - around 16 inches. I also made sure that the width was at least two inches. 

Next, I folded the outer edges of the fabric in to the middle of the strip of burlap so that neither edge of the collar would be a seam. Make sure you use the steam setting on your iron - its much easier this way!  

When you've finished ironing the whole piece, it should look something like this. This will be the inside of the collar, or the part up against the dog's neck. 

Next, cut your piece of Stitch Witchery to be the same length as the burlap, and tuck it into the middle of fabric, in between the flaps you just created. 

With your adhesive tape inside the burlap, now run the iron over the whole length of the fabric to adhere the flaps down to the strip of burlap. 

Next, use your colored thread to sew each edge of the fabric - I did this with the fabric right-side up, both to ensure the fabric stayed together, and to add a little bit of color to the collar. 

After you are finished sewing,you can begin adding all of the parts and pieces that will turn this into a collar. This is where it really got tricky for me! The best way that I was able to figure out how and when each piece should be added was to use the old collar as a step-by-step reference. 

So, with this in mind, the first step is to string your adjuster piece to the end of one side of the fabric, making sure to leave yourself a few inches at the end so that you can fold the extra fabric back to the rest of the burlap and sew it together to hold the piece in place. 

Next you will need to add the male piece of the buckle to the other end of the collar and run it all the way up to the adjuster piece. 

First things first - I labeled the different buckle pieces in the photo below, in case you didn't know and had to look it up like me! 

So, add the male piece from the other end of the burlap,  with the prongs facing toward the end with the adjustor strap ... 

It should look like this! 

Then fold the collar, at the point in between the buckle and the adjuster strap, down under the male buckle ... like this ... 

Next you will take the empty end of the fabric and run it through the adjuster strap. There will already be fabric threaded through it from when you previously attached that piece to the burlap and sewed it in place. In this step, you are running the end over that fabric so there will be two layers in the adjuster ... 

See? Are you still with me?

Pull tight, and this is how it will look ... 

Congratulations - you've completed all of the necessary steps to make, what was in my opinion, the hard end! Next we'll put together the other end of the burlap. Here's how we start ... 

First, thread your D-ring through the end of the collar ... 

And then thread the female end of your buckle onto the collar behind the D- ring ... 

Then loop the end of the collar back through the D ring, and toward the female end of the buckle.

When you have the spacing the way you want it, go back to your sewing machine and sew a few lines in between the buckle and the D-ring to secure the fabric in place... 

And then ... you're done!! 

Whew! I hope this made sense, and that the photos will be a helpful reference if you do decide to tackle this project. Again, for me, using the old collar as a reference was invaluable! 

 So, what did the Dutch have to say about it?? She loved it! 

And because she has a profound love for saltine crackers, we were able to get a few great photos of her wearing it  ... 

Thanks for reading!! I'd love to hear your comments! 

Click here to view my other Burlapalooza projects! 

I'm linking up to: