Friday, May 31, 2013

Small Pallet Signs For Sale!

I threw together a couple of smaller pallet wood signs last night and I've decided to put them up for sale! They measure about 18'' by 3'', so these are fairly small and could be a nice little addition to your home decor either hung up on the wall or sitting on a shelf. If you're interested in buying either of these signs or would like to place an order for a custom sign, please contact me through my Facebook or by email at weatheredwillowblog@gmail.com. The signs shown in this post are for sale for $10 each, or $18 for both of them together. Prices are always up for negotiation, as this is definitely new for me and I want to be fair, especially to my family and friends as you have all been so supportive! :)


Both signs are painted with white acrylic paint first, followed by black paint pen for the words. If you're interested in different paint colors for a custom sign, that's no problem at all - just let me know what you want and I can make it happen :)




Also, as you might have noticed, I have not distressed these signs by sanding them down after they were painted. However, if you'd like me to distress them before purchasing, I can do that before getting them to you. I think they look great either way so I've decided to give you the option to choose!


Also please keep in mind also that this is pallet wood and therefore has its imperfections. The wood is rough in some places and the boards are not perfectly squared. In my opinion, this is what makes them so special - no two will ever be the same. 

Thanks again for all of your support! Please let me know if you are interested in purchasing either one or both of these signs. I'd also love to take more custom orders as well so feel free to email me if you're interested! I've really been enjoying making these and I already can't wait to work on some more! Talk to you soon! :)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Summertime Corn & Black Bean Salsa

Summertime is fast approaching and I'm already in the mood for my favorite summer foods :) We hauled out the grill tonight and made brats for dinner and it got me all excited for the many grilled meals we'll be making this season. It also reminded me that I made one of my favorite summertime recipes, Corn and Black Bean Salsa, about a week ago with my mom and I'm here to share it with you tonight!


It's a really easy recipe to throw together and doesn't require any actual cooking, just a bit of prep work. It always helps if you can divide the work in two by recruiting a helper to assist you with chopping up the veggies too ;)


You start by cutting up all the fresh vegetables - tomatoes, peppers, and onions - into fairly small chunks. You don't want them to be too big or the flavors of all the ingredients don't mesh together as well. We used both green and yellow peppers in this batch, but you can use red or orange as well. 


After the vegetables are all cut up, you add the drained black beans and fiesta corn. Then you add all of the ingredients for the "sauce" part of the recipe and mix it all up! Easy as that! Look at how happy my mom looks! We have so much fun together, don't we mom? ;)


As you can see in the photo above, this recipe makes a fairly large batch of salsa. If you're making it for a large group like we were, it's the perfect amount because it disappears really fast. Seriously, everyone loves this stuff! However, if you're just making it for a small family or group, you can cut the ingredients in half to make a smaller batch. 



The one ingredient we didn't remember to pick up this time was the cilantro, which is optional but really adds a lot of great flavor to the salsa if you like it. I know some people don't care for the flavor of cilantro, so sometimes it really is better to leave it out if you're making this to bring to a party or a picnic to share. It's also optional to spice it up a little with jalapeno peppers - this batch does not have any jalapenos in it either but they definitely add a nice little kick if you like spicy food.


And there it is, folks! Easy as that! I can't wait to make this again soon and I'd love to hear if you try it out as well. Please leave a comment if you do and let me know what you think! Also, please feel free to pin this post to Pinterest so you can come back and find the recipe later!

Summertime Corn & Black Bean Salsa

Ingredients:

2-15 oz cans fiesta corn (Del Monte)
2-15 oz cans black beans
3 medium to large tomatoes diced
2 green peppers chopped (can also use red, yellow, or orange peppers)
1 small sweet yellow onion chopped

Sauce:
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup vinegar
2 envelopes Good Seasons Italian dressing mix
Red hot pepper sauce to taste
2 small Jalapeno peppers (optional)
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Chop vegetables. Drain corn. Drain black beans and rinse well. Add corn and beans to chopped vegetables. Mix sauce ingredients together and pour over vegetables. Mix until coated. Serve with tortilla chips. If not serving immediately, refrigerate.

Variations:
You can also add 2 chopped avacados, but the salsa keeps much longer if you don't. It keeps for about 5 days in the refrigerator without them. This salsa can also be served over lettuce for a Mexican-style salad. Enjoy!



Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Life Lately

First of all, for those who missed my post yesterday, please go check it out! I shared my Classic Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies recipe and once you see how yummy they look, you're gonna want to make them as soon as you can! :)

Today, however, I want to just kinda share with you all what's been going on in my life lately. Lots of exciting things are happening and even though I can't dedicate an entire blog post to each little thing, this post will be a good way to just kinda put it all out there. So here we go!

One of the most exciting things that is happening is the progress on our house! We officially closed on our loan a week or so ago and finally have some start dates for construction! Yay! :) A week from today they will be digging on our lot and by the second or third week of June, the framing will be getting started too. It's so crazy to think that this is all finally coming together. Eric and I are beyond excited. Here's a couple of pictures of our lot - I drove past today and they had stakes in the ground! I almost scared my mom because I squealed so loud!




The stakes are kinda hard to see in the pictures, but they're there :)

Another exciting thing I couldn't wait to share with you is that Friday we went to pick out all of our plumbing fixtures and our fireplace. My soaker jet tub is officially in the plans - so excited! ;) And then yesterday we also picked out cabinets, flooring, countertops, and tile. It was really really fun and I am SO excited to see everything once it's finally all together in the house. I know it's a few months off yet, but I still can't help but be excited. I didn't take any pictures of our choices, but I will tell you that lots of white cabinets and trim, as well as barn wood flooring will be making a huge scene in our home. 

Our next appointment should be to pick out our light fixtures and hopefully we will be able to get in to do that within the next week or two. Then paint colors - both interior and exterior, doors, and hardware will probably come next. I seriously thought I was going to have the hardest time ever making these decisions, but so far it's really actually been quite easy. Eric and I have been agreeing on everything and we apparently have a better idea of what we want than we thought we did! Can't complain about that! :)


Next on the list of things to share with you all is that Eric got commissioned into our church this Sunday as the full-time middle school youth group director and assistant worship coordinator. Unfortunately, I couldn't be there because I had to work, but the church wanted to show their support for me as the wife of someone in this kind of a position within our church and gave me these beautiful flowers. They remind me of my wedding flowers and I just love how they brighten up the apartment. Sadly, I think this is the first time that I've had fresh flowers since we've moved in, but I'm really enjoying them now. They're also a wonderful reminder of the support our church has shown us and our excitement for our future, especially Eric's, within the church.

I'm also overjoyed with the weather we've been having lately. I haven't made it to the beach yet, but it will be happening soon! This picture makes me smile with the sun shining in my hair and my little floral bow - I am loving spring and anticipating this awesome summer that's coming!


Finally, I just wanted to share a few pictures that Eric and I took a few weeks ago while on an impromptu hike on the Saugatuck dunes beach trail. We both had the day off from work and decided that we wanted to head somewhere to enjoy the beautiful weather - we ended up in Saugatuck and were not disappointed. I continue to be awed by all the beauty we're surrounded with in Michigan and we have plans to go back on the trails someday soon for a day full of hiking.





First time with my toes in the sand for the year! Can't wait to go back!

Well, that's a little bit of what's going on in my life lately :) Also, I would like to let you all know that I've decided to start taking orders for pallet signs if any of you would like to order one. I actually got my first order the other day and will be starting to work on that one soon - I'm really excited! If you would like to order one, please let me know approximately what size you'd like it to be, if you want the base wood stained or painted, and what text you'd like, as well as text color and font if you have preferences. Also, I'm probably going to be making a few other signs to sell as-is rather than custom stuff so I'll be posting pictures of those as I make them too. Thanks for all your support and all the positive feedback on the signs! Talk to you soon!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Classic Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies


Well folks, tonight's the night that I will be sharing with you my recipe for Classic Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies! This is a family favorite and is pretty similar to the recipe for peanut butter kiss cookies from Hershey's, but tweaked a little bit. I've never made the original ones so I'm not sure if they're better or worse but either way, this is how I make them ;)


First, I have to show you how I measure my peanut butter. Sounds lame, but my mother-in-law didn't know about this handy kitchen tool until I came around, and she loves hers now. It's really the easiest way to measure sticky ingredients, especially peanut butter. This is a Pampered Chef one that my mom has, but I think mine is from Bed Bath and Beyond. They're awesome and I highly recommend that you get one if you don't already have one. 


First, you mix your shortening and peanut butter together. I am lazy and buy the sticks of shortening. I refuse to dig in a big can of Crisco... gross. Then you add your sugars, as shown in the picture above. Mix all of that up good and add in your egg and milk. Finally, add the rest of the ingredients. I made these at my mom's house while I took the pictures, and as you can see, she's still using her trusty old Sunbeam mixer. It's ancient but I'm actually quite nostalgic about it even though I love my KitchenAid :)


After the dough is all mixed up, shape it into balls in your hands using a rounded teaspoonful for each. I use a little more than a teaspoonful usually because I think the cookies look nicer a little bit bigger. I guess it's just preference. Above is what it looks like before being rolled into a ball. The picture below is what it should look like afterwards. Once they're good and round, you drop them in a bowl full of sugar and roll them around until coated. 



And we have a perfect little sugar covered ball of dough :) Now you just have to place them on a cookie sheet and bake! 


Above is what they should look like when they come out of the oven. While they're baking, make sure to unwrap your kisses so you are ready to put them on the cookies right away when they come out of the oven. The kisses won't push in as well or stay stuck in the cookies if you wait too long after taking them out. So anyways... once they're out, you just top each cookie with a kiss and gently press down so that the cookie cracks as shown below.


I apparently am terrible at taking one handed pictures. If you hadn't noticed before now, all of the pictures shown with a hand in them are extremely blurry. I've really gotta work on that ;)


Once all the kisses are pressed in, ta da! We have blossom cookies!


And some pretty photos of the pretty little cookies...


And isn't my plate from Home Goods pretty? I think I might start collecting dishes... I'm kinda obsessed! :) 

But, back to the cookies! This is hopefully the first of a few blossom cookies recipes to be shared on the blog. I have lots of ideas for different ways to make them, both with different cookie base flavors and with the different kinds of kisses. If you have any suggestions for combinations you want me to try out, let me know! Also, if you try the recipe, let me know what you think!

Classic Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies

Preheat oven to: 375ยบ
Baking time: 10-12 minutes
Yield: around 2 1/2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 bag Hershey milk chocolate kisses

Directions: 

Mix shortening and peanut butter together first. Then add sugars and mix. Next add egg and milk and mix. Add the rest of the ingredients last and mix all together. Shape dough into balls using rounded teaspoonful for each. Roll balls in sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheets and bake 10-12 minutes. Immediately top each cookie with a kiss. Press down so cookie cracks. Allow to cool before eating. 

Enjoy!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Pallet Sign Love!

Those of you who follow me on Instagram may have seen a similar photo to this one a few days ago...


That's right - my hunky hubby deconstructing a pallet for me... what a man! He actually helped me take apart three pallets that we picked up from my dad's greenhouses for free this past Saturday. It ended up being a more difficult task than expected, but we turned out being successful in the end!

We originally thought we might just be able to knock the boards apart with a hammer and a crowbar, buuuut no such luck. Spiral nails hold those tough babies together and they didn't budge too easily. So we just got out the saw and sawed them off - it got the job done, as you could imagine.  

Once they were sawed apart on the sides, then we could actually just kind of pound them off the middle piece with a hammer. I had fun helping out with this. Look at that smile on my face - you can tell I'm really enjoying it ;)


And then we trimmed them a bit and sanded them down. And when I say "we" I mean Eric :)



Once we had several good pieces of wood sanded down, I decided that I wanted to pair several of the pieces together to make two different sized square-shaped signs. I kinda staggered the planks to give them a more imperfect look as you can see in the photo below.



As you can see, Eric also kinda took care of that part as well. Are you surprised? ;) He cut two pieces of wood to lay across the backs of each sign and then drilled them onto each of the wood planks to make them stay together securely. If you would like a more detailed explanation for how to do any of the steps that involve power tools, please feel free to email me and I will have Eric kindly respond. I obviously have no idea, as I was more of the creative mastermind behind this project and Eric was the muscle :)

So when we were all done sawing, cutting, sanding, and drilling, this is what we ended up with! One smaller sign made with half planks and one bigger sign using full planks. Pretty awesome huh?


I have future plans to make something for our new house with the bigger one, but I'm waiting to pick out more of the details of our house before I start working on it so that I can match the stain and such. However, the smaller one is complete and I absolutely LOVE how it turned out!

First, to make the wood look a little more weathered, I took the back of a hammer to the wood to pound little dents in it. In hindsight, I suggest doing this at the very end if you plan to create a sign similar to this. After making all these dents, it made the painting and tracing a little more difficult so I'm definitely going to wait to do it until the end next time. Lesson learned.


This sign is actually going to be a wedding gift for a friend so I already knew what I wanted the sign to say, I just had to find a way to organize the text to make it look good on the sign. I created my design on the computer using a program called Gimp, a free program that you can just download from their site - it works like a charm for stuff like this. The fonts I used were all free downloads as well and I just kinda played around with the words until I found text combinations and size combinations that I liked. 

I originally planned to use a different method I had seen on Pinterest to transfer the design I created onto the wood, but my dear husband had a better idea. He suggested that we use the resources available to us and project the image from the computer and onto the sign so that I could just trace it. BRILLIANT! My husband works at our church so we just borrowed the projector for a few minutes and it worked extremely well. I know that not all of you have access to projectors, but there are other ways to do this as well, this just happened to be the most convenient for us. 



After I traced everything in pencil onto the wood, I used a small paintbrush to paint in the word LOVE, as it was pretty large and could be painted pretty easily. I didn't dare to use a brush on the smaller words though so I broke down and bought a paint pen to do that part. I had to retrace several times to get the white to show up bright enough, but it ended up looking pretty good in the end.



Don't mind the little pink sticky note that I was using as my paint pen tester or the fact that I was munching on animal cookies while putting the finishing touches on... if the photo showed what's behind me you would also see a can of Diet Coke on the coffee table. Gotta fuel the munchies with projects like these!

And finally, the finished product! I seriously love it and I really hope my friend does too. She's definitely going to see this before the wedding day, but I kinda already warned her cuz I couldn't stand not sharing it on the blog for another two weeks!




Awkward photo of me holding it...

And here's another one that I quick threw together for our apartment which is definitely moving with us to the new house as well. 


I painted this one white first and then actually used a black sharpie to color in the black letters. Unfortunately, I wrecked a couple of Sharpies in the process so I bought a black paint pen immediately afterwards. I'm definitely gonna use that next time instead to prevent more unnecessary Sharpie deaths.

So my big question for all of you... would you buy a pallet sign like these? I'm seriously considering trying to start selling them either through Facebook, Craigslist, or Etsy but I'm not sure if there would be enough interest in them. Let me know what you think and please let me know if you have any suggestions for how to best go about selling them if I do decide to go this route. I would love your feedback! And Jess - let me know what you think of your wedding gift! ;)