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Happy May Day!

May Day basket - repurposed ice cream container

Yay for May!  May Day was always one of my favorite spring days.  We came home from school and quickly created baskets using paper cups and pipe cleaners, filled them with candy and snuck over to leave them for our neighbor friends.  I woke up this morning and made a ‘basket’ for my nephew, complete with two of his favorite things – dandelions and fruit snacks.  Too bad this only occurs once a year, or I might have hope for ridding my yard of the weeds.

dandelions

Speaking of dandelions… have you ever tried dandelion wine?  About ten years ago, after reading a newspaper article, I decided to make some.  I let the weeds blossom until the yard was thick with them (my landlord at the time, not so thrilled), then picked hundreds and meticulously cut off the yellow petals (the green parts are too bitter to include) while my roommates teased me.  I added honey and some other fruits and let it hang out in a dark spot for a long while.  After bottling, it looked beautiful – crystal clear with a slight golden hue.  Then came tasting time… it smelled like bananas covered in brown sugar.  Yum, right?  Well, smell can be deceiving.  My wine tasted something akin to ‘band-aid smell’.  Something somewhere didn’t go quite right, but it packed a punch and my friends were more than happy to chug it down.  I’m happy to say that my subsequent attempt at wine (apple) went much better.

Back from that tangent…. all it takes to make this kid smile is handful of dandelions!

May Day basket - repurposed ice cream container

What are some of your favorite spring childhood memories?  
Happy May Day!

 

DIY Tilt-out Trash Can

Awhile back, I posted about the stool I built that doubled as a water dispenser stand in my kitchen.  It seemed like a waste of space, and since I was also in need of a way to hide my garbage can, I decided to build something that would hide the garbage can and hold the water dispenser.  This is another creation from Ana White’s website; you can check out the free plans HERE.  I altered the height and width to match the space I had available.  One suggestion – make sure you have a garbage can that will fit inside, before you build.  You’d be surprised how difficult it is to find one that works when you alter the width!

I built my tilt-out cabinet more than a year ago using scrap lumber and leftover beadboard, and didn’t post about it until now because I’ve had good intentions of removing the center beadboard and replacing it with a piece of union jack patterned sheet metal. Other household chores keep getting in the way (old homes = work work work) so I’m not sure if or when I’ll get around to it.

If you’ve never built anything, Ana White’s website is a fantastic place to get acquainted.  Many of her plans utilize a Kreg Jig (a neat and simple tool that allows you to drill pocket holes – sold at most home improvement stores) and lots of photos to guide you.  This cabinet can be customized in so many ways and was a fairly simple build – give it a try!  Happy Friday!

diy-trash-bin2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY Fluffy Lamb Cake

Happy (early) Easter to those who celebrate it! I spent my afternoon making this adorable fluffy lamb cake – this one is easy enough for even an adventurous beginner. I can’t take credit for the design (stumbled upon it on Pinterest), but had to make it after my nephew saw it and gave his seal of approval.

You’ll need to purchase or make your own cake/icing (Immaculate Baking Co. cake mixes may be worth trying if you’re short on time – the ingredients are simple and don’t include preservatives).  Lyndsay from Coco Cake Land posted a great tutorial for decorating this cake on Handmade Charlotte.

My Tips:

In the spirit of saving time, I cut up marshmallows for the ears (rather than fondant), and melted chocolate chips for the eyes and mouth.  I used a marshmallow for the nose as well, dabbing a little frosting on it and sprinkling with pink sugar.  If you don’t have piping bags, cutting the corner of a Ziploc bag will work (just make sure to tape the corner to reinforce before you cut).  Freezer bags are thicker and will work a bit better.  I didn’t have the Wilton no. 22 tip, but used a similar star-shaped one and it worked great.

What are you making for Easter?

Cheesy + Garlicky Dinner Rolls | happyandsimple.wordpress.com

I have been promising a bread recipe and here it finally is (we won’t talk about the slight anxiety attack encountered while the recipe was temporarily misplaced – the best things are worth the wait, right?).  The recipe I’m sharing today is about as basic as it gets, and it is delicious!  I usually try to stick to whole grains, but sometimes white bread just hits the spot – especially with cheese and garlic.  They are also a great roll when made plain (my favorite, slathered with sunflower butter).

Please note that this recipe is geared toward using a bread machine, but may also be made by hand.  Guidance can be found within the reviews section on the recipe page (link below).

Before you click the link for this recipe, make sure to read my tips below for recipe success and how to easily turn these plain rolls into cheesy garlicky goodness.

Click here for the ‘Soft Dinner Rolls’ recipe.

Basic tips:

  • The order in which you place ingredients into your bread machine matters.
    • Manufacturer suggestions may vary, but I always place all liquids in first, followed by dry ingredients.  In this case, I place the sugar as my first dry ingredient so that it can dissolve into the liquid more readily.  Finally, I proof my yeast in a minimal amount of water, then use my finger to dig a little well in the flour, pouring the yeast mixture into the well.
  • Margarine may be used instead of butter if you want a dairy-free option (note that not all margarine is dairy-free).  Make sure your butter or margarine is very soft (but not melted) so that it will mix well.
  • All-purpose flour may be used if you do not have bread flour.  I have always used Wheat Montana All-Purpose flour with great results (they make great non-GMO/unbleached flours).
  • Make sure your dough isn’t too dry or too wet.  Your ball of dough shouldn’t look like it’s melting and it shouldn’t look like it’s cracking.  I usually end up adding a little extra flour to this recipe, and my dough has just a tiny hint of tackiness let to it once it’s been kneaded together.
  • They will turn out okay with less yeast.  If you only have one packet of yeast, don’t worry – they’ll still turn out!
  • Eco-friendly tip: skip covering the rolls with plastic as they’re rising and use a damp dishtowel instead.

Cheesy + Garlicky Dinner Rolls | happyandsimple.wordpress.com

Cheese/garlic tips:

  • While forming your dough into rolls/balls, place the desired amount of shredded cheese (I use a couple tsp cheddar) into the center and stretch your dough into a ball around it, pinching it shut on the bottom.  I store my shredded cheese in the freezer and place it in the dough while still frozen.  It should work just fine at room temp, but note that I’ve not tried it that way before.
  • Brush rolls with butter ( or margarine) after they’ve baked but are still warm.  After brushing butter, immediately sprinkle with your favorite garlic salt.  If you prefer fresh garlic, try adding a little minced garlic mixed in with your cheese.

Cheesy + Garlicky Dinner Rolls | happyandsimple.wordpress.com

These freeze very well – loosely wrap in foil and stick in the oven to thaw for a few minutes.

Happy baking!

Hello Spring!

Green Velvet, acrylic painting by Heather M. Roberts

I promised bread in my last post… and that’s this weekend’s mission – but in the meantime, I couldn’t help but share a new painting in honor of the first official day of spring!

Lots of cool minty greens in this piece.  Painted in super thin layers on a lightly textured wood panel, giving it an amazing velvet like finish that makes you want to reach out and touch it in the biggest way.  Can’t wait to have prints made.

Green Velvet, acrylic painting by Heather M. Roberts

Happy Friday!

Spring Thaw, watercolor painting by Heather M. Roberts

The cold weather has me dreaming of spring today… which translated into a floral watercolor painting.  Watercolors are still really new to me, but I like how this turned out and (with a few touch-ups) am thinking it would make a fun notecard design.

And… congrats to the painting giveaway winner, @graphixgrrl!  Thanks to all who entered. :)

Happy Monday! 

Up next, a delicious bread recipe.

heather:

Just might be my favorite from my ’30 paintings in 30 days’ ! Head over to heathermroberts.com to see the others. :)

Originally posted on Heather M. Roberts Art:

alive web

Alive, 8×10 acrylic painting

I had a great time painting this lovely jade plant today!

Happy Sunday :)

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