a (little) weekend revelation

While I was doing the old keep-toss-donate routine around the house this weekend, I had a “why didn’t I think of this forever ago?” moment. After sorting through some bags of clothes and boxes of miscellaneous stuff I’d been ignoring for ages, I realized there were a fair number of tidbits leftover that were A. too nice to donate to the thrift or B. purchased with someone special in mind. Like, for example, an exquisite silk scarf I found for my mom for $1. A precious dress I picked up at a church rummage sale for a friend’s little girl. And these cute 1950s “his” and “her” drink coozies that would make a super adorable bridal shower gift.

They had potential, these little odds and ends, but without a home, I knew they would never be connected to the person they were intended for. So I gathered them together and threw ’em in a bin, along with some basic wrapping supplies, and am calling it my gift bin. I figure it’ll come in handy when the holidays roll around and the need for impromptu hostess gifts, White Elephant fodder and stocking stuffers all arises in the same week. It’s a little fix, and an unoriginal one I’m sure at that, but still, I feel good about it.

So dears, tell me, how were your weekends? Did you all have any big (or small) epiphanies, housekeeping-related or otherwise?



how to: make tea-tin candles

I have this horrible tendency to hang on to way too many things, vintage tea tins being one of them. Which is why, in the course of the past week, my kitchen has been transformed into a veritable tea tin candle-making factory. If you, too, find yourself in a last-minute gift-making frenzy, here’s the how-to.


 Miscellaneous vintage tea tins—all of mine were from thrift stores, where you can find them easily, priced anywhere from 25 cents to $2.

 Microwavable soy wax—a four-pound box of microwavable soy wax ($10 at Michaels’s with a coupon) flakes made three average-sized tea tin candles.

Wicks of the extra-large variety (tea tins are pretty big in diameter, so you need a fat wick)—also available at Michael’s

Silicone chalk (for the tins that are not water-tight)

Wick holders (optional)

Newspaper (not optional)



1. Test your tins. Fill your tins with water to see if they leak. If you find some are not water-tight, seal the inside bottom rim, corners and sides with a silicon chalk. Do not be an eager beaver and skip this step! (Unless scraping a counter-full of wax off with an old credit card sounds fun—then by all means, skip away!) Follow chalk dry time instructions before moving on to step two.

2. Cover your work space with newspaper. (Again, please learn from my mistakes!) Center your wicks in the middle of your tins, making sure the bottom of the wick is flush with the base of the tin. I prefer to use wick holders to accomplish this. (If you don’t want to buy holders, you can dip the bottom of the wick in melted wax and then stick/center in the bottom of the tin.)

3. Melt your wax—fun! I melted four-plus cups at a time in my glass liquid measuring cup. Four cups took about 4-5 minutes to melt entirely, quite a bit longer than the box o’ wax predicted. If you have a thermometer to test the temperature (per package instructions), feel free to do so. I did not and everything worked out just fine.

4. Fill your tins on up with wax, but not all the way up, just close to it. Wicks will need adjusting after you pour the wax; this is totally normal. It’s also normal to run out of wax before a tin is full. Just get going on nuking the next batch right away and add it when it’s done.

5. Leave your tins alone for 45 minutes to an hour. Go watch a Golden Girls episode, read a magazine or take pictures of your cat…I’m not one to judge.

6. After an hour or so has passed, poke a few holes near the wick, going all the way to the bottom of the tin. This allows air to escape and makes for a more evenly topped candle. Top off your candles with a little more wax.

7. Leave them alone again, this time for a while. In a few hours time…boom. Tea tin candles are ready to go. Cozy on up and enjoy your handiwork.



clickin’ around, vol. 27

Yipes, I’ve been squirreling away some of these links for ages! I apologize for the delay; I’ve been sorta busy.

 Red-eye reduction tips. Helpful stuff, especially now that holiday party season is in full swing.

 A nicely curated list of DIY stocking stuffers. I like.

  I’m not the hugest scallop fan–on average I make one dish with them a year. This noodle-y goodness might be it for 2011!

 An easy, vintage-y, girly decorating idea.

 Majorly digging this Dolly P. inspired editorial in the latest Rue magazine. Lovely outtakes found here.

  AMEN TO ALL OF THIS: What I won’t ask you if you tell me you’re engaged.

 I wouldn’t mind if these notebooks wound up in my stocking.

OK, I’m off to warm up some supper and then it’s off to see a rockin’ (old country) band. Happy Tuesday y’all!



three quick & easy diys, present-toppers edition

Is it wrong if I want to skip actually shopping for presents this year and skip ahead to the part when I spend an entire evening listening to Christmas music and wrapping them up all cute? The trio of gift-toppers featured below can all be made mostly with materials you can find easily at, where else…your local thrift store!

 These Monopoly tags, c/o Glossary, give new life to a vintage game that was missing some pieces.

  Personalize a prezzie with a yarn-wrapped pipe-cleaner letter or go all out and do the lucky recipient’s name. Once the gift’s unwrapped, these would make great ornaments. (Idea c/o  giddy giddy.)

File this under why-didn’t-I-think-of-this: Dyed paper doilies, c/o Blue Eyed Freckle. How sweet would a single poof be atop a package? Very, I say.

Ahh, now all I want to do is sit around and wrap gifts! Fortunately, I do have some crafting action of my own going on tonight…working on this Saturday’s limited edition Mighty Swell giveaway. It’s going to be so tight…I can’t wait to share it with y’all!



from grandma ella’s recipe box: sloppy joes

Something you should know about me: I could read recipes all the live-long day. Another thing you should know about me: I absolutely love projects, especially ones that require sorting or better yet, alphabetizing. So yesterday, when my mom pulled out two huge recipe boxes full of my grandma Ella’s recipes, and asked me to categorize them all, I was pretty much in heaven.

I came across a lot of old favorites from growing up, including this one for Sloppy Joes, aka one of my most beloved comfort foods.

It makes a batch large enough to feed a small army, but it freezes like a dream. I remember eating this at Grandma’s on a homemade whole wheat bun, with raw veggies, ripple chips and dip. And now I’m hungry.



the beauty thrifter is in

Today over on Beauty Bets, I shared a bunch of beauty-related, gift-y DIYs I want to make this holiday season. The bows pictured above (c/o Oh So Lovely via My Girl Thursday) didn’t make it into the story, but I really love them. So, please go check out that how-to too. (Too. To. Tutu!) I figure if anything’s going to entice me to dust off the ole’ glue gun, it’s making pretty (pink) bows for my girls. For more fun budget-friendly crafty ideas like this, pop on over to Beauty Bets and read my post.

Also…I hope your Wednesdays are wonderful!



how to: bake pumpkin bread like tammy wynette

I’ve been thinking about Tammy Wynette a lot lately. Maybe it’s because I changed my work computer’s desktop to this last Friday, or maybe it’s because I’m saying her name 100 times a day, scolding my naughty kitty, her green-eyed namesake. So last week, when I came upon a couple handwritten recipes of hers on the Country Music Hall of Fame’s website (check them out here), I decided her pumpkin bread would be the perfect baking project. Like most of my go-to recipes, it’s pretty simple and pretty delicious.


3 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 eggs, lightly beaten
3 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups mashed pumpkin
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts


Mix dry ingredients, blend other ingredients, except nuts. Mix alternately and add nuts. Grease two Bundt pans and fill. Bake approximately 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Then try to fend off your cat and dog while you enjoy a slice and a glass of milk.

Obviously, I’d recommend baking these babies with Tammy on. I’ve been listening to her “Another Lonely Song” album a lot. Every song is a winner.



Top photo c/o: country dreaming