Featuring You Friday {on Saturday}

Hi, my name is Taylor. I am a SAHM to two beautiful girls, Jayne (3) and Savannah (1) and wife to my wonderful hubby, Jared. In my former life I worked in both marketing and sales and still enjoy flexing those muscles helping out a few of my wonderful friends who run businesses out of their homes. But mostly, I’m on the go with my girls who keep me extremely busy!
 
In my {spare} time I enjoy reading (on my new Kindle Fire, eeek!), going to thrift stores & garage sales and crafting. I recently joined a stamp club and am obsessed with making paper cards. It’s a wonderful outlet and gets my creative juices flowing. Not to mention having this outlet allows me some much needed “me” time which makes me a better momma & wife.
On behalf of Jen I have been checking out the blogging world to see what you all have been up to. Here are a few of my fav’s this week…
This recipe caught my eye immediately. I love anything with cilantro in it. I can’t wait to try it!

A group of friends and I do a monthly freezer meal exchange and I’m always looking for new recipes. This one made my mouth water!

My parents have all my great-grandmother’s furniture and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. I’m already gathering up ideas like this one!

It was so hard to pick my favorite crafts this week. But I finally narrowed it down to these…having two toddlers I am always looking for fun things to do with them. And my girls love anything they can use their hands {and feet} with =)

This sign caught my eye b/c I’ve been wanting to spice up my laundry room and something like this is just the ticket. Plus, it allows me to get crafty!

This was the first year I actually put a wreath on our front door other than Christmas time. And now I’m obsessed with having something there for every holiday/season (much to my husbands chargin)!! I love this wreath for birthday months!

Hope you enjoyed my picks of the week! If you were featured, grab a button on the sidebar and start bragging!

Freezable Meal Swap with Brooke

Who can resist a freezer full of home cooked meals to grab on the days life just get too busy…by pass that drive-thru and head home for dinner that someone else cooked!
A freezer full of home cooked meals?  There is an easy way to get it without cooking 10 different meals at one time and filling up your freezer…can you imagine the cost, time or mess that would make?!
Here is your answer: host a freezer meal swap with your family and friends.
Here are the simple steps to fill your freezer:
1) Send out the invitation explaining a “meal swap” to your family and friends to see who is interested in participating.  Our group uses Evite (a free online invitation website) and we have found it to be a great place to communicate with each other on who is participating and what they are bringing each month.
  • We choose to limit the number of participants to 10 a month.
  • You will need to set a date and place for the swap.  Our group meets the second Tuesday of each month at the same location and same time.
2) Each participant will RSVP and list the home cooked freezer meal that they will be preparing.
3) One week before the swap you will need to send out an email to all participants with the number of meals they will need to prepare (ie: if there are 8 participants each person will need to make 8 of the same meal, 7 to swap and one for their family).  The meals need to have 4-6 servings and be prepared in a 8×8 or 9×9 disposable/freezable dish or a freezer zip-lock bag.
Here is the process of my April meal exchange:

I chose a meal that was simple and only a few ingredients (I strive to keep my meal exchange cost at $50-$60…some times it does go over depending on the number of participants and number of ingredients I need).   I also try to shop the sales throughout the month to save on the ingredients…this month I got buy 1 get 2 free on my chicken!

Here are my meals (4-6 servings) prepared and ready to package.
It does take a few hours of a day to prepare these dishes, but boy are they worth it when dinner time creeps up on you and you have not thought once about it…or when you know your day is going to be busy and you want to feed your family a home cooked meal over a drive-thru.

I placed the prepared chicken in press n seal package and then placed in a freezer zip-lock bag that has the name of recipe, cooking instructions and participants name (having names on each meal helps out during the swap part to ensure everyone leaves with your dish).  If you use an 8×8/9×9 dish make sure you use plastic wrap/press n seal then foil on top and write the name of recipe, cooking instructions and participants name on top w/a sharpie.

Placed in my freezer, ready for swap day.
We all meet for a quick “swap” with our coolers.  We unload the meals we cooked and head home with a variety of new meals to stock our freezers with!

Some notes to remember when doing an exchange:
  • Each participant can print out their recipe to include with their meal OR you can have everyone email the recipe to you and you email it to everyone in a file or save in a google share file for all to look up.
  • If someone can not make it to the swap you can have them drop off their cooler of meals to take for them.
  • You can choose to do MAIN dish only but if the recipe calls for noodles/rice or bread, include a 4-6 serving amount with your dish.
  • Some ladies have opted to do 2 meals a month (if you don’t have 10 participants signed up) to help stock a new mom’s freezer once she has had her little one.
  • If your normal 10 participants opt not to participate for several months you may want to let them know that if they do not participate for 3 consecutive months you will need to try and fill their spot with a new participant.
  • You can also have an alternate list of participants who can’t participate each month but would like to know if a spot opens up one month to participate.
Time to start Swapping Meals and Stocking Your Freezer!

Guest Post: Madison Lane Photography

Hi, I’m Erin and I’m a Mom turned Photographer. Almost 5 years ago after the birth of my first child, my appreciation for capturing “life” really hit home. As I watched my son roll over for the first time, then sit up and crawl across the room almost overnight; and when those gummy grins turned into smiles with little white teeth peeking out, I realized the only way I could make time stand still was to document all of these “Mama Treasures” with my camera.

Once I learned that I simply could not afford to hire a professional photographer as much as my little heart desired each month {week…..day!}, we made the investment into my first digital SLR camera. Like many Moms today, we have “nice” cameras. And yes, having a “nice” camera, lens, equipment, etc. does help, however it is only the starting point to taking great pictures.

I took a photography workshop one afternoon, learned how to use my camera in manual mode {which I believe is the absolute KEY for taking great pictures} and through snapping thousands upon thousands of images, I began to see what went into making a beautiful image.

Now I can’t go into all of that here, but what I can do is give you somewhere to start! There are numerous, EASY tips I can share that will make a HUGE difference in photographing your little loves.

Today I will share just a few and if you’d like, I can do a follow up post with some more!

1} When photographing children, get down at their level. This completely changes the perspective….try this at home and see how taking a picture from each angle can dramatically change the look of your images. A special “thank you” to my fabulous husband for taking these images of me “in action”.

2} Do not be afraid of color. In general, color photographs really well. People like the contrast in color, so I always suggest having my clients “coordinate” outfits verses “matching”. Jen has fantastic style and I love what she came up with for her family session a few weeks ago.

3} Anyone have a child who runs from the camera? 2 year olds anyone? I do!!! Don’t be afraid to incorporate a fun prop. Food works great…..bright cupcakes and big lollipops are usually great motivators and also can be fun to use in pictures! You can also try incorporating your child’s favorite toy. Thomas the Train “blue” photographs great! Here is a picture of my favorite two year old, he never stands still for me so I had him “show” me his frog art project while I snapped away ;)

4} Make sure your frame {aka your real estate} tells a story. So many times my students will show me photographs where the subject takes up the smallest part of the frame. It does not hurt to “fill the frame”. If it is part of your frame, be sure it assists in telling the “story” of the image.

5} Lighting is truly everything. Poor lighting can ruin even the best of shots. The key to finding good lighting is finding enough evenly diffused light. Easiest way to do this is to step outside on a cloudy day ;) Or find a spot with good shade coverage.

{this 4th of July dress is from SheSheMade, one of our FAVORITE boutiques for high quality children’s clothing. She has a ton of coordinating outfits that photograph so well!}

So now you have a few new “photography tricks” to try out, here is your homework until next time:

~Grab a willing subject, preferably one that does not move or likes to pose for pictures ;)

~Head outside either at dawn or dusk or find a spot that has good, consistent, shade coverage.

~Take pictures of your subject from 5 different perspectives {crouching down at their level, from up high, lying on the ground, from the side, etc.}

~Upload your images and note what you liked and didn’t like about each one. Try and repeat what you liked next time!

That is all for now…..happy shooting ;)

If you are in the Charlotte, NC area and would like to take part of my upcoming Mom’s Photography Class on June 16th, please contact the studio at madisonlanephotographyinfo{at}gmail{dot}com to find out how to reserve your seat.

Erin Jackson is a sought out Family, Children and Newborn Lifestyle Photographer in the Charlotte, NC and Fort Mill, SC areas. She is founder of Madison Lane Photography, a boutique studio focusing on the custom photography experience. Her goal is to provide her clients with first class service and attention to detail. Erin’s style is clean and timeless, yet fun! She has a passion for helping other Mom’s take better pictures of their loved ones and regularly offers a “Mom’s Photography Class”. Erin is currently working on taking this class online to reach Moms all over the world. Married to her Southern Gentleman, and known as “Mommy” to 3 children ages 4 and under, Erin loves all things Southern, boutique clothing and sweet tea/lemonade combos from Chick Fil A. She is completely in awe, overwhelmed and humbled by what God is doing in her life!

 

 

5 Days . . . 5 Ways

Do you remember those awesomely inexpensive Anthro candlestick knock-offs I featured recently? The ones that were HUNDREDS of dollars less? Well, today, I’ve got that talented gal here on S&S! She’s got some fabulous stuff that I know you are going to love! So without further ado. . . .

Hi there, folks! I’m so excited to be here at Scissors and Spatulas and give Jen mad props for her bravery in having me by for a visit.

I’ll try to be on my best behavior.

Especially since I LOVE her projects (I’ve still got the supplies to copy her modge podge fabric wallet recover…if I can only find time for a project that might not go on the blog!) and am pretty jazzed to get to meet you, her awesome readers!

My name is Abbie from Five days…5 ways and Secondhand or Bare Bottom (a 100% thrifted style blog).

my photo

Yup.

I run not one but two blogs. Because being a wife, a mama to three children under 6, homeschooling, teaching fitness classes, trying to keep my house reasonably clean, and knocking out a few DIY projects now and then doesn’t keep me busy enough.

Yeah. Right. ; )

At Five days…5 ways, my primary blog, we keep things hopping with a different theme for each day of the week: Move-it Monday—fitness, Try-it Tuesday—tutorials, Wardrobe Wednesday—fashion, 5 Things Thursday—a list of 5 things with pictures that are occupying my thoughts at the moment, and the Feature Friday FREE-FOR-ALL, a rockin’ linky party where I encourage you to share anything you’ve blogged about!).

So, what you should you know about me?

Well, to say that I like a good bargain would be kind of like saying that molten lava is hot.

Bit of an understatement there..

OBSESSED is more like it!

In fact, just a little while ago, Jen shared about my Anthropologie Candlestick Knock-offs that I made for $5 each. (Anthro’s version?: $400—YIKES!).

IMG_1208-2

And here’s a glimpse at a few more projects I’ve done for pennies on the dollar.

Collages

You can find me at Goodwill more often than not, braving the scary, scary bathrooms and unswept floors with all three of my kiddos, in hopes of stumbling upon a treasure amidst the racks upon racks of stone-washed “mom jeans” and “I’m kind of a big deal” tiny tees from 1999 (Darn you, Britney Spears!).

In fact, one of my favorite experiments in thrifting was my “30 Minute Goodwill Challenge,” in which I gave myself 1/2 an hour to find 3 complete outfits, and then did myself one better and came up with all of this:

2012-01-17

4 outfits in 30 Minutes for less than $30.

Now, that’s my kind of shopping!

And since a cheapie like me is never going to buy a fancy-schmancy colored washer/dryer set like I drool over in my dreams (complete with twitching and “must.have.it.now” mumbling, I’m sure), I decided to make those never-ending piles of clothes a bit more fun by sprucing up my old washing machine with a little paint and a polka-dot stencil.

Here’s a peak at the transformation in it’s not-yet-finished state:

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If you want to see the finished product or take a gander at any of the other thrifty shenanigans I get up to on a daily basis, you can just hop on over and visit.

About the only thing I like better than a good deal is meeting new peeps!

I hope you visit either one of my blogs and say “howdy” while you’re there!

Another big thanks to Jen for having me.

You rock, girl!

Guest Post: Jenny from Seamingly Smitten

Hi Everyone! 
I’m Jenny from Seamingly Smitten!Over at my blog you can find TUTORIALS such as
If you LOVE to sew and try new patterns, you willHAVE to check out our sewing pattern company!
We are called Seamingly Smitten and are growingeveryday!
Currently we have 8 PDF sewingpatterns and 4 on the way.
And GUESS WHAT? We also specializein WOMEN’S PATTERNS! If you think sewing for your little girls and boys,nieces and nephews or grandchildren is fun…wait until you sew something forYOURSELF! Once you start, I have to warn you, it’s ADDICTING :)
Want to see what we have for YOU? Check it out!

Ruffled Collared Cape for Girls

Ruffled Collared Cape for Girls

Your most basic Classic A-Line Dress
No buttons, zippers or frills!
Every beginner to advanced sewer will LOVE thison their little one!

LADIES…The Ruffled Women’s Tunic…HOTTESTpattern for ladies!

Recently released – Miss Mod Top…SUPERSUPER TRENDY!
Any lady would LOVE to make this or get this as agift!

Ruffled Collared Cape for Girls (this is my littlegirlie!)…Yes, she LOVES wild colors!

Ruffled Halter Dress for Girls…Show off 2 fabricshere!
You can check them out here!

Christmas TUTORIAL TIME!

Is everyone ready for Christmas? Our houseis gearing up and these cute faces CANNOT WAIT til Christmas morning!My two sweet babies (aren’t they always babies in a Momma’s eyes?) are sosweet and have way too many toys to count (thanks Grandparents!) so Santais going to surprise them with a little playhouse to enjoy ALL YEAR LONG!You won’t find too many knick-knack toys under our tree this year.
Since I LOVE to sew and love things handmade, Ithought I would share with you this

Candy Cane Applique Tutorial!


1. Gather materials. Fabric (scraps will do), ablank t-shirt, ribbons and Heat-N-Bond fusible webbing.

2. Figure out what you want to applique. Iron theBUMPY side of the heat n bond to the WRONG SIDE of your fabric scraps. Drawyour candy cane backwards.

3. Cut it out. Peel off the paper backing. Placeon the shirt and press with a hot iron for a few seconds. PRESTO! You justappliqued!

4. Zig-zag stitch around it and embellish as youwish.

8. I cut 2 pieces of 18 inch ribbon in two colors.


 9. Sew on the ribbons (make sure you sewin the middle of them) to the shoulders.


10. Tie your ribbons into bows and you are done!
 Once you start appliqueing you might notbe able to stop! Think of all the possibilities! Applique shirts, skirts, jeans, tablerunners, pillows…SOOOO fun!!
Here are some burlap pillows on our couch that Iappliqued. LOVING BURLAP!


Another shirt applique with a Ruffled TutuGingerbread Girl!

I hope you are Seamingly Smitten! Go try aChristmas applique! Have fun and Happy Sewing!
P.S. We are having a HUGE…repeat…HUGEblogging event on Seamingly Smitten fromDecember 5th – December 16th! We have 12giveaways and TONS of guest posters! They will feature tutorials of all kinds ofcrafts. Know why?
Because we want YOU to have a
Sew Crafty Christmas!
AND…JUST FOR YOU! Check out our Etsy Shopand use code SEWCRAFTY and get 25% off your ENTIRE PURCHASE fromDecember 5th-16th!

Hop on over and check it out! Be sure to enterALL the giveaways!! FREE THINGS! Think gifts! Or maybe something foryourself!
Thanks for having me, Jen! 
Happy Sewing!
~Jenny
Seamingly Smitten