Tagged with kathleen neafsey

Fabri-Kate: Easy, quick, and uniquely yours – DIY earring holder

DSCF2595By Kathleen Neafsey

February is nearly over!  Short month, so short project — this is, by far, the easiest project that I’ve done!  The supply list is also super-short … two items, to be precise! Here’s the background on how this came to be: I’ve had this earring holder; I don’t know where it came from or how it ever made it into my house, but I have it.

Neither of my daughters claims to have ever owned it, but one day I came across it and I needed one, so I started to use it. As you can see by the photo, it’s pretty juvenile, but it served a purpose, sadly, I went with it.  For years I’ve been saying that I’m going to replace it, but haven’t found anything that I liked enough. I’m finally at the point where I just can’t stand looking at it anymore, and have been on the hunt for something new, so I’ve been scouring DIY blogs for inspiration.  Who knew there could be so many variations of earring holders?! Here’s the one I chose because it looked simple, and can be easily adapted to match your style and decor.

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Kathleen’s Kitchen: Healthy, Asian-inspired meatballs

Kathleen's Kitchen #3 Asian turkey meatballs 013

By  Kathleen Neafsey

Let me start off by saying this is not my recipe – I’ve adapted it, and made it my own, but it did not start out as such. I walked into my nephew’s house one day to find his stunning wife, Brittany, preparing dinner for that evening and making these yummy, Asian-inspired meatballs.  Brittany passed along the original recipe, which can be found at skinnytaste.com  That being said, and all disclaimers aside, let’s start with the ingredients:

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Fabri-Kate: Kisses and hugs for Valentine’s Day, plus a bit of trivia too!

By Kathleen Neafsey

Baby, it’s cold outside!  January is nearly over, and February is fast-approaching!  With that in mind, I wanted to make something new for Valentine’s Day. The idea for the craft came easily to me, but when writing this post, I got curious about the history of Valentine’s Day. Why do we exchange Valentines? And why do we use X’s and O’s as hugs and kisses? Overthink things much, Kath?

Although I went to Catholic school, and was taught by nuns, I don’t recall St. Valentine being one of the saints that we learned a lot about — of course, I went to grade school back when dinosaurs roamed the earth so it’s quite possible I’ve forgotten much of what I learned. Hence, the Google search — I won’t bore you with the minutiae of it all, but here is a sample of what I found – things that I never knew (or knew and forgot):

One story suggests that Valentine may have been killed for trying to help prisoners escape from harsh Roman prisons, where he had becomee a prisoner himself. History.com says: according to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today.  Whichever legend you choose to believe, Valentine is seen as a heroic, romantic figure. According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated one billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making it the 2nd most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas!

As for the X’s and O’s – nearly all of the explanations I read agree that the X symbol refers to a Christian cross and dates back to the days of a less literate society, where marking an “X” on a document served as a signature.  The “X” was then sealed with a kiss as a sign of good faith.  It seems that the most agreed upon explanation for the “O” represents arms encircling another as an embrace.  There you have it, trivia you didn’t bargain for in a craft post!

Let’s go!  On to the easy-peasy wreath I’ve created. Let’s start with the supplies you’ll need:

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Kathleen’s Kitchen: Down-home BBQ at home, almost!

Kathleen's Kitchen #2 - pulled pork 010

By Kathleen Neafsey

I love BBQ!  I have a few favorite barbecue restaurants. Unfortunately, I’m not able to get to any of those as often as I’d like and that calls for improvising some pulled pork at home occasionally  — while not quite the same (it’s obviously lacking in the whole smoking process), it satisfies my craving for those in between times.

My niece gave this recipe to my sister, who passed it on to me.  Needless to say, it’s been tweaked with each passing, so I’ll pass along my current version of the recipe.  Although this requires a slow cooker/crock pot, it can be done on the stove, but you’ll need to keep an eye on it.  If you don’t already own a slow cooker, this recipe is worth going out to buy one!

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Kathleen’s Kitchen: Chocolate friendship cookies

By Kathleen Neafsey

These cookies are popularly known as Crinkle Cookies; I like to call them my Friendship Cookies.  A few years ago when my dad passed away, my friend Debbie left a tin of these on my doorstep the very next morning.  She knew that there would be a steady stream of people in and out of the house and endless cups of coffee over the next few days so she provided us with something sweet while we shared our memories.  My family raved over them, and she was kind enough to share the recipe with us.  My daughter’s friends actually request these instead of birthday or Christmas gifts from her; and they always find their way onto the trays of cookies that I make at Christmas, so what better time to share the recipe with you?

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups (12 oz. package) Semi-sweet chocolate chips – I made the cookies once using milk chocolate chips and they were actually too sweet.  I haven’t tried using dark chocolate chips, but they may provide a nice balance of sweetness.
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose  flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup powdered (confectioner’s) sugar

Normally, in a cookie recipe I would say preheat your oven to 350 degrees but since this dough is refrigerated for about 20 minutes before you start working with it, you can wait till you put it in the fridge to turn on the oven.

Here we go!

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Fabri-Kate: A time for thanks and giving

By Kathleen Neafsey

How can November be nearly over? It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just two days away! This past month has certainly been a roller coaster of activities and emotions. There was no Fabri-Kate on November 6 due to Hurricane Sandy. I had no power or phone service or internet; minor inconveniences, really, in comparison to the devastating losses suffered by so many. You may have heard of my hometown, Tottenville, in the news over the past few weeks — it’s a small town in the “forgotten borough” of Staten Island. Just a few short blocks away from me there were homes swept away, lives lost, and families shattered. I could post photos that were taken the next day – of empty foundations where loving homes once stood – I can qualify them as loving homes because I know the people that lived there, friends, former students and co-workers. Photos, however, couldn’t possibly express the heartbreak and disbelief that I felt that day, and today. If nothing else, I hope that hurricane Sandy taught us perspective: focus on the things in our lives that aren’t “things” at all — our families, our relationships and friendships — at the end of the day, those are what matter.

All that being said, here are some quick and easy things I’m using to set my Thanksgiving table.  I know it’s short notice, but I promise they’re simple enough to do overnight.  Instead of a lovely, traditional, Autumn-hued tablecloth I’m using a white paper tablecloth.

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Fabri-Kate: Candy corn without the calories or the cavities!

By Kathleen Neafsey

That’s right — I said it — candy corn without the calories.  October means: Halloween, ghosts, goblins, witches, and most importantly, candy!  Although I know that candy corn is available year-round, I really only indulge during the month of October.  Like Buddy the Elf, I too am convinced that it’s one of the four food groups.  Now I’ve found a way to enjoy it — or the idea of it, anyway — without the sugar rush.

Truth be told, this project should also be called Plan B — it wasn’t the original craft I’d set out to make.  Sometimes I have really great ideas in my head, but by the time they reach my hands, they don’t turn out the way I’d hoped.  So instead, we end up with an embarrassingly quick and easy craft.  Live and learn.

Here’s your supply list:

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Fabri-Kate: Here comes the bride!

By Kathleen Neafsey

I would be remiss if this week’s column was not wedding themed; simply because my niece, Megan, is getting married on Friday.  Naturally, there is a lot of hustle and bustle that surrounds this momentous occasion, not to mention trying to keep track of what’s done and what still needs to be done.  I was trying to think of what I could do to alleviate some of those last minute preparation concerns.  My thought was this:  Megan is going to need something to bring to the reception hall that will hold her makeup (as I’m sure it will need to be touched up at some point), flat shoes — for dancing — as well as a few other miscellaneous items.  She can give it to her mom, or perhaps her favorite aunt (hint!), to bring to the hall. And here you have it!

This project is super easy and quick.  If you’re ambitious, you could even make them for the whole bridal party. A big bonus is that the supply list is very small, depending on how you choose to embellish the bag.

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Fabri-Kate: Makeup and magnets = genius!

By Kathleen Neafsey

When moving my daughter into her dorm room earlier this month, I was astonished at the amount of “stuff” teenagers consider to be essential.  Everything had to go with her.  However, dorm rooms were not made to accommodate all the “essentials” of two teenage girls.  Although, I admit they have made it work for them, and that’s what counts!  Hence, this week’s project is born:  a hanging makeup organizer! I’ve seen similar ideas on other craft blogs, and decided to try my hand at one or two of my own. It’s a great way to make use of the vertical space in the room, and alleviate some of the clutter on top of the dresser – I only wish I had done one while she was still living at home!

You can express yourself so uniquely through this project so I’ll tell you the necessary supplies.  The rest will be up to you, and how you choose to modify it to make it your own.

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Fabri-Kate: Show your true colors!

By Kathleen Neafsey

It’s September!  That dreaded time of year for students … and some teachers.  For me, however, inspiration was everywhere this week! I was really torn; there are so many ideas floating around in my already-overcrowded head that it was hard to choose which one to do this week.  On top of that, there were new ideas being borne from the old ones that are still waiting to see the light of day.

If you’ve read this column before, you know that I’m a fan of recycling and repurposing when I can. In the Fabri-Kate post from July 3, I bought some blank canvases to paint and decorate in an effort to change things up in the house, and still had some of those on hand.  Combine those with a stockpile of crayons in the house that my daughters no longer use, and you have this week’s project.

TA-DAAAAAA!!!!! Super easy, and incredibly quick!

Here’s all you’ll need:

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Fabri-Kate: Magazines, mirrors and glue … oh my!

By Kathleen Neafsey

I’m learning to  let go … of my magazines.  The majority of the magazines that I read are cooking related; my problem is that I save them because I’ll see a great recipe and think that I’m going to make it one day.  Rarely, if ever, does that happen.

I’ve learned to tear out the recipes that I’m interested in, and toss the rest of the ‘zine.  I’m definitely a fan of passing them on to someone else to read or donating them to anywhere that will take them and, of course, repurposing them.

We’ve all seen those Urban Outfitters recycled magazine picture frames and vases.  Those, however, come with a hefty price tag.  Yours can be made for the price of a mirror, a magazine, and a glue stick.  You’d think that it would take 400, 525,600 pages to achieve … but actually it just took 35 rolled up magazine pages to frame this mirror.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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Fabri-Kate: A fun way to display your favorite photos!

By Kathleen Neafsey

I have to start off by saying: FINALLY! I thought this weekend would never get here!  My niece’s bridal shower was this past Saturday – and while I’m sorry that the shower is over, I’m relieved that I can talk to her and not worry about letting the cat out of the bag. And I no longer have to hide all the projects that I hav going on every time she walks into my house!  That being said, I wanted to make a Scrabble board like the one I posted in this column in June.  I started by asking the bridal party for words or phrases that would be meaningful to the bride and groom, and I also asked for some photos of the happy couple.  I received so many great photos, but knew they wouldn’t all fit on the Scrabble board; hence, another idea is born: A Megan and Joe – through theyears – photo board.

Here’s all you need:

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