Friday, October 14, 2011


My beautiful sister-in-law is getting married soon, and has allowed me to play a part in the wedding by making some pretty accessories for her big day.

My first piece to tackle was a bridal fascinator. I used some handmade flowers, a vintage brooch and vintage earrings, as well as a hand-made lace-lined fascinator base, french veiling, freshwater pearls & ivory peacock feathers. I also made a detachable veil.  I think it will look beautiful on her and can't wait to see it on her in person!

 I also made a tulle birdcage veil fascinator. This veil is attached. It will be available in my etsy shop soon!

This is her ring bearer's pillow. This will be a big job for my little guy! I made this pillow out of spanish moss. It's about the size of an envelope. I think it's a little different and perfect for her special day.

 Last, but not least, my Nana helped me make this beautiful handcut lace garter. It's made from navy and ivory lace and a hand made satin flower. I'm getting more excited as the wedding approaches.

I know the best pictures will be those fromt he actual wedding. I can't wait! Have a great day!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Friday Funny - Cartoon Conversations - Student Life Camps Videos

I like to laugh, and I like it when other people do too!

Here's a little bit of fun for your Friday ;)

Student Life Camp's videos: "Out to Eat", "It's a Pant",  & "Flip promo" ;)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Tamales & Mexican Rice

I recently made some delicious tamales, which took all day to prepare. Were they worth it, you ask? YES!
I made several meals during one big batch recipe, and was able to freeze about 20 tamales for later use. Best of all - they are delicious.

I prepared Kalua Pork, we enjoyed a meal - eating it along with some steamed sweet potatoes and veggies, and placed the remainder in the fridge. Kalua Pork is SIMPLE & delicious. I made mine in the slow cooker. There is a great recipe for it here on lafujimama's site.  I'm including some pictures from her site as well, as I neglected to take photos -oops!

Slow Cooker Kalua Pig

Makes 12-14 servings
5-6 pound pork butt roast (shoulder cut also works)
1 1/2 tablespoons Hawaiian sea salt (I used kosher salt)
1 1/2 tablespoons liquid smoke flavoring
1. Pierce the pork roast all over with the tip of a sharp knife.  Place the roast in a large slow cooker and rub the salt all over the meat.  Drizzle the liquid smoke over the meat.
2. Cover the slow cooker and cook on Low Heat for 16 to 20 hours, turning the roast over once half-way through the cooking time.  Depending on how hot your low setting is on your slow cooker, you may or may not need the full 20 hours.  When the meat easily shreds with a fork it is ready.
On Step #2, I put the pork on high heat for about 8 hours, watching it constantly. I made sure it was cooked sufficiently, then reduced the temperature to low. My pork came out PERFECTLY.
3. Remove the meat from the slow cooker and shred with two forks, adding drippings from the slow cooker as needed to moisten the meat.
*Note: For this size of roast, you will need a 6-qt. slow cooker.  If you have a smaller slow cooker, use a smaller roast and reduce the amount of the other ingredients accordingly.

Slow Cooker Kalua Pig with Kurigohan
Dinner #2 - Tamales & Mexican Rice

For the tamales, I began my using 1 can of Mild Red Enchilada Sauce, and combining it with my Kalua Pork in a large pot on the stove. I covered it and simmered it until the meat had soaked up the majority of the sauce.

Then, I followed this recipe by KarenfromColorado on

    Traditional Tamales (Pork). Photo by Sue Lau

Pork Tamales: 


  1. 1
    In a 5 qt Dutch oven, bring pork, water, onion, garlic and 1 1/2 salt to boil.
  2. 2
    Simmer covered, about 2 1/2 hours or until meat is very tender.
  3. 3
    Remove meat from broth and allow both meat and broth to cool. (Chilling the broth will allow you to easily remove the fat if you desire to do so).
  4. 4
    Shred the meat using 2 forks, discarding fat.
  5. 5
    Strain the broth and reserve 6 cups.
    (I used chicken broth) 
  6. 6
    In a large sauce pan, heat the red chili sauce and add meat; simmer, covered for 10 minutes.
    (I used Red Mild Enchilada Sauce instead of the red chili sauce)
    -------------------------------------------Below this line is where I started using this recipe ----------------------.
  7. 7
    To make masa beat shortening on medium speed in a large bowl for 1 minute.
  8. 8
    In a separate bowl, stir together masa harina, baking powder and 2 teaspoons salt.
  9. 9
    Alternately add masa harina mixture and broth to shortening, beating well after each addition. (Add just enough broth to make a thick, creamy paste).
  10. 10
    In the mean time, soak corn husks in warm water for at least 20 minutes; rinse to remove any corn silk and drain well.
  11. 11
    To assemble each tamale, spread 2 tablespoons of the masa mixture on the center of the corn husk (each husk should be 8 inches long and 6 inches wide at the top. If husks are small, overlap 2 small ones to form one. If it is large, tear a strip from the side).
  12. 12
    Place about 1 tablespoon meat and sauce mixture in the middle of the masa.
  13. 13
    Fold in sides of husk and fold up the bottom.
  14. 14
    Place a mound of extra husks or a foil ball in the center of a steamer basket placed in a Dutch oven or Steamer.
  15. 15
    Lean the tamales in the basket, open side up.
  16. 16
    Add water to the Steamer or Dutch Oven
  17. 17
    Bring water to boil and reduce heat.
  18. 18
    Cover and steam 40 minutes, adding water when necessary.
  19. 19
    To freeze these for future meals, leave them in the husks and place them in freezer bags. To reheat, thaw and wrap in a wet paper towel and reheat in the microwave for 2 minutes for one or two or re-steam them just until hot.

Read more:

Need a tamale rolling tutorial? I did! Here are links to a couple of You Tube Videos that were very helpful!  (Very helpful)  (This one is cute ;))

Helpful hint: Put your hand in a plastic baggy to spread out the masa. This saved me a LOT of time!

Mexican Rice:
I used this recipe for Mexican Rice by Pot Scrubber from It was the highest reviewed recipe, and it turned out light and fluffy as promised, with a surprisingly light flavor. (The picture below is from the site.
Mexican Rice. Photo by French Tart 

Read more:


  1. 1 Process tomato and onion in processor or blender until pureed and thoroughly smooth. Transfer mixture to measuring cup and reserve exactly 2 cups. Discard excess.
        ( I used canned "crushed tomatoes)
  2. 3 Remove ribs and seeds from 2 jalapenos and discard. Mince flesh and set aside. Mince remaining jalapeno. Set aside.
    (Don't forget to wear gloves!)
  3. 4.  Place rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water until water runs clear- about 1 1/2 minutes.Shake rice vigorously to remove excess water.This step removes the starch from the rice so it will not stick. IF YOU OMIT THIS STEP YOUR RICE WILL NOT BE DRY AND FLUFFY.

  4. 5.  Heat oil in heavy bottomed ovensafe 12 inch straight sided sautee pan or Dutch oven with tight fitting lid over low-medium heat about 2 minutes. (The recipe is very specific about this but I used a large pot with a tight fitting lid and it worked out fine.) Drop a few rice grains in and if they sizzle then it is ready. Add rice and fry stirring until rice is light golden and translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Be careful that the oil doesn't get too hot too fast or the oil will splatter.

  5. 6  Reduce heat to medium, add garlic and 2 minced jalapenos and cook , stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 1/2 minutes.

  6. 7  Stir in broth, pureed mixture,tomato paste, corn, onion and salt. Increase heat to medium high, and bring to a boil.

  7. 8  Cover pan and transfer pan to oven to bake until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, 30-35 minutes.Stir well after 15 minutes. 
    (For this step - I turned the heat to Medium/Low and left the pot covered the entire time for 35 minutes- no opening or stirring. This was based on user comments & it worked perfectly!)
  8. 9  Stir in cilantro, minced jalapeno to taste, and pass lime wedges separately.

  9. 10  Edited to add 6-15-05: If you can't get good fresh tomatoes you are better off using canned tomatoes. Don't use those awful hard and underipe tomatoes that are at most supermarket chains. Just be sure that the processed tomatoes and the one onion equals 2 cups. One the other hand- if you find that after processing your tomatoes and onions that you have less than 2 cups- simply add enough bottled salsa to make up the difference.

  10. 11  Edited 8-21-06: Do not skip any of the steps. It may seem stupid- but rinsing the rice to remove the starch is very important if you want fluffy rice. It will only take two minutes of your time but it makes the difference.

  11. 12  Edited 8-15-08: Leftovers are just as delicious the next day so this is a perfect dish to make ahead time for potlucks. This rice also freezes well. For Freezing Ahead: Cool, portion and freeze in a ziploc bag. To reheat from frozen: Place in a pyrex dish and warm in the microwave, stirring every 2-3 minutes until heated through.

  12. 13  You'll love this rice! Money back guarantee.

Read more:


Friday, August 12, 2011

Pinterest & Deliciousiousness

I'm sure most of you in blogland already know of & are using Pinterest.   If you are not - please go!

 Pinterest is kind of like a virtual cork-board. You can find things you've discovered around town & snap a picture of it on your cell phone, or something great you've found online to make, purchase or inspire you, and "pin" it to one of your self-named virtual boards. Then your friends get to see those boards (or not) and can draw inspiration from your fun finds too (if you want to share). It's a bad addiction for me - but I really love going and pinning things and seeing what my friends have pinned as well.  If you need an invitation, let me's so much fun.

Pinterest has given me so many great ideas: recipes, sewing, arts and crafts, fun items to DIY & purchase. I have tried a few delicious recipes that I probably never would have even thought of - had I not posted pictures of them.

Here's what we made tonight!

 Dark Chocolate  & Peanut Butter "Reese's" Cupcakes
Like this post from Sweet Pea's Kitchen.

Then, I hid a "Reese's miniature" inside for some extra fun!
I found that idea here from 52cupcakes.
I learned how to insert items into the center of cupcakes here.

So much fun! Try it. You'll like it! 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

mintnclandy on Etsy

Woo-hoo! I have some new flower hair clips/headbands and hats available in my etsy shop now!

Here are a few pictures to give you an idea of what's available. ;)

Thanks for looking! -Mandy

Laundry Room Art on the (REALLY) Cheap

Summer break is winding down, and I've been very busy. Thanks to a record setting string of high temperatures in Oklahoma,  I've also been very broke. What's the phrase? Necessity is the mother of invention? That was definitely the case for me today. I have been desperate to paint something for my laundry room. I recently re-painted it a light blue hue, and now the finished walls look a little bare. I know it's the LAUNDRY room, and let's be honest - I'm one of the only people that even SEES that room, but I wanted a little something to spruce it up, and make it a happy little place to be (since I SEE it a LOT!)  Inspired by this little lovely I found on etsy.

I have no blank canvases in my house, and although they aren't extremely expensive (maybe around $15) for the size I wanted....I can't afford it right now. So, I improvised, with materials I'm sure most of us already have on hand.

It was around 11:00am when I started my project. I had just sat down to do this:

So, mind was wandering. Then it hit me! Maybe I could use a simple cardboard box as my canvas. So, I went out to my garage , scouring boxes for the perfect sized "canvas". Bingo! A tomato box from our last produce delivery. Then I covered my table, grabbed my paints and brushes, flipped the box over & and went to town!

I taped over the exposed holes in my canvas.

I painted a primer coat of cream acrylic paint.

Followed by the colors I wanted as my background.

I decided to paint the sides of the box, to appear as a raised canvas, rather than leaving them exposed, or cutting them off, as I'd originally planned.

Next I painted the birds, and in the spirit of clean laundry, and missing socks, I painted a pair - drying from a clothesline. Perfect for a laundry room!

Then, I coated it with a layer of clear gloss spray paint, and hung it on on the wall. The entire process beginning to end took about 2 hours to complete. It's now just after 1:00pm, and it looks like it's time to hit the books again.

I'm thrilled with the results. Cheery laundry room art for about $ .25. (I only paid the price of paint!)

Quick - check your garage and storage areas...what have you got that might make a free canvas?

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Where a kid can be a kid....

I've been home for almost 5 days now - on a much needed break from school. The house is finally clean - the laundry room which has been about half-way painted with 3 different shades of the wrong color - is finally painted. Now the cabinets need to be painted b/c they suddenly look a bit shabby next to the freshly painted walls. I've decluttered a bit (there's stilla  LONG way to go) baby steps!  It felt so good to donate about 3 trash bags full of items that we weren't using though!

I took a few pictures of my kiddo's rooms - parts I like about them - to be able to show them someday when they are grown. When I was young, I had a magical room. My (uber-artistic) mom painted a sky scape in my bedroom. My walls and ceiling were adorned with beautiful clouds and a huge pegasus that my dad won me at a local fair was flying in the corner (suspended by clear fishing line).  My bedspread was sky blue with rainbow ruffles for trim, and my window had a similar curtain. I loved spending time there. I only wish I had pictures of it, because as it's described, I know it sounds corny - but I promise, it was nothing short of a wonderland. So many great memories were made there. Hopefully, my kids will have the same memories about the rooms they are growing up in and hopefully these pictures will be able to help job their minds. (They are not the best quality - but they will do).

A happy retreat.  
 Homemade by Nana -  quilt - for wall-hanging, bedskirt and dust ruffle.
 Butterfly lamp and homemade art. Rocking horse heirloom. 
 Batik painting by Auntie Claire.
 Butterfly lamp - handmade by me.
 Simple art by me. 
 Another picture of my Nana's beautiful hand-quilted masterpiece. 
Owl lamp from Target & more made by Nana goodness.
 Cutie patootie hooties. "O" is for Owl antique book page from Aunt Sarah. 
Now onto room two...
Room to grow. 
 Learn for a while.....under the shade of your palm tree. 
 Favorite little friend..dressed and ready to go.
 Art by match the bedding.
More simple art by me.
 Bins for storage and a hungry lion for laundry.
 A place to play, and a place to work.
Our favorite place to read as a family. ;)