Friday, July 25, 2014

Weekend Recipes ~ Skillet Chicken and Spinach Parmesan

Chicken Parmesan with Spinach

20 Minute Skillet Chicken and Spinach Parmesan
4 servings
20 Minute Skillet Chicken and Spinach Parmesan
  • 6-8 small chicken cutlets or breast filets (1.5-2 lbs)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 Tbls extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups RagĂș® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce
  • 2 cup chopped baby spinach
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella
  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Combine panko and parmesan cheese in a small bowl.
  3. Coat the chicken with the bread crumb mixture pressing gently to adhere.
  4. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. Add the cutlets (do in batches to avoid crowding) and cook 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked through. (Wipe skillet before repeating with remaining chicken pieces.)
  6. Remove chicken from skillet and pour half of the pasta sauce onto the bottom of the skillet.
  7. Gently lay the chicken on top.
  8. Top each piece of chicken with a couple tablespoons of sauce, 1/4 cup chopped spinach, and two tablespoons of mozzarella. Just spoon and sprinkle till it looks right :)
  9. Place in broiler for 2-4 minutes until cheese just begins to turn golden brown.
  10. Serve immediately.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Kid's Fun ~ How to Make Melted Bead Suncatchers

For the Kiddos ~ How to Make Melted Bead Suncatchers with Pony Beads


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How to Make Melted Bead Suncatchers
Yesterday we made melted bead suncatchers, an idea I found on Craftster (viaPinterest).
Now that Maia is on summer vacation, we have been using Daphne’s nap time toread and, often, to work on an art or craft project together.
The melted bead suncatchers were surprisingly easy to create yet are very durable. Unlike most suncatchers and stained glass projects we make out of paper or contact paper, these melted bead suncatchers will last and last and will also withstand the elements for outdoor use.
Melted Bead Suncatchers


We started with cheap, translucent pony beads. I bought ours at our local A.C. Moore, but they are available on Amazon and Discount School Supply as well.
Melted Bead Suncatchers
Maia and I each arranged the pony beads into a single layer in metal baking dishes. She started with a cake pan but was soon daunted by the size and switched to the smaller muffin tin sections.
By the way, I was skeptical about melting the plastic beads in my baking dishes. I half thought that they would never come out and I’d be stuck with ruined pans, but that wasn’t the case. As soon as a bead suncatcher was cool, it popped right out and didn’t leave any visible residue at all!
Melted Bead Suncatchers
Here are Maia’s beads, ready to be melted and fused together.
Melted Bead Suncatchers
While Maia created several smaller suncatchers, I used the cake pan to make one large suncatcher. I arranged my beads to form a sun as you can see in the partially completed design above.
Melted Bead Suncatchers
We melted the beads in the oven at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes. They could probably have used a few more minutes, but I was starting to freak out about the melting plastic smell. I don’t know why it came as a surprise to me, but it did.
I opened all the windows, turned on all the fans, and took the kids outside to play while the beads melted. I didn’t want any of us to breathe the fumes. Once the suncatchers were melted, I took them outside to cool on the hood of the car.
(By the way, once the suncatchers were “cooked,” I sprayed some Febrezearound the house and the smell went away immediately. Awesome! I don’t know much about the stuff, though, and wonder if it just masks the smell (it didn’t seem like it — I used one without a scent) or if it somehow removes the particles from the air or makes them inert. I’m awfully curious now.)
UPDATE (5/23/12): We’ve since made all of our melted bead suncatchers on the gas grill outside, thanks to a comment from Lou. It works great and only takes about 10 minutes! Some readers have been using a toaster oven outside, which may be another good solution.
Melted Bead Suncatchers
Once the suncatchers were cool, I inverted the pans and they popped right out! As you can see from the somewhat pebbly surface, they probably could have used a few more minutes in the oven.
Melted Bead Suncatchers
Harry drilled a small hole in each with the power drill, then strung some old kite string through the holes to hang them up.
Melted Bead Suncatchers
We hung the melted bead suncatchers on the front porch to catch the morning sunlight.
Melted Bead Suncatchers
Aren’t they lovely? Maia has already said she wants to make more and I have to admit that I’m eager to try different colors and designs myself. I think they would make great gifts as well.
Melted Bead Suncatchers
By the way, look how the round beads melted into hexagons. We thought it was pretty cool how they melted to take up the space around them so evenly.
Melted Bead Suncatchers
Although when the beads were more widely spaced or set on their sides, some melted into rectangles and pentagons.
Melted Bead Suncatchers
Now we have a riot of colorful melted bead suncatchers to join the melted crayon stained glass bunting on the porch!
Perhaps it’s time I just give in and admit this is a stained glass and suncatcher blog. :)
If you’re looking for more melted bead suncatcher ideas, here are my melted bead suncatcher posts so far:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Crafty Wednesday ~ DIY Nautical Mirror


Nautical Rope Mirrors

I love LOVE Pottery Barn, if I could just move into one of their catalogs I would (except that my children’s barbies and legos would look totally out of place)!  The nautical rope mirrors they featured this summer were amazing and I liked how they had art displayed with rope and dock cleats.  I was inspired to try and get the same feeling in my space so this is what I came up with:
Nautical Rope Mirror -
 The above photo is an updated shot I added so you may notice the bedroom looks totally different!  Stay tuned on the rest of my master bedroom makeover in the next few weeks!  Ok back to the mirrors -
I wish I had taken some “how to” photos along the way but I will try to break it down for you.
I used the largest mirror charger (you know the thing they normally put centerpieces and candles on at weddings) I could find at Hobby Lobby, they were like $8.  I took some sturdy foam board, cut a larger circle around the mirror, and glued the mirror in the center.
Cut a slit in the foam board right next to the mirror on what will be the top (you will use this to slide the rope thru to cover up the unsightly ends of the rope circles).  Next wrap your rope around the outer edge of the mirror, cutting the ends and taping them so they don’t fray. Continue to do this until all the foam board is covered (this ended up being 4 coils for me). Glue it all down with hot glue.
Now to cover up the ugly taped ends.  I unwound a portion of the rope so I had a thinner piece of rope to work with.  Thread the rope thru the slit you cut earlier and wrap around repeating until it covers all the ends.
Attach a length of rope on the back, get your self some dock cleats (living on the water we have a marine store down the road that I got them from, but you can get them online as well) and you are good to go!
There is a tutorial a bit similar to this that I saw on the Nate Berkus Show website, but they used a large mirror ($$) and glued the rope right to the mirror.  That would be a good option too but I wanted to make 2 of these and not break the bank!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tuesday's Jewelry Spotlight is Shining on Dianne Harwood of "Sparkles by Dianne"

Our Jewelry Spotlight of the Week is Shining on Dianne Harwood of "Sparkles by Dianne"

Catching the Sun, Rear View Mirror Charms & Rosaries
My shop is my place of relaxation, visiting and meeting with old friends and new friends. Sharing ideas is so much fun with others who have the same desire you do.

In this shop, Sun Catchers, Jewelry is so popular and there is so much competition that i thought why not make Rear View Mirror Charms and Rosaries. And Sun Catchers for the Sun Room or Window. I love Crystals in all colors, and I love Sparkling Beads of all kinds.
Texas Girl, who loves people, and making someones day by giving a gift that I made.


Her Special Day, pearls & Crystals

Diannes Fun Art Studio


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Web site:

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Solutions ~ Earring and/or Ring Organizers


Current organization victory~ I cut down ice cube trays to fit in this piece of furniture I found at an antique store. Its much easier to find earring pairs!  Can also be used in large jewelry boxes with drawers.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Crafty Wednesday ~ DIY Sand Footprints

Sand Footprint Craft – Full DIY instructions!

DIY Plaster Footprints
Summer is my family’s favourite time of year – we’re very blessed to live 5mins away from many beautiful beaches. It’s not surprising to know we spend nearly every weekend during summer at the beach.
I wanted to do a beach themed craft to celebrate the amazing summer we’ve just had. I thought it would be cool to do something that could mark this particular summer and try to ‘freeze it in time’. This is what I came up with –
Sand Footprint moulds - using just a Photo frame, sand, plaster of paris and some shells for extra decoration.
Exactly what you’ll need -
  • an old sheet or plastic tablecloth (to protect your work surface).
  • A photo frame big enough to fit the number of prints you wish to use. (A small frame with just one print would look great too).
  • Sand
  • Plaster of Paris (you can find this at most craft & discount stores). I used a 1kg bag to do this sized frame and it cost $4.95.
  • Water for making the plaster
  • Cardboard to use to smooth the sand (we just used some from our recycling)
  • Spray on sealer
  • Glue gun
  • Sea shells for decoration
Start by covering your work surface with something to catch the sand and any drips of plaster – we used an old tarp.
Remove the cardboard backing off the frame and carefully discard the glass from the frame (this will not be needed). Place the cardboard backing over the front of the frame and flip it over – this will create a nice box that you will then fill with sand. I used a flat piece of cardboard to smooth the sand out level with where the glass used to sit (the first inside groove).
How to prep your frame.
How to prep your frame.
Carefully stamp each foot into the sand to make a nice impression – we had to re-do this part a few times with my 1 year old – he just wanted to squeeze his toes into the sand. Once I was happy with the imprints I set about mixing the plaster of paris as per the packet instructions.
Don't worry if you don't get a perfect one - you can re-smooth.
Don’t worry if you don’t get a perfect one – you can re-smooth.
Then gently and slowly pour the mixture over the sand, starting in one corner and covering the whole inside of the frame then using a piece of cardboard level the mixture GENTLY – don’t press down too firmly.
3 easy steps...
3 easy steps…
As you can see in these photos it can get a bit messy but this is the back of the frame anyway.
Leave plaster to set as per directions on packet – mine was hard after 5 hours – it was a hot and dry day though.
Once you’re sure your plaster has set you can remove the cardboard from the front, tip the frame over and dust off the excess sand. I then gave it some more drying time in the sun before spraying with a sealer. This will help glue and seal any loose sand.
Drying in the sun

I then used a glue gun to attach some tiny shells around the picture to add some extra detail. I also wrote “Summer 2013″ on the back with a little blurb about all the fun things we did over the summer.
Hanging on our wall :).
Hanging on our wall :).
My little girls feet frozen in time.
My little girls feet frozen in time.
Finished plaster footprints
We have added a YouTube tutorial using a handprint which you can view here.
We look forward to trying some other designs in the sand – maybe some writing or paw prints would be fun :).
Please let me know if you make one…we love to hear feedback on our crafts :). Have fun!
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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tuesday's "JEWELRY SPOTLIGHT" is Shining on Clara's Jewelry

Tuesday's "Jewelry Spotlight" is shining on Clara's Jewelry

Our Sparkly Ladies Blog “Tuesday Jewelry Spotlight” is shining on Clara’s Jewelry from Victoria, Texas. 

Her shop is known for affordable Vintage & Retro Jewelry: 1940's -1980's, Rhinestones, Sterling Silver, Designer, Lucite, Figurals

Please visit Clara’s Jewelry on Etsy:

Claras Jewelry on Facebook

Elaines Antiques & Collectibles on Ruby Lane since 2001