pleasant presents & sweet eats

Hey y'all! Today I'll tell you what about handmade gift ideas and sugary sweet treats! I've had the past two weeks off of work, so naturally I spent every waking moment making silly crafts and baking silly treats. I've never made so many different forms of the same dessert in such a short period of time! Seriously, I've made cake balls, cupcakes, and regular cakes... what's next??? Cake plates? Cake cups? Cake flatware? Oh god, I can only hope not.

So anyway, yesterday was my beautiful Aunt Di's 39th birthday (hehe!) and even though we don't do gifts in our family, I decided I absolutely had to make these cute coasters for her birthday present! They were so so SO easy to make and they turned out so cute that I had to make a set for myself!
So cute, right??

I love all of the colors and the simplicity of these coasters! The best part about this gift??? It literally cost me $1.00 to make the entire set! Cheapest. Gift. EVER! So if any of y'all wanna make these and gift them or make them simply for your own enjoyment, I'm going to tell you how! All you need is a little bit of Mod Podge (the glossy kind works best for this project), some paint samples or pictures that you like, and the 4.25x4.25 white sample tiles (I got mine at Lowe's and they were 10 cents each!). The pictures that I used were from the paint section at Walmart. These are the pictures that try to give you an idea for your color scheme, but I just cut the words off of them and used the pictures only! So cute! 

So basically all you do is cut the picture to fit the tile. You want it to be a little short so that you have a tiny border all the way around the picture, or else the corners of the pictures will come up and eventually start to peel off (no bueno!!!!). Cover the top of the tile with Mod Podge and then set the picture on top and make sure it is on securely. Then put a thin layer of Mod Podge over the picture, completely recovering the entire tile. While its drying it looks like this..

I took a picture of this one because it looked like it was raining.. and honestly I kind of forgot what rain looked like (because I haven't seen any rain since 1992). 

Then just let them dry, and voila!!! If you want to (I did) you can put the tiny round felt furniture pads on each corner of every coaster; just so that they don't scratch your furniture -- since that is the point of a coaster in the first place.... duh... 

I read somewhere that one way to tell if a man is married or not is determined by if he uses a coaster under his drink or not... so for all of you single ladies who are trying to keep your new boyfriend from straying away, this would be a perfect gift! :) 

I also made a pretty cute dessert spread for Aunt Di's birthday party at the best restaurant in the world, Holy Frijole's!!!! Every Wednesday my entire family gathers there for dinner, drinks, and delightful dialogue. We like to think it's kind of like going to church since it is holy... right? Anyway, here is a picture of the scrumptious sweets that I made! 
Top: white cake balls covered in melted vanilla chips
Middle: white cupcakes with cream cheese icing
Bottom: white cupcakes with cinnamon sugar cream cheese icing
(All stacked on the beautiful cupcake stand that my parents bought gave to us at our couple's shower!!) 

Right now, I'm really into using boxed cake mix and adding a lot of different ingredients to it so that its personalized. It's still like halfway homemade then right? So I've been doing a lot of that lately, which is really nice because it is somewhat quicker, but still really delicious. Here is the recipe that I used for the white cupcakes:

  • 1 box of white cake mix 
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/3 cups of water
  • 3 tbsp canola oil 
  • 2 tsp vanilla 
  • 1 cup sour cream 
  • 4 large egg whites
Preheat the oven to 325 and put liners in the cupcake pans. This recipe makes about 36 cupcakes. In a large bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients in the order as they are listed. After you have a moist mixture, beat with an electric mixer for 3 to 4 minutes; until all of the lumps are out. Bake for 16 minutes, flipping the pans around halfway through. I always flip the pans halfway through because it helps to cook the entire pan evenly. 

Most recipes that I see recommend using low fat sour cream, or different oils that will make the cupcakes less fattening. But.... healthiness is already thrown out the window at this point so just use all the fattening stuff anyway (it tastes WAY better). Thats the best advice you're ever going to get from this fat girl! Also, canola oil is really the best oil for cupcakes because its much thicker, and you want cupcakes to be thicker than cakes so they hold their shape and their icing!

The icing is so so important when making cupcakes. Here is the recipe that I made up for the most delish cream cheese icing in the world:

  • 16 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 2 sticks of butter (room temperature)
  • 1 bag powdered sugar, sifted (yes, 1 BAG, the ENTIRE BAG)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
Cream together the cream cheese and butter until its smooth and creamy. Then slowly add the powdered sugar (MAKE SURE YOU SIFT IT ALL, I KNOW ITS SUPER ANNOYING BUT IT IS SO IMPORTANT!) about 2 cups at a time until the entire bag is added. Keep mixing and blending and adding powdered sugar until your icing is about the consistency of peanut butter. Then add 2 tsp vanilla and blend well. 

I know that seems like a lot of fat.... and it is.... and it tastes great! I really hope that all of my friends and family still eat all of my yummy treats after this post.... 

For the cinnamon sugar icing, I took half of the cream cheese icing that I made and added 1/4 cup of granulated sugar and 3 tbsp of ground cinnamon. And it pretty much tasted like heaven!!!! 

Add a couple of cute gum paste flowers and you have a beautiful birthday spread!! 

I wanted to include a couple more things on this post, but I was babysitting my dad tonight and we went on a pub crawl instead. So blogging isn't exactly the smartest idea for me right now. I promise there will be more tomorrow afternoon!

Pace yourself... theres more to come! 


tour de new casa

Hey y'all! Today I thought I should tell you what about our new apartment. I thought it might be fun to give y'all a tour. Now as many of you may know, we just graduated in May, moved into our new apartment in June, and started new jobs in June. Therefore..... we're really broke. We searched and thought (and fought) about our first apartment for what seemed like years... although it was only a few weeks! Apartment shopping is the absolute most stressful type of shopping to do (yes, even more difficult than the dreaded swimsuit shopping)!!!! After much deliberation, we finally agreed on a charming little one bedroom apartment in North Dallas, but basically Addison. We absolutely love almost everything about our apartment; minus the fact that there is only one dumpster for an apartment complex with 222 apartments. Ridiculous, I know. 

I love love LOVE to decorate and redecorate my living spaces as much as possible. For some reason, I just really enjoy picking certain pieces for certain rooms. I also really enjoy watching Alex trying to hang things. Here is a little preview of him hanging pictures in our bedroom after drinking a few too many glasses of sangria... 
Anyone that knows us can just imagine how great of a time I had with this.

So anyway, I decorated our almost 900 square foot apartment to the best of my ability (financial and space restrictions must be taken into consideration here people!!). Our apartment has a very earthy, nature-ish feel to it; with lots of browns, greens, and blues all over the place! Which is amazing because I am OBNOXIOUSLY OBSESSED WITH THE COLOR GREEN!!!!! I decorated with a mixture of handmade, refinished, and newly purchased (or borrowed) items. 

Some of them were handmade with love..

And some of them were purchased with love...

And some of them were purchased with serious buyer's remorse....
This is a bar that we got at pottery barn while we were supposed to be updating our wedding registry.... and we ended up spending too much money... as always! haha

Here are a few more photos from the rest of our apartment. I cannot wait to get our kitchen table from Alex's grandparents so that I can stop looking at that silly card table that we borrowed from my parents! CAN NOT STAND IT! 
Love our bed, but can't wait to get a king size for our wedding!

Bummed we had to cover part of the bay window with the bookshelf, but we obviously had to have it! 

Alex actually did a good job hanging these, but don't tell him I said that! 

I refinished my dad's dresser that he used in college! 

BEST CLOSET EVER! I died... seriously. LOVE IT! 

LOVE our big bathroom! 

Cozy little living room. 

Can't wait to get a new coffee table, hopefully soon! 

This is basically my room, I spend more time here than I do in any other room! 

Another view of the living room. 

And here is our breakfast nook, with the dreaded card table. I pretty much hate everything about this little area. I can't stand the mirrors. Who wants to watch themselves eat? Watching people eat is actually really disgusting and it makes me want to eat less... which is better for me in the long run I guess...... 

So there it is!! I tried as hard as I could with what we had been given! Thanks to all of the friends and family that helped us move and decorate at the beginning; we most definitely could not have done it without y'all!!! 

Pace yourself... there's more to come!

PS.. if anyone has any ideas on what to do with those horrid mirrors in the breakfast nook please don't be shy! Something HAS to happen with them ASAP! 


the start of something new

Hey y'all! My name is Meredith. Apparently I've gone crazy. In the midst of graduating college, starting TWO new jobs, getting a new apartment with my amazing fiance, figuring out how to survive on our own, AND planning a wedding.... I decided it would be a great idea to start baking and making EVERYTHING! For some reason I just can't stop acting like Martha Stewart (pre handcuffs of course)! Trust me, I'm really irritated with myself. Alex's waistline seems to be really irritated with my baking obsession as well haha.

I'm beyond confident that all of my facebook friends, pinterest peeps, and tweethearts are utterly exhausted with my multiple crafty uploads daily. They didn't sign up for my daily obnoxious rants pertaining to my slowly developing creativity, so I decided I should start a blog where they can come if they actually do want to hear about it. So anyway, I've decided to name this blog "i'll tell you what."  Alex always says, "Only in Texas is  'I'll tell you what' a complete sentence." So in this blog, I'll be tellin you what about baking, crafting, cooking, and pretty much anything else I feel like tellin you what about. I've been busy making lots of treats lately, and I'll be posting about them all as soon as possible! 

As my cousin Sarah says.. PACE YOURSELF.... theres more to come! (PS If you know me personally, that is an absolutely precious play on words haha!)