Friday, August 26, 2011


I think it would be fun to try pickling someday!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Halloween Surprise Balls

Love this Pottery Barn cute little tutorial video!

food storage recipes

I need to make all of these. See a video here.

Fat-Free Nutri Grain Energy Bars

1 cup cooked white beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs (1/4 c. dry egg powder and NO water)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup coarse oat flour (take quick oats and pulse in blender until a coarse flour)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (make sure it's fresh!)
1½ cups chopped almonds, optional
3/4 cup raspberry (or other fruit) jam


Heat the oven to 350°. Grease a 9"x13" baking pan.

Place the beans and sugars in a large bowl, and cream them until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs (egg powder).

In a small bowl, combine the flours, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture, then mix or stir in the almonds.

Use your fingers to press half of the dough into the bottom of the baking pan. (You may need to grease your fingers with non-stick spray to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers.)

Put the jam in a small bowl and loosen it up with a small whisk or a fork (this will make it spread easier). Spread the jam evenly over the dough, leaving about a 1/4-inch border around the edges.

Sprinkle the remaining dough over the jam, all the way to the edges of the pan, and then press on it gently to form the top layer.

Bake until the top is golden and the edges are starting to brown, about 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in the pan, and then cut into whatever size bars you like and serve. The bars will keep for at least three or four days at room temperature, or you can freeze them.

Homemade Pop Tarts

Easy Pie Crust
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup milk ( 1 T. dry non-instant powdered milk or 2 T. instant milk + 1/3 cup water)
½ tsp. salt
Use anything you would normally find in a Pop Tart. Jams and jellys are great for fruit
filling. I also love honey and chopped nuts inside.


Mix flour, salt, and dry milk powder together. Add oil and mix until mixture is crumble, then add water (or fresh milk if that is what you are using). Stir until mixture forms a ball of dough. Roll dough between two sheets of parchment paper to form a rectangle.

Cut dough into rectangles 6 inches wide by 5 inches high. Place filling on one half of the dough leaving ½ inch around sides. Fold over and pinch sides together with a fork to close.

Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Homemade Fruit Roll Ups

2 cups freeze dried fruit (I like to do 1 c. strawberries and a ½ c. each of raspberries and
1/3 cup warm water


Place fruit and water in blender and blend until very smooth. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick spray. Pour fruit mixture onto aluminum foil and spread evenly and thin on top of aluminum foil. Bake at 250 degrees for 25 minutes. WITH OUT OPENING YOUR OVEN DOOR, turn the oven off and let sit for 8 hours. After 8 hours, peel fruit leather off aluminum foil and place on wax, parchment or cling wrap. Cut into long strips with scissors and roll up.

Homemade Fat-Free Granola Bars

2 1/4 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup bean puree (blend white beans and enough water to form a puree-the
consistency should be that of a smoothie-in your blender)
5 T. honey
3 T. cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup rice krispies
1/2 cup toasted shredded coconut, optional
½ cup chopped almonds, optional
1 cup craisins*
1 cup white chocolate chips*


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F . Lightly grease one 9x13 inch pan. In a large mixing bowl combine the oats, flour, baking soda, vanilla, bean puree, honey and brown sugar. Stir in the coconut, rice krispies, craisins, white chocolate chips and nuts.

Lightly press mixture into the prepared pan. Bake at 325 degrees F for 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes then cut into bars. Let bars cool completely in pan before removing or serving.

*You can use any combination of add-ins you would like just make sure it equals 2 cups. Some ideas may be raisins, chocolate chips, etc.

In love with Pesto

Grilled Chicken Pesto Flatbreads

6 Rhodes™ Dinner Rolls, thawed to room temperature
1/4 cup prepared basil pesto sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken, seasoned with salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, diced
2 tablespoons capers
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup baby arugula


Spray counter lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Roll each roll into a 6-inch oval. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 10-15 minutes. Remove plastic wrap and place each flatbread on grill or in a grill pan heated to medium low heat. Grill one side for a few minutes or until grill lines appear. Remove to a cooling rack. Spread grilled sides with pesto and top with chicken, tomatoes, onion, mozzarella and capers. Spoon small dollops of ricotta over each and sprinkle with Parmesan. Place back on grill or in grill pan. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes or until cheese begins to melt. Top with arugula leaves.

Laundry Room Helps

After seeing this I am inspired. I want my laundry room to be like this. See more info here.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Watermelon Salsa

4 cups seeded chopped watermelon
1 green bell pepper, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
1/2 red onion, minced
1 cup chopped cilantro
2 Tbl lime juice
½ tsp mince garlic
Salt and pepper to taste


Combine all ingredients and chill.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Berry Sauces

I want to try all of these recipes! They sound amazing!

Warm Berry & Thyme Compote

4 cups fresh berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, etc)
1 lemon
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup sugar, more or less to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves


Rinse berries, half or slice strawberries. Finely grate or zest 1-3 teaspoons lemon peel, squeeze 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Over medium heat, in a large frying pan, melt butter; add 3 cups berries, sugar, lemon peel and juice. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fruit softens and becomes juicy, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in remaining 1 cup fruit and chopped thyme leaves. Serve warm over vanilla ice cream, with yogurt, or as a topping to waffles and pancakes. Also delicious as a fruit dessert served with whipped cream. Makes approximately 3 cups

Vanilla Bean Caramel Glazed Fruit

1 inch vanilla bean, scrapped (may substitute 1 teaspoon extract)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup whipping cream or half and half
6 cups diced or sliced fresh fruit (peaches, strawberries, mango, kiwi, grapes, etc)
French toast


Slit vanilla bean and scrape fleshy portion into small saucepan, add bean. Add sugar, corn syrup and cream. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and boil gently 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat, discard vanilla bean, cool (syrup will thicken as it cools; may thin syrup to desired consistency by stirring in milk, 1 tablespoon at a time).
Wash, peel and slice or cut into chunks fresh fruit of your choice. When glaze is cool, but not cold, drizzle glaze over fruit and gently toss to coat. Serve with French toast spread with cream cheese. Makes about 6 cups fruit

Simple Cinnamon Fruit

1 fresh orange
1 cup white grape juice or apple juice
1 cinnamon stick (may substitute 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
Dash nutmeg
Dash ground cloves, optional
1/4 cup sugar, more or less to taste
6 cups sliced or diced fruit of choice (nectarines, grapes, star fruit, apples, berries, kiwi)
Vanilla Yogurt


1 fresh orange 1 cup white grape juice or apple juice 1 cinnamon stick (may substitute 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon) Dash nutmeg Dash ground cloves, optional 1/4 cup sugar, more or less to taste 6 cups sliced or diced fruit of choice (nectarines, grapes, star fruit, apples, berries, kiwi) Vanilla Yogurt Finely grate orange peel and juice orange into small saucepan. Add grape juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Peel, slice or dice fruit; place in serving bowl or individual bowls, drizzle syrup over top. Chill to blend flavors. Serve with a vanilla yogurt on top. Excellent served with vanilla ice cream, over or waffles. Makes about 6 cups

Homemade Popsicles

Now I just need a popsicle mold so I can make these delicious creations!

Key Lime Pie Frozen Cream Bars

· 4 graham cracker sheets, crushed
· 2 tsp sugar
· 2 tbsp melted butter
· 1 1/4 cups whole milk
· 3 tbsp instant vanilla pudding mix
· 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
· 3 tbsp fresh or bottled Key Lime juice


· In a small bowl, combine sugar, graham crackers, and butter. Set aside.

· In a medium sized bowl, whisk together milk and pudding mix. Whisk in condensed milk and key lime juice.

· To assemble bars: Fill pop molds to 1/2 inch from the top. Place in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Remove from freezer and fill in remaining half inch with graham cracker mixture. Press lightly until firmly packed. Freeze until firm.

Makes 6-9 pops

S'more Frozen Fudge Bars with Dark Chocolate and Caramel Pieces

· 4 graham cracker sheets crushed
· 2 tsp sugar
· 2 tbsp melted butter
· 1/3 cups marshmallow crème
· 1tbsp milk
· 1 1/2 cups whole milk
· 4 tbsp instant chocolate pudding mix
· 1/4 cup sugar
· 2-3 oz Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate and Caramel bar, frozen and chopped


· In a small bowl combine graham crackers, sugar, and butter. Set aside.

· In a small bowl, whisk together marshmallow creme and milk. Set aside in a medium sized bowl, whisk together milk chocolate pudding mix and sugar.

· To assemble pops: Drizzle marshmallow mixture into chocolate mixture. Swirl lightly. Layer alternately in pop mold with graham mixture. Freeze until firm.

· Makes 6-9 pop

Fresh Raspberry, and Almond Agave Granola, Frozen Yogurt Breakfast Bar

· 1 1/4 cups Greek or Smooth Vanilla Yogurt
· 1/4 cup milk
· 2 tbsp Agave or Honey
· 1/2 cup Almond Agave Granola ( Back to Nature brand )
· 1/2 cup fresh Raspberries


· In a medium sized bowl, whisk together yogurt, milk, and Agave.

· To make pops: Alternate layers of yogurt mixture, fruit, and granola in pop molds. Place in freezer until firm.

Italian Soda Party

This has made me want to have a party just so I can do this! Doesn't it sound so fun? And delicious?

Building an Italian Soda Bar

Setting up an Italian soda bar is a fresh, fruity alternative to the traditional backyard barbeque.

Studio 5's Executive Producer, Michelle Torsak shows how easy it is to create this big impact idea.

The original inspiration for an Italian soda party came from Elizabeth Kartchner's blog. You can check out the Dear Lizzy blog here, but be warned you will fall in love!

I found a similar idea on this darling blog:

What you need for an Italian soda bar:

· Lots of sparkling water or club soda

· A variety of flavored syrups, available at Italian import stores or restaurant supply stores. I love the Torani syrups available at Granato's:

1391 S. 300 West; Salt Lake City

4044 S. 2700 East; Holladay

1638 S. Redwood Road; Salt Lake City

The most popular flavors for sodas are the traditional fruit flavors like strawberry, cherry, peach, and raspberry.

· Ice

· Heavy cream or half and half (for cremosas)

· Whipped topping

· Soda glasses, available from Tai Pan Trading

· Striped straws, available from Orson Gygi located at 3500 South 300 West; Salt Lake City or online at The Bakers Confection Store:

Making an Italian soda:

An Italian soda is a combination of club soda or sparkling water and flavored syrup. For a traditonal Italian cream soda or cremosa, you add half and half or heavy cream.

Italian Soda: 8 oz. sparkling water

2 -4 Tbsp. flavored syrup

Fill a 16 oz. glass with ice. Add water and favored syrup. Stir to combine and top with whipped cream.

Cremosa: 8 oz. sparkling water

4 Tbsp. flavored syrup

1 oz. half-and-half

Fill a 16 oz. glass with ice, add syrup, soda water and half-and-half or milk. Stir to combine flavors and top with whipped cream.

Ice Cream: 8 oz. sparkling water

4 Tbsp. flavored syrup

Ice Cream

Fill a 16 oz. glass with soda water and syrup. Stir to combine flavors and add 2 scoops of ice cream and top with whipped cream.

Free Favor Download:

Right now Martha Stewart has a free download for a fun favor tag. Click here to link to the download:

Summer Fun

Love the ideas in this Studio 5 clip! I can't wait to try them out next summer! Or maybe I still have time this summer?


I'm intrigued by this idea:


Light up the night with white! Plant white flowers and light foliage to create a garden that glows.
White flowers are frequently overlooked because we want to see colors in our gardens. Reds, blues, pinks, yellows tend to stand out and we can see them quite well. White flowers reflect light and seem to shine at night.

White flowers can really be spectacular especially at night with proper lighting. Many plants flower at night and have wonderful evening fragrances. Bees are not the only pollinators in a garden. Moths also work spreading pollen around and are primarily out at night. So enhance your garden to include night time interest.

Proper lighting can really make your night garden come alive. Whether it's a small focal point, a pathway, a mass planting or a tree of any size, lighting will add new dimensions to your landscape.

The Patio

The patio is a perfect place for containers. Whether the area is shaded or sunny during the day, there are many whites that will bring life to evening.

Focal Point

Sometimes we have small gardens that don't allow for a lot of volume. These are perfect for creating a night time focal point: an individual flowering tree, shrub or perennial flower will pop out with a small spot light on it. The combination of a tree or shrub with a skirt of white is a great option. There are many grasses that have white variegated leaves which could work very well.

The Pathway

Pathways at night can be greatly enhanced by adding white along the way. Low overhead lighting can make your pathway shine and add some romance to the garden whether it's path through the trees or brightening up a cement walk way.

The Mass Planting

When space allows, mass plantings are a great way to make the landscape come alive at night by using a combination of flood and canopy lighting. From short bedding plants such as petunias, pansies, stock and creeping phlox to taller flowers like white Iris, Jacob's Ladder, Obedient Plant and Peonies; medium - tall shrubs like Variegated Dogwood, Mock Orange, Snowball Bush, Butterfly Bush, White Roses, ‘Diana' or ‘White Chiffon' Rose of Sharon and Dappled Willow to trees of all sizes: Western Catalpa, Flowering Pear, Tree Lilac, ‘Butterfly' Japanese Maple, Merrill and Star Magnolias and Spring Snow Crab Apple.

There are many more options than the few listed here. The site will dictate which plants will do better. When shopping for plants, always tell the nursery professional the area where you live and what type of soil you have and if the area gets full sun, part shade or full shade.

Lighting from Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah:

White at Night Plant List:


Four O'Clocks (Mirabilis jalapa)

White Petunia

White Geraniums


White Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Purity')

White Impatients


White Pansy

White Lobelia

Night Phlox

White Snapdragon


Evening Primrose (Oenotheraspeciosa)

Variegated Hosta (Hosta sp.)

Creeping Phlox (

White Garden Mums (

White Iris (

Moonflower (Daturawrightii) native, intense fragrance, watch open.

White Jacob's Ladder (Polemoniumcaeruleum)

White Obedient Plant (Physostegiavirginiana)

Goat's Beard (

White Nancy (Lamium)

White Peony


Variegated Japanese Silver Grass (Miscanthussinensis ‘Variegata')

Morning Light Japanese Silver Grass (Miscanthussinensis ‘Morning Light')

Overdam Feathered Reed Grass (Calamagrostisacutifolia)

Pampas Grass (Cortaderiaselloana) marginallyhardy


Variegated Red Twig Dodwood(Cornus alba ‘Baihalo' or ‘Elegantissima')

Mock Orange (Philadelphusvirginalis) and (Philadelphuscoronarius)

Snowball Bush (Viburnum opulus)

Yucca (Yucca filamentosa)

Dappled Willow (Salix ‘HakuroNashiki')

Butterfly Bush (Buddleiadavidii)

White Roses (Rosa sp.)

White Rhododendron (Rhododendron ‘Catawbiense')

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus ‘Diana')

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus ‘White Chiffon')


Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea anomalapetiolaris)

Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis paniculata)

Hall's Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)

Porcelain Vine (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata)


Western Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa)

Flowering Pear (Pyruscalleryana)

Whitebud (Cerciscanadensis ‘Alba')

Tree Lilac (Syringareticulata)

Butterfly Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum ‘Butterfly')

MerrillMagnolia (Magnolia x loeberni)

Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata)


I've been wanting to try pesto! Can't wait to try this!

Fresh Basil Pesto:

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2-4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts (or chopped nuts of choice)
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1-3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, optional


Wash and pat dry basil leaves, place in food processor, add garlic and nuts. Pulse processor to coarsely chop. Add 1/4-cup oil and process until smooth. While processing add additional oil to create desired consistency. Season pesto to taste with salt and pepper; stir in grated Parmesan cheese and lemon juice. Freezes well; for convenience, freeze in ice cube trays then store in freezer bags.

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto:

1 jar (8 oz) sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
1/2-1 cup canned fire roasted tomatoes, with juice
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon lemon zest, optional
1-3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Place sun-dried tomatoes (and oil) and approximately 1/2-cup canned tomatoes (drained), garlic, pine nuts and basil in food processor; pulse to coarsely chop. Add additional tomatoes and liquid from canned tomatoes and process to create desired consistency. Salt and pepper to taste, stir in lemon zest and Parmesan cheese; cover and refrigerate.

Mint Pesto:

2 cups packed fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste


Excellent with grilled lamb chops.

Place mint leaves and almonds in food processor; pulse to chop. Continue to process while gradually adding oil until desired consistency is achieved; salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate.

Pesto Cream Cheese Appetizer:

1 recipe Basil Pesto, made on the dry side
1 recipe Tomato Pesto, made on the dry side
3 package (8 oz ea) low fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
Pine Nuts or chopped nuts, optional garnish
Sliced Baguette, crackers, sliced vegetables


Blend 3/4 package (6 oz) cream cheese into Basil Pesto, set aside; blend 3/4 package (6 oz) cream cheese into Tomato Pesto, set aside. Beat together remaining cream cheese and softened butter until smooth; add fresh cracked pepper to taste.

Butter a 6-cup dish (with a flat bottom); line dish with plastic wrap. Carefully spread approximately 1/3 cream cheese butter mixture in bottom of prepared dish;* spread with 1/2 the tomato pesto; spread with 1/4 the remaining cream cheese; spread with 1/2 the basil pesto; repeat: cream cheese, tomato pesto, cream cheese, basil pesto; end with cream cheese on top. Cover and refrigerate overnight. To serve, invert bowl on serving plate and carefully remove plastic wrap. Serve with sliced bread, crackers and vegetables.

* Chilling or partially freezing between layers will help create a neat layered look.

Uses For Pesto:

Toss with cooked pasta; add fresh cherry tomato halves and additional cheese

Spread on pizza crust, add a few favorite toppings of choice and shredded cheese, bake

Spread on baguette, sprinkle with additional shredded Parmesan cheese and toast

Toss with fresh Mozzarella balls, serve with sliced fresh tomatoes

Spread inside a rolled pork roast or rolled chicken and grill

Stir into cottage cheese for a dip, or use with pasta

Mix with canned white beans (drained); mash beans to mix, serve as a dip

Serve on sliced cooked beef, chicken, pork, fish

Serve on sliced boiled potatoes, sliced tomatoes or other garden vegetables

Stir into soups

Soft Pretzels

Video Courtesy of


2 ¼ tsp yeast
1 ¼ cups warm water
Pinch of sugar
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 cups flour
1 cup water
1 tbsp baking soda
Course salt (optional)
2 tbsp butter, melted (optional)


In small bowl combine yeast & warm water w/a pinch of sugar
Let stand for about 5 min while you prepare next step
In a large bowl, mix brown sugar, 1 cup flour, and yeast mixture. (when it's ready)
Then stir in enough flour to make a soft dough
Turn dough onto a well floured surface and knead for about 3 min
Cover and let rest for 20 min
Cut dough into 12 pieces
Roll each piece into a 12-15 inch rope and shape into a pretzel
In shallow bowl mix 1 tbsp baking soda w/1 cup water
Dip each finished pretzel in water quickly, shaking off excess
Place on greased baking sheet. Sprinkle w/salt if desired
Bake at 425 degrees for 6 min or till golden brown
Brush melted butter on top or serve w/your favorite dip

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

1 ½ cups mayonnaise
¼ cup Dijon mustard
½ cup honey


Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well Cover & refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

Breadsticks Ideas

Cheesy Potato Chip Breadsticks

12 Rhodes Texas™ Rolls or 24 Rhodes™ Dinner Rolls, thawed but still cold
12 strips pepper jack cheese
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
3/4 cup crushed sour cream and onion potato chips


Roll each Texas™ roll or 2 dinner rolls combined into a 7-inch rope. Flatten each rope. Cut twelve 6-inch strips of cheese 1/2-inch thick. Place one strip of cheese on each flattened rope. Tightly pinch dough around cheese to form a breadstick. Place butter and potato chips in shallow bowls. Roll each breadstick in butter and then in crushed potato chips. Place seam side up on a sprayed baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double. Remove wrap and bake at 350°F 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Twisty Buttery Breadsticks

12 Rhodes™ Dinner Rolls, thawed but still cold
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
garlic salt, if desired


Roll each roll into a 16-inch rope. Roll each end in opposite directions about 3 or 4 times. Pick up and pinch ends together. The breadstick will twist. Place butter and cheese in shallow bowls. Dip each breadstick in melted butter and then in Parmesan cheese.

Place on a sprayed baking sheet about 1-inch apart. Sprinkle with garlic salt, if desired. Cover with sprayed plastic wrap and let rise until double in size. Remove wrap and bake at 350°F 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Junky Wind Chimes

I have always loved wind chimes. Now that we have our own home and have a place to hang them...I've been wanting to buy some! But how much more fun would it be to make your own wind chimes? I think I need to check out the local thrift stores now...

Junky Wind chimes

The first step in making a DIY wind chime is to collect the materials. You will need something to serve as the top of the chime, several items to hang as chimes, and something to connect it all together.

Just about any item can be used for the top of your wind chime. It is easier work with items that can be tied to (wire lamp shade, wooden clothes hanger). Next, collect the items to be used as chimes. Metal or wood items make a great sound when used in a wind chime. Vintage silverware can be flattened using a heavy weight hammer. Silverware can also be drilled through to so you have a hole to thread wire through.

To drill through silverware, lay the piece on a block of wood. If possible, clamp the silverware and wood block together. This will prevent the silverware from spinning while you drill. Use a 1/8" drill bit made for metal and apply pressure while you drill. Be patient, as it takes minute to drill all the way through and remember the silverware piece will heat up as you drill. Once the hole is drilled, clean-up the sharp edges using a small metal file. If the sharp edges are left, they may cut through the fishing line.

Lastly, select the material to string it all together (wire, fishing line, ribbon, cording, etc).

Lay out all the pieces before you begin. Make the chime visually appealing by staggering the lengths of each chime. Eye screws work well for connecting wood pieces. Simply tie or connect all the pieces together. It is helpful to hang the chime from a door frame or something high while you are putting it all together.

DIY Photo Backdrops

LOVED these ideas from Laci Davis on Studio 5! Now if only I could convince my husband we need an SLR camera...

Find a Fun Background

Look for a background that you love. This can be anything from wallpaper, fabric or even your favorite blanket. It's as easy as just taping it up on the wall.

Get Molding

Simply adding molding on the ground is a great way to make your backdrop look like a real studio. It's something you can pick up for under $10 at a home improvement store, and it makes a huge difference.

Use Natural Light

You need to find a space that has great natural light, but is still in the shade. I have use my garage to make my backdrops, but any place that has room and natural light is a great photo spot.

Find Good Flooring

Flooring really gives a finishing touch to your photo backdrop, and there are so many great options out there. You can buy small already cut portions of vinyl flooring at the home improvement store, or you can buy rugs that look like flooring at photography stores.