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September 30, 2015

buttermilk chess pie

A classic buttermilk chess pie recipe
Old-fashioned buttermilk chess pie recipe

Ages ago I posed the question: what even is a chess pie? My astute & quick-witted buddy Karen came to the rescue & immediately sent me over a recipe for this southern delicacy. This week I finally got around to making one, & while I'm disappointed that the pie has in no way given me any chess-playing advantages, it's pretty yummy. This chess pie has all of the goodness of a custard, paired with the richness you'd expect from a Paula Dean recipe. It reminds me of a pecan pie, sans pecans, & it is so good

I topped off this pie with some slightly sweetened whipped cream, shredded coconut, & duh, coffee. 

Shredded coconut & whipped cream atop a slice of buttermilk chess pie

| Buttermilk Chess Pie |

Ingredients // 
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 5 eggs
  • 2/3 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 9" pie crust, unbaked
Directions // 
  • Preheat oven to 350º F. 
  • In a bowl, combine the sugar & flour. 
  • Beat in eggs & buttermilk until completely blended. 
  • Stir in melted butter & vanilla extract. 
  • Pour mixture into unbaked pie crust. 
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes or until set. Pie is done when a knife can be inserted & removed cleanly, or when it jiggles slightly in the middle. 

A recipe for classically delicious, rich buttermilk chess pie.

Yumm-o, you guys. Also, if you're reading this Karen, I baked as I was serenaded by the original dreamboat James Taylor. Swoon!


P.S. Let's travel further south & make a batch of boiled peanuts. 

September 28, 2015

no-knit cowl

Autumn accessories - the classic cowl (no-knit edition)
Knit-inspired DIY cowl

Happy Monday! I hope you took my advice & made room for some relaxation this past weekend. While there was certainly some laziness to be had, I found a pocket of time in between re-runs of The Office to make this cowl. It's warm, snuggly, & incredibly quick to make. I'm greedily keeping this one for myself, but it would absolutely make a quick & easy gift. Bonus if you're feeling extra lazy like I was this weekend: there's no knitting involved! This cowl was made with sweater fabric. If extreme warmth is what you're after, the cowl could alternatively be made from fleece. Either way, comfy-cozy!

Click here for a no-knit cowl tutorial!
Easy-to-DIY cowl

To make this no-knit cowl, you'll need:
  • 22" x 60"of warm fabric (fleece, sweater fabric, or even an old sweater will do)
  • One large button or decorative pin
  • One set of snaps
  • Needle & thread
  • Sewing machine & notions
Faux knit cowl tutorial
Begin by folding your fabric in half widthwise, wrong side out. 

Next you'll be turning your fabric into a long tube, while also leaving a space in the middle. Sew halfway down the long side of the fabric, then stop. Leaving a hand-sized opening, continue the seam down the remainder of the tube. 
How to sew a comfy cowl
How to make a wonderfully warm cowl

Now that you have your tube sewn, move the seam to the middle rather than the bottom. Sew both sides of the tube closed. Turn the tube right side out through the hole you left in the middle during step one. 

Button up in a wonderfully warm no-knit cowl

Now to sew on your button & snap. The button is just for show - it's the snap that's going to do all the work. Using the hole you left in the initial seam, you can put one hand inside the cowl to sew through one layer of fabric & hide any ugly stitching on the backs of the snaps/button. 

Lay your cowl out on the ground with the long seam in the back. With a pin, mark the positions where your button & snaps will go. The button goes in the top left-hand side. One part of the snap goes behind the button. The other part of the snap goes on the top right-hand side. 

Finally, hand-sew the hole on the back closed.

Last minute DIY cozy cowl

To wear your new fabulous cowl, wrap it around your neck & snap in place. Or if it's super cold out, you can wear it as a hood!

Quick, last-minute no-knit cowl - perfect for fall

When the -20º winds start blowing mid-January, I think I'm going to be really grateful for this heavy-duty scarf. Like, really grateful. I've heard horror stories about Minnesota frostbite.


September 27, 2015

make a t-shirt!

DIY t-shirt tutorial
How to make a unique tee using an old shirt as a pattern

Once in a blue moon, the clothing gods will bestow upon you a gift: the gift of the perfect fit. It might be in the form of a shirt, it may be a pair of shoes, or, to the blessed few, it could even be jeans. Whatever form that gift comes in, it fits oh-so-right. You love the feel of it, & you look & feel amazing when you wear it.

Whip up your own unique t-shirt - no pattern needed
Use an old t-shirt to make a new one with this step-by-step tutorial

That's how I felt about this green-striped tee. I looked awesome in it, you guys, & it was incredibly comfy. So comfy in fact that I wore it to death - it's torn, stained, & majorly stretched out. After finally coming to terms with its mortality, I laid it to rest. But not before recreating it. Comfy shirt will live on!

Make a new t-shirt using an old one as a pattern - easy tutorial!

September 23, 2015

autumn iphone wallpapers

Download free fall-inspired iPhone wallpapers

Happy first day of autumn! What is it about fall that is so reminiscent? Do you get like that? When colder winds start blowing, they stir up all kinds of memories. I always get nostalgic & reflective this time of year. Not too nostalgic, though, because there are so many things to look forward to: the leaves changing colors, pumpkin patches, Halloween, wearing comfy sweaters.

I'm totally embracing the seasonal change, & if you want to celebrate the official start of Pumpkin Season, download one of these iPhone wallpapers.

Free iPhone wallpapers for the new chilly season        Downloadable iPhone wallpapers - just in time for autumn        Free downloadable iPhone wallpapers for the first day of fall

To use these wallpapers, get on your phone & click the links below to open the wallpaper you want to use. Then press down on the image until you're prompted to save it. Save & set as wallpaper!

Fall, I love you. Never leaf (get it?)


P.S. Put even more pumpkin in your life with this mini pumpkin cheesecake recipe.

September 22, 2015

life | links

Happy weekend from the whole WCMAnything gang!
My favorite outtake from Monday's tutorial 

Happy weekend! You know what you should do this weekend? Relaxxx. I have a million things planned for the next two days (including an at-home hair cut & seeing Holly Miranda perform), & I've already decided I'm not going to be able to check off everything on my list. Instead, I'm going to allot some much needed time for kicking back & relaxing. What good is a productive weekend if you're absolutely wiped out on Monday morning? The plan is to leisurely tackle my to-do list, recharge my batteries, & enjoy the quiet. I encourage you to join me so I don't feel guilty about being lazy.

This week's links:

P.S. This time last year I was talking about how to grow out your hair - & I'm realizing my hair is basically the same length. I'm so puzzled.

September 16, 2015

how to use photoshop to decorate your home

Use Photoshop to help you decide before you buy when redecorating!

I'm not going to lie: I don't have a very good eye when it comes to interior design. There's a reason I never posted any pictures of our old house in Florida. Okay, it was mainly because the walls in the home were covered with '70s original wood panelling - but also, & arguably more so, it was because I didn't know how to design around the horrid wood panelling. Many regrettable choices were made in that home (like the decision to pair eggplant purple with mahogany), but I'm not going to make the same mistakes in the new pad. Since I'm a "whole picture" kind of person, Photoshop has become my best friend when scouting for fabrics, furniture, & color.

Use Photoshop to get a sense of how fabrics will look in your home before you purchase them.

Before you make decisions on fabrics or furniture pieces, you can throw it together in Photoshop to get an idea of how it's going to look in real life (if you don't have Photoshop, use a program called Gimp - it's free!). This method helped me pick the fabric for the roman shade tutorial

September 14, 2015

crochet boot cuffs

DIY Crocheted Boot Cuffs
How to make boot cuffs

Are you in the mood to make something cute & cozy? Do you have a spare 30 minutes? Are you like me & you're pumped to unleash your fall wardrobe? Then you're totally in the right place.

Having lived in the only-cold-for-like-ten-days state of Florida for the past decade, I am more than ready to get my chilly-weather fashion on in my new northern home. It's not technically autumn yet, but the temps they are a'droppin! Since nothing says "cozy" quite like ribbed knits, I added these boot cuffs as a toasty accessory to my regular rain boots. They're easy to crochet & totally quick to make

The "Knit Crochet" stitch - looks like ribbed knitting, but it's actually crocheting!

For these cuffs I'm using what I call a "Knit Crochet" stitch. I can't recall the actual name of the stitch, but it's one of my favorites. I love the look of it because it combines the ease of crocheting with the ribbed look of knitting. The stitch is a double crochet, but instead of being stitched into the top loop is stitched into the vertical loop of the lower stitch, as seen above. 

DIY boot cuff tutorial

| Pattern for Boot Cuff |

(using a K hook & two skeins of bulky 64 yard, 4 oz. yarn)
  • Chain 25, Slip Stitch into first chain to make ring (the length of the chain depends on the diameter of your calf - for reference, I have an average-sized calf)
  • Row 1-6: Chain 2, Double Crochet 25, Slip Stitch to join
  • Row 7-11: Chain 2, Knit Crochet 25, Slip Stitch to join; tie off
  • Repeat for second cuff
  • Use a needle & thread to sew buttons on the ribbed portion of the cuffs on the outside

How to make boot cuffs - cozy!

I like the comfy look of these for chilly days. If you want extra warmth for longer boots, add additional rows during the double-crochet stage of the pattern.

Now I'm just waiting for the leaves to change colors! Autumn is really the best, isn't it?


September 11, 2015

life | links

Hanging glass sculpture at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN
This rug is doggy-approved!

Instagram @wecanmakeanything | Twitter @wcmanything

With Labor Day having officially come & gone, it's really beginning to feel like fall! The chilly weather has me wanting to start up knitting again & whip up a big batch of hot cocoa mix. This is my first winter back in on the north side of the country since I moved away 10 years ago, & I have been dreaming about this chilly weather! I'll probably be singing a different tune come January, but for now I'm looking forward to sweaters, the leaves changing, & all things pumpkin. 

This week's links:

P.S. I'm trying to convince myself it's too early for hot cocoa but this is a battle I might lose!

September 8, 2015

how to keep your home tidy (even when your life isn't)

How To Keep Your Home Tidy (Even When Your Life Isn't)
Sometimes it really feels like there aren't enough hours in the day. After a long commute home, Netflix & nap time are way more appealing than dirty dishes & doing laundry. I always tell myself I have enough time to do everything tomorrow - then tomorrow comes & I have more to do in less time! After settling into my new work schedule, I found myself putting off chores using the same seemingly reasonable excuse: "There's not enough time to do it!" Turns out I was both wrong & right. 

1. | Clock Your Tasks:
While to-do lists & schedules are essential to effective time management, it's also important to know how long it's going to take you to do something on your checklist. Over the past few weeks I've been timing how long it takes me to do the everyday things - vacuuming, doing laundry, emptying the litter box, etc. The results were super helpful!

If you're trying to get more done in your day, clock your chores. Record the time it takes you to do the daily or weekly essentials, like taking the dog on a walk or cleaning the bathroom. Grab your phone & turn on the stopwatch before you start to do something. Don't turn it on with the first spritz of bleach - start the timer the moment you decide do to clean the bathroom. That way you're counting the time it takes to get your cleaning supplies, move your laundry hamper to the washer, etc. When the task it completely finished, turn the timer off & write down the time it took. I added a couple extra minutes to each task to account for human error. You might be surprised at how little time it takes to get things done!

2. | Evaluate Your Schedule:
Now that you know how long it takes to get stuff done, you can schedule your days accordingly. While some tasks were much faster than I thought (why does time go the slowest when you're doing dishes?), others took much more time than I had imagined (i.e. doing laundry). Knowing this I can make a to-do list without overwhelming myself. For example, if I have grocery shopping to do one day, I know I can't also do laundry & expect to go to bed at a reasonable hour. It's a lot less stressful knowing what you're capable of in a day.

3. | Organize Around Your Tasks
Don't hold yourself back by making it difficult to get tasks done. Make your tool accessible! I noticed that emptying the kitty's litter box takes more time than I had thought, but that a large hunk of time was being spent preparing! I was wasting time finding everything I needed to get started. The trash bags were under the sink, the litter box in the bathroom, & the litter in the closet on the other side of the house! Do yourself a favor & take note of the tools you need to do each chore. If you're primarily using your rubber gloves for cleaning the bathroom, why not keep them in the bathroom? If you hang up your clothes in the closet after they've been ironed, why not keep your ironing board nearby? Arrange things in your home to help you out as you clean.
How To Keep Your Home Tidy (Even When Your Life Isn't)
While I don't plan out every moment of every day, it's nice having a rough idea in my head of how long things take to get done. Plus it pretty much eliminates all support behind my excuse of "there's not enough time!" Yeah, there is. There are no excuses when dishes only take 5-6 minutes. Happy cleaning!

- m.e.

September 4, 2015

life | links

Munching on some Dippin' Dots at the State Fair
Sky Glider at the Minnesota State Fair

Instagram @wecanmakeanything | Twitter @wcmanything

It's been a few weeks now & I'm finally feeling settled with my new work schedule. Going from erratic retail-oriented shifts to a steady 9-5 desk job has been a bit of an adjustment, but I'm loving the consistency. I'm totally digging on the routine nature of it all. It makes me feel so adult! That being said, I'm having to rethink the way I accomplish daily. I used to stack my to-do list & tackle everything in the big gaps in my work schedule, but now that there's this tiny window in the evenings to get things done, I find myself totally unorganized. This weekend I'm hoping to sit down & plan out all the little things I have to do, hopefully leaving room for big, exciting things. 

Happy Friday!
This week's links:


    P.S. More pictures from the Minnesota state fair - including the view from the sky glider (oooh, ahhh!).

    September 3, 2015

    out & about // minnesota state fair

    Minnesota State Fair Skyglider

    This past weekend was State Fair weekend! Okay, the fair is still going on this weekend too, but last Sunday we took a drive down to St. Paul to enjoy some fried food & fair rides. Here's a couple snapshots of our adventure. Not pictured is the deep fried Milky Way on-a-stick I apprehensively consumed. It was disgusting, but I don't regret it. 

    What a crowd!
    Giant slide at the State Fair
    Ye Old Mill Ride at the Minnesota State Fair
    Cutie alpacas & delicious food at the fair
    Dippin in the Dots at the fair
    In line at the Ye Old Mill Ride at the Minnesota State Fair
    Skeptical about the dots
    A pail of cookies to go!

    I give the largest state fair ever a solid 10 out of 10. We ate so much food. We even took home a whole pail of cookies. What a time to be alive!


    P.S. More weekend adventures at Twin City Pride 2015.

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