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Friday, November 29, 2013

Football Team Burlap Banner

So after making my fall banner and also seeing a similar Tigers banner at the Clemson vs. Wake Forest game, I knew I just HAD to have my very own Tigers banner to hang up at tailgates. I am sure you want an awesome Tigers banner too... or perhaps whatever college or pro football team you cheer for so here is how to DIY.
It was pretty easy to make especially if you have a cutting machine like a Silhouette or Cricut.
Football Burlap Banner
- burlap
- mod podge
- cardstock
- twine or something to hang it with
- glue gun or clothespins
- craft paint
- foam paint brush
- ribbon
Start by cutting out enough burlap trianges. I did 8 since I wants TIGERS plus 2 for tiger paws. Mine are 8.5 inches across and 10.5 inches down. It's best to brush mod podge (half school glue half water) over the triangles as this helps the paint adhere better later. Let that dry for an hour or so. 

Next you need your letter templates. I used my Silhouette software to pick a font and size my letters. And then I fed cardstock into the machine for it to cut out my template. You want to leave enough space in between the letters to cut them out separately since you need the negative space to make the templates. If you don't own a cutting machine you can cut letters out of cardstock using an exacto knife or make friends with someone that has a cutting machine :)  I also believe some libraries have die cutters with the alphabet and some shapes... this is what I used one summer in college to make letters for a bulletin board.

Here you can see all the templates layed out on the triangles ready for painting. I use catalog or magazine pages underneath to catch the paint that goes through.

Hold down on the cardstock while you use a foam brush to blot paint onto the burlap to make sure that it doesnt shift.

This was after a second coat.

Next you need to attach your triangles to twine or string. I attached all the triangles to twine using mini clothespins from Walmart. Make sure you leave extra on the end for tying up your banner. I plan to hot glue the triangles to the twine eventually but just ran out of time before we needed it. Plus I think the clothespins are kinda cute so I may even keep them after it's hot glued. Then you can tie ribbon in between the triangles in your team colors. I found orange ribbon and purple and black tiger striped ribbon at Walmart.

When I hung the banner I used more clothespins to attach it to the tailgate tent but you could also use the extra twine you leave at the ends to tie it up.

Now we have a fun DIY Clemson Banner to hang up whenever we tailgate or even at the house when we are hosting a viewing party! And you know in Clemson we tailgate our hearts out. And in style... if you don't believe me just ask Southern Living

Monday, November 25, 2013

What I Wore

This is what I wore to work on our first really cold day and also a day I had a big presentation at 8am. This was taken after a long day at work right before running out of daylight. I'm wearing my new fleece lined tights for the first time and I must say they were nice and warm and comfy. Kept me warmer than my work pants... definitely recommend if you like to wear dresses in cold weather! I think this would also be a great outfit for dressing up for Thanksgiving.

I'm sure you must also be wondering about that amazing looking fall burlap wreath on the door behind me. You are in luck... here's how to make one for yourself. 

Black blazer: Ivy & Leo Boutique; similarsimilarsimilar but with collar similar but with collar these are great affordable classic blazers
Black and white dress: Ivy and Leo boutique in Charlotte
Black fleece lined tights: Bare Necessities - you can search for an online coupon too
Tan boots: BCBG
Cobalt Belt: Target on sale
Cobalt necklace: Towne and Reese
Blue and pink earrings: Towne and Reese they are out of blue/pink but have blue/green and yellow/teal

Since you probably don't have microscopic vision, here is a close up of the earrings.

Linking up to What I Wore Wednesday

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Crock Pot Creamy Tomato Soup

Once it starts to get cold I just love soup for dinner. Eric would probably be happy eating soup for dinner a couple times a week even. When I saw this recipe on skinnytaste, I had to try it. I am a sucker for anything healthy and in a crock pot!

After reading the comments on the original recipe I made a small adjustment to mine which is reflected in the recipe below to ensure it tastes plenty like tomato. It looks like a lot of ingredients but don't worry... a lot of it you probably already have on hand. NOTE: you need an immersion blender or a regular blender at the least. I had already put in the crock pot and was reading what I would do later when I realized I needed a blender so I ran out to buy an immersion blender. It worked great though and I'm glad we own one now.

Crock Pot Creamy Tomato Soup
adapted from Skinnytaste, serves 6 with 1 1/2 cups per serving, 177 calories per serving


- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup finely diced celery
- 1 cup finely diced carrots
- 1 cup finely diced yellow onion
- 28 oz can whole plum tomatoes, with juice
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1/4 cup fresh basil
- 3 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth (or vegetable)
- Parmesan or Romano cheese rind (optional)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 1 3/4 cups reduced fat (2%) milk, warmed
- salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then add the oil, celery, carrots and onions. Cook for 5-6 minutes. Add to crock pot. Pour in juice of plum tomatoes then roughly crush the tomatoes with your hands (or I used a spoon) and add to crock pot. Then add tomato paste, broth, cheese rind, thyme, basil, pepper and bay leaf.

Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Remove the cheese rind and bay leaf. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup until smooth.

Melt butter over low heat in large skillet and add the flour. Stir constantly with a whisk for 4-5 minutes. Slowly whisk in about 1 cup of the hot soup. Then add the warmed milk and stir until smooth. Pour what is in skillet back into the slow cooker and stir. Add cheese and adjust salt and pepper to taste. I found that it doesn't need much salt at all honestly.

Cover and cook on low 30 more minutes then serve garnishing with basil. This is really delicious with salad and a chunk of wheat bread to dunk into the soup or with grilled cheese. Really what soup isn't good with grilled cheese?! I found it to be filling and just as I hoped tomato soup would taste and not missing the heavy cream or lots of butter that other creamy soup recipes use. I haven't tried to make any and freeze it but I would suspect it would freeze just fine.
This is before using the immersion blender.
And this was after.
Hope you get to enjoy some delicious soup soon!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Clemson vs. Wake Forest Family Weekend

Every year we pick a Clemson game for our families to go to. This was the 3rd year of this tradition and we chose the Wake Forest game which just so happened to also be Homecoming.

We came down to Clemson on Friday afternoon with my parents to walk around downtown and see all the floats on Bowman.

We ate dinner at Mellow Mushroom. I may be biased but I think the Mellow Mushroom in Clemson is the best one. It is in a cute old white house just across a road that goes around the perimeter of campus.

Then we went back to the condo we were renting to watch some football and finish prepping some of the food for Saturday.

Saturday morning we arrived at the tailgate around 8am. Eric's parents with Abby arrived about then as well and Keith and Megan came a little bit later. We had 3 parking passes for our whole tailgate and two tents. Abby was all energetic and really to run about and play.

We set up the breakfast food for everyone to enjoy. We had pumpkin bread, coffee cake, fruit and ham and cheese biscuits.

A morning football Saturday in Strom....

I always like to take a stroll around the tailgate lot to check out what other tailgaters have going on set-up wise and decor-wise for future ideas. Miss Abby loved the blow up Tiger one tailgate had.

Emily, Justin, Susan and Ross arrived to tailgate as well. The girls... (oh and if you like my purple pom pom necklace here is how to make one)

Lots of cornhole playing

Serious straterizing going on here. Plus check out that state of the art beer pong table behind them. They tailgate in Strom every game.

We also saw a wonderful performance by Abby

These sunglasses have since gone to live where all Eric's many sunglasses end up in short time... the trash (after sitting on them or something similar)

Me and the 'rents.

Then it was time for lunch. Eric's dad grilled burgers and there were chicken sliders. We also had pasta salad, broccoli slaw, southern caviar dip, vegetable dip and several different desserts.

I couldn't get a normal smile out of her on camera all day but I got this spontaneous unedited shot and I think I like it even better... it's so Abby. And look at those beautiful blue eyes.

Then it was time to head toward the stadium for the 3:30 game time. I cannot even capture on camera how cool it is to walk downhill toward the stadium with massive amounts of people all hyped up for the game.

Filling up with lots of orange anticipating kick off

The gang minus the parents and Abby. Yes Justin is being creepy. On purpose (hopefully).

Another touchdown! We won the game 57-7 so there were lots of touchdowns happening.

I really like this picture of the 3 of us

I got to see one of my littles Jessica for a few minutes and her sweet family too. I have many memories of visiting their tailgate as a student.

After the game we went back to the tailgate for some snacking and cornhole playing until the sun was going down and we packed everything up.

The LaForce couples after the game.

The next morning my parents left to drive back to FL and Eric and I drove over to campus for some photos. This is one of my very favorite places on campus.

If you noticed my hair is suddenly shorter it's because my mom cut it that morning. Yes, she is a lady of many talents.

Tillman Hall... another favorite spot.

We headed over to the stadium next. It was open and people were inside working on the turf.

I spotted a family having photos taken. Such a great campus for a photo shoot!

Before heading back to Charlotte we couldn't resist lunch at Pot Belly Deli, yum!!

Another successful Clemson family weekend in the books! Can't wait until next year!
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