It’s that time of year again, where I tell you that I lost. Again!
The Regional Emmy’s were this weekend at the Radisson Blu at the Mall of America and it was a lovely party. I met a bunch of new and cool people, wore a cute dress and lost in the Host category (again). I’m cool with it, because like I have said before, I was up against a bunch of really talented and lovely people who are actual journalists, and getting nominated for the 2nd year in a row proves that I am on the right track and am doing a good job. (But if I were to have won, I was gonna glue that gold sucker on the hood of my Volvo and have the pimpest hood ornament in town.)
I went to the party with my photographer/friend Nick, who is an Emmy winner x a million. I think he was part of projects that won 2 or 3 Emmy’s that night. What a show off. 😉
Fun Fact! Wes Walz, the pro hockey player was at my table (he won an Emmy too).
But no worries, my friends. There are more MIWS videos to be made and next year is totally my year.
This happened again. I’m still smiling from hearing the news over the weekend.
What makes this extra special is that I am lucky enough to have been nominated in the Host category for the second year in a row. And did you see the other people nominated?? Awesome, legit journalists. And me. Ha.
It truly is an honor to be nominated.
Above is a fun little promo video I made for my Instagram feed. 15 seconds of funk!
The alphabet is everywhere. You can’t escape them. While I really liked the old school, vintage, light up letters, I didn’t like the price tag attached. So here is a easy and affordable option for making some letters with some sparkle.
I found these particular letters at Target recently. Have you seen their crafty section?? It’s got some pretty sweet stuff in there! (These letters were in the clearance section, so hurry up and claim your faves.)
They are a kind of paper mache and have a thin cork layer on the front. I also found a tin of multi-colored and multi-sized sequins in the same crafty section at Target and knew I needed to mix these 2 items together.
Instead of glue, which seemed messy at the time, I went the pin route, meaning I individually pinned each sequin to the letters so they could wiggle and sparkle. I didn’t use regular old stick pins, but sequin pins that I found at Michael’s. Pick up a thimble while you’re there, you’re gonna need it once you start pinning.
I also came across a slightly smaller but similar style of letter at Michael’s, so if Target is out, you have a back up.
The sequin pins are shorter than regular stick pins, so be careful, they are easy to lose. I just started laying out the big sequins first and pinned those in, followed by the smaller sizes, filling in holes as I went. Sometimes I over lapped sequins and I left some cork show through, for a little more dimension. For all 6 letters, I ended up using 1 full jar of sequins (400 count), followed by another 100 from a new tin. I pinned at an upwards angle to prevent sequins from slipping off of the pins. You could use glue, but I would only use a small amount to prevent oozing.
I have wanted something in my office to say “Make Me” for a while now, and now, I have the sparkliest, most colorful letters to keep me inspired.
Emceeing is the weirdest thing.
First of all, it’s scary as hell. People stare at you. It’s either because they are listening to what you say or, it’s because they want you to SHUT. UP. so the next band can play.
Secondly, It’s just you, talking to a lot of people who can’t/won’t/aren’t interested in talking back. It’s similar to talking to yourself in the mirror. But way more awkward.
This past weekend I emceed Stillwater Log Jam for the 2nd year in a row. The first year, I was absolutely terrified. And it showed. I was only a few months into Making It With Stephany, I had no experience and no idea what to expect. Friends told me I “did a great job”, because I was horrible and they were trying to be supportive. (I have very nice friends.) I used it as a learning experience and never planned on talking into a microphone to a large group of people again.
This year was a complete 360. I was so happy to be asked back and had so much great stuff happen to me in the past year (TCL, TV interviews, newspaper interviews, etc.) that I was only a teensy bit scared. I was even feeling a little bit confident, which is totally not like me at all. Plus, I was friends with many of the bands that were returning to the Log Jam stage like Choo Choo Bob, Ruben and Thrift Store Sonata, and excited to meet new bands like Malamanya, Frankie Lee, Black Market Brass and Charlie Parr. 4 on the Floor was there to rile up the crowd and get everyone rowdy on Saturday night, which was fun to see, complete with beach balls, sombreros and an intense, “sober” shirtless dude with the world’s best mullet who licked his fingers while he danced in the crowd.
Also, the stage was able to be set up right on the river this year, which was a great view, provided a nice breeze and had a mini city of boats as neighbors for the weekend. (Last year, the St. Croix River was so high, that the stage wasn’t able to be near the river so the bands wouldn’t fall in. and float away.) Everything was lined up to be perfect. And it was.
I really want to thank Paul, one of the creators of Stillwater Log Jam for asking me to be a part of the festivities again. I had so much fun seeing old friends and meeting new ones. I loved seeing the city full of residents, tourist, families and dogs. (OMG I met the sweetest Irish Wolfhound!) A big thank you to “The Locals”, Brad and Lift Bridge Brewery for the Getaway and Smalley of Smalley’s Caribbean BBQ for the ass kicking pork tacos.
Want to knock out an awesome home decor project this weekend? All you need is tape!
Get yourself some washi/masking/removable tape and start a masterpiece on your wall! It’s easy, removable and fun to do. You don’t need to be a crafty genius to make this either! It’s just lines and angles and you can do ANYTHING you want! No rules!
It’s a perfect project for renters, non-commital types, and people who love change. When your tired of your design, just peel it off!
Need inspiration? Check out my video!
If you were one of the lucky souls who received my mug in your mailbox within the last few weeks, I apologize. It was only supposed to be a story, not a cover. I wasn’t prepared for that!
A few months back I was contacted by the editor of the magazine to give an interview about all things Making it With Stephany. From there, we came up with the idea to have me write an accompanying article about cocktails in the valley. That was a little scary for me, because if you read this blog, you know of my juvenile writing skillzz. But I interviewed, wrote, edited, saved, re-wrote and submitted my article (a little over my word count requirement) and on time.
A photo shoot was scheduled to run along side the article. Smiles were made, pictures were taken. I had a general idea of when the magazine would be out and I was excited to see my words in print.
Then I show up on the cover. Man, was that a weird feeling! I still feel shy about it, which is odd because I am usually not shy. You’ve seen the videos, right?!?
Thank you to Kersten and St. Croix Valley Magazine for taking the time to get to know a little more about me.
Flower crowns. So much fun to wear. But these aren’t your grandma’s flower crown, these are huge, badass, and GLAM flower crowns!!
What’s great about these crowns is that they are simple. No glue required. Just floral tape, floral wire and giant colorful fake flowers. You can get as creative and wild as you like. I start with the biggest, prettiest flower and build around it with more flowers, constantly monitoring the progress to fill in holes and making sure the overall look is what I like. Reinforcing the stems with extra floral tape is always a good idea, to prevent any flowers from getting loose and falling out.
Floral tape is awesome because you don’t have to wait for it to dry and if you need to change your design, it’s totally removable and non-permanent. When you first start taking the tape off of the roll, you will find that it is not sticky. You need to give it a little stretch while you start adhering it to your design to get the stickiness activated. Then just pull and push down to get it to stick to itself. So easy!
You can pull one of these guys together in about an hour. And since there is no glue, you can just make and wear! So make yourself a big, bold crown and show me what you come up with!
Check my Instagram and you can see a pic of my dog wearing one of my creations. Dogs in flowers crowns are the new internet sensation! (Not really, but they should be!)
I made my fourth appearance on Twin Cities Live yesterday sharing some really easy, really last minute Cinco de Mayo recipes.
I was pretty jazzed about this segment because I was there not just to sling tasty cocktails (don’t worry, I still shared a cocktail) but I showed some yummy food recipes. I was glad to show that I’m not just the TV booze girl, I can do food and party ideas too.
I went all out for this segment. In addition to bringing really delicious and quick recipes to celebrate Cinco, I crafted my ass off. I found cute mini pinatas which weren’t in my color scheme, so I spray painted them gold and bronze to and a touch of glam to the table. I used cactus instead of flowers, but instead of just throwing them in a pot and calling it done, I found cans of Mexican tomatoes, salsas and enchilada sauce and used those to bring more color in. I also found a colorful papel picado banner that I hung in the background of the TCL kitchen. Then, I made my own papel picado stir straws with a Martha Stewart paper punch and some colored paper. They were they cutest!
As for the food and drink, I made Shrimp Avocado Ceviche, which is amazing on it’s own (I just fill a bowl and eat it with a spoon), or as a dip served with chips, or you can make it a main course and eat it as tacos. SO GOOD.
I also made Beergaritas to wash down the ceviche. I’m not a margarita person, but add some beer to cut the sweetness, and hot damn, I love it!
For dessert, how to Margarita Cupcakes with Tequila Lime Buttercream sound? They are fantastic. Along the same lines as the Beergaritas, adding the tequila to the cake mix and frosting cuts the sweetness and makes it easy to have more than one. This is definitely for people who don’t like overly sweet treats. It’s sweet, but not overpowerly sweet.
You want the recipes?? Here you go!
1 can (12 oz) frozen limeade
1 12 oz bottle of Mexican beer, I used Negra Modelo
12 oz water
6 oz tequila, I used Sauza silver tequila
Pour limeade, tequila, water, beer in larger pitcher. Stir until the limeade has melted and is well mixed. Add ice and pour into cups. Garnish with lime wedges.
Shrimp Avocado Ceviche:
16 oz cooked shrimp, tails removed, diced
4-5 ripe tomatoes, diced
1/2 large red onion, diced
2 tsp minced cilantro
2 limes, juiced
1 tsp kosher salt
2 avocados, diced
Combine tomatoes, onion, lime juice, salt, shrimp and cilantro in a large non-reactive bowl. Refridgerate for at least 1 hour to let flavors combine. Add avocado right before serving. Serve with chips as a dip or in tortillas as tacos.
Margarita Cupcakes with Tequila Lime Buttercream Frosting:
to make cupcakes:
1 box white cake
4 egg whites
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup lime juice
1/4 cup tequila
Mix all ingredients until well combined. Pour batter into cupcake papers 3/4 full. Bake for 18 minutes at 350 degrees.
to make the frosting:
1 cup of butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tbs lime juice
2 tbs tequila
fresh lime zest and sugar to sprinkle on top
(omit tequila and replace with lime juice for non-alcoholic version)
Beat butter with an electric mixer on high until creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Add powdered sugar in 1 cup at a time, with mixer speed at medium. Add lime juice and tequila and beat until smooth. If frosting is too runny, add 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. Frost cupcakes and sprinkle lime zest and sugar on top.
Not long ago, when I would think about quilting, I thought of ancient old ladies sitting on plastic covered couches hand-stitching pinwheel quilts in calico shades of maroon, hunter green, ecru, tan and off-white. Ew. Where is the fun? Where is the style? Where is the black?? I always thought quilts would be a lot cooler if there was more black in them…and polka dots. Where the hell were the polka dots??
Making a quilt was on my “bucket list”. In addition to running a marathon, saving up for a fancy, expensive, and unnecessary purse and making out with a super hot rockstar, I wanted to make my own quilt. After talking to my crafty friend Angela who had made a few quilts herself, she borrowed me a few of modern quilting books. I was instantly drawn to Sunday Morning Quilts, a book on making fun, inspired quilts from scraps. The book was filled with colors, style and the idea that making a quilt would be a piece of cake. I mean, all it was, was sewing scraps of fabric together in straight lines. Any bonehead with a sewing machine could do that. That included me. I was sold that I could make a quilt.
I wanted it to cover my bed, so it would need to be a queen sized blanket, at minimum. And I didn’t have any fabric scraps, since I had never quilted before, so off to the fabric store I went. I knew I wanted black and white in the color scheme, and that would be accented with blues, greens and grays. I was less than impressed with the amount of acceptable “cool” fabric that they had. Apparently, calico is still a thing. Ew. I had to hunt, and lower my standards a little to find about 6 patterns that I would start with. I also found a few pre-packaged fat quarter sets in colors that I liked.
After I went to the big-box fabric store, I went to a small local fabric store, Crafty Planet, in Minneapolis. Have you been there before? It’s fantastic. They have the best selection of the coolest prints and amazing fabrics! But, the trade off is it does cost a bit more for the quality. I ended up buying 2 awesome prints that I couldn’t live without. Just an FYI, they have a sale section in the back where they have discontinued fabric for sale at a nice price.
Making a quilt from scratch is not cheap. And the bigger the quilt, the more it will cost. Before I began this project, I assumed that because it was just going to be small pieces of fabric sewn together, it would be a cheap endeavor. Nope. You will also need A LOT of thread and batting. And don’t forget about fabric for the back!
I decided to make the “Sunday Morning” style quilt from the book because it was just strips of rectangles sewn into squares. I didn’t want to mess around with triangles or anything crazy. This quilt allowed for awkward rectangles and allowed for imperfections. Sign me up! I needed the wiggle room for my first quilt.
I didn’t factor in the amount of time it would take. I started buying fabric and cutting squares in the winter of 2014. I would put in 1 or 2 hours once a week cutting strips and starting to sew blocks. I needed at least 400+ cut rectangles which would transfer into around 70 blocks. That took awhile. Also, there is a lot of math. If you like math, this will be easy for you. If you are not a math genius, like me, this will suck. I struggled…but I figured it out. You can do it. I finished my top quilt in April.
Once the top is done, you need to make a back. I had odd pieces of fabric left and figured out the easiest way to use up my fabric without making a huge production of making the back. I was tired of making blocks for the top so I make the back as basic as I could. When the back was finished, it was time to get the batting. I wanted this to be a light blanket so I go some hippie organic fill that wasn’t too puffy. Getting all 3 layers laid out on the floor to start the creation of the blanket is my least favorite part. This is where you learn if you measured correctly weeks before. Lining everything up took multiple tries. Don’t get frustrated, you’re almost there!
I found a good video online that showed me how to make the binding tape and attach it. There are actually a few good videos out there that cover this but I liked this one the best.
Quilt complete! Almost… You have the option to have a fancy sewing machine sew everything down flat. I don’t have a quilting machine, have the desire (or $$$$) to buy one, or know anyone who has such a contraption. I searched Craigslist and there are people and shops who offer the service, but it is kind of spendy. In keeping with my mod quilt theme, I just used my sewing machine and made symmetrical straight lines down the quilt. I tried to hide them in seams on the top, and I think it worked out pretty well.
I ended up finished the quilt completely in August. It was quite the journey. I made it crazy. It has black, white and polka dots. Lots of polka dots. I’m happy with it. The seams aren’t perfect and it’s not perfectly square, but, I’m not perfect either. My quilt and I are a good match.
It’s a little smaller than a queen, but big enough to add to my bed as a supplemental blanket. I ran out of thread about 57 times and almost punched my sewing machine twice. But I did it. And it’s really pretty. Bucket list item, complete. Now to make out with a super hot rockstar….