December 2013 ~ Diane's Vintage Zest!

Spicy Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing

A spicy spin on my Cornbread Stuffing that EVERYONE loves!

Sweet Potato Souffle for Thanksgiving

One of my most popular recipes EVER, and just in time for Thanksgiving!

DIY Painted Photo Backdrops

Super easy backdrops for your photo, plus a few tips!

Golden Sweet Corn Bread Mini Muffins

A sweet spin on traditional cornbread!

Easy Sweet Potato Pie (without a crust!)

The easiest (and healthiest) pumpkin pie recipe ever!

Do Tell Tuesday #4!

I am so excited that you can be here for our last party of 2013!  Click here for the full rundown on how to participate and...

Welcome to Do Tell Tuesday!

Numbers were understandably low due to the holidays, but there were still so many great posts to pick from!  Last week, I had lots of food features, and for some reason I was in the sewing mood this week.  :)  Each one of us hosts pick our own features but we all share the most viewed link too!  So, if you are all ready, here we go!

Top 10 Posts of 2013!

Since I'm new to blogging, this will be my first Top 10 round-up post and it's all due to you lovely readers!  Technically, since this blog is just under a year old, this will be my Top 10 of all time, too.

Now, let's get started before it's 2014!  :)

I am going to so this the old-fashioned way and count down from number 10 to 1, just like New Years Eve!

This was a really popular recipe thanks to my Thanksgiving Menu Ideas post and Pinterest of course!

Each of my Favorite Breakfast posts were really close to the top 10, but these were the ones with the most pageviews.  They're pretty AND delicious!  Check out the other three here, here, and here!

I can see why this post was so popular.  It had pictures and links to tutorials for pattern weights, a super-size ironing board, and a dress form.  Three in one!

7.  Healthy Banana Muffins (For the Lazy Person!)

The Best Auntie Award for gifting the best wireless plan!

Disclosure #ad #FamilyMobileSaves #shop #cbias

I am so excited to share how the Christmas gift to my niece went down.  :)  Remember, I shared how I was searching for the best wireless plan as a present to my niece in this post?  Well, this is her first phone and that's a really, really big deal!  My cousin agreed to our little test phase because this is an affordable plan without a contract, so we can see how responsible this little gal is with her phone.  :)

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She ripped open this package quick!

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My favorite picture because she couldn't help but twirl with her new phone!  :)

She could not wait to open up the package and get to the phone!

Saturday Synopsis!

I cannot believe this is the last Saturday synopsis of the year!  I am so happy that you awesome people have ended the year with me, because my blog is just under a year old now.  :)

Farewell 2013, hello 2014!

Pretty display at Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles!

Here are last week's posts in case you missed any.  :)

Weekly Wrap-Up: Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles, B-day dinner & X-mas!

It's the last weekly wrap-up of the 2013!  I cannot believe how time flies!  These weekly wrap-ups have totally evolved this past year, but I'll chat about it a bit later.  :)

Precap (jump to):


I convinced my guy that we should head to Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles for some last minute Christmas shopping!

It is located in San Pedro where the weather is absolutely amazing!  For this weekend, there was a special little Mom and Pop Up shop from the SoCal Etsy Guild for the holidays.

Weekly Wrap-Up on Vintage Zest

But first, I had to pop in and say hello to my friends at the Artisan Candle Company, who mentioned that I should drop by their permanent store after meeting them at Patchwork Santa Ana.  What a great suggestion!  On Instagram, I shared the candle that I picked out here.  It was a really hard choice!

Weekly Wrap-Up on Vintage Zest

It was especially a fun time because we were introduced to the Crafted's Executive Director and Leasing Director, who gave us a tour and introduced us around a bit.  Also, they gave us an inside scoop on their current location and their plans to open up a brewery, testing kitchen, and food artisan selling area for the building next door.  It sounds amazing, and I can't wait for that to open up!  By the way, this is all after filming their three separate segments on KTLA and staying up late for the Happy Hour shopping the previous day.  How nice of them, right?

Also, I had a chance to visit more vendors that I can't wait to feature on the Shop Small Saturday Showcase series soon.  I loved so many of the vendors, and my guy enjoyed his beer tasting while I did my rounds.  See, it is perfect for both crafty and non-crafty folks!  :)

Weekly Wrap-Up on Vintage Zest

Here are a few pictures from the non-vendor areas of Crafted.  A DIY ornament station, a photo booth, a free gift wrapping station, and a 10 foot tall wire baby art piece.  Yep, you read that right!

Friends & Family Time

So, this isn't quite up to my normal crafting standards, but I had to share it with you good readers.  My guy who is not into crafting or DIY made this little gem while he was bored on our card ride back from Las Vegas last weekend.

When he gave it to me after the end of our road trip, he jokingly said, "If you feature me as your 26th Day of Handmade Gifts, maybe we can have an interview and spend more time together?"

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So yes, I am doing just that and spending some well-deserved time with my family and my guy.

Merry Christmas!

I hope that you have a lovely day celebrating with your family!  Or at least you enjoy a day off from work if your family is a dysfunctional, crazy one.  ;)

I have some last minute glass etching to do, so I will be spending some quality time making a couple of cookie jars.  :)

Merry Christmas!

Two more cookie jars to go!

Do Tell Tuesday #3!

I am so excited that you can be here for our third party!  Click here for the full rundown on how to participate and...

Welcome to Do Tell Tuesday!

Recently seen on Vintage Zest...

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Once again, there were so many great posts to pick from, it was hard to narrow it down to just a few features.  Each one of us hosts pick our own features but we all share the most viewed link too!  So, if you are all ready, here we go!

Ropa Vieja Tostada "Pizzas"

Last week, I promised that I would share one of my favorite ways to eat my Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja. It is colorful, flavorful, and fun to put together!  In fact, it would be a great dish to serve at a party, with people putting together their "pizzas" with their favorite toppings.  :)  Enjoy!

Ropa Vieja Tostada Pizzas on Diane's Vintage Zest!  #recipe #cuban #beef

By the way, this is just my favorite way to assemble these pizzas, so feel free to add different "toppings!"  I have a few more suggestions in addition to my faves.

Ropa Vieja Tostada Pizzas on Diane's Vintage Zest!  #recipe #cuban #beef

Ropa Vieja Tostada "Pizzas"
A Vintage Zest original

Virtual Gift Exchange with Honest & Truly!

Since this is my first year of blogging, and I love all of the connections I have made, I wanted to participate in the Social Fabric Virtual Gift Exchange!  I have to admit that I signed up and then when I found out the time commitment, I actually thought it best that I pass on this year.  There was a tiny mix-up and I ended up not giving up my spot, so this is a belated gift exchange.  Still, I'm soooo happy that I had the chance to be matched with a blogger that I think you'll want to get to know!

Meet Michelle of Honest & Truly!

Let's get to know her first, and then I'll dive into some of my favorite posts!

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First off, Michelle is a mother to a 10 year old son and 8 year old daughter, whom she calls Mister Man and Little Miss.  Isn't it a coincidence that I call my travel mascot Little Miss?  :)  She lives in the suburbs of Chicago and is a busy, busy lady!  Learn more about her here.  :)

She cooks and cleans from scratch, a gal after my own heart!  Also, shares TONS of amazing tips from all kinds of topics from traveling to parenting that are super helpful.


Here are some of my fave recipe posts from Michelle!

Saturday Synopsis!

Hey!  It's a Saturday Synopsis actually on a Saturday!  It will only last for the next two weeks though because like our new Do Tell Tuesday link parties, I am starting up the Small Business Saturday Showcase series in the new year.  :)

Here are last week's posts in case you missed any.  :)

Pretty Upholstered Chairs by a Fantastic Friend!

Continuing this week of inspiration from my friends and family, I have my friend "Frances" and her pretty upholstered chairs.  This is the same gal who showed me all the best swap meets to buy fabric and suggested the school where I first took sewing lessons!  In fact, it is the same place where she took her upholstery class, and in a short time she made these two awesome pieces!

Here is a chair that she upholstered for her daughter's office!  Her daughter, who is a couple of years younger than me, was envisioning an Anthropologie-style loveseat and I think she accomplished just that!

Check out the piping and the welting, which makes it look so great and professional!  And of course, all of the stuffing, springs, and webbing inside are all removed and replaced with fresh ones.

This is a picture of the original chair.  It is blurry, but you can see that the fabric was boring and the back cushion was flat from use.  Also, it looks like the armrest had fallen off, but Frances was able to put it back together at the end.  :)

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Now this picture is of a third chair in progress, but you can see how she completely removes all of the fabric to reveal the stuffing.  Then, she removes the padding and springs, and repairs everything that is loose or old.  Wow!

25 Days of Handmade Gifts - Wrap-up & GIVEAWAY!

*Update*  Here are the Top 10 Reasons why I shop small!
*Update 2*  Want to be featured on my Shop Small Saturday Showcase series?  Read up on the details here.

I truly cannot believe all of the great shops I have had the chance to work with!  For each of the 31 shops below, the interviews were fantastic, the goods were unique, and the deals were amazing!  I wanted to wrap up the series and give you all the chance to see any of the features that you may have missed.

To celebrate the end of the series, I have a bonus giveaway at the bottom of the post!  Also, don't forget to enter the rest of the giveaways that are still open.  :)

Also, don't forget that after a couple of weeks off for the holidays, I will have the "Shop Small Saturday Showcase" every Saturday featuring all kinds of new shops.  I am so excited for that!

Happy browsing and shopping!

Weekly Wrap-Up: Carnival time in Vegas!

This was a busy, busy week before Christmas!  We had so much fun, and I for one am completely tuckered out.  It's a good thing that the holidays are almost upon us so I can get a bit of a break.  :)


  • Sights: Road trip to Vegas!
  • Eats: Nick's on 2nd, Pamplemousse Le Restaurant, Carnival of Cuisine, Public House, Grimaldi's Pizzeria, Bouchon

Before all of the fun Las Vegas weekend stuff, I had a quick lunch with my mom during the workweek.  We headed to Nick's on 2nd and I had the most delicious dessert... Warm Butter Cake!  If anyone knows a similar recipe, let me know.  :)  To see all of the delicious pictures, head to The Episodic Eater on this post!


And then we were off to Vegas for the weekend!  Here are a couple pretty pictures of our ride over.  :)

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I love this picture of the rainbow sky over the desert mountains.  :)

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For dinner, we went to Pamplemousse Le Restaurant and had a nice welcome dinner to Las Vegas.  Check out this incredible crudités platter!  See all of the deliciousness right here.  :)


In the morning, my guy and I hit the outlet malls and I may have purchased just a few things...  :)  First, I had some new Kenneth Cole boots (to replace my favorite, worn-out black ones) and an awesome leather jacket also from Kenneth Cole.  Also, I bought a few festive tops, a pretty belt, and a winter jacket from Banana Republic (I heart that store), plus a chambray shirt & statement necklace from J. Crew.  I went all out since I have not bought winter clothing in forever and the deals were too ridiculously good to pass up!

Now, for the reason we were there!  We went to the Carnival of Cuisine, which is an amazing food event.  Tons of restaurants from The Palazzo and The Venetian have tables all around the pool area and you sample so much incredible food.

My Niece's First Dolls!

Today, I am sharing one of my "friends and family" posts as this week's theme!

You may remember my niece, who I have referred to several times on the blog.  I have taken her school supply shopping, gave her some sewing lessons, and bought her a fab Christmas gift this year!  I mentioned way back in June that we sewed a couple of dolls together, and I'm sharing it with you now.  :)

This is the only picture I have of the dolls because I was too engrossed in our lesson to take any pictures.  Silly me!

The whole reason for the dolls is because my cousin had some of my niece's old baby clothes that they wanted to display.  I already had the doll pattern for Simplicity 1900 below, so it was perfect!

First, we decided to alter the torso sections because they were not quite long enough for the clothes.  Then, my cousin and my niece learned how to lay out and cut pattern pieces properly.  Next, we started assembling all of the dolls while my niece loved threading and rethreading the machine for each color thread.  Maybe I should sew with her permanently!  While sewing, I explained to her all of the steps, and it was so much fun.  :)

Handmade Gift Feature & GIVEAWAY from Craftivity Designs!

Today is the LAST day of the "25 Days of Handmade Gifts!"  I cannot believe it!  I feel like it just started, and we have met so many great shops out there that I am a bit sad that it has to end.  :(

Anyways, let us get to today's feature from Erica and Lora of Craftivity Designs!  I chose the shop from these lovely ladies as my last shop, because their prints would be perfect as a last minute gift.  And I really mean last minute, because they are a digital gift that you can gift as the file, or print yourself lickety split!  I actually won a giveaway from the two ladies a while back, and lucky for me the agreed to give away one of their pretty prints to a lucky reader!

But first, let's read a little bit about these two Kentucky gals!


Tell me a little bit about yourself!

We are both from Louisville, KY and met years ago through our church.  We each enjoyed scrapbooking;  which was how we first started spending time together crafting and creating things.  Once DIY blogs become popular, we both started reading them and loved the idea of being able to share our creative ideas with others.  It wasn't until a few years later that we finally decided to jump in and start an Etsy Shop and our own blog.  We have been blogging and creating printable art for our Etsy Shop for just over a year now. It has been a great adventure -- you can learn more here!

Where did the name of your store come from?

We spent a lot of time brainstorming name ideas without any luck.  One day while making a list of words that described us and our love for DIY projects, we came up with Craftivity Designs.  Craftivity is the combination of both crafting and creativity which fits us both so well.  It is our love for crafting and creating that bonded us together as friends; and motivated us to share our DIY adventures with others.

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What is your favorite item?

Erica -- My favorite item in our shop is our custom state prints! I love how they can be special to everyone yet unique to individuals and their hometown or favorite city.

Lora -- I am a huge map-lover, so our Joy to the World Print is one of my favorites. A close second is this one, celebrating "My Old Kentucky Home."

What is your most popular item?

Our most popular item is definitely our "I love you More Than.." sports team prints.  And as much as Erica hates to admit it (being a Louisville fan), we have definitely sold more prints to Kentucky Fans than any other team.

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Where do you get the inspiration for your work?

Do Tell Tuesday #2 with Features!

I am so excited that you can be here for our second party!  If you were not able to make it last week, click here for the full rundown on how to participate, and of course...

Welcome to Do Tell Tuesday!

There were so many great posts to pick from, so it was hard to narrow it down to just a few features.  Remember, each one of us is going to pick our own features but we all share the most viewed link too!  So, if you are all ready, here we go!