January 2015 ~ 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!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Crow Jane Jewelry feature, promo & GIVEAWAY!


Crow Jane Jewelry feature, promo and GIVEAWAY on Shop Small Saturday at Diane's Vintage Zest!


This week on Shop Small Saturday Showcase, things are a bit different.  Usually, I have an interview with a lovely shop owner and a few pictures of the wonderful handmade goods to share with you.  However, when Jessica of Crow Jane Jewelry shared her workspace, I know that I needed to add a few more pictures to the final feature.  After all, I love to celebrate handmade goods and the artistic process!

One other difference is that Jessica hails from Denver, which isn't exactly local for me.  Still, I know some of you readers are from Colorado, so I'm just expanding my definition of local.  :)

Here are a couple of items that are remaining the same.  The interview reveals some fun tidbits, like the surprisingly tough part of making her pretty jewelry.  Also, Jessica is offering a couple of goodies to my readers!  One lucky reader will win one of her fabulous necklaces in the giveaway, and everyone will be able to save 20% off her entire Etsy shop!  Stay tuned until the end of the post for the details.


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Crow Jane Jewelry feature, promo and GIVEAWAY on Shop Small Saturday at Diane's Vintage Zest!


Tell me a little bit about yourself!

I am a jewelry designer, metalsmith and lover of all things sustainable, local and hand crafted.  I am mostly self taught as a metalsmith and feel passionate about constantly trying new techniques and creating new designs.  My jewelry pieces are inspired by the dichotomy between nature and industry and by the shapes of ancient cultures. Each piece is hand crafted with love and care in my studio in the Denver foothills.


Where did the name of your store come from?

My shop name, Crow Jane Jewelry, comes from an old blues song done by the likes of Skip James.  Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds have a song also called Crow Jane inspired by the original.  I am a musician as well and Crow Jane is one of my favorite songs to play.


Crow Jane Jewelry feature, promo and GIVEAWAY on Shop Small Saturday at Diane's Vintage Zest!


Why did you start making goods for Crow Jane Jewelry?

I started making jewelry at a very young age.  In fact, it's something that I've always done in one form or another.  As a student in art school (studying sustainable design rather than jewelry design), I became more focused on jewelry design as a career and became making and selling my designs more seriously.  My business has grown organically since then and is now my main gig which I feel so lucky and grateful for every day : )


What is your favorite item?

Monday, January 26, 2015

5 DIY Furniture Projects & Do Tell Tuesday #58!


DIY Furniture Projects & Do Tell Tuesday on Diane's Vintage Zest!


Welcome back to Do Tell Tuesday!  As you may remember from before, one of the hosts will bring you a set of features each week with a common theme.  This week, Cassie was the lucky host to choose the features, and she chose some lovely DIY furniture ideas!

Before we get to this week's features & the link party, let's meet the hosts...

Do Tell Tuesday on Vintage Zest

Keep up with us at:



Mabey She Made It : Facebook // Pinterest // Instagram // Twitter // Google Plus
Vintage Zest : Facebook // Pinterest // Instagram // Twitter // Google Plus
Little Red Window : Facebook // Pinterest // Instagram // Twitter // Google Plus

Lil Mrs. Tori : Facebook // Pinterest // Instagram // Twitter // Google Plus


Now for the features courtesy of Cassie!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Spazz Happy Line Design feature & GIVEAWAY!

This week on Shop Small Saturday Showcase, I'm featuring Spazz Happy Line Design, with the impeccably named Tiff Tuttle.  Her geometric designs are so fun, and I can't wait for you to check them out!  As well as coming in a variety of creative shapes, they can adorn everything from your walls to coffee table and can hang in a pretty corner or take center stage on a bookcase!

Because she is so lovely, Tiff is giving one of my readers a Flash Diamond Sconce (pictured at the bottom) in the giveaway!  Make sure to enter at the bottom of the post, but first read the interview!  You'll find lots of interesting tidbits, including her surprising day job!


Spazz Happy Line Design feature & GIVEAWAY! on Shop Small Saturday Showcase at Diane's Vintage Zest! #unique #home #decor


Tell me a little bit about yourself!

Hello!! I am Tiff Tuttle, ETSY shop proprietress and Spazz Happy Line Design himmeli maker. I love minimalist design and I have a penchant for all things geometry. I have created my designs with the idea that symmetry establishes balance and generates positive energy in the space it occupies. I believe that straight lines and clean angles will never go out of style, and that everyone should be able to afford objects of beauty. This is why I strive to keep my prices low.


Where did the name of your store come from?



Great question, the name of the store came from me! I am a lover of life, and a lover of all things fantastic. When I encounter something that makes me happy, or excited, I want to tell every single person I can about it. I’ve always liked to share, so when I am inspired or moved or find something magnificent, I want to others to know about it so they can experience and enjoy it for themselves. I have a lot of positive energy and would hug the entire world if I could. So, the name of my store captures part of my essence. I’m generally happy and have this spazzy energy fueling my fire, so the name Spazz Happy seemed fitting. Since I work with lines, I tacked on Line Design to establish my branding a bit more.


Spazz Happy Line Design feature & GIVEAWAY! on Shop Small Saturday Showcase at Diane's Vintage Zest! #unique #home #decor


Why did you start making goods for Spazz Happy Line Design?



Thursday, January 22, 2015

How to: DIY a Dress Upcycled from Oversized T-shirts



Remember my DIY Shibori Dress post from waaay back when?  Well, I promised to share a tutorial on how I made the dress upcycled from two oversized T-shirts.  Here it is!

A few words: I made roughly a medium sized dress from two XL T-shirts, but the size will be adjusted to your size when you make your pattern.

Disclaimer: I'm not a sewing expert and it's been some time since I wrote a tutorial.  Please be nice!


How to: DIY a Dress Upcycled from Oversized T-shirts on Diane's Vintage Zest!  #sewing #tutorial



How to: DIY a Dress Upcycled from Oversized T-shirts
Print

What You Will Need

  • Two oversized T-shirts  (the bigger, the better!)
  • Matching thread
  • Pattern (either an existing piece of clothing or a commercial sewing pattern)
  • Chalk
  • Scissors



How to: DIY a Dress Upcycled from Oversized T-shirts on Diane's Vintage Zest!  #sewing #tutorial


Directions


1.  You will use one of the shirts for the top of your dress.  Mark with chalk, using your pattern piece.  OR if you are using an existing garment, outline the top, making sure to add the seam allowance of your choice (1/4", 3/8", 1/2", etc.).



How to: DIY a Dress Upcycled from Oversized T-shirts on Diane's Vintage Zest!  #sewing #tutorial


Tip:  If the garment is made of a stretchier material than the T-shirt, add a bit more to the seam allowance because the finished garment might be too tight!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Lovely Valentine's Day Crafts & Do Tell Tuesday #57!


Lovely Valentine's Day Crafts on Do Tell Tuesday @ Diane's Vintage Zest! #valentine #dotelltuesday


Welcome back to Do Tell Tuesday!  As you may remember from last week, one of the hosts will bring you a set of features each week with a common theme.  This week, Lisa was the lucky host to choose the features, and she chose some lovely Valentine's Day crafts for the holiday right around the corner!

Before we get to this week's features & the link party, let's meet the hosts...




Do Tell Tuesday on Vintage Zest

Keep up with us at:



Mabey She Made It : Facebook // Pinterest // Instagram // Twitter // Google Plus
Vintage Zest : Facebook // Pinterest // Instagram // Twitter // Google Plus
Little Red Window : Facebook // Pinterest // Instagram // Twitter // Google Plus

Lil Mrs. Tori : Facebook // Pinterest // Instagram // Twitter // Google Plus


Now for the features courtesy of Lisa!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Tea Drops feature & GIVEAWAY!

This week’s Shop Small Saturday Showcase feature is perfect for the chilly weather right now because it’s all about one of my favorite beverages: tea!  Sashee is such a warm, inviting person, it's only right that she wants to spread her love of tea to the world through Tea Drops.  Seriously, check out the beautiful video below, and you'll see exactly what I mean!

Coincidentally, I used to have an advisor from Sri Lanka (you will see Sashee's connection in the interview below), who would insist on a daily tea break so we could be more productive later in the day.  It was such a highlight of my day!  Now, even with a crazy schedule, I can continue the tradition thanks to Tea Drops!

Lastly, Sashee is offering a Variety Box of Tea Drops in a lovely wood box to one of my lucky readers!  From experience, I know that you will want to try them all for yourself, so it's perfect.  :)  Make sure to stay tuned for the giveaway at the bottom of the post.  Now, to the interview!

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TeaDrops feature and GIVEAWAY! on Shop Small Saturday Showcase at Diane's Vintage Zest!


Tell me a little bit about yourself!

My name is Sashee Chandran and I am a life-long tea drinker! Tea has always played a pivotal ritual in my life. With a father from Sri Lanka and mother from China (two of the largest tea exporting countries in the world), becoming a tea junkie was a really hard destiny to avoid. To me, tea is like a hug in a mug, and I've tried to share that same outlook with as many friends and strangers that allow me to.

I don't claim to be a tea connoisseur at all. I simply have observed the ritual of tea my entire life and have come to love the memories that are created over a great cup of tea.  Different teas often correspond to a particular memory in my younger life, that's what I love about it; When I had long day and needed comfort, Chamomile soothed its way in. Chai was a common tea of choice for a good heart to heart with friends. PG black tea was the social tea and reminiscent of Sri Lankan family gatherings in England. Chrysanthemum tea reminds me of trips to China Town with my mom. So many of my fondest and best memories were created over a great cup of tea.

Over the years, I've come across many who tell me that they don't drink tea, and specifically that they don't drink tea because of the huge ritual involved - from sifting through the varieties of tea, investing in a tea strainer, familiarizing oneself with steep times, adding sugar, adding milk, on top of finding a moment to enjoy a cup of tea amidst a busy day. This is really the reason why Tea Drops was born -- to spread the love of tea to as many people as possible by making the tea process simple and accessible.





Where did the name of your store come from?

Tea Drops was born from my sheer passion for tea and desire to simplify the tea experience, so that it can be made accessible to as many people as possible. While I love the ritual of making tea the traditional way with loose leaf and steep times, I often found myself bouncing in between meetings but still wanting a high quality cup of tea. The notion of being able to drop a tea morsel in your cup, stir, and enjoy  is what captivated me and inspired me to create Tea Drops. The name "Tea Drops" seemed like the perfect way to describe what this tea is about and how it works.


Why did you start making goods for Tea Drops?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Hello (& Instagrams) from the Philippines!


Originally, I had scheduled a crafty post for today (per my brand new blogging schedule)... but I'm in the Philippines!  So far, I have only had about a day in Manila.  It consisted of sleeping, food, and a short walk around town before the entire city practically shut down when the Pope arrived.  However, I have a few pictures to share with you already!

To keep up with all of my adventures, check my Instagram feeds at both @vintagezest for the sights and @theepisodiceater for the food!


Here is Day Zero (at the airport) & One of the journey so far to whet your appetite...
  • Left from LAX, where I actually did a little celeb spotting!  I did get pictures, but no... I'm not about to name drop.  :) 
  • Uploading some old pictures on to my computer because no, I couldn't quite cut the cord... 
  • On the plane with three travel essentials: hydration, nuts, and Chris Pratt!

Hello (and Instagrams) from the Philippines!


Ate a ton on the plane.  Seriously, I'm surprised at how pretty this plane food was!  Also, this is what one person was given to eat, minus a couple of courses that you can see on @theepisodiceater.  Granted, this was a long flight, but really?  Plus, I could order from the snack menu whenever I wanted.  It was bananas!  Irony: I skipped the banana during breakfast.


Hello (and Instagrams) from the Philippines!


After touching down in the Philippines, we got acclimated to the hot weather, the time difference, and  the money!  Fun fact, the two 500 peso bills below are both real currency, but they change the money so often here that you'll often see different bills with the same denomination.

On a side note, aren't the bills pretty?  I just had to share on @vintagezest because I thought so.  :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Blueberry & Peanut Butter "Mini Toasts"

“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. I received a stipend to facilitate my purchase for my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”


Blueberry and Peanut Butter Mini Toasts on Diane's Vintage Zest! #recipe #snack ##LittleChanges, #IC #ad


As you might know, I will be winging my way across the globe to the Philippines & Australia today!

What does this have to do with a recipe post?  Well, two reasons:
  1. I wanted to share one of my fave quick snacks with you, which I will be taking on the airplane
  2. I have been eating these little tidbits non-stop since I will be hitting the beach on my vacay!


Since booking my trip a few months ago, I was determined to make some healthy changes.  Since blueberries are an easy way to add a healthy twist to meals, I have been devouring this snack, which I would love to share with you!  Also, check out the sweepstakes info after the recipe for a chance to win one of four $500 Whole Foods or Lululemon gift cards!


Blueberry and Peanut Butter Mini Toasts on Diane's Vintage Zest! #recipe #snack ##LittleChanges, #IC #ad


This snack requires just three simple ingredients, and even though it is winter, you might think that blueberries are not available... Wrong!

Even though you might think of blueberries as purely a summertime fruit, hanks to our friends in South America, blueberries are in season all year-round!  That's how I found those juicy, plump blueberries in the supermarket above!

Now to the "recipe"!


Blueberry and Peanut Butter Mini Toasts on Diane's Vintage Zest! #recipe #snack ##LittleChanges, #IC #ad


Blueberry & Peanut Butter "Mini Toasts"
A Vintage Zest original

Monday, January 12, 2015

5 Hearty Winter Soups and Stews + Do Tell Tuesday #56!


Welcome back to Do Tell Tuesday!  As you may remember from last week, one of the hosts will bring you a set of features each week with a common theme.  This week, I was the lucky host to choose my features, so you know I had to go with a cooking theme!

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5 Hearty Winter Soups and Stews on Diane's Vintage Zest!


Before we get to this week's features, let's meet the hosts...

Do Tell Tuesday on Vintage Zest

Keep up with us at:



Mabey She Made It : Facebook // Pinterest // Instagram // Twitter // Google Plus
Vintage Zest : Facebook // Pinterest // Instagram // Twitter // Google Plus
Little Red Window : Facebook // Pinterest // Instagram // Twitter // Google Plus

Lil Mrs. Tori : Facebook // Pinterest // Instagram // Twitter // Google Plus


Now for the features courtesy of yours truly!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Stacy Wong Handmade feature and GIVEAWAY!


Welcome back to the Shop Small Saturday Showcase!  For today's feature, I have the lovely Stacy of Stacy Wong Handmade!  She has so many lovely items in her shop, all with an attention to detail and lovingly handmade by the woman herself!  I curated a few items in the collage below, which would be amazing for Valentine's Day, but I think many of her items are perfect for the sweet little girl or boy in your life.

In fact, she is giving away one of her sweet Birthday Year Blocks to one of my lucky readers!  Check out how to enter at the bottom of the post, but first read on and get ready to enjoy some serious crafted eye candy!


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Stacy Wong Handmade feature and GIVEAWAY! on Shop Small Saturday at Diane's Vintage Zest!



Tell me a little bit about yourself!

Art & creating have always been a part of my life. People say I have a keen eye for the unique and special. I’m also a resourceful creative and a Multi-Tasker Extraordinaire. While I took art classes in high school, I am self-trained and always learning.


Where did the name of your store come from?

It's my name – I just couldn’t think of another interesting name!


Why did you start making goods for Stacy Wong?

After my boys were born, I started designing and creating baby gifts and products on a very part time basis. Many of these "little works of art" were products I couldn't find in the market for baby gifts and nursery decor.  I opened an Etsy shop to sell my products directly to customers. Although the growth was slow (due to my working a fulltime career in Human Resources), I managed to continue to juggle my family, creative work and HR for many years.


Stacy Wong Handmade feature and GIVEAWAY! on Shop Small Saturday at Diane's Vintage Zest!


What is your favorite item?

My favorite product is one of my newest – animal puzzle blocks. They are a set of 2, solid wood blocks which have images of the top half and bottom half of four domestic animals (bird, cat, dog, and rabbit). Little hands match the blocks to form each animal image. The word of each animal is on the block so kiddos can learn and even spell the animal’s name. The blocks are very kid friendly – they are 2 ½” blocks for easy grasping, and I use water-based inks and soy paint. They are also not laminated or varnished in any way.


What is your most popular item?

Friday, January 9, 2015

2015 Desktop Wallpaper Freebie!



2015 Desktop Wallpaper Freebie! on Diane's Vintage Zest!


It is already 2015, so that means new calendars!  Since last year's 2014 Computer Desktop Wallpaper download was so popular, I wanted to share my new version with you all.

Also, if you like this design, make sure to head to this post to download the iPhone wallpaper below!


2015 iPhone & Desktop Wallpaper Freebies! on Diane's Vintage Zest!


Same as last year, there are two versions for you to choose from.


This first version, is completely centered in the screen as shown below.  (I know the 2014 calendar is pictured, but the download link is correct!)

2015 iPhone Wallpaper Freebie!



2015 iPhone Wallpaper Freebie! on Diane's Vintage Zest!


After last year's popular 2014 iPhone Wallpaper download, I thought I would whip up a new version since it was so popular!

I updated the screen size to work with the new iPhone 6, but hopefully it will work with other screen sizes.  Also, if you like this design, make sure to head to this post to download the computer desktop wallpaper below!


2015 iPhone & Desktop Wallpaper Freebies! on Diane's Vintage Zest!


Without further ado, here is your download link!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Raisin Bread Toasts with Braided String Cheese & Honey


Raisin Bread Toasts with Braided String Cheese & Honey on Diane's Vintage Zest!


Today, I am coming to you with one of my favorite snacks!  I adore bruschetta, crostini, and anything on a mini toast, but this is a sweeter take on the typical flavors that you may be used to.  This "recipe" is super quick, easy, and it actually makes a great little party appetizer as well!

You only need a few ingredients, which may be a little on the unusual side, but they are readily available at most large grocery stores.  In fact tracking down the ingredients may be the hardest part of the entire recipe, because the prep and clean-up take about 5 minutes total.  Not bad for something that tastes so fancy!


Raisin Bread Toasts with Braided String Cheese & Honey on Diane's Vintage Zest!


Raisin Bread Toasts with Braided String Cheese & Honey
A Vintage Zest original recipe

Monday, January 5, 2015

Wood Project Tutorials & Do Tell Tuesday #55!


Welcome to the first Do Tell Tuesday of 2015!  This year, we are shaking things up and doing things just a bit differently.  Each week, one of the hosts will bring you a set of features with a common theme.  This week Tori is taking over and bringing us some beautiful tutorials using wood!


Wood Project Tutorials & Do Tell Tuesday on Vintage Zest


 Before I hand it off to Tori and her features, let's meet the hosts...

Do Tell Tuesday on Vintage Zest

Keep up with us at:



Mabey She Made It : Facebook // Pinterest // Instagram // Twitter // Google Plus
Vintage Zest : Facebook // Pinterest // Instagram // Twitter // Google Plus
Little Red Window : Facebook // Pinterest // Instagram // Twitter // Google Plus

Lil Mrs. Tori : Facebook // Pinterest // Instagram // Twitter // Google Plus


Now for the features courtesy of Tori!

Blogging Hiatus Over! (I'm Baaack...)


Well, hello again friends!  Happy New Year!

Are you wondering where I was the for the last four months?  Or do you want to know what big plans and changes I have in store for the new year?  Let's catch up, shall we?  :)  It is long overdue, and I missed all of y'all.  Here's the scoop on what's been going on behind the scenes while I was on this unexpected blogging hiatus!


P.S. - At the end of the post, some of those big plans include the travel destination that I'm headed to shortly!  I'm sooo excited, and I would adore any suggestions you have for me!



As of today, Vintage Zest is two years old and counting, so you you think I would have gotten the hang of figuring out how this whole rigamarole fits into my life.  Apparently, not so!

Last I left you in August, I was blogging every day with new recipes, crafts, tips, and a new small business to share with you seven days a week.  The Episodic Eater was a fun side project that did not take up much time.  I was going to move into a new home that I was excited to start decorating.  In fact, a couple people guessed that I packed and moved, both physically and virtually!  Really, things were good!

Well... things change and life happens!




First of all, many life changes occurred and things came up that I had to deal with.  One of those things means that the house I was looking forward to... is no more.  While dealing with everything, one day turned into a week, which turned into a month, and then almost four months passed by!  Well, what does that mean?  I'm not going to blast personal info all of the interwebz to be dissected, but all you need to know is that I'm happy and healthy.  Now, I'm back and better than ever!

What does this mean for the blog?  Well, a couple changes needed to be made.  Remember this crazy blogging schedule?



I've now streamlined it into the brand-spanking new schedule below!

.