Thursday, December 31, 2015

DIY wood arrow marquee

I love marquee lights, faux marquees, and pretty much any kind of small strand lights that give off just enough light to take a room from dark to dreamy or fun. I made the light below for our oldest when I made a few changes to his room.

For almost a year he went without a headboard and his mattress was just up next to the wall. I felt bad because he likes to sit up and read in bed, and leaning against the hard wall wasn't comfortable for anyone. I decided to make him an upholstered headboard right around the time I also decided to put some fun signs in his room.

I made his headboard using 1/2 inch plywood (cut down to a little bit wider than his mattress width, and about 36 inches tall), a couple of 2x4s, and some wood screws we purchased at Home Depot. I purchased batting, and foam from Joann's, and instead of buying a piece of fabric I bought a cotton velvet curtain from Target and used it to upholster the headboard.

Once his headboard was made I knew I wanted to add a "marquee light" above his bed. A large arrow seemed perfect for a boy, and yet would still look good when he got older too. I made the arrow marquee with 3/4 inch birch plywood, a couple of 1x2s, nails, a drill, a set of strand lights that were on sale at Target, stain, and paint.

After I made the light my husband wired an extension cord to have an on/off switch and we were able to plug in the light and easily turn it off and on when we wanted to.

It's absolutely one of my favorite signs I've done, and I kind of wish I could talk the husband into one for our room. There's just something about little lights I tell ya. Even our youngest is obsessed with it. 

If you have ever have the chance to make a marquee light or purchase one for your room or home I say go for it. They're awesome and everyone needs some little lights in their life.

In pursuit of something more... us

Several years ago Justin and I won a huge amazing thing, a room makeover. It was awesome and all kinds of amazing, and we could have never dreamed of something like that actually happening to us. We loved the room makeover, really, we loved it. But at the same time it somehow felt that our new room never fit us. It was a super fancy, glam kind of room, and if you know Justin and I, we are probably the complete opposite of fancy and glam. Below is the room after it was made over.

The bed was amazing, and it was kind of hard for me to decide to give up. In the end I really wanted a different look for our room and knew if we sold a lot of our decor and furniture we'd be able to pay off some debts we had, and be able to afford to start on a new look in our master bedroom. 

After selling practically everything in our room, the first thing I did was change the paint color. Our room went from a soft muted turquoise blue to a gray so light it could almost be considered white.  The color was White Lie by Behr and we purchased it at Home Depot. After painting Justin and I built a wood bed frame for our Cal King mattress and upholstered our headboard.  We purchased the wood from Home Depot, and a Kreg Jig R3 that we used when screwing the posts into the frame so it would create a sturdy frame. 

We used a sheet of 1/2 inch plywood and a couple 2x4s to create the base for our headboard. I bought fabric, foam, and batting from Joann's using their awesome coupons to upholster our headboard. 

At first we were going to go with a simple headboard that hung from a OOK French Cleat, but pretty quickly I knew I wanted to add sides to our headboard making it a "wingback" headboard. 

Unfortunately knowing I want to do something and actually doing it don't always happen on the same timeline. It was months before I bought a 2x8 from Home Depot and cut it into 2 pieces so that I could upholster both of them with more batting and fabric from Joann's. And before I got that done I had added a funky old trunk to the husband's side of the bed so it could be used as a night stand, a rusty steel fence post above our bed as a faux picture ledge, a small strand of lights (because they make me happy), and a large piece of wall art above our bed that I made.

In between all of the changes with our room and bed, our bedding also changed. We bravely entered the world of white sheets (Target has awesome ones) and I've worked hard at keeping a weekly schedule of washing them so that they can stay white.  I also purchased a simple and plain white duvet from Pottery Barn since it was on sale  and I used a 20% off discount code to get it for even less. It hasn't arrived yet, but I can't wait for it to get here. I'm a little scared about keeping it white too, especially with our hellions er I mean kids, but I'm going to try my best.  

I purchased two accordion wall sconce lamps from World Market and can't wait to get those in our room too. I've been searching the web for inspiration for our room and feel like it might finally be coming together.

My next plan is to diy a long lumbar pillow for our bed so that I can add texture and color, and maybe add a printed or textured throw blanket that would bring in more color too. I purchased fabric last night, and a body pillow that I'll be using for the filling. I'm just hoping I can sew straight enough lines!! Have you guys been bit by the lumbar pillow trend too? If it turns into an easy diy I'll be back here with some updated pictures and maybe some tips on how non sewing sewers can manage one. 

New beginnings, Changes, and Resolutions

I feel like 2015 has been a year filled with a lot of changes. Some big, some small, but there were so many of them.

At the beginning of the year I started The Rugged Heart, and began making and selling handmade wood signs and handmade painted signs.  In June I turned 32 and Lennox turned 1. In July Rian turned 5. In August I began homeschooling both kids, Rian in Kindergarten and Levi in First Grade (clearly at this point you can see I am crazy). In November Justin turn 29, and ABC30, one of our local news stations, featured our handmade shop on the morning news on their Made In The Valley small business segment. In December Levi turned 7, and I had more orders from The Rugged Heart than I did any other month of the year.

  Between all of this happening I was still trying and failing at blogging over here, working on selling some of our furniture to make a little extra money and provide a blank slate so I could redo our room a bit, learning more about working with different tools, adding signs I made to almost every room in our house, and dipping my toes into the world of essential oils (because lets face it, I’m mostly of the mindset where if you can’t beat ‘em, might as well join ‘em).

As always, I have lot of half finished projects in the works, and a lot of projects I wish I could start on and finish on my to do list.  So for 2016 I’m setting a few goals and going to force myself to do them. My first one is to finish up most or all of my half done projects. The second one is to blog at least 2 times a month. I know 2 posts a month might not seem like a lot, but I’ve never been someone who could juggle a ton of things, and I’ve been struggling to keep all of the things I’m juggling up in the air so they don’t come crashing down.  The last goal I’m going to try and meet is to be more organized. Maybe I should work on accomplishing that goal first and everything else will fall in line, huh? 

If you’re still faithfully reading or visiting my little corner of the internet then I just want to say, Thank you. I’ve always appreciated the encouragement and the support I’ve received from fellow bloggers, and readers, and anyone who has read and stopped in to get to know us. I hope to share more in the New Year, and can’t wait to see what 2016 brings.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Easy Grain Free Pizza Crust made with Cassava Flour


Easiest grain free pizza crust

Some weeks we declare Friday nights “pizza night”, and until recently that used to make both of my older kids extremely happy. But around a month ago we started noticing my oldest not feeling well and getting sick after eating sometimes. We really had no idea what was going on, until I started noticing it usually only happened after he ate something that contained dairy. We told him no more eating dairy, and boom, problem went away. He has been great about asking if things contain dairy before he eats them, and he is doing great with dairy free substitutions like almond milk and ice cream. When Friday came around this past week and we said we could get pizza, the first thing he said was, “not me, cause I can’t have cheese.” You can insert your own sad face there. I promised him it would be okay because I would make him his own pizza without cheese, and he could pick whatever toppings he wanted to go on it. 

While I was completely on board for making him his own cheese free pizza, it also meant I had to experiment in the kitchen that night to make him a pizza crust. We don’t keep regular flours at home, and we have tried grain free pizza crusts made with almond flour and coconut flour, and neither of my older kids nor my husband will eat them. I still had some cassava flour left so I decided it couldn’t hurt to use it as a wheat flour substitute and make a quick grain free pizza crust with it. One of the things I have had a hard time with when doing any paleo baking is all of the many ingredients the recipes usually call for, or the many steps that they can take. This pizza crust is not like that. At all. It’s super simple, and doesn’t have a lot of ingredients or steps. And it tastes like the closest thing to a white flour pizza crust I’ve had using grain free ingredients. My son declared it delicious, and ate four slices. I’d say that’s a good endorsement.

I remade an additional pizza the next day so I could take some photos for you guys, and post the recipe below.

Easiest cassava flour pizza crust

(Recipe below contains an affiliate link, you can read more about my use of affiliate links here if you are interested.)



2 1/4 cups cassava flour (I used Otto’s Naturals Cassava Flour)
1/4 cup tapioca flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons avocado oil
1 cup lukewarm water + additional 1/4 cup in case needed

Whisk your flours, baking powder, salt, and garlic together.

Add your oil and water to your dry ingredients and begin to mix together with a large spoon. It will start to form a dough like appearance, and this is where you can use your hands to begin kneading it and forming it into a ball of dough.

Once it's formed into a ball you can separate it into 3 even size balls of dough. Each one will make a pizza crust.

Using parchment paper and a rolling pin, roll out your crust to a thin layer. Think thin crust pizza, not paper thin like tortillas.

Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 12-15 minutes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

After 12-15 minutes pull your baking pan out of the oven, flip your crust over and cover your pizza crust with your sauce and toppings.

Put your pizza back in the oven and bake for 5-7 minutes more, until cheese is melted or the toppings have been heated through completely. Serve hot/warm fresh from the oven.


Cassava flour pizza crust

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Cassava flour tortillas or crispy cassava flour flat bread

cassava flour tortillas

Tortillas are pretty much my go to “bread” item around here. If I can put it in a tortilla I know it’s going to be a good meal. The only thing is, pre-made tortillas are usually made with a ton of not good for you ingredients, and grain free tortillas that you have to make can sometimes take more time than I have at the moment (baby demands to be held y’all!). So I am always on the look out for healthier grain free recipes that also don’t take a lot of time to make.

grain free cassava flour tortillas 

I found this cassava flour tortilla recipe on Forks and Beans but altered it just a little. Instead of using olive oil I used avocado oil, and right before throwing the tortilla on the griddle to cook I sprinkled a little sea salt on both sides for a little extra flavor. Check out the recipe on Forks and Beans and you’ll see how easy it is. She also has a full video on there showing how she makes her tortillas in case you’re a little nervous about working with cassava flour for the first time, or in case you’ve never made a tortilla and just want some reassurance.

3/4 cup Otto’s Naturals Cassava Flour
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
2 tablespoons of avocado oil
1/3 cup of warm water
sea salt to sprinkle on top before cooking

Mix the cassava flour and salt together. Then add the oil and warm water. Stir until a smooth dough starts to form. You can use your hands to knead the dough and help it form a smooth ball. 

Once it is in a small round ball, divide it in half, and then divide each half into 3 separate balls. You can use a tortilla press to form the tortillas or roll out each ball in between two sheets of parchment paper. 

Cook each tortilla on a nonstick pan/surface set on medium high heat. Cook each side about 1 minute before flipping. You’ll see air bubbles start to form and when you flip the tortilla the cooked side will have some browned spots. Serve warm. 
paleo cassava flour tortillas

I found that if you cook the tortillas a little longer than 1 minute per side, like suggested, the tortillas get crispier and taste more like a crispy flat bread, or even like a saltine cracker. You guys, that is so awesome to me. Because seriously, who doesn’t like to dip a crispy or crunchy piece of “bread” into some hummus or dip?

If you’re looking for an easy breakfast idea try filling one of these tortillas with some ground beef, spinach, eggs, and fresh salsa. Such a filling breakfast.

paleo breakfast tacos

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Cassava Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies–paleo, vegan, nut free

paleo cassava flour chocolate chip cookies

larger contains affiliate links button

I’ve been hearing a lot about cassava flour and have been seeing it pop up everywhere on paleo blogs and Instagram feeds. My mom bought some Otto’s Cassava Flour about a month ago and shared it with me so I could try it. It took me a while to actually bring it out and use it but this past week I finally decided to experiment with it.

Otto’s Cassava Flour is gluten free, grain free, nut free, paleo, and can be used as a 1:1 substitute in many wheat flour recipes. It’s made using only Yuca and water, no other fillers. The texture is fine and not grainy or clumpy like almond flour can be. You can read more about Otto’s Cassava Flour on their site.

cassava flour chocolate chip cookie dough

I made these cookies to be all kinds of food allergy friendly. Mostly because my youngest is having eczema flare ups and I am trying to see if any food he is eating is the main cause of it.  So these cassava flour chocolate chip cookies are:
  • grain free
  • paleo
  • gluten free
  • vegan
  • nut free
  • coconut flour free
  • dairy free
  • egg free

vegan cassava flour chocolate chip cookies

2 1/4 cup Otto's Naturals Cassava Flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1 cup of coconut oil or 1 cup of avocado oil
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 tablespoons of ground chia seeds + 7 tablespoons of water  mixed together to make your egg substitute
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I’ve been using Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips because they are dairy free and soy free)

In a large bowl combine your Otto’s Cassava Flour, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt.

In a smaller bowl combine your ground chia seeds and water mixture to create your egg substitute.

Then mix in your oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.

Pour your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients and mix until dough forms, and then stir in your chocolate chips.

Scoop out your cookie dough and place on a baking sheet lined with unbleached parchment paper.

Press down the cookie dough on the baking sheet lightly with a fork so that your scoops of dough are slightly flattened.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool before eating.

grain free cassava flour chocolate chip cookies

Friday, July 24, 2015

Rian’s 5th Birthday

Rian's 5th birthday

This girl stole my heart from the very first moment I saw her. She is truly one of the sweetest, most caring girls. Sometimes her heart feels so much that it can be overwhelming for her. But still she carries on; strong, brave, and ever so thoughtful. She doesn’t need much, but gives in excess. Justin and I never go a day without her telling us “I love You” at least 10 times, and we hope it will always be like that. She shines so brightly, just like the little light God intended for her to be. We’re so blessed to have each day with her.

Happy 5th birthday beautiful girl. We pray that there will be many, many more.