Simba Rag Rug

Sometimes I come up with an idea and just sit down and go with it and hope it turns out. This is one of those times. There were times when I loved it and times when I hated it. Done it looks awesome, but it was hard to tell half way through if I would like it. It is super easy to do, just takes some time(ok a lot of time) and you can really do it with any material or any design. I did mine as Simba as a baby shower gift for a couple doing their nursery in Lion King and I added his name to the side. You could just skip the design and use fabric scraps or you could do polka dots. These make soft rugs for your own room, kids room, or awesome gifts! The nice thing is they are personalizable and much cheaper to make than to buy not to mention fuller.

What You Need
12-13 yards of fabric (I used knit cotton because it is soft)
Latch Hook base grid

1. Start by cutting all of your fabric into strips of 1.5in x 4in

2. Outline your design by pushing your fabric through two holes as shown

3. Fill in with the rest of your fabric.

4. Trim any of the fabric that is sticking out or do anything trimming to make your design stick out.

Fast way to cut your strips(I cut several strips at a time)
1. Fold your fabric and cut the folded edges as shown

2. Cut this in half and then that in half until you are down to 1.5in x 4in pieces

The Main Course

The whole night was centered around italian cuisine and of course our grandparents. We had the cheese fondue, stuffed mushrooms, a vinaigrette salad(which I will share later this week)...all working up to the main course, Chicken Parmesan. My sister was the chef behind this meal and used the Pioneer Woman's recipe. We started it a little before the fondue came out of the oven to give it plenty of time to cook. We did wait 10-15 minutes between when they were done eating each course for them to relax and talk before we served them the next course so the timing worked out perfectly! We served Moscato and Riesling wine with the meal which complimented it well!

Cheese Fondue Dip

Who doesn't love cheese and bread? This was inspired by the fondue dip at Olive Garden and turned out really well. Super easy to make, fast, and tastes like it took lots of time and effort. Plus it warms up very well!

What You Need
French bread(warmed)
Bag of Mozzarella and Provolone smoked shredded cheese mix
1 c sour cream(regular not low fat)
Dash of cayenne pepper
2 tbsp shredded parmesan 

1. Combine cheese, sour cream, cayenne pepper together and spread into bottom of casserole dish
2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
3. Bake for 10 minutes
4. Serve with warm bread and tomatoes

Note: pictures to come later

Dinner: The Set-up

Step one was the set the mood and put it all together. We wanted it to look official, feel private, and be extravagant. We started by picking a dress code. As the chefs, Jamie and I wore black pants and black tops with aprons and as the waiters Mike and Ryan wore black pants, a button up black shirt, and green bow-ties with towels over their arm. 

Next was the set up. We moved the living room around so that the center of the room held a card table covered by a nice table cloth. We step up the table to hold cloth napkins, nice wine glasses, and a couple of candles. In fact the entire room was lit only by candles(that mood bit.) We spent a long time lighting 175 tea light candles which were placed in front of the fire place and then separated the rooms with sheets. Thinking back on the sheet ideas, if we had been thinking about it earlier on we would have made a couple of curtains to divide the kitchen from the living room, but the sheets did the job anyways.
We then started the Frank Sinatra and waited for our grandparents to return. We sent them off to get pedicures while we set up giving us about an hour to get everything put together and dinner started.

When they arrived home, Mike and Ryan were waiting on the porch ready to escort them in. Jamie and I parted the sheets as they were escorted to their seats and we started simply with some wine. Mike was grandpa's personal waiter and Ryan was grandma's personal waiter. They got a lesson in pouring wine and the night began. I must mention that we chose the words for the evening with great care. We of course pretended we didn't know them at all and the boys did their best impression of uptown citizens. 

The Story

A few weekends back, my sister, brother in law, brother,  and I put on a big 5 star dinner for two very important people in our lives, our grandparents. Since my sister and I started working 6-7 years ago, we have always tried to do something big for our grandparents for Christmas. This is pretty difficult to do considering they really have about everything they could possibly want and if they don't it is out of our price range. However, we always manage to surprise them anyways. We have gotten them tickets to lots of different things, photo books, and various wines(they love wine.) This year we struggled to find the right gift. My sister and her husband ran into kind of a financial crisis right before Christmas and I was facing my own financial difficulties. It looked like it was going to be a year where they were going to get wine and coffee for Christmas, which I am sure they would have loved. My sister, however, came up with this brilliant idea of putting on a big meal for them with their own personal waiters, us cooking, romantic music, and a night about them. We would put off the expense for a month giving us both time to recoup from our difficult financial situations in December, but also giving them a wonderful gift. The idea wasn't a random one really, it was a memory from the past.
When my sister and I were young, we spent our summers together at our grandparents. We were pretty well known at the local attractions and my grandparents kept us very busy. They both worked during the day, but in the morning we would get up and go to some kind of class and in the afternoon my grandpa would pick us up, we would have lunch, and he would take us to one of the museums, the courthouse, the pool, the library, or whatever he had planned for the day and drop us off to wonder. Almost 10 years ago now, we took a cooking class and our grandparents encouraged us to be over zealous and express ourselves and so we did. That summer we made them dinner with some minor help in our chef hats and our aprons and they loved it. This dinner was a perfect opportunity to bring back a memory from the past and serve a little more sophisticated meal.
It was crazy how successful the night went. It was seamless and our grandparents were great about it. As my brother escorted the two of them two their seats, he told them Frank Sinatra was present tonight for a special live performance for just the two of them. My grandma laughed and said, "that is a special performance, all the way back from the grave." They asked where the bathrooms were(we did this in their own home) and allowed my brother and brother in law to escort them by candlelight. They even told us about their grandchildren. It was an amazing evening and definitely one we will be repeating. In the next few days I will be posting recipes and information on the set up so you can repeat the experience for someone special to you.