DIY: April Showers Bring May Flowers

My newly married (and now domesticated) sister recently sent me a picture of a spring wreath that she wanted to buy for her front door. After seeing my last silk flower DIY, she asked me if I could make her a similar wreath. I agreed but having never decorated (or even owned) a wreath before, I advised her to keep her expectations low. Much to my surprise though, it ended up being an incredibly easy project that took only a little over an hour. At only about $15-$20 in material costs, it’s an affordable and fun way to spruce up your entryway for spring.

Scroll for step-by-step directions.

DIY Spring Flower WreathMaterials

  • 1 grapevine wreath
  • 2-3 bunches silk tulips
  • Hot glue gun
  • Scissors or wire cutters

Directions

  1. If silk flower stems can be pulled off wire, pull off and dispose of wire base. If stems do not pull of base, clip the stems near the base so that you have 5-6 inches of stem to work with. Remove leaves if possible. (The flowers I used had tubing around the bottom of the leaves that allowed me to slide them of the stem.)
  2. Begin decorating the wreath by tucking the stem of each flower into the wreath base so that it’s anchored between sections of the vines. Continue until wreath is covered to likeness.
  3. If you removed leaves, snip the tubing around the base so that you can easily add back onto stems.  Use hot glue gun to close tubing.
  4. Once your wreath is completely decorated, use a hot glue gun to secure stems into place.
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Your Best Grilled Cheese: Winner

Thanks to all who participated in the “Your Best Grilled Cheese Contest.” I’m excited to announce that we have a winner! The Avocado Mac and Grilled Cheese, submitted by Michaela C. of Cincinnati, Ohio, won the hearts and taste buds of our judges. Warm macaroni and cheese, made with sharp white cheddar and infused with a subtle hint of avocado, sandwiched between two think slices of crusty, buttered ciabatta bread – it’s a unique and delicious combination of two favorite comfort foods. Michaela will receive a $50 gift certificate to Williams-Sonoma to help stock her kitchen for future grilled cheese experimentation. Looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next!

The Fried Cheese Melt, submitted by Mike C. of Columbus Ohio, was a close runner-up and sure to please even the most extreme cheese lover. This easy-to-make sandwich consists of mozzarella cheese sticks and lots of gooey American cheese melted between two pieces of sourdough bread and served with a side of marinara for dipping.

Celebrate National Grilled Cheese Month by trying these two amazing sandwiches for yourself. Scroll down for recipes.

grilled cheese winners

WINNER: Avocado Mac & Grilled Cheese

Submitted by: Michaela C. Cincinnati, Ohio

Serves: 1

Ingredients

  • 8 oz elbow pasta
  • 3/4 c skim milk
  • 1 fully ripened avocado from Mexico, halved pitted, peeled and mashed
  • 3/4 c diced sharp white cheddar cheese (about 4 oz)
  • 1-1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 slices Italian ciabatta bread

Directions

1. In a large sauce pot, cook pasta in salted water according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, in small saucepan, heat milk until hot; remove from heat, set aside. When pasta is almost cooked, combine avocado, cheese and lemon juice in blender. Gradually add hot milk and blend until smooth.

3. Drain pasta; return to sauce pot. Stir in cheese sauce. Set aside.

4. Butter two slices of ciabatta bread and grill on a panini press until warm.

5. Add pasta avocado mac to one slice of bread, top with the other slice, and press in the panini press until hot.

RUNNER UP: Fried Cheese Melt (Adapted from a Denny’s favorite)

Submitted by: Mike C. Columbus, Ohio

Serves: 1

Ingredients

  • 2 slices sourdough bread
  • 2 tsp softened butter
  • 3-4 slices of American cheese
  • 3 frozen cheese sticks
  • 1/3 c marinara sauce

Directions

1. Prepare cheese sticks accordingly to package directions. Set aside.

2. Heat a skillet to medium heat. Butter one slice of bread, and place in skillet. Cover bread with cheese.

3. Space cooked cheese sticks out over the slice of bread. Top with remaining cheese and second slice of bread. Cook on both sides until golden brown.

4. Serve with a side of marina sauce for dipping.

Contest: Your Best Grilled Cheese

your best grilled cheese contest

April is National Grilled Cheese Month! And what better way to celebrate than on 4/20, when thousands of self-proclaimed grilled cheese connoisseurs will gather in Los Angeles for the 11th annual Grilled Cheese Invitational. The contest, open to 200 amateur and professional chefs, started in 2003 as a friendly competition between friends. Since then, it has not only grown tremendously in size but helped to inspire the national grilled cheese movement, with restaurants and food trucks popping up across the country.

In honor of this upcoming event (and since I’ve yet to get to Los Angeles for it…someday!) I’m hosting my own grilled cheese contest. Tell me your favorite twist on this nostalgic sandwich. Fig, prosciutto, and brie? Pear and whiskey cheddar? Our panel of judges will declare one winner to receive a $50 gift certificate to Williams Sonoma (to load up on grilled cheese-making supplies, of course.)

Rules:

  • All entries must be submitted to michelle@alittlemorelovely.com by Tuesday, April 9 11:59pm EST. The winner will be announced Thursday, April 18.
  • Entries must include first name, last initial, city, email address, ingredients, and directions. Photo(s) recommended. The winner will be notified by email, at which time an address will be requested for gift card fulfillment.
  • Ingredients must include bread and cheese. There are no restrictions around types of bread, cheese, or additional ingredients.

Happy Grilling!