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Monthly Archives: September 2013

Rainy Dayz

In Portland, we are experiencing storms that we don’t normally see until November.  As I was watching the storm outside the window, I noticed how interesting the rain patterns were on the glass.  You can begin to see a different world when you start looking at the rain instead of the objects outside.

rain 1

rain 2

rain 3

Flowers from Egg cartons (a la Anthropologie window display)

I saw this original Pin on Pinterest and fell in love.  I thought these would be lovely cascading down in front of a window.  They could be used as tie-backs on curtains, positioned along the curtain rod, or draped on the corners of a four-poster bed. You control the colors (sort of) – at least you control the tone of the colors.  The saturation is completely up to the interaction of food coloring with the egg carton material.  This would be a lovely project with friends or children.  As you will see, a single egg carton doesn’t go very far.  So patience or a team effort would really help this project along.

original pin

Original pin – from an Anthropolgie store window

Basically you start with egg cartons and remove the lids.

egg crate

You need to cut them apart to create “cups”.

cutting apart 1sectionscutting apart 2

The outer shape of the cup is completely up to you.  I followed the blog link from the original Pin, but you could easily keep the edges squared off like the Anthrolopogie window display.

cut corners 2cut corners 1rounding corners 1rounding corner 2

The next step is to dye them.  I used food coloring with water.  I wanted a more saturated look, so I used a higher amount of food coloring.  The color combinations are up to you.  I would suggest prepping all the flower cups first and then dying all at one time so that you keep color consistency.  I also recommend wearing gloves to prevent dyed skin.

wear glovesletting egg flowers soak

I dried them on a paper towel with wax paper underneath to avoid any transfer to the counter surface.  While the flowers are still wet, you can add food coloring direct to the flower and allow it to saturate and spread out.  You can also “paint” the food coloring on as well.

drying time

After the flowers are completely dry, you can start to string them.  The spacing and placement is completely up to you.  I used a green raffia covered wire to string the flowers.  I twisted the wire around a pencil to create a spiral to hold the flowers in place.  You could easily use twine, yarn, real sticks.  Be as creative as you’d like.

ready to assemble

I created 3 strands of varying lengths using the 12 cups from a single egg carton.  To get the effect I would like, it seems I’ll needs at least another 4 egg cartons.  You can add leaves as well using the leftover material from cutting apart the egg cartons. So many possibilities, yet so little time!

finished garland stranddetail of garland

Fancy Frames from Affordable Materials

A friend of mine asked me if I would think about art projects that kids could do, but would look good enough that people would purchase them.  Pinterest has a zillion ideas, so I started there.  However, one night while trying to sleep, I had an idea about a frame that could potentially fit the bill and was cheap to make.  I scribbled my idea in my notebook next to my bed and left it for a rainy day.  Yesterday was that rainy day.  I had a frame on hand from Michaels that has a heart cutout for the photo.  It cost a whopping $1.

frame and idea

It started with a frame and an idea….

I searched through the decorator fabric samples I had on hand and decided on a pattern.  Then I accented it with felt and another solid, textured fabric and some variegated yarn.

materials

The materials

I created 3 different sizes of hearts to use as a template and began cutting them out of the materials.

hearts drawn on fabriccutting out hearts

Tracing and cutting out the hearts

In order to avoid any wood show-through on the finished product, I painted the frame a dark blue.

painting the frame

Painting the frame

After it was dry, I used Tacky Glue and began placing the hearts on the frame – placing them in all different directions and overlapping.

starting to place hearts

Starting to place the hearts

To accent the patterned hearts, I “traced” them in yarn.  This makes them pop against the other colors.

layered and accented with yarn

“Tracing” the hearts in yarn

I used the yarn to finish off the interior of the heart and outline the outer edge of the frame.  I think it looks a lot more expensive than its humble beginnings.

finished frame

The finished frame

Not everything turns out the way it looks in pictures….

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.  Art is knowing which ones to keep.”

-Scott Adams

original painted vase pin

Original inspiration from Pinterest

I was inspired to try this enamel painted vase technique on an interesting shaped bottle.  I followed the instructions and noted any differences with the enamel paint that I was using.  I coated the interior of the bottle with the paint.  I turned it upside down to allow the paint to “settle” and the excess to drip out.  According to the instructions on my paint, you place the glass in a cold oven and preheat to 350 degrees.  Once heated, you bake for 30 minutes.  After the baking is done, you allow it to cool in the oven.  Sadly, when I opened the oven to see the “masterpiece”, I discovered that the paint pulled away from the glass in many areas (see photos below).  Luckily I could just cover it with yarn as I did in one of my earlier projects.  I really think the way the variegated yarn colors randomly created the stripe on the “fixed” vase is quite lovely.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.  There is a life lesson in here somewhere…..  Not everything will turn out the way you had hoped.  But just taking the chance opens your mind to new possibilities.

supplies

the supplies

starting to paint

Starting to paint the interior

coating the interior

Almost fully coated

fully covered

Allowing the excess to settle and drip out

after baking

after baking 2

The failed “masterpiece”

fixed vase

And the “fix”

Ode to Pretty In Pink

I have loved the movie “Pretty In Pink” since I first saw it 25+ years ago.

pretty in pink

You see as a child, I was in love with fashion design and routinely called my Barbies by the name Andi.  So this movie brought together all of my childhood loves.  It was meant to be.  The only thing about the movie that bothered me was the dress at the end.  I watched the movie last night and it continued to disappoint.  She had all of those great materials and could use them in any way she wanted.  And this is what she decided on?  Really?

the dress

The Dress

So I thought, what would I have done differently?  Here are some ideas I threw together.  And remember, it was the 80’s!

the material list

The fabric list

3 styles

3 ideas

2 styles

two more ideas….

homage to the original

staying truer to her original design- with some slight modifications

Cloud City

When people think of Portland, they think rain.  But in actuality it should be clouds.  We have many cloudy days – some with rain and some without.  Over the course of the day, you can see the beautiful clouds change and morph.  Don’t get me wrong, all of that cloudiness can get you down.  But on a day like today, the right mixture of brightness and clouds and make you look up and appreciate nature’s beauty.  Some of my favorites:

cloud 1

cloud 2

cloud 3

      cloud 5

cloud 6

cloud 7

cloud 8

cloud 9

cloud 4

cloud 11

cloud 10

Chili – Simply Your Way

I have always enjoyed cooking and baking.  Now that I am cooking for one, I find that my enthusiasm isn’t always there.  I have adjusted the way I think about preparing meals and try to select recipes that tolerate freezing the leftovers.  Chili is always one of those recipes that I love making. It goes hand in hand with crisp fall and winter weather just around the corner.  Being the practical cook that I am, I discovered a shortcut that is absolutely delicious and you can customize it to be your very own.  Carroll Shelby’s Chili Kit is fantastic.  The kit contains a spice packet, salt packet, cayenne pepper packet, and masa flour (for thickening). I find that the key to cooking is being able to take something – even from a box – and make it your own.  Experiment.  Toss in fresh tomatoes or a jalapeno pepper.  Use tri-colored beans or black beans.  When using a base or kit, it is really easy to alter the flavor each time you make it, yet have the security knowing that it will taste delicious in the end.

My take on chili tonight:

  • sweet Vidalia onion
  • lean ground beef
  • kidney beans
  • grilled frozen corn (cooked and cut from the cob last summer)
  • marinara tomato sauce
  • topped with Mexican cheese
  • side of corn tortillas

chili box

Carroll Shelby’s Chili Kit

the ingredients

the ingredients

cooking the onion

cooking down the onion

browning the beef

browning the beef

simmering away

simmering away

finished bowl

topped with cheese and a side of tortillas

freeze it flat

Best freezing advice ever – Ziploc freezer bags stack flat in the freezer