Monday, December 29, 2014

DIY photo transfer to wood

I am hosting my first ever craft and wine night and was informed that it is would be wise of me if I did the project PRIOR to having the event.

after searching Pinterest for easy project ideas, I came across a few Valentines themed crafts to share with those who plan to come.  I decided (with the help of others) that we would attempt to make this gem by artist Stephanie Ackerman (pictured below...)

Keep in mind~  we will not be able to produce the same quality work as Stephanie, mainly because we are somewhat crafty gals who decided to gather, drink wine and have conversation while making crafts.  I was advised to do a trial run on decoupage before the gathering so I can actually show my guest how to do the craft, this would cut down on time and be less frustrating for me the guest to complete in one setting (this is one of the perks of being surrounded by artist!!).

After speaking with one of my prospective guest, a question of how to decoupage pictures came up.  I. have. NO idea, so the search continues. 

While searching I DID find this nifty tutorial on how to transfer photos to wood and thought~ this is a great idea (but it has to be done prior to coming over for the event). if I want the party to be half successful, I need to experiment on all ways to decoupage pictures so I can better advise those who want to do them.  

But for my first experiment, I am going to learn the steps for transferring a picture to wood.  

Lets get started.

Let's start with our supply list.  For this project, you will need:

*  1- 2x4 wood board (or your choice of size)
*  Gel Medium / glossy or matte (Liqutex is a great brand to use)
*  scissors

*  a hand towel or small wash cloth

*  roller, bone folder, or edge of a credit card

*  foam brush 

*  A picture printer from a laser-jet printer (b&w or color)... this step is important!  

If you use an ink jet the ink will not transfer to the wood, 
your picture MUST be printed from a laser-jet printer!

NOTE:  in many of the tutorials, it says to open a photo editing tool so that you can reverse your photo.  I don't know if this is necessary unless you are printing words or wearing a shirt with words on it or something...

STEP 1:  Size your picture according to how large you want it on the wood, reverse your picture (if there are words) and then cut out your photo according to how you plan to place it on your wood.

I wanted a small picture placed off to the side so that I can work the decoupage around my photograph.

STEP 2:  using the liquitex and a foam brush

spread your gel medium onto your wood making sure you put on enough to cover the area the photo will go onto.

STEP 3:  Place your photo onto the wood "FACE DOWN"!

as you can see, i have spread my medium about 1/4" out from the sides of my photo.

STEP 4:  Using your roller, bone folder, or the edge of a gift card, smooth your photo onto the wood removing all of the air bubbles from below the surface.  This will help the ink adhere to the wood properly.

make sure all of the edges are smoothed down as well!  this will keep the picture from curling up away from the wood...

STEP 5:  continue your daily routine and let this baby dry over night.... 
at least 8 hours...

and bed time....

STEP 6:  Wet your washcloth/ hand towel but not to much, you don't want it dripping water.  The goal here is to get wet your paper.. you want the whole picture to look nice and gray from wetting.  This can take a little time to complete but will help you with the next step.

STEP 7:  using your fingers, rub, rub, rub...   rubbing all the paper from your board.   

Seriously, just rub!  this will remove the fibers from your printed wood. This process will take some patience and time~ think of it as therapeutic relief for your fingers and mind.  no thinking to be done here... just rubbing...

Continue to rub until you have removed all the fibers from the photo. You may have to let the transfer dry a little so that you can see any leftover fibers, then dampen with your cloth and continue to rub until all of your fibers are gone. 

STEP 8:  lay a coat of decoupage or liquitex over your photo to protect your finish project and 


your photo transferred to wood!  how cool is this?

The second step to this project is decoupage.  I will attempt to add photographs using both a laser jet printer AND a printed photo to gauge which medium works best.  New post coming soon!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

What I learned about prepping goat...

Today was a serious challenge in my kitchen~ 

We usually enjoy a leg of lamb for Christmas dinner but when hubs went to the butcher to make the holiday meat purchase he returned with was 2 GOAT legs instead of lamb- when I asked why (with confusion) he simply stated... 

"It was in the board and I thought... mmmm... Why not?'"

Well for starters... I do NOT know how to prepare goat... Of any kind!! So- to the internet we search!

 I found out a few things once we decided on how we would prepare the meat;

1. There are a ton of ways to prepare goat
2. Research everything written in a recipe which brings me to my third find...
3.  Butterfling a leg of goat is NOTHING like butterfling boneless chicken breast...

You need to work hard to remove the bone! And to do that... You need the right tools...­čśĺ 

I. Do not. Have the right tools....

After watching SEVERAL videos on how to butterfly a lamb (because no one... I repeat NO ONE makes videos on how to butterfly a goat...) I laid my rinsed goat on my cutting board and went to work butterfling this goat leg armed with a meat cleaver and a paring knife after what seemed like forever~ I did a butterfly-ish layout, added my seasonings, rolled my goat leg, and tied it off with kitchen twine.  

It took forever but in the end it's rolled and ready for smoking!

I know... It doesn't look to yummy right now but I will definitely post pictures after its smoked~

Along with the recipe we used if it taste fine!!  

Sunday, December 21, 2014

#1 Wine Bottle DIY

So~  I did some crafting with out of the many sake bottles that had collected over the last several months.  My first craft with the bottles was a simple white painted bottle that I added twine around.
supplies I used:
Rust-oleum flat white primer ($3.75)
Wine (or in my case sake bottles) free
twine (size/thickness of your choice) I used a thicker twine because I used 60oz bottles (2.99 spool)
glue gun (always on hand)
decoration of choice.  (set of 6 snowflakes from Michaels- $1.00) 
After removing my labels, I sprayed my bottles with the white primer.  (did not photograph that step because no one was here to help me!) The primer gave me the matte look I hoped to acquire, if you prefer a gloss definitely use it!  just keep in mind to use a quality spray paint.  You would be surprised at the difference in how it sprays!

After my bottles were dried, I added the twine, gluing every few turns to ensure the twine was even and wrapped tight at I wrapped it around the bottle.  I original only did the bottles with twine and then decided it needed something else so...
 I added the snowflakes after seeing the bottles on the mantle..

Here is a close up of my painted bottles!

And below~ the final product with my handmade paper wreath~


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wine Bottle Crafts with Epsom Salt


You read that right!
Epsom Salt!!

These are more of the 60 oz saki bottles that have collected on my fireplace over the last several Sundays.

for this easy craft I started by removing the labels using a technique I found online (that works!!)

The supplies needed include:

Rust-oleum flat white primer ($3.75)
Wine (or in my case sake bottles) free
Epsom Salt ($1.00)
Spray Adhesive ($4.00)

For some unknown reason, I did not take photos of my steps but will share them with you.

STEP 1:  Lay down paper to protect your working area!
STEP 2:  Remove Labels.  
STEP 3:  Wash, rinse, & dry.
STEP 4:  Coat your bottle with white paint in a well ventilated area and let the bottle completely dry.
STEP 5:  Pour Epsom Salt into a cup for easy pouring.
STEP 6:  Spray your bottle with spray adhesive DO NOT LET IT DRY!!
STEP 7:  Tilt your bottle on the bottom edge (for easy turning) Using your cup, sprinkle the bottle with Epsom Salt making sure you coat all sides.
STEP 8:  Dry

If you want, you can spray a clear coat of protection onto the bottle, this will protect your design (and keep your 9 y/o from rubbing the salt off of it!)

Pictures of the final product are below:

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Removing Labels from Wine Bottles

yes, you read that right and if you have ever tried (as I have) you have probably found that it is not an easy task.

Over the last few "Sunday Funday" sessions, our friend Matt has brought over these 60oz bottles of sake to share with the other guest, after each session, he placed the empty bottle on the landing of my fireplace.

It is now December and time to recycle the bottles that have collected on the fireplace (with the exception of the one on the day that will never be mentioned again...) but wait... Who do we have here??? Oh....

hello Pinterest!
What did you say?  oh really! you have ideas for me to try with the sake collection of bottles that have accumulated over the last few Sundays!

Oh, do share, wait... what do you mean I have to remove the labels first?
How am I suppose to do that???

And now my search begins.  How do you remove labels from bottles?  In the past I peeled them off and then spent minutes or more trying to remove the sticky goop from the bottles.  I did a quick search and read on several blogs that baking soda and dish soap work well so I'm thinking...

Experiment time!

I filled a plastic tub with hot water, about a cup of baking soda and a small squirt of Dawn.  I also filled my bottle with hot water (only)and placed it in the tub and let it soak for about 30 minutes (or more) while I cleaned and washed dishes.

after my soak time, i pulled out one of the bottles to see how this method would work and....
voila!  the labels just slid right off of the bottle!  no sticky residue, no left behind label.

once I had the label removed, i rinsed my bottle in hot water 

and dried it off in preparation for a Pinterest inspired DIY wine bottle craft so...

stand by!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

See that up there?? yep~ I'm talking about those yummy looking cookies above..

That's a chewy pumpkin chocolate chip cookie and no~ It's not Paleo~ not even a little...

The big guys asked for cookies and made it clear he was okay if it was not Paleo-ish 
(reminder: we are not 100% Paleo soooooo~ yea...)

but anyway~ I searched Pinterest, and ran across these nice looking morsels (below)

you know.... let me tell you this thing about Pinterest, it's filled with professional people who give us the confidence to believe we can make our concoctions and crafts look just as beautiful as the ones that are posted on the boards....  those cookies above this paragraph.... that's what my cookies were SUPPOSE to look like (Pinterest Dreams in overdrive...)

With that being said~  I know mine are not as pretty but, I think they may taste just as yummy as the the ones Tessa from Handle the Heat baked (I will say they were a bit sweet to me because we don't use sugar or flour... and they also made me super thirsty) but ANYway....

If you decide to make your own awesome, chewy (not cakey) Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, make sure you visit her blog and read ALL of the notes and suggestions she offers! 

If you follow her directions as she recommends you will be super happy and your tummy will love you for it!!

Now~ Go bake some cookies!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

That second template...

Remember that second template I told you about the other day???

Well... There it is! 

I really like the way this guy came out~ well, sort of.  I thought I had a "slick" fabric paint which I had planned to tangle in the Afro area but after I applied heat to my painted area it textured and 'puffed' up :/

But that's ok. The end result is a puffy type of fro that I think looks and feels awesome!

Mustard glazed chicken


Who wants some???

Once again it's time for dinner, I'm feeling a bit lazy so I'm taking the easy way out- my fave (yet tasty) go to! 

Mustard glazed chicken thighs....

Super easy to fix, cheap (depending on the type of chicken you buy),  and not all that bad for you!

Estimated cost for free range chicken about $11.15 for 1.5lb
Or you can just go with chicken thighs in your brand of choice est. cost of about 4.50 1.b (I think...)

all the other ingredients I have stocked in my kitchen because I use them often...

This recipe comes from my Pratical Paleo book (nope~ it's not my recipe) and as said before...
it's freakin' yummy!


1/4 cup melted butter or coconut oil
2 tbsp gluten-free mustard
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp dried sage
pepper to taste
12 (or less) bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs


preheat oven to 425 degrees
mix melted butter, mustard, pepper sage, and salt.
place the chicken thighs on a baking dish and brush mustard mixture evenly over each one.

bake for about 40 minutes or until a thermometer reads 165 degrees F.

and because I am a lover of asparagus.....

I sauteed mine for about 4 minutes in 1 tbsp of kerigold butter and seasoned with garlic powder, pepper, sea salt, and onion powder.  This is a meal all it's own!!



Sunday, September 7, 2014

DIY Spray Bleach T-shirt

See that down there???
I made that! 
I was browsing the web to find out how to make stencils and ran across Rachel's blog and thought to myself.... 'I just finished stuffing  boxes full of t-shirts and other items to drop off at the thrift store~ let me open this box so I can find a shirt to "experiment" on!' 
So I did!
First, I found a nifty little image online (I checked to see if it had a copyright but the image lead to a post, of a repost, from a repost, from a repost... you get where I'm going?) so I will go on the record by saying "this is not my image or drawing!!"
I figured I'm only experimenting on a shirt with it and I probably won't wear it so.... here's what I did~
1.  I enlarged the image large in word and then traced it onto a piece of freezer paper (draw on the matted side!)
2.  Cut out your image using an exacto knife.  As you see I cut out the hair, shades, and lips., those were the main parts of the image I needed to shadow for my project. 
3.  Once all my pieces were cut.  I ironed my shirt to get all the wrinkles out (because.... it was rolled into a ball- in a box- heading for the thrift store)
4.  I laid my stencil (that I drew on the freezer paper)- shiny side down- onto my shirt and using a "dry" iron, (no steam) and the highest temperature setting,  I ironed the stencil onto my shirt.
5.  I added a small amount of bleach to a spray bottle, changed into my painting clothes, went outside and sprayed my shirt, there are a ton of ways to spray your shirt!  some people spray into the air to get tiny droplets with bits of spatter, some people spray lightly and then transition to a heavier spray, some people spray the whole shirt....
I just winged it...It's not quite the style I was trying to achieve but I like it enough to just wash this guy and wear it instead of putting it back into the box.
and JUST because I still had what I felt to be another stencil to use.  I grabbed another shirt out of the box, ironed the other part of the stencil onto my shirt and filled the "INSIDE" of the stencil using a fabric paint (see below)  I still have not finished this one because it needs to dry, once I iron it and see how the paint responds, I may draw some awesome tangles in the afro just to give it a "Cynthia" kind of feel... but that's only if it has a smooth surface once it's ironed... we will see!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Spinach with Feta

Looking for a quick and healthy side dish for dinner?

How about spinach and feta! Let me be the first to say it gets no easier then this.


3 cups of spinach (rinsed/pat dry)
1 tbsp of virgin coconut oil
1/3 cup of feta
Sea salt

In a small saut├ę pan, heat coconut oil on medium heat.
Add spinach to pan and saut├ę for 2-3 minutes.
Remove from pan, salt & pepper to taste and sprinkle feta on top.

That's it, no, really- that's it!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Easy Fried Rice

Because I like rice....

I looked everywhere for a easy way to make that awesome fried rice I normally enjoy at the Japanese steak house over in Harbour View.

that down there....
that's my fried rice....
EVERYbody likes it!

How did you make it you ask?  just like this~

on my quest of healthy eating (after adding jasmine rice BACK to my lifestyle) I stumbled across this easy fried rice recipe compliments of The Recipe Critic.  I do make some small changes to make it work for the family, yet found that although sesame oil is a no-no, the rice will not taste the same if you use anything other than sesame (more experimenting will happen but for now...)

EASY Fried Rice:

 Ingredients        :
*3 cups of cooked rice
*2 TBS sesame oil (I like to use the spicy sesame oil)
*1 small white onion (chopped)
*1 cup of frozen peas and carrots (thawed)
*2-3 TBSP of soy sauce (You can substituted coconut amino's for less sodium!)
*2 slightly beaten eggs (I use 3)
2 TBSP chopped green onions (optional)

*Preheat a large wok (or skillet) to medium heat. Pour sesame oil in the bottom and add white onion, peas, and carrots and fry until tender.
*Slide the veggie mixture to the side of the pan and then pour the beaten eggs onto the other side of the pan- scramble eggs with a spatula, once scrambled mix with veggies.
*add rice to the veggie and egg mixture.  Pour in the soy sauce and stir/fry the rice and veggie mixture until heated through and combined.  Add chopped green onions if desire

Now enjoy your easy fried rice!  Prep time took longer than cook time (imagine that..) but it should be worth the time for something this good!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

This quest for this thing called a healthy lifestyle

We have all seen it, post of healthy eats, articles and blogs of what you SHOULD do or should NOT eat...

Pictures upon pictures of good food, healthy food, food.... (I know, I'm instafood guilty!)  But did you know most of what you read is true??? (yep, I'm giggling)

but I will admit, in my quest of a more healthy lifestyle there are a few things that have happened since I started doing this (below) on a regular basis...

1.  this stuff is freaking good.... period
2.  taking the time to prepare my (and his) lunch for the WHOLE week has done a few things.  

To include:
> less time wasted deciding what to eat...
> DRIVING to pick up my lunch 
> getting a crappy lunch equals an average of.... $14.00 a day 

"Limited edition, let's do some simple addition Fifty dollars for a T-shirt - that's just some ignorant b!tch (sh─»t)....., 

oh.... sorry... I got off subject but let us add that up....

take-out + gas... yes, (I included gas!) equals what... 

$70 a week, 
$280 a month,      
$3,360 a year

At least that is what I was spending daily for lunch, mainly because anything close cost extra ESPECIALLY when you are trying to eat a "healthy" lunch during your work day.  

THAT IS THE COST OF TWO... YES TWO tickets to Italy next year!! (Or new windows... Or doors..) no matter.... I guess what it am trying to say is. If you take about 30 minutes of your EARLY Sunday morning before your day really gets started, you can put together a whole weeks worth of lunch (grilled chicken, fresh veggies) for $37.23- that's from my last grocery bill for our weekly lunches- 5 days for 2 people!! Organic fruits and veggies! (Well... From the farmers market about 10 minutes before they close... So I cheat a little but~ It's locally grown and organic!) ok~ I'm off my make-your-own-lunch pedestal. 

Give 30 minutes of your time and let me know how it worked for you!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

printed pants

printed pants

Black shirt

Bertie black shoes
$130 -

Mulberry leather handbag
$1,890 -

Yves Saint Laurent black ring
$300 -

Chicken with Creamy Sun Dried Tomato Sauce

So, I found this recipe online and cooked it several times but, what I found was I like the recipe but, I was not in love with it (well kinda) so~ I tweaked it to work for me (meaning instead of pureeing the sun dried tomatoes I keep them whole... something about the taste...)

There is also something about having your family members taste your dish and let you know how great it taste!  so I want to share (the picture)  I'm also going to try to share the "recipe" or should I say the way I cooked it to work for me.  It may resemble someone else's recipe out there (but probably not) but I want to share what I did to make it tasty for the fam.

and it looks good too...

4 Chicken Breast (cut in 1" cubes)
2 jars of julienne sun dried in olive oil (drain/reserve oil)
1 can of unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp salt

add 3 tbsp of reserved oil to pan on med-high heat.
add chicken and seasonings, cook for at least 3 minutes each side
add coconut milk and simmer for 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through

top over a bed of rice and enjoy.

I know this isn't a great run down of a recipe "per se" but at the end of the cook cycle~ I turned out a yummy freaking dish!!  (at the least the family thinks so!!)