Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Paint Swatch Boxes - Caution

I have wanted to do this cute idea for a while but I needed to get supplies, so it was put off for a while. So finally I went to Home Depot and sneakily got a ton of big paint swatches. I took so many that I was surprised no one cut me off, although I did get some weird looks from some other paint shoppers. It was probably the fact that I picked colors at random and did not stick to one hue.

I got this idea from a tutorial that looked so cute! I was really excited about this craft idea because for some reason I have this weird fascination with paint swatches.

Anyway all you need is:
  • Paint Swatches - at least two (top and bottom)
  • Ruler
  • x-acto knife
  • glue or double stick tape
The instructions on the blog are very good and even have little diagrams to help you out. Yet even with all the information it was still incredibly hard. Each piece came out just slightly different and the tops would not always fit the bottoms. To be honest I became very frustrated, threw down my failed swatches, and went to get my boyfriend for help. He concluded that either I was very bad at cutting (maybe) or the directions are flawed. So he tried to make a box...

Turns out that to make a perfect box you need to be incredibly precise with the measurements. Or, if you do not care which swatch top goes with each swatch bottom, just make a bunch of each and put them together with whichever ones fit. This is what I ultimately did.

So here is my caution: If you are a perfectionist like me do not do this particular craft or you may find yourself frustrated... with an x-acto knife.

On the bright side the boxes look okay and I had fun taking pictures of them. Maybe it wasn't a complete failure :)

Don't get me wrong, this project is a wonderful idea and the person who figured it out is a genius (and a very precise cutter). Try making one yourself!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Jalapeno Poppers

My jalapenos from the garden look so delicious so I wanted to make something special with them. I only have 4 peppers so far but there are tons of itty bitty ones. I decided to make jalapeno poppers because it is simple and delicious.

I guesstimated on all the ingredients but approximately I used:
  • 3/4 cup cream cheese (1/3 fat)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated monterey jack cheese
  • 1 strip of cooked bacon, minced
  • 4 jalapenos
I cut the jalapenos in half and removed the stems and seeds. After this step DO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE AT ALL! I always forget this safety measure and end up burning my mouth or eyes. It is completely not funny and I had to hold my eye open under running water for a couple minutes. Enough with the warning... I think you get it.

Mix together all the ingredients (beside the jalapenos) and stuff the jalapenos with it.

Throw them on the grill for 10-20 minutes until they are squishy, melty, and, look done. Yummy!

T-Shirt Scarf

I found a really cool tutorial on how to make a t-shirt scarf. It is really simple and turns out looking chic, don't you think?

What you will need:
  • Old cotton t-shirt - a large or medium so you have enough fabric (I used a medium one) and one without ribs that make it too stretchy. Also this works best with a t-shirt without side seams.
  • Scissors
  • Ruler - if you are a perfectionist
1. Cut off the end seam of the t-shirt. It will not be used in the scarf.

2. Cut 1" or 1.5" strips off the bottom. You will have a pile of strips, I had 14.

3. Take each strip and stretch it until it curls in on itself. I pulled pretty hard so they would be long.

4. Do this to all the strips so you have a pile of them. Collect them all together and you will have a bunch of strands together.

If you want to keep them together somehow you can tie a strip around one end but I like it the way it looks now. Easy and fast. A good project if you need a scarf on the fly.

Pictures on Canvas

I had these old pin up girl pictures that I wanted to use as decorations. I originally wanted to frame them, but that would be very costly. I decided to put them on canvas and use Mod Podge on top. I saw this great tutorial that explained precisely how to do it.
I went to Michael's and got supplies

  • Mod Podge - Gloss
  • Canvas - size depends on picture size. They were on sale for $4 each!
  • Acrylic Paint - I used black
  • Foam Brush - the cheap 39 cents kind
  • Pictures you want to put on the canvas
  • Book - for support under the canvas
1. Chop the picture down to size. I like to leave a bit of space around the side so I cut off about 1/8" on each side of the pic.

2. Paint the canvas. I just paint the edges and any other parts that will be showing. No need to waste paint if it is not going to be seen. Let it dry about 15 minutes, or whatever the bottle of paint says.

3. Apply Mod Podge to the top of the canvas and place the picture on top. Smooth it out with your hands for a couple minutes to prevent bubbling. I learned this the hard way. Put a book under the canvas right inside the wood panels so when you push on the canvas you do not stretch it and you have something to push against. I would keep at this until you think the Mod Podge is dry. I hate bubbling so I wait and smooth for a while. If you are patient enough and press out the bubbles while letting it thoroughly dry before putting Mod Podge then there is less of a chance of extreme bubbling.

4. With a dry brush add an edge to the picture so it blends into the painted canvas. Since the pictures were paintings I made the edge look rough and uneven.

5. When the picture looks dry and bubble-less apply a coat of Mod Podge to the top and let dry. If you have let the picture dry long enough before putting Mod Podge on top then there should not be any bubbles.

6. If you are rushing or just unlucky then you may get some bubbles.Try not to touch it when it is wet because then you may leave a mark. Just let it bubble for a couple minutes and then put books on top of it for a couple hours. I have heard that putting it face down on wax paper (and then putting books on top) is the best way to prevent sticking. Leave the books on and check it every once in a while to see when it is flat.

6. It is done when dry and bubble-less. You can add another layer of Mod Podge if desired.

 Here are two of the nine I am making. I will upload a picture when I am done! If you have any questions leave a comment.

    Wednesday, August 24, 2011

    My Garden :D

    So after being away from my garden for two weeks I returned to astonishing growth!

    My Peas are completely done and my wonderful boyfriend picked them before they expired.

    The corn is at least twice as tall as when I left so it gave me the biggest shock. The zucchini are huge!

    They might not taste good because they are so large, but at least they are cool looking. The other exciting growth was the jalapeno plant. When I left there were only 4 jalapenos growing. Now there is a plethora of them.

    I picked a couple of the really big ones so I can eat them tonight with some cheese. Yummy!
    For my first garden this is certainly a big success. My only insight is to make the pea support at least twice as high. But overall it was a success. the Carrots are still growing but I picked one to show you.

    The carrot foliage is so big but the carrot part is still so small! Bummer. The raspberries have not budded yet (only flowers) so I will post another update later!

    Monday, August 22, 2011

    Pin Up Girl

    This look is actually pretty simple. I use Almay liquid eye liner in Black Pearl and Almay powder shadow in Smokey-i for Hazels.

    If the cover does not give you enough explanation then you can read the back for directions.
    1. Apply the darkest shade to the lids from lash line to crease.
    2. Apply the medium shade just above the crease.
    3. Apply the lightest shade to the brow bone and the inner corner of the eye (it brightens the eye).

    Then use the liquid liner to create a cat eye effect. Use a dark black mascara and apply several coats to make the lashes really long. Don't forget to curl the lashes before!

    Pair this look with your favorite shade of red lipstick and some big curls.

    *Oops face and bikini not required but encouraged :)

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    Make Your Own Envelopes

    Recently a lot of people have been making blogs about envelopes. They are very easy to make and there are infinite ways of customizing each envelope into whatever is desired. I wanted to do my own tutorial to show how I make envelopes. It is a bit longer than others because I make a template for each envelope so I can make more without using the original envelope over and over; they do not last long.

    What you will need:
    • Envelope - it does not have to look pretty or be new, you just have to like the shape and size.
    • Sissors
    • Pen/Pencil
    • Glue Stick
    • Cardboard or Cardstock
    • Paper you want to make your new envelope out of
    1. Open your envelope carefully so you do not tear anything.

    2. Place the envelope on the cardboard and trace it very carefully. Try not to move the envelope while tracing. I like to use a sharpie because it leaves a big line which is easier to see than pencil.

    3. Cut out the cardboard template

    4. At this point I like to label the template so I know which side is which before I accidentally lose the original envelope. Plus it helps when you are lining up the template with the paper you use to make a new envelope.

    5. Now you have your template! This will last quite a while and you can use it many times to make envelopes in the future. Cardboard/Cardstock holds up a lot longer than the original envelope will so you can make copies longer. When the template starts to wear out, just make a new one with the old template. Position your template on your new paper and use pencil to outline it. I use pencil because you can erase anything that is left after cutting.

    6. Cut out your tracing.

    7. Folding can be very frustrating because if you fold crooked there is no way to undo it. Scoring the paper makes folding a breeze and it is very exact. I use a scoring tool that I got from Michael's, but you can use another household item. For example, the tip of a mechanical pencil is perfect (without the lead sticking out). Just hold the ruler where you want to score and mark it with the pencil (sans lead) a couple times until you can see the line of indentation. It does not have to be super deep, just enough to make a dent. Do this on each side of the envelope and fold the pieces inward.

    8. Use a glue stick or whatever you have on hand to glue the sides to the back of the envelope. Make sure you are gluing (yes I spell checked this word) the sides underneath the back so it looks finished. You may have to smooth and hold it until it is dry.

     Voila! You have a new envelope and a template to make many more! Enjoy!

    Saturday, August 13, 2011

    Big Gay 10k

    My mom and I ran our first 10k together. It was in San Francisco and it was called the Big Gay 10k. It was so fun! We got great outfits and ran along the bay. I recommend this race to anyone in the bay area (or from out of state like me) who is looking for something goofy and fun.

    Coming Soon...

    I have been holding onto some pin-up girl pictures for a year so I could do something cool with them. I figured out what to do! Stay tuned!

    11 Layer Cake

    This year for my brother's birthday he wanted me to make him a 14 layer cake. I had made it once before and he loved it. I got the recipe off of a cooking blog called Bakerella which is full of details and pictures. Since this was all he wanted I had to make it.

    First I needed several pans. I found six so I would have to do a couple batches. I decided to go with the Smith Family 12-layer cake recipe that I found on the web.


    • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour , sifted
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter , at room temperature
    • 2 1/2 cups sugar
    • 6 large eggs , at room temperature
    • 3 cups milk
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    Then I buttered, lined the pans with parchment paper, and put a bit of flour on top. There was no way these cakes would stick.

    Then I added a scant cup of batter to each pan and baked them for about 12 minutes or until they pulled away from the pan at the edges. I ended up only having enough batter for 11 layers. Oh well (don't tell my brother!).

    I left them in the pan for a few minutes and then transferred them to a wire rack to cool.

    While cooking all of the layers I started making the gooey inner frosting.


    • 3 cups sugar
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder , preferably Dutch process
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter , cut up
    • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
    • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


    It was so hard not to eat all of this before putting it on the cake! It was so good! 
    The next process was putting the frosting between each layer and stacking the layers. 

    Yummy! It was so gooey and drippy! Delicious! After I had layered them all, I put the rest of the frosting on top and smoothed it around the sides. 

    I had to let this frosting set so I let it sit for about 30 minutes. While waiting I whipped up a chocolate butter cream for the top.


    • 1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
    • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder ( I used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa)
    • 1 box (1 lb) confectioner’s sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 1-3 Tbsp milk 
    Then I spread it all over the cake. It turned out so good and yummy. I forgot to take pictures of the inside, but it looked really cool with all the layers. There are pictures on the blog I took the recipe from. Check it out and try it for yourself, if you have the time :)