Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ribbon Wrapped USA Necklace

I for one am proud to live in this country.  We have such opportunity here and there is so much to be thankful for.

I do wish that the presidential debates were held with a little more dignity and respect instead of being characterized by immaturity and disrespect, but that is a completely different story, and does not make me less proud of my country.  Maybe a little less proud of the people running it at times.

But you can't have it all I suppose!

 Regardless, I have been wanting to make a necklace or bracelet with ribbon laced through it for quite some time now.  I wasn't really sure exactly what I wanted to use and was wishywashy on it for the longest time, but tonight it all came together.

I used wide loop black chain that actually used to be a swag style belt once upon a time.  It has since become multiple pieces of jewelry, including the last of my fishing lure necklaces (the pearl strands were from this belt).

I laced the sheer red ribbon through, alternating sides and directions.  I just tied it at the end, I will probably glue it at some point.  There's a slight chance this was done on a whim and I had not fully planned out each step.  BUT for now, tying is plenty sufficient.
 The pendant is made from salt dough (1 c salt, 2c flour, 1c lukewarm water.  mix. mold. dry. done) that I painted with water color paints and then put a coat of resin over later.  I would suggest mod podge or similar on the back, at least 5 coats is my usual, to seal it.  You could do resin but resin is expensive, mod podge is not, no one will see the back, you get where I am going with this.

For any new visitors, my usual method of resin mixing is plastic spoonfuls into plastic takeout cups made for condiments when I need small batches. 

I made a bail out of wire by doubling it over, putting the loop end through the pendant (back to front) and then wrapping the ends around the loop to secure it.
 I attached it with a small bronze jump ring.

It kind of reminds me of an olympic pendant.  I would like to be an olympian.

...Except that whole training part.  Me and running or weight lifting or being yelled at by a coach just don't really get along.

Except for my volleyball coach.  For whatever reason, he was able to get me to run faster than any other coach and actually enjoy it.

But that might have been because I was making the rest of the team miserable with the pace I set...Misery loves company they say.
Anyway I attached him and there ya go, necklace!

I was sitting there pondering what to add, what to add, what to add...and I eventually determined it really didn't need anything.  It hangs just below the neckline of my tank top, so it is a longer necklace as I am sure you can tell.

I like the mix of the chain and the ribbon. In fact, I really have just decided that I like to mix everything I can.

I realize the lettering on the pendant most likely looks a little cartoony.  I am ok with that personally.  You could always stamp something on there if you wanted to.  

I made my own closure by attaching a key charm onto a smaller chain and attaching all that to the big chain.  I happened to have a key that could work like one of those bar and ring closures.

Pray and vote, people.  In that order.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Chipotle Chicken Salad Sandwich

I TOLD YOU there would be awesome chicken things today.

As you know if you read my blog last night about my two super cute puffy painted latest ornaments, I was boiling chicken and noodles while making them.  The noodles had nothing to do with this post, except that I ate them last night with butter because I really wasn't in the mood for anything else.

BUT the point is, the chicken. I boiled a chicken tenderloin for about 40ish minutes until I could shred him with 2 forks. I say 40ish because I was making the ornaments, it made it really difficult to keep track of time.

After the chicken was shreddable I shredded it and put it into a container to let it cool for a moment. It didn't take too long at all, and as soon as it was more on the warm instead of hot side I put about a tablespoon or so of chipotle mayo in it and a tablespoon of sour cream.  You could use regular mayo, I just didn't have any, so sour cream it was.  Greek yogurt would be a great consideration as well.
 I let that sit in the fridge overnight after adding in a few sprinkles of the Hormel Real Bacon Pieces.  I much prefer these to those odd Baco things.

I would also say that pecans would be delicious in this.

Regardless, this morning I toasted two pieces of bread, cored an avocado to spread on the sandwich, added my chipotle chicken salad, and quartered some tomato slices.

It may seem odd to quarter them, but I find this to be the easiest way to eat them on a sandwich.  They don't fall off or cause trouble.

 Unfortunately they are the superstore variety, much like the avocado. 

My favorite way to peel an avocado (maybe its the only way?) is to use a spoon to go between the skin and the flesh to essentially hollow it out.  Once you go around the outside you can stick your spoon down in the side and pop the green part right out in one fell swoop.


If you have not tried chipotle mayo yet I question what you are waiting for?  I am not a big fan of spice and I LOVE this stuff.  It would be great for topping, dips, spreads, CHEESEBALLS (used in a small amount with low fat or ff cream cheese because it is not light), and definitely on burgers.

And I bet it would make a very curious deviled egg...

HMMMMM.  Note to self, barter for that on the TurkeyDay Menu. 

I bought a loaf of bread yesterday and have already eaten about half of the loaf. I just was not in the mood to make it this week so I had resigned myself to not having bread until I went home this weekend.  Then my mom suggested I go get bread in case rogue winds leftover from the hurricane took out the power.

And yes, I am in Indiana.  But you would be surprised what we have actually taken from Monstercanes.  Ike winds took power down in my hometown for a few days, obviously not to the extent that any damage is where the actual hurricane is.  I am in no way trying to smooth over the damage that happens to places in its path.

But what I am doing is saying that these storms are powerful and sometimes hold together for strangely long times.  And the power lines around my apartment are above any wind can essentially take a tree out and kill them.

And the amount of foods I like that don't involve cooking are really few and far between.  No poptarts here.  The point is, my resignation to not have bread and then actually having bread has led me to an all out bread eating frenzy.

Partially because it is white and not wheat and so it is completely bad and DELICIOUS.

Now go make chipotle chicken samiches! Pin It Now!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Puffy Paint Ornaments: Round 2

Well humans, you have literally boggled my mind with all the love for my puffy painted ornament last month.  She's still going strong on the views, and I appreciate every person who has taken the time to pop in, and even more so the people who have made one!

So, since that little bugger is so cute, I decided to test out some other puffy ideas.  I have been really inspired by all of the lace doily art I have seen lately, so one thing just led to another.

This is going to border on picture overload.  But bear with me.  I found a pack of 8 ornaments or so for a dollar at a flea market so I had to invest.  They aren't clear, which I am starting to realize I actually prefer, but they will do.

How cool would it be to have an entire tree of clear puffy painted ornaments? VERY COOL.

Too bad, I like mishmash trees.

Anyway I made a half flower around the top and then started making my "lace" pattern by drawing a partial circle below it and connecting it all with criss-crossed string patterns.  I had no intention of going all the way around this ornament.  That is for the next one.

THAT'S RIGHT.  You get two puffy painted beauties in this guy. 

So below the crisscrossmishmash I made circles to create open areas like most doilies have.

Did I look off a doily pattern you ask? Nope. That would have been too much like a recipe.

Below those I made a "cupcake" squiggle (that's what it reminds me of) and continued the crisscrossmishmash idea to that layer.
Below that I did longer loops, followed by a larger cupcake crisscrossedmishmash below.

Now, some of you may be wondering why I opted to leave part of this ornament blank.  The answer resides in my memory.

I was very perceptive as a child, first off, and I noticed that my grandmother really seemed to love putting up her tree.  And she used multicolored lights, one of my personal favorites.

As I love mishmashes.

Regardless, I have always noticed ornaments and I have always liked things that are extremely quirky.  I mean good grief I dressed my roboraptor up in Santa-wear last year, quirky is just how I function.

Point being my grandmother had very odd ornaments that had dents in them.  Not accidental dents, mind you, but intentional ones.  Surrounding this was detailed decorations and copious amounts of glitter.  Vintage perfection.

Some of you may already know exactly what I am talking about, but if you don't feel free to google image "vintage glitter ornament" and look for the ones with dents.

Except I really think that there was a red one with red or gold designs that was similar to this one that I have made.  In fact, if I had to peg it I'd say similar to this, dent in the bottom left quadrant if it was held like this guy, red background, dark red sparkly miniature "cupcake squiggle" design all over the rest of it.

This is getting all "Once Upon A December" for me now.  If you haven't watched the cartoon version of Anastasia...get off my blog.

HA just kidding.

Anyway here is a closeup of this little bugger.

That's right.  Copious amounts of polyflake.

No, I do not care that it is more expensive than normal glitter.  It is better.  It's ELECTRIC.

 My mom tends to not be as fond of asymmetrical things as I am, so it preempted this guy in order to compare symmetry values.

So I started by making long flower petals down from the top.

Yes that is my toe in the picture....yes I am in my kitchen....and yes I was cooking dinner while doing this.

A very not well-kept secret about me is I am the most happy if I am multitasking.  85% of the time I can be on my phone texting or emailing and still be carrying on a conversation.  The other 15% is reserved for when I get derailed due to a friend having a crisis, the grants turning in to a crisis, or really just any email from grant team members.  Because they always involve more work on my part.  Blah.
 So I am boiling chicken for a lunch yummy for tomorrow, which you might just learn about tomorrow, boiling noodles for dinner tonight, and adding loops between these petals.  Then I used the puffy paint to put a line across the middle and crisscrossmishmash the space between. 

Sidenote.  How cute would this be in a brown ornament with brown puffy paint and bronze glitter for an ACORN!  Cute, cute, CUTE for country trees, fall decor, etc etc.Really you would probably just want to make the line and then do the criss cross all the way to the top.

But if you are me, an acorn does not suffice and you intend to lace this whole thing.

Once I had the stuff done down to the middle I made a similar flower on the bottom, a similar loopy design between petals, corrected a few areas from my hand shaking, and then crisscrossmishmashed up to the connecting middle line.

Talk about optical illusions.  It seems to me like the addition of that line makes it look more like I knew what I was doing.


As usual, you will want to dry them in your creative drying zone.  For me, that is clothespinned to the bottom of my hanging closet organizer.

Might sound goofy, but let me tell you this has effectively seen me through every ornament I have made and let them dry safe and sound.

If I had to wait and come back and do the bottom half later just to wait until it dried...

I wouldn't.

To any east coasters or anyone who knows an east coaster that may frequent this blog, I truly hope and pray that you are safe.  I have no doubt you would much rather be crafting than riding out a hurricane.  There is an entire country praying for your safety and the Red Cross has already sent out emails for donations, so I know that people will do what they can to help.

It is times like these I do think we should be truly thankful for the country that we live in.  We have agencies that have spent this entire week preparing to help people, whereas other countries have to wait until after disaster strikes to get relief.

But for real, it is really odd to hear the words "Hurricane" "New York" and "Snow" all in the same sentence...and all in October.

And here I thought Indiana weather was weird. 

Again, my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who is riding out the storm.

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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pink Silk Pancakes: A Leftovers Story

Ever since I was a kid I have been drinking partial bottles of soft drinks and putting them back into the fridge, never to finish them because they get flat and I don't like them.  Well, I am at least happy to say I am finally starting to get better about that.

Mostly it is because I buy two liters now.  I can usually have one completely finished in 2 or 3 days and really it is usually not flat by then.  I don't know if putting it on ice makes it better or what, but I have found it to be perfectly drinkable.  I mostly just drink a glass at breakfast and dinner, sometimes with another glass in there somewhere throughout the day, but 3 glasses equates to 1 24 oz bottle.  So it seems to really help me cut back.  Big Red, on the other hand, is a completely different story.

I can't finish a big red zero 2 liter before it goes bad.  I tried, I was sick of it after a few glasses. But I have found that Big Red Zero takes a lot longer to taste yucky and flat, so I can put the 24 or however big bottles back in and drink it the next day.

Well, the last time I did that I forgot to ever drink it and then left for fall break.  So I came back to a very flat big red.  I had always wanted to try it in pancakes though, so it worked out great! Similarly, if you read my key lime cheesecake ice cream recipe from yesterday, you know I had cheesecake flavored pudding mix leftover from that.

If you have not read or made that recipe yet, get moving.  I tried it this morning and it is fantastic.

But now to the pancakes:

You need 1 cup of pancake mix, about 2/3 or a little over of a cup of Big Red Zero, and 2 heaping teaspoons of cheesecake pudding mix.  I also added about an 8th of a cup of sugar, but I don't think it was really all that necessary. I like Krusteaz pancake mix personally. And yes, I know I could make my own. I just don't.

Anyway I mixed all that up and cooked it on my griddle.  If you don't have an electric griddle you are bananas.  Bananas make really good pancakes too, if you have a griddle...

I say a little over 2/3 of a cup of big red because I just used my 1 c measuring cup and eyeballed it and just used the rest of my big red.  But if you have made pancakes before you know the texture of the batter you are going for, so there is really no need to worry.  I also like to add a little extra liquid if you are adding a little extra dry stuff, pudding mix and sugar in this case. 

I am not sure if it was the pudding mix, but I think it was, that made these pancakes so incredibly soft and silky.  They come out perfectly pink, perfect for Breast Cancer Awareness and princesses breakfasts.  If you want them to have a more pink taste, I suggest using fresh strawberries, raspberries, some jelly, or extract of one of those.  These have a good flavor as they are, but a little extra pizzazz won't hurt them by any means.  I would like to put berries in them the next time I make them.

You can also use some sort of juice instead of big red if you aren't in to the soda scene.  I just like to use whatever I have on hand.  I was considering my cherry blossom apple juice from meijer, but I really want to just drink that and this big red would have gone to waste.

Who needs red velvet when you can have pink silk? Pin It Now!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Key Lime Cheesecake Ice Cream

**UPDATE:  I always think ice cream is better after it has sat overnight or a day or so in the freezer.  And let me tell you...this ice cream is DELICIOUS.  You may note that I leave salt out of mine, that is just how I prefer it.  You can add a dash of salt if you so choose!**

I refuse to acknowledge that it is no longer summer. 

Don't get me wrong I love my underarmour and boots and such and I would adore my red leggings under jeans if I could figure out where I put them, but I am just not really in the mood for things like ice...frigid temperatures...

And worst of all, getting out of the shower.  Admit it, it does not matter how high you crank that thermostat up, getting out of the shower just SUCKS in the winter.  Blah.  And shaving! I swear your legs know its winter and flip out.

Oh right.  Ice cream...

-2 containers Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt in Key Lime
-1 packet of true lime
-Juice of 1 lime plus some zest
-1/3 c of heavy cream
-1/2 block reduced fat or fat free cream cheese, softened
-1 c almond milk (or whatever milk you have on hand)
-1/4 c sugar
-2 TB cheesecake pudding mix

I beat my cream cheese and yogurt together first using the kitchenaid, and then added all the remaining ingredients.  I really only zested half of the lime and probably did not even get that much out of it, so just zest until you are a happy camper.  You can adjust the zest or leave it out or add more sugar or toss in honey however you see fit to get the desired level of tartness.

You will want to follow your ice cream makers directions for chilling the mix and chilling the container and chilling chilling chilling everything else and making the ice cream.

I have a cute blue Nostalgia ice cream maker, and I love it.

This recipe only filled up the bottom fourth to third of my ice cream cannister, so if you have crazy ice cream lovers in the house you might want to double the recipe.

I am more of a two scoop every now and then type of gal, so this size of recipe lasts me a good long while.  I was considering making it into ice cream samiches with snickerdoodle cookies, but I have not gotten around to that point yet.

Mainly because all of a sudden I feel really sick.  My throat is sore, I sneezed, and I am exhausted. I keep leaning my head back on my chair and typing this blog without looking, which I am actually remarkably good at most times, so if you see any blatantly annoying errors, that will probably be the reason, teehee. You know that feeling you get when your arms are just too tired to even lift, they feel really heavy?? That is exactly how I feel.  I do NOT want to be sick with all sorts of assignments and midterms due this week... Again, this is why I refuse to admit summer is over.

I always get sick when the seasons change.  I don't know why but it pretty much is like clockwork.  And let's just face it, a college campus is a germ BREEDING ground.  That is my favorite part about not being in a dorm.  Dorms are where hygiene goes to die.  You just assume all other humans have as good of practices as you...yea, NO THEY DON'T.  And what is worse, I bought cookie mix from these super adorable girls trying to win fundraiser prizes.  You know what else is a breeding ground for germs? Kids.  I'm doomed...

I went to Meijer earlier to get cheese because I had a coupon, and then I forgot to even use the coupon.  Figures.  The cheese is chilling in my I had already bought three other blocks the previous day.

I also bought this delicious goblin juice! It is cherry blossom flavored sparkling apple juice...which sounds really odd now that I think about it.

But it is YUMMY!

As a nod to the usual practices of Halloween of drinking and whatnot, I decided to pour me a glass "on the rocks" teehee. This is about as close to drinking as I come, and I am quite frankly ok with that.

However, if Diet Mountain Dew was alchohol, I would be perpetually buzzed.  Not that I have ever been buzzed and know what that feels like...but that is not the point.

I also bought a huge bag of ice.  Why, you ask? Well because I had a brain lapse and thought I would need a huge bag of ice instead of a normal bag of ice.  That should have been my first clue that I was getting sick: incoherent ice choices.  The guy at the gas station probably thought I was already drinking! No, but seriously, I am hauling this ginormous bag of ice in, essentially cursing myself up the way too warm elevator ride, and I toss the bag down on my kitchen floor.

I then proceed to scramble around, dive for some gallon size ziploc bags to get this stupid ice down into manageable sizes for my freezer, get the first bag full, zip it, toss it in the freezer...

And the whole thing spills on my floor because the seal busts.  And no, it wasn't ziploc brand.  Grr.  So I start bailing floor ice into the sink and refilling the bag and this time much more carefully place it in my freezer. To add insult to injury, that was when I started noticing I was feeling sick.  I was mopping away and ACHOOOOO- out of nowhere.  I froze there in my tracks (ice pun intended) and thought to myself, oh great, just what I need.  GERMS.

I did this for about 3 bags, and the rest is melting in my bathtub, freezing my poor yellow ducky traction stickies.  Don't laugh at me, that shower has tried to kill me on multiple occasions before I put those duckies down. 

I only needed 1 of the bags I filled for my ice cream anyway.  Sheesh.

On the bright side, my kitchen floor is really clean now.  I got out my swiffer and mopped up all the melty ice.  It is one of those floors that always looks dirty though, so it pretty much drives me bananas.

In other news, we are on a new grant trail.  It essentially feels like a waste of time because it is a world peace type grant and we are only focusing on a community level. However, it will be nice IF we find anything else to submit it for that we will already have it written.


Now go rebel against winter with some ice cream, island style. Pin It Now!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Flat Cap necklace

 I FINALLY got it working again.  You know, that idea I had about making a flat cap necklace?

Persistence pays off, my dears.

So I had smashed the daylights out of these caps using a hammer.  Fast method.  I like instant get-ification.

I then used a nail and the very same hammer to punch holes in the caps.  Multifunctional tools, that is how I like to roll.

Plus, how many times do you really get to smash the daylights out of something and craft something cool??

I wired the caps to the chain pieces because the holes weren't exactly spaced right for jump rings.

I was going for something Lindsay Lohan circa Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, pre actually being a drugged up drama queen and post playing the super cute double roll in the Parent Trap.

I really don't understand people who drug themselves up or drink until they can't remember something.

I am a human that feels like I basically woke up 22.  Don't get me wrong I have memories from when I was in diapers (not joking) but still I feel like I have been here no time at all.  And yet, I also feel like an old soul.

I have probably been 30 since I was 15. For those of you who think that your children don't notice what goes on around your home you might be surprised.   A lot of times they do at least notice, they just don't all the time care.  I happen to be a noticing and caring hybrid. 

I have always been a kid who wants to help.  I literally would do just about anything I could in most circumstances for the people I love.  I did not have a job until the summer after I went to college, so I knew I had no hope of ever being able to significantly contribute financially in the form of taking care of my cellphone bill, for example.

However, I did know I could get college paid for if I tried, and that it would be a HUGE help.  Neither my mom nor myself would have accepted me not going to college, and I had no desire to take on full amounts of debt.

All this to say, I don't understand the irresponsibility of many of my peers.  You have a limited time on earth and sure it is "fun" (to them, not to me at all) to go out and party but I just don't understand how the price, the hangover, and the consequences can justify the action.

It scares me that I have been completely sober all 22 years of my life, and yet there are still days I can't remember.  There's details I don't know.  There's parts of my life that I don't even know happened.

Tonight was not one I will soon forget.  I went to a banquet for scholarship recipients and had the worst food, blahsville company, and my scholarship recognition got skipped.  That part I was actually fine with because my donors weren't there anyway and I had little to no desire to get my picture taken.

Those donors called it right by skipping. 

I would have much rather have stayed home and written the latest and greatest grant that we will be applying for, and you KNOW how much those grants have been killing me lately if you have kept up with some of my blogs.

WHY DOES BANQUET FOOD HAVE TO TASTE SO HORRIBLE?!?!? I literally don't get it.  Shouldn't you try to impress the people you want to hound money from???  I guess the cash bar at cocktail hour helps your case...

OMG.  Cocktail hour. THAT was a surefire case of misery right there.  I don't drink, and I knew absolutely no one there.  So my plan of action included chilling in some chairs right outside the little area where everyone was congregating for drinks.

I know, I know.  Not the best case of socialite there.  But it was kind of one of those situations where you knew the other student-aged people really had little concern for talking to you and the adults really just wanted some booze.  I am maybe thinking that the land of architecture is a little on the clique-y side. 

And do you ever just have days where you want to shun the world? Maybe not so literally, but I just now and then have days where I literally do not feel like talking to people.  And I have found that the more people drink and the louder they get...the LESS I want to be anywhere near them. 

They should really warn you on invitations that the first part is drinks and cash bar time, and let you know when the actual DINNER starts.  If for no other reason, they should do it because I came REALLY hungry. 

Which was dumb.  Because banquet food always sucks.

Alright, banquet-rant complete.  Go make some necklaces out of flattened caps.  I have grants to write, because grants wins over cleaning any day.

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Super PACman

A little election humor there in my title...wait I think that makes me a nerd.  Woops...

Weeks/months/eons ago because that's how long it feels like it was, I made salt dough things.  One was a cute little circle with a little pizza slice taken out of him, formerly known as Pacman. Fast forward a few weeks from making him and I painted him with watercolor paint and coated the little bugger in resin.

Resin is my wonder tool, you see.

So then all that was left to do was give him a (g)host, in this case a necklace.  Prepare yourself.

 I made a bail for my little pacman using wire.  I wrapped it through like so then around itself like so in the next picture.

Meanwhile, I was stringing blue beads on wire, of which you will take heed and will use string because wire really doesn't pan out that well.

It makes me no difference, because I have already decided I am going to switch this over to a bracelet when I am done.

So, blue beads + Pacman + string +wire +closures.

Taadaaaah.  A bail(out).  HAHAH more political humor.  Oh geez.

I will elect to stop making such jokes.

So here he is as a necklace. Pretty cool, all great and good, yada yada yada...

I really think it will make a much cuter BRACELET! My plain is to take all of this apart and put a single blue strand, maybe two, around and then have him hanging off.

When I get some more yellow beads, I think I will make them hang off the bracelet as well after I make it.

I thought I had yellow beads, just for the record.  But apparently I have already used them all.

That's ok though, there is a Hobby Lobby just minutes from my apartment.

Today was a great relief after a very stressful fall break.  Don't get me wrong, the being home part was excellent.  In fact, I would have liked to have been able to just stay there. 

But the car breaking, my mom's car breaking, the wedding cake and grooms cake, and not being able to get any homework done because I left half my stuff here, was just a lot to take on.

See, I say that and the minute I do I really don't even believe it because so many people had worse weeks than I did.  I mean in the grand scheme of things, save both cars breaking, it was pretty easy stuff to get through. 

However, today was spectacular.  I got a letter recently from my apartment saying they wanted me to renew or terminate my lease by January.  I really question why they do this will college kids as our schedules don't operate on the January to December frame as much as August to July.  However, I decided I would ask my department here how I would go about applying for another GA position and how soon they typically determined who gets one....

Well the answer I got blew me away.

I am on a scholarship here at BSU, and am actually going to an alumni banquet tomorrow evening because of it.  Well, this scholarship must be even more important than I realized, because they are going to guarantee me a graduate assistantship position for next semester.  It may involve more "official hours" that I have to work, which won't affect me at all going from "10" to "20", but they have assure me I will have either the scholarship back if they are allowed to give it to a returning student or a full time graduate assistantship.

These are the things that solidify my belief in God. Now, don't take that as an "I believe in God because he gives me stuff" statement because it isn't.  I have been far too fortunate of a human for it to be coincidence, as far as I am concerned, especially with college funding.

For my undergrad I applied to 6 colleges.  That is fairly reasonable.  However, to get a full ride (which was the only way I could even go ANYWHERE other than the local one that I did not want to go to) I only applied for 2.  One was for Hanover, and they told me point blank I did not have a shot because I did not have a 4.0 (my 3.98 just wouldn't cut it there, you see). The second was for Indiana State.  So essentially...I applied for one.

Graduate School was even more crazy because I literally only applied to two colleges.  Everyone said I had to apply for more but I had NO interest in going out of state and I had NO interest in anything other than Urban Planning.  Now don't get me wrong UofL is technically out of state but they count southern IN students as in-state. 

However, I get to UofL for an interview and the very first thing THEY tell me is they have absolutely no money....awesome.  So essentially, I only applied to Ball State when you factor in once again my only chance for graduate studies was if I found an assistantship or scholarship.

And yet lo and behold here I am, with one paid for degree under my belt and another guaranteed.  I won out on two very competitive scholarships, I was of the era of ISU only giving 8 fulls and 8 half rides for the Presidential Scholars, and as far as I can tell there is only one recipient for the scholarship I have here at BSU. To me, this kind of stuff seems like it should be nearly impossible to pull off.

I always say God gave me a sixth sense.  There are times I become so incredibly fixated on something that I know it's where I have to be.  I occasionally find myself this way with people, and know that they are meant to be involved in my life.  My best friend and I are this way, and often joke we have no idea how we became friends it just happened.  Although, I would argue that it was 12 aces later in a sand volleyball game where I was dominating the boys with serves that solidified our friendship. ISU and BSU have both been instances where I was completely fixated on needing to be there.  Sometimes, you just have to follow that little voice.

I bet if you really look back at things now and then you could see things that you didn't realize then but can see now that they happened for a reason.  I see so many reasons behind relationships that ended, ones that did not start, and friendships that were postponed that it is absolutely mindblowing to see how it has all culminated in the right here right now.  I encourage everyone to reflect now and again, because you don't appreciate where you are without remembering where you are from.

I don't know how any of this relates back to pacman either...

So get craftin.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"Resin" for a Lock Down

So I really like to encase things in resin.  I also have a lot of little charms and doodads that are extras that don't quite fit in with anything and would otherwise go to waste.

Put if you put them in resin, however, they can be totally cute pendants!

For this one, I mixed up resin (again, use the spoon mixing method for small amounts) and sunk my key and lock charms in there.

You can also put the charms in the molds first and pour the resin around it, it's no big deal.  This is a great way to use extra charms, buttons, jewels, rhinestones, whatever.

Short and sweet, go use up those knick-knacks!

I've got promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep. {Story of my life.} Pin It Now!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Card o' Thanks

I needed to make a thank you card for the banquet I am going to go to in a few days thats an alumni and donor banquet.  I really don't like going to banquets but I really do appreciate the donors of scholarships so I agreed.  If the recipients of the scholarships show appreciation, I am sure that it makes them feel better about the money they donate.

So I was going to make some cool charrette right since I am in urban design.  However, I quickly realized that I know nothing about that yet since I have never done them, and to make sure I didn't make myself look stupid by drawing something lame, I opted to make something different and color it with my new colored pencils.

So I stamped the butterflies on and the thank you and then colored it in with my AWESOME new Prismacolors.
See how cute it will look when they pull it out of the envelope?

I am really not a big butterfly lover nor a cutesy-schmutesy type, but I can handle this for now.

It really kind of looks more like a get well card if you ask me.

Now, hopefully I remember to take back my dress. Pin It Now!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Creative Gift Wrap

 I like to find creative things to put gifts in at Christmas time.  It isn't that I don't like to wrap stuff, but if you get a gift in a bag or bowl or something like that it is like two gifts in one!

And I like two for one deals.

So I got this fleur de lis bucket to put things in for my sister.  I know she has passed it up before...BUT I contend that is due to it being a boring color. As for me and my house, we like to overuse spray paint.

And it was under $5 at a flea market.  Which could also be why she passed it up, because it had not been marked down before that.

If you only buy one type of spray paint, make it the hammered metallics paints.  They are so freaking cool. I have used them on lights, more lights, some other lights, that picture frame of yesterday, and this bucket.  I am thinking about lining around the fleurs in black, but I might just leave it.

I may also need a second coat on it tomorrow.  I used the hammered silver, in case you could not guess.

Hammered bronze is my usual weapon of choice.

My plans are to essentially make a gift basket using this substantially cuter than it was before bucket.

There are all kinds of interesting baskets and knick knacks at flea markets that can be interesting vessels for gifts.  They always have tins, crates, funky bowls, and all kinds of other shenanigans.

So get crafting with your gifting!

I really need to start thinking about Christmas shopping.  I have no ideas on what I may even get people.

You will have to excuse me, the grant emails have started pouring in again.  On to the next one! Pin It Now!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Saving Face: Frame Rehab

We have all seen them: the sad, lonely frames that have dents and scratches and go on clearance only to not be bought because who wants a dented frame???


I found a metal frame at Hobby Lobby for $4 that holds a 5x7 picture.  I don't know if it was the ploy by the marketing company to put the happy family guy in the picture that appealed to my inner feminine side or what the problem was but I was hung up on this frame as I shopped.  It was just such a good quality frame.  Heavy duty, thick, metal. You don't find that for $4.  But there was a big line dent in the side of it and a few other scratches.  How to fix, how to fix....

That's right.  PUFFY PAINT. 

I started by dragging a line across the dent because it would need to be built up.  I then started working the squiggles all over.

If you want to get technical, I googled it and discovered it is called Cornelli Lace.  But I prefer to say squiggles, brain lace, and similar.  Cornelli sounds so formal.

Anyway I brain laced this frame starting at the dent and working my way around the frame.

Look at that freaking marketing ploy with those happy people.  Rawr.
I also wanted to work down and around the sides to give it more dimension and visual intrigue.  And to make sure that the dent would not be visible from the side.

Random sidenote.  Here is my gripe with shows like Finding Bigfoot and Ghost Adventures. You never hear the sounds they claim to hear.  I mean really.  I could sit here and say what was that and freak someone out. Sheesh.

So yes puffy paint and puffy paint and more more puffy paint all around the frame.

My original plan was to do this corner, paint it light tan, and put green crackle paint at the top corner and make the frame look really vintage.

Well, I left my green crackle at school, my tan spray paint looked camel color, and I was not liking it.

Now, keep in mind that if you were to paint this frame green first and then puffy paint over that, it would be beautiful. You can always paint first, puffy later, and have a white lace look over a color of your choosing.

My mom liked the frame just as it is in this picture, and I did as well, but you know me, I couldn't just let it be.
So I painted it green, then I painted it khaki (camel), and then I finally painted it hammered bronze.


I mean don't get me wrong I loved the white lace and would have really adored it over a sage green. 

But I also love metals and hammered spray paint, so this works out really well for me.

It is going to make a great Christmas gift for someone with a personalized quote or picture in the middle.

Now, go out and save those dented frames! Pin It Now!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Wedding Cake Hat Tricks

 Alright, I am not really a fan of hockey and I don't know what a hat trick is.  But I heard the fantasy football analysts say that Aaron Rodger's 6TD game was the equivalent, so it must be really freaking awesome.

Well, this cake has a hat, and wedding cakery is tricky, and this cake turned out beautiful, so it makes sense if you think about it long enough.

So for my craftiness, I have opted to provide to you the lessons learned and tips if you ever want to take on something like this.

1: Fire Hat- I blogged about it yesterday but I was so exhausted there was just no way I had it in me to blog very long by the time I got around to it.  I hate to see people try to recreate logos on stuff like this. We got an edible image printed that had the exact symbol on it.  That made it so much easier.  We made a fondant shield to put it on, and used white icing to attach it.  Never unless you are severely brave or don't have light colors in your image use colored icing behind an edible image.  ESPECIALLY royal icing.  Bad idea. Any moisture whatsoever gives it the tendency to leach color through. 

If you want to cut fondant easily without buying any extra tools, use a pizza cutter.  I would venture to guess they actually work better.  You can roll it along a straight edge or ruler if need be and to get the width you want.

I would argue you should never cover a cake completely in fondant.  It tastes terrible.  MAYBE if you make your own you can make it decent, but people grew up with grannies that made buttercream.  You want your cake to remind them of their dear ole granny.  Or their mom, if they are like me and did not have a buttercream making granny.

Maybe wedding cakes and cake pops are my overcompensation for it. ;)
This bride wanted fondant ribbon on her cake.  I HATE to see cakes with fondant falling off of them.  If you don't pipe at least some small piping above and below the ribbon you are taking a HUGE risk.

I put fresh icing on the back of the ribbon right down the center, press it in to the cake, and rub my fingers down the entire ribbon to smooth it out after it is put on.  The icing you use behind it buldges up the ribbon and you HAVE to smooth it out if you are a self-respecting caker.  In my opinion at least.  And ESPECIALLY if it is for a wedding.

It's the biggest day of their life, for crying out loud.  Spend the extra time and get that stuff smoothed on there.  It will stay on better anyway.

As you can see in the two pictures there are G's on the cupcakes.  We have a cricut cake that we got for $50 one time from and broke it out for this cake. It knocks it out of the park.  If you want to cut something like fondant with it, you need it thin.  You want to shoot for something close to the thickness of coin (just 5 cents or so, nothing pricey here) or it will drag the blade across it when it pulls back up to go to the next cut and it just absolutely wrecks everything. I believe I ended up using medium pressure with a medium or low speed.  The more intricate you need it, the slower you better go. That goes for your regular cricut as well.

Do it right the first time, or spend the time doing it again.

That's a throwback to my grandpa.  Just so you know.
Gumpaste flowers add a lot to a cake but you want to do them in advance.  Bear minimum, they require 24 hours to dry.  That is non-negotiable.  I prefer them to fondant flowers because once they are set they are set.  Fondant tends to be a little less trustable.

I wanted to show this picture because I have two different styles of my lilies here.  I have harped about finding creative ways to drying gumpaste things, and I have two different lily methods.

1). Reynold's wrap cones: If you make a cone out of RW and lightly drape the lily over it you the orange one and you can tweak the ends a little by folding some back on the flower.  The downside is you cannot see what the visible part of the flower will look like until it is dry.  It tends to be easier to make the ends do cool things, but doesn't always turn out as pretty on front as you think it will.  This guy just happened to be exceptional.

2). RW "bowls" (made in glasses):  I also use RW to make a lining that is somewhat bowl/cone shaped to build the lily where it faces me and the edges drape over the side of the cup.  This method is pretty simple too and is nice because you can see it and make changes as needed.

If you make lilies make extra stamen.  Unless you buy them, in which case disregard.

Buy daisy forming bowls or use bowls or shape bowls with RW.  Daisies are cute, I have decided.

And BUY PEARL DUST!  Gum paste is DULL no matter what color it is until you add a little pizzazz.  Then it makes it beautiful.   Use multiple colors, especially for lilies since they usually have green centers, and give it something special.  Mix white pearl dust with color dust (the matte kind) if you need to make something special.

You aren't limited to only using one at a time, gimme a break! Mix and match those things.  I did for the orange on all of this.

Enjoy your cake tips! Pin It Now!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fire Hat Cake

We had to make a fire hat cake for a groom's cake. 

Our secret weapons were a soccer ball pan, super red icing coloring (the liquid type that makes it really vibrant), red, yellow and black fondant.

And of course, the logo in a sugar sheet because It is so much simpler than trying to make all that in more fondant.

The soccer ball pan does not make the dents like you think it will, so if you really need those dents for a soccer ball, Just warning you it may not turn out easy.

We put the ball on top of a slightly bigger round cake, iced it all, and used some of the excess cake to make the brim and the back of it. 

Pizza cutters make great fondant cutters.

This is a great method for making ball caps too.

Or turtles.  I REALLY wanted to make a turtle.

Anyway, I would love to stay and chat but I have more wedding cake to finish! Pin It Now!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Salt Dough Revisted: Watercolor Perfection

 Many moons ago I made salt dough for super cheap.  I mean ridiculously cheap.  I made all these interesting things and then mulled over how I was going to get fancy color on them.

Then I went to Hobby Lobby and couldn't get my markers I wanted and bought Watercolor paints.

See where I am going with this?

So after I painted the $1 canvases, I peered at my salt dough, and shenanigan schemes ran amok in my brain.

Amok amok amok.

If your favorite Halloween movie isn't Hocus Pocus, you are not American.
 Hey, what a coincidence.  This little pendant is legitimately American.  American made and everything. AND HE WANTS YOU TO VOTE! And pray for America. Pray, then vote, actually.

I painted the dough with the watercolors, let them dry completely, and then mixed up equal parts of ice resin to coat them.

My favorite way to mix ice resin is by plastic spoonfuls into those plastic cups that ranch comes in at restaurants.

Yes, I am serious. It works really well.

Then I put a small bit of resin on the spoon and spread it over the pendant. To dry, I sat them on beer caps so that the resin would not stick them to my wax paper.  Thank goodness for beer drinking friends is all I have to say.  They have no idea how helpful they are.

For this, I used my Pentel Sign Pen to draw the flower, I was going for a poppy type print but it sort of looks like a tulip.

And I sort of don't care.

I gave it time to dry and then put the watercolors on, trying to avoid smearing the lines as much as I could.

Again, resin coating on all of these.  I did not do the peacock yet because I want to get some small rhinestones to put in the tail and glue down before I coat the stuff in resin.

How cool is it though, that you or someone else could wear your paintings?
This little guy, besides the USA one by default, is my FAVORITE.  I love it.  It reminds me of a silk purse I have with Old Navy, especially with the way the colors bled together a little.  It was perfect.

It IS perfect.

So for really really minimal investment, except if you have to buy new resin because resin is a little pricier, you can have completely unique jewelry that MEANS something to you. 

You can personalize it to anything you can paint, any colors you want, and similar.

I am betting you could also use markers if you need more controlled color.  But don't be afraid of watercolors because they are forgiving and are worth some trial and error.

If I am not mistaken, the mix was 1 c flour, 1 c salt, and some water.  But double check that just to make sure.  So you add a little paint and A SPOONFUL EACH of resin and the catalyst and seriously you can have pendants.

How cheap is that?

I would advise painting the back after you have the resin done and putting a few coats of modpodge on it.  I personally wouldn't waste the resin on the back.  But I would seal it with a few layers.  Basically I just suggest painting the back because, I don't know about you, but my necklaces always turn around now and then while I am wearing them.

Happy crafting! Pin It Now!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

$1 Canvas Fun

Imagine my surprise as I walk through Hobby Lobby and find NONE of the AD Chartpak pens I need to get for school.  Joyous.  I am incredibly weak when it comes to resisting HL purchases, so of course I still did not get out for under $20.

How do they DO that to me, everytime?!

Regardless it worked out well. The trace pads I needed for urban design sketching this week were 40% off, they had a two pack of Pentel Sign pens I needed, and I found something very interesting.

Hobby Lobby has stick on canvas.  Now that in and of itself is pretty darn cool because you could cut it to anything you wanted.  Now that I mention it I bet you could put it on your cricut with a deep cut blade (might not even need one) and cut it.  But I am not sure.  It would definitely have to be basic shapes and the blade might not go through it.  But I would think a deep cut would.

That is neither here nor there.  What is both here and there is the fact that they have 4x4 mini sticky canvases.  Weeks and weeks and probably weeks enough to add up to a solid 4 months ago I bought 3 little beveled square wood blocks at HL for a max of 79 cents each.  They might have been on sale. I was looking for something to do with them and never really was sold on anything I came up with.

Until the canvases. They come in a 4 pack for $2, so they are effectively 50 cents a piece.  Granted, that does make the project around $1.30 but if you use a coupon on the canvases you can save a little bit and effectively make it a one dollar craft, assuming you have the paint.

Which I didn't but I wanted anyway.  So, to recap, buy a small wood block (beveled or not, it would be easier if it wasn't actually) and some mini sticky canvas. And let's get to it!

 As you can see, if it is beveled you have to fold the corners and edges like so.  I am leaning toward using puffy paint later to add a border for this, and if you were to do that using a non-beveled wood block you could essentially create your own faux frame.  Just an idea.

I am going to walk you through my basic pumpkin sketching.

The fastest way to do this is to make a slightly squished circle, which makes up the two segments around the center segment of the pumpkin.  If I were to label them left to right as 1-2-3-4-5, I am referring to sections 2 and 4.  You can see how they make a circle that looks a little like someone is slightly pushing it down.  I like to make two outer segments that meet near a midpoint where I want my stem, and connect down near the base of their respective segments, not to a midpoint at the bottom.  Then I create the central segment.
 The more of a sketched look you develop the more forgiving ANYTHING is.  The loose style of drawing is actually really pretty, is used in a lot of stamps (most likely because it is forgiving), and is visually intriguing.  It draws someone in.

The best part about this is how many places you could stop.  You could leave this just like so and it would be cute.  I was using a Pentel Sign Pen during this to draw it out.

Add a stem and some vines coming out.  A lot of fall stamps have pumpkins that look like this, or google image one if you want something to look off of.  Or, use my blog :)!

I wanted to get back in to sketching a bit before we start up in class because urban design sketches use loose sketch styles and I just wanted to give it a shot before I was in class.
 The markers we will use in UDS are based on the properties of watercolors, so I bought a set to mess around with.  Mostly because I was sad that HL did not have my ADs.

The Pentel Pen will run when water gets near it, and that is OK for this project! It actually helps in my opinion.   The bottom shadowing under the pumpkin was actually where the pen ran and involved no work of my own.  More water, more running.

So I pour water out of my water bottle into a glass, dampened some orange, and started painting the spots I wanted to be darker.  I filled in the leaves and the ground, and made vivid blue patches in the sky.  I wanted it to eventually be kind of grey like fall, but still hold that depth of blue.
 The sky I had to do a couple rounds of grey then blue then grey and more blue to get it how I wanted.  First it was too springy, then too drab, but watercolors are easy to use so it is no big deal.  You can always dab on the canvas after resoaking your brush to get completely different effects.

I added a lighter orange in to the center parts of the pumpkin, had to go back and do a little more dark towards the sides, and finally got it to where I was happy with it.

This probably took a grand total of 15 minutes max.  And that includes sticking the canvas on.  Quick sketches make for quick projects!

The reason I wanted to try this is because they make watercolor and canvas cards, and I wanted to know if I would like them.  I do believe I will.

The worst kept secret ever would be that I love maps, so of course I had to make one of those as well.

And next I wanted to try to create a version of my favorite picture I have from hiking!  ...

This is where I fully admit I am not all that fantastic at art.  It looks decent, but could have been a little better on the perspective end.

But again, I was going for quick sketches. And I am a firm believer that practice makes perfect!

Here's the real picture.  I might go back and try to redo a few things now that it is all dry to add in some more details.  And maybe some more trees. 

But hey, for no real art training, I think it could have been worse :).

I think these would make very cute pictures to hang on your wall.  For instance, a 4 combo of the same flower in different colors could be very modern looking. 

They may also be very cute in plate holders or miniature easels for display. 

Not to metnion you can stick them to anything.

So for around $1 the point is you can easily make some quick art for seasonal decorations or anything else you need.
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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Santa Bulb

 We remember the penguin bulb of a few weeks ago, yes?...maybe a month ago really...I don't know that penguin light bulb I did at some point prior to this moment.

Well lucky for YOU, I have more bulbs.  So get a lightbulb, some red paint, some black paint or leading, and a cog or washer or whatever you can find and let's make a SantaBulb.

First, hold your Santa bulb exactly like so.  Alright fine hold it however you want but it is nice to hold it where you won't get paint on you.

I used another side of my makeup sponge that I had used before and painted the whole thing red.  Not pink, not green, not aquamarine, we are painting this Santa RED!

I used white puffy paint to add the trim and black synthetic leading to add the belt.

I had this random Chinese coin or something, I don't really know what it is sadly because I got it from my sister and have no clue where it is from.

And hopefully she doesn't want it back....

I WANTED to find my container that has cogs and gears in it to make it more steampunk. But I actually find this incredibly ironic.

How many of our things we get someone for Christmas say "Made in China?"  I am betting a LARGE portion. Which is mostly because nearly everything we have the option to buy IS made in China. 

I know I have preached it a million times, but I wish that Christmas was less commercial.  Thanksgiving is one of the most consistently joyous holidays because we have not commercialized it.  We have kept it centered around things of importance- family and FOOD.  Lots and lots of food.

THAT is my idea of a holiday.

Whether you are religious or not, I think everyone would get more out of Christmas if it started to go back to having more substance and focusing less on material things.  That's what birthdays are for, geez.  Spend more spend more spend more does not really make you reflect on the meaning and your family and what you have been given.

I am still exhausted beyond belief.  SO I ask you in conclusion to upcycle things into ornaments because they are ridiculously expensive. 

And please, I am begging you, PRAY for this country.  It needs it.

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