Thursday, October 18, 2018

BFF Open House Link Party


Happy Friday Eve all! Hope you've survived the week. I have, barely, but fortunately taking tomorrow off and told my day job to lose my cell number. 

Let's see some projects from last week's party! 


I am a total coffee queen. So this coffee tray from Lisa at Fresh Vintage by Lisa S definitely caught my eye! Love!


If you've seen teal pumpkins in the stores it's not just because it's a fun color to play with . Teal pumpkins let your Trick or Treaters know that you have non-food options available to them. This is a very important thing for those with food allergies and makes Halloween more inclusive for children who have them. Learn more and check out these ideas at Kippi At Home


Do you have something on hand that you would love to make into something else? Using a mold is an easy way to do that. Sheri, from Hazel and Gold Designs shows you how to use a silicone putty to do just that! 


Finally, how cute are these Spiderweb Cookies from Family Cookie Recipes

Now, let's see what you've been up to this week! 

   
   

Thursday, October 11, 2018

BFF Open House Link Party


Well, it's been one of those weeks so no features unfortunately. But Happy Friday Eve all and hope you've had a less stressful one than I have!! If any of you Chocoholics are in the path of the current hurricane, I hope you and yours are safe!! 

Let's party! 

   
   

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Adventures In Paint Pouring, A Beginner's Journey: Dirty Pouring


My fascination ( obsession? ) with paint pouring continues. I am hooked on this! No two pieces are alike and watching the paints as they interact is hypnotizing and meditative. Seriously, I had a really bad day last week and doing some paint pouring completely changed my mood. 

What's that picture at the top? It's actually the inside of the cup I used for this technique called a "dirty pour". 

My simplified explanation of the dirty pour is you layer your paints in the cup vs a clean pour where you pour each color individually. In either process you need to mix each  paint color in its own cup. 

Supplies: 
  • Surface to paint. I used an Artist Panel ( aka a piece of wood they get to charge more for) 
  • Paints and flow additive
  • Cups 
  • Stir sticks
  • Paper towels or rags
  • Lots of stuff to cover your work surface



I got out some paint colors to play with. I had someone in mind for this if it turned out OK and I didn't have to smash it with a hammer, so I went with her colors. 

For my first couple of pours, I used Liquitex Pouring Medium, but at $16.99 a bottle ( before 50% off with an additional 20% off total purchase coupon from Michaels) that's going to get a little pricey while I learn how to paint pour. I'd seen something called "Floetrol" mentioned as a good alternative. This is available at the HW store. I went looking for it but they only had a bigger size than I wanted to get (because what am I going to do with it if this piece turns out hideously ugly and the aforementioned hammer smashing was needed?) BUT they did have this Zinsser Paint Booster stuff shown above that I bought for $7.85 at Lowes. 

Looked like the same contents as the Floetrol to me and MUCH bigger than Liquitex for half the price. SOLD! 

I had a few of these "Artist Panels" in my stash from when Aaron Brothers Art and Frame was going out of business ( RIP AB! I know you're inside Michaels now kinda but I really liked your stores. Sniff) but basically, it's a piece of wood. 



I decided to play with this vs a canvas this time. 

Prepare your paints! So one thing you want to do is make sure you have all your mixing etc. done before you pour because well, you'd have nothing to pour? I've been playing with a ratio of 2:1 paints to additive. The Paint Booster stuff is thin so I think I may up this to 3:1 for the next one. 

Mix each color in its own cup. I have found I like the wide craft sticks the best for mixing. Personal preference. No rules! 



These are the colors I ended up going with. You can see for this 8x10 surface, I didn't need to fill each cup. Now it's time to prepare your pour. Take a clean cup and pour in your first color. Add pours of your other colors, color by color. Again: no rules!! Some people do it making concentric circles ( pour each color dead center of the last). Other people drizzle and drop their color layers. I did everything. Pour. Circle. Circle. Drizzle.Drop. Drop.  Repeat until you have enough paint that it looks like you'll probably cover your surface. For this size piece I filled my pour cup a little more than half full. 



 I actually started with black then blue then green then white ( and just realize this looks like sour cream over guacamole or am I just hungry) and somewhere in there are purples and lavender. Once you're happy with your pour cup, place your surface on top of the cup and flip so the cup is now on top. This is understandably called "the flip" ( oooooooh aaaaaaaaahhhh).


 You can see the paints start to work together as they run down the insides of the cup. Isn't it pretty?!

The next step is , and this is the part where if you didn't protect your work surface then you still have time ...."paint pourer lift that cup". Your paints will take off and go making their way across the surface. You can help this along by tilting your panel in whichever direction is needed for the paint to spread. This is where you want to have gloves on if you haven't up to this point.



This is the wet paint after I tilted and turned to cover the entire surface and the sides. I love sitting there watching the paint continue to interact and form new patterns and colors. I could sit for hours.

Since this isn't an exact science with precise measurements I had leftover paint. So I thought I'd use the same colors to do a clean pour. I didn't take pictures but this was done by just drizzling the remaining paints since I didn't have enough to do layered puddles.  The flow additive really made a difference and the paints flowed much more freely than with the Liquitex (which could have been more to do with me not using enough additive).  Blah blah blah...I love the result!


I'm loving this journey because I don't think there's a final destination! Now what can I do with that pretty pour cup ??






Monday, October 8, 2018

Easy Paper Hoop Project : Halloween Edition


I was meeting a couple of girlfriends for Brunch and I always like to bring a little girlfriend gift. I whipped these up quickly because my week hadn't gone as planned and I didn't even take a pic of the "final final" so not even sure I should post but...

I was inspired by this Christmas idea from The How To Home

and have these planned for Christmas. But I thought "hey, I could do something easy peasy for Halloween" to take my friends. 

Supplies: 
  • 3" Wood Embroidery Hoops 
  • Paper of choice
  • Vinyl decal ( I cut mine using my Silhouette but you could use pre-made or use stickers or diecuts!)
  • Embellishments 



This was a great way to use some papers from prior Halloween cards. I chose two sheets , traced the outer hoop, and cut out the circles. 



Glue to the back of your hoop using hot glue.  I chose a Halloween themed image from the Silhouette Library and added each of their initials in the center. 


Applied the vinyl to the center of the hoops and voila! 

I finished these ( bad blogger...forgot to take a picture!!) with a black organza ribbon bow at the top and tied a Halloween themed enamel charm with black and white baker's twine. And me, being me, added a few clear sparkly rhinestones o the broom and monogram. Super easy. Super fast. And I think super cute!!





Thursday, October 4, 2018

BFF Open House Link Party


Happy Friday Eve and Happy October all! Yikes, Halloween's just around the corner and from there the holiday season kicks into overdrive. Already heard Christmas music somewhere. 

Let's take a look at some of the great ideas from last week's party!


I know that the movie "Hocus Pocus" has a huge fan following. Confession time: I've never seen it! Not intentionally, just never have. However I know the fan base is HUGE so here's a great tee shirt for all you Hocus Pocus fans from A Sprinkle of Joy, and Danielle has included a free cut file for you to download! 

To go with your cute tee, you could make  yourself and/or a friend this gorgeous turquoise bracelet from DIY Adulation. So pretty for Fall ! Marie gives you step by step instructions. 


Now that we're settled into our home, I'm SO excited to be surrounded by my craft supplies again most especially my paper!  How cute are these Paper Pumpkins from Linda at Paper Seedlings? Scatter these around the house ; make a centerpiece ; make a garland ... possibilities are endless



Finally, if you are planning a Fall or Halloween party and you want to wow your guests, check out this GORGEOUS cake from All That's Jas. OMGeeeee!!!

Now, let's see what everyone's been up to this week! 

   
   


Monday, October 1, 2018

Sunday Dinner Made Easy: InstaPotRoast



So I don't do a lot of cooking posts mostly because I forget to take pics, but thought I'd do one since I haven't for a while.  The calendar has said Fall for several days but here in the desert it's still been 100 or more. We're expecting a storm though, and it got cloudy and "Fall" looking yesterday, and nothing says Fall dinner to me like a Pot Roast. 

I got an Instant Pot (which I call InstaPot) last year for Christmas and has become my favorite way to make a Pot Roast. PIP ( Pre InstaPot) this would be an all day endeavor for me, slow roasting in the oven for hours. Now though, start to finish, the whole meal took 2 hours and most of that time was me reading a book while things were cooking. 

I served it with Roasted Fingerling Potatoes , Roasted Broccoli and Glazed Carrots. 



Ingredients: 
  • 3 lb Chuck Roast (you can use a smaller cut of meat but I planned leftovers for French Dips!) 
  • 1 shallot
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Bay leaves
  • Beef broth

My InstaPot has a Saute function so I used this to brown the Chuck Roast on all sides. 

While this is heating up, peel your garlic, slice your shallot, salt and pepper your roast. 


Once your roast is browned on all sides, throw in the garlic and shallots. I also drizzled with a little garlic infused olive oil just for some extra flavor and since I'd gone a little crazy at a local olive oil place called Cave Creek Olive Oil where if you can't find a flavored oil or balsamic vinegar you like, I'm not sure it exists.  I know there are many places like this all over the country but they do ship! 

Once your roast is fully browned, add about 2 cups of beef broth, place the lid on, and hit pressure cook and set for 1:20 (80 minutes). Go read for a little bit and come back with about 40 minutes to go and put your potatoes on a sheet pan in the oven. These I tossed with more of the garlic olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted at 400. About 20 minutes in, I added the broccoli to the sheet pan. 

When the roast is done, you can either use the quick steam release or let it cool down on it's own so you can open the lid which will take about another 10 min. Mr. Chocolate kept asking what time dinner was so it was quick release for me! 

Remove from your InstaPot and let rest. Pour remaining liquid through a mesh strainer into a measuring cup or bowl ; turn InstaPot back to Saute, return strained liquid to pot, bring to boil. 

While this is going on, drizzle some olive oil ( I also picked up some Blood Orange Olive Oil which is what I used) and a small pat of butter in a saute pan. I'd already sliced my carrots and also semi-cooked them in the microwave for about 4 min, and then added them to the pan with a couple large tablespoons of brown sugar. Sprinkle whatever herbs you like. I used oregano and marjoram and while these are finishing, mix a slurry ( flour or cornstarch mixed with water) to your liquid in the InstaPot to finish your gravy. 



While your carrots and gravy are finishing, shred or slice ( we like it shredded) your roast, plate and serve w/ your veggies. 


I know many of you have an InstaPot but several still don't. If you're on the fence, I'd jump! Put one on your holiday list. They're lifesavers!! I still haven't explored all the things it can do but I'm working on that. 

Next time I make Spaghetti: 

I'll share the steps. I will NEVER make spaghetti any other way again. (Excuse my well worn plates...yikes I need some new ones!)

Thursday, September 27, 2018

BFF Open House Link Party

It's Fall "y'all" ! Officially. My first ever Fall still wearing shorts but it's Fall. But it's still one of my favorite times of the year and even though I am still in shorts here in the desert, there's a change in the air. Clearly you are all in Fall mode too given the projects you linked up last week. Let's take a look.


Black and white are my signature colors. I mean is there anything that doesn't look great in B&W? I adore these pieces shared by Kippi At Home ! 


Fall is the season of giving thanks and what better way than with a wonderful sign like the one from Hazel and Gold Designs. Simple, rustic and elegant at the same time. 

But Halloween comes first so here's another sign idea from Crafting In The Rain

I love this,  complete with the Granny Apple Green skull! 


Finally, Pumpkin Spice may be nice for a lot of you but my go to Fall flavor is Salted Caramel and Chocolate ANYTHING. So these Brownies from A Sprinkle of Joy are right up my alley. YUM!! 

Now, let's see what you've all been up to this week! 

   
   

Monday, September 24, 2018

My First Paint Pour: Paper Towel Swipe Method


So while I was without a craft room, I became obsessed with paint pouring. I may be very late to the party but I'm here now and I'm so hooked! If you haven't played with this let me warn you, it's so much fun and addictive from the first project and expect to see more projects!

What is paint pouring? In my own words, it's basically thinning acrylic paint with a medium that increases it's fluidity and flow, to create cells that dry into different patterns.  I'm sure there is a more official description but that's what it boils down to for me.  I just decided to experiment based on the concepts I'd seen on Pinterest and You Tube. 

Supplies: 
  • Canvas or other surface. I used a 12x12 canvas from Michaels
  • Acrylic Paints. I used 2oz bottles from my craft stash, nothing fancy ( in other words, not from the fine art section)
  • Flow medium. I decided to go with an official medium and used Liquitex Pouring Medium ( Michaels ) but have seen references to everything from just water, silicone, other brand name pouring mediums, even hair care products.  Since this was my first time I decided to be "official"  and use something designed for this.
  • Containers and utensils to mix paint and medium 
  • Paper towel



I added enough pouring medium to make my paints pourable. I craft like I cook...by instinct so it was about 2/3 paint 1/3 medium and as you can see, for this size canvas you don't need a lot. 


You will want to make sure you have your work surface covered because it will drip down the sides. I just poured a couple of colors in random patterns as shown and kept adding paint until I felt like I was ready to do the swipe. 


I started with black and silver, and then added gold and white, and just kept pouring and swirling. 


When you're done adding your paint, you'll need a wet paper towel for what is called the "swipe". I went for wet but not sopping and just kept it at the ready in its own cup. This is something you'll want to watch a video to see the technique because I couldn't do it and take pictures at the same time but basically you straighten out your wet paper towel and then line the bottom of it up with the top of your canvas and swipe ( to me it's really more of a drag) your wet paper towel down to the bottom of your canvas. 

You'll pick up paint on your paper towel which you can offload on an extra piece of paper. I actually saved my paper towel once it dried. It looks like a piece of handmade paper which I guess it is! Repeat on the remaining un-swiped area of your canvas. 

Now don't do what I did! I prefer to think of creative mistakes as "happy accidents". I am impatient and I wasn't sure if I'd totally mucked up my project ( I hadn't) because I wasn't seeing the cells develop immediately.  This is the part where you don't want to repeat my mistake ( unless you decide you do!). 



I dragged my paper towel sideways instead of just leaving it alone because I thought maybe I hadn't covered my canvas well enough. I ended up making these kind of wave patterns which in the end turned out fine since there really is no right or wrong here but that's not what you're supposed to do. I also wasn't seeing as much gold as a result because I'd dragged too much black paint over it so I just randomly dropped some from the cup with the gold in it.  

Had I been more patient, I would have realized that the interaction of the water from the paper towel with the paints and the medium just took a little time. As the canvas sat there, the cells began to emerge. I'm still happy with the outcome and it fits right in with the rest of how one of the walls in my office is coming along!


and it goes with my "cement" focal wall: 


Thursday, September 20, 2018

BFF Open House Link Party


Happy Friday Eve once again. Best day of the week! Not only because tomorrow's Friday but because I get to see all the wonderful creativity you share each week. 

Let's see some ideas from last week's party!


Leanna from Faeries and Fauna is back with another wonderful project. This one modeled on a clam basket. Large baskets are hard to find and when you do they can get pricey so I love that you can make this and make it any size you choose!


Who doesn't have an empty tissue box? Save your next one to make this Upcycled Halloween Candy Container from Marie at DIY Adulation.


I have been in love with Velvet Pumpkins since I first saw them but Lisa from Fresh Vintage by Lisa S has now added Velvet Acorns which take things to another level! She did these in pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.



I know this is the time of year that Pumpkin lovers rejoice, so all of you who are need to check out these gorgeous Pumpkin Spice Cake Balls from Butter With A Side of Bread


Now let's see what you've all been up  to this week. Thank you for visiting!