The second bedroom in my apartment is more of a library than anything else. And, thanks to this idea, I was able to add some fitting decoration.
For this, I needed:
a beloved children's book,
my exacto knife/rotary cutter,
and 5 pictures frames that the pages would fit in (thankfully, Runaway Bunny is almost exactly 5 x 7).
I first found five pages that would mesh well together (and were also not on the same page). I wanted something that would create a cohesive mini-story, which is not too hard to do, since Runaway Bunny is very repetitive. I then cut each page out with my exacto knife. I found breaking the spine and cutting parallel with the fold produces the cleanest cut. It's okay if the page isn't perfectly cut out, as most frame borders tend to hide a small portion of the picture anyway.
Since my frames weren't cooperating, I taped each page into place in the frame.
After that, there was nothing to do but hang them up. Since I'm rubbish at math, this took a bit of time. I first drew a straight line where I wanted the frames to hang. Eventually, I found that the frames work best if I hammered in a nail every 8 or so inches. This number will obviously vary, depending on the size of your story's pages, the frame itself, etc.
Someday, when I have kids, this will adorn their walls. Until then, it can accent my husband's incredible collection of science fiction novels.
I'm skeptical about a lot of hair treatments. Mayonnaise, grease, raw egg… Y'know, I want healthy hair, not salmonella. But I do have fragile, brittle hair, making it impossible to get any longer than just passed my collarbones. While I fully recognize that genetics are the biggest factor when it comes to hair length (I know a girl who has hair all the way down to her butt, and she uses clearance Suave), I wanted to try something to at least keep it a little more soft and a little less dry.
I had heard about the wonders of coconut oil, but it wasn't until I found some on sale, in bulk, at Costco, that I finally decided to try it.
The results are great. When I actually get into the routine of treating my hair once a week, my hair comes out stronger, smoother, silkier…however, some things to consider when using coconut oil:
1) Use a little at a time. I made the mistake of grabbing a huge chunk of it with my first go-around. Not only is this stuff messy, but it is hard as nails when cooled. The trick is to take a small dollop -- really, no bigger than a dime -- rub it between your palms, and smooth it into your hair. It's a long process, but so is washing away the oil stain on the wall behind you.
2) If you have thin hair, use shampoo when you wash it out. The greatest irony is that fine/thin hair needs the most amount of conditioning, but is weighed down the easiest by conditioner. Wash out the coconut oil, wash your hair, rinse, wash your hair a second time, condition as usual.
3) Your hands will get as greasy as your hair, so use gloves. Or, you can be like me and just wash your hands with a lot of soap. Either way, get ready for a layer of oil on your hands.
I've been casually going to other towns in the area, partly as solo road trip, and partly as a way to scout out locations for the big house hunting day (I know the towns within the 495 loop like the back of my hand, but I know very little about New Hampshire). It's insane how quickly you leave the Nashua or Manchester area and end up in the sticks. On Veteran's Day, I took a trek out to one of the farther-out towns of Nottingham. And for obvious (hopefully obvious) reasons. And while I don't think Nottingham will be the town we move to (it's a solid hour and a half away from Nashua, for starters), it was fun driving down and enjoying the wonderful sights.
Oh, I wanted this to work. I wanted this to work so badly.
It seems so simple: draw what you'd like on porcelain with a Sharpie, bake it, and enjoy it! The website I got this from even said I could run it through the dish washer.
So I got an adorable pitcher, some Sharpies of various colors, and went to work.
I found a pattern I loved online and slowly drew it on the vase, careful not to touch that areas I had already drawn, lest I smudge my masterpiece before baking it.
They had suggested 30 minutes at 350. I decided to err on the side of overdone and left it in for a solid hour, placing it gently on a heating pad to cool fully after I was done.
I returned to it about 5 hours later, when I knew it was completely cooled. I picked it up with my hands -- which happened to be damp -- only to find that my thumb was already smudging some of the artwork. Uh oh.
I decided to give the project the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it was just excess Sharpie that I had smudged off. And I wasn't about to put it in the dish washer, in case it needed a more gentle cleaning.
The problem is that it could withstand no cleaning. After a simple rinse in the sink with soap, water, and a sponge, I was left with maybe 40% of my design.
This number dropped to 10% once I ran it through the washing machine.
The plus side is that, since it was so easy for the pattern to wash off, all I needed was a sponge to get the rest off. At the end of the day, I do now have a beautiful new water pitcher for my plant and my cat's water bowl. I guess it'll just have to be design-free.
I decided to put this under "Try it Tuesday" instead of just "DIY & Crafts" because it's so stupidly simple that it barely counts as a craft. Really, the hardest part comes from washing the labels off the jars.
And, really, that's it: gather up a bunch of jars, soak them overnight in soapy water, scrub off the labels (using GooGone on the really tough adhesive). Clean, let dry, add photos. The only thing to keep in mind is the size of the photos: I found that vertical 3.5 x 5 photos work best. You can order them online from practically any place that develops pictures, and they're cheaper than 6 x 7s. Then, add a few tea candles, or maybe a ribbon around the rim, and you're set.
(As a minor sidenote: the front-and-center picture is of my sister-in-law getting pretend-mauled by the University of Cincinnati Bearcat. Very few college statues rival that of a big-ass carnivore about the devour something.)
When I was in college, I'd mix in straight-from-the-jar Alfredo sauce with spaghetti and call it a well-cooked meal. Oh, how the times have changed.
It's crazy how a few extra ingredients can completely transform a meal.
For this meal, I got:
1 Package of Pappardelle (this is the gluten-free version from Trader Joes, which is fantastic)
1 Jar of Alfredo Sauce
1/2 of a Lemon
1/2 a jar of Capers.
1. While the water is boiling mix in the jar of Alfredo sauce with 1/2 of a lemon and 1/2 a jar of capons. Let it simmer on low heat for at least 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
2. Cook the Pappardelle for 10-12 minutes, drain and rinse.
3. Serve with some delicious Parmesan and sourdough.
This meal is incredible. I seriously don't think I can have straight Alfredo sauce ever again. The capers and the lemon complement each other perfectly. This dish is delicious! And, like my wedding colors, as I was babbling to my husband about how amazing lemon is with capers, my husband revealed that it is incredibly common to have both lemons and capers in a meal.
Well, then. Before you know it, I'll be accidentally inventing algebra. Y'know, if I were any good at math.
In all this chaos, I almost forgot that this time last year, I started this blog.
In that time, I've done almost 100 crafts (the backlog of which has gotten so immense that I'll be posting about crafts I did from over a year ago), I found the impetus to get into the more technical aspect of photography, I even used it as a vehicle to power through NaNoWriMo (and the eventual completion of my second novel)... I've gone through 3 or 4 layout changes, figuring out through -- gee, trial and error -- what worked best.
I genuinely had no idea how long this blog would last -- or if I'd even remember to post in it. I didn't expect much for my blog. Now, I have the third most popular "Giant Kit Kat Bar" article on Google (I fully recognize that the variables in that statement is on the same level as, "Best martial artist wearing flip flops and a Hawaiian shirt in the Wisconsin area," but, hey, I'll take what I can get!). This has grown in ways that I never thought possible, and I'm so stupidly proud of it.
So, happy birthday to my blog! Hopefully this year will see the same amount of growth and change that the first year brings -- like my Etsy store and, maybe, just maybe, another NaNoWriMo extravaganza.
(Or maybe, just maybe, a book deal of sorts. We'll see!)
One of my favorite things to do in Ohio is visit the Kingwood Center. The estate is positively gorgeous, no matter what season it is. From the gorgeous fall foliage to the blossoming flowers in the garden, the Kingwood Center is almost reason enough to continue coming back to Ohio (aside from Cedar Point and Skyline Chili and, y'know, my in-laws).
With my fancy Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM lens on hand, my husband and I ventured out one night for some long exposures. Ever the consummate photo assistant, my husband held my new camera bag and offered priceless advice.
He even jumped in front of the camera and tried out the long exposure flashlight concept.
Which I had to mimic as well =)
The inside of Kingwood is nothing short of spectacular. The mansion pulled all the stops when it came to decorating for Christmas.
I gotta admit: while I'd never move to Ohio, I miss it when I'm gone. I know the midwest gets a bad rap, but there really is a lot more to it than quiet suburbs and sprawling acres of farmland.