Tuesday, October 4, 2011

DIY-Art on a Budget

I have zero technique when it comes to painting. I've never taken an art class, and I wouldn't know a proper brush stroke if it hit me in the head. Thus, my need to keep my art projects simple and clean(no fancy stuff here).

1. Paint brushes
2. A palette to mix paint(I used a paper plate)
3. Acrylic paint-black, blue, white
4. Canvas (I recycled an old one)

To start, I mixed black and blue paint to get the solid color for my background. I brushed an even coat onto the canvas, let it dry a bit, then added a second coat. I left the paint to dry, then used white to paint a silhouette of a flower. I then took some of my blue paint(straight from the tube), and dragged my brush around the silhouette to trace a rough outline of the flower...And you're done!

Not including drying time, this project took me about 30 minutes. Painting the background took up a large chunk of that.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, July 18, 2011

Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

I can't attest to the greatness of this cupcake recipe since my new diet prevented me from eating one:( My oldest and his little buddies seemed to love it, though kids usually enjoy anything that is crammed with sugar. I can tell you that it was a very easy recipe to follow(which is great when baking with children), and the frosting turned out perfectly.

The kids(Mackenzie, Mason, & Isabella) helped out by pouring the ingredients into the mixing bowl and stirring the batter. They each chose their frosting color, which I mixed individually. They "piped" their frosting onto their cupcakes using a sandwich bag with a snipped off corner. I also gave them some strawberries, sprinkles, and cake decorating markers to add their finishing touch.

Their masterpieces:)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Mocha Cupcakes with Espresso Buttercream Frosting

While I was searching for a vanilla cupcake recipe yesterday, I came across a blog post for mocha cupcakes with espresso buttercream frosting--yes, they are as delicious as they sound. I will definitely be making this again.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Painting Makeover

A few years ago, the sis and I spent a whopping hour on a quickie painting for my dining room. It was great. Unfortunately, because of my recent color scheme change, it started to look like I was going to have to throw the painting into the black hole that is my garage. Life was looking bleak; my wall bleaker.

And then...inspiration struck!

All I had to do was take my "something old" and add "something blue." So I dug some acrylic paint out of my trusty art box and got to work. (They are tree branches, FYI.)

Before: Painting with red and peach circles
After: With blue and cream circles

It almost felt like I got a new painting. Plus, this zero dollar makeover made my non-existent budget extremely happy:D

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dining Room Table Revamp: Reupholstering Dining Room Chairs

      I've been hating on my din table and chairs for a few years. It's spotty, creaky, scratched, and the chair cushions are starting to look like a 2 year old's art project gone wrong (if that's possible). After casually browsing, and drooling, over a table or two from West Elm and Crate and Barrel, I mentioned my dilemma to Calina, my sister. Enter bright idea...She suggested I just refinish the set.

      Cheap, quick solution in tow, I marched off to a nearby store for some sand paper. I then dragged my table and chairs outside, unscrewed the seat cushions...and stared at my mess for a few days. A bit intimidated, it took a little encouragement from Calina, and the arrival of my cushion fabric, to get me motivated again. I am now 1 sanded table, 1 sanded an painted chair, and 2 upholstered cushions closer to having a dinner table again:)

      If you are interested in this completely do-able project, here is a link to reupholstering your dining room chair cushions.

I opted to cover over the existing fabric on my  seat cushion. 

Finished seat cushion. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Homemade Edible Play-dough

      Contrary to what this blog title suggests, I do not lay in bed at night thinking of ways to torture myself. Actually, flour covered children aside, I consider this little activity to be a form of self-preservation. With a four year old whose "whisper" can wake the dead, and a seven month old who I swear sleeps with one eye open, it is a must that I keep a few constructive activities up my sleeve.

      Cue the homemade play-dough. This dough is extremely simple to make, the ingredients are most likely already in your pantry, and it is a great way to get your kid(s) counting and measuring. Have I sold you yet?

(Parents, while this is an edible dough, I wouldn't advise you to skip your lunch.)

Tip: Decrease or increase your measurements to accommodate 
the amount of kids you have.

                          Ingredients(yields 8 

                               Food Coloring
                               1 cup water

                               2 cups sugar

                               3 cups flour


1. Pour water into a mixing bowl and add several
    drops of food coloring

2. Add sugar and flour. Mix

3. Shape, then eat

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Basic Red Rice

     When I was little, nothing said family get together like being forced to pick fresh achote from a spider infested tree. Luckily, for me at least, the tree was chopped down before my finger was bitten off by a beady eyed arachnid. Although I don't have fond memories of the cooking process, nothing says home to me like a steaming pot of red rice.
      If your family is anything like mine, you all have that one aunt who everyone swears makes the best red rice. This person is automatically volunteered to bring said rice to any and all occasions. Thus, eliminating the need for one to actually learn how to make this dish.
      So, what is one to do when one moves stateside, you ask? Experiment.

      I admit, I could have turned to my trusty rice cooker, thrown in some achote powder, and called it good. But I didn't want rice cooker red rice. I wanted outside kitchen, old lady cooking over the biggest pot I've ever seen, red rice. So, after many a dinner with crunchy, mushy, watery, and burnt rice (feel very sorry for my family), I went to see my Auntie Kita, who was visiting from Guam, at a bbq.
      Along with a jar of fresh achote, Auntie Kita bestowed upon me some expert red rice making tips. And you, my lucky reader, will be able to whip up this basic beginners recipe without any of the torturous experimentation.


(I just eyeball most of my measurements. The amounts were made to suit my family's tastes. Please feel free to alter the recipe to meet your needs.)

3 cups red rice
3 cups water
A few tablespoons achote seeds
1/4--1/2 an onion
2 cloves garlic
a bit of oil for sauteing
salt to taste (I use about
   2 dashes)

1. Soak achote seeds in water. Mix occasionaly.
2. Chop onion and garlic
3. Add oil to med sized pot and heat on med-high. Add garlic and onion. Saute until soft or slightly translucent.
4. Strain achote water into pot. Add salt. Cover and bring to a boil.
5. Add washed rice to pot. Stir. Cover and bring to a boil. Stir. Put stove on low heat. Cook for 25-30mins stirring half way through.