January 29, 2012

DIY Glitter Clothes Pin Magnets

My fridge is always papered with Save The Dates, photos, birth announcements and more...but I always seem to be short on cute magnets to pin them up with.  I saw a project on Pinterest that showed you how to make sparkly, glittery clothes pins and decided to convert them in to magnets.  To make your own, you'll need the following crafty supplies:

Plain Clothes Pins
Mod Podge
Foam Brush
Tin Foil or Newspaper
Roll Of Magnet
Hot Glue Gun

Arrange your clothes pins on newspaper, tin foil, or some other surface that can be thrown away when you're done.  As I've said before, glitter is the herpes of crafting...you can't get rid of it.   So the last thing you want is it stuck to your kitchen counter...or worse.

Using your foam brush, dip it in to your Mod Podge.  

Paint a thin layer on to the clothes pins.
 Lightly sprinkle your glitter on to the Mod Podge.  It should stick nicely but tap the clothes pin to remove any excess.
 Allow the Mod Podge and glitter to dry for a few hours, then add another layer of Mod Podge on top to seal in the glitter and add a glossy shine.
 Once the top coat has dried, get out your scissors, magnet strip and hot glue gun.
Cut off a thin strip of magnet, then adhere to the back of your pin with hot glue and you're done!

January 28, 2012

Sweet Valentine's Day Etsy Finds

I have a wish list of dozens upon dozens of prints I've been ogling on Etsy for God only knows how long.  I have to stop, breathe, wait and remind myself that I don't want my apartment to end up looking like a circus with a hodgepodge of mix and match artwork.  So I wait.  And I ogle. 

Ryan purchased the Etsy print below for me and it's one of my favorite gifts he's ever given me.  It combines three of my true loves in life:  blogs, coffee and him.  It gives me warm, fuzzy feelings every time I see it hanging above our bed.

I wanted to share a few of my favorite lovey dovey Etsy prints and cards, starting with the hilarious one below that my friend Jessica's husband Jeff gave her one Valentine's Day.

January 23, 2012

Easy Appetizer: Castelvetrano Olives & Peppadew Goat Cheese Peppers

I'm often at a loss for what to serve as a pre-dinner appetizer when friends or family are over.  My go-to menu is usually something along the lines of cheese + crackers + veggies + hummus.  All delicious and totally app-worthy but it's time-consuming to chop up vegetables and cheese isn't the healthiest snack to nosh on.  The colorful finger foods above are a unique and tasty option, starting with... 

...the bright green olives that I have become OBSESSED with.  They're Castelvetrano olives and I have picked up a big tub of them on my last 10+ grocery trips.  You can usually find them at your grocery store's olive bar.  They have a really firm, meaty texture and a nice balance of salty and sweet without the acidic 'bite' you find in other olive breeds.  

Pair them with some Peppadew peppers with their mild, sweet heat and some creamy goat cheese stuffed inside for a sophisticated but super simple appetizer.  Voila!

January 22, 2012

Sunday Supper: Braised Beef Short Ribs

My all time favorite restaurant is Lucques in West Hollywood.  Ryan discovered it a few years ago and we've been a handful of times for special occasions or when family is in town.  Owner, Suzanne Goin wrote this amazing cookbook - Sunday Suppers At Lucques - featuring fresh, seasonal recipes intended for...Sunday suppers!  All the recipes are meant for gatherings of six people so I decided to whip one up for Ryan and my friends Jenny and Diana: Braised Beef Short Ribs With Potato Puree, Swiss Chard and Horseradish Cream

Though complex, this dish is not impossible.  If you have an afternoon to make a special meal and are careful to follow the instructions, you will surely have a hearty dinner to die for.  Also, if you're a visual learner like me, I also mapped out a timeline of steps so you know roughly when to work on each part.  (Note: the +25% note is so I had extra stock to freeze and use for another dish down the road)

The entire recipe - word for word - can be found here plus before and after pictures of my dish below!  Happy Cooking!


January 16, 2012

DIY Scrapbook

One of my favorite times of the year is November 14th, also known as Ryan and my anniversary.  Also known as the best day of the year.  We've had three of them.  NBD.  And every year, I make a scrap book like the one below chronicling our nights out, days with friends, concerts, trips and other adventures.  

I don't like using the standard photo albums because they don't allow for flexibility and they're just a little...generic.  With these, I can add in the occasional 5x7, write captions and add my ticket stubs* and other pieces of memorabilia.  I also love the black paper.  It adds something special.  You can buy them over on Kolo.com.  They come in a variety of sizes and colors, in cloth or leather and you can add/expand the albums to add extra pages over time.  *loves*

* My love for physical tickets vs. lame print outs is waning after I lost a set and missed one of my favorite bands last month.  Sad face.

January 9, 2012

Knitting Behind Bars

I thought this story was heartwarming on so many levels when I saw it here and here on NPR.  A group of civic-minded crafters came up with the idea to teach inmates how to knit.  It sounds like a bizarre idea but when I think about what I love most about crafting, it's that it transports me somewhere else.  It calms my mind, it busies my hands and I get so zen-like that all I can focus on is what my hands are creating in that moment.  It's perfect for someone with an abundance of time.

After being turned down by prison after prison, founder Lynn Zwerling found one in Howard County, Maryland that said yes.  

Today, there's a waiting list to get in to the program, which meets for 2 hours a week.  Inmates knit 'comfort dolls' like the one above which are handed out by firefighters, police officers and other first responders to traumatized children at the scene of fires, car accidents or other tragic events.  All the while, it teaches prisoners habits that they may never have known: patience, dedication, focus and responsibility.  Talk about a win-win.

January 1, 2012

DIY Framed Jewelry Holder

I've been on a major crafting binge the past week and got a key project crossed off my wish list yesterday: a DIY framed jewelry holder!  I usually keep most of my everyday baubles in one of those Anthropologie fabric jewelry boxes but they always manage to get tangled up and knotted.  I also tend to forget to wear things when they're stored out of sight so I wanted a clean, un-cluttered way to display my key pieces.  Here's what you'll need to make your own!

Picture Frame 
(the one below is 11x14)
Glue Gun
Xacto Knife

1.  I wanted my frame to have a distressed, Shabby Chic look but I couldn't find a white frame that fit the bill so I decided to spray paint the one below.  Aaron Brothers is having their One Cent Sale (Buy 1 Frame, Get One For A Penny) through the end of January so I got two for only $20.  Lay your frame out on a trash bag or other protective surface, preferably outdoors...unless you enjoy the smell of spray paint like those weirdos who like the smell of gasoline.

2.  Spray white until you achieve your desired look and let dry for a few hours.

3. While you're waiting for your frame to dry, get out your cork board, Sharpie, Xacto knife and the backing from your frame. Lay the back down on the cork board.

4-5.  Trace the outline of the frame backing with your marker, then cut out using your Xacto knife.

6.  Mount your cork board cutout on the frame backing using your hot glue gun.  I actually added two layers of cork since the only cork I could find was very thin and I didn't want it to be too flimsy.

7.  Replace the frame backing. 

Then, simply hang your new frame and mount your jewelry using your T-pins!  From start-to-finish, this only took a few hours and that was mainly the time it took for the frame to dry!

Happy New Year!