Thursday, June 27, 2013

Faux Mercury Glass Candlesticks

Love how these turned out. See my tutorial posted later on my blog.  Link below! 

Just finished these cool candlestick vases! Pretty excited about how they turned out. The whole project cost under $5! As you can see, I used some old glass jars and one old round vase. The two glass candlesticks were Goodwill finds, and I applied the faux mercury glass technique to all the glass pieces, including the candlesticks. I used glass glue to attach the jars to the candlesticks, which worked great. I took a ton of pictures of the process, and will soon have a tutorial on the mercury glass technique. Once you get the hang of it, it's addictive. I ran out of glass to paint ; (

See my Faux Mercury Glass Tutorial  -------> here.   <------- font="" link="" nbsp="" to="" tutorial.="">

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

4th of July Wreaths

Made these with extra fabric (still) left over from our wedding! I found the wire trim at the dollar store and Hobby Lobby. Happy 4th to everyone!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013



4th of July Centerpiece

This was a quick and fun 4th of July decoration! I think it turned out pretty nicely. I filled the vase with 3 colors of water beads, as you can see. Each layer is separated with a thin piece of plastic wrap so the colors don't fade together. Wrap the floral stem bases with plastic wrap as well so the tiny exposed metal part doesn't create rust in the beads. Yes, I've had this happen and the package of water beads recommends wrapping the stems. Simply follow the steps on the water beads. I waited overnight so the beads were as full of water as possible. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

DIY Gel Nails - Ombré Color

Purple to Coral Ombre Effect 

Just finished my at home Gelish manicure. Totally in love with this new take on painted nails. This was pretty easy to do, too. I had looked up a few "how-to" videos on YouTube to see how people were doing this technique. Although, I never found a perfect one it gave me a great idea how to start. The best tip was to use a triangular makeup sponge. I didn't use it has directed in the video since I was using Gelish. However, I used the makeup sponge to blend the ombre effect across my nails. I've provided a simple how to below. I would also recommend checking out a few YouTube videos, as you might get inspired for a look all your own. Before starting my nails I did a test run on a piece of clear plastic to see how to blend best and how the color effects would play together.

Side tips/ notes: I've been doing my own at home Gelish nails now for almost 2 years, about every 2 weeks, sometimes more consistently than others. I recently got a new UV light which I am totally loving. Also the new light is large enough for toes so I've officially done my first at home Gelish Pedi, too - also in the same ombre colors! WAY worth the upgrade and such a time saver! (See details below on products.) If you currently do your own Gelish nails or are thinking about doing it to save money (vs. going to a salon), I would highly recommend the products below. Don't be discouraged if your first couple manicures don't look perfect, you will soon get the hang of it and know exactly how to do it! I've got so many compliments on my ombre nails, so I thought I'd share the fun - enjoy!

Products I use for at home Gelish Manicure (and Pedicure now, too): All products can be found at Sally Beauty.

1. Gelish Starter Kit: Kit
2. I've already finished the first bottle of "top it off" and tried out another brand which I like a lot better. Fingerpaints Top Coat. This brand seems to dry shinier and a bit glossier (meaning texture wise).
3. UV light of choice: UV Lamp. Note this is my second light & I decided to FINALLY splurge on it after selling some stuff on Craigslist. SO happy with it. For your reference, I had been using this lightGelish Mini Light for the last year and a half (using the AC adapter option). It works good, but not great. The new lamp is DRAMATICALLY faster and easier. If you are serious about investing in the kit and adamantly doing your mani's and pedi's at home I would go for the better light. The worst thing about the Gelish light is you have to do 4 fingers at a time, then thumbs. I never once tried the pedi, as the whole process already took 1 full hour. The new light saves time, I can do a whole mani (with 1 color) in about 15-20 min max!

Process for Nails / Ombre Effect:
1. For complete directions on Gelish manicures, visit their website, here: Directions
2. For the ombre effect, do your manicure as listed in the directions through coat 1 of color.
3. Pick 2 colors you'd like to blend. The lighter of the two should be your first coat, the other, the second.
4. Apply the first coat and cure in lamp.
5. Apply the second "half coat" from the tips of the nail to about 3/4 down your nail. Cure.
6. Apply one coat of your second color from the base of your nail (from cuticle) up to half way  to 3/4 or so up your nail. This will probably vary slightly by person depending on desired look and length of nails. Paint 1 nail at a time have the best ombre turnout.
7. After the dark coat has been applied (NOT CURED YET) take a triangular makeup sponge and begin blotting and evening out the effect. I would recommend the "less is more" approach here, as you can blot a tiny, tiny bit and see the effects. Use 1 corner of the sponge to kind of cary the dark up, and the other corner to take the dark off from the top. That process might sound a bit confusing, but if you do a trial I think it will make more sense. Ex: Corner 1 moves purple up into the coral, corner 2 takes too much purple off the tip and shows more coral. The colors should be blended throughout the middle of the nail.
8. Don't worry about perfection! Each nail will be just slightly different and unique. Don't over do it, just let it be. The clear coat helps them look more "finished."
9. Repeat the ombre on all nails. Cure when complete with each hand.
10. Apply clear coat. Cure. Repeat.
11. Follow remaining Gelish instructions and you'll be done in a flash!

Hope this tutorial helps! Enjoy the creativity of the effect. Please feel free to post comments if this helps and or share pics of successful turnouts.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Texas Flag - DIY

I think this post should really be called, "See, I told you I'd make something cool with that wood." My husband always laughs because I love repurposing and holding onto things. Ok, I admit, I don't always have a project in mind, but I'm in no way a hoarder. So, we had all these extra boards that were removed from small crates after our move. I'd seen dozens of great ideas on Pinterest for reclaimed wood projects, so I couldn't let these go. I was inspired by giant Texas flags everywhere, as well as all the crackle paint tutorials. I followed the simple steps on the tutorials and created a one-of-a-kind distressed Texas flag for our back patio! I was totally in luck as I had 6 boards and when put together were the exact dimensions of the Texas flag! YES! For exact proportions of the flag, follow this guide: Flag Proportions

Reclaimed Wood - Rustic Texas Flag

Step 1: Cover wood in a thick coat of Elmer's Glue. Use foam brush to spread out evenly. 

Step 2: After 30 seconds of glue drying, paint color coat on. Repeat steps 1 &2  on white and red portions.

Effect on blue after about 7 min. Effect took much longer on the colors.

This is the effect of the glue on the white portion, first noticeable after about 3 min., with this effect after about 8.

I let the flag dry overnight, and then painted the star section the next day, using the same glue process. I printed a star template on cardstock, and then traced that onto the flag.  After everything was dry, I hooked the flag together with metal mending plates on the back. These are only 72 Cents at Lowe's! I have 10 holding the back of the flag together. 

The finished project! Overall, I think it turned out pretty good. I will note that I should have put the glue layer on thicker on the red. Less is not more for this project. 

Star and paint detail

Finally, Pinterest in Action!

Project 1: Goodwill Mirror Re-vamp

I've been super inspired the last week trying to get our house looking like a home. So much to do and so many projects filling my brain.  I couldn't take it anymore - it's project time!!! Here are a few before and after pictures. 

This was a $5 Goodwill find, not bad...till I got home and realized just how yuck the bottom of it was.  Pretty sure who ever last painted it, painted it and sat it on a floor covered in dog hair - disgusting!! After a lot of goo gone, sanding, vinegar/water wipe down I finally got to the wood layer at the bottom. The rest of the mirror wasn't too bad at all and just required light sanding. 

Voila! Super excited about this in my sewing room. As you can see it coordinates nicely with my table (Valspar Laguna Green). This is one of the new Pantone Universe Colors, I think Ibis Rose, but I can't find my color chip. It has a more purple cast to it in person. 

Now, there was just one more thing this baby needed - some bling! I've been saving these little suckers for 5 years and finally found the perfect place for them. Thanks Natalie, I told you I'd use them for the right thing! 

Chicken Piccata with a Twist...Click to view recipe

Chicken Piccata with Mushroom Caper Sauce

I made this dish last night, and oh my gosh, was it fabulous!!! I had to post the recipe right away so I wouldn't forget a thing and to share it, of course.  I had planned on making a more traditional chicken piccata, but once I got started I realized there was always something missing from this dish - enough sauce! In our house, we like to cook enough for leftovers and I had 6 chicken breasts waiting for some kind of awesome preparation, and thus this creation was born! Enjoy!

- 1 cup low fat buttermilk- 1 T salt- 1 T pepper-1 T garlic powder
- 3 large cloves of garlic, diced- 2 lemons- 1 cup flour + 1/3 cup flour (2 steps)- About 2 cups sliced mushrooms
- 3-4 T capers, more to taste if desired 
- 3/4 cup white wine
- 3 cups low sodium chicken broth- 12 oz. Ferrer Wild Mushrooms Porcini Soup * - Extra virgin olive oil 

* This soup was found at HEB, if you can't find this exact brand I would search for a high quality mushroom soup. I had eaten the other half of the jar straight as soup and it was delicious! 


Preparations ahead of time:
Pound chicken breasts to flatten and thin. Pour buttermilk and salt into a large ziplock bag and add chicken to the mixture. Refrigerate overnight if possible, or at least 30 min. ** In the morning pour out a good portion of the buttermilk, and add the salt, pepper and garlic powder. Return to refrigerator until ready to cook. If preparing the day of, simply pour out buttermilk and season chicken breasts before next step. 

Chicken Preparation and Cooking Instructions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Line a cookie pan with foil. I use about 2T per skillet batch. Remove chicken from bag and cut each breast in half, as they will be pretty large. Season if you have not already. Place 1 cup flour on a plate and begin dredging chicken on all sides. Begin with the biggest pieces. Add 3-4 pieces to skillet, depending on what fits. Lightly fry for 3-4 min per side until lightly golden brown.  Once the pieces have browned on both sides place them on the cookie pan and place in oven. Continue coating and cooking chicken, adding each batch to the oven as completed. If you begin with the largest pieces, the chicken should all finish about the same time in the oven. Continue cooking chicken in the oven for an additional 15 min or so, depending on your oven. 

Let's Make the Sauce!:
In the same skillet you cooked the chicken, add the garlic and a bit of fresh oil. Cook 1 min. and then deglaze the pan with the white wine, scrapping down any brown bits. Add the mushrooms, juice of 2 lemons, capers, chicken stock and mushroom soup. Stir until well combined. Bring to a boil. Continue boiling 2-3 minutes to allow mixture to thicken. Sift in remaining 1/3 cup flour to thicken the sauce mixture. Turn heat to low and stir occasionally until chicken is done. 

Ready, Set, EAT!
Plate the chicken and cover generously with sauce. Serve with green vegetables. Relax, for the first time there is enough sauce for all of the chicken piccata! 

** Tip: If you have never buttermilk brined chicken, you are missing out! This is one of the simplest, most effective cooking tips I've ever learned. Buttermilk and salt work wonders on chicken and makes it super tender. I can always tell a difference in the finished chicken when I've let it soak in buttermilk.