Friday, November 30, 2012

A Quick Sketch

Most of you don't know this about me, but I went to art school for a short time when I was young.  In high school, I spent every free moment in the art room painting and sketching.  Then, when it was time to apply to colleges I applied to an art school, and got in.  So I went down to NYC, completed a summer prerequisite course, and went to art school for a whole six weeks.

I was enrolled at Parson's School of Design but I made a lot of mistakes.  I heard later that Parson's freshman courses are designed to weed out week artists   They call it "Boot Camp" for designers.  Guess I was just not cut out for that life.  Sometimes I wish I had stuck with it.

I'm not  great sketcher, but I want to do it more.  This is my most recent sketch.  In fact, my only sketch in a long time.

For some unknown reason I like to sketch rolls of toilet paper.  I have a bunch of them.  I like the shape they have.

So, that is my story, and my sketch.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Simple Tiramisu

There is something amazing about Tiramisu.  The soft cookies, the creamy layers and the light bite of alcohol.  Oh it just makes my mouth water.  My husband especially loves it, so I made some tiramisu for him.

My recipe is super easy, and has very little waste.  It also does not have any raw egg.  I once poisoned myself with raw egg and have grown quite careful since that sleepless night. 


1 cup of coffee (cool)
2 shot of espresso (cool)
1 oz Frangelico mini
1 oz Baileys Irish Cream
8 oz mascarpone cheese at room tempterature whipped
8 oz heavy cream whipped with a little sugar and vanilla
1 pack lady fingers
unsweetened coco powder

To make the tiramisu you whip up the heavy cream with a little sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla until it forms stiff peeks.  In a separate bowl whip up the room temperature mascarpone.  Then you fold in the whipped mascarpone cheese into the whipped cream. 

Mix the coffee, espresso, and mini alcohols in a tall glass.

Dip each lady finger in the coffee mixture for two seconds then lay down on a 9 x 9 pan.  Once the pan is full add half the whipped mixture in a layer.  Spread half the whipped cream and mascarpone with a rubber spatula.
Add a second layer of dipped lady fingers.  If you need more coffee (it depends on how long you dip the lady fingers) you can always make more coffee and espresso and just add a splash of alcohol (I like to use rum or almeretto in a pinch).
Cover your second layer of lady fingers with the rest of the cream mixture.  Top with a dusting of coco (I used unsweetened).  The tiramisu improves with age, so store it in the refrigerator with cut straws or toothpicks holding the saran wrap above the coco layer.  I like to let it sit for a couple of hours.  This is a great make ahead recipe as it tastes great on the second day.

This tiramisu is absolutely delicious.  It cuts well and it is safe from a salmonella poisoning. 

What deserts do you like to eat and make? 

Monday, November 26, 2012

DIY Roman Shade Fail

OMG I have had so much trouble with this roman shade.  All I wanted was a beautiful Roman Shade for my kitchen.  I had dreams of making this first one and then making more for other rooms in the house.

But NO, this was not to be.  My attempt to make a roman shade failed miserably. 

First of all, I don't know if you are aware of this, some of you might be, but there really are no good roman shade tutorial out there on the net (if you know of one please link it to my comments section).

I thought I had a good one.  The tutorial looks simple and did not require a whole bunch of supplies.  So try I did. 

Roman Shade Attempt One

I tried to make the roman shade using only little round brads.  This was my first mistake.  it took me hours to hand stich the little brads on, and then when i put up may shade this is what happened.  It got all bunched up.

The theory was good, but in practice, the shade did not have enough thickness and weight to hold it's shape.

After months of looking at my miserable shade (I don't open or close it much), I decided to try to fix my poor shade.

I figured that what my shade needed was something to hold the creases and folds in place.  So I bought some dowels and glued them to the shade right next to my little brads.

The problem was that my dowels were too small for the width of my shade.  I also had faulty glue and made a big mess.

This is what I got.  A bit of an improvement, but not perfect.

What I'm going to have to do is make a whole new shade.  It needs to be a little shorter in width, and i will use proper wood pieces on each layer.  I'm thinking of lining the shade and creating little pockets for the wood or dowels (the dowels might work just need a shorter curtain.

I'm  not sure if you can tell but I stenciled the fabric and attached the ribbon.  I really had a lot invested in this shade.  It is a sad day when I will finally get rid of this project and do it again.  I think I might just buy some red fabric.  I do like the ribbon though, it just needs to be a little closer together.

I can live with my shade like this for now.  Maybe i will keep an eye on the sales and get some red fabric when I see it is on sale.

Any of you had any luck with roman shades?  Please, any advice is greatly appreciated.

Monday, November 19, 2012

DIY iPhone 5 Charging carrier

I got my iPhone a couple of weeks ago.  I love it, and I tend to answer my phone a little more now.  I also use it for keeping grocery lists, my calender and all that.  I probably could use it a lot more.  But I was charging it on my kitchen counter, and I have to admit, it got a little messy.  So I made this little carrier for my phone. 

One thing I love about Apple products is how simple they are.  The designers keep the look light and clean.  I wanted my iPhone carrier to reflect that same look.  It was so convincing that when my husband came home he asked where I bought my it. 

Here is what I did.

I took an empty body wash bottle.  (Can I just take a moment to say I love this body wash?  It is super moisturizing and smells great.  I have to get more.) 

After washing it, I noticed that the writing on the container was just a sticker.  So with a little pulling and a lot of patience I got the sticker off. 
I then took a wax pencil (left over from my art school days) and made a line where I wanted to cut. 

With a sharp box cutter I cut the bottle to create an opening for the phone and a hole in the back for it to fit over the plug. 
The back swoops upward and has a small square where the iPhone plug holds up the whole carrier.  You can also see the remnants of the wax pencil. 

I then rubbed off the wax pencil marks, washed the bottle again, because my dirty hands has smudged it, and applied my little Apple sticker that came with the iPhone. 

And see, all done!
The fit is a little snug with the iPhone and chords, but it works well for now.  I hope to get a real charging station to go on my sideboard for Christmas.  I have one all picked out. 

Here you can see my iPhone carrier hanging off the kitchen counter plug.  I love this plug.  It is the most useful plug in the house.  I'm not always happy with the work my contractor did on my house, but this plug was a winner. 

Now, I'm sure you, my wonderful readers, know a lot of great stuff about the iPhone or any smart phone for that matter.  do you have any tips for apps I can download or programs that are good to use?  I need help.  I want to use my phone but not sure what it can do. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Weight Loss Update

I went in to Weight Watchers last week and got really good news.  I have lost 10.2 lbs so far.  So in about ten weeks I have lost ten pounds.

                                                      Before                 After

I go to the Weight Watchers meetings every week and I know people look at me and wonder why I'm there at all.  But we each have our own journey and I really did have weight to lose.  I know those two pictures are very different side by side, but if you look closely you can see the difference in my weight.  The one difference that jumps out for me is my muffin top.  The second picture has a much decreased bulge at the waist line of my pants. 

I have five more pounds to go to my goal, but I might stretch it to another ten.  If I lose ten pounds I will be the weight I was when I got married.  That would be perfect.  Even more important than losing weight is keeping it off.  I have to watch that I don't just gain it all back.  I'm tired of the yo-yo thing.  I want to lose it and keep it off.

A lot of us struggle with our weight.  Lets share some tips for how to lose weight and keep it off!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Huricane Sandy

I live in NY and I really feel that I have to write about Hurricane Sandy.  My home is in the Hudson Valley (pretty far up north) so we were not affected more than the inconvienance of having no electricty for three days.  But many people in my state and nearby were affected greatly.  My heart goes out to these families and I pray that they will be able to build their lives back again soon.

Last year around this time the upstate area was hit pretty hard.  With Hurricane Irene we had no power for eight days and my town was flooded with many families loosing their homes.  I understand what it is like to go through such hardship.

I don't mean to compare my problems to those who lost their homes, cars, or even loved ones.  I just thought I would tell my story.
We take our electricity for granted in this country.  My time living in India has shown me that not everybody knows what it is like to have power twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.  In Goa, we used to have brown outs and loss of electricty all the time.  We would sigh, unplug the t.v (I didn't have a computer yet) and pick up and candle and a book.

But here, in the US, my husband and I rely on the electric, and the internet, for everything.  We have internet phone, and only watch streaming t.v.  So when our power went out we had no phone, no t.v. and no internet.  We didn't even have a battery operated radio.  My husband had to drive ten minutes away just to find out if we had to go to work on Tuesday and Wednesday. We have no cell phone reception.

We also had no water because our well pump runs on ... you guessed it...electricity. Oh, and our heat is started with electric too, so no heat either. 

Everything in our refrigerator went bad. 

The good thing about my house in a storm, is that it is a stucco house with cinderblock walls.  The only way we could even tell that the wind was strong was by looking at the trees out our window.  The house did not creek, move, or make any sounds at all.  In fact, last year for Irene, I literally slept though the whole storm, and this year, Jeff slept through Sandy. 

For three days my husband and I hung around the house reading books and magazines.  I got really tired of my magazines.  At first, I was all excited.  I got my big stack of unread magazines and climbed into my warm bed.  But after about three hours of that I got bored.  There are only so many food recipes you can read before you get hungry and want more than warm yogurt or cold soup.

My husband was sick.  The poor guy had a fever and chills.  I tried to get him some cold medicine but it was too late when I went to the pharmacy (they sell the cold medicine only behind the pharmacy counter and the pharmacy was closed).  He also does not believe in anything herbal, so my family home remedies were strictly rejected.  I bundled him up and left him alone.   Once in a while I would make him a  cup of tea to try to get some liquids in him. 

This is what our living room looked like: 
We had plenty of candles and the big down comforter to keep us warm.  It looks like that lamp is on, but it isn't.  The candle under it is lighting up the shade. 
Our stove is gas, so we had that.  I boiled water and made tea at least a couple of times.  We stopped using real plates and cups and switched to paper and foam.  What a treat it is to have a nice hot cup tea when it is cold and dark in your home. 

Wednesday morning was the worst.   We had work (we both work in the same district) and had to get up at 4:45 AM in the dark.   We still had no electricity.  Lucky for me, I had gone to the gym the day before and taken a shower, but my husband was not so lucky.  He boiled a pot of water and took a sponge bath. 

When we got home from work the electricity was back.  We were soooo happy.  It took a little longer to get the internet back but it was nice to have heat, water, you know, all the stuff us privileged Americans are used to. 

What was your experience of hurricane Sandy?  (Or any other hurricane for that matter.)  I do plan to do a little more prep for the next one.  I need a battery operated radio, another flashlight (we only had one), more water jugs, more canned soup and other non-perishables, and maybe a couple of lamps (and a lot less yogurt).  What do you buy when inclement weather is predicted? 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

What Should I Do With All These Baby Food Bottles?

My wonderful sister-in-law had a baby about nine months ago.  Besides that I now have a little nephew, and he is adorable, it means I have a connection for Baby Food Bottles!!! 

That's not say that when she had her baby I was all "Oh great now I can get your empty baby food bottles."  No, it took me some time.  But when I saw the little one eating whole food and though about all those bottles I got right on it and asked mom and nana to save those bottles

Now, I have a huge collection of baby food bottles.  I already have a plan for most of them, but if I have extra I need a backup plan.  Also, if I get really inspired I can ask them to save more again.  (I put mom on hold for now, she can go back to recycling them.)

I'm not going to tell you about my original idea, but here are some ideas for extra bottles.  I would love it if you would vote in the comments section for your favorite idea (maybe I can make the project and use it as a giveaway or something).

Uses for Empty Baby Food Bottles  

1.  Glitter Tea Lights

I love this idea.  All you have to do is add glitter to the outside.  Very pretty.  This blog is great, but in Japanese (I think).  Lucky for us she has great photos. 

2. Tiny Vase

The great part of using baby bottles for vases is that they are small and low.  These ones are dipped in paint for extra pop.

3. Advent Calender

Forget about boring waxy chocolate, you can make your own advent calendar.  Put whatever you want inside. 

4. Hanging Vase

Put flowers, candles, or tiny succulents inside.  These would be great anywhere. 

5. Homemade Goodies


I always wanted to make sugar scrub.  What better way to give it away than to put it in little baby food jars.  But don't limit yourself to sugar scrub, anything you make would be great in a baby food jar.  Bath salts, honey, jam, the possibilities are endless.

6. Outdoor Chandelier

Ok, I have to admit, this is my favorite one.  I would totally do this.  We have an old family photo with everyone eating outside under a tree.  I want to take a current one in a similar style, and would love to decorate the tree with this chandelier.  Maybe I will make one for a party I want to throw next summer. 

Alright, now for your vote. Who knows maybe you will even inspire me to get the family collecting more bottles again.  
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