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Category Archives: Inspiration

Tutorial Tuesday – Wall Clock!

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Remember how I just re-did my bathroom?  No?  Well, let me refresh your memory.  You’re welcome.  If you look in the background of those pictures, you’ll see the boring old white wall clock.  First off, do any of you have clocks in your bathroom?  When I initially got it I thought it might be strange, but we needed it.  Why, you ask?  Because Ryan takes so long in the bathroom and then loses track of time.  I’m as serious as a heart attack, you guys.  Anyway, as some of you know, I kinda like Ikea.  SIKE!  I freaking love Ikea!  So, in one of my Ikea frenzies, I stumbled upon this clock which costs a non-whopping $10.  I kinda liked its simplistic whiteness initially, even though a white plastic clock would usually scream “BEDAZZLE ME!”  

Fast forward to said bathroom fancification.  For some reason, I became obsessed with that clock’s boringness.  Actually, I probably wouldn’t have ever thought a thing about it if I hadn’t found this.  Well, I ran across this collaboration project first.  I was obsessed.  But, of course, my brain went into overload over this little issue – what should I actually do?  Paint?  Paper?  Fabric?  Yarn?  GAH!  I finally decided on fabric because I have so many scraps gathering dust.  So, without further ado…ta da!

Here’s a shot a little further back in the bathroom.  Keep in mind that the bathroom is so small that you practically need to be a contortionist to get a good photo of the corner. 

I’ll be honest, though.  I initially chose a different fabric.  Poor Ryan has been having to deal with phrases like “a pop of color” A LOT lately.  So, we negotiated and picked a pink/orange fabric.  Guys, it was hideous.  Not hideous.  Just so girly and over the top.  It popped too hard maybe?  Like it burst?  I don’t know…  Anyway, after e-mailing the writer over at Mod Podge Rocks (an awesome blog to take a look at if you have time), she assured me that it wouldn’t be a problem to remove the fabric.  I don’t know why I stressed so much about ruining the clock.  I just didn’t want to make an Ikea run during the week and waiting until the weekend sounded like too much for my impatient self to handle.  It seriously took a few tugs and it was off.  Oh, and I forgot to say that to adhere the fabric, it couldn’t have taken more than 15 minutes.  It’s that easy, folks.

So, if you like pops of color and clocks, give it a go.  It was a piece of cake.  Well, if I hadn’t popped the color so hard in the first place.  Oh Lizzie…

Mad Men Cocktail Party, Part 2

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Part 1 of my Mad Men(esque) Cocktail Party ideas talked about invites.  This post (part 2) will talk about my favorite aspect – food and drinks.  And more drinks.

The drinks are what I like to call “old man drinks.”  I love old man drinks.  My signature drink is a Stiletto.  Perfect, as Mad Men appears to be all about whiskey.  These people drink it like it’s water.  Of course, it doesn’t END at whiskey, though.  Here are a few drinks of choice.  Oh, and the AMC site actually has a page devoted to Mad Men cocktails.  Oh AMC…

Old Fashioned

INGREDIENTS

2 dashes aromatic bitters
½ tsp sugar dissolved with water and bitters
1½ oz of bourbon
1 cherry
1 orange slice
1 lemon wedge

INSTRUCTIONS
Fill glass with ice. Add cherry, orange slice, and lemon wedge. Pour in bourbon. Serve in a rocks glass over ice.

Whiskey Sour

 INGREDIENTS
2 oz whiskey
½ oz fresh lemon juice
½ oz tsp sugar
1 cherry
½ lemon slice

INSTRUCTIONS
Put all ingredients in mixing glass and add ice cubes. Strain into highball glass. Add lemon slice and cherry to garnish.

Gibson Martini

 INGREDIENTS
2½ oz of gin or vodka
¾ oz dry vermouth
3-5 cocktail onions

INSTRUCTIONS
Stir gin or vodka and vermouth on ice in mixing glass. Strain into martini glass and add cocktail onions.

Sidecar

 INGREDIENTS
1½ oz cognac
¾ oz triple sec
¾ oz fresh lemon juice
1 orange slice

INSTRUCTIONS
Squeeze lemon in mixing glass. Shake briskly. Select sugar-rimmed snifter. Strain into glass and garnish with orange slice.

White Russian

 INGREDIENTS
1 oz vodka
½ oz coffee liqueur*
1 oz heavy cream

INSTRUCTIONS
Pour vodka, coffee liqueur, and heavy cream into cocktail glass. Stir well.

*Of course, Roger Sterling just drank it with whole milk and vodka.  No coffee liqueur required, apparently.

Greyhound

INGREDIENTS
2 oz vodka
5 oz grapefruit juice

INSTRUCTIONS
Pour vodka and grapefruit juice on top of the ice in a cocktail glass. Stir well.

 
 
 
Typical 60’s party fare was all about finger food which is perfect for me.  Not that I am horrible at cooking, but I think everyone will end up happier if I don’t.  Here’s a small sampling I’ve compiled of the finger foods (well, one is salad) that I thought looked delicious. 

Deviled Eggs

 INGREDIENTS

  • 12 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon minced sweet pickle
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Hot red pepper sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley , for garnish
  • Paprika , for garnish
INSTRUCTIONS
Place the eggs in a large saucepan just large enough to hold them in a single layer. Add enough cold water to cover by one inch. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain carefully and rinse under cold water. When cool enough to handle, but still warm, peel the eggs. Cool completely.Cut each egg in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks and place in a medium bowl. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, pickle and Worcestershire sauce. Season to taste with salt, pepper and hot sauce.Transfer the yolk mixture to a pastry bag with a half-inch wide opening. (If you wish, fit the bag with a half-inch star tip before filling.) Squeeze the yolk mixture into the hollows in the whites, and place on a serving platter. Sprinkle the filling with the parsley, and then the paprika. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least one hour and up to eight hours. Serve chilled.
 

Shrimp Cocktail with Spicy Bloody Mary Sauce 

INGREDIENTS

  • 11 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
  • Pinch red pepper flakes , optional
  • 1 1/2 cups cocktail sauce
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 2 cups white wine
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 to 6 jumbo shrimp , peeled and de-veined (tail left on)
INSTRUCTIONS
Combine horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, celery seeds, red pepper flakes, cocktail sauce and vodka. Mix well and chill.  Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat wine, lemon juice and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Poach shrimp just until pink and curled, about 3 to 4 minutes. Place on ice and refrigerate. When completely chilled, season lightly with salt and serve with sauce.
 

Pan Fried Onion Dip

INGREDIENTS 

  • 2 large yellow onions
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
INSTRUCTIONS
Cut the onions in half and then slice them into 1/8-inch thick half-rounds. (You will have about 3 cups of onions.)

Heat the butter and oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions, cayenne, salt and pepper, and saute for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 more minutes until the onions are browned and caramelized. Let the onions cool.

Place the cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until smooth. Add the onions and mix well. Taste for seasonings. Serve at room temperature.

In a mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the dip. Mix well and adjust seasoning to taste. Place dip in a decorative serving bowl and set on platter.

Caesar Salad

CROUTON INGREDIENTS

  • 6 slices (1-inch) ciabatta or another crusty white bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
  • Coarse salt (to taste)

SALAD INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cloves garlic, halved
  • 2 large egg yolks (or 1 tablespoon store-bought mayonnaise)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 to 5 anchovies
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, washed and dried thoroughly and torn into 2-inch pieces
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (to taste)

INSTRUCTIONS

For Croutons: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, toss bread cubes with remaining crouton ingredients. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and toast croutons until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.

In a large wooden bowl, using a wooden spoon, mash halved garlic cloves to a fine paste. Stir in egg yolks and Dijon mustard. Add anchovies, and grind to a paste. Add lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Slowly stir in olive oil until dressing is creamy.

Add lettuce to bowl, and toss to coat leaves thoroughly with dressing and grated Parmesan. Sprinkle croutons over salad, and serve topped with Parmesan shavings.

Rib-Eye, New Potato and Portobello Kebabs

INGREDIENTS 

  • 4 new potatoes, such as Red Bliss (about 3 ounces each)
  • 1 large portobello mushroom cap (about 4 ounces)
  • One 14- to 16-ounce rib-eye steak
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • Four 12-inch bamboo skewers, soaked in warm water for at least 30 minutes

INSTRUCTIONS
Place the potatoes in a 1-quart saucepan, and add water to cover by 1 inch. Set the pan over high heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat; cook the potatoes at a gentle boil until barely fork-tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, and allow the potatoes to cool. Cut the potatoes in half; set aside.

Remove the stem and gills from the portobello with a sharp knife, and cut the cap into 8 wedges. Place the wedges in a medium bowl.

Cut the steak into 8 equal pieces, and season them with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Place the meat in the bowl with the mushrooms. Add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, rosemary and garlic, and stir to coat mushrooms and steak well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Heat a grill to medium-high, and lightly oil the grate.

Remove the bowl from the refrigerator. Skewer a potato, followed by a piece of steak and a mushroom wedge. Add another potato, piece of steak and mushroom wedge. Repeat with remaining skewers. Reserve remaining marinade for basting the skewers as they cook.

Grill the kebabs, basting them as they cook, for about 3 minutes. Turn and cook for another 3 minutes, basting, before turning them over to cook on the first side again. Continue to cook on the first side for 2 to 3 minutes before turning them over and cooking a final 2 to 3 minutes. Season the kebabs with the remaining salt, and serve immediately.

OK.  That’s probably enough.  My stomach is growling.  And like I said, this is just a small sampling I tracked down online.  There are MANY more ideas out there. 

Next stop – decor/ambiance…

Mad Men Cocktail Party, Part 1

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OK. I just started watching Mad Men.  I know, welcome to 2006.  It’s especially strange that I never started earlier as I love that time period – the clothes, the architecture, the decor, THE CLOTHES!!  I think it was because I missed the boat for the first season and I didn’t want to jump in without starting at the beginning.  Fast forward a million years and it was added to the Netflix streaming pool.  Commence watching…NOW!  It’s funny because I thought I’d love many people on the show, but almost everyone is a jerk in a way.  The men are total pigs and the women all take their crap.  Gack.  But they all look so wonderful in the meantime.

Why am I blathering away about Mad Men?  Well, it has to do with the fact that I’ve been ITCHING to throw a cocktail party.  And I’d love it to be Mad Men-esque.  I wouldn’t make everyone dress up (unless I would), but I’d just like the overall vibe to be 60’s lounge.  So, while it’s not in the “official” planning stages, here are my ideas.   

Invites.  You know how I feel about invites.  They have to set the general mood.  I love Evite, but there’s something about getting a real invitation in the mail.  It gives it a bit of class.  And it’s one more thing that I can DIY.  There, I said it.  So, what would a standard 50’s/60’s invite would look like?  In other words, WWBDD (what would Betty Draper do)?  Probably something like this:

I know, slightly boring.  But it’s totally what Betty Draper would do.  Admit it.  I mean, it’s not like she could pull out her laptop, open Photoshop or Illustrator and get to business.  She wouldn’t want to be flashy anyway.  It would seem common.  The furthest she’d go is a graphic like the one above or some sort of watermark.  That’s just how she rolls.

OR, if you don’t want to be a die-hard, you could do the cutesy vintage/retro vibe:

OR you could give in and make it apparent that you’re looking for a Mad Men feel.

OR you could be me and sit and mull over all of this until your head explodes.  Just looking at the silhouette of Don Draper makes me want an Old Fashioned.  Which means…next post – cocktails and food.  Or cocktails and cocktails if you lived on the set of Mad Men.  Oh, and about 3 packs of cigarettes a day.  Yikes…

Tutorial Tuesdays!

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I’ve made a decision.  Instead of only giving you updates on my current projects, I’m going to start giving you some ideas to carry out yourselves.  Well, if you feel so inclined.  I’m going to do a weekly posting called “Tutorial Tuesdays!”  I know…not that original.  But hopefully one of these will inspire you to pick up a DIY project and go for it.  And, I’ll be honest, it’s also a way for me to keep track of all the tutorials I want to try.  I know, I’m selfish…

So!  May I present the inaugural Tutorial Tuesdays! (I feel like I should put TM after that).

[Sugar Scrub TutorialPetit Elefant]

I’m a huge fan of sugar scrubs.  They smell so glorious and your skin feels AMAZING after using them.  I once gave one to Ryan before we were married and he fell in love with it.  Well, as much as a guy could fall in love with something you’d find in a shower.  Later, he told me that he was using it to scrub his face which I told him to STOP DOING, but…his face is still intact.  I’m always a little nervous about the ones that smell like baked goods because I’m afraid that he might try to eat it.  I always have to keep a close eye.

[Hemp Lamp Pendant Tutorial – Crafty Nest]

Good grief, I love these things.  They would look so cool on a porch or hanging in a cluster over a chair in a corner.  I’ve seen a lot of tutorials for these, but this is my favorite.  I think it’s because they use a rubber ball instead of balloons which makes the finished product perfectly round.  But that’s just me.

Of course, I’d make something a little more like this:

GGGGGAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!  It’s so adorable that I could scream!!!

[Laptop Bag Tutorial – Sew, Mama, Sew!]

I’ve been on the lookout for a new laptop bag forever.  Years ago, I had a really cool one made out of a thrift store men’s suit coat), but it just got old and tired.  Unbelievably, I just found a link to the picture here.  I could probably revamp it somehow, but…THIS IS SO CUTE!!!!  Hang tight, Matilda (my laptop’s name).  This will be  your ride soon, my sweet.

[Inkodye Fabric Tutorial – How About Orange]

This just looks like a little zippered pouch made with cute orange fabric, right?  WRONG!!!  Well, it is, but there’s more to it.  Jessica Jones of How About Orange actually made this fabric using Inkodye, plain, old safety pins and the sun.  Yeah, the sun.  It’s crazy!

I could go on FOREVER, but I’ll get you started on these.  So…hop to it!

Bathroom Inspiration

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I live in an apartment.  It’s pretty darn small, the lighting is AWFUL and the view outside both my kitchen and bathroom windows is of another apartment building.  But I totally love it anyway.  I love the location, the amount of storage space I have, and our kitchen (well, minus the aforementioned view).  Since real estate is so expensive here in LA, our chances of owning a home are a million to one.  Well, maybe not that bad if we moved out of the Santa Monica, but…I don’t want to.  It’s pretty here!

One of the biggest downfalls to renting an apartment is the fact that in order to milk as much money as possible from tenants, landlords install the CRAPPIEST things.  For example, our current bathroom contains this hot mess.

Here’s the line-up.  This cabinet (side note – one of the drawers is jacked up and you need to pull super hard to open it).  I think I die a little inside every time I look at that thing.  It also features a countertop made of green granite that’s chipped in a few places.  I know, it’s granite.  But it’s also green.  If only it were black or white.  I mean, those go with everything!  Nope, green.  The medicine cabinet is so awful that I almost didn’t include it in the picture as it might induce vomiting.  Go get a bucket, just in case.  Oh, and the light fixture…no words.

And if those, in the pristine form shown above, aren’t hideous enough on their own, it’s worse.  A year ago, we had to set off a flea bomb.  I know, kinda gross.  The directions said to tape off any medicine cabinets, food cupboards, etc. to make sure none of the poison contaminated anything.  I don’t think Ryan was going to do it as he thought it was a little overkill, but I was so worried that I’d end up blinded by tainted contact solution, that he finally agreed and covered the cracks with painter’s tape.  After the bomb poison dissipated, he took the tape off.  And half of the wood finish.  I guess “wood finish” means an overlay of paper that is made to look like wood.  I’m being stone cold serious.  It’s PAPER.  And now, it kinda looks like this.  Ugh.

My solution – spend thousands of dollars and make the bathroom of my dreams.  Not.  BUT, I can paint everything.  The walls are currently painted a light green that turned out to be WAY brighter than I imagined.  It kinda looks like pistachio pudding.  Pretty, but the bathroom is TINY, so it’s a bit over-powering.  Blah, blah, blah, here’s my inspiration:

 

I see the common thread – green, blue, glass tiles and zebra wood…I love you all with my entire heart and soul!  I wish I could paint the world in zebra wood.  It would be a bit dark, but I’m used to that living in my apartment.  And if I could coerce my in-house tiler into re-tiling the floor, I’d beg for this:

Hexagon!!!  I love the retro feel.  I lived in an apartment once that had tiles like this and I loved it!  I don’t know, though.  Ryan thinks tiny and/or glass tiles end up looking like butt, so I’m sure he’d nix that.  I’m saying all this like it’s going to happen.  Oh well…a girl can dream.

Craft Room

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This is what my current craft room looks like:

HA!  Get it?!  It looks like a leprechaun because LIKE a leprechaun, it doesn’t exist!  I SLAY myself sometimes.  Anyway, because of this sad, sad space void, my craft supplies are strewn throughout our tiny apartment in various boxes and bins that are tucked away in closets and cabinets.  This means that when I’m working on a project (uhhh…all the time), there is stuff laying everywhere because it’s too much of a pain to pack and unpack it every day (read:  I’m too lazy to pack and unpack it everyday).  I didn’t think too much about it until my husband pointed out in a nice way that, well, that there was stuff laying everywhere.  All the time.  Poor guy.

Because I am a glutton for punishment, I occasionally look around my subscribed blogs (by the way people, SUBSCRIBE TO THIS BLOG!!!) at other people’s craft room pictures.  They’re all so wonderful, but on a level I hope they all implode because I’m so jealous.  I mean, check this out:


Blegh.  Whatever.  I hate you people with the fire of a thousand suns.  Meaning, you are all so creative and I am beyond jealous of the amazing rooms you’ve decorated! 

Oh, but I did promise my husband that I’d keep the stuff-laying-around to a minimum.  Boo.  He’s a total party pooper.  I know he secretly loves staring at my glue gun on the dining room table.  Don’t deny it, Ryan…

Lomography

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A couple of years ago, I became obsessed with lomography.  During my Flickr stalking days (which still exist), I stumbled upon pictures that I thought were the coolest thing I’d ever seen.  The first ones I found were of carnival/amusement park rides.  The colors were vivid, yet not vivid, if that makes any sense.  It looked like a brighter version of a photograph that would be in my family photo album from 1975.  They were in Flickr groups called “lomography.”  Dear Google, what is lomography?  It’s this.  It’s very similar to (maybe it’s the same as?) holga.  Regardless, from the moment I saw them, I was obsessed.  I tried making my own photos look similar in Photoshop, but it wasn’t the same.  Note – this was before I discovered Hipstamatic and Instagram apps for the good ‘ole iPhone.  That business is awesome.

Fast-forward a year.  I got a gift certificate to West Elm.  My husband and I strolled around the store with decorating possibilities in our head.  Well, that was me.  He was probably just hoping we could high-tail it out the door some time soon.  He did stop and marvel at a candle with a gin and tonic scent, so maybe he was more into it than he was letting on.  After looking through all the shelves and placemats and sheet sets, I saw it.  The Diana Mini.  West Elm sold a freaking lomo camera!  A real one!  Well, a mini version.  BUT.  WHO.  CARES?!  I mean, as you can see from the above picture, it’s pretty much the cutest thing ever.  It’s got a flash that’s almost the same size as the camera and a long, thin plastic strap.  Put them together and you look like someone taking tabloid pictures in 1940.  Only more adorable.

Now, before I get to my experience using this little piece of wonderfulness, let me start out by saying that I am blind.  No, not really blind.  Blind in the sense that I have no “eye,” as they call it.  I am eye-less.  And the problem with a camera like this is definitely the non-digital aspect.  Don’t get me wrong, real film is wonderful.  I just haven’t used it since 1990.  I remember that hopeful feeling I got going to pick up my pictures, only to find that my thumb was in half of them.  Remember, lack of eye.  And apparently kinda uncoordinated.

But back to my photos.  I knew what I wanted to photograph the most – carnival rides.  That’s a problem.  I can’t stand amusement parks.  The admission price alone makes my blood boil.  Couple that with screaming toddlers and I’m almost at Scanners levels (I hope someone out there gets that reference).  But it just so happened that my husband had family coming in from out-of-town and wanted to go to Knotts Berry Farm with their kids.  Bingo bango.  I technically had to go. Well, not “had to” like it was a chore.  It just wasn’t my first choice of family activities.  But for the first time in years, I was looking forward to it and I had a fabulous time.  Well, before I went on the my first ride of the day, the biggest rollercoaster in the park, and almost threw up.  Yeah, I forgot to mention another reason I hate amusement parks.  I suffer from motion sickness.  I say that like it’s high on the list of diseases being researched by the CDC. 

Before I show you the pictures (I’m totally whetting your appetite with all my talky-talk, arent I), I’d like to admit that I learned a LOT in that first roll of film.  Well, technically, not until I got the first roll back after being developed.  First off, there is a thing called aperture and I had the button clicked the wrong way.  Dummy.  That meant that more than half of my pictures were extremely blurry.  So blurry that I couldn’t pretend that I meant to do it to be artistic.  So, without further ado, here are my “famous” lomo pix.  I actually had one put onto a canvas and it’s currently hanging on the wall in my bedroom.  I’m pretty impressed with myself.

I think my all-time favorite is this, though.  It’s one in a series of four pictures of my husband posing in a tree.  He’s a bit of a ham…

NOW, onto the real pictures.  The ones done by people WITH eye.  The ones that made me fall in love with lomo in the first place:

Lomo + my love for vintage neon signs = heart stopping.

You want a Diana Mini now, don’t you.  Bam