Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Record Clock

I made my dad a record clock for Christmas. It's hard to find a good gift for those people in your life that seem to already have everything. I think that's why I usually end up making a lot of gifts for the holiday, so people will get something unique...since my dad collects records and has close to 5,000 now, I thought this clock would be a good addition!

If you want to make your own, it is super simple. I just got a record at the thrift store (this one is "Dreamboat Annie" by Heart, isn't the mushroomie center as cute as pie, or as cute as a button-mushroom?!!). I bought the clock parts at hobby lobby and assembled it in less than five minutes. The only thing you have to remember is that the clock parts will probably end up being a little bit bigger than the hole in the center of a record, so just use a knife to gently make the opening careful to check the size of the opening periodically so you don't make it too big!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lulu's Holiday Shindig

My best friend, LL is one half of "Lulu's"(and I am of course the other half). The concept of Lulu's was created one fateful night (after a few too many glasses of wine). We decided that when we cooked for friends we would have a pretend food television show and our friends would be the audience. This evolved into an actual video taping at our first holiday party 4 years ago, equipped with commercials done by party guests.

Now, it's a holiday tradition to cook up as many delicious food items as we can to fill the gullets of our friends and family! As you could imagine, it gets a little hectic, so I only managed to take pictures of two of the items on the menu this year.

Cake Balls (just bake cake according to box, crumble in bowl, add icing, roll into balls, freeze for at least one hour, then dip into white bark and add sprinkles.)

Salmon Sushi Bites (recipe from food network here)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tooth Plush Pillow

A good friend of mine is a dental hygienist, so for Christmas I made her a cute little tooth plush pillow. Doesn't he look happy?!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Lisa Loves Yarn!

I have a friend Lisa who is super crafty and an avid crocheter. I can knit (and by knit I mean in a straight row, up and if you want a scarf, headband, belt, dog collar, pot holder, or anything else straight I can do that). However, I have always admired people who can manipulate yarn into intricate and lovely creations; via knitting or crocheting. I crocheted as a child (believe it or not, my super manly step-dad taught me), but when I tried to pick it back up in college it confused me.

These are some of Lisa's amazing creations (the "booger girl" tissue box cover up top is my favorite)!

Bath set with hand crocheted washcloths and other goodies!

Crocheted monster hat (Lisa's son is modeling, isn't he cute?!!)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Spice Project

I cook...alot! I love it. However, my dilapidated lazy-susan spice rack (shoved into a tiny cabinet) was not cutting it. So, I picked up some of those nifty magnetic spice tins at World Market and voila! Happiness! I already had my homemade chalkboard hanging by my oven, so I put them on there and labeled them with colorful chalk. So organized! So fabulous!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Luna's Heating Vent

Anytime it's cold in the house, Luna goes to a certain heating vent in the kitchen and sits on it to warm up. It is absolutely adorable and ridiculous looking at the same time. I love her!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


A couple of years ago, my mom gave me the beautiful stocking she crafted for me when she was pregnant with me. I have always loved stockings and haven't done them in a while. So, this year, I decided to make one for my dog, Luna and my boyfriend, John. Here they are... hanging in a row!


As much as I absolutely LOVE Christmas, I never had a real tree growing up (or ever). My mom always said it was too hard on her allergies and probably would be on mine too since they are an issue. But, I decided to get on this year and try it; since I have hardwoods and all. I also figured that even if it did start bothering my allergies, I'd have a tree for my porch! Luckily, it hasn't bothered me, and now that I've experienced having a real tree, I don't think I could ever go back to the fake, sad looking least not for awhile!

Most of my ornaments were either vintage ones I picked up at the thrifties or gifts from friends and families. I love the "ole-timey" look to it. I also used colored lights for the first time ever this year, and I thought they went pretty well with the retro look of the ornaments.
These are two of my favorite ornament finds. I got them at one of the thrift stores around town. Aren't they just adorable? I want to hold their little hands! :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Blue Checkered Monster Plushies!

I may be a silly girl, but I just love monsters, robots, dinosaurs and the like. I picked up some vintage fabrics at an estate sale recently and have been dying to make some plushies. These little monsters may be monstrous, but they have a big heart too! So cuddly. So cute.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dia de los Muertos

Day of the Dead (or Dia de los Muertos) is one of my favorite holidays. Traditionally, it is celebrated in Mexico every year on November 2nd. During this day, people celebrate by remembering loved one that have passed away. There are many traditional ways of celebrating; some of which include building altars in remembrance of loved ones, dressing up as skeletons, dancing, eating special foods (like Pan de Muerto), a procession or parade, a name call of the deceased, and decorating gravesites with flowers and marigolds. Often, people will also tell stories retelling fond memories of loved ones lost.

This year, I made a skeleton suit by sewing felted bones onto black clothing for myself and my boyfriend. We go a local festival each year, sponsored by a local art gallery called Bare Hands. It is fabulous! I also invested in some "real-deal" face paints from Snazaroo, with were also fabulous! They work just like regular paint...just add water and brush on. Having actual face paints really made all the difference (compared to last year when I just used those cheap paint sticks you can get at Walmart on the Halloween aisle)...better for detail and better for your skin!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Autumn Harvest Dinner

A couple of weeks ago, my boyfriend and I picked up a bounty of Autumn vegetables at Pepper Place (a local farmer's market). In true "fall" fashion, there was football blaring on the television all day after we got home from the market. We made an "Autumn Harvest Dinner" that turned out to be a very warm, rustic, and tasty dinner...all with an exotic twist!

We roasted acorn squash and stuffed it with Moroccan cous-cous, butternut squash soup with an Indian twist, and rutabagas with local honey, caramelized onions and a splash of ground ginger! I'm getting all warm inside just thinking about it all! I didn't exactly have a recipe for anything I made that day and I can't remember specific measurements, so I w,ill just give you a run down of the basics...

Roasted Acorn Squash stuffed with Moroccan Cous-Cous:
You will need 1 Acorn squash per 2 people (split in half, cover with melted butter and roast in 400 degree oven for 45 minutes). Prepare cous-cous according to packaging and add a smidgen of olive oil, raisins, chickpeas, roasted or powedered garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Stuff acorn squash halves with lovely concoction. Devour!

Butternut Squash Soup:
Now, I can't lie, this stuff was absolutely divine. I could've eaten an entire bucket of it! Cut your butternut squash in half, cover with melted butter and roast in 400 degree oven for 45 minutes (just like you did with the acorn squash). When the squash comes out it should be soft and gooey and easy to scoop out of the skin with a spoon. After you scoop it out, cut it into manageable pieces (one inch cubes is good). Add the roasted squash to a pot on medium heat and add the following to taste: heavy cream or half & half, butter, brown sugar, curry powder, garam masala (just use cinnamon if you don't have this on hand), and then add just a dash of nutmeg and a larger dash of cayenne pepper. Bring to boil, then immediately reduce to simmer and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Afterwards, I used a hand held immersion blender to smooth out my soup to a desired consistency, but I suppose you could use a food processor if you don't have one (be careful not to burn yourself with the hot soup though)! Eat with a spoon or dip some yummy bread in it!

Rutabagas with Caramalized Onions and Ginger:
Peel and chop the rutabagas (I used about 4-5 medium to large ones) into bite sized cubes. Boil for about 15-20 minutes. While the 'bagas are boiling, saute 1 small chopped onion in butter until brown and caramelized. Drain rutabagas, add to sauted onions, and brown rutabagas with onions (add more butter if needed). Add generous drizzling of honey and sprinkle in some ground ginger. Saute in pan for another 5-7 minutes until tender. Grab a fork and dive in!

Saturday, December 11, 2010


My friend April LOVES butterflies! For her birthday, I painted her two watercolor butterflies and mounted them on top of copper leafing. The butterflies are based on real ones that I picked out of one of my favorite art reference books: Cabinet of Natural Curiosities by Albertus Seba (full of gorgeous color woodblock prints of all things flora and fauna).

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


So, since I started back teaching in August, I have been a bit absent from blogging and seriously I have been missing it!

So, I can't promise anything, but I am vowing to try and post something at least once a week! With the holidays approaching, I have plenty of craft projects going that I am excited to share!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Turkey Kofta & Quinoa Tabouli

These kofta kabobs are so flavorful, cheap and healthy! Using ground turkey instead of ground lamb or beef is light on your pocketbook and your waistline! I know, you are probably thinking, "how could turkey replace the delicious lamb?!" Believe it or not, there is so much flavor in these from all of the herbs and spices that you barely even taste the lamb if you use it, so it makes perfect sense to substitute it with the turkey!

I love serving this with tabouli because the lemony salad is so refreshing next to the spiciness of the kabobs. I usually use bulgar (a whole wheat kernel) as the base for my quinoa, but this time I decided to use quinoa instead. Quinoa is a South American grain-like crop and is one of the healthiest things you could ever put in your belly! It is a complete protein, so it has all of the essential amino acids residing within. It is mainly grown for its edible seeds and they are so adorable because when you cook them, they spiral out and look like little sea creatures!

Turkey Kofta Kabobs
2 lbs. ground turkey
6 cloves garlic, minced
5 tablespoons onion, grated
4 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1.5 teaspoons sea salt
1.5 tablespoons ground coriander
1.5 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon garam masala (use cinnamon if you don't have this spice in your cabinet)
1/2 teaspoon all spice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Place all ingredients into a large bowl and fold together. Be careful not to "mash" or "squish" the meat might be tempted to just throw the spatula down and mash it all together with your hands, but your kabobs will be juicier and tastier if you fold all of the ingredients together instead. Grab about two heaping tablespoons of the meat mixture (no need to measure, just eyeball) and form into a ball. Then roll back and forth between your palms to make a log shape. Place on the grates of your pre-oiled grill and grill for about 5 minutes per side. Your kabobs may take shorter or longer depending on your grill, but be careful not to overcook them or they will lost their lovely texture and yummy juices!

Quinoa Tabouli
3 cups water
1.5 cups dry quinoa
pinch of salt
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
juice from two lemons
1 large tomato, diced
1 medium cucumber, diced
1/2 cup red onion, chopped small
3 cups chopped fresh parsley
ground pepper to taste

Bring water to boil and add pinch of salt. Add quinoa and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Fluff quinoa with fork. Add remaining ingredients and stir together. Chill in refrigerator for at least one hour before serving to cool down and allow flavors to marry.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pork Meatballs and Veggie Stirfry

I picked up some Hoisin sauce at the local Asian market last week because I had heard it mentioned by several tv chefs. Even though I had never tasted the stuff, I popped open the lid, gave it a good sniff and prepared my method of attack! Results? Delicious, rich, sweet, savory, and the perfect amount of spicy (which is a lot for me, so if you don't like the spice so much tone down or cut out the sirachi and red pepper flakes on the recipe).

2 bell peppers, julienned
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup sliced button mushrooms
1 cup frozen baby lima beans
1 tablespoon ginger root, minced
cooked Chinese pork meatballs (I picked mine up frozen at Asian market)
1 chicken bullion
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Sirachi sauce
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
olive oil for pan

  1. Drizzle just enough olive oil to cover the bottom of your wok, and place on medium heat. Sauté onions and garlic just enough to sweat them. Add chopped bell peppers, cooked meatballs, mushrooms, ginger root, and water. Continue to sauté for 5-10 minutes until everything is cooked through. Add baby limas and remaining ingredients and continue to cook for another 5 - 10 minutes. Cornstarch should help thicken up your sauce. I like to serve over thin spaghetti, but you can serve over rice if you prefer! Enjoy!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Basil Butter Dip & Hummus

I had some friends over this weekend and made these two delectable dipping treats!

The Basil butter is on the left and the Hummus is on the right (and isn't that funky Guam serving tray just about the funniest and oddest thing you've ever seen?! I came across it on a recent thrifting adventure and just couldn't pass it up!)

Basil Butter Recipe Hummus Recipe
Indgredients: Indgredients:
2-3 packed cups of fresh basil leaves 1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans
1/2 stick of butter 1 clove of garlic
1 clove of garlic 2 tablespoons low fat sour cream
salt to taste 2 tablespoons lemon juice
healthy drizzle of olive oil
salt to taste
*1 tablespoon of tahini paste

With both dips, you can just place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smoothe. Serve with crackers (I love triscuits) or slice up a nice French baguette!

*If you have tahini paste, it adds a very authentic taste to the hummus, but trust me it will be good enough to devour without it. When I make "specialty" hummus dips by adding roasted red pepper

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Coconut Cream Pie

When you think of a diner, what do you think of? Pie, of course! My favorite pie is coconut cream pie. I mean, pecan pie. Oh, and I love pumpkin pie. Blueberry cream pie is good too. Ok, so maybe I can't pick a favorite; but this coconut cream pie is delicious!

2 eggs
3 cups half & half
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 7 oz. package coconut flake, toasted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 9 inch pie shell, pre-baked
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

  1. Combine eggs, half & half, sugar, flour, and salt in a medium sized saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir with a whisk constantly (this is important so nothing sticks to the bottom and burns). After all ingredients are combined and sauce thickens a little bit (right after boiling), remove from hear and add 3/4 of toasted coconut.
  2. Pour sauce into pre-baked pie shell and chill for 1-2 hours.
  3. Top with whipped cream and remaining toasted coconut
  4. Dig in!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Keep Calm and Carry On!

Art of the Day

In 1939, at the beginning of World War II, the British government released a poster that stated "Keep Calm and Carry On." They did this in an attempt to raise morale in case of an invasion. The image is classic and simple. I love it! The message is positive and the image itself is recognizable by pretty much any hipster. Funnier still is how many variations on the phrase exist now. People have plugged every imaginable phrase into the popular image. What would phrase would you plug in?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Chalkboard Paint Fun

Chalkboard paint is so much fun to play with. It takes something we all remember and love-chalkboards-and allows you turn virtually anything into one! You can buy chalkboard paint in spray paint form or in a can. I suggest using the can for larger projects and the spray paint for larger projects. I found a quart paint can of the stuff for about $15 and the spray paint kind for around $4. Check your local hardware store.

You can paint almost any surface with it from glass, to wood, to metal. I had some metal sheets cut at a laser cuter and made some chalk boards that are magnetic (I used a grinder to get texture on the edges).

I also spray-painted some left over paint stirs I picked up for free at the hardware store and turned them into garden stakes.

You can tape of an area off on a jar or cannister with blue painter's tape and spray with chalkboard paint. You end up with a storage container that you can erase and re-label at your convenience!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Guacamole & Fish Tacos

I picked up some avocados this weekend and made a newer version of my guacamole. I also decided to try out one of Aarti's recipes for fish tacos from her blog Aarti Parti: eat, giggle, repeat.

Aarti is a really cute lady hailing from L.A. I found out about her because she is currently competing for the next food network star. She uses her Indian background to bring an Indian flair to all kinds of unique dishes...and she is adorable! Her blog even has fun episodes of Aarti Parti that are full of quirky happenings (from her playing ukulele with a friend to playing on the word fish with a silly montage).

Check out her blog AND if you like her you should let food network know you want to see more of her on their channel.

Oh, the amazing fish taco recipe that has a delicious mint-cumin mayo to go with is here

Guacamole Recipe
2-3 hass avocados
1 lime
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/8 cup red or yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
1/8 cup purple onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
dash of salt

  1. Cut avocados in half and discard seed. Use a large spoon to scoop out all of the "meat." Make sure you get it all, you don't want to waste any!
  2. Add enough lime juice to lightly coat avocados. This will prevent oxidation from occurring and keep your avocados a lovely light green color (as opposed to browning).
  3. Use potato masher to mash up avocados.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and chill before serving (make sure plastic wrap is touching the guacamole to further prevent oxidation.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Birth of a Goddess

Art of the Day

The Birth of Venus by Italian Renaissance painter, Sandro Botticelli is by far my favorite painting...EVER! After I graduated from college I got the opportunity to visit Italy. Me and two of my friends backpacked for two weeks. I got to actually see the painting (which resides at the Uffizi gallery in Florence) and cross it off my "Things to do Before I Die" list. When I saw her, I cried. Not the bad kind of cry, but the joyous kind. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. I just couldn't leave the room where she lived. I wanted to stay with her always (or take her down and hang her in my house!)

I painted on an old window pane a contemporary version of the birth of a goddess. My painting is by no way comparable to Botticelli's and really it's like apples and oranges because they are so different. However, I did want to include my painting in this post because it was inspired by my love for the same mythological story that inspired Botticelli to create such a glorious masterpiece. My painting was made using acrylic paints and the shiny stuff you see is copper leafing.

Cinnamon-Pecan Sticky Buns

I have always wanted to make these mouthwatering treats. Good for you? No! Yummy in the tummy? Yes!

I never knew how easy they were to make (just takes a little time for dough to rise so you have to be patient). Boy oh boy are these good too! Sweet, chewy, gooey, yum!

  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup warm milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Filling:
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  1. In large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add milk, sugar, oil, and salt; then stir. Add a little over 1 cup of flour and beat at medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Stir enough of the remaining flour to create a soft dough that isn't so sticky it sticks to your hands.
  2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead for around 6 minutes (adding flour periodically when dough gets too sticky). Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise until doubled in size (about one hour).
  3. Punch down dough and turn back out onto lightly floured counter. Roll out into rectangle (should be around 12. in x 18 in.). Spread butter on dough, leaving a 1/2 in. edge on all sides. Combine sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over butter. Roll up, jelly-roll style (starting with the long side) and pinch seam to seal. Cut into 12 slices.
  4. Mix brown sugar and cream and pour into greased 9 x 13 baking pan. Cover with pecans, cut side down. Cover and let rise another hour...they should double in size
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for a couple of minutes before serving. Yield: one dozen.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cute Thrift Finds

Here are a few more cute as a button kitchen items I picked up at the thrift store recently!
1 cute little boy-faced bowl complete with flowers on the inside and two quite unique hand-made-looking owl mugs. You have to admit, that bowl is almost too cute to eat out of!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Luna's Collar

My crazy and fun-loving dog, Luna was in need of a collar that was more in line with her spunky-funky personality. I decided to try and alter the collar she had with some sewing materials and a crafty hand.
  • I started by painting the collar an olive green color with acrylic paint.
  • Then I cut out three felt circles (one large blue, a medium yellow and a small gray)
  • Next, I picked out some fun buttons
  • I cut some blue velvet "rick-rack"
  • Lastly I glued everything in place with hot glue

I think she likes it!

Eggplant and Okra

Eggplant and okra: a story of two friends

My okra and eggplant live right beside each other in my garden and are finally producing. I think next year I might have to be a little more diligent with the fertilizer so it will grow faster. The okra is still a little on the small side, but I have harvested a few full-size pieces. Also, I have an eggplant buddy that I think will be ready to pick in about a week (when it gets a little bigger and a little darker).

Did anybody know that okra has this beautiful bloom that flowers in the morning and closes up by afternoon? It has a gorgeous cream/yellow tinge with a deep maroonish-purple in the middle. Neat!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Blueberry Crumble Pie

Summer is the perfect time to enjoy fresh, plump, and juicy fruits and vegetables. This blueberry crumble pie recipe is quite simple and delicious with a cold glass of milk!

Your friends and family (or whoever you decide to share this with) will be licking their chops for another piece. You just wait and see!


2-3 cups fresh blueberries
9 inch pie crust
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
dash of salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter

  1. After placing pie dough into a lightly oiled glass pie dish, pierce dough with fork on bottom and along sides. Par-bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes. This will ensure that the crust isn't all gooey on the bottom.
  2. Mix the beaten eggs with 1 cup of sugar, 1/3 cup flour, sour cream and salt.
  3. Put berries into par-baked crust and spoon sour cream mixture on top.
  4. In another bowl, combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup flour and combine well. Cut butter into pea-sized pieces and add to sugar/flour mixture with pastry tool or hands. You know crumble mixture is well combined when it resembles bread crumbs or Parmesan cheese.
  5. Carefully add crumble to top of pie.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown on top.
  7. Let cool for at least ten minutes, then enjoy!


My doormat that welcomes each guest at the front door had gotten pretty shabby (and not in the chic way). It is one that is made up of some sort of organic fiber like straw or hemp. All of the original colors had faded. I had looked at many stores for a new doormat, but hadn't found any neat enough or cheap enough to validate buying.

So, I decided to try and re-purpose my old door mat with some good old spray paint. I started by trying to use doilies as a sort of stencil, but the detail didn't want to show up so I eventually just ended up free-hand spraying. The results are some sort of cross between contemporary genius and something a kid could do; but I like it!

close-up of finished project

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cool T-Shirt!

Teefury is a site that sells daily t-shirts for $9. Sometimes they are cool, and sometimes they are cooler. Today's shirt is a very metal/awesome/rockin' take on the Mexican holiday "Dia de los Muertos."

You can only get it today, so get it now if you like it!

Miss Van

Art of the Day

I found this book, Street Art: The Graffiti Revolution by Cedar Lewisohn at the thrift store the other day. Mega cool! It is really like a history of street art and graffiti and catalogs various artists from Keith Harring's work in the 1980's up to more contemporaries like Banksy and Miss Van (whose work is featured on the cover).

Miss Vann, originally from Toulouse, France, paints flirty comic-book esque girls paired with furry forest animals. Her signature red, sultry, pouty lipped girls make her work unmistakable. Her paintings create ethereal dream-like scenes with playful feminine figures. I love it!

Of course I love this one with the cute little owl hat atop her head.

Miss Van at work on a lovely little lady!

To check out more work from Miss Van go to her site