Sunday, October 9, 2011

Weekly Menu

In an effort to expand my cooking skills and offer my family new and exciting dishes I devote two nights a week to new recipes. If everyone raves about it we add it to our regular rotation...for awhile.

This week I was reminded of a great home-cook-turned-pro I discovered in 2009. Remember Melissa D'Arabian from Food Network Star? She was my favorite on that years show. As a homemaker (like yours truly) she created delicious everyday dishes families would actually eat! So this week I'll be trying two new recipes from her show Ten Dollar Dinners: Lemony Shrimp Scampi Pasta and Fish Piccata.

Rounding out the rest of my weekly menu are:

BBQ Pulled Pork sandwiches
Beef Burritos
Chicken Pot Pie

I figure we'll eat leftovers once or twice. Or at least have enough for school or work lunches.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

iRIP Steve Jobs

I'm kinda bummed about Steve Job's passing. We all knew it was coming. But still....

I understand he authorized a biography of his life earlier this year. No question I'll be downloading it to my ipad ASAP.

Well, Steve...I guess this is goodbye. Job well done, sir.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Art Picture Redo

I love art! But since becoming a stay at home mommy I no longer have the extra cash to spend on it. But luckily I have LOTS of time at home. So when I'm in the mood...and the kids aren't stalking me...I'll steal away to the basement and paint. This is my attempt at recreating a colorful piece I saw on Etsy. I can't remember the artists name. But I'll be sure to look it up. She has tons of wonderfully colorful pieces that I love.

I used cheap acrylic paint from the craft store. And one of those thin art canvases that come 3 in pack for $7. Overall I like it. Especially since I haven't painted since high school!

DIY Farmhouse Dining Table

Home Decor ADD is a real disease.

After upgrading to a single family home last year I became obsessed with furnishing it. One and a half years later I'm still arranging and rearranging our stuff. One minute I'm totally sure I want a Tuscan feel. Then the seasons change and I want something beach-y and coastal. Then suddenly I'll want ethnic prints and pops of color!

But through it all I've been completely satisfied with our kitchen table. It's a farmhouse dining table my husband built using this plan from Ana White's blog Knock Off Wood. You can find the plans here.

Here's the inspiration photo.
And here's the table my hubby built:

We still need to stain it. But hubby is so proud of his handy work he won't let anyone touch it!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sweet Pea's Favorite Breakfast

My never fail breakfast for my picky little eater: strawberries, sausage and and a slice of raisin bread.

Weekly TWA Check

So, I'm steadfastly growing my Teeny Weeny Afro (TWA) out. This week I'm experimenting with comb coils, coil out and bentonite clay treatment. So far I'm liking the look. though my hair seems a bit dry. It drinks any moisture I put on it: conditioner, butters, oils, water, whatever. Plus my hair color doesn't reflect light as well as darker hues. So it's just something I have to deal with.

In the near future I'll experiment with earrings and makeup to soften the look as my hair grows out. Hair this short (on a head this big) needs a little help to make it pretty and feminine. Highlights would be cool too. I normally use African Pride Highlighting Kit in their lightest shade (Sahara Sand) to frame and warm my face in the winter months.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Weekend Crafts

While reading a natural hair blog last Friday I stumbled upon a few coloring pages that really spoke to me. I mean, I actually wanted to color those things!Well, one thing led to another and I managed to create 3 crafts from that post.

The first two gave me an opportunity to use my copic markers. I bought them months ago during a short lived manga phase. So it was really nice attempting to work with them. The colors are great and true. however I really need to work on my technique. Right now I'd describe it as very basic. But I've discovered a few tutorials on deviant art that might help.

Anyway, here are the coloring pages:

And here's a link tot he originals if you'd like to color them yourselves: Naturally Beautiful Coloring sheets

Here's a pic of a paper craft that came to mind using the last image. All of the supplies were found in my craft room except the tacks. They were less than $2 for one pack at Home Depot. Though I'm sure you can get them cheaper elsewhere.:

 I attempted to use foam backing to create a 3d effect. Not sure it shows very well in the pics. Now that I've made this rough draft I'd like to try it again with different media. Wooden or cork background and contrasting colors that pop off the page more. I'm also thinking of ways to color the tacks to offer a more customized look.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Janet Collection Halle Wig Review

As you may have guessed I'm fairly new to the wig wearing trend. I've always felt stupid wearing fake hair of any kind. It never occurred to me that the way I could have fun with it. Or that wigs could be used to help grow my TWA out.
This is the 2nd time I've big chopped without a plan for that awkward short stage that doesn't work well with my big head. And the cost of weaves and extensions is cost prohibitive in today's economy. I'm cheap frugal and prefer spending my meager "fun money" on art, crafts, theater, books, etc.  As a result, price and natural appeal were my primary concerns when choosing the units for my small wig collection.

Manufacturer: Janet Collection Wigs
Model: Halle
Vendor: Hair Stop and Shop
Color: FS 4/27
Price: $28.74 (incl shipping)
Natural color with well done highlights.
Highlights are not garish, stripey or brassy.
The human hair is good quality and soft.
Easy to style and curls well with flat iron.
Doesn't wash out my complexion.
Made in a classic style that withstands trends. You can wear this forever.
Price was fantastic! Caught it on sale for $20!
It fits securely on my large head without discomfort.
Lighter colored units are harder to come by no matter the manufacturer. It took several weeks to find this one in just the right color. But I was able to confidently purchase it online.
Overall Halle is an awesome starter wig. It fits wonderfully and looks as if it could have grown out of scalp. The length is comparable to my own growing TWA. So I still feel like ME when I'm wearing it. As you can see in the video the style, cut and color is classy enough to wear with anything.
Honestly, I don't feel like I'm doing the WIG thing when I'm wearing it. And that's a big plus for me.

Novice Wig Wearer Series

Are you  new to the wig game?
Having trouble figuring out what looks good on you?
Do you feel like you're balancing a big, stupid hair hat when wearing wigs and hairpieces?
From one awkward wig wearer to another....this series is for you.
I'll be reviewing my hair purchases as I seek to find a few choice pieces to add to my arsenal. The criteria for each item is as follows:
1. Must look and feel natural. That means only colors that occur in nature. No outlandish or dated styles. And nothing that tries to hard. The last thing I need is to compete with my wig. IT shouldn't be wearing me.
2. Must have believable and reasonable length. I'm sorry....I cannot walk out of the house with 3 feet of additional hair in one day! Though I admire women who switch hair with their moods or outfits I'm far too  conservative. I mean come's weird enough that I'm wearing a foreign object on my head all day. Who wants to discuss their miraculous growth or worse their new wig with casual acquaintances.
3. Must be reasonably priced. If i have to take out a loan or sell a kidney to purchase a wig I'd rather go bald. M'kay? i mean seriously...I could invest the money elsewhere or pay off debt. But I'll be damned if I'm spending obscene amounts of money for the mother of all lace fronts. No ma'am.
4. I should feel like a million bucks wearing it. Otherwise what's the point? It should enhance my beauty and shore up my self esteem. On the days I don't give a damn about my appearance my wig should have me looking presentable in a snap.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not looking for a crutch here. I love my natural hair and enjoy wearing it out often. But there are times when I'm feeling lazy or just want a change of pace. Currently my hair is at an awkwardly short stage. So any thing that helps me grow it out without looking like crap is a godsend.
So stay tuned for my review of the Janet Collection Halle Wig in my next post.

DIY Monogrammed Plate - $3 Foyer Decor

Just did a cute and super cheap craft for our entryway.
Sweet Pea and I took a trip to Joann Fabrics last week for craft supplies and spied a pile of cheap plastic chargers on sale. Now....I know darn well I didn't go there for plates. But I could resist the $1.99 price tag. I chose chocolate brown ( I love me some neutrals!). But they also had a beautiful olive green, burnt orange, deep purple, crimson, gold and silver.
Dang. I should probably buy a few more for later....anyway...
1 charger (or any plain large plate) - $1.99
I wooden initial - $1.00
Two  shades of glitter glue - already had
Modge Podge or Craft Glue - already had
Dust/clean your plate
Apply glue to the back of your letter
Carefully center on your plate
Allow glue to dry for 20 minutes
Evenly apply the first color of glitter glue around the inner edge of the charger/plate.
Evenly apply the second color of glitter glue evenly between the the first color
Apply glue in the same manner on the outside edge of the charger/plate.
Allow glue to set up and dry.