Monday, February 19, 2018

Oreo Cream Cupcakes

This past Ground Hog's day was my 35th birthday. As with the last few birthdays the number was no big deal, however, it was lovely with birthday dinners, and spending time with friends and family.

Part of our family tradition is the birthday "kid" getting to pick the birthday treat. This year I went with an Oreo Cream (cup)Cake. An Oreo (thin) cookie bottom, dark chocolate pudding cake* and a cookies and cream frosting.

*see bottom for a trick on making the best cake mix possible.

*Note: Sometimes a cakemix is just the easiest way to go; but doesn't mean you have to follow the box directions. Want that cake to be elevated and taste like the moistest (sorry for that word) cake ever? Replace water with milk, oil with melted butter and add an extra egg to what is required (if it says three, add four). Will make for a rich and decadent! The family both said they could hardly eat one but then could also gobble two in a sitting! Promise, no regrets...well maybe just a tummy ache. 

Monday, February 12, 2018

Why Paint the Peacock?

Okay, maybe they weren't peacocks... and the reason I painted them was turn them into vultures. Wait...what was the question? Oh yea! Painting birds.

Months ago someone tagged me on Facebook in a post transforming lawn flamingos into vultures. I was in love and determined to do it myself. So I started searching and buying flamingos, spray paint and feather boas.

It took a few days - waiting for dry days in the PNW isn't a quick process and then waiting for the paint to dry of course - but in the end they made great lawn decorations and with the added touches of a "Graveyard" sign and a pile of bones it was just perfect!

The first step was painting the bodies of the flamingos with a (weatherproof) black paint. The biggest challenge was figuring out how to leave the heads and necks untouched. Sadly the result made me feel a bit serial-killerish....

Once they dried I reversed the plastic bags to spray their heads/necks with a matte maroon and figuring out how to paint their beaks black.

I was loving how they came out. The painting was tricky with some slight PNW winds kicking up now and then. I had some casualties of paint on hands, the back deck and the outside table.


The final stage was to attach some feather boa around their necks! The funny thing was over time (outside in the PNW autumn weather) the boas started to droop and get dirty which just made them even  more authentic. 

They took a few days but in the end they were so worth it! What is your favorite DIY holiday decoration?

Saturday, January 27, 2018

New Art (on my body)

Hummingbirds are believed, in many cultures, to be messengers to other worlds - to the gods, to loved ones who have crossed over. My grandmother used to hang feeders outside and large beautiful Birds of Paradise to help care for the hummingbirds that lived nearby. These little flights of wonder always make me think of her.

So for many years I've considered and contemplated getting a tattoo of a hummingbird in memory and love for my grandmother - but I never got around to it.

Then this past September my Aunt decided she was also ready to have a hummingbird tattooed in memory of her mother. So we planned for Grandma's birthday to be the day we'd go and get little messengers tattooed.

I had been following a local artist for sometime on Instagram; with her eye for detail and beautiful flora/fauna artistry, I knew that Anna was who I wanted to do my hummingbird tattoo.

I was not disappointed.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Tulips for Days

I am a lucky girl. My darling has brought me flowers twice in the last month and not just any favorite, tulips!

While they delight me, the saddest part of tulips is they can be so weighted and droop even when fresh and fully alive.

I've had a few folks give me tricks and tips - pruning the leaves so they're not in the water, clipping them down so they stand in the vase, extra food, etc.

So when my love surprised me with these lovely pink ladies I started scouring the web for the best floral arrangement tips and tricks for celebrating and showcasing the bouquet. Of course I found some of the same recommendations as before but then I came across one that sounded so ingenious I had to give it a try...and no, it wasn't by adding vodka.

The trick is using tape to create a grid across the top of your vase and then placing your flowers withing the openings - keeping otherwise droopy flowers upright and at the perfect angle.

I used left over clear (invisible) tape from the Dollar Tree and placed six strips across the top of my vase, ultimately giving me nine spaces to place the buds (one got two because I had ten flowers).

(To follow the image above, place tape on the very outside of the vase, and two more strips centered; then place two strips perpendicular to the first four. Trim leaves and place stocks into "circled" openings).

I will tell you, I've never considered myself too knowledgeable when it comes to floral arrangements; normally I'll trip the tips (best to always give bouquets a fresh cut), remove excess leaves and do my best. This grid trick is one I'll be keeping around for a while.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Dry Shampoo: So Many Choices, Which to Pick?

Approached by to post their top five choices for dry shampoo options (read here)

Personally, I've been trying to work towards purchasing certified cruelty free products (beauty supplies are actually not that hard to find) and sadly only two of the "Top 5" for (print on their bottles that they) are "Not Tested on Animals":

Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo Powder Spray and Dry Shampoo by Batiste Original

Sometimes it's good to give a little tossel to your locks and look fresh and dry. With my new haircut (post coming soon) I may need to explore more into these brands. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

A New Year. A New Try.

It's been five months since my last post and while I'd love to report that there was all sorts of adventures and trips and major life changes...mostly I was off line because of wave after wave of illnesses through my house - head colds, stomach flu, name it we had it.

Not that there weren't some fun adventures:

Pumpkin patch and hay rides at Roloff Farms

Oregon Children's Museum production

Celebrating the Spirit of Halloween-town!
But it's a new year, I'm feeling better, the BF and I are trying to bring more art into our lives (I bought him acting classes for Christmas, we've gone to a Laika Animation exhibit at the Portland Art Museum and are talking about doing a PaintNite for my birthday next month), and I'm hoping to use my blog and social media (see links to the right) to help with my artistic release.

So here is to a new year and to a new try!