Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Shrinky Dink Earrings

I don't know if you can remember what shrinky dinks are, or if you even made them growing up (seems to be a generational thing). Going into the craft store and asking for shrinky dink paper, I got a confused look from the girl my age, however Moms and Aunts know what I'm talking about! 
 I have the vague memory of making them in my Grandma's kitchen and being amazed.

The concept is somewhat magical – you color or paint on a sheet of shrink plastic, place it in the oven, and after a minute or two, it is a tiny version of what it used to be! I don't know what makes this so fascinating, but here I am, almost 23, and still amazed with every shrinky dink I make!

I saw a favorite crafter of mine make a ring out of the material, and it completely inspired me to make my own earrings! It is super simple and you can essentially create anything you want.
Here is the tutorial on how to:

1. You will need sheets of shrink plastic which you can buy online here, or in any craft store.  
But you take a sheet, and trace down 2 matching shapes to be your earrings.  I highly recommend having something to outline, so your earrings are symmetrical.  Here is the template I used.  Just cut it out, and trace. 
(They will shrink up more than half the size, so always test out your idea before coloring/designing!)

2.  I used acrylic paint on these babies, but you can use sharpies or just about anything that will show up on the paper.  Just paint over the shapes whatever colors and design you choose!

 3.  I don't think it will come as a shock to anyone that I am obsessed with mermaids!  Their fins were my inspiration for this project.  So I painted in some details That resemble a mermaid's scales.

4.  Cut out the shapes, and use a regular hole punch to punch 1 hole in each earring right at the top for the actual earring piece to go into.  Do this before shrinking !

5. The directions that came with the shrink plastic said to place the earrings on a piece of paper bag on a cookie sheet.  Just follow the directions for the plastic.  I keep a very close eye while it's in the oven, and it gets really warped at first (don't panic), then it will lay flat, at that moment, I take them out of the oven.

 6.  As soon as they come out, put a glass over top as they cool off to ensure their flatness.  

 7.  If making dangle earrings, you will need to obtain fish hook earring backs.  I bought a pack of about 100 for $3.00 and I am intending on using all of them.  As soon as you make your own earrings once, you'll realize the possibilities are endless!  With these, just need needle nose pliers to open up the rings at the bottom.

 8.  Feed your earring through and use the same pliers to close it back up.

 9. Voila!  You have made your very own shrinky dink earrings!!

I got a little carried away and ended up making another set - just some everyday, abstract earrings!  They will be perfect with my future art teacher wardrobe.

Here is a pair I have made a few months ago.  
For these, I just cut a circle within a circle and used sharpies to make the design.  

Don't be afraid to experiment with different designs and materials - that's where the fun happens! 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Recipe: Chicken Caprese Pizza

Over the weekend, we made our favorite pizza and I wanted to share the goodness with everyone!

We first had this pizza at our favorite brewery here in Columbus – it was love at first sight … or first taste.
It is a Chicken Caprese Pizza which is made up of fresh ingredients that are so italian and so perfect.

First, you will need pizza crust of your choice.
They have packaged dough in most stores, you can buy a mix, or make from scratch (which would probably be the best).
We discovered Pillsbury thin crust pizza dough that is so buttery and everything Pillsbury should be. We use it all the time!

Pizza toppings needed:
1 grilled chicken breast cut into strips
handful of basil
1 large tomato
lots of mozzarella or parmesan cheese
½ cup olive oil with oregano mixed in

    Prepare and follow directions intended for your dough.
    Coat dough with olive oil mixture.
    Evenly place all toppings on dough. (We do this order from bottom to top: tomatoes, chicken, basil, cheese)
    Place in oven 
    As the pizza is cooking prepare Balsamic Drizzle:  
    In saucepan, pour in 3/4 cup of balsamic vinegar with a pinch of sugar. Place over medium heat and whisk until syrup-like consistency. Will take about 5-7 mins.
    Once pizza is done, use a spoon to drizzle balsamic over pizza.
Cut and Enjoy!

Between me and my boyfriend, this pizza was gone within 2 hours - It was a diet-free weekend, as always !

Friday, June 24, 2011

Craft - Seashell Surf Wax Candles

When I was down the shore last weekend I came across some huge shells! Early in the morning is about the only time to find seashells in mint condition before the tide rolls in and washes them out to sea, or before they are stepped on and broken into pieces.
I decided to make my own candles and use these as the holders.

Making candles can be time consuming, but this is a simple, shortened version.
Here are the basics of what you will need:

Wax, Wicks, Holder, Double Boiler

 1. If using shells, you will have to clean them with a bleach-water solution. (Much more water than bleach in this) I always use a glove when working with bleach - that stuff scares me!

 2. The wax that I am using is surfboard wax. I have a large supply of it since I am no longer surfing, because I am temporarily separated from the sea. The smell of it is something that will always bring me back to happiness. 
There are various kinds of wax sold in craft stores, along with colors, scents, and molds. Could even throw in a crayon to get a solid color. 

 3. Lay out a table covering that you don't mind getting dirty (such as a boyfriend's video game magazine. hehe) – this will catch any splashes. Place the wicks in the shells, so they are already prepared when wax is ready to be poured.

 4. A double boiler needs to be used to prevent the wax from burning. I used a tin coffee can that leaves for an easy clean-up. While the water in the pot is coming to a simmer, spray the inside of the coffee can with nonstick cooking spray.

 5. Then place the wax inside the coffee can and place in the pot of simmering water. It will take around 7-10 minutes for the wax to completely come into liquid.

 6. Once the wax is liquified, you need to work fast so it doesn't harden before poured. Use tongs to remove the coffee can and pour directly into the shells.

 7. They will need to set and harden for at least 20 minutes. Now you are all done and can brag to everyone that you make your own candles!

After cutting down the wicks, I placed mine next to some sea glass in our bathroom, which I am slowly redecorating into a beach-themed room! I love having a lot of little things placed next to each other.  

I hope everyone has a great weekend - I have some good stuff coming at ya next week! 

Enjoy your world!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Recipe - Pico de Gallo

Here is a simple recipe for pico de gallo -- a kind of salsa.
The reason why I love this is because the flavors used are so basic and they work so well with each other.  All the colors create a beautiful finished product.

This is actually my boyfriend's recipe that we make at least once a week. Actually, one of the many reasons why I fell for him was because of his cooking - good food goes a long way!

We make this so often that we started growing our own cilantro to always have on hand!  We also grow basil which gets used just as much.


1/2 lime for its juice
1/2 yellow onion
2 vine tomatoes
handful of cilantro

 1. Dice onion and toss in medium size bowl

 2. Cut tomatoes into quarters and use a spoon to remove the guts.  No one likes mushy tomatoes!

3. Dice tomatoes and add to bowl with onions

 4. To get the most liquid out of your lime, push down and roll it on table to release the juices, then squeeze into bowl.

 5. Chop up cilantro and add to bowl

6. Stir everything up and enjoy!!

Since I am often home during the day, I usually make it ahead of time and let the ingredients marinate with each other in the fridge.

Tonight, we are making soft tacos with chicken, this pico de gallo, and of course, cheese!  This is also so good in quesadillas, and we usually make more than needed to dip chips in.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Solstice

Today is the first day of summer AND the longest day of the year.
In honor of the day, I made chocolate chip cookies!

A tip for my not-so-kitchen-friendly friends:
Look on the labels of items - there are lots of delicious recipes to be made!
I used the recipe on a bag of chocolate chips to make these mamas, and I am pleased to say they are perfect.

After a year of living in this apartment, David (my boo) and I have just recently figured out that our oven's dial is 100 degrees off. After many burnt items, I am so happy to finally have a baked good that is perfectly golden brown.

Solstice is a combination of the latin words for sun and to stand still.
So, while the sun is standing still in the sky today, go outside and enjoy!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Back from the Beach

I am back in Ohio after a great weekend in New Jersey down the shore. I am borderline depressed returning to an overcast day with predicted rain everyday this week, however returning to my pictures is bringing me back to happiness!
It was a weekend full of family, sunshine, saltwater, and smiles. I loved it all!

I never lived at the beach for longer than a week or two, but believe me, I completely understand
what it means to live at the shore:

baby seashells are always a great find, no matter how many times you've collected them

nap often

there is no need for a dryer

 boogie board = necessary

flipflops are the only acceptable shoe wear

your lawn consists of rocks, not grass

outdoor showers are the most refreshing experience after a day on the beach

be as nautical as possible


I have become quite the early bird these days, and luckily sunrise at the shore is my favorite time to hit the beach.
  Here are some things that I loved:

The beach is my bliss.  
It is the only place that I can simply do nothing, and still be the happiest person.

Where is your favorite place to be?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Feathered Fedora

So, after getting my feather hair extensions, I am now on a feather frenzy!
This will be my last feather project for a while, but of course, I'll be back.

At the end of last summer, I found fedora hats for only $1.00 - that's it! So it only seemed right to buy 2. Now that summer is here, they are coming out of the closet!

 I want to give one of these hats more personality and make it my own, so I am adding none other than a peacock feather. Which is - by far - the best color scheme imaginable!

I cannot believe that something exists in nature with these colors. Amazing.

All I did was use my trusty hot glue gun to secure the feather behind the cloth material.  Easy peasy.

It was just a quick way to make something more personal and fun. Now, I am ready to take my sea-foam green nails and feathered fedora on my mini-vaca to the Jersey shore this weekend!

To prove everyone wrong about their perceptions of New Jersey, I intend on capturing many photographs to brag about the beautiful area that I grew up in. Expect many inspirations from the sea.