30 July 2012

Electrical Leopard

In my never-ending effort to infuse animal print into every nook in my home, I decided to cover my kitchen’s electrical outlets in leopard.  

Initially I was thinking about decoupage wrapping paper, but considering the number of times I have wiped splatters of cake batter and spaghetti sauce off my kitchen outlets (don’t act like you have never done it) that idea went out the window. Lucky for me, Duck Tape makes a variety of interesting patterned options, including my beloved leopard. Boo Yow! 

27 July 2012

There are few things in life I enjoy more than chicken tamales.

One of them is duck tamales.

And other is buying any kind of tamale off the back of a truck from a crazy man in a Mexican wrestler mask and sequin sombrero.

Lucky for me, The Tamale Spaceship (yes, that’s what it is called) parks around the corner from my office just about every week. 

Wait? You buy your lunch off the back of the truck from a crazy man in a luchador mask? 

I’m jealous. Lunch doesn't get any better than that now does it?
Well, actually, yes. Sometimes it does; if you time it right, the Chicago Cupcake truck will park one over and you can hit your sweet tooth and your tamale tooth in one swoop. Even better, move 20' west and you can eat it in the sunshine overlooking the Chagall. Not a bad way to spend a Friday.

I highly recommend the peanut butter cup cupcake. It has a crunchy cookie bottom and whole peanut butter cup cooked in the middle. If you can make it through the whole thing by yourself you deserve a hug.  

Or maybe another tamale...

Happy Friday :) 

26 July 2012

London Calling

You know you are *Officially Nonathletic* when it takes an Ab Fab 20th Anniversary Olympic Special to get you excited about the games.

...but now that I watched the special last night, I'm all hopped up on adrenaline and athletic fervor. I feel like getting sweaty. Or riding a bike. Or wearing something spandex with a big black swoosh on it.

Tonight, I might just put on some sweat pants and run to the store for daiquiri mix.

Let the games begin! 
Update:An hour after I posted this picture it happened in real life. Crazy!!
Update: A couple people asked me when the Ab Fab Olympic special will re-air. Answer: I don't know. If you know, chime in the comments. I do know it was part of the 20th anniversary series -- If you missed out on them, you can watch some episodes online courtesy of LOGO.

Another Update: Yes, you can tell how I photoshoped this by looking at the shadow on her lapel. Caution: Booze and inextinguishable flames don't mix!

25 July 2012

What is the Vietnamese word for buzz saw?

I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure I heard it the last time I took my mangled feet to get a pedicure.

It’s true: I have ugly feet. 

And half-way through sandal season (ie now) they are at their ugliest. I would show you pictures but I try to keep things wholesome around here.  Sufficient to say, they are dry and rough around the edges. One of my toes spreads out all crooked and scary like E.T.’s finger. It’s not pretty.


But, but, but, but, BUT…they got a whole lot prettier when I discovered this body scrub recipe last summer.
Sit on the edge of your tub and rub on your feet for 2 minutes...rinse, dry, repeat. Boom, new feet!

Yes, there are about ten berjillion face and body scrub recipes running around Pinterest these days, but this one is better. Know why? 

Coconut oil.   

Yep. It’s that good

It makes a huge difference. No, I mean that.

I had been using coconut oil soap on my hyper-sensitive/allergy/eczema-prone skin for years, but I didn’t join the official die-hard fan base until last spring. To be honest, prior to reading about the health benefits, I had the idea that coconut oil consumption was something to keep at a minimum – probably because it comes semi-solid like Crisco, and in my mind that put it in the same genre as vegetable lard, right? 


For the money, coconut oil is just about the best thing running. It helps to prevents wrinkles, heart disease, cancer, and lowers cholesterol levels, and research links it to improvement in memory and the prevention of a multitude of other diseases.

If you are anything like me – I had you at wrinkles (yes, it’s true: coconut oil is a natural antioxidant that protects the body from free radical damage and prevents premature aging and degenerative diseases (read: your skin is going to love it)).

24 July 2012

I had been saving this idea a for a baby shower, but dontchaknow, all the babies-to-be that I know are being showered out-of-state this year.

Just the same, I'm not letting that stop me -- I made a small scale model to share with you guys today. I mean, someone out there must have a baby shower or birthday party or some fun occasion to make them, right?


These are so fun and delicate looking. I chose a color scheme somewhere between rainbow and Easter egg, but you could customize as you like or leave them all white and use them for a bridal shower. Or go crazy and tie-dye. Or use markers and write messages and stuff. Wouldn't that be fun?

  • 40 Paper Doilies ($3.00 at the party supply store)
  • Watercolor paint (don't tell me you don't already own this -- no creative person can live without!)
  • Tissue paper cut into roughly 4" strips (any old rumpled paper will do just fine)
  • Sewing machine (or staples -- see below)

23 July 2012

Door Paint: Anything But White

Living room: Chocolate Shake Greige with a Tomato colored couch.
I am painting my doors.  

All of them. 

Most of them have gaps at the top and need to be rehung and/or sanded down anyway, so as long as they are coming down they are getting a facelift. Not that they need it or anything I have great doors. I love my doors.

Love them.

One of the first things I noticed about this place was the doors they are nice and sturdy Midwestern farm house doors with substantial molding in every room. Even the bathroom. Nothing fancy but they lend a lot of character and I have wanted to paint them each a different color for months. Months I tell you. Probably since moving day last fall. But I resisted because, 1. I wanted to live in the space a while before making a color decision, and 2. To get a rich, saturated color I'm going to need to use oil-based paint, which means I will need to keep the windows open for 24 hours or more (and in my neck of the woods, with my allergies, late summer is the only time of the year I can do that).

So it looks like I'm about to embark on a door painting blitz and I'm starting with the living room.

Initially I was thinking red doors. Red doors are classic, no?  But then I bought a ginormous reddish-orange couch (cushion pictured at the bottom) and that's too matchy-matchy for me. According to Ye Ol' Color Wheel, the exact opposite of the tomato color couch is teal. I never thought about teal doors before but the idea is growing on me. But is a teal a happy color?  Maybe I would be better with yellow. Then again, yellow might not look that nice in gloss lacquer next to brass hardware. It needs to be dark. What about Navy? Is Navy too boring? Maybe Navy would look better in the kitchen with the hot pink.

Dark Teal | Red | Navy | Blue | Orange 

Generally, I like to consider myself a decisive person, especially when it comes to the look of things. I have never been one of those people who takes three friends to the dressing room to get outside opinions before buying something. I know what I like and get it. Period. But Geez, this door thing has thrown me for a loop! I can't decide.

What do you guys think?

I'm open to suggestions. Anything. Anything but white. 

20 July 2012

Armadillo Dip

Last week I mentioned how much a wanted to invite you over for margaritas and armadillo dip on the porch. And I meant it. I really would like to have you over and stuff.

However, I did not mean I would be serving you armadillo.

Please rest assured and know that, in my home, no armadillos will be hurt in the name of dip.

See, I had the impression that everyone knew what armadillo dip was. Like it was the peanut butter and jelly of hot dip or something, but apparently this is not the case. It is just me. It has other names to other people, like Rotell Dip or Cheesy Queso.  I don't know where the recipe originated or what it's official name is, but I do know this: it's damn good.

Armadillo Dip
  • One pound of ground meat, browned and seasoned. We always had it with ground beef but I have heard of people cutting back with ground turkey or chicken, or going whole hog with spicy Italian sausage. It's a matter of preference. All I know is you brown it up and stuff.
  • One brick of cream cheese. Throw it on the hot meat and watch it melt.  (Can I just say how much fun it was to type that sentence?)
  • One to two cans of 2 cans original Rotel diced tomatoes with green chiles. Use one can if you want it super rich, use two cans if you prefer it spicy. You can substitute with a jar of salsa but it's not the same.  This one occasion when I am 100% brand loyal.
Mix it all together in an extra deep frying pan and serve in a fondue pot or crock pot. That's it.

Now, you can also use one of those fancy hot dip warmer dishes with the candle underneath, but I am going to make the assumption that if you are fancy enough to own said dish, you are probably too fancy to enjoy a good scoop of armadillo dip. I'm not trying to peg anyone here, I just know a lot about dip and dipping people. This one is a crowd pleaser, but it is not for everyone. It's a heavy dish but not too heavy to serve in the summer with a basket of homemade chips and a margarita on the porch.

...and while you are on the porch, I highly suggest you indulge in one of life's greatest pleasures: porch dancing. Here, Abigail and Aunt Meghan will show you how it's done.

make gif

H A P P Y   W E E K E N D

19 July 2012

CHA Recap

Vicki, Hailey, and Alexa having a good time at the iLovetoCreate booth.

Thank you to the folks at iLovetoCreate for inviting me to join them at the Craft and Hobby Show (CHA) this week. My previous experience with trade shows had been mostly non-fun stuff with non-fun people and spokes models (read:  Hooters girls) wearing nearly non-visible pants. Not what I would call “a good time.”

But this was not that. 

This was like, well, if the Emerald City was a craft store, this would be it.  So many new products to see and test and ‘make-n-take’, and so many wonderful people to meet. 

17 July 2012

Modern Mermaid Pillow

I'm big on mermaids these days.

I'm not sure if it's a trend, or if it's because my two-year-old niece Abigail has thing for Disney's The Little Mermaid, or if it's because I want mermaid hair...but whatever it is, I like it.

Mermaids are turquoise. Mermaids are swirly. Mermaids are sequined.

In other words: what is there not to like?

I decided my house is far to pink and orange. I want some swirling turquoise flair. I want some mermaid....and now I have it. Shazam!


If you have ever worked with tie dye before and liked the resulst but found the process messy or difficult to control, this kit is for you. It's just the same as using a box set of watercolor paint except it's fabric-safe. Just dip your brush in water, rub it around on the paint pot, and brush it over the fabric.If the color is too bright, just spray with water and watch the color run.

I stared with a basic chevron pattern as a base because I like the contrast between layers of geometric color and swirly, flowery black patterns on top. Alternatively, I could have drawn with the a marker first, then filled in the lines like a coloring book. Oh well, next time. I was in the mood for doodling this time. Then again, when am I not in the mood to doodle?

The end result was a little psychedelic looking. Not that psychedelic is a bad thing, but you know, this is my house. I want it to look like Under the Sea, not a Phish concert. So I tempered it by trimming the pillow with black and white stripe fabric. Cool beans, huh?

Thank you to Tulip/iLovetoCreate for sponsoring this post.
Check out their site for oodles of other fabulous tie dye projects, 
or follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest

13 July 2012

This thing is so big the only place I could photograph it was the sun porch!

You may or may not have noticed that I skipped the last couple of weeks of Friday Flower projects. Sorry y'all. Please know that it was not for lack of effort I have been busy beavering away at a series of, wait for it, ....giant flowers.

Cool right giant flowers? Doesn't that sound fun? Don't you want to make a great big batch of them and hand them out to everyone you know?

Well that's too bad because none of them worked!

This sunflower, nice as it is, is nothing like I thought it would be. I'm about 80% satisfied with the results. I hesitated to even share it with y'all but the concept is solid, and, as this is the start of sunflower season, who am I to hold back?  It's sunny and summery and would be fun to make with munchkins. If/when I make a better sunflower I'll be sure to share that too.

Kiki was kind enough to model. If only I had asked her to wear skinny green pants for the occasion.

I have been thinking about making giant flowers for nearly a year, ever since I saw these suckers featured in Bryan Batt’s book, Big Easy Style.
Tangent: If you are into interior design books, I highly recommend this one. It’s classic interior design stuff but there is an infectious sense of joy underlying his designs that I don’t usually associate with big glossy decorating books. In short: this is a happy book. If you look through this thing and don’t ache for a trip to New Orleans, something is wrong with you. Plus, he has some really good tips on no-fail paint colors and lighting that I have never seen anywhere else. Plus, Mr. Batt is ridiculously handsome. Plus, you might already know him as Salvatore Romano from Mad Men, or a bunch of other places, but he will always be Sal the Art Director to me. *Sigh*

And here is another tangent: Why aren’t there more graphic design professionals portrayed on film and in television? We only had ONE decent character and AMC up and plunked his butt. WTF? Seriously, you know what?  How many lawyer/doctor/cop/government agent shows are there on TV?  Too effing many. That's what. Why don’t they make more shows about creative people? Why can’t they show people kerning fonts and preflighting page spreads? I'm tell you, it’s downright exciting. Someone should steal my idea here and make some money. Shhhhhh, I won’t tell.  

Anyway, tangents are over, about the flowers…. Mr. Batt has these giant paper flowers on the chocolate colored wall in his dining room (don't you love that?). I have seen similar flowers on the sides of Mardi Gras floats so I am assuming that they are made of chicken wire and airbrushed paint, but I’m not sure. All I know is they look complicated. So asked my friend Suzzone, a fabulous blogger and professional crafter who lives in New Orleans what she thought, and boy am I glad I did because she said she saw them making these at her son’s school. SCHOOL. Well, if school children can make them, goshdarnit, so can I!

Originally I tried these with tempera paint on butcher paper and wire but they came out too floppy. Then I tried gluing the petals to plastic sliced up cups and it was a hot mess. In retrospect, they might have worked if I had chosen thicker paper, but you know, we are all entitled to a learning curve. So I went back to the drawing board and came up with this; a simple method of stacking layers of petals glued to plates. It’s hard to mess up and it’s a great excuse to bust out the big gloopy paint. 

  • Thick brown craft paper
  • Multiple colors of latex paint (leftover house paint does just fine)
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • One platter size lightweight/paper plate
  • One dinner size  lightweight/paper plate
Start by painting the craft paper –make it good and thick. For a flower this size you will want to paint at least three large sheets about the size of your dining room table. Make them nice and colorful and enjoy the painting process. You can smear down a decent base coat with a cheap sponge or roller. Go out of your way to be messy. Eat some chocolate while you are at it. I painted my petals shades of yellow pus some brown scraps to insert in the middle, but you could do any color. Or all colors. Oh please, somebody hurry up already and make a giant rainbow sunflower and send me a picture.

The amount of craft paper you will need depends on how many petals you want--I estimate I covered my dining room table with painted craft paper three times for this project.

I know someone is going to ask me for a petal template, so let’s be clear: I don’t have one. It cut these out free hand and you can too. Just fold the paper over and cut skinny pointy oval shapes in graduating sizes.  The fold is nice as it helps to stiffen the petals to keep them from flopping over down the road.
This flower used about 100 petals total, but you could get by with a lot less. Or a lot more. Gosh, don’t I sound wishy-washy today?

For the center of the flower, cut three circles with painted edges. Again, no template here. Just cut the edges nice and jagged then fringe the perimeter. Do this on each circle, fold up the edges, then stack them inside of each other. This could be a small flower all by itself.

For the center, cut a small circle of a lighter color, fringe the perimeter, and fold all the petals  in on each other.


The critical base of this whole project is a lightweight bamboo/wicker/basket platter thing from the thrift store. If you have ever had cause to order catered food, chances are the food came delivered on one of these, but if you do not have one laying around in your garage already, I guarantee you, every thrift store in the country has a lightweight platter basket laying around on a shelf for 99cents or less. Yes, you could substitute with a big circle of cardboard but then you won’t get the lip around the edge that helps the petals curve inward a bit like a real flower.

For the bottom tier, adhere half the petals to the platter with hot glue. Now that I think about it, staples might work as well.

For the  second tier, glue the remaining half of the petals to a reasonably sturdy paper plate and then glue the back of the paper plate to the center of the first tier.

For the center of the flower, stack the three brown circles, hot glue, then fluff the fringe to your heart's desire. Finish off with that fringy thing you made seven steps ago. Tada!

I had my heart set on it being a sunflower, but now I look and maybe it's a black-eyed Susan. Hmmm...hard to say.
 Happy weekend :)

11 July 2012

Lola and Neil: Together at Last

What is cooler than a formal portrait of Neil Diamond?

A formal portrait of Neil Diamond wearing leather fringe posed with my cat Lola.

Yes, this is happening.

Thanks to Neil, Lola, Photoshop, and a fabulous Uprinting canvas print, my latest acquisition will be the envy of all the neighborhood.

Something tells me portraits of celebrities and cats is an untapped trend just waiting to explode!

Now I know what you are thinking: Why Neil Diamond?

It's a long story. But it appears, whether I like it not, Neil Diamond is writing the soundtrack to my life. And given this fact, naturally, his image should hang in my dining room portrait collection along with other friends and family members. Also, he has really good eyebrows and they are a welcome presence on my wall. Plus, I saw him in concert last week and I was in the mood.

10 July 2012

The Zebra Rug

Good News: My ten-plus years of fantasizing about owning a zebra print rug are now over. Thanks to a 75% off sale with free shipping from Rugs USA, I got an 8’x10’ zebra print rug for $65, delivered in less than four days. Woot!

Bad News: No less than 30 seconds after I unrolled it, Lola marched right to the center of the rug and threw up all over it. Thanks, Lola.

Good News: That part about "easy to clean" was no lie. Just hot water and a little dish soap – looks good as new. 

More Good News: Lola apparently wasn’t finished, as just when I went to the kitchen to toss out the soapy paper towel, she walked right back to the rug and threw up again. It’s a good thing I liked this thing or I would be feeling hella guilty trying to return a rug twice graced with cat vomit.

That poor rug. 

Just look at her face – you can tell she is going back for more.

PS: If anyone else is looking to buy an area rug, Rugs USA is still offering 35% off  and free shipping on most of their modern rugs. It's worth a gander. 
PPS: As if talking about cat vomit didn't make it obvious enough: this is not a sponsored post. I just like a good bargain. In general, if I see an especially good sale going on I'll post it on facebook – follow me here.
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