Feb 28, 2011

Pizza and a What!

I'll give you another minute to stare at it and imagine just how delicious it was.
Because it was that good!

Go ahead, I'll wait.


Ahhhh alright, welcome back.

Recently I came home from work with a hankering for pizza and lately I've been meaning to try my hand at making bread, sooooo ... perfect timing!

I used tons of fantastic information from the ladies over at Our Best Bites as my inspiration.
 (Again, I say inspiration because I'm no good at following instructions)

I haven't tried their other recipes yet but  go over there and take a look. I mean, c'mon Chocolate Mousse Crunch Cake?! Are you serious?! *drool*  They have everything!

(You still with me, or did glance back at the picture again?? I know I did.)

I {mostly}  followed their method for pizza 101 and used their dough recipe (which apparently also makes awesome breadsticks!) to make my slacker version of their flatbread pizza.

Really easy! No, seriously, REALLY easy!  If you haven't tried your hand at this, you toooootally should.

The basics:

Mix your water, sugar, and yeast & wait till they get themselves all worked up.

Add the salt & flour, mix, knead, wait....rise. (See? Easy!)

Shape, and bake.  Mmhhhhh (I cut off a piece to try it)

While the crust is a-bakin' you can prep your toppings & make the sauce.

Caramelized onions & spinach. Delishus. Because it's SO good it makes you misspell!!
I made a basic garlic cream sauce, but Our Best Bites does have a yummy-sounding recipe for Alfredo sauce as well.  Sprinkle with some feta, and voila!

I used the garlic cream sauce for the pizza but I mixed a little of the leftover with some store-bought marinara (the combo of the two has a name, just can't remember) to use as dipping sauce. And oohhh boy was it good!!!
You know how good it was?  This good:

So go ahead, give yourself a fist bump and a Whaaat!
Don't worry, no one's looking.

Feb 22, 2011

Stampity Stamp-stamp

Stamp. Ssssss-TAMP!
That's what happy stampers sound like. I'm one of 'em.

Since recently  I was sick and gross (and tired and lazy), the sewing machine made too much noise for my liking so I found a quiet activity. Well, cleaning is a quiet activity too, but clearly I couldn't do that either!

I knew I wanted some sort of stamp for the Etsy shop so I decided to try out making my own.  And it came out great!

I hopped on over to MrArt.com and ordered some carving tools as well as some rubber-ish carving blocks. I used the "pink stuff" -- Speedball Speedy Carve blocks -- because I heard it's good for beginners. I certainly was not about to try real linonium blocks.

(SIDE NOTE: There are tons of different materials out there. Just search for "softoleum," E-Z cut printing blocks, Safety Kut, or just about any arts/crafts store or site, and look under block printing, printmaking, stamp making, etc.  There's also some really neat-looking styrofoam-type stuff so kids can "carve" their stamp with the back of a pen or something like that. No cutting!)

Design your stamp: I used the same design from my fabric labels and played around with it on Word. Print out your image.

Transfer to carving block: I used a pencil to draw over the lines on the image. Use plenty of pressure so you can get a good amount of graphite on the design. Now place your design on top of the block (right-side down) and rub the design from the back of the paper.

Darken image (optional): The second time around I found it easier to carve if I go over the transfered graphite image with a dark pen or marker before carving.

Carve: Important to carve away from you! (and away from the design too). You don't need to dig deep at all and it's best to take off a tiny little smidge at a time (rather than trying to make deep grooves each time)

At this point, you're pretty much done. Go ahead and stamp your design so you can see what you need to fix. You can go back and carve away any areas you don't want inked.

I was lucky enough that I didn't accidentally cut off any letters, considering this was my first try! I mostly just had to carve away the extra junk around the print and clean up some of the letters.

If you look at the 3rd print, there is still "gunk" on the outside, but I think I like it.... it looks like wood grain!

Lessons learned
  • get good tools.... sharp helps!
  • cut AWAY from you and the design
  • lay block on flat surface for carving
  • have some good music for listening... you might be a while
The pink stuff is a little rubbery, kinda stretchy, so there were some parts that were tricky because they sort of stretched away from me rather than cut away, but I think that also has to do with my tools being a little dull.

Also, I imagine stiffer, less stretch material might make for cleaner, crisper stamps & might hold up better over time. Dunno. This is the only stuff I've used.

Anyway, I definitely like my new stamps.

This week, I linked up over at Someday Crafts. Go check 'em out!

Feb 18, 2011

Feeling human again & a new addiction

I finally feel human again! I’m well! I can breathe!
And I can no longer count my pulse in the pounding in my ears. All good things.
In the process of getting well, however, I’ve neglected a few housekeeping duties, and that's putting it mildly! 
See how this is directly in front of the door?? Yup, that's right...I just stepped around it.

In my defense, these were clutches "in progress" but they're done now.
This is where newspapers, and sweatshirts(?!) go to die.
"airing out" the costume.... 7 days later!

Finally cleaned up all those newspapers....

...which then turned into a craft project. Ha!
See? You think your place is messy!
Don’t you feel better already?
You're welcome.

On another note, since my ears were still bothering me a little from being sick, I couldn't stand the sound of the sewing machine. So I found something I could do in shhhhhhhhhh.... silence.
And now I'm hooked.
I'll tell ya more about it soon

Feb 16, 2011

How to: Fabric labels

This is probably really old news for some of you, but did you know you can print on fabric!
I know! Brilliant, right?!
I did some googlin’ around and there is tons of information out there. (Heck, even HP has a page that outlines the steps.)
All you (mostly) need is an inkjet printer, and “treated” fabric, so the ink stays.
You can buy pre-treated sheets,
treat your own with some Bubble Jet Set,
or make your own solution!
(Bubble Jet Set ain’t cheap!)

Though I’m sure this info is everywhere, I used a recipe from Craftster posted here as my “inspiration”
….and I say inspiration because:
a) I couldn’t find the Washing soda/ Soda Ash (sodium carbonate)
b) I can’t be bothered to measure ingredients. Ever.

So I used some generic oxygen-cleaning technology stuff (think Oxiclean) since it contains sodium carbonate, and eyeballed all the measurements. I know, sue me.
(SIDE NOTE: I once had a student ask me what it means to eyeball a measurement, as in : “Does that mean you just stare at it for a while?”       *sigh*       kids….)

The rest is pretty much business as usual, but here are some notes:
  • I cut the fabric on the bias so the tags wouldn't fray
  • I used freezer paper to stabilize the fabric instead of interfacing
  •  I'm pretty sure I didn't wait 20 minutes after printing. I was too excited.
  • I cut the tags with the freezer paper still on 'em. Easier for cutting except then I had to peel 30 little strips off. I'm ok with that.

I really like how they turned out! And now I have brand new tags to go on all the purses. Yippee!!
Mmmhhhhh... now let's see....what else can I print??

This week I linked over at Suzy's Artsy-Craftsy Sitcom!
Suzy's Artsy Craftsy Sitcom

Feb 7, 2011

On *NOT* being


Sick. Bleech.
When I wrote last week about all the things I'm not I knew that there are many times when not is a good thing.  And I planned to write about that. Until this plague took over my whole body.

I blame it on this
but more on that later.
As a start, here are a few good things about NOT... And boy am I grateful for them right now!

There are no children to look after. Oh heavens I can't imagine how some of you do it when all you want to do is sleep and there is a child to feed, clothe, care for, etc.  I've been eating crappy soup and bread for two days and I'm ok with that.

No boyfriend/husband around...for anything. I'll admit, as nice as it to imagine that there would be some handsome guy serving me soup, the reality is that he'd probably try to stay the heck away from me. And the dishes would still not be done.

So instead I get to look like a crazy bag lady and don't have to worry about cooking for anyone.  I haven't brushed my hair in two days, my legs are a tad fuzzy (c'mon, be honest, we all do it sometimes), and I haven't changed out of this shirt since Saturday night.

The apartment is in a state of disarray that I haven't seen since the whole my-dishwasher-puked-in-my-kitchen incident... and I don't have to worry about cleaning it up for anyone.

Dishes are dirty.

Tissues are strewn about.

The bed is un-made.

My whole face is gonna explode out of my ears soon (or that's how it feels) but
at least for right now,
 I'm glad I get to do it in the privacy of my own little space. Alone.

Hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow.
Who knew!? I'm actually looking forward to Tuesday. Go figure.

Feb 3, 2011

How to: "Coin Round-up" zippered pouch

(Not my style, but it fit the today's theme.)

I know there are about a gazillion-minus-two different tutorials out there for making a zippered pouch. Some very good ones too!
This isn't really one of them. 

Of course, I couldn't find the one I used when I first made them, so this time around I used this one here for little reminders, from Make it Perfect.

It's late, I'm starting to get sick, and I'm lazy, so there are probably some things missing. (which makes it a half-torial...no shame in my game)

Anywho, one of my girlfriends casually mentioned (you know how that goes) that she needed some sort of wallet-type thing for her extra coins & receipts. 

And she's a little cowgirl at heart. I'm pretty sure she was meant to be born in Montana or someplace like that but ended up in Florida somehow. Traded horses for beaches, I guess.

So, this is her new pouch, lasso and all!

I won't go into all the steps in detail because there are so many women who have far better explanations, but here are some basics.
  • I used some twine from an old hippy belt I got at a thrift store years ago. They were $0.25 each so I bought a few of them and have used them for tons of things.  Just did a straight stitch right over that sucker onto the denim.
  • Stamped the phrase "Coin Round-Up" using fabric paint, then heat set.
  • The ruffle is from a thrifted corduroy skirt.
{Of course, you gotta do all your decorating on the front piece before sewing anything together}
  • I took off the metal stoppers on the zipper and just zig-zagged it closed. I've only ticked off my sewing machine a handful of times, but the time I tried to stitch over the stopper, she almost threw ME out the window!
  • All went as planned until around her step #5. Denim is much too think to turn out easily, so it's a little bulky at the zipper ends.
  • I would have preferred that it be a little narrower, but I stink at measuring

All in all, it's a quick project, and I like how it turned out. I think I'll surprise her with it tomorrow!

Happy lassoing, ya'll!

Join  us Saturdays at tatertotsandjello.com for the weekend wrap 
 up           party!

Feb 2, 2011

Full disclosure: Superior inferiority

Here's a bit of news: I'm not you.

I know, right?!?! I was shocked too!

It should be obvious that I'm not you but I still have to remind myself  every now and then. Sometimes I'm a little surprised by it.  Um, maybe surprised  isn't the best word. Maybe...


Yup, that's probably more accurate.

{whisper whisper whisper}
What's that you say?
Yes you're right, I am super-duper awesome!
So why the disappointment?

You see, some of the things that seem to make so many of you pretty darn cool are the things that I don't have. They're the things you're most proud of, the things that you want to scream to the world. So the easiest and shortest logical connection in my little pea brain goes like this:

I think you're awesome
you have {blank}
I don't have {blank}
so I must not be awesome.

{Use your circus announcer voice for this next part.}

"Laaaaaaadies and gentlemen! Step right up, and see Carla, the amazing illogical thinker! Watch as she goes from fact to complete & absolute delusion, in just four quick steps!!"

Now, don't get me wrong, I always make the trip back to fact. Eventually. But it's exhausting!

I'm not a mom. I'm not a student. I'm not a wife. I'm not a devoted church-goer. I'm not a girlfriend.  I'm not a whatever (photographer, designer, consultant, writer, painter, nurse, teacher, etc).  I don't have play dates or dinner parties. Heck, I don't have dates at all!  I haven't hiked Mt. Fuji or skied in Colorado. I don't have a backyard to garden or a home of my own to decorate.

Turns out one of the things I'm really, really good at....
....is making myself feel really, really bad.

If I were a superhero and that were my superpower, what would my name be?  Buzz-kill Girl? I'd fly around spreading doubt and insecurities world wide!

"Gee, Carla, you really ARE a buzz-kill! Do you have anything nice to say today?"

Yes, I do. Thing is, even with all of these things that I'm not I do still think I'm pretty rad. (Yup, I said it. Let's bring "rad" back.).

So I'm gonna keep reminding myself of that. Over and over again. To the point of exhaustion. And some days, I might need reminders.

So that really cute tee you made for your son? Guess I'll make one for my niece.
Those pics you took of you & hubby at the park? Maybe I'll go for a walk & make some furry friends.
That trip to Paris you remember so fondly? My trip to the fabric store two blocks down wasn't half bad.

It's a work in progress. But it's mine.

Feb 1, 2011

2nd Monday Do-Overs

 If you remember, one of the things I don't much care for about Tuesdays is they're sort of undefined. They're this neither here-nor-there sort of day.
Some people don't care for Mondays; I don't mind them because they bring a new beginning and a jump start for the week
(slow, reluctant, and coffee-fueled as it may be).  Though I'm never happy about being pried away from my weekend, let's be clear on that!

What if Tuesdays were a
second-chance-for-a-fresh-start sort of day?
What if I could re-do yesterday, but better?
 Let's call them Second Mondays.

Here are my 2nd Monday Do-overs:

Actually check the chain on the bicycle before heading out. Last night I had to ride ride very slowly & carefully;  any extra force on the pedals meant a slipped chain.  Dodging traffic when your bike ain't moving is NO fun!        
Buy more clearance fabric. C'mon, it was on clearance! 5 yards just won't do!
Think twice about licking that chocolate off my fingers while eating Oreos. I was almost instantly sure I had just licked chain grease instead.
Not make that 10:30pm phone call last night. Those are usually not a good idea.

 See? I feel pretty good about today already, knowing I won't do that again!


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