Saturday, December 8, 2012

Toms Wedding Shoes!

Ta-dah!  November has been very exhausting, but it did not keep me from finishing my favorite project of this year - Toms crystal wedding shoes for Nicole!  After maybe 12 hours of labor, 3 packs of  Swarovski element crystals (about 1440/pack), 2 syringes, 1/2 tube of glue, the shoes were just in time for bridal shower.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Burlap Wreath for Christmas!

The occasional-crafter is back!  Since I am staying in Boston for Christmas this year, I was determined to do something to my "vacation house" in Marina Bay.  I also wanted to make something that is not too expensive.  I saw a similar burlap wreath when I was doing my Google search and decided to make my own variation.

All the supplies are purchased at Michael's for under $15 (ribbons are leftover for a beer "cake" we made for a friend's 21st birthday).  It's simple - twist and pin, twist and pin, twist and pin! Happy December!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Gordon Ramsay's Scrambled Eggs

I am addicted to eggs - my favorite food in the world since I could talk.  When Kenny showed me this Gordon Ramsay video on how to make scrambled eggs, I couldn't wait to try it!  So here it is.  The day after Sandy and her remains, we finally set out to buy some heavy cream and smoked salmon to make our own version.  It makes me happy!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Wedding Toms Sneak Peek

October is gone in the blink of an eye.  And I feel like I haven't accomplished much.  Projects, papers, exams in school are not even half-done.  I always wonder how and why we cramp everything in the last month of the semester.  Anyway, I am glad that November's coming up since winter is my favorite season (if I can magically make every day a sunny day, I don't mind the snow).  Can't wait till Thanksgiving (eating and shopping: two of my favorite things combined!); but this year, I also can't wait till December because of my birthday (it always happens in December for some reason), friends' visits, Christmas, and adding to the list this year - weddings!

I saw this pair of pretty rhinestone converse online and really wanted to make one! I am glad my friend took my offer on that.  Today when Hurricane Sandy was visiting, I pulled out all my supplies and started gluing rhinestones! Now I am half-done, awaiting some more rhinestone deliveries. 

By the way, I used real Swarovski crystals, which makes it... expensive (of course if it's for a friend it does not matter).  But I am currently researching ways to make it cheaper.  I heard acrylic rhinestones are cheaper but not as sparkly, so I might give those a try next time. 

More photos to come : ) 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

My snack of the day - Dragon Fruit!

Dragon fruits usually look pretty crappy even when they are available in the states.  But I couldn’t resist buying one when I saw them at a Chinese supermarket last week.  So the dragon fruit became my between-class snack today!
Since dragon fruits are not well known to most of my friends here, I did a little research on its nutrient content (after all, I go to a nutrition school).  To my surprise, dragon fruit is getting some interest from people because of the whole “super food” craze.  From the cactus family, it’s also called pitaya.  The fruit is “football-shaped” as described by a website I came across; and have a leafy skin that is mostly red (with a yellow version).  The flesh can be white or bright red (may stain your clothes) with lots of tiny black seeds.

As a fruit, dragon fruits are rich in a lot of vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin C (which I learned is really good for your skin today).  And of course all the other benefits of a fruit: NO cholesterol, NO unhealthy fats, NO trans fat, LOW calories, HIGH dietary fiber, and a lot of anti-oxidants.  

What I haven’t thought of are the essential fatty acids in the seeds of dragon fruits (surprise fact #1).  Since they are tiny and basically all over the “flesh” of the fruit, you really cannot pick out the seeds when you eat it.  The good news is, eating the seeds give you a lot of healthy fat that your body needs. Surprise fact #2: the oligosaccharides (a type of sugar) have been shown to survive the very acidic gastric juice into the intestines; which then stimulate the growth of good bacteria!

Makes me happy to know I am snacking well : )

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

$22 Glass Display Cabinet

I love precious moments. I don't know if it's because I am heavily influenced by my mother, or the precious moment children Bible that I had.  I tried not to buy too many because of the frequent moving, but somehow I ended up with a lot of figurines from friends and spontaneous purchases; and they ended up on my shelves catching dust.

So one thing that I really wanted for my new "playhouse" is a glass cabinet to house all my figurines.  After diligently searching on Craigslist, I got this glass cabinet originally from IKEA for $22! (And it comes with the light too!)

To go along with the white with a splash or red/orange theme in the living room, we had to spray the top and bottom pieces white. Personally I think it looks great! 


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Completed Bathroom Photos!

This sounds weird, but welcome to the bathroom!  With the new espresso frame for the mirror, we got the ikea RIBBA picture ledge as shelves to hold bottles and stuff.  And in case you haven't noticed the bathroom sign, that was a surprise find at staples when we were waiting for the print. 

And finally, featuring my third printable, specially made for this bathroom! Still experimenting with illustrator... currently in the process of making a christmas card (because it is going to take me a long time) and a banner for the blog! 

Lastly, just a photo of laundry area with the pretty wooden letters I got from Michael's! Thanks to the numerous pictures I saw on my favorite site!

Off to Portsmouth, NH!

In my mind, this is not really a road trip since it's only two hours away.  Nevertheless, I heard it is a cute little town to visit besides seeing the nature in New Hampshire. Love how the city center is built for tourists with a lot of pretty little stores.  Though overpriced (you can buy a bottle of wine here for $40 and the same bottle at a freeway-side liquor store for $10), the boutiques and shops are pleasant to look at.
We stopped by Portsmouth Brewery for dinner because it has a high rating on Yelp! Too bad it was a total disappointment or else the trip would have ended on a good note (that's why I don't want to give Portsmouth Brewery a restaurant post). Their beer is so-so (Sorry but Sam Adams is way better) and the food we ordered was so terrible that I couldn't remember what we had when I typed this post (some mussels, deviled eggs, fish?). Anyhow, their taco salad looks pretty good but I don't feel like I should promote that as a dietitian (plus I did not get to taste it).

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bathroom Mirror Project

This was how the bathroom looked like.  In need of some "personality"...?  I started using my two most valuable resources - time and internet to see what I can do about this bathroom mirror.  And I came across several blogs that has great tutorials on framing mirrors with moldings.  So I made my "driver" (because I still don't have the courage to drive in Boston) drove me to the BIG store again and wandered into the molding section (next to all the woods and building materials.. I had to admit it's quite scary). I was sick of painting then so when I was relieved to find this dark brown/espresso molding.  I only need two 7-feet molding (total cost ~$18 dollars).
Measured out the length. And my first time using a miter box ever! I did not even know how to pronounce the word - a staff at home depot taught me : p
My first cheap cheap seven-dollar miter box.
With liquid nails and caulking gun (of course I did not do this part myself).  Don't you think it looks so much better already? Even with the painter's tape?
I don't have a good picture of the completed bathroom yet (because technically this is my play-room/house not my living space).  But hopefully I can upload a nice picture with all the decorations (and of course featuring my 3rd printable!) soon.

P.S. I am not really a pro in home improvement/DIY projects, so it's better to read tutorials like this one from Elizabeth & Co.

Monday, September 10, 2012

August was Kitchen Month

This was how the kitchen looked like.  Since we don't have the $$$ needed, we cannot upgrade the appliances or cabinets.  But this dark green laminate countertop makes me sad every time I see it, so after some research online.  We bought a countertop transformation kit from Giani at around $60-70 (much cheaper than the other brand in home depot at ~$150).

So we painted the countertop with a black primer that comes with the kit, waited a day, and sponged some pearl white paint onto the countertop.
 Next is sponging on a dark black paint.
And it ends with a bronze paint followed by a clear coat on top.  Looks like granite to me! ... at least it's much better than the original green laminate!
So after my "success"with the countertop, I decided to give mosaic tiles a try.  I remembered seeing flowers made out of tiles on the bathroom wall of some fancy restaurants and thought I could easily recreate something similar... and that thought costs me be two weeks.

I went to the big orange and white store again and got a roll of fiberglass mesh (at the windows section), a huge bottle of glue, some thin-set mortar for glass tiles, caulk x 4 and waited at home for the grey and white tiles that I ordered online to arrive.  I measured out the dimensions (including the light switches etc) and lay out the pattern on the floor.  Then we glued the tiles to the mesh using regular craft glue (with parchment paper underneath), left it overnight to dry, and with the help of Kenny (..hehehe...), put the tiles up using thin-set mortar.

Then the problem came, we used a caulking gun and some caulk we got from the store and thought it looked perfect!... until it dried and we realized we bought clear caulk instead of white. And now we have to go back and get some other ones to finish this up.  But still! Don't you think it looks nice (ignoring some uneven-ness)?
 We also got this fancy set of LED stick on lights with switch at Costco for within 30 dollars.
Thanks to Pinterest (yet again) and the inspiration it gave me, I got this plate rack for $1 at a crate and barrel sale and I am loving my organization of the lids!
Then it's time for some more decorations. Printed these from Over the Big Moon, except I used illustrator to make the last spoon print vertical. And I am loving the Coca Cola print, so much for being a dietitian.
 Anyhow, I am loving the new kitchen!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Kenny's New Home (My PLAY Room!)

A photo from yesterday - putting my chalkboard to good use. After learning more about foam rollers at home depot, I am planning to repaint the chalkboard with a smooth finish roller when we are done with all these wall and counter top painting/furniture shopping/moving in and out.

Bright and happy-looking new living room! Can't wait till we fill the room with furniture!!! But before that... today was painting day! First time bringing a wall chip to home depot to get a "custom-colored" paint - my highlight of the day.

Reason for painting - the previous owner left the TV mount (very high up on the wall for some reason) and a tube for wires, we decided to take them (and some paint) off.

Things to fix before actual move-in (potentially starting Monday) - ugly green counter top in kitchen, white laminate counter top in bathroom, living room wall, burnt wall (by long-term old TV exposure) in bedroom number 1, carpet stain in bedroom number 1, missing carpet (!!!!) in bedroom number 2.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Printable Number 2!

I really should have gone to bed, but we might actually be able to get into Kenny's new apartment tomorrow! Just the thought of that can keep me up all night... so I made my second printable :) Enjoy!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Julia's First Printable!

Thanks to Pinterest (again!) and my summer holiday (free time!!), here comes my first printable! I am quite happy with my first product, makes me feel better about spending the evening learning a new software (although the first few words still look better on my computer than when exported).

And I decided to go with a Bible verse.... in pink! Just because they are my favorite book and color.  Now I just have to find a place for it in my tiny apartment.

P.S. I am not sure how to share a file yet, but I am happy to share it with anyone!

Kitchen Experiment - Bread Pudding

For my internship this summer, I have been teaching a nutrition class at two residences for developmentally delayed individuals.  To get their attention each class, I would make sure I bring along something to eat or something for them to do.  So after the first few classes, they remember me as the food lady (asking "what are we eating today?" every time) and I ended up with lots of leftover foods.

I did some online research and ended up with Paula Deen's Bread Pudding Recipe.  After a test batch that failed miserably (and of course being tortured by the guilt of adding too much sugar into a recipe), I decided to just go with my gut.  I added around 5 slices of stale white bread, 1/2 cup of sugar, ~1 cup of milk and some vanilla extract.  Soak the bread well in the mixture and baked for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

The group of taste-tester friends who are always my recipe-testing lab rats all had varied opinion, some say it's still too sweet, some say it's okay.  So I guess that means room for improvement, but hey, I used up my bread and produced something that goes well with ice-cream!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Not as thrifty chalkboard!

Thanks to Pinterest, I came across so many different versions of chalkboards on the DIY page.  So when I was planning out Kenny's new condo's decoration, I had to put in a chalkboard!

I decided to go back to Jessica's "Little Baby Gavin" tutorial since it was those creative and cute pregnancy pictures that caught my attention at first.  I went to different thrift store whenever I passed by one, but never had any luck picking up good frames for the project. So when I walked into Joann the other day and saw the sale going on, I decided to buy a frame instead.  I used chalkboard paint and a foam roller but the surface looks a little bumpy but I am quite satisfied with my first official DIY. Might repaint it later but for now... I can't wait to write on it!

Getting my Green Thumb?

Growing up in a city (and a very beautiful city indeed), I have never really had the chance to grow anything big (except for peas as a science project) because everyone in the city is cramped in tiny apartments without enough room for human living, let alone plants.  And frequently moving around during my college years don't help either.

However, the time has finally come! As part of my internship this summer, I helped out regularly at a "backyard hospital garden" with 13 beds. The garden grows a variety of foods, including tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce, bunching onions, garlic, carrots, peppers, cucumbers, and squash; all of which would eventually become donations to the food pantry at the hospital, or be delivered to shelters and residences in the community.  The garden even got featured on a local blog!

Bed filled with lettuce and braising greens (photo taken in June!)
 Colorful produce makes me smile

So I decided to make good use of my tiny balcony (after all I still live in a city) and planted tomatoes, chilli peppers, lettuce, sweet bell peppers and various herbs in pots! How exciting to see things grow! And through no particularly effort of my own (I swear I  don't have much knowledge in gardening), I actually got to eat chilli peppers, lettuce and tomatoes from my balcony!

 Long and lean chilli peppers
 A tiny pepper flower!
Green tomatoes (I ate all the red ones before taking the pictures)

Given my "success" (some herb died miserably, looking all burnt), my future plan is to grow bunching onions (scallions).  Reason? Because it's tough so it will grow in any condition, perfect for a lazy person like me. So for now, let's end with a happy sun flower from the garden!