Easy Colorful DIY Framed Art

I’m constantly pinning new ideas for arts and crafts projects on Pinterest – especially ones to decorate my woefully under-decorated apartment. So, when I saw this example, I knew I had to try it.

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Easy Colorful DIY Framed Art

Supplies:

– Acrylic paint, assorted colors
– Paint brush(es)
– Posterboard or cardstock
– Large craft hole punch (at least 1 inch in diameter)
– Glue
– Frame and matte

Instructions:

1. I chose two colors to use, blue and teal. I painted strokes of each color on two different pieces of card stock, purposely attempting to make variations in how the paint looked on the page.

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2. Once the paint dried, I took the large whole punch (the one I have is Martha Stewart brand) and began punching holes and setting the circles aside.

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5. Next, arrange the punched out circles on the poster board. I purchased a large piece of poster board, cut it to fit the frame and then taped the matte to the poster board so that I could accurately place the circles.

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photo8 edit6. After laying out all of the circles in order to get the spacing right, glue each circle into place. And, voila – easy, colorful art!

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DIY Wire Name Jewelry

Can you believe Christmas is exactly 1 month away? I sure can’t…which probably means I should start buying some Christmas presents…(thank god for Amazon.com)

Sometimes I feel like I get into a recipe rut on here, only cooking and providing you with recipes and cooking tutorials. I really love to craft too and with the abundance of ideas that Pinterest provides, there are so many things I want to try. So this past week, I decided I was going to try out making wire name jewelry. It was neither as easy nor as hard as I thought it might be, but I really loved the end product.

Here’s my guide to making Wire Name Jewelry:

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Supplies:

  • Package of jewelry wire (I used 18 gauge in silver for this tutorial)*
  • Wire cutters
  • Small jewelry pliers
  • Chain and clasp to match wire (or alternative)
  • Pen
  • Paper

My Advice Starting Out:

Making wire jewelry takes some practice, but it also takes thought and planning. Some letters, names, and words will be easier than others. Prepare to fail and try again. You will get the hang of it. Just make sure that you buy extra wire so that you can practice.

Instructions:

1. Start with a piece of paper and pen. Think of the word you want to make and write it out in one continuous line, without ever lifting the pen from the paper. Remember, the wire name you will be making has to flow and can’t be joined together. (Unless you plan on soldering the metal together –which is something else entirely.

NOTE: A vital piece of designing your piece of jewelry is to think of how you are eventually going to wear it. How will you hook the chain to the name? Include that in your design. For example, with my necklace, I hooked one end of the chain to the J’s loop and then created an extra loop at the end of the i.

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2. Once you figure out how you want to shape the name/word and you think you know how to shape it, you are ready to really begin. Take your coil of wire and cut a piece with your wire cutters. The length you will need depends on the length of the name/word you are creating. Extra is always good — you’ll just cut it off when you’re done. wire4

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3. Begin shaping your letters. Use both your fingers and the pliers. (The pliers are good to make curves and circles — just wrap the wire around the plier to shape it.

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4. Continue to shape the letters. For some letters, you will have to double the wire up in order to get the look you want.

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5. When you’re done, it’s time to hook the wire name to the chain. I chose to make mine into a necklace. I bought a ready made silver chain with clasp at the craft store and then pried it apart in the middle, reattaching it to the ends of the name. (This can be difficult if the chain links are small, so consider this when you design the piece.wire7

 

6. And you’re done! For my name, I was really surprised how short an amount of time it took me. (It took longer to detach and reattach the chain than it did to actually form my name. But some letters are other words are more difficult. The bottom line is that practice makes perfect. You will also need a lot of patience.

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*Note on Supplies: 

Jewelry wire comes in a variety of sizes and materials. I used simple wire from the cart store in the color silver. You can also buy copper wire (pictured below). Wire is sized by gauge — the smaller the gauge the larger the wire circumference. For name jewelry, you will want a lower gauge (under 20), so that it will hold up. wire5

Jewelry pliers are sold in the craft store, but you may need to buy wire cutters from a hardware store.

You can also make bracelets and rings with the wire. A chain and clasp is also not necessary for all pieces of jewelry — the wire itself can be used for the entire piece. 

An Old Fashioned Favorite: Easy Chicken Paprikash

So, I’ve been a bad blogger. I have good reason though — a new job and a new apartment have kept me pretty busy over the last month and a half.

But, I’m back now and have lots of ideas for blog posts in the near future. For this post, though, I took advantage of what was for Sunday dinner this past weekend: an old fashioned favorite that is no where as complicated to make as you might think!

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Easy Chicken Paprikash

If you have no idea what Chicken Paprikash is, here’s a little history: Chicken Paprikash is a Hungarian dish whose name is derived from the traditional use of Paprika in the recipe. It can be made lots of different ways and is usually paired with noodles, dumplings, mashed potatoes, or rice.

The photo above shows the dish paired with dumplings. I did not include a dumpling recipe in this post, but if you’re interested in making them, dumplings are simply a combination of flour, eggs, and water. Drop bits of the dough in boiling water and cook until they float.

Note: The photos in this post show a double recipe. The actual recipe listed below is for 4 pieces of chicken.

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 14oz. can chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Corn starch or flour

Tools:

  • Large skillet
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Small whisk
  • Large ladle
  • Fork

Instructions:

1. Chop 1/2 onion into small pieces. Heat olive oil in skillet, add onions and sear for 2-3 minutes.

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2. Add chicken to pan, season with salt, pepper, and 1 tbsp. of the paprika.

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IMG_0101edit3. Brown chicken on both sides, approximately 5 minutes on each side.

IMG_0103edit4. Add chicken broth and water, bring to a simmer.

IMG_0125edit5. After liquid has come to a simmer, use a ladle to remove approximately 1 cup of the liquid from the pan. Place is in the measuring cup. Add half of the sour cream to the liquid in the measuring cup, whisk until mixed. Return the broth/sour cream mixture to the pan.

6. Repeat this step for the other half of the sour cream. (You do this to smoothly incorporate the sour cream. It also keeps the sour cream from curdling in the hot broth).

IMG_0130edit7. Add the remaining paprika and more salt and pepper to the pan. Cook until the liquid begins to thicken.

8. You may need to thicken the liquid with corn starch or flour before serving. (In order to do this, add approximately 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to 1/4 cup of cold water. Whisk with fork until smooth. Add this to the pan and stir. Cook for a few additional minutes until sauce thickens).

IMG_0132editVoila! Your Chicken Paprikash is done and ready to serve with your choice of side dish.

 

 

 

Easy DIY Fall Fabric Flower Wreath

Like it or not, summer really is over. Well, almost — only a few more days to go.

So, in the spirit of Autumn and all things sweaters, leaves, mums, and cool weather, I decided to make an easy Fall wreath today to hang on the front door.

I used a technique I’m currently using to make a different wreath, but for today’s project I simplified it further.

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What You’ll Need:

  • A grapevine wreath (or one of a similar material) — I used 18″, but feel free to make a smaller or larger wreath.
  • 1/2 yard of Orange felt (or color of choice) — If you want more flowers, you’ll need more material.
  • Hot glue gun and hot glue sticks
  • Scissors

Instructions:

1. For this wreath, I made 9 large felt flowers, so you will begin by cutting 9 large felt squares.

You can use a ruler to measure out each square, but I just free-handed it. It doesn't have to be perfect. Just know that the larger the square, the larger the flower.

You can use a ruler to measure out each square, but I just free-handed it. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just know that the larger the square, the larger the flower.

2. Cut each square into a circle.

photo-43. Cut each circle into a spiral.

photo-54. Starting on the outside, begin rolling the strip of fabric tightly. Continue until the fabric is completely rolled.

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5. When the spiral is completely rolled, you will be left with the inside flap. Apply hot glue to the underside of the flap and press it to the bottom of the flower. This will hold the whole thing together. Remember to handle hot glue and the hot glue gun carefully.

photo6. Repeat these steps on all 9 flowers (or however many you make). The finished flower will look like this:

Top view.

Top view.

Side view.

Side view.

7. Take your grapevine wreath and begin arranging the flowers on the wreath. I decided to offset them to one side, but if you prefer another arrangement feel free to play with the placement of the flowers.

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The finished product.

The finished product.

And there you are, an easy DIY Fall Fabric Flower Wreath.

Happy Fall!

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Chip “Cookie Dough” Dip — As Good As The Real Thing

Cookie dough. It’s one of life’s little pleasantries. I mean, come on, who doesn’t sneak a little taste of the raw cookie dough while baking? I certainly do, even though my Grandma taught me as a child that one does not eat raw dough because of the raw eggs. What can I say? I’m a rebel. 🙂

Anyway, as great as raw cookie dough tastes, it does not make a real snack. It’s also not very good for you.

So, when I saw all these recipes on Pinterest for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip, I was intrigued and wanted to see what it entailed. I’m the first to admit that dips aren’t always my thing. Non-dessert dips tend to include ingredients that I don’t like — particularly mayonnaise — so I generally am not interested in either eating them or making them.

A few of the recipes actually were very much like real cookie dough and were generally just egg-free versions of the real thing. But, a lot of them were healthier, “fake” cookie dough versions made out of chick peas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans) which are the main ingredient in hummus.

At first I was kind of skeptical. Despite my partial Middle Eastern background, I was never a huge fan of hummus because I usually find it grainy and dry. That being said, however, I wanted to try out the dip.

I made it once last year and it turned out OK, but not great. But, after making it a couple more times this year, I’ve changed ingredients around and played with the recipe and think I’ve ended up with a pretty good version.

So, here’s my recipe for Chocolate Chip “Cookie Dough” Dip:

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Note: This picture shows a double recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chick peas/garbanzo beans
  • 3 Tablespoons oats
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sweetener of choice — I use 3 Tablespoons of Light Brown Sugar and 1 Tablespoon of White Granulated Sugar. You could also use Splenda, Honey, or another alternative sweetener. You can also adjust the amount based on preference.
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Equipment:

  • Food processor
  • Measuring spoons
  • Spatula
  • Can opener

Instructions:

1. Safety first! Make sure you properly know how to use a food processor. The blade is very sharp.

2. Open and drain the can of chick peas and rinse them thoroughly. Add the chick peas to the food processor.

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3. Turn on your food processor for about 30 seconds and allow the chick peas to break down a little bit before you add the other ingredients.

4. Next, add the oil, oats, vanilla, sweetener, and baking soda. Turn the food processor back on and let it run until the mixture is smooth.

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5. You may find that the mixture is slightly dry. If so, add a splash of water until it is a smooth, creamy consistency. If, for some reason, the mixture has too much liquid, add an additional tablespoon of oats.

6. Pour the mixture in your favorite serving bowl and stir in the chocolate chips.

7. Serve with graham crackers, Nilla Wafers, or other cracker or cookie of choice and Enjoy!

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So what do you think, would your friends be able to tell the difference?

 

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