Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mint Chocolate Chip Manicure: DIY Nail Art

Mint Chocolate Chip manicure, DIY nail art tutorial





This is going to sound crazy, but I actually was inspired to try this manicure by my favorite flavor of ice cream. I have a lovely mint colored polish, which I used last week in my Mint and White Chevron Manicure (so I guess I have mint on the brain...), and I have a cool glittery black polish...and I thought hmmm, I wonder if I can recreate that look?

Anyway, as kooky as it seems, I was determined to try it. I thought it would make for an edgy funky look that was exactly what I was in the mood for. I think I like it! Of course, this technique can be used in any combination of colors, so if you're not a fan of mint chocolate chip don't let that stop you!

This technique is especially awesome for covering up a marred mani; you know, stupid sheet marks or fingerprints in your polish...? I know it all too well. This is a pretty easy quick fix so you don't have to start all over again!

Want to try it? Here's how!

TOOLS & SUPPLIES:

• 2 colors nail polish
• clear top coat nail polish
• plastic wrap / cling film
• small paint brush or q-tip

• nail polish remover


INSTRUCTIONS:

1.) First paint your nails as you normally would with two coats of the color you want to use as your base. (I used Essie Mint Candy Apple). Let this dry completely. Overnight is best, but at least let the polish cure for several hours.

2.) When your nails are dry, crumple your piece of cling film up into a little ball. Use your accent color (mine is Pure Ice: Electric!) to paint on the wrinkled surface, sporadically, as shown below.


Mint Chocolate Chip manicure, DIY nail art tutorial Step 2

3.) Press the painted plastic wrap onto each nail, one or two times (moving slightly each time) in a stamping or blotting motion. Add more paint to the plastic as necessary. I think I only reapplied once, after the first hand was complete.

4.) When all nails have been 'stamped', discard the plastic wrap and allow your nails to dry completely.

5.) In the meantime, you can take care of any mess you made; Dip a small paintbrush or q-tip in nail polish remover and clean up around your nails any polish that got on your skin and cuticles.

6.) Finish the manicure with one or two coats of the clear top coat of choice.

7.) Enjoy your funky new nail art and get ready for compliments!

Mint Chocolate Chip manicure, DIY nail art tutorial

Mint Chocolate Chip manicure, DIY nail art tutorial








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 Stars and Stripes Nail Art Manicure Tutorial


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Strawberries are Beautiful, and I Don't Want to Paint the Bathroom, So I Learned to Animate with Photoshop




Yesterday I had the wildest random urge to photograph some strawberries. Except, I didn't have any strawberries, so I went to the store to get some so I could fulfill this strange need...even though I was in the middle of painting the bathroom. Of course, I like to eat strawberries too, but it wasn't the taste I was craving; I just had to see that color! It was almost as if my day wouldn't quite be complete if I didn't behold that beautiful juicy glossy red hue...

I know, what a weirdo!! But hey, I'm an artist. (That's what I say any time looks at me like I'm the nuttiest person in the world. I am sensing that you are sort of looking at me like that right now).

Anyway, I configured my fancy lighting set up with natural light from the window and a reflector of tin foil and proceeded to snap away. The photos looked so amazing in the camera, but I was sorely disappointed upon uploading them and seeing them on screen.

Maybe I just didn't have enough contrast or something, and my exposure was off, but they didn't really pop the way I wanted them to. So I did a little playing around in photoshop to bring out the glorious berries I was craving. I ended up with a pretty 'watercolor' painting (above).

Then I thought, wouldn't it be cool if I could figure out how to show the progression in an animation, starting with my crappy photo and turning in to a luscious bowl of beauteous berries? So, since I was already procrastinating on my bathroom painting by photographing fruit on a whim, I thought I'd better go all out and learn how to do it. So I did. And here it is!





And below, you can see the before and after photos:

Strawberries photo - beforeStrawberries photo- after watercolor effect


I think I'll print it and frame it and hang it in the bathroom when it's finished...whenever that might be (?)







Thursday, July 19, 2012

DIY Minty Fresh Chevron Manicure

Chevron manicure, mint and white DIY nail art



I've been having some fun with trying my hand at nail art recently. I LOVE the way my Stars and Stripes Manicure turned out for the 4th of July, so this time I thought I'd play around with some of the things I've been seeing a lot of lately; chevrons and the mint and white color combo. I pictured this as a perfectly summery manicure, and I was right. I like the way this one turned out too!  

TOOLS & SUPPLIES:

• 2 colors nail polish
• clear top coat nail polish
• sticky labels
• ruler / straight edge
• pencil / pen
• scissors
• toothpick (optional)
• tweezers (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

First paint your nails as you normally would with two coats of the color you want to use as your base. (I used Essie Mint Candy Apple). Let this dry completely. Overnight is best, but at least let the polish cure for several hours so you don't mar the surface.


Next, cut a strip of sticky label about 1 inch wide and 5 or 6 inches long (depending on how many stripes you want to make, and how thick). 

Use the ruler to find the midpoint and mark it, then draw a straight line up the middle of the length of the strip. 


DIY mint chevron manicure nail art tutorial
Draw a line from one of the corners to meet the midline at an angle of your choice. The more sharp the angle, the more dramatic. Draw a similar line from the other corner to complete a triangle.

Decide how thick you want your strips to be. Remember, the strips represent the negative space, or the base color that you have already painted on your nails.

Copying the angle of the first chevron, draw your lines the rest of the way up the strip. I just eyeballed it but you could use a ruler, or even cut the first piece off and use it as a template to trace.

Cut all your chevrons out before you move on and start painting. I used 2 on each nail, so I cut 20 strips.

Peel the back of one of your chevron pieces and place it on the nail as near to center as possible and press down firmly. Make sure the point is stuck down well, and that the part of the strip that overlaps is pressed down into the cuticle. You can use a toothpick to help push it down into the crease.


DIY mint chevron manicure nail art tutorial

Apply all the strips to all your nails before you begin painting so you don't have to fiddle with peeling the backs of the labels with wet nails (please...learn from my mistake :)

Paint two coats of your accent color (I used OPI Alpine Snow), painting over the label. Paint normally, along the length of the nail as if the stickers weren't even there; it's too awkward to paint side to side and you can get strange streaks.

Remove the labels while the nail polish is still wet. I use tweezers to grab the ends and pull them off to prevent ruining the finish.

When the second color has dried, finish with one or two coats of a clear top coat of choice.


DIY mint chevron manicure nail art tutorial



That's it! I hope you'll give this a try and have fun playing around with different colors. Which ones will you try first?

DIY grunge nail art "mint chocolate chip" manicure tutorialDIY stars and stripes manicure nail art tutorialWant to learn some more nail art tricks? See my Stars and Stripes Manicure and my "Mint Chocolate Chip" Nail Art Tutorial for some new techniques!




Sunday, July 15, 2012

Recipe: Kahlua Banana Popsicles

Recipe for kahlua banana popsicles (gourmet alcoholic popsicles)


If you loved my Bourbon Fudgesicles, you'll love these! These popsicles are a sweet grown-up treat with bananas and a hint of coffee; soooo delicious!

INGREDIENTS:
(Makes 6-8 pops)

• 3 large bananas
• 1/4 cup kahlua coffee liqueur
• 1/8 cup heavy whipping cream

• Popsicle molds
• Wooden popsicle sticks


DIRECTIONS:
Combine bananas, kahlua, and cream in a blender and process until smooth. I recommend mashing the bananas down a little bit.

Pour the blended mixture into your popsicle molds and place in the freezer for about 2 hours uncovered without the sticks or popsicle mold tops. 

Insert the wooden popsicle sticks after the pops have had time to set up a little, so you can place them directly in the center and they will stay upright. Allow to freeze 3-4 more hours.

OPTIONAL GARNISH IDEAS:
Drizzle with chocolate sauce
Sprinkle with (or dip in) grated chocolate 

NOTES:
I prefer using wooden sticks to the plastic handles that come with the molds I use, because they stick better; the plastic ones tend to come out when you're trying to extract the pops from the molds, or if you're swift enough to manage it otherwise, the popsicles fall off halfway through eating. Not good! 

You can use cling film to cover the end of each mold so they're not unprotected in the freezer; just wait until they are completely frozen with the sticks in place, then use the stick to poke a hole in the plastic and wrap tight.




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Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday Musings: To Forget the Mistakes of the Past...

Promise yourself to forget the mistakes of the past quote from Christian D. Larson's Optimist Creed "Promises to Yourself" poem


"Promise Yourself to forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future." (excerpt from "Promises to Yourself", also known as The Optimist's Creed by Christian D. Larson).

As obvious as it seems, sometimes it is hard to let go of past mistakes, whether they're our own shortcomings or someone else's. We tend to dwell on the negative things and get caught up in hypotheticals; 'what if's and 'if only's and spend so much energy assigning blame and picking things apart that we waste valuable time that should be used to build a better future with the newfound knowledge we have gained from the experience.

What's done is done; focusing on the negative doesn't change that fact. Forgive whoever needs forgiving, and remember that person may very well be you. Let it go and focus your efforts on the road ahead, with the positive idea that you are a better, wiser person with more life experience under your belt and a greater formula for success!

Friday, July 6, 2012

How to Roast Garlic

How To Roast Garlic


Garlic is a staple in my cooking. I am not exaggerating when I say that almost every single thing I cook starts with sautéed onions and garlic, but luckily, it is a healthy addiction!

Roasting garlic is really easy, and the result is a delicious addition to almost any dish. It's great in sauces, with pasta, in soups or salads, and my favorite is garlic bread - mash up a roasted clove on a piece of french bread, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and parmesan cheese, and toast it in the oven for a few minutes. (Come back and thank me later :)  If you prefer a more subtle taste, simple rub a clove of roasted garlic over the surface of some freshly toasted bread.

For the longest time I thought you had to have one of those fancy clay garlic roasters to make your own good roasted garlic, but that's not true at all! I'm going to show you the way I make it.

INGREDIENTS:

• 3 bulbs of garlic
• 2-3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
• 1/8 tsp each salt and pepper (optional)

• aluminum foil

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat your oven to 350˚.

Start preparing the garlic by peeling off the outside layers of paper. You'll know when to stop when you can see the individual cloves. You can leave the rest of the skin on, as in photo below, and it will come off very easily after roasting.

Step 1: peel off the outer layers of paper until you see the individual cloves of garlic

With a very sharp knife, slice off the top of the bulb to expose the tops of the individual cloves. Also cut off the 'butt' of the garlic to do the same on the other side.

Step 2: slice off the top and bottom of the bulb to expose the ends of the individual garlic cloves

Place the prepared garlic bulbs in a small baking dish or on top of a piece of foil on a baking sheet. Drizzle evenly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. It's ok if some of the cloves get separated from the bulb.


Step 3: place garlic bulbs in baking dish and drizzle with olive oil & season


If you are using a baking dish, cover it with foil. If you are using a sheet of foil on top of a baking sheet, wrap the foil around the garlic to cover completely and form a nice little parcel to contain the oil as it cooks.

Place it in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. Garlic should be soft when finished; test with a fork.

After the garlic cools enough to touch, you can squeeze the cloves out of the skin easily or peel them by hand.

when garlic is done it will be soft enough to squeeze out of the skin after it cools

NOTES: 

You can use any leftover olive oil for cooking, or store it in the fridge in a tightly sealed container along with your roasted garlic.

Try adding other herbs and spices into the mix, like fresh rosemary or thyme. Dried herbs work well too.

Use this garlic in recipes that call for fresh garlic and see what difference it makes! What fabulous recipes will you try with your delicious home-roasted garlic?

Garlic by Jessica Barst

Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday Musings: Obsessed with Orange

Beautiful orange daylilies


Last Monday I posted a photo of my gorgeous surprise orange daylilies that I saw bloom for the first time since we moved into this house almost 3 years ago. All week I have been thinking about how happy the color orange makes me feel, and I have been seeking it out everywhere I look.

I can't deny that looking at anything in this vibrant bright and juicy hue instills a warm comfortable feeling, like my whole body is smiling! I have created a collection from Etsy of lovely items that represent this glorious color, this essence of sunshine!




I hope you'll enjoy this collection and experience that same radiant glowing feeling that will carry you through the week. Happy Monday!

Kumquat Tangerine Juice Vegan Olive Oil Soap by TheOriginalSoapStand on Etsy
Kumquat Tangerine Juice Vegan Olive Oil Soap by TheOriginalSoapStand on Etsy

Citrus Orange letterpress linocut print by thebigharumph on Etsy
Citrus Orange letterpress linocut print by thebigharumph on Etsy

Orange Dahlia Autumn Flower fine art photo print by PhotosByChipperfield on Etsy
Orange Dahlia Autumn Flower fine art photo print by PhotosByChipperfield on Etsy

Tangerine orange leather clutch handbag by MOSAIKO on Etsy
Tangerine orange leather clutch handbag by MOSAIKO on Etsy

Tangerine Orange Fall Earrings, Autumn Leaves made from recycled paper by Jezebellamina on Etsy
Tangerine Orange Autumn Leaves Earrings made from recycled paper by Jezebellamina on Etsy


Orange ombre braided rug by greenatheartrugs on Etsy
Orange ombre braided rug by greenatheartrugs on Etsy


Amigurumi orange plush crochet heart wedding cake toppers by AllSoCute on Etsy
Amigurumi orange plush crochet heart wedding cake toppers by AllSoCute on Etsy

Orange amigurumi crochet octopus by leludallas on etsy
Orange amigurumi crochet octopus by leludallas on etsy


Alphonse the orange and white striped plush cat by Applekinzz on Etsy
Alphonse the orange and white striped plush cat by Applekinzz on Etsy

Neon Orange Tangerine Spring Infinity Scarf by ForgottenCotton on Etsy
Neon Orange Tangerine Spring Infinity Scarf by ForgottenCotton on Etsy

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