Friday, August 7, 2015

Furniture Adventure- Part II

So in my last post I wrote about some thrift store finds, and the process of refinishing the chair that we found. Here is what I did to the trunk !

First I spray painted the trim cream...

Next I taped of the trim to paint the rest of the trunk...

Several coats of paint later(with some light sanding of some drips, and re-spraying of some areas) the tape comes off.

Not too bad, but the paint peeled some from the tape and there was no way to get it completely touched up. In addition the trunk looked a little blah for my taste. So I did some ageing w by dry brushing and rubbing some acrylic paint in strategic places.

As for the inside of the trunk; it was just plywood, and although there was no sign of mold, or rot, it did smell like someone spilled a large bottle of awful perfume in there and than decided to store  candles and potpourri in it... yuck.

  After scrubbing it with hot soapy bleach water (while wearing gloves and in a well ventilated place!) I sealed than sealed the wood with a polycrylic coating.

The next step was to Modge-Podge pages from A Midsummer Nights Dream, and Macbeth. on the inside. 

Following that I did two more coats of varnish, and as a finishing touch, I adhered some vintage luggage labels (I had printed off) on the outside, and added a personalized shipping label.

It turned out to be a much bigger project than I anticipated, but was well worth it!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Furniture adventure- Part 1

I have always enjoyed watching HGTV. So, the other weekend I was watching some "Flea-market Flip" with my brother. We were chatting about how I needed some furniture for my apartment, and we ended up getting inspired to to some re-finishing of our own!

At the local thrift store we found a kitchen chair with good bones, but a lot of wear, for $3 and a gold metal trunk, that had seen better days, for $10.

Armed with spray paint ( found at the local Menards, much cheaper than the craft store!) along with sand paper and this nifty spray handle (about $3 and well worth it, saving my hand from cramping up!) we got to work. 

I washed down the trunk, and we sanded and the chair.

After two coats of spray paint, the chair already looked so much better!

All that's left is some light sanding, to smooth some rough spots and drips, and add a vintage effect. The chair is done!

Stay Tuned for Part II; where we tackle the trunk!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

"The Legend of the Starving Artist"

     As a college student I am often asked what my major is. When I respond that I am a studio art major, I'm fairly used to less than enthusiastic responses from both my peers and older adults about my chosen field of study.

     When you hear "studio art major" I think the image that commonly appears in peoples heads; is a sleep deprived, starving, poor, recluse living in a tiny decrepit studio apartment and creating disturbing abstract paintings  that look more like a crabby toddler made them than an adult with a hard earned  ( and very expensive,) advanced degree.

     To be honest this is mainly what I thought studying art meant for many years. So, while art has always been a massive part of my life, and one of my favorite things, I was determined not to be a "starving artist." I thought "i'll study design, or a social science or maybe even communication, but never art." Than things began to change, I started hearing more and more from teachers, family friends and other successful adults that getting a degree in Art might not be a terrible idea after all. I heard of, or met, people who taught, were illustrators, worked as designers, owned their own businesses, did consulting, and had non-profits, all of these people had either gotten an art degree, or explained that as long as you are willing to work hard, and be open to the variety of jobs within the visual arts, you can actually make a decent living. I was pretty excited.

    After spending a semester planning on being a social work major, than taking some time off due to health problems, I came back to college determined, with the encouragement of family and former teachers, that It would be an art degree or nothing. I chose a school that had a wonderful department, but was mainly known for agriculture and science. And you know what? Its working out just fine.

    In this day and age, even with the price of schooling and the messed up economy, having a college degree, or at least an AA or attending a tech school is generally a good idea.

   College isn't for everyone, and i'm not exactly your typical art student, but I love creating things and bringing joy to people through art and creativity. Maybe you still think that me, and other students like me are crazy, but hopefully this gives a little insight to how being a studio art major, might actually be a wise choice for some students, and that maybe we won't all be starving artists after all!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

I Scream for Ice Cream

      People often ask me what Food I have missed the most since developing several food allergies, and while there are certainly lots of foods I miss, ice cream is probably the biggest!  Throughout the past few years I have tried quite a few "alternative ice creams" and they have varied from awful to amazing: and I want to share what I've learned...

      Cherry berry, frozen yogurt is HUGE right now and I for one hate being the person who when asked by friends to go out for a treat is like "fro-yo!? Great, I'll just chill in the corner and awkwardly watch you eat, or else risk a nasty allergic reaction..." That tends to be a bit of a buzz kill. However Cherry Berry offers a dairy-free frozen strawberry-lemonade that is super good. The down side is it still has plenty of sugar which I also have a sensitivity too. While it's not as creamy as actual fro-yo it is still delicious and it means I can go out with my friends, so that is a win!

      Clemmy's  is probably the closest I've tasted to real ice cream and is gluten free, lactose free and sugar free. It uses Xilitol  as a sweetener though, --- which can be a laxative in large amounts, but I've never had a problem with it and it is better for you than some of the other alternative sweeteners. The down side is that it is only sold in certain stores and is lactose free, not dairy free so it still contains casein. However, it has tons of flavors and is a nice treat for those who are just lactose free.

   So-delicious is one of the overall best, and easiest to find. It is made with coconut milk or soy milk, and has a nice creamy texture. It comes in several flavors, but the chocolate is my favorite.

      Another treat that is more common, is LIFEWAY frozen Kefir. Like most regular Kefir it is 99% lactose free and has more of a frozen yogurt taste. It can be bought at most groceries stores. I adore it have been known to eat most of (or all) of a pint in one sitting.

 The only not so good one I will list is Arctic Zero, it is supposedly lactose and sugar free, but tastes like frozen sawdust with chemicals. I would not recommend it.

      Last but not least is my personal favorite, Coconut Bliss. As the name suggests it is made with coconut milk and uses agave as it's sweetener. Also, even it's flavors like chocolate walnut brownie are gluten free! It is usually only found at health food stores like small co-ops or whole foods, and is a little more pricey than  many other allergy friendly frozen treats, but boy is it good! There are lots of great flavors and and it is worth the splurge!

Hopefully this helps!

* All images are taken from product websites, and do not belong to me.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My favorite gluten free foods!

Gluten free foods have gotten a lot better over the years, but living in a family of gluten free people I've learned a lot about brands are good and where you might find them,
(For the record, I do not have celiac disease and recommend that you always double check the label to make sure an item is safe to eat:)

1. Glutino - best pretzels and crackers

2. Mary's gone crackers are good, in the seedy cracker department, and taste great with goat cheese (or regular cheese.) i would pass on their pretzels though, they were not especially good.

3. Udis is an overall a life saver. Their bread, bagels, cookies, tortillas, (basically everything) is amazing! And they are sold at a lot of stores now.
4. My personal favorite snack bar, are Pure bars. (they are also vegan! ) They are certainly expensive but you can order them by the box on the website with free shipping over $39, so that helps.

So these are just a few of my favorite products, hopefully it helps:)

*all pictures are from product websites.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Love, Pillow.

I love throw pillows, like seriously, I ADORE them! However, like most people I really don't like spending $30, even for the most fabulous pillow. So, last year when I was getting to move to school and saw an inexpensive plain red pillow at Ikea, that happened to match my bedspread, I had to dress it up!

First off I used some white yarn, which  I already had, and twisted it and tacked it onto the edge of the pillow. I also added some handmade tassels.

Than, I created a template by using sticky labels and cutting out the design I wanted, It worked a lot better than just plain old paper because it adhered to the fabric and the paint didn't run under. (at least not much.)

I than used white acrylic paint to fill the stencil in.

Once the paint dried, all I had to do was peel off the stencil and there was my pretty pillow!

I've had this pillow for over a year and it has worn pretty well, I used inexpensive materials, so it won't last forever, but part of the fun of throw pillows is being able to change them out.
Hopefully this inspires you to make your own wonderful throw pillow.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Gluten free, Dairy free Sandwich Idea

      Ok, so for my first real post  I want to share my favorite sandwich recipe!
 To put this in context I have a pretty strong gluten intolerance and issues with dairy so I've had to get pretty creative with my food!
     I came up with the idea for this sandwich after having a cranberry cream-cheese Monty-Cristo at a little tea place a number of years ago. Of course I had to modify the recipe after developing my food allergies... but I like this version even better!
     So here it is:

     I use gluten free bread (I like Udi's bread  and spread soft goat cheese on each piece. Than I take raspberries (fresh are best but defrosted ones work too!) and basically smash them into the cheese. Finally I take sandwich meat (I prefer turkey or chicken) and add that. 
     You can also put lettuce or other topping on the sandwich, but I like to keep mine pretty basic (also I don't like lettuce!)
 Than you fry the sandwich. I usually use a little butter in my cast iron pan, but coconut oil or a butter substitute would work as well. 
       Voila! You now have a lovely raspberry sandwich that is allergy friendly!