Monday, December 17, 2012

Living in pictures.

I haven't posted much lately, been really busy making gifts. I did an ornament swap. Participated in the Reddit Secret Santa event, and made a few gifts for family.

I've been making fun recipes and drinking fancy teas. Decorating my little Christmas Tree and my dogs.

<3 nik

Fancy tea; so dark it looks like coffee. 

Happy "Howlidays" from Payden and Virgil  (Virgil's antlers were to big and slid off)

Mass Effect multimedia art for my Reddit Secret Santa

Minecraft perler art coasters

Meatless Monday at our favorite raw/vegan restaurant

Reddit Alien perler art for my Reddit Secret Santa

All the gifts for my Reddit Secret Santa (not included a flat of ketchup chips sent directly to him)

Cranberries with Blood Orange Vodka. So yum.

Yarn store in Paige, TX.  I explored, and was so inspired and amazed at so much yarn.

"Smashed Potatoes" I saw on Pinterest.  They were a hit with J and Little Bro.

Enjoying local lights is one of my favorite parts of Christmas. 

Perler art in the works.

Happy Holidays

My spoils from the fancy yarn store, Yarnorama!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Doctor Who Mug

If any of you follow my blog, you know that not long ago I made a tea mug and a matcha green tea bowl. I used the sharpie marker method so often seen on Pinterest.

Little bro didn't know they weren't dishwasher safe though. I pulled my tea mug out of the dishwasher and it was a blank canvas again. Sad panda.

So our next trip to Michael's I bought a black and blue glass paint marker. The instructions say it will be dishwasher safe. That same shopping trip J bought this big tea mug (I was jealous he found it first and their was only 1 left) with the intention of using the markers on it.

Well that was months ago and he either forgot (most likely) or could never decide what to do with it. This weekend I had a huge lightbulb moment and freehanded this baby after J went home. I'm surprising him with it tonight.

It is inspired by River Song's journal on Doctor Who. I'm not completely happy with my paint job but I think it's okay for my first time using the markers. My free handing could use more practice too!

Looking back it seems like it was fate that I bought black and blue markers.

<3 nik

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Hair Bow with Pattern

Halloween falls on my regular day to work this year, so I'll be spending it at work.  We get to dress up, but it can't be anything really gross or scary (I work in an ER setting).  Twinkie Chan posted a super cute tutorial on her site for making a cute rib cage and heart to affix to a t-shirt.  I figured it was cutesy and kawaii enough that I could get away with it at work.  You can find the tutorial here.  I haven't made the heart yet, but the ribs work up real quick.

I also wanted to make a cute bow for my hair and add googly eyes to it.  Who doesn't love googly eyes? (You are a communist if you don't like them just an FYI)  So I whipped up this super easy hair bow.  It would be great for someone just beginning to crochet.

I used black and orange, but you could use any Halloween type colors you want (I almost did black and bright green).  You could also use this same pattern to make any number of color combinations.  There is a color change in the pattern, which is easy if you have never done it before.  Once you get to the last stitch before your change,  pull your yarn through the last stitch so you have 2 loops on your hook, then put your new color on the hook, and pull it through the first color (I hope this makes sense).  If not, just do some googling.  Seriously its really easy.

H hook
Crochet needle (I use the big plastic blue ones)
Googly eyes
Hair clip of your choice (I use the small alligator ones)
Glue gun

Hair Bow Pattern:
Using color 1
Chain 11
R1 Skip first chain, sc across, ch 1 turn
R2 sc across, change color, ch1 turn
R3 sc across, ch1 turn
R4 sc across, ch1 turn
R5 sc across, change color, ch1 turn
R6 sc across, ch1 turn
R7 sc across, ch1 turn
R8 sc across, change color, ch1 turn
R9 sc across, ch 1 turn
R10 sc across, color change, ch1 turn
R11 sc across, ch1 turn
R12 sc across, finish off.

Now to the most annoying part!  Hiding all the tails!  I love striped crochet, but I hate all the tails it leaves.  Once you hide all the tails, use your crochet needle and a 12 inch piece of yarn.  Pin the middle of your swatch how you want your bow to look, and then use the needle to sew through the middle.  I sew, then wrap a couple times, then sew, then wrap the rest of the yarn.  Once you have wrapped  it around and made the bow look how you want, glue the ends.

Once that dries, affix your googly eyes how you like.  Let it dry, and then affix your hair clip so the bow will sit how you want.

Sorry in advance for the lack of pictures.  I just did this real quick last night.  I used one of my dogs as a model, I'm not sure he was super into it.

<3 Nik

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The tiny bit of Halloween I have done this year

Don't really know why but I am just not feeling it this year when it comes to Halloween. It's usually my favorite holiday next to Yule/Xmas. I have given into the pumpkin fever though. I'm about to make some pumpkin baked oatmeal muffins for my weekly breakfast (go menu planning!).

We did get our pumpkin carve on though. It is one of my favorite things to do. I kept it simple this year. My pumpkin is the one with the mustache. J's is the one committing pumpkincide.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

More menu planning and hoops

I'm doing pretty darn good with my menu planning. J has even started doing it some too. My favorite so far has been the baked oatmeal muffins in the mornings. Oatmeal in its mushy form makes me gaggy. But baked in a small muffin form is heaven sent. So far my favorite is the walnut/chocolate chip I made last week.

I added a radical new cross stitched piece to my hoop wall. nerdJERK just had a sweet sale in her etsy shop to help fund her wedding. I splurged and bought 3 cross stitch kits of hers. The other 2 I'm waiting to get still, but they will go up too.

We are finally getting some nice fall weather. But only in small spurts, then it's almost 90 again. I got J and I some pumpkins anyway, and I'll post how they turned out carved soon.

I just want more gloomy rainy days. It better justifies butternut squash soup.

<3 nik

Monday, October 8, 2012

Eating a little outside the box (more Asian market adventures.

Our adventure this time brought us duck hearts. This didn't seem all that weird to me (and probably southern ppl) because my step-dad made chicken hearts and gizzards. I decided to make it my own and use panko bread crumbs. They were super good but kind of a pain to fry with the panko. Any food budget/meal planning peeps take note the duck hearts were just over a dollar. A meal for 2 or using these as an appetizer would be nice on the wallet.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Finally hooking again

I took the whole summer off of crocheting, but now I'm back in the game. I wanted to make some fingerless gloves for my friends birthday; I didn't want them very girly though. Found a free pattern on that I loved so much I made a pair for myself.

My sister in law got me this really pretty and soft variegated yarn for my birthday, but just one skein. I was able to make 1 pair with enough left over to make a mug cozy to match. I love the yarns softness and it is a "no-pill" type of yarn which I thought perfect for gloves.

I was making the birthday girl's gloves during some downtime at work, and was commissioned by a coworker to make a pair for her. She even brought me yarn.

Please excuse my slightly unorganized picture placement. I am experimenting with blogging from my phone. The back gloves are the gift, and the others are mine.

<3 nik

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Still planning!

Menu planning is still going strong. I didn't do anything yet on pinterest, but that's ok because I still have foods at home I can use.

I did make some more baked oatmeal for breakfast. This recipe has no refined sugar in it! Only honey. I added walnuts and blueberries and they are great. Took a chance to use my new Halloween ramekins.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Week 2 of Menu Planning

The first week of my menu planning was what I would consider a success.  I managed to make meals and snacks for both Tuesday and Wednesday.  The baked oatmeal muffins I made sustained me the whole week, and I even had enough to share with my room mate too, for his breakfast.  I would heat up 2 or 3 (depending on the size, b/c I learned that they don't rise much) and a glass of milk, and I was good till well into the afternoon (when I would wake up, given my odd schedule).  I didn't need to make the lassi or banana sushi on Thursday, I had yummy breakfast muffins. 

This week I wasn't on top of things as much as I was last week (we spent the weekend out of town visiting J's family), but tonight I think I have managed to pull together a menu for the week.  I originally thought of making more breakfast muffins, but I might just do an English muffin with peanut butter.  I love them toasted with a glass of milk.  I don't know if I will have time tomorrow to go shopping, as well as make a weeks worth of breakfast, and make lunch for work. 

But the overall goal of saving cash is really being accomplished.  I have now realized that not only is it saving me money by not ordering out at work, but it is also saving me money at the grocery store.  I am really trying to incorporate items I already have in the pantry, freezer, or fridge.  You might notice that I have had a quinoa recipe both weeks, it is because I have a big bag of it in my pantry.  I am having to adapt some of the recipes so that I am not making a bunch and then they end up going to waste.  Luckily there aren't a lot of things my room mate won't eat, and he is happy to eat leftovers. 

I didn't want to get confused about what recipes to use, since I plan to keep this (hopefully) going more than just a few weeks.  The board with my past recipes can be found here.  While the board with the recipes for the current week are here.

Anycrap, no fancy pictures of food today.

<3 nik

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Menu Planning! Go!

I went grocery shopping today with my handy dandy list for all my recipes I had pinned for my menu planning.  [shameless plug] Here is my Pinterest board for my Weekly Menu Planning.  I made a change to it today, because I had forgotten that J and I had made a trip to the Asian market and we had gotten a package of 4 eggplants to split.  So I changed up my edamame to eggplant for Wednesday. 

I suppose I should clarify for anyone that might actually be following this.  I am doing my menu planning roughly from Monday-Friday.  Monday I am off work, and we usually do meatless Mondays at Js' place.  I work Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday nights.  I didn't make a mean for Thursday night because J always makes me lunch and brings it to me.  I will probably bring snacks.

Anycrap, here is my amazingly small grocery bill, it really helped having a menu and shopping list to reflect it. 

I was amazed!  This is just for my food at home and for work during the week.  It doesn't include any eating out that I do with J.  That was still low this week though, about 25 bucks.

I made one of my recipes, the blueberry banana baked oatmeal tonight, so that I could put it up and munch on it the rest of the week.  at $.52 cents a serving, I am gonna be eating some really yummy breakfasts this week! 

Check them out!

I am not a fan of making something in a big pan and then eating off it the rest of the week (I am also not a leftovers loving person) so I made mine as individual little muffins, if you will.  A couple of these with a glass of milk, or tea, or BOTH! 

I am finally executing some menu planning, and am really excited about it!

<3 nik

Sunday, September 2, 2012

My Millionth Attempt at Menu Planning [week 1]

So after visiting the website for my bank account and seeing the break down of how much I spend on food, broken down in a nifty pie graph (ironic much?) I decided it was truly time to really focus on menu planning, not only for health, but for saving some cash. 

So I decided to let Pinterest help me, since I never seem to find a menu planning app that I just love.  I tried to use pepper plate, but they don't support one of my favorite websites that I like to get recipes from (budget bytes).  So for now I have a board on Pinterest for A weekly menu.  The plan is to change it weekly.  I am trying to combine 1 new recipe, as well as using items that are already in my pantry. 

So, to be a spam whore, here is the link again  A weekly menu.  Follow my menu planning journey.

<3 Nik

Matcha Green Tea Bowl

A fun trip to the Asian market resulted in J getting a bigger bowl to mix his matcha green tea in (this is the green powder we used to make our green cupcakes).

I saw another opportunity to use the Sharpie and make a hilarious bowl. This time I used Gary Coleman as my muse. I hope you like it.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sharpies + Dollar Store Mugs= Fun

I'm sure you've seen these if you spend anytime on Pinterest. Designing your own mug for yourself or as a gift is fun and cheap. I'm thinking of doing some as Christmas gifts. Finally got around to trying this out for myself.

If you google "Sharpie mugs" you can find numerous tutorials on how to do it. Supplies/Directions are easy:

White ceramic mug

Draw what you want, bake at 350 for 30 min. Let cool, hand wash only.

Could it be more easy? I think if you wash it in the dishwasher though, the design will fade faster or come off completely.

I copied a design I saw on etsy. It always makes me lulz.

Nik <3

Nyan Cat Cake Extravaganza!

This weekend we attended Geekfest in Killeen.  Its a con sort of event where people dress up, they have Magic tournaments, a cake/cookie/cupcake contest, vendors, robot builders, and the best part is the location is part of a planetarium.  They have cool videos, star talks, and laser shows. 

This is only the 2nd year of the event, and I like that about it. Its fun to go and participate, but its not to big and annoying with lots of people.  I keep finding the older I get, the more my dislike of people outweighs my like of attending events.  This year we decided to enter "The Cake is a Lie" contest.  There are 3 categories, cookies, cakes, and cupcakes.  Our entry was 1/2 cake and 1/2 cupcake, but we were put in the cake category.  There was only 1 entry for cookies, so we decided if we do it next year, we are doing cookies.  We didn't win anything, but we had fun making our entry, and the "celebrity judge" was Peter Mayhew.  He is the man who wore the Chewbacca costume in the original Star Wars movies.  This made me happy in a nerdy way, he ate one of my cupcakes!

We were judged on taste as well as appearance.  We decided on doing matcha green tea cupcakes, with butter cream frosting.  Our design?  Nyan cat, of course.  First we had to make the base for Nyan Cat, and the cupcakes, which were to be the rainbow that follows behind him. 

We made these the weekend before, and froze them so that way all we had to do was frost everything.  The frosting part took about 4  or maybe even 5 hours, because we had so many different colors (11 colors, if you count white as a color!)

I made a HUGE batch of butter cream frosting (4 sticks of butter, 7 cups of powdered sugar!) and then colored smaller batches as needed to do the rainbow and Nyan Cat.

 Finally, after maybe 6 or 7 hours of total work, our creation is complete!

Clearly we are not professionals, but I still LOVE what we accomplished, and so did a lot of other people!  We had some pretty stiff competition though,  it was a small contest, but there were a few participants who seem like they are professional cake decorators.  

Above are the winners, and below are the other participants, that like us, did not go home a winner.  

I don't think this is going to make me jump feet first into the competitive world of cake decorating.  But we would like to do it again next year.  We have already been brainstorming on what we could do next year.  I like that ours was so colorful and creative. 

Nik <3

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Bam! Minecraft shoes!

I know I shouldn't have delayed this post so long, but I was so busy that it took me longer to get them done that I had planned. 

My inspiration came from these shoes here, Kyozokicks.  About 6 months ago they made their way across my Pinterest and across  It wasn't long after that I decided to do a Minecraft party and had the idea to do my own pair.  I followed this tutorial here, except I used a more puffy type paint.  Little Bro helped me by doing all the gridding, I did the painting. 

They didn't come out nearly as perfect, but I still think they are radical.  J loves them.  He wore them today. 

-Fabric paints in 3 shades of green, and 1 shade of gray/silver, and black
-Popsicle stick
-Can of shoe waterproofer

This was my first time doing anything with shoes, and I am happy with the results.  It wasn't until later that we had a cool surprise when going to bed.  I was glad I could capture a good picture of them later.

Everyone in the house agreed this made the shoes a million times cooler.  If we were ravers we would be so hip happinen'. Or something.  that made me think of this.

Hope you enjoyed!
<3 nik

Monday, July 30, 2012

Minecraft Party, Amazeballs! A grownup version of a fun kids party!

The party for J's birthday was amazeballs!  Everyone had an awesome time, J couldn't stop thanking me for planning such a great party.  It did help a lot that the guests were fun and not party poopers.  They were all willing to participate in the games and trivia. 

I am still getting used to the hosting/blogging/party thing so I didn't get pics of EVERYTHING.  I was the one running the games, etc so I didn't get any pics of us actually playing them (boourns will try to do better next time!).  I didn't get any pics of the food either.  Didn't hear any complaints about the food though.  I fixed some spinach dip, ranch dip, and veggies/chips.  I whipped up a quick Nutella dip with just Nutella and Greek yogurt.  It disappeared very fast!  I made some kielbasa in the crockpot, and used the Ah-So sauce my room mate brought back from Boston.  It is a sweet red sauce that also tastes of soy sauce (to me anyway).  The fun part is that is has A LOT of red food dye in it, and turns whatever you coat in it a bright red color.  I'm sure its SUPER healthy. 
J made a really yummy queso using the ghost pepper cheese I had gotten him at Costco.  He used the ghost pepper cheese sparingly (thankfully!) and added a bit of the sweet potato syrup we got in Alabama.  It had a nice flavor and a nice little kick of spice as an aftertaste.  It just dawned on me that must be why they are called ghost peppers, because the heat doesn't come until after you eat it.  Instead of a cake, we had dark chocolate brownies with a cream cheese/matcha powder frosting (the matcha powder made it a nice green color).  They were supposed to look sort of like land blocks. 
We even had a couple of drinks that were Minecraft themed!  I got the recipes from this site the drunken moogle.  We made the Enderman and the Cake.  I had some 3 Olives cake vodka, and it was so popular that the bottle was emptied! 

Ok so enough TLDR here are some pictures now to illustrate what I was able to pull off (next year I really need to do a handmade pinata. 

Oh I didn't take any pictures of us doing the trivia game.  I just did some Googling and after searching 4 or 5 different sites found a bunch of questions that I liked.  I didn't want to try and do Minecraft specific questions because I knew not everyone attending played Minecraft.  I chose general video game questions that I felt your average player would know.  I think there ended up being about 23 questions, as I cut some out last minute because they were the same answers as previous questions.  The top 3 with the highest correct answers won a prize.   

So now for realz here are the pics.  The next game was Creeper Bowling!

I used empty Mt Dew bottles with faces drawn on with just a big permanent marker.  Last minute I decided to make it more fun when i saw the different colors of the tops of the bottles.  I added values of 100 for orange tops, 200 for green tops, and 300 for the one yellow top.  Then I added a little bit of water to the 100 point bottles, then slightly more water for the 200, and then the 300 point bottle had the most water.  It made for a nice challenge.  I again chose the top 3 for prizes.

The next game we did was my version of pin the tail on the donkey.  But instead of a donkey it is a Creeper, and instead of a tail, it is his eyes and mouth. 

I do regret not taking pictures of some of the ways people put his parts on.  This game ended up not being very challenging, but by the time we played it half of the party was pretty tipsy, so everyone still laughed a lot and enjoyed it.  I even got in on this game, and was able to easily put the face on. 

By this time everyone had mostly gotten a prize, and there were still quite a few left.  Since this game was so easy I just let everyone who hadn't already pick a prize, do so.  And then just hand out the rest to whomever wanted some.  I was afraid that I wouldn't have enough prizes, so I might have went overboard.  I had so much fun coming up with prizes that I thought people would actually use and enjoy. 

Sorry in advance if this group of pics is to busy with all the font.

I tried to make it not just a Creeper focused party, but after talking to James he said that it WAS the most recognizable and popular character from Minecraft.  So most of the prizes were Creeper themed, but it is pretty easy to get that design on things.  I also wanted to try and make something that was a little more girly, because it wasn't just guys at the party.  Hence the granny square necklaces.  These are just so adorable to me anyway, and I love how easy they are to make. 

The last activity was a photo booth!

I hummed and hawed over this for a good 15 min while walking around the store shopping, but in the end I was SO glad that I got it.  I made an oops by hanging the background to high....but whatevs.  This is where your guests make a huge difference in if this will be successful, or not.  Luckily, everyone in attendance totally embraced the idea, and all the little extras included were passed around jovially.  This was another reason I was glad to just buy this photo booth instead of trying to make my own. As you can see in the group shot, there were a lot of fun items you could hold.  We got a good dozen or so shots.  We did couples, and all girls, and then all guys, and some solo shots. 

We even tried to get Virgil in the on the photo booth fun!

Whew!  That covers all the highlights of this amazing party.  I got so much positive response and was happy that I was able to pull everything off.  I wanted to make J's party just as awesome as he had made mine.  We are both kids at heart, and I wanted to make it something memorable for him and his friends.  I had a blast being the host, although I don't like being a quiz master.  It is to dang hard having to decide just how specific the answer has to be in order to be correct! Ha!

<3 Nik

P.S.  Here is the Pinterest board I made for inspiration.  I hope it can inspire you like it did me!
        J's Birthday Ideas

P.S.S. I haven't included the gift I made for J, that is going to get its own post VERY soon.  I accidentally discovered something that makes this gift EXTRA awesome, so it needs to showcased for its own Ohhhs and Awwws. 

A rad party for the raddest guy ever! Love you lots and lots!