Wednesday, September 28, 2011

WoW: Color Scheme Designer (my favorite things #7)

typography canvas by tenderbeasts on etsy
See my previous favorite things... thing #1 - dafont | thing #2 - firegestures | thing #3 - babycenter | thing #4 - allrecipes | thing #5 - w3schools | things #6 and #6.5 - pandora and grooveshark

Some people just have an eye for great color schemes.

I am not one of those people.

As such, I tend to stick with neutrals and one accent color because it's very hard to go wrong with it. But that gets so very dull, right?

That's where my favorite thing for today comes in: Color Scheme Designer.

Whether you're looking for the perfect scheme for a room, an outfit, a blog, or anything else you can think of... Color Scheme Designer is awesome.

That's really all I need to say.

Plus, that's really all I have time to say because I squandered nap time on Pinterest and now both of my children are awake and the dishes and laundry are still waiting to be done...

So go explore the awesomeness that is Color Scheme Designer. And come back with questions. :)

PS - One quick tip... to save or share a color scheme, click the Scheme ID link under the 4-block color swatch at the top right. Then save or share that specific URL (such as, where the part after the # is the ID of your specific scheme). Happy scheming :)

Lu (or Lorene if you prefer) is the mom of two sweet little things (except on the days that they aren't) and the wife of a singing and dancing elementary teacher. She is the proud author of this weekly Wednesdays on the Web (WotW) segment here on Housewife Eclectic and spends the other days of the week blogging about crafts and whatever else comes up at just Lu.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Love You Like Oven Fried Chicken

Neither one of us can remember where it comes from, but "I love you like fried chicken," has been something my husband and I have said to each other the entire time we have been married. Problem is, neither one of us really likes friend chicken all that much. Since for some reason the saying has extreme staying power, we decided to look for a recipe of fried chicken that we did like and this one is pretty amazing. It makes us fight for the leftovers. :)

You will need:
8-12 pieces of chicken, you can use drumsticks, thighs or wings. I like to use a combination of drumsticks and wings.
3 eggs
1 cup of flour
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 teaspoon red pepper
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 cup vegetable oil or 1/2 cup butter

Beat the eggs and place in a shallow bowl and place the flour in a different shallow bowl. Add the garlic salt, red pepper and onion powder to the bread crumbs and place in a third shallow bowl. Dredge the chicken, piece by piece, in flour, then egg and finally the bread crumbs, until completely covered. Pour the oil or butter into a 9x13 pan, put the chicken in the dish and sprinkle the paprika over the chicken. Bake in a  350 degree oven for 30 minutes and then turn the chicken pieces over and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels.

This chicken is seriously delicious, it makes saying you love your spouse like fried chicken slightly less odd, but only slightly. :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Spray Painted Cowboy Boots

This process would work with almost any type of shoe, not just boots. 

When I was younger I dreamed of riding horses and working on a farm, years later, reality has set in and I know that I am not very good at riding, nevertheless, I have wanted Cowboy Boots for as long as I can remember. Something has always seemed so cool to me about slipping on a pair of cowboy boots, even though I am in no way a cowgirl. I am a city girl through and through, that can appreciate the county or at least the style of it.

When I found these cowboy boots at the thrift store for $5, I knew I had to have them. I tried to wear them everywhere, but they didn't seem to hold the magic I thought they would. Enter spray paint. I used a turquoise Valspar paint from Lowe's and it was magic. They were easy to paint and now I love them and wear them everywhere I go, although my husband is still convinced I angered some sort of Cowboy God. :)

You will need: 

  • an awesome pair of boots
  • newspaper
  • spray paint 

They were amazingly easy to spray paint and they have been holding up great. First thing you will need to do is stuff them with newspaper so you don't paint the inside. Then you are going to want to wipe down the boots and get them as clean as possible. Next learn from my mistake and weight down the newspaper that you are spraying them on. Wind came on suddenly while I was working on them and I ended up having to spray paint the back again.

 Hold your spray paint about 5 or 6 inches away consistently. If you spray consistently at the same distance you are going to get the smoothest look. Don't get much closer to the boot than that or you will end up with splotches. You may have to spray more than one coat. I had to do about three to cover the brown of the boot. Let them dry overnight.

I have been wearing these boots on a regular basis for more than 7 years and I have never had to touch them up. They still look fabulous. My biggest recommendation is to use a high quality spray paint.

Everyone who has seen me wear them has been shocked that I spray painted them. I think they are easily my current favorite shoe!
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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Photo Ideas- Chalk Art Photos

I don't know about your kid, but my kid isn't a fan of pictures. She thinks they are a great idea until I expect her to sit still and smile and then she comes unglued. I am always looking for cute photo ideas that are easy to pull off and kids love. Chalk art is both.
My daughter loved the chalk art pictures so much that she didn't try to run out of my frame and she was all giggles. I let her help me color in the letters and crown beforehand, which she was thrilled about. It also made me realize that white chalk and black shirt weren't the best combination. :)

This whole shoot probably took us 15 minutes. 5 minutes to draw the chalk drawings and 10 to shoot photos. She was so thrilled to be playing with chalk that I could have taken 100 more pictures of her and she wouldn't have even noticed.
We went with two different chalk art ideas, her name and a chalk art crown. What girl doesn't love a crown?
What chalk art pictures are you going to take of your kid?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

WoW: Pandora and Grooveshark (my favorite things #6...and a half)

typography canvas by tenderbeasts on etsy
See my previous favorite things... thing #1 - dafont | thing #2 - firegestures | thing #3 - babycenter | thing #4 - allrecipes | thing #5 - w3schools

I am in the midst of scouring my house from top to bottom -- cleaning, reorganizing, etc. This process happens about every three days and hasn't been deemed complete since the birth of my son two years ago...

So, the cleaning must go on, but the housework can seem almost fun (or at least less like drudgery) with the right music. At very least it can drown out the sing-songing and wall-thumping upstairs that tells me that naptime isn't turning out very nappy today... :)

Enter things #6 and #6.5 of my favorites... online music players Pandora and Grooveshark.

Pandora has been a popular internet radio site for years now. I personally have been listening for about 5 years... Pandora got me through ever finals week study/cram session in college :) Just put in a song or artist and Pandora creates a "station" of songs/artists with musical similarities, such as tempo and beat and music genre (and many other factors, stemming from the Music Genome Project).

Then, you further customize the station by telling Pandora which songs you like and which you don't, and you can add other songs to the station's base to add variety. You can also choose from one of the many genre stations and further customize the station from there.  Create multiple stations and listen up to 40 hours per month on your home computer or mobile device,  or upgrade to Pandora One for unlimited ad-free listening and other bonuses - $36/year.

Update: Pandora has lifted their 40-hour listening limit! Now you can listen as much as you'd like for free! You can still pay the $36 to upgrade to Pandora One so that you can use the desktop application and have fewer ads and timeouts, plus higher quality audio. 

I'm (very) new to Grooveshark, but what I've seen, I really like! Grooveshark offers some of the same features as Pandora, such as selecting and then customizing a genre station, but with Grooveshark, you can listen to any song at any time and create your own playlists. You can listen as much as you'd like on your computer, upgrade to ad-free Grooveshark Plus ($6/month), or upgrade to Grooveshark Anywhere to have Grooveshark on your mobile device ($9/month).

So, what song is stuck in your head today? I'll be honest... numa numa is getting me through today. :) 

Lu (or Lorene if you prefer) is the mom of two sweet little things (except on the days that they aren't) and the wife of a singing and dancing elementary teacher. She is the proud author of this weekly Wednesdays on the Web (WotW) segment here on Housewife Eclectic and spends the other days of the week blogging about crafts and whatever else comes up at just Lu.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mirrored Ornament Tutorial

It may seem like it is a little early to be talking ornaments, but Christmas is less than 100 days away! I have been starting my Christmas present crafts early to ensure I have no last minute projects this year. This mirror ornament is easy to make and the perfect addition to your tree or a perfect gift for grandparents.
 You will need:
small mirrors (You can buy them in multipacks at the craft store)
oven cleaner
hot glue gun
window cleaner
a picture
 The first thing you are going to want to do is put your gloves on. Oven Cleaner isn't a pleasant substance to work with, but is will take just about anything off, including the paint off the back of the mirror and it is MUCH cheaper than the alternatives. Apply a small dollop of oven cleaner to the back of your mirror, making sure to stay within a small circle space. The cleaner will take the paint off wherever you leave it, so make sure to wipe up any spaces that you accidentally get the cleaner.

You can take two approaches to the paint removal. In the first approach you apply your cleaner and then leave your mirror for over an hour, letting the cleaner strip the paint. Come back 1-1.5 hours later, clean the mirror and you are ready to go.
You can apply your circle, coming back every half hour to wipe it clean, check progress and reapply. It will take you about two hours two do it this way. While the first approach is faster, it is also less accurate, if you do it the second way you have a chance to catch any mistakes before they become too big.
 When your paint starts to bubble, it is ready to be wiped off. Use paper towels to take off the paint and then rinse the mirror. Find a picture that will fit in your empty space. Then trim the picture to fit behind the mirror.
 Clean your mirror thoroughly on both sides with window cleaner and cut a small circle of felt to fit behind the mirror as well.
 Cut a section of trim to act as your loop. Hot glue the photo to the mirror, careful to avoid hot gluing over the faces in the photo. Hot glue the loop of trim to the back of your mirror, then hot glue the felt over the back to cover all of it.
Trim your excess felt and cut a length of trim long enough to go all the way around the mirror edges. Start just behind your loop hot glue your trim to the EDGE of the mirror. This will cover up the edge and make the mirror safer to handle. Hot glue the trim all the way around the edge of the mirror, ending behind the loop. The will camouflage the beginning and ending of your trim.
 You can make this ornament with pictures of your kids in them for grandparents or for your own tree. They make wonderful keepsakes for the holidays and they are affordable to make multiples of!

Todays Creative Blog

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

WoW: W3Schools (my favorite things #5)

typography canvas by tenderbeasts on etsy
See my previous favorite things... thing #1 - dafont | thing #2 - firegestures | thing #3 - babycenter | thing #4 - allrecipes

I like to dabble in web design*. But web design and its accompanying HTML are complex beasts who are best tamed by regular association... more often than just when I'm ready to update the look of my blog. :) So what's a web design dabbler to do when she's forgotten which tag goes where and with what and why...?

Well, this web design dabbler turns to W3Schools.

W3Schools is a phenomenal resource for everyone interested in web design (and programming*), from dabblers like me clear up to web professionals. (While W3Schools' materials cover most programming languages, I've only used their HTML and CSS resources, so that's what I'll be sharing with you today.)

So, why do I love W3Schools? To put it simply...

Their tutorials rock. my. socks. (which are striped today, if it matters)

Each tutorial is simple to follow and provides concise explanations of what does what and why. And -- this is my favorite! -- each tutorial has a "try it yourself" section for you to test what you've learned, to actually use the code and see what the result is:
try it yourself here and see all of the test sections here
Even if you're scared of the big bad HTML monster, W3Schools tutorials are for you. Just start at the first tutorial and work through lesson by lesson until you've conquered mean ol' HTML. And if you're really serious about becoming a proficient web designer (or programmer*), you can certify online (for a fee).

So, now you have no reason for not learning HTML... if you want to. :)

*Please, don't confuse web design with web programming. If all you are using is HTML and/or CSS... that's design, not programming. Thanks to the team of true web programmers I used to work with, I now know the difference... and dream of someday being a web programmer. :)

Lu (or Lorene if you prefer) is the mom of two sweet little things (except on the days that they aren't) and the wife of a singing and dancing elementary teacher. She is the proud author of this weekly Wednesdays on the Web (WotW) segment here on Housewife Eclectic and spends the other days of the week blogging about crafts and whatever else comes up at just Lu.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Delicious Dinner Rolls

Breads are a staple in our house. I didn't grow up eating a lot of bread, but my husband did and he misses it whenever it isn't on the table. This is actually the recipe that he grew up with. I make them on holidays and when I think my husband could use a pick me up. This one is in the middle on difficulty. It isn't the easiest recipe because it involves a lot of time, but it isn't particularly difficult either. If you are looking for a really easy roll recipe, try the one I posted about here.

 6 tablespoons sugar
Two and ½ tablespoons of oil
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
3 ½ cups of hot water
1 rounded tablespoon of yeast
8-9 cups of flour

Mix everything but the yeast and flour. Pour the flour in one cup at a time while the mixer is going. Add the yeast. Mix on high for five minutes. Cover and let rise for half and hour to forty-five minutes. Form into balls. Place on greased cooking sheet. Spray plastic wrap with cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap and then cover with towels. Let rise for 30 minutes. Bake at 400 for 12-13 minutes. Butter the tops immediately after the rolls come from the oven. Makes about fourty rolls.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Princess Cape from woman's collared shirt (20 minute project)

 Somewhere along the way, my little girl became convinced that princesses needed capes. Not a super hero cape, but a long silky cape that would twirl when she danced with imaginary princes. I wanted something easy, but I also knew that if it wasn't something she loved, she would just keep asking. That is when I found this old silk collared shirt. It was perfect for a cape.
 In order to make a princess cape, you will first need to cut off the sleeves and side seams of your shirt. Cut as close to the seams as possible, to make the cape as big as possible.
 Then you will need to decide where to cut your shirt in the front. For me, it was most practical to cut the shirt off right at the collar, leaving the buttons on the shirt to fasten the collar when it was all said and done. Now you are just a couple of hems away from a finished cape. I did just a basic hem up both long sides of the cape, trying not to cuss as I went. I have decided that silk type fabric is not my favorite fabric to sew on.
In the end, her cape was finished in about 20 minutes and she was a completely happy girl. Who would you make a princes cape for?

  • If you are looking for an old shirt to make a cape from, considered an old's woman pajama shirt. They are often the right texture and many of them have collars. 
  • Be careful to not snip off your top button. It is what will keep your cape fastened later on. 

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Winter Sea- Book Review

I have read a lot of books in my life and I have loved many of them, but few of them have broken my heart. Broken it, not necessarily because of sad material, although there is plenty of that, but broken it because the book is finished. Broken, because I no longer get to go along each adventure, discovering things as the characters do. The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley is one of those books. I feel at a loss after reading it because I want it to go on and on. I miss the characters as I miss old friends.

The Winter Sea is a story within a story. Carrie McClelland is a historical fiction novelist trying to work on her lastest novel, a book about the Jacobite uprising in Scotland in 1708. She finds the book slow going until she visits a place one of her ancestors lived during the same time period, then the book flows faster than anything she has ever written before. Carrie begins writing about her ancestor and her part in the uprising, only to find out later that characters and places she thought she had made up actually existed, leading her to believe in some sort of genetic memory between her and her ancestor, Sophia. 

The Winter Sea is beautifully written between the two time periods, following Carrie's modern day romance, as well as Sophia's romance in the 1700s. Despite the two distinct running story lines through the novel, it is easy to follow and intricately intertwined. The rich, colorful descriptions of all of the characters and the gloomy, stormy seaside made this book one that I couldn't put down. Although it broke my heart in more than one place, I had to keep reading because it was so beautiful. I enjoyed the dialect in the book and it was written in such a way that I didn't find myself confused about what the characters were trying to say. 

There was just enough romance and intrigue to keep me turning the pages, but not so much that I was constantly rolling my eyes at cheesy expressions. The only thing this book left me with was a desire for more. I wanted a little more back story and I wanted to hear more about the resolutions that eventually came about, but overall I just loved it. I am adding it to my list of favorite reads, give it a chance and it just might end up on your list of favorites too. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Simple Beauty with Food Coloring and Water

There is beauty all around us, even in something as simple as food coloring and water.When I first saw these type of pictures a few weeks back, I knew I had to recreate them. They are wonderful simple to take, but complex in their own way. Here is how you make some of your own.

You will need:
a smooth vase, one with ridges won't work
food coloring
your camera
white backdrop

 First of all you will need a white backdrop, something to shoot against. A white wall or sheet will work perfectly. Fill your vase up about 2/3 of the way and set in front of your backdrop. Pre-focus your camera on the center of the vase, if you are having trouble doing this temporarily put a pencil in the middle of your vase to help you get a focus point.

Add a couple of drops of food coloring and snap away. You only have a few moments before the food coloring will over take the water, so snap quite a few pictures in that time looking for your perfect shot. If you want to take one with a different color, empty the vase, rinse out and fill again.

These abstract photographs would make a great splash of color to any room. What colors of dye are you going to play with?

If you want to see some more cool food coloring/water shots, check This blog out.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

WoW: AllRecipes (my favorite things #4)

typography canvas by tenderbeasts on etsy
Up this week as my favorite thing... AllRecipes! (see my other favorite things here: #1, #2, #3)

I don't mind cooking dinner most nights. But I *hate* planning a menu every week. As a consequence, we often eat the same things over and over again, including multiple times in the same week. And because I hate menu planning, I tend to not buy the ingredients for normal meals in my weekly grocery shopping trips... instead I just buy what's on sale and then, as I start dinner prep, I try and figure out how to use them.

Now, this isn't really a meal planning strategy I'd suggest, but if you ever find yourself in the same boat (especially if that boat is springing a leak as the dinner hour rapidly approaches), try my secret weapon: AllRecipes.

I've told you a bit about AllRecipes before, but today I wanted to review some of my favorite features of the site. (And, again, I'm not compensated in any way for sharing my love of AllRecipes with you. :)

With my aforementioned shopping and menu planning habits, I often find myself looking in the fridge or pantry and wondering what I can make from x and y and z (such as, cabbage and ground beef and cream cheese). Instead of having to get creative on my own (which usually ends up only moderately edible), I can hop on AllRecipes and use the ingredient search to find multiple recipes using those ingredients.

As an added bonus, I can also specifically exclude recipes that call for ingredients I don't have (like boullion cubes... for some reason I *never* have bouillion cubes) or that my family won't eat (I'm looking at you, cream of mushroom soup).

Most recipe sites have some way to save recipes that you want to try, but AllRecipes recipe box lets you save and rate recipes, plus add notes to the saved recipes, plus categorize your saved recipes, plus create and save menus from your saved recipes, PLUS create a shopping list of recipe ingredients. That's a lot of pluses! And all those pluses come together in the menu planner -- drag and drop your recipes for the day/week and the menu planner creates your shopping list for you. {angels singing}

**Please note that to take full advantage of some features, such as saving menus, you must be a supporting member of AllRecipes = paying a small monthly fee. I am not a supporting member, but there are still plenty of free features!

For as much Food Network and Iron Chef America as I've watched, I still have very few talents in the kitchen (unless you count balancing a spoon on my nose or withstanding the burning smell that comes every time I turn on the stove). So, I often need some help learning a new technique or troubleshooting a problem I'm having. The tools and tips section of AllRecipes proves very helpful -- I can now cook scrambled eggs and mince garlic without hurting anyone (myself included).

AllRecipes is a site created primarily by its members, so you have the benefit of having many other home and gourmet cooks right in your kitchen... if your computer is in your kitchen. ;) You can read other reviews and tips, see other cooks' versions of a recipe, and ask questions in the forum. Because it's always more fun to cook with a friend!

Happy cooking!

Lu (or Lorene if you prefer) is the mom of two sweet little things (except on the days that they aren't) and the wife of a singing and dancing elementary teacher. She is the proud author of this weekly Wednesdays on the Web (WotW) segment here on Housewife Eclectic and spends the other days of the week blogging about crafts and whatever else comes up at just Lu.