Tag Archives: project

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I think I’ve done this once before, when I posted a recipe that has more substitutions than original ingredients. Here’s one that is a fantastic winter recipe–hearty, crunchy, yummy, and highly adaptable.

Baked Oatmeal

I’m a fairly recent convert to oatmeal. It wasn’t something we ate in my family, and any attraction I might have had for hot cereal abruptly ended when I was in the hospital at the age of four and a nurse force-fed me Cream of Wheat. But I’ve had a few good bowls of oatmeal in my adulthood, generally at restaurants where they added in a whole lot of stuff that added up to hot-cereal-creme-brulée-with-crunch. And last fall when I was at a fan con and wandered over to a nearby restaurant with my roomie, I had baked oatmeal for the first time. It comes in a square, and they bring it with cream (or milk) and brown sugar. Had it, enjoyed it, wanted to make it.

Anyone who’s looked up a recipe online knows what a confusing time-suck that can be. A kajillion versions, some of which could be exactly what you want, some of which are a world of no. Sometime it’s obvious which is which, and sometimes it’s not. To add to the time-suck factor, it’s one of the rare internet places where you want to read the comments. Because that’s where you see what creative cooks are doing, and/or those who are trying to avoid tons of sugar, fat or salt. Where I get into my happy zone is where I start combining reader variations and/or my own into the ultimate (to my taste) version of a dish.

So the recipe I found was on the Taste of Home site, here:
http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Baked-Oatmeal?cpi=1&sort=2

I’ve been tinkering with this almost perpetually, and have a vegan version thought out as well as some non-vegan options. Here goes with my version and various notes:

Baked Oatmeal (veganized and otherwise improved)

Ingredients
2 cups steel cut oats
1 cup quick-cooking oats [recently I used mixed grain hot cereal oat-like things, and it was pretty crunchy. Anyone who hates food with textures should probably stick to the original recipe.]
<1/4 cup packed splenda blend brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder [seems fine without it, so I stopped using it]
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon [var: Penzey's baking spices]
1/2 c or more trail mix or nuts/fruit combo

1 mashed banana [original: 2 eggs]
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup [butter or] Earth Balance, melted [or oil]
1 teaspoon vanilla

Additional almond milk

Directions
In a large bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and trail mix. In another bowl, whisk the banana, milk and butter. Stir into oat mixture until blended.
Spoon into a greased 9-in. square baking pan. Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until set. Serve warm with milk. Yield: 9 servings. [Well, I get 8. Also, I make it in a 7 x 11-in pan.]

About that “1 Year” thing…

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Started writing this on Sunday, but life went a little funky and I stalled before I got pictures uploaded/posted:

Yeah, I think I’m going to be extending the deadline on this “year” of crafting thing. (Actually I’ll probably keep this up as long as I have crafts I want to write about.)

So today I had a relatively large list of stuff I need/want to do. But things went a little sideways when I got a robocall from the pharmacy at FIVE THIRTY ON A SUNDAY MORNING. ::seethes:: I got up about an hour later, but still kept feeling very sleepy, so at noon I finally gave in and went to take a nap. It was more cat-cuddling than napping, but still very nice, but the moment I sat up my head just whirled. So I’ve got a headache and vertigo, so nothing that needs to be done while standing upright is going to happen today.

So. I guess this is the perfect time to show off one of the things I did during my last massive spray paint extravaganza. (Ironically, there was going to be a massive acrylic coating spray event today, but that ain’t happening now.)

A few weeks ago I found a sinktop shelf at the thrift store for $6. It has MDF shelves and metal pedestals with curlicues and metal tomatoes and eggplants on them. It was one of those with a high central shelf that’s supposed to accommodate a kitchen faucet with the big inverted U-bend. I tried it out and it was wobbly because part of the base sat on the sink edge, and part sat on the counter. And it limited the movement of my faucet. Turns out, though, that it just fits the leaning desk I got for my craft room, so I put it there instead. (I’d been wondering if one of those would work for that purpose anyhow.) But before I put it there, I spray-painted the shelves with hammered bronze-effect spray paint and the metal pedestals with that shiny-penny copper paint, which as I’ve said before I’m totally in love with.

So here’s the project:

sink shelf

So there’s a faux oak finish and the supports are painted hunter green with (hard to see here) purple eggplants and red tomatoes. I don’t know why I dislike hunter green so much, but I do. Plus EVERYTHING is improved instantly with a shiny copper coat!

100_3501

And a process pic here.

sink shelf painted

See what I mean about shiny penny colored paint?! See?!

desk shelf

And now here it is in place at my crafts desk, though not entirely set up the way it’ll eventually be when I get time and my brain back. And, by the way, if it had been just that little bit too long to rest on the desk, I was going to hoist it on a pair of glass bricks I got at ReStore a while back, but those now are waiting for another opportunity to become a thing.

Dead and berried

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Dead and berried

Things have been a bit hectic this week — well, they are hectic all the time, honestly. But I did want to post some of the spraypaint extravaganza and decided to focus on one item and some similar things I’ve worked with in the past.

This weekend I got the most awesome spraypaint. It’s this shiny shiny coppery color, just like the newest new penny. So while under the urge to play with it, I grabbed the paper maché berry box I had kept because it didn’t have any berry stains or anything. Such an iconic shape–I seem to remember there’s a ceramics artist who did ceramic versions of paper plates and such, and I think I saw a berry box replica, too.

So I spraypainted the crap out of this, and check it out!

Ooh, shiny!

And the inside:

Isn’t this color just awesome?

I love the humbleness of the item combined with the shiny metallic, and the texture along with the shiny.

I love making things with paper maché packing materials, too. The kind that’s molded to fit around an item, much like a styrofoam piece around a small appliance. A friend from my art group brought in these long pieces that she salvaged from a business, and I started painting it turquoise. It became clear I was running out of paint long before I was finished, and there was no more turquoise in the store room, so we watered down what we had, with the results that the ends got lighter and lighter. I decided I liked the look of it that way, so never went back at it with more paint. Another friend who shares my love for Mexican tin objects gave me a box full of tin pieces, so I glued some of them to the piece.

I like the weathered effect that running out of paint gave the piece.

And here it is in context on my wall:

Speaking of the little tin thingies. And some art I bought on the street (the Statue of Liberty) and in a bar (David Cone), both in NYC. I love buying art on the street.

It’s nice when the shape speaks to me in some fashion. The square piece below (which I think was packed around a yogurt maker) just seemed to have a mechanical feel to it, so I wanted to paint it a rust color. I added all kinds of bits and bobs from the “found objects” stash at art group, wanting it also to have a petroglyphic kind of feel. It would make a bitchen clock, too, if not for the pieces that the hands would keep getting hung up on. I have its mate, and I may yet make a clock of it.

Steampunk petroglyphs?

I thought it went well with a few pieces I’d collected in Mexico, plus a painting by my friend Tom Kramer. This is on the wall opposite the blue piece, a little ways down. This assemblage is across from the open doorway to the living room, so I consider it part of the living room décor. It goes very beautifully in colors and feel.

I really need to do something with that doorbell, I think…

So that’s that for tonight.

Dear brain: don’t leave in a huff

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Sometimes, dear reader, your faithful correspondent is a stupid lazy-ass. Like when she decides to SPRAYPAINT ALL THE THINGS! without great ventilation or any filter mask. Not that I have just keeled over or gotten higher than King Kong’s kite or anything, just that I know that was immensely dumb.

The reason I got into this wild frenzy to do a million spray paint projects in one day is that we’re supposed to have a high of 62 degrees today and 36 tomorrow. So I think it’s pretty much time for the spray paint studio to close up shop so I can start putting my car back in the garage. I have a ton of other things to move around too, like the 4 tires they took off my car when I had snowtires put on and various boxes that need to be knocked down and random crap that I mean to turn into projects one day. There’s also a couple of planter boxes with high trellises that are still in boxes but meant to be part of the big porch project that fizzled out after early summer.

I don’t know why my Big Project Brain is all whirling again — scratch that, no, it’s undoubtedly GISHWHES-inspired. You get in a frenzy to glue Skittles everywhere, and it’s hard to shed. I’ve just traded Skittles-gluing for spraypainting everything that doesn’t move. If my cat were in the garage, he’d be in danger of gaining a hammered bronze coat, too.

So I’m inside for a while breathing respectable air.

I’m sure I’ll have something to post as a project before the day is through. Unless I do keel over.

Whoa, thunder!

Don’t pay the ransom, I escaped!!!

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Don’t pay the ransom, I escaped!!!

GISHWHES had me for a week, but I finally escaped its clutches. I’ve been fighting off a bug for the last few days (and even was during my one precious weekend during GISHWHES), but I’m emerging victorious (I hope, because my birthday is on Monday and I’ll be really cheesed off if I’m sick).

So, GISHWHES. For anyone who hasn’t heard of this, it’s the brainchild of actor Misha Collins, who plays with his fans like we’re action figures (dolls, dudes. They are dolls) for charity and also for general glee. It’s a scavenger hunt that involves not just finding things, but making things happen, or making things. A great deal of absurdity is involved, and items you think are impossible to fill, but when you are on a team with 14 mad geniuses, somehow very often someone finds a way to fill them. It’s fun, it’s exhausting, it’s record-shattering. (I have a Guinness World Record certificate to prove it.) I had amazing team members this year, and we’re still awaiting results on the winners, but whatever, we made a lot of awesome.

Someone needs to tell me what the hell I’m going to do with a 2′ x 2′ portrait of Jensen Ackles done in Skittles.

a la Warhol

Brace(let) yourself–here comes Project 31

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At long last, here’s the knotted bracelet I made at the Supernatural fans gathering, which I mentioned last week. We were supplied with a length of hemp cord, a DIY charm made from a decorated washer, and a gun charm to represent the demon-killing gun made by Samuel Colt in the show’s lore. There was a collection of other charms we could use, so I added 3 to make a nice, even number. A wing to represent the angels storyline, a key to represent secrets (or just Papa Winchester’s self-storage locker) and … well, beats me what the big honkin’ bird represents. I just liked it.

Not sure if this is before or after I trimmed the adjustable ends a bit.

The other side of the washer-charm:

This side of the washer has the Solomon's Seal aka the devil's trap

My captions have disappeared, for some reason. This side of the washer has the Seal of Solomon, aka the devil’s trap.

I was going to link to the sites listed on the instruction sheet, but I can’t find where I put my little swag bag from the con. I found some hemp bracelet video tutorials on eHow (and I don’t know about you, but I find I’m much better watching someone make a knot than looking at a diagram of how one’s done), and this is a similar knot to the main part of the bracelet: http://www.ehow.com/video_4433735_making-square-knot-hemp-bracelet.html

The separate piece that the two long strands slide through to adjust the fit is the part I’m not sure where to find. I had a tough time getting that right (and think I screwed up at one point). And now there are a couple of long strings hanging out of that clasp knot, and I’m afraid to snip them because they might be key to the whole thing.

But hey, it works and it is a neat little piece and blah blah blah spirituality of imperfection.

Pictures or it didn’t happen–Project 30

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Pictures or it didn’t happen–Project 30

I’m still deep in the middle of a writing project I thought would be done by now.

But here’s pictures of my gradient painted chest — it’s got some imperfections (NATURALLY) but I. Love. It.

I now want to get some other stuff painted before it gets too cold. So here goes….

The pink version that was Just Not Me.

Front view.

But I really liked those colors played off the glossy grays and black.

Still some pink, but much more me.

The sides of the drawers show off a bit more of the imperfections of the finished piece. The top drawer is much lighter because I forgot my plan to paint the sides all with the unblended burgundy, then I painted it over with another coat of burgundy. Since it’s not going to be on display in its opened state, really no one’s going to see it who doesn’t already know. And let’s just say I am rather disinclined to mess with paintbrushes again when spray paint is so much fun.

Antici…pation

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Because of commitments, I won’t be able to post the final results of the chest of drawers project for a few more days. While I’m otherwise occupied I’m leaving it in the garage for a little more drying time. When I was finishing the last drawer-front, though, I was thinking, “This is going to look fantastic,” which I had not at all been thinking at any point during the pink version.

Right in the chest

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I made it through most of the frame and 2 drawer-fronts on the chest of drawers before I didn’t feel I had enough light to continue. (And oxygen was an issue.) I probably won’t know until I can haul them out of the garage into daylight to get a good look whether or not the coverage is good enough to do it in one coat, but it looks good at this point. I hope so! I really need gloves and a mask to do any more of that. (Stupid not to in the first place.)

I have one drawer-front left and the rest of the frame, where I ran out of flat black paint.

I think the gray/pink and black/burgundy of the front/sides are going to look kind of cool together, when the drawers are open.

Now I’m off to continue writing a story I’ve been working on. Deadline is Sunday, and my Saturday and Sunday are kind of packed.

Hm. I want some ice cream, but I don’t want to have to go out to buy it. :(

Not-quite project post

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Is there anything more tragic than realizing 80% of the way through a DIY project that you really want it to go in a completely different direction?

Absolutely correct! The answer is “about a million things.”

But it is a large pain in the ass.

I bought this 3-drawer chest for $15 at St. Vinny’s, planning to use it for a night stand. It’s old and beat up, but real wood and the whole deal.

It’s going to be AWESOME!!

My bedspread is burgundy and I’ve got some burgundy accents around, so I decided after obsessing over various ideas at Pinterest that I would do the ombre paint thing that looks so cool here (http://poppytalk.blogspot.com/2012/06/love-is-like-apricot.html), starting with burgundy. I further decided that, instead of buying 4 different shades of paint, I would get a quart of white and blend the tints myself so I’d know they would work together.

Tints of burgundy are pink, yo. I am not so much a pink girl anymore.

And I realized early on that my medium pink was coming out a putrid shade that reminded me of my grandmother’s habit of getting humongous rocks when she and my grandfather would travel in the southwest, then bringing them home and painting them an obnoxious pink, then in gold paint label them with where she’d found them. Urgh.

But I couldn’t think of what else to do or what other color would go with the room, so I kept going. Yesterday I painted the drawers, and today I started on the frame early enough that I could get the second coat of everything in today, but halfway through the frame it occurred to me that I really really wanted to do a black and gray ombre thing. Which made me very sad.

But the idea of starting the whole project over with several coats of paint made me even sadder, because I am profoundly lazy and this project is already stretching the boundaries of my tolerance for painting stuff. So I kept going.

Painting, however, is a very meditative activity — thus the big epiphany about what I wished I were doing instead, and several smaller epiphanies like I suck at wielding a paintbrush and always have visible brushstrokes. I played with various ideas on what to do to improve the chest, like decoupage Victorian crap on it (gag! Plus I am creeped out by a great many bits of Victorian ephemera), or seashells (blah).

See what I mean about, well, everything?

When I was almost at the end of the second coat on the drawers, it occurred to me that I could repaint the fronts of the drawers and the whole frame in the ombre thing, but leave the sides and interiors as they are, for what the magazines call (far too damn often) a pop of color.

The knowledge that I can fix this with little effort, and not have Mexico-rock pink in a visible spot in my bedroom, has cheered me up substantially. So I’m done for the day. I may even get spray paint to finish the job, because boy does my brushwork suck.

Even my helper Harriet got paint in her hair.