About the Blog

Some people create to enjoy the finished product. I get my greatest satisfaction from the process of creating. This blog is my attempt to share that process with others.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Faux Mercury Glass Lamp = WINNING!

Nothing like a successful craft project to make you feel like a complete genius.

For your consideration, I present the completed Faux Mercury Glass Lamp:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

How to Mummify A Lamp

Just Kidding: How to Make a $40 Glass Lamp Look Like a $250 Mercury Glass Lamp

The Project:

In my quest for affordable and chic home decor, I ran across a lamp on the Pottery Barn website. A beautiful lamp. A "mercury glass" lamp. For those of you who don't know what "mercury glass" is (which was me approximately 3 days ago), it is "glass that was blown double-walled, then silvered between the layers with a liquid silvering solution, and sealed." (Thank you, Wikipedia.) There is absolutely no way I could ever afford a real mercury glass lamp. So, I got to thinking...could I MAKE a mercury glass lamp? Not a real one, of course. My glass-blowing skills fell by the wayside when I started law school. (Sarcasm. I've never been THAT crafty.)

I did some searching around on the internet and found a simple method for faking mercury glass explained by none other than Martha Stewart. Martha, I salute you. You may just be a genius.

Materials:


















Directions:
The original method (that can be used on any kind of glass surface) can be found at Martha Stewart's website.
  1. Unscrew metal lamp base from glass part of lamp. The base won't totally unscrew, but there will be enough of an opening for you to spray paint the lamp's interior.
  2. Cover all exposed areas of electrical cord inside lamp THOROUGHLY with painter's tape.
  3. Wrap 1 trash bag around exterior of lamp, and use painter's tape to secure it. Use painter's tape to cover ANY exterior surfaces of the lamp that remain exposed
  4. Wrap second trash bag around lamp's electrical cord. Secure with painter's tape so that no area of cord remains exposed.
  5. Cover outdoor workspace with newspaper to protect it.
  6. Use water spray bottle to lightly spray the INTERIOR of the glass lamp (see why we're covering all exposed wires??). The water will make the paint mottled and give it the antique-y mercury glass look.
  7. Use "mirror" spray paint to lightly spray the INTERIOR of the glass lamp.
  8. Leave the metal lamp base detached from the glass body of the lamp and allow the interior of the lamp to dry overnight.
  9. Repeat steps 6-8 if the result is too sheer.
  10. Once the mirror finish paint has dried, and if you're feeling especially daring, you can spray a LITTLE more water and VERY VERY LIGHTLY spray gold metallic spray paint in the interior of the lamp. Older mercury glass sometimes has a little gold in it.
After step 3 and before step 4, your lamp will look a lot like a mummy:























Photo of lamp after Step 8:


















Helpful Tip:

If paint does get on the outside of the glass or on the metal parts of the lamp (or if you're using this method to make mercury glass out of a candle holder or vase, don't like the way it looks, and want to start over), a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser will get the spray paint off of the glass in no time at all. It really is a "magic" eraser.

Sometimes We're All Just a Little "Winning"

Thank you, Charlie Sheen, for giving me a new word for the year. Last year's word was "fail." This year's word is "winning!" I like it: nothing you do can possibly be wrong or a failure - you're just "winning" in a different way.

Here are some good examples:
  1. I don't fail at blogging because I haven't updated this thing in a couple of months. I'm just "winning" at doing other things.
  2. I don't fail at being a good law student. I'm just "winning" at being more like a normal person (which, obviously, is the antithesis of a law student).
Take that as my "I'm a rock star from Mars" version of an apology for not being more consistent with my craft blogging.

So - ready to hear what I've been up to? (It's not nearly as exciting as you think it's going to be.)

I'm not actually sure. Time-wasting. Spending time with friends. Doing minimal studying.

The main thing that's consuming my thoughts right now is: decorations for my new apartment that I'll be moving into in May! (If you guessed that"federal courts," "security devices," or "insurance bad faith penalties" was consuming my thoughts, clearly you were wayyyy off base...)

Basically, I want my new apartment to look like a Pottery Barn catalog exploded on it. One problem: Pottery Barn is way out of my price range. My creative solution has been to find items I like on the Pottery Barn website and then scour the internet for a comparable and AFFORDABLE alternative.

My two best finds so far:
(sorry - no photos, because that would probably be copyright infringement)
In my next few posts, you can look forward to some home decor-related crafts, particularly crafts involving spray paint, chalkboard paint, and/or mason jars.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Diamonds In Squares

The Project:

A detailed design by my favorite cross-stitch pattern designer, Teresa Wentzler. I like that the pattern features a few specialty stitches and beads, and I LOVE the juxtaposition of geometric shapes and a floral motif. Not sure what I'll do with the finished product. A throw pillow, maybe?

My Progress So Far:






















Other Comments:

In addition to this pattern, I also bought myself the Teresa Wentzler patterns for miniature Spring, Autumn, and Winter samplers. They feature cut-outs, numerous specialty stitches and beading, and all kinds of neat, new techniques I'm dying to try. But I have to finish this project first before I can work on those. I'd already bought the embroidery floss for Diamonds in Squares, so it had to come first. Of course, I also have to finish that wedding sampler. And a couple of knitting projects. And law school. And the MPRE. And the bar exam. In short, my calendar is full and my craft bins runneth over.

Recipe: "Old-Fashioned Penicillin"

Description: I have a cold. I found this recipe in a Lake Charles Junior League cookbook, one of the many cookbooks in my mom's stash, and copied it down mainly because of the recipe name and description. It was called "Old-Fashioned Penicillin" and the instructions said that it could be served to treat sore throats, coughs, colds, and other similar complaints. This "medicine" is really just a clear, homemade chicken broth-type soup that can be sipped out of a coffee or soup cup. The recipe suggested making some to freeze, thawing it as needed when you or another person gets sick. I thought that was a great idea and decided I'd need to do that just in case I ever got this year's cold. Of course, I never got around to that during the first week I was back this semester. At the beginning of week 2, I woke up unable to speak. Time for some old-fashioned, homemade "medicine" in addition to my OTC remedies. I made the soup this evening and sipped it from my coffee cup. Worked wonders on my sore throat. So, enough chatter. Here's the recipe.

Servings: 8-10

Ingredients:
  • 1 (4-5 lb.) young hen
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 1 whole onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 carrots, peeled
  • 4 tops of celery ribs
  • white pepper, to taste
Directions:
  1. Wash hen thoroughly and trim off excess fat. Cut into halves or quarters and place in salted water in a deep heavy pot or kettle.
  2. Cover; bring to a boil on high heat. Uncover and reduce to low heat.
  3. Add onion, bay leaf, carrots, and celery tops. Simmer until hen is tender (about 3 hours). Season to taste. Skim when necessary. Add extra water if needed.
  4. When done, remove hen and save meat for use in another recipe. Discard all vegetables. Strain soup until clear.
  5. When cooled, refrigerate for a few hours until fat has formed on top surface. Skim fat.
  6. Freeze soup in containers until ready to use.
My Rating: 4/5 - soothed my sore throat without the hassle of having to chew noodles or chicken! I rated it a 4, though, because it takes so long to make!

Notes: You won't really want to make this soup when you're already sick. Trust me. Make it ahead of time. When you're sick, you can settle down with a box of Kleenex and a cup of soup, congratulating yourself for being prepared.

The Soup

















Another Old-Fashioned Remedy: bright, cheerful flowers, preferably brought to you by someone special (as mine were)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Recipe: Shredded Pork Sandwiches

Description: Not too spicy, not too sweet, and not too complicated. The recipe serves 10, but don't worry - the man in your life will ask for seconds.

Servings: 10

Ingredients:
  • 4 lbs boneless pork loin roast
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) beef broth
  • 1/3 c. plus 1/2 c. Worcestershire sauce, divided
  • 3 tbs. plus 1 tbs. Louisiana hot sauce, divided
  • 1 c. ketchup
  • 1 c. molasses
  • 1/2 c. prepared yellow mustard
  • 10 kaiser rolls, split (or hamburger buns)

Directions:
  1. Cut roast in half; place in a 5-qt. slow-cooker.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the broth, 1/3 c. Worcestershire sauce, and 3 tbs. pepper sauce. Pour over roast. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours until pork is tender.
  3. Remove pork; shred with 2 forks. Drain and discard cooking liquid. Return shredded pork to slow-cooker.
  4. For sauce, combine the ketchup, molasses, mustard, and the remaining Worcestershire sauce and pepper sauce. Stir together with a whisk until smooth. Pour over pork.
  5. Cover and cook on high for 30 min until heated through. Serve on rolls or hamburger buns.

My Rating: 5/5 - I loved the way this tasted (and LOVED hearing my cooking compared to The Hickory Stick, haha!)

Notes: Can make sauce ahead of time and store in refrigerator to pour over pork after it's been shredded. I served these sandwiches with Zapp's "Voodoo Gumbo" potato chips, which was a great combination.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Painting With a Twist

Knowing that I love to paint and never have the opportunity to, a very thoughtful person made plans for us to go to Shreveport's Painting With A Twist.

Here are our paintings of snowy winter trees. Mine is the one on the left with the big fluffy leaves. His is the one on the right with the realistically bare branches.