January 30, 2013

Ugly Pants Through the Ages

People in the 50s used to wear some crazy ass pants.


Let't not get started on the pants of the 60s, 70s, 80s, and early 90s. (Hammertime, anyone?)


Image Sources : 1, 2 ,3 

When I saw these pants at Kohl's the other day I had to have 'em. They're so ugly they're cute. 


The good thing (potentially the only good thing) about the current skinny jean craze is that slim fitting cropped pants are pretty easy to incorporate into a vintage look. They're not usually high-waisted, but that's not the end of the world.

I'm not usually one for wearing pants (oh come on, you know what I mean) but I figured these could be styled in a 50s sort of way with a cropped top and sandals.


As the high temperature today is a balmy 25, the sandals will have to wait a few more months. But we are a go for ugly pants! Yay for Kohl's clearance racks!

In a full disclosure, these are not the ugliest pants I've ever owned. There was a rather horrid pair of jeans in 8th grade with bleached white stripey things down the thighs; and a pair of plaid pants in high school. Green and blue plaid, mind you. Give me enough time and I could probably come up with a few more examples.

See you on Friday!



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January 28, 2013

Chocolate Chip Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

This cake is a combination of all good things - banana bread, chocolate, peanut butter. 


Banana bread is good, cake is better. Cake with chocolate in it is quite delicious. And even though bananas are horrifying and come from the depths of hell, they are much less revolting when baked.


As long as we're being honest, I'll just admit it - I would eat calcified monkey shit if you put peanut butter frosting on it.


All that aside, this cake is very good. It's banana bread in a cake pan. Baked in an 8 x 8 inch pan, so when I eat half of it I don't feel so bad. (13 x 9 inch pans are evil in that regard.) 

This is not a light and fluffy cake, it's dense and spiced with cinnamon. It's made with applesauce, Greek yogurt, and a teensy bit of olive oil instead of butter. There are no eggs, the bananas bind everything together well enough without them. 

 

There are bananas turning brown on my counter right now, and I believe this cake is in my future. Again.



Chocolate Chip Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

2 cups flour (I used a 50/50 mix of whole wheat and all-purpose)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped fine
3 large bananas, mashed
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup fat free Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 8 inch pan.

Place flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Mix well. Add the chocolate chips and walnuts, mix.

In a separate bowl, mix the bananas, applesauce, yogurt, olive oil, and vanilla. Pour the wet mixture into the dry, mix just until combined. The batter will be thick.

Place the batter in the prepared pan, smooth it out evenly. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool before frosting.

Peanut Butter Frosting

1 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
2-3 tablespoons milk (start with 2, add more if necessary)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place all ingredients in a bowl and beat with a handheld mixer (or stand mixer) until well combined and fluffy.




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January 25, 2013

Photo Friday: Happiness Is

A list. I feel like I'm back in grade school with this one. Hide the safety scissors, bitches.

Happiness Is:

1.) No longer having sinus-induced tooth pain radiating from my toenails.

2.) Getting a boxload of Doctor Who DVDs in the mail.

3.) Chocolate chip banana cake with peanut butter frosting and a big cup of tea on the side. I'm a selfless person and therefore shall share the recipe next week.

4.) It no longer being colder than a well digger's ass outside. This morning it's above zero for the first time this week. Please read that sentence again and let it sink in.

5.) Not even minding the fluffy white snow this morning.


See you on Monday!


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January 23, 2013

Happenings

Statement: I have no brain.

Exhibit A: I have what appears to be a sinus infection. It's getting better, but is making me feel like I have a head full of peanut butter. Which directly relates to...

Exhibit B:


So I've been taking it easy, because I am incapable of having 2 coherent thoughts in a row at the moment.

Last week, when I could still think, I made a batch of soap.


I've been wearing lots of sexy outfits like this one.


There are so many things wrong with that picture, I don't even know where to begin.

New shoes! Which I have yet to wear. Ebay is my friend.


So. I shall return for Photo Friday, hopefully with a less peanut-buttery brain.


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January 21, 2013

How to Make a Curtain Rod for $5.00

Yes, a curtain rod for a fiver.

1/2 inch x 10 foot piece of metal conduit = $1.49
Two 1/2 inch copper bell hangers at $1.15 each = $2.30

That brings us to $3.79. If you decide to paint the rod it will cost a bit more, so you'll have to add the cost of a partial can of spray paint. Which should bring the grand total to somewhere in the $5 vicinity. (If we're being technical, I actually made 2 curtain rods from one piece of conduit, so the price is less than $5. I'm a money-saving gangsta.)

The conduit can be found in the electrical department of a hardware store, and the bell hangers in the plumbing. There are a lot of different hangers you could use for the conduit, some that are even made specifically for conduit, so the bell hangers are only one option.

Step one: Bell hangers.


Step Two: Bell hangers, meet Krylon. You will be very happy together. (Don't forget to paint the heads of the screws!)



Step Three: Measure your window, and grab a pipe cutter. Cut your conduit to the correct length.


Step Four: Introduce conduit to Krylon.


Step Five: When all the paint is dry, assemble! Or, if you're like me, find a big strong man to do it for you while you take pictures. Remember to put the curtains onto the conduit before hanging it.


These hangers can be mounted flat on a wall, or upside down.


Step Five: You're done. Relax.



Normally a long curtain rod costs a minimum of $15, so this is a pretty big savings. Aside from that however, these curtain rods rock my socks because they don't need any center supports, and can handle heavy curtains without bowing and sagging.

While I would love to take credit for this idea, it was actually my husband's. The man flatly refused to pay $15-$20 for a curtain rod when conduit pipe is so cheap. He's a keeper.

See you in a few days!




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January 18, 2013

Photo Friday: A Freakin' Chickadee

I have tried, in vain, all winter to get a picture of a g.d. chickadee, but the little bastards never hold still long enough.

UNTIL NOW. Behold, the one single picture I managed to take before it flew off.


And that's that for Photo Friday this week, as I am under the weather and have less ambition than someone that's been dead for 425 years.

I'll be back on Monday, hopefully with ambition restored.

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January 16, 2013

How to Paint a Vase


There was a DIY very similar to this one on the Nate Berkus Show last year, and later I saw another version of it floating around on Pinterest. And because I suffer from incurable boredom in the winter, I had to try it myself.

If you also suffer from incurable boredom and want to do this project, Thou Shalt Need:


- Acrylic craft paint in as many colors as ya like
- A wooden skewer or something similar
- And to point out the terribly obvious, a vase

This is really very simple. You make a design on the inside of a vase in one paint color, let it dry, and then coat it in a different color. Easy peasy.

The skewer is optional, the design you make on the inside of the vase can be anything. I opted for dots, but you can do fingerprints, drips of different paint colors, a portrait of Jesus, whatever.



To keep the design from running, place it on one side of the vase at first, and hold the vase steady on that side for a few minutes to let the paint set. Then do the other side.


Let the design dry for several hours - it needs to be completely dry before going on to the next step, or it'll smear and you'll use lots of cuss words.


Once the design dries, the fun part commences. Pour a different colored paint into the vase, and swirl it all around.





That's it! I covered all the dots with the yellow paint, to make them stand out a bit better. When I was happy with the way it looked, I let it sit for a few hours to dry, and that was all she wrote.


The total cost for this was less than $2 - the paints were both $0.60 each and I used only a fraction of each color, and the vase was from Dollar Tree.

So for 2 bucks I added a bit of color to my house's entryway, and temporarily cured cabin fever. DIY for the win!

Ahem.

I'll be back in a few days for Photo Friday!

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January 14, 2013

Skinny Granola Cereal

I called this granola "skinny" because "low fat" sounds like "tastes of tarpaper" and "no added fat granola" sounds like "tastes of papier-mâché spread with manure."


But you get the gist. Most granola recipes call for lots of sugar and oil, and this one does not; which is lovely for this time of year when we're looking back on all those Christmas cookies with feelings of burning shame. Plus, it has the added bonus of being delicious and not at all tar-papery.


The recipe is slightly adapted from this one via Taste of Home. The method used is one I had never heard of before - bringing sugar and water to a boil, pouring it over the oats, and then baking in the oven until crisp. I had my doubts, but it worked out well! The changes I made were pretty slight, reducing the sugar (and in my case, swapping in honey) and messing with various add-ins and such.


It's fantastic eaten as a cold cereal with milk, or (my favorite) mixed with Greek yogurt.


Just so you're aware, this granola is just barely sweetened - if you like yours sweeter, double the amount of honey/sugar in the recipe below.


Skinny Granola Cereal
Adapted from Taste of Home, original recipe linked above

4 cups old fashioned oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup honey or sugar
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups dried fruit, nuts, and seeds*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix the oats, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Pour onto a large baking sheet and flatten into an even layer. Set aside.

Place honey and water in a small saucepan, heat over medium heat until honey is dissolved. Remove from heat and add the vanilla. Pour the mixture over the oats. This will look and feel like a mistake - drowning oats in honey water, but forge ahead.

Toss the oats around on the baking sheet, getting the honey mixture evenly distributed over the oats. Smooth the oats back out into a more-or-less even layer and place in oven. Bake for about 25 minutes or until nicely browned, stirring twice.

Remove from oven and let cool, then add the dried fruits and nuts. Mix together and store in an airtight container or jar for several weeks.

Note: If you are adding nuts to the granola and would like them toasted, add them to the oat mixture and bake in the oven.

*I used 1/2 cup ground flax seed, 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, 1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup sliced almonds, and 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates.




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January 11, 2013

Photo Friday: The Book Pile

This is what I've been working through since the beginning of December:


As recreational activities go, it could be worse. Could be meth. 

See you on Monday!


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January 9, 2013

DIY Sisal Makeup Brush Holder

Legions of people have been covering everything that's not nailed down with sisal for years already. So I'm late to this bandwagon. As per usual.


This project came about because I needed somewhere to store makeup brushes, and was too cheap to buy something. Again, as per usual.

For this project, You Shall Need the Following:


The coffee is not necessary but it don't hurt. Other than the Fuel of the Gods, you'll need a container of some variety (I used a small coffee can, but anything will work - an old vase, a plastic container, etc.) a hot glue gun with extra glue sticks, and some sisal. Sisal can be found in craft stores, home improvement stores, or in the home and auto section of big box stores.


To begin, put a 3-4 inch bead of hot glue around the bottom of the coffee can and immediately press the rope into it. Working in short 3-4 inch sections prevents the the glue from drying out too fast.  



And that's pretty much it. Work your way all around the can.




I didn't like how the inner lip of the can was still visible, so I covered that with rope as well.



Ta-da! This was not as anal-retentive as a I thought it would be; it only took about 15 minutes from start to finish. 

I used less than half of the coil of rope and 3 glue sticks, so this project cost a little over $2.00. Not bad!

Obviously, this method will work on pretty much anything. Cover an old vase with sisal and stick it on a shelf, cover large coffee cans and use them for bathroom storage, the list goes on.

See you in a few days for Photo Friday!
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