Thursday, January 12, 2012

A New Year, a new craft!

I guess technically, we did this in 2011.
New Year's Eve was here, and I essentially told Debbie that while the boys (big & little) played with all of their new gidgets/gadgets/guitars, we were going to etch glass! It wasn't hard at all, and luckily, she has a bunch of stickers, stamps and other scrapbooking supplies that we could use as templates.
Of course, I didn't take pictures during the process, or any pictures of her pieces - sorry! It's pretty easy though. I have a
pinboard dedicated to the process if you want more details and ideas than I give you here.

You will need:
Amour Etching Cream (this is fairly expensive, but I used a Michael's 40% coupon and got the big bottle for $17)

Various Glass items (I used my wine glass, and also went to the dollar store for vases and votive holders)

Safety gear like gloves, goggles and the like.

Glass Cleaner

Stencils, stickers, contact paper, masking tape

Crappy Paint Brushes

Exacto Knife (for cutting out designs in your contact paper/tape)


First, I would recommend not having kids or animals around, and a good level of sobriety. We did not have any of those things going for us.
Second, when applying the etching cream, do it under the ventilation of your stove if possible. It is fairly toxic stuff, but you'll be fine if you use your common sense.

Essentially, you decide what you want to etch, and where it's going to go. This was probably the hardest part for us. No, it definitely was the hardest part.
Using a stencil, or stickers, or a design cut out of contact paper or tape, you clean your glass, apply the design (sticker, stencil, whatever) and then apply the cream with the paint brushes. (This is when you use the safety gear)
Really put it on thick. I didn't on one side of my candle holder, and you can tell. (Don't forget to rinse your brushes)
Let it sit and dry. The bottle says five minutes, but we left it way longer.
Rinse and dry. At first it will seem like nothing happened, but then you'll see the design once it's completely dry (unless you didn't put the cream on thick enough).
Admire your creation!

Some pointers - as you can see, I went for the negative effect on my candle holder and wine glass base. I used stickers, and then applied the cream all over the glass & stickers. Once removed, the only thing not etched is where the stickers were. I didn't do a good job on the glass where the stem starts. I should have used a rubber band or something to create a crisper line there.
You could do the reverse, but you need to give yourself a buffer when applying the cream so it doesn't etch where it's not supposed to. Extra pieces of contact paper, or masking tape work well for this.

Also, you may want to work with an item that has flat sides, or isn't rounded (like the business part of a wine glass). It would be difficult (not impossible though) to get the sticker/stencil down flat so the cream doesn't go where it's not supposed to. Think smaller designs for those items.

Here's the rest of what I did:

See how the back side isn't cloudy? Cream wasn't thick enough.

I used contact paper on this one. It was a huge pain in the ass.
Now, what to put it it???

And of course, about a week after we did this, I broke my wine glass while drying it. Guess I don't know my own strength. Back to the Dollar Store I go!!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Quick Chicken Enchiladas

mmmm, left overs!!!

You know you liked dinner when you want the leftovers for breakfast the next morning!
 Being the lazy cook that I am, I'm always looking for quicker ways to make good food. Here's my latest success.

14 oz Can of Chicken Breast, drained, with the juice going to the begging pets
Can of beans (Black or Pinto Chili beans), drained
Can of Green Enchilada Sauce
Large Can of Red Enchilada Sauce
Packet of Enchilada Seasoning
Small Can of Diced Green Chilies
2 Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese (separated into two 1 Cup potions)
Tortilla's (the whole wheat flour ones are really good!)

Optional toppings:
Green Onions, Cilantro, Sour cream, salsa, hot sauce - you know, the normal toppings.

Preheat oven to 350, spray a 9x13 baking dish. In a large bowl, mix everything, except for the tortilla's,  one cup of cheddar and the red enchilada sauce.  Once mixed, spoon it into a tortilla, roll and place face down in your dish. Pour the Red Enchilada sauce over all of your rolled tortillas, trying not to leave any exposed areas of tortillas.
Bake for 45 minutes or so, until it's bubbling everywhere. Add the remaining cheddar, and heat again until the cheese is gooey like you like it. Let it rest for about 10 minutes before enjoying!

If you do try this, let me know what you think!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Table Tease & the Supply Wall

I've been dreaming of a new work bench for years. YEARS.
Since I started making jewelry, I have been using an old Formica table that was left here by the previous owner. It's cool & all, but too low, too deep, too unstable.
And hooray for me, a work bench is my Christmas present from Santa this year for being such a good girl!!!
I found the one I wanted, checked stock and even had a coupon! Then the car acted up - it was starting sporadically, so I was nervous to drive it by myself, across town, and risk having to ask a stranger for a jump start. Plus, have you SEEN my work area? I had a lot of cleaning to do. Here's a picture:

Please don't judge me - I like organized chaos!
Except this picture is from almost 2 years ago, and it's worse now. (In related news, bot kids have taken turns getting sick over the Holidays. Evan on Christmas Day, Jenda on New Years Day. Thank god I didn't get shit-faced New Years Eve. Cleaning up vomit at 6:30AM was bad enough. Doing it with a hang over would have put me over the edge!)  So we had a couple of "sick days" where I was home with the kids, and I decided to "start small" with the cleaning.

The Supply Wall. I've seen some cool ideas on - you guessed it, Pinterest! - for organizing gift wrap/ribbon and other various craft ideas. So I riffed off of them! Here's the before supply wall:

This is one of the annoying things about this landing area in the basement - the wood slats on the walls. Why??? They're not even on the studs!!! So, while shelving isn't an option in this spot, it has created issues in other areas. Anyway... I thought this would be a great spot for the spools of chain and other stuff I have, and it totally IS!!! Check it out:

I used eye hooks in the ceiling to hang chain from, and re-purposed some large pieces of aluminum wire and a steel rod for the hanger parts. The ends that stick outside of the chain have a rubber band wrapped around it to keep it on the chain. It also it is easy to remove the rubber band from one of the ends to add on! I added additional rows for my leather, and also used paper clips on another to hand sterling silver chain. Turns out I've reordered things I already had. Go figure.
I used the backside of a 2009 calendar that HAD been hanging on the wall there (you're judging again, aren't you?) to make a dry erase board for open orders and things I need to remember, and used a scrap of pegboard for my larger gauge wire that doesn't fint anywhere else! And here's a closer view:

It's pretty awesome, and I'm totally impressed with myself. However, that cleared virtually nothing (visually anyway) from my mess of a table. Back to work...

During the Holiday's, Evan & Jenda spent the night over at the Watson's, so I had a free evening. I cranked up Spotify, had a few too many Vodka & Club Soda's, and went after the rest of my table.
Here's the visual evidence:

(Me being drunk & moody, all at the same time! My talent is NOT wasted!)

Here I am, with a clean table, nice supply wall, and no new bench. Because I didn't go that day, when I checked stock and the car was being an ass, they sold out, and have yet to restock. And apparently, they have no control over what their distribution warehouse sends them, which is total bullshit. I'll find out this afternoon IF they have one on the truck that comes in NEXT TUESDAY!!! If they don't, they have lost my business.