DIY: Badass Wolfpack Tanks

As a backstory to this project – I am in the phase of my life where bachelorette parties/weddings fill most of my summer weekends. While these parties are more or less, more organized versions of our typical summer weekends, original themes, give-aways, activities get harder to come up with as the summer/years go on.

Enter the “Wolfpack Weekend”. Part of this weekend includes a competition that required us to split the “wolfpack” in two, which we did by colours (easy enough). These sick cut-off tee’s were done in about 2h (all 12!) and then left overnight to dry. You can run with the idea and basically customize to use any clipart or silhouette (or free-hand design, you creative SOB!). We went with wolves. Because we’re a wolfpack (duh). Plus, they have that “my mom made me wear this in the 1990s in a matching sweatsuit” feel) wolfpack4

What you’ll need:

-Fabric spray (Tulip brand in black and neon pack, available at Walmart)

-Cardboard stencil

-Newspaper/plastic bag (to protect your floor)

-T-shirt/Tank top/Cut-off muscle T

What you’ll do:

  1. Find a clip art or silhouette of your desired design. You can free hand this or find one on the Internet. If you go with the Internet version, you can simply print or trace over your screen and then transfer that onto cardboard. Plain paper can work if you only do 1, but if you are using the stencil multiple times, the paint will soak through and it won’t be functional past 1, maybe 2.
    wolf

Remember:
The part where you place your stencil will remain white (or whatever colour your fabric is). You can also use the stencil as a stamp and spray the paint on it first, then transfer it onto your fabric (keep in mind, it will be a transfer aka backwards).

  1. Once you have your stencil ready, place some paper/cardboard/plastic between the layers of your shirt so your spray doesn’t soak through to the back.

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  1. Place your stencil where you want it. (this stencil looks black because its already been sprayed once).

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  1. Spray! We did a two-parter – a) First, we used black with the wolf stencil. b) Once that was dry, we placed a full circle of cardboard over the “moon” and “wolf” to keep them white and black, respectively, and then went bananas with the neon sprays for that “Northern Lights/rave” feel.

                                                a)
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                                                 b)wolfpack3

Tips:

– Try to hold the bottle as upright as possible, especially when it gets low (the sprayer sucks from the bottom so if it’s tilted, it doesn’t spray as well).

– Use a fondue fork (or some other type of long skinny implement) to hold the stencil down securely to save your hands).

  1. Let em’ dry
  2. Soak in those compliments!

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Summer Sausage and Arugula Pasta

A quick and easy Summer meal idea!

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What you’ll need:
– Pasta
– Olive oil
– Garlic. minced
– Red pepper flakes
– Fresh basil, torn
– Cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
– White onion, chopped
– Arugula
– Mozzarella cheese, grated
– Sausages, spicy or regular Italian

In a pot:
– Bring water to a boil
– Cook Pasta
– Drain
– Toss in olive oil

Meanwhile, in a frying pan:
– Cut sausages out of casing and put into pan with a bit of olive oil
– Once sausages are cooked, throw in onion and minced garlic
– Once onions have started to brown, add tomatoes
– Simmer until tomatoes have softened
– Use red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to season to taste

In a large bowl:
– Combine pasta and sausage mixture
– Tear up basil leaves and mix
– Add olive oil as needed for “saucier” result

To plate:
– Top with a handful of fresh arugula and grated Mozzarella cheese
– Enjoy!

Wax Dripped Easter Eggs

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When I was about 6 years old, I remember going over to my older sister’s apartment and doing various crafts. I don’t remember many of them, but these Easter Eggs were one that will always stick out to me. They were so much fun, they were so easy, and we still bust them (yes, them, the ones from way back when) out every year when we decorate. The best part is that, despite my young age, the finished product doesn’t look like a school craft – making decorating for adult guests more appealing to the eye.

eggs1What you’ll need:

– eggs
– safety pin
– food colouring
– white candle sticks
– newspaper
– 5 bowls
– cookie sheet
– paper towel
– egg cups (if you have them)

Preparing the Eggs:

There are two ways you can do this – by “blowing the eggs” (this will allow you to store and use again year after year) or by hard boiling the eggs (I don’t trust this method – couldn’t tell you why, though)

If you are going to blow the eggs:

– poke a small hole in the top of the egg and a larger hole on the bottom
– literally blow the yolk out the bottom of the egg into a bowl (feel free to fix yourself a quick little scramble if you have time here) You may need to help the yolk out a bit at times
– place on a plate or egg tray, let the inside dry, and get to decorating!

Decorating the Eggs:

– pour a good amount of colour into each bowl, add less than 1/3 cup of water to maximize dye
– start with a plain egg and light your candle (I like to keep mine lit during this process, if you are working with kids – obviously – blow the candle out before you proceed)
– slowly drip the wax onto parts of the egg that you would like to keep white

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– next, dunk your egg into the lightest colour, covering the egg fully
– remove from colour and let dry

eggs5 – light your candle again and drip the wax onto parts of the egg you would like to keep that particular colour
– continue on, dunking and dripping (from lightest to darkest colour and vice versa), until you have reached the optimal shade on the outside of your egg
– lay the eggs on a plate or an egg tray and heat your oven to 200°
– place eggs on a cookie sheet with tin foil and pop in the oven

eggs6 – leave the eggs until the wax has melted back into a liquid, checking them every couple of minutes
– using a paper towel, carefully wipe the wax off of each egg, leaving a slight seal or sheen behind. This will help maintain the eggs over time

The result should be a speckled rainbow egg that can be put on display anywhere in your home during the Easter holiday.

PRO TIP: use a black or gold marker to turn these eggs into pseudo place cards at your dining table – use plain white egg cups to display your beautiful work at each setting.

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Easy Homemade Pizza

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I have finally mastered the easiest pizza and I felt the need to share! This entire process only takes about 30 minutes of actual “work” time in the kitchen and the result is the fluffiest yet crispiest pizza I’ve ever been able to make. It also makes an easy week night dinner, as it freezes and thaws flawlessly. Enjoy!

What You’ll Need:

Pizza Dough:
– 1 1/2 cups of water
– 1 package (2 1/4 tsp) of active dry yeast – pizza yeast is best (always check expiry date)
– 3 1/2 cups of bread flour (can also use gluten free or all purpose flour)
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 2 tsp salt
– 1 tsp sugar

Pizza Ingredients:
– olive oil
– cornmeal (to slide the pizza onto the stone/pan and prevent sticking)
– mozzarella cheese – grated
– vegetables
– peperoni, sausage, or salami, or not at all
NOTE – the thinner you slice your veggies, the less chance of a soggy pizza you have

Other:
– large mixing bowl
– pizza stone or baking sheet
– pizza wheel or cutting board

ingredMaking the Dough:

– In a large bowl, add the warm water, sprinkle in the yeast, and allow to sit for 5 minutes, or until the yeast is dissolved. Stir occasionally to speed this up.
– using a mixer (or, the old fashioned way, your hands) mix in flour, salt, and sugar and a low speed (also known as human speed) Knead the dough until it is elastic and smooth, about 5-10 minutes. If the dough seems wet or too sticky add, more flour.

– place the ball of dough a bowl that has been coated lightly with olive oil. Turn the dough around in the bowl until it is also coated. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place until it doubles in size – about 1-1 1/2 hours. TIP: If you don’t have a warm spot in the house, heat the oven to 150°. Turn off and let cool. Place dough in the oven and let sit to rise.

Preparing the Pizza(s):
– pre-heat the oven to 450° for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour
 remove plastic cover from dough and punch dough down so it deflates a bit.

The Best Part! At this point you can separate your dough into two balls. Freeze one to use for a quick week night dinner. (Take the frozen dough out in the morning. Place in a bowl that has been lightly coated in olive oil. Roll the frozen dough in the oil so that it is also coated. Cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and let sit for the day. When you come home your dough will have risen again and will be ready to prepare for dinner!)

– prepare your toppings – remember that you want to keep them thin and sparse so that your pizza doesn’t end up a soggy mess. 
veg

– working on a lightly floured surface, flatten the dough with your hards. Starting at the centre and working out, use your fingers to press the dough until it is about 1 1/2″ thick. Turn and stretch the dough until it will not stretch further. Let the dough relax for 5 minutes and then continue to stretch until it reaches maximum size. Use your palm to flatten the edge of the dough – pinch the edge if you want a more defined crust.
– brush the top of the dough with olive oil to prevent sogginess. Use your fingers to press dents in the dough to prevent bubbles. Let rest another 5 minutes.
– sprinkle your baking sheet with cornmeal – this will stop the pizza from sticking. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet. If the dough has  lost its shape, lightly adjust it.
– spoon on your tomato sauce then alternate toppings and cheese until it is sufficiently covered. Remember that toppings can be used sparingly for a crispier pie.
– place pizza in oven and cook until cheese is browned and the dough is crisp – about 10-15 minutes.
– take pizza out of oven and let sit for another 5-10 minutes – serve and dig in!

This recipe yields 2 10-12″ pizzas.

 

Warm Winter Salad

I find one of two things happens in the winter: 1. You stop cooking entirely, turning only to take out and/or meals cooked by others or 2. You start cooking only comfort food – things that are baked, cheesed, and ultimately terrible for you.  OK, two of two things happen. Let’s be honest.

As the temperatures have begun to drop, I have decided to take a summer staple, the spinach salad, and add a bit of a winter twist: warm potatoes and grilled steak. You get that same warm in your belly feeling without the giant brick in your belly feeling (and no baked on mess – hurrah!) The beauty of this recipe is that it is fast, it can be quickly modified for different group sizes without much extra effort, and an easy clean up makes it perfect for weeknight entertaining. In addition, adding the strips of steak as you plate your salad is a great way to provide the same meal option for vegetarians as well.

salad 1

What you’ll need:

Small, oven safe dish
Salad Bowl
Butter/Margerine (1 large “dollop”)
Olive Oil – about 2/3 of a cup
Fresh Garlic – 1 large clove, pressed
Dijon Mustard – 1 tbsp
Spinach
Red Onion – diced
Cherry Tomatoes – halved
Goat Cheese – crumbled
New Potatoes – halved
Flank Steak or Striploin

Preheat oven to 400° – place butter in dish and melt. Place sliced potatoes in melted butter, coat, and place back in oven, turning periodically

Toss spinach, tomatoes, cheese, and onions in a bowl; In a measuring cup: mix olive oil, garlic, and dijon mustard

salad 2

Check on your potatoes – when you feel that they are about 20 minutes from being done (browned, but not crispy) preheat your BBQ

Grill steak to medium rare (about 15 minutes) and slice against the grain – this will ensure your steak is not tough

Taking potatoes out of the oven, toss them into your bowl and mix

Lightly coat your salad with dressing – the taste is strong so you will not need a ton

Plating your meal, top each serving with a few strips of steak, serve, and enjoy!

salad 6

 

Day to Night For Under $25

I purchased this skirt from Zara and it has been yet another perfect separate piece. The pockets (pockets in anything, really!) are an added bonus that makes any outfit a bit more playful. I love how easily this skirt transitions from a day at work to a night out with friends. My one qualm with the fabric (55% linen) is that, more often than not, I feel like I look like an unmade bed after a long day. When it comes back from the dry cleaner, though – let me tell ya – she’s a beauty!

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2014-07-24 19.53.37Night

2014-07-24 19.54.07Hair

The shirt: I picked up the Crop Top at Top Shop ($18) for a specific event that I was going to earlier this Spring. I didn’t think I was “hip” enough to pull it off, but after some coercing from a friend I caved. I find that pairing the top with a longer, more feminine skirt and more polished hair makes you look less hip and more on trend than with cut offs or jeans.

The hair: The amazing Hair Doughnut came from H&M ($5.95) because my hair, although long, is extremely thin and hard to do anything with. When the sock bun craze started, I tried to do my hair this way with a sock and I looked like a deranged puppet. Seriously. My hair wouldn’t wrap properly, and what would wrap would not cover the sock hiding underneath. I tried it with a dress sock instead of a sport sock; no dice. I tried a nylon instead of a dress sock; not a chance. And then, one day while strategically shopping, I stumbled upon this little gem in the ‘impulse section’ on my way to the cash. I figured that Bobby  couldn’t object to this one, as I had already butchered two pairs of his socks. The best part? They come in Black, brown, and beige to hide under your hair!

DIY: Custom T-shirts

I absolutely love gift giving. I know that it is something that most people hate, but to me it is like a game. A personal challenge to see how well you know someone and how wide you can make them smile when they unwrap your gift. I also [not so] secretly love seeing the looks on the faces of everyone else who showed up touting re-gifted wine (lovely gesture, but not that personal.) In my totally random and not so lengthy experience, a surefire way to make someone’s day is by ironing their face onto a piece of clothing. Don’t think they’ll dig wearing their own face? Substitute your face, or a pet’s, or a spouse’s, or a teacher’s (the list goes on, really) and you’re hilariously golden!

What you’ll need:

– Plain white t-shirt
– Iron
– Iron on transfer sheets (here)
– Small towel (two if you are working on a surface other than an ironing board)
– A hilarious photo

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Once you have printed your images onto your transfers (see the instructions in the box) trim the transfer sheet so there is a thin white boarder around your image. Place your t-shirt on a flat surface, with your image centred and face down.

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Place a towel over your transfer – make sure you don’t move the image when you do this!

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Apply heat and pressure to the image. A lot of it. For a long time. If you think it has been long enough – you’re probably wrong. Make sure you get the edges of your transfer sheet – there is nothing worse that a peeling t-shirt after just one wash!

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Occasionally, as you iron, test the edges of your transfer sheet to see if the process is working. If your image is still attached to the sheet…it obviously isn’t. More heat!

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When you have decided that your image is as stuck as it’s going to get, slowly peel the transfer backing from the t-shirt. If sections of your transfer aren’t “cooked” yet, slowly put the sheet back in place and go over the transfer a few more times. If you are having a tough time getting your image to stick, remove the towel and apply direct heat. BE CAREFUL – you can burn the image this way so do not apply for as long in each spot.

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Ta-daaaa! You’ve made yourself a rad new t-shirt. Wear it yourself or give it as an amazingly personal gift!