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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Reclaiming Roadside Treasures

We, like most young people in Toronto, live in an apartment building. Our apartment, like most in the city, has minimal storage space. Until far too recently, we kept our service wear on top of the cupboards in our kitchen. Not only was this extremely ugly, but it was also counter productive: before AND after each time something was used it needed to be scrubbed on account of the dust and kitchen scum. Scrub, serve, scrub, scrub, serve. I can think of at least 6 other things I would rather do than wash dishes.

So, naturally,  you can imagine the excitement on the day I discovered a corner shelving unit sitting on the side of the road. As you do, I stood awkwardly and “defended” my treasure, while frantically calling upstairs for help (and possibly approval). Beginning to end the whole project took a single Saturday afternoon and less than $40 to complete. What is it they say about another man’s trash…?

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What you’ll need:

– reclaimed/new wood shelving unit
– newspaper
– sand paper
– elastic band
– matte all purpose paint (let them know you are using it in your kitchen when you purchase – they will tell you what you  need)
– paint brush(es)

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– Wipe down your shelves (especially if you’ve taken them from the side of the road…) with soap and water
– Sand out any imperfections (or mould spots – ew) on your unit and wipe down again with a damp cloth
– Let dryIMG_3206

– Handy trick: put an elastic band around the middle of your paint can (ooooohhhhhh)

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– Use said elastic band to wipe paint from your brush to avoid uneven distribution (aaaahhhhhh)

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– Let your shelves dry between each coat of paint (about 1 hour)
– Continue to apply coats of paint until your shelves have sufficient coverage (about 3 coats)
– Let dry for 24 hours before moving into place and stocking your shelves

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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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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

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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!

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Flavour Saver: Coffee Ice Cubes

How many times have you made yourself an iced coffee on a beautiful summer day, only to have the ice melt in less time than it took you to brew the dang coffee? How many times have you then shaken your fist (whether physically shaken or just in your head) when that now melted ice waters down your drink, turning it into a soupy mess? I am betting the answer will vary between “never, what are you talking about?!” to “heck yeah, what am I trying to do – HYDRATE?!” While griping about this very issue with a girlfriend last weekend she finally looked at me and asked why I hadn’t been freezing my coffee. What the what? Apparently, this friend of mine has been freezing her coffee into cubes and using those to ice her coffee – when they melt you just get more delicious Joe instead of a watered down substitute. Works for me!

What you’ll need:

– Ice cube tray
– Coffee
– Freezer

first coffee

 

Pour coffee into ice cube tray.

coffee

 

Freeze.

ice

 

Place cubes in a glass. Pour coffee, milk, chocolate milk, Bailey’s, Kahlua, or whatever else your little heart desires, over top. Enjoy!

glass

…Literally the easiest thing ever. What simple tips do you have for staying cool?