Thursday, September 29, 2011

{Friday Feature} - Picnik

     I thought it would be fun to feature a product or brand or website that I love.
 FYI,  these are my own opinions and I'm not getting paid to write them. 
For my very first Friday Feature post, I wanted to to feature Picnik. I am absolutely in love with picnik.com . It is a fantastic way to edit photo's for people like me who have absolutely no clue what's going on in Photoshop. Best of all, it's free! Yay! 
     I've been using Picnik for about 3 years, and I've never had to pay. However, I did just recently upgrade to Picnik Premium which was $24.95 for a whole year! Holy creepers, that's just a little over $2.00 a month! And let me tell you... I have been loving Picnik Premium! 
Here's what the picture looks like normally...
(Yes, that is a Bubble Gum Donut. We went to VooDoo Donuts which is a shop here in Portland that features tons of crazy flavored donuts. Of course my daughter wanted a pink donut, so she chose bubble gum. Crazy thing is... it tasted just like the bubble gum and it was good! I'm sure we will be going there in the future...)

Original Photo

Here are some more of their FREE features...

Adding Text

Cinema Scope (one of my favorite features...)

Changing the exposure...

Focal Black and White

Each month they do a different "feature". For October, you can add vampire fangs, do the crystal ball, add fake blood, etc. A couple of weeks ago they had "Pirate" features... Rrrrrr...

Heat Map... kinda fun. :)

Infrared Film

Lomo-ish... I use this one a lot too.

Rotate the picture

Tint the picture.... it doesn't just have to be blue... you can choose any color you want.

Cross Process... probably my all time favorite. 

and you can even make your own collages!

Here are some of the things I've done with Picnik...







I could pretty much spend all day editing my photos. And, it turns ordinary photo's in to amazing photo's. And more importantly, it turns ordinary photographer's with ordinary camera's into artists....
Oh yeah, I came up with that myself. :)
You should all try it! Go on, I dare you!!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Grahamwiches

     I get the late night munchies daily often. And when I get the munchies, it's usually for something uber sweet and chocolate-y. Now this wouldn't really be a problem if I were skinny and can eat whatever I want whenever I want... but since I am a curvy girl who has to watch what I eat or else I'll gain weight like no other, I am on the constant prowl for snacks that will satisfy my sweet tooth, but won't break the calorie bank. Enter Grahamwiches. I found the recipe in a "Biggest Loser" cookbook, and they are delicious!


 All you do is take a TBSP of fat-free whipped cream (slightly frozen) and 1 TBSP of peanut butter and spread it on a graham cracker. Top with another graham cracker and place in the freezer for about an hour, and voila! You have a grahamwich. (By the way, grahamwich isn't the official name of this treat. It's just what we call them...)
   
Now I don't have to feel so guilty about getting the late night munchies. Ha!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Craft Sneek Peeks....

   Remember how I'm in charge of Super Saturday for my church? Well, it's coming up in a couple of weeks, and so I've been working with some fabulous ladies on getting it all organized! For those of you who don't know, Super Saturday is when all the ladies from our church that live in our area get together and just do bunches of crafts. It's a lot of fun, and it's been a lot of work so far, but I'm excited to see everyone get their craft on! Holla! So, here's a peek at what we're doing... 

Picture Puzzle Blocks
(you can either provide your own pictures, or we'll provide church-related pictures)

Darling Yarn Wreath. 
The ladies can choose if they want a fall color scheme or a Christmas color scheme.

Jewelry holders made from mesh netting (the same stuff that your window screens are made of)
and bow holders made from chicken wire.

Glass Etched Dish Soap or Olive Oil Dispensers

Magnetic recipe board (tutorial to come later...)

Neck Ties for little boys. They fasten with velcro!

Pillowcase Dresses

Personalized Soap Dispensers (you can read about them here)

Keychains

T-shirt Jewelry

and we are teaching the sisters how to make rosettes (tutorial will come later...)

     I am so excited to spend a whole day with the ladies in my ward and craft with them. I have loved working with the committee and have loved putting all these crafts together! Oh, and by the way, my fabulous friend, Jessica, took all these pics. Aren't they great?
     No worries, tutorials will be coming soon... I just need to get Super Saturday done and over with before I even think about putting tutorials together. :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Perfect Sugar Cookie Recipe

     I have been on a massive hunt for an outstanding sugar cookie recipe. I have found tons and tons of recipes that tasted great, but I wasn't ever able to use cookie cutters with them. Then magically one day as I was browsing around my friend's website (found here) she shared where she got her recipes from... and I just knew I had to try to make sugar cookies again. The actual recipe is from Our Best Bites.( If you haven't ever looked around this website, then you need to start! Immediately!) Now, back to the sugar cookies...
     I tried the recipe, and I was scared out of my mind. I cannot tell you how many times I have tried new sugar cookie recipes and they have failed. Miserably. And, since my friend makes totally awesome sugar cookies, I was scared to even try because I just want mine to magically come out looking like hers... but I set my fears aside and I just went for it. First, I started mixing the butter and the sugar, just like it says to in the recipe. My children were watching (like they usually do when I bake.... they love to help me in the kitchen!) and I was reaching for something, and all the creamed butter and sugar fell onto my kitchen floor. Minor setback, I guess you could say... so I cleaned up all the butter and sugar and mopped the floor and started fresh. I made the dough just like the recipe said to, and I put it in the fridge to chill. After about 2 hours, I went to check on my dough and it looked a little funny. It didn't look like cookie dough, it had the consistency of frosting. What in the world did I do wrong? Oh yes, let me tell you what I did wrong. I had put in 4 sticks of butter (which equals about 2 cups of butter) instead of 2 sticks (1 cup) of butter. So, I got out all of the other ingredients again and doubled everything else. After the dough was done chilling, I made the cookies according to the directions, and I was just a bundle of nerves. I was so nervous that the dough would stick to the counter, but it didn't! This dough was terrific to use with cookie cutters, and it was easy to manage.
        When the cookies came out of the oven,  they were a little slice of heaven! Again, I used the recipe from Our Best Bites, but I decided to use a lemon frosting. Mmmmm..... it was so refreshing, my mouth is still watering just thinking about them!
     Now, I know you are all just giddy with excitement to get this practically fool proof sugar cookie recipe. (And it is pretty much fool proof since I can make these cookies.) So here you go...

Sugar Cookies

1 c. butter (remember, this is only 2 sticks of butter, not 4!)
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract (you can use vanilla if your heart desires)
3 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

     Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add in the egg and extract and mix everything together. Now, in a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt, and whisk to combine. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until completely combined.
     Shape the dough into 2 flat disks and wrap in waxed paper and place in the fridge to chill for 1-2  hours. If you want your cookies to hold their shape well, then the dough needs to be chilled properly.  (I just left my dough in the bowl and covered it with plastic wrap.)
     After the dough has been thoroughly chilled, lightly flour your workspace and roll out the dough with a rolling pin.
     Bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes. The baking time depends on how you like your cookies. I like mine really soft, so I baked mine for 8-9 minutes. But if you like yours crunchier, then bake them a little longer.
     After the cookies are done baking, just set them on a cooling rack. Once they have completely cooled, you are ready to frost them!

I always love my sugar cookies frosted, and I think a plain buttercream frosting would taste delicious, but I really wanted something citrus-y, so I made a lemon frosting.

Lemon Frosting


3 TBSP butter, softened
2 1/4 c. powdered sugar
2 TBSP lemon juice
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. grated lemon peel
1 TBSP milk

     Cream the butter and the sugar in a bowl. Add lemon juice, vanilla, lemon peel, and milk. Beat until smooth. If the frosting isn't to your desired consistency, then add a little more powdered sugar for a stiffer frosting or add another teaspoon of milk if you want a runnier frosting. It all depends on what YOU like.

     If any of you are inspired to make sugar cookies now, I would love for you to comment on how they turned out!!

Free Giveaway!

Hello Friends!  Portobello Road is doing a giveaway!!!  It is my first giveaway so I am a bit excited!  I just want everyone out there to know that they too can be a crafter/baker/furniture painter pretty easily by reading some of the tips posted right here at this very blog! www.portobelloroadnw.blogspot.com

There's pure inspiration in every creation is our tag line around here.  Which is part of the Portobello Road song.  Does everyone know what movie that song comes from?  Yes, Bed knobs and Broomsticks!  If you are as old as I am you will know this movie, and I love this movie and that song!   Inspiration is all around us (mostly on Pinterest these days). So let's share what inspires us!

You may have as many entries as listed below (up to 3).  Good luck!
-One entry for commenting here, tell me what your favorite movie was growing up.
-One entry for liking the Portobello Road facebook page.
-One more entry for commenting on my facebook page of something that inspires you.

The winner will be chosen on September 30th and posted here.

The prize is a set of 3 of these darling fabric pumpkins!
These lucky little pumpkins will be shipped to you and am sure will love living in your beautiful home all during Fall.  I will also be posting the tutorial here later on this month.





Happy Crafting,
Christie






Sunday, September 25, 2011

Easy DIY Shutter project

Recently I did a make-over of my mother-in-laws new apartment.  A little house on the river is what I like to call it.  She had some very good basics for our foundation, like this headboard (which I would secretly would like to get my hands on to paint and distress).  She just needed a some pop!

On a budget of course I headed over to the ReStore.  A great inexpensive resource for any home building project.  I personally like to get paint there, check out the furniture, knobs, and doors.  On this particular trip I was looking for a shutter made out of real wood.  Found one!



I dusted off the cobwebs and old leaves with a broom. And put my sander to it, just to smooth it down really. I knew this did not have to be perfect in fact I wanted it to look worn.  


Then I painted it with this lovely green oops paint and my paint sprayer.  After it dried, I put on just one coat of poly. I use Minwax water based.  Since it would be hanging on a wall, one coat would do. If it were a heavy use piece I would have put several coats on to get a good seal.   I found this wreath a garage sale and wha-la! 


Cost of project: Shutter $3, Paint $2, Wreath $4

Happy Crafting,
Christie

Lack Of Posting

     Sorry for the lack of posting. :) I'm just getting back into the swing of things and have a million pictures to edit from our trip to Utah. I have also been busy gearing up for my church's Super Saturday (which I'm in charge of...). You can check out the cute crafts we're doing here. My daughter also started preschool, and both my kids managed to catch colds on their way home from Utah... but never fear! I am diligently working on getting some posts scheduled... in the mean time, check out my friend's blog here.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

October Craft Night...October 20th

I have finalized the crafts kits I will have available for our October craft night.  Which will most likely be on Thursday, October 20th.  Many of you signed up at the September craft night.  If you would like to switch to another craft, just comment below or email me.  The deadline for the Turkey craft kit will be a little earlier, because I need to order them and have them shipped from Utah.  Let's say October 5th.

If we have anyone new that would like to come to craft night, welcome!  Comment or email me of what you would like to order. 

All of the following craft kits come with everything you need to make them that evening.  Brushes, paint, Mod Podge, etc.

"Be Thankful" Plaque $8.00

Porch Pumpkins $20.00
Will be adding polka dots..see next picture.

"GIVE THANKS" $10 for kit
Current sign-ups deadline October 15th

Porch Pumpkins
Debbie
Alicia
Cheryl L.
Christie
Chelsea
Ellen
Kim
Bryn

"Be Thankful" Plaque
CeCe
Cheryl W.
Sarah
Karisa
Chelsea

"Give Thanks" Banner
Amy
Ellen

Garland & Turkey-cancelled

Boo Blocks...Tutorial

I have been hunting around for a cute Halloween decoration to go with my bats and subway art.  You can spell "BOO" or "EEK".  These turned out way cuter than I thought they would be!

You will need:
  • (3) blocks 2x6 cut into 6, 7, and 8 inch tall pieces.
  • Black Paint (or orange or white)
  • Wood letters ("BOO" or "EEK", I got mine at Michael's)
  • Glitter craft paint or you can use glitter and glue (orange, black or silver)
  • Paint for your letters (if you want orange glittery letters, paint an orange base first then the orange glitter paint)
  • Halloween scrapbook paper (3 different designs)
  • Mod Podge
  • Wood glue
  • Ribbon (at least 4 yards)
  • Sand Paper or power sander
  • Optional: If you paint your blocks white or orange you can distress with an ink pad or stain

Cut a 2x6 into three pieces 6, 7 and 8 inches tall. You will have left over wood. Sand edges if needed.  Paint them black.  You don't have to paint the bottom or all of the front, just most of it.  Distress wood if you want to with sand paper.

Choose your scrapbook paper and cut to fit front of blocks.  I cut my paper about a 1/2 inch smaller on each side than my wood.  Then paint your letters.  Painting a base color before you paint on your craft glitter or glitter and glue.  This will make it so you don't see the bare wood.

Mod Podge your paper to your wood.  Use a credit card or squeegee to smooth it out.  Then glue your letters to the front of the block.  Let dry at least 30-60 minutes before you put your ribbon on.

Wrap your ribbon around the edge from the bottom up. Tie a knot tightly.  If you want to do a bow, just tie a knot first then the bow.  I used an orange glitter ribbon from Michael's.

Enjoy your spooky blocks! 
Happy Halloween!!

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