What’s blue, googly-eyed, and in my downstairs fridge? April 5, 2012

Filed under: DIY,Food,Kids — VisibleBlue @ 9:55 pm
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Cookie Monster Cupcakes

I giggle every time I open the refrigerator door.

My little boy is turning two tomorrow, and loves Cookie Monster. What better way to celebrate than with Cookie Monster cupcakes? I saw these on Pinterest and I just knew I had to make them for his birthday. Wanna do it yourself? Check out tips here, here, or here.

I chose to use frosting instead of coconut (husband: “Ew.”)  for the shaggy fur effect. I used a Wilton grass/hair tip (#233 I think?) and this totally delicious buttercream frosting recipe with a healthy dose of bright blue paste food coloring. I halved the recipe and it frosted a dozen normal size cupcakes with just a little left over. Clearly, I’m not a pro at piping, but I’m happy with the results anyway.

For the eyes, I used vanilla melts and chocolate chips. While I planned on attaching the pupils with a dab of icing, my husband came up with the great idea of just melting the two together, so I just pressed the flat side of the chocolate chip on a warm pan and stuck it to the melts. After sitting overnight in the fridge, they were firmly adhered.

Now all I need is a good blue-frosting-stain-remover for the party aftermath!


Turn your child’s art into wearable jewelry February 29, 2012

Filed under: DIY,Jewelry,Kids — VisibleBlue @ 1:40 pm
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Before and After

Hey, at least it's not made of macaroni.

I don’t know about you, but I always feel bad getting rid of my son’s art. Sure, I could just scan it all and save it digitally (no paper clutter!), but why not turn it into something I can wear and look at all the time? He’s not even two yet, so his art projects are still very…abstract. In other words, perfect for turning into jewelry.

Cut triangles

An assortment of cut triangles

His latest masterpiece was a fingerpainting we made on the paper that forms a tube inside cheap wrapping paper rolls. It’s really thick, so it didn’t bleed through, and I just love finding another use for something we would otherwise just recycle. After it was thoroughly dried, I cut it into little triangles with a craft knife. The triangles were about 3 inches long, but you don’t need to be too perfect when you cut them. I just eyeballed them all – some have thicker bases, some are longer or shorter, some are a little slanted. The width of the base will determine the width of your bead, so just cut them about as wide as you’d like your beads to be. I think it actually looks better when they’re all different, but feel free to cut them all the same for a uniform look.

Roll the bead

Step three - go get a manicure before posting pictures of your hands on the internet

The next step is to roll up the paper triangles, starting at the widest point, around a skewer or other thin object. Roll it very tightly, and use a dot of glue (I used superglue because it dries so quickly) to affix the point. Paint on some Mod Podge gloss for a nice, shiny finish. Let them dry on a hard surface. Voila! At this point, you can string your beads however you like and make a pretty nice bracelet or necklace. In the above example, I linked mine together with some simple silver wire and a few spacer beads. I wrapped about a third of the paper beads in 26 gauge silver wire.

Finished Beads

So shiny and candy-like....mmmm...

This would make a great mother’s day (or grandmother’s day) gift idea. Don’t have any art to work with? This method works with all kinds of paper – used calendars, wrapping paper, and torn pages from books or magazines, just to name a few. You could even upcycle extra wedding programs or invites for a special piece of jewelry!


Out of meatless Friday dinner ideas? Look here! February 22, 2012

Filed under: Food — VisibleBlue @ 2:02 pm
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I used to dread meatless Fridays during Lent – now I  love them as a great excuse to try out some new vegetarian recipes. I’m not Catholic, but my family is, so I try to make things we’ll all enjoy. Sick of fish and chips every week? Try one of these great recipes:

Black bean burgers – Forget the expensive store-bought kind! These are easy to make and delicious – plus, you can customize them however you like. I add corn and a chopped tomato when I make them. Bake, grill, or fry.

Quinoa and sweet potato cakes – I haven’t tried these yet, but I’m making them tonight.

Fish tacos – Use whatever kind of fish you want – I like to use a beer batter, or for a shortcut, you can use frozen fish. Serve with avocado yogurt sauce (clove of garlic, pinch of salt, plain yogurt, and an avocado – blend them all together) and tomatoes on soft corn tortillas. It’s also great with seared cabbage and red onions with a squeeze of lime juice.

Tofu parmigiana – If you’re scared of tofu, don’t be. You won’t miss the chicken at all! I like to make this with tofu that has been frozen for a meatier texture – just drain and wrap the tofu in paper towels, squeezing out all the moisture, and then wrap in plastic to freeze.

Baingan Bharta (eggplant curry) – A very mild curry, even my 2 year old likes it. (But he’ll eat just about anything.) Eat this with garlic naan.

Falafel – Make the cucumber sauce with Greek yogurt (or strained regular yogurt), and leave out the mayo.

Vegan split pea soup – This recipe makes a TON of super hearty, thick soup. I make this on a regular basis, and sometimes I’ll make it with chicken broth or ham chunks. Serve it with a nice crusty bread.

Spinach roll-ups – These are great to freeze ahead. This recipe is missing some garlic though! (I add garlic to everything.)

Pesto Frittata – I whipped up a batch of this when trying to get rid of some leftovers the other day, and will definitely be rotating it into regular meals. In a bowl, beat several eggs with pepper, diced onion, diced tomato, a little milk, and some prepared pesto (I used a homemade garlic scape pesto – yum!) Heat a skillet with a little olive oil and toss in some cooked spaghetti (sorry, I don’t really do measurements in my kitchen when I’m not baking. If you need a recipe, a quick Google search will net you plenty.)  When the spaghetti is warm, pour your egg mixture on top. After several minutes, flip the frittata with the help of a large plate and cook until the egg is set. A few minutes under the broiler will get you a crispy browned top, if you like.



Select Necklaces on Sale February 7, 2012

Filed under: Jewelry — VisibleBlue @ 2:05 pm
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Select necklaces and pendants are 25% off in my Etsy shop!


New items in the shop, and some Pinterest love! February 1, 2012

Filed under: Jewelry,Net Neighbors — VisibleBlue @ 12:28 am
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Delicate Vine Necklace

Silver wire and glass beads

A bracelet, some new earrings, and my absolute favorite thing I’ve made, this vine necklace! Go ahead and check out the shop if it’s been awhile!

Also, on a totally related note, can I just say how much I love Pinterest? It took me some time to get into it – two months after I received my invite I finally created an account. Now I’m kicking myself for not having done this earlier – it’s a great inspiration mill and a pretty good advertising tool as well. (We won’t mention the fact that it’s a dangerous time vacuum!)


DIY Fun: Solid Perfume January 22, 2012

Filed under: DIY — VisibleBlue @ 11:01 pm
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I am not afraid to say this: sometimes I am a very sweaty girl. I am afraid, however, of smelling like one. When I first read about solid perfumes, the concept blew my mind. While not new by any stretch of the mind (I’m told the ancient Egyptians used them), somehow this slipped by me. It seems so obvious! The last thing I want rolling around in my purse (or more likely these days – diaper bag) is a fragile glass grenade full of noxious, room-clearing eau de toillette. Unfortunately, finding one in person, not to mention one in my price range, proved to be a fool’s errand. Like most things in this category, I asked myself, “Can’t I make this at home?” As it turns out, yes! Not only is it potentially very cost effective (depending on your choice of ingredients), but it’s fun! I felt like an alchemist in my kitchen this afternoon, and any project that gets me out of stay-at-home-mama-mode and into magical-ancient-mad-scientist-mode is a definite win in my book.

One ounce blocks of beeswax

One ounce blocks of beeswax

What do you need? Basically, three ingredients: beeswax, a carrier oil, and a scent. A few common kitchen items. Something to put the finished product in. This is the bare minimum – you could get pretty elaborate with your recipe and setup, but that is nowhere near my area of expertise and far outside the scope of this post.

For my ingredients, I used beeswax purchased at my local farmer’s market, coconut oil that I had on hand (almond oil works well as a carrier oil), and a perfume oil I wear occasionally. After my first batch, I wanted to try to turn an existing perfume into a solid, so I also used some of that (more on that later.)

The process: I don’t have a double boiler, so I set a glass bowl atop a pot with an inch of boiling water. I combined one heaping teaspoon of shaved beeswax and one teaspoon of coconut oil in the bowl, stirring with a wooden skewer until they were completely melted. At that point, I just added about 15 drops of my perfume oil and stirred. You could use any combination of essential oils or perfume oils you wanted, but I’m no expert at creating scents, so I can’t really comment any more on that. There are tons of resources available to those who are interested in perfumery!

Finished solid perfume

Containers can be cute, practical, or both!

I wiped the water off the bottom of the bowl and poured the liquid into my containers. I used an old, empty compact and a tin that once held mints. You can use any small pots or tins you might have lying around, as long as they are airtight and won’t melt when you pour the liquid in. You can even use empty lip balm containers for a super convenient twist-up stick! These containers are all available new, and often in bulk, at many online retailers – just do a quick search. The perfume will set pretty quickly and will be ready to go in less than an hour.

Despite the plethora of existing tutorials on creating solid perfumes, I couldn’t find much about using existing perfumes to get them into solid form, so I decided to just try it for myself. Since perfumes contain alcohol, I wasn’t sure if the oils would react strangely. I am happy to say that it seems to work just fine. I sprayed about 6 or so spritzes into the bowl (duh, make sure it’s away from the stove, especially if you use gas!) and stirred it in. It really stunk up the kitchen for awhile (maybe I should have used a perfume my husband likes?) and I suspect the finished product will be less intense than the original, but that’s fine by me since I find most perfumes to be overwhelming! I don’t know how it’ll last in the long run, but it was definitely worth trying. Even if I have to make it again in a year, the process is so quick and painless that it’s really worth it.


Happy New Year! January 1, 2012

Filed under: Jewelry — VisibleBlue @ 9:45 pm
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With the holidays over and a new tax year beginning, I would love to buckle down and get a lot of new items in my Etsy shop. What do I have planned for this year? First, expect a lot more earrings. I got a great Dremel rotary tool for Christmas, and it will make churning out ear wires a snap! These cup burrs are en route from and should cut the amount of time I spend on each wire down by a huge percentage. (Hand filing those babies takes a long time, and I always manage to nick my fingernails in the process.) The 1.2mm size is just right for 20 gauge wire. I will also be doing a version of my tassel earrings in customized sports team colors, starting with scarlet and gray, of course! I gave out a few of the first pairs as Christmas gifts this year. They’re like little pom-poms for your ears!