Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Boy and His Bow Tie

Every boy cat needs a bow tie. 

Wooden Pictures

I recently tried the tutorial I found on Pinterest that shows us how to take a picture printed on computer paper and transfer it to a block of wood. You can find the video of what I'm talking about here.

I started by choosing photos of my children that I really like from the past few years, printing them on regular sized printer paper, and then cutting them out to fit the size of wood I wanted them to fit on.

The first mistake I made was forgetting that Evie's name would show up backwards on the piece of wood. But oh, well. The second mistake I made was printing these pictures with an inkjet printer rather than a laser printer. I still got decent results, but nothing comparable to what you see in that link posted above.

This stuff right here, this "Gloss Gel Medium" is entirely too expensive for its own good. I had to wander around hobby lobby a while until I found it tucked away in the art supply section, and then when I saw that it was $21.99, I almost freaked. Luckily, you only use a small amount of it for this sort of project, so I have tons more to use later. But seriously, who prices this stuff?

As the video in the link above shows, you coat your piece of wood with this gel medium, and then place your picture face down onto the block of wood, smoothing out the bubbles and whatnot before you leave it to dry overnight. (Oh, and when they say overnight, they really mean overnight. Trust me. I tried.)

Once it has sat overnight, you bring it in and wet the paper until you can see the picture through the back of it. Then very gently wipe away the paper. At least, that's what she shows in the video. I had some problems with this step, problems I didn't get on film because I didn't want to put my yucky hands on my camera. So, here's what I did...

I did wet the entire back of the photo until I could see the print through it. And then I gently started at the corner of the piece of paper and slowly start removing the paper residue. But the ink came with it. So I let the water dry a bit and then started again. It worked better when it was almost completely dry. In fact, when I got to the actual part with my children, the paper was practically completely dry. I pulled out a sink sponge with the scrubby part on the back of it and used it to gently scrap away the paper residue.

Once I felt like all the paper was off, I ran the block of wood with picture under the faucet for a few seconds to wash away any remaining paper residue and then immediately coated it with Mod Podge.

I sat on my mantel to dry and here's how it looked when complete:

I'm not super unhappy with the results, but I'm also not crazy about them either. I'm going to try using a laser jet printer and see what I can do. I'll update that...later.

Oh, I also did one in color. Here's how it turned out:

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Catching Life

By no means do I believe myself to be any sort of photographer. I like to play with my camera. In fact, I couldn't even tell you what kind of camera I have. Hold on. I'll check.

It says Canon Rebel xsi on it. If you know anything about cameras, maybe that means something to you. To me it just means that the thing takes way better pictures than my phone does.

This weekend, I went to my favorite place: My Gran's. While there, I took a trip to historic downtown Conway and took pictures all along the Riverwalk and Main Street. I'm pretty happy with some of the shots, so I'd thought I'd share a little bit of the South.

It's really a beautiful place.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Chicken and Red Rice

When I was a kid, my mom had this recipe book that she used to cook a few things out of. (This is a big deal because my mom is a self-proclaimed non-cook). The cookbook looked like it was used every day for years because it was falling apart and bound by a rubber band. One recipe she would make from time to time that we all liked was Chicken and Red Rice. Although, I don't know that we ever really knew what that recipe tasted like because my mom was (is) a firm believer in "If we don't have it already in the fridge or cabinet, we don't need it" kind of recipe follower. I think it always tasted a little different every time she made it, which was fine because we all loved it anyway.

Flash forward to me when I first got married over ten years ago. I could kind of cook, but not really. I think the hubby and I lived off of the same 3 dishes until we got sick of seeing and eating them. So I went to my mom's house and tried to find really great recipes. They were scarce, but one I did steal was the Chicken and Red Rice recipe.

I make it at least once a month and it's just as good as it's always been. It's my ten-year-old's favorite dish. And today when I told my seven-year-old what I was making for dinner she jumped up and down, yelled yippee, and then had to go tell everyone else in the house. So yeah, it's good.

It can serve 6 if you don't want leftovers.


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • Four Chicken Breasts cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can tomatoes, mashed up
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400°
  2. Melt butter in a large baking dish while the oven heats
  3. In a small bowl, mix flour, salt, paprika, poultry seasoning, and pepper
  4. Dip chicken bites into flour mixture, coating well and place in baking dish with melted butter
  5. Bake chicken bites for 25-30 minutes until browned
  6. While the chicken is baking, mix all of the chopped veggies, crushed garlic, oregano, and rice in a container
  7. Then, in a small saucepan, boil your chicken broth and tomatoes
  8. Once the chicken is done baking, remove the pieces from the baking dish (just put them on a plate or something) and then pour your rice mixture into the baking dish, spreading it out so it evenly covers the bottom
  9. Put your chicken bites back in the dish on top of the rice mixture
  10. Pour your sauce pan of broth and tomatoes over the whole dish and put it back in the oven for 45 minutes.

Usually, while this is cooking, my hubby makes a big salad with all the works and I make a big pitcher of sweet tea. It's one of those meals where plates get so clean they don't look like they've even been eaten off of. That's what I call cooking success!


1961 Helps Me Shape My Bread Loaves

Baking Homemade Bread: How To Shape Loaves

Rolled Dough Method

Step 1
With rolling pin, roll dough out to uniform thickness, stretching by hand to form rectangle approximately 9″ x 12″. Make certain to break down all gas bubbles in the outer edge of the dough.
Step 1 - Rolled Dough Method -
Step 2
From upper edge, roll dough toward you, jelly roll fashion, sealing dough with heel of hand after each roll of dough. (About four turns will bring you to last seal.) Be sure to seal final seam on bottom of loaf.
Step 2 - Rolled Dough Method -
Step 3
Seal ends of loaf by using the side of hand to get thin sealed strip.
Step 3 - Rolled Dough Method -
Step 4
Fold sealed ends of loaf under, using fingers. Avoid tearing dough.
Step 4 - Rolled Dough Method -
Step 5
Place shaped loaf, with seam side down, in well greased bread pan (approx. 8″ x 5″ top inside measure).
Step 5 - Rolled Dough Method -
Step 6
When bread has risen until doubled put pans in oven, leaving space around each pan so heat can circulate freely around pans.
Step 6 - Rolled Dough Method -
Source: Robin Hood Breads & Rolls, 1961

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Book Nerd's Jewelry Box

For my birthday last May, my husband gave me a jewelry box. But not just any jewelry box. See, I don't like the typical kind of stuff. I have a less sophisticated taste than say my sister or most grown women I know. My bedroom is an eclectic gathering of mismatched things that make no sense to anyone else but make perfect sense to me.

See? Told you. It's a work in progress. One day, when I have time, that dresser will be red. And the walls that have not been painted will be. And the red phone booth canvas was intended for my office, but then how could I enjoy it?

I realize I have a tackiness problem. Shut up.

So anyway, he bought me a jewelry box. It looked like this when it came home:

Sorry for the crappy iPhone pic quality.

It has sat on my dresser looking like this for months. Well, since May, so that's, what, like 6 or something months? I'm an English teacher. We don't Math.

I couldn't figure out what color I wanted to paint it. I had all these suggestions from friends. Turquoise. Yellow. Mint Green. Red. But I couldn't commit to anything because I wanted it to "match" my room. Until I realized something:

That's impossible.

So, I was walking through Hobby Lobby with my mother the day after Christmas and decided to go check out the acrylic paint. I literally played eeny meeny miney moe with the colors and decided on "Lush Foliage." What a great word, "lush." 

And so I painted it.

The handle inserts are card stock of different flying creatures, like birds and insects. There was one on the stock of what looked like a derranged deer, but I thought that would be a bit much.

I'm sure in a few months, I will decide the box needs to be a different color, but for now, I'm happy with it. And it fits nicely in my mismatched room from hell.