Friday, February 22, 2013

friday fixations: orchids

The Orchid Society of Alberta is having its annual orchid show and sale this weekend, and it is pretty amazing. If you need a little hit of spring, I highly recommend it.

 This is my favourite one from the show. Can you even believe this is an orchid?!

Friday, February 15, 2013

friday fixation: colour dipped marshmallows

I had this weird idea yesterday to colour dip marshmallows as an unexpected Valentine treat. I didn't think they'd turn out at all, but they ended up working so well and looking so cute that now it makes me want to colour-dip the whole bag!

Just add a few drops of food colouring to some water, then dip in a marshmallow. Set it aside on a cooling rack to dry. The amount of colouring and water is up to you depending on how dark or light you want the colours to be.

That's it! Super simple, right?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

diy: bath bombs

Complete disclosure: I've never used a premade bath bomb. I see them everywhere and they look really nice but they always seemed too expensive for a one-time use item and too big. I mean, that whole thing is supposed to dissolve in one bath? That didn't seem right.

So I thought it might be worth my while to try making some myself as a nice Valentine's gift to... myself. Obviously, I have no idea how proper bath bombs are supposed to work, but these fizz delightfully, add a very subtle tint and scent to the water, and soften my poor winter-dry legs amazingly well. So, for me, I think that's a successful bath bomb!

Probably the hardest part was finding citric acid. I eventually found mine at the pharmacy counter at Superstore. It was a special order but (thankfully) I only had to wait one day for it to arrive. You can buy citric acid in varying amounts but since I didn't know how much I'd use, I started with the smallest which was a 100 g bottle. This only cost me $3 and I made about 14 bath bombs with it (this includes my testers which bombed prior to making it to a bath). Not too shabby. If you can't find citric acid, you can use cream of tartar but it doesn't have the same reaction citric acid does (it still makes the bath water nice, though). Just use half of whatever amount the citric acid was (so if you need 1 tablespoon of citric acid, you'd use 1/2 tablespoon of cream of tartar).

Initially, I used an old cupcake container I had as a mould just to do some testing, but I realized I really liked the rustic/cute look it gave the bombs so I continued using it. If you were gifting these to someone special for Valentine's day, I did spot a ton of different heart-shaped containers at the dollar store that you could easily use as a mould for bath bombs.

What you'll need to make one bath bomb (or two like mine):

2 tablespoons baking soda
1 tablespoon of citric acid (or 1/2 tablespoon cream of tartar)
1 tablespoon of cornstarch
1 tablespoon epsom salts (you can find this in any store these days)
1/4 teaspoon oil (you can use any light oil you like. I actually used plain ol' canola since it's fragrance free and wouldn't compete with the liquid)
3/4 teaspoon liquid*
a drop or two of food colouring

Dump the dry ingredients (baking soda, acid, cornstarch, and salts) into a bowl and whisk together to remove lumps.

In a small jar, shake together the wet ingredients (oil, liquid, and colouring).

*About the liquid -- most recipes I tried had a bit of water and a bit of essential oil but I stopped bothering with water altogether. For the green tea and cinnamon bombs, I brewed a very strong, very concentrated cup of both green tea and cinnamon tea and I used that instead of water or essential oil. For the coconut and vanilla bombs, I used straight up vanilla and coconut extract as the only liquid (my coconut extract was older and had mysteriously changed colour so it was a good way to get rid of it). The tea and the extracts aren't as strong as essential oils would be, but the smell is kind of a small factor for me. I can smell them in their dry state, but I'm really just liking the way the bath bombs soften bath water. I don't necessarily need my bath water to smell all fancy, too.*

While whisking, dump the wet ingredients into the dry mixture. You'll see a slight reaction (if you're using citric acid), but keep on whisking until the mixture has started to clump together and is completely dyed the colour you added. It should still be a little crumbly which is what you want. If you add any more liquid, the citric acid will start to foam and you'll end up with a pre-bombed bomb (I got a few of those and your little bath bomb will keep foaming and growing right out of your mould until it completely dries).

Spoon the mixture into your mould and pack it in as tight as you can. Allow to dry for at least 5 hours before trying to get them out of the mould. Let dry for another 4 hours before plopping one in the bath or let them dry another 1-2 days before wrapping them as gifts or putting them into a storage jar, like so:

This is a jam jar that I fancied up by painting the lid with some gold paint. I liked this storage idea the most because it has the rustic charm that matches that of the bath bombs plus it'll keep them nice and dry in the bathroom (and it was just as easy as making the bath bombs themselves!).

Friday, February 8, 2013

friday fixations: jewelry edition

I absolutely adore what's going on in these shops, so I picked out some stuff that would blow my skirt up for Valentine's day:

valentine jewelry

{1} Boo boo and factory is filled with so many necklaces, earrings, and bracelets it was really hard picking a favourite. All of the fringes, patterns, and neons really had me drooling. I think I like this necklace the most, though. The triple chain is unique and makes it look like you're wearing one of those cute peter pan collars.

{2} Nomilk today has a great selection of lovely poppy geometric polymer clay rings and brooches. I love having a brooch to pin on my coats so I was especially drawn to those pieces as I think I need some more modern styles to add to my collection.

{3} I'm a fan of the A Merry Mishap blog, so I'm sure I had heard about the A Merry Mishap shop, but it definitely blipped off my radar until recently. I particularly like these gold dipped rose geo earrings. They have an understated Valentine-y feel, don't they?

{4} I've had my eye on this 'you and me' pendant from Yellow Owl Workshop for a while (or find it here with a discount!). It's just such a sweet little statement (and the packaging is pretty rad, too). Je t'aime is a close second.

{5} I do really tend to gravitate towards most things hammered or with natural stones, so it's no wonder Shop Clementine caught my eye. I love the simplicity of these earrings and they kind of represent eternity to me in a classy subtle way.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

early fixation: benji hughes

A dumb thing happened to me last week. I lost the diy I had planned for today. I don't know where I put it or what could possibly have happened to it, but I've turned the house upside-down and I still can't find it. I think some little house gnome has got it and he's not giving it back.

Instead, I thought I'd tell you about Benji Hughes' album 'A Love Extreme.'

The thing with me and music is that I'm usually drawn to sounds that reflect what I'm feeling or what's going on in my life (even if that just means I was really digging anything with hand claps in it at the time). So usually, I can listen back on certain CDs and singles and remember the events surrounding that particular song and I can remember what it was I was feeling or what I was doing back then.

It's been kind of a slow music month for me, so I loaded some older CDs onto my iPod and 'A Love Extreme' was one of them.

It was probably one of the last physical CDs I've ever purchased, but I remember when I purchased it, back when I first met Idle Husband. So a lot of the songs remind me of that time. The crazy fun, the excitement, the newness, the love extreme. 

So if you're looking for a CD that's got some sort of a Valentine slant to it but is nowhere near that crazy Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston type of love song ballad, then I think you're looking for Benji Hughes. His is about the closest approximation to lovey romantic music I've ever purchased and his lyrics aren't unrealistically sappy. He really tells a story with every song he sings. (And if you're single this Valentine's day, there're a few really great anti-love songs, like 'You Stood Me Up' and fun friend/party songs like 'I Went with some Friends to see the Flaming Lips'

Click here to find more of his songs (and you might be able to download a few of them by clicking on the blog links).

Friday, February 1, 2013

february desktop

I've been learning and trying a few new things over on Pugly Pixel's resource page, so I thought I'd have a little fun with the desktops and use filters this month.

I was also reminded that I had this fun rose background so I thought I'd add it again since it goes so well with the lovey pink and red Valentine's day theme of February.