Friday, February 8, 2013

Shoe Addict Thriving: Binge vs. Budget-- Canvases



Image Credit {}

I went to go buy some canvases for the wall art collages in Ben's mancave. I took Ben with me because I was getting some pretty large canvases and needed his large manly arms to carry them through the store for me. (He did very well at this task except for when we got to the registers and he turned abruptly towards me to ask me a question and hit me in the face with them.) He gasped quite loudly and protested greatly when we walked around the corner and he saw a 16x20" canvas on sale for $50. 
I quickly explained that this was the professional grade, heavy duty, gallery wrapped canvas....we were going for the cheap stuff - back stapled, on sale, and about $20 (sale price) for a 24x48" canvas. If you are a professionally trained artist and you are planning on doing high-end works of art worthy of the MoMA then by all means get the professional high quality canvas.

However, if you are like me and just dabble in DIY wall art made on the cheap so you don't feel guilty when you swap it out in six months, then I suggest you get the cheap stuff. Here are some fun article ideas for DIY wall art on canvas.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Shoe Addict Thriving: Getting Back Into the Swing of Things



{Image Credit: - pops4}

 Well, I am back from vacation and trying to get into the swing of things again. Crafting has been the last thing on my mind since I got back on Saturday, and it probably won't be a high priority until the million other things on my to do list are complete.

My first priority and motivation were pretty clear. I started the Holiday season with 3 lbs more than my "ideal" weight. After taking the cake decorating class and eating through the Holidays I added about 8 lbs to that. By the end of the cruise I just got back from I felt like all of my clothes were too tight. I figured I gained a couple of pounds, but when I jumped on the scale out of curiosity when I got home I gained 6 lbs! That is one pound per day on the ship!

This shouldn't have been surprising because there is always food readily available everywhere and anytime you might want it. You start getting into the deplorable habit of eating every 90 minutes. The day starts by room service bringing you breakfast...this you keep somewhat healthy: scrambled eggs, apple juice, wheat toast and jam, and some fresh fruit. Then you venture out into the ship, onto the boardwalk section where the free donut shop is. You adore donuts. They are you favorite food, and they are free. So you have one, okay, two donuts.

It's 11:30 or so by now so you wait and hour and then go grab lunch from the cafe. You grab a fairly healthy sandwich...and then a cookie. Deciding to stroll about the ship while nibbling your cookie you find yourself on the pool deck just as you finish it. Your tiny hand is feeling bereft and needy right as you look up and see the self-service frozen yogurt machine. So you take a cone of fro-yo as you pass. You manage not to eat much more than maybe another cone of fro-yo for a long while and then you're wandering around the ship with 2.5 hours left until dinner and you think, "I should go grab something to hold me over." And you go get a piece of pizza because it's free, and you might get too hungry before dinner actually starts.

Finally, you manage to make your way into dinner. You would think by now that the amount of calories consumed would make you feel sick and you would just pick at dinner. But the formal dinning room has the best food on the whole ship. Everything is made with heavy cream and butter and is extra delicious. You can order whatever you want...even two of something if the mood strikes you. You feel a sense of accomplishment with every bite you get down while cruising. So you eat 3 sourdough rolls, a vidalia onion tart, sea bass with asparagus, the dessert sampler, and a piece of the cheesecake. And after going to your show you stroll down for another cookie while waiting for the late night entertainment to start.

Really now that I think about it the miracle is that I ONLY gained 6lbs. So armed with determination and an empty refrigerator I decided to do the South Beach diet and cook all my food instead of buying it. I managed to cook every night so far - and each meal took less than 20 minutes to throw together. Our menu so far has been:

Night 1: Chipotle seasoned Mahi Mahi burgers with sliced avocado
Night 2: Garlic and Herb marinated Mahi Mahi with steamed green beans
Night 3: Grilled sirloin steak for Ben, Gardein for me and the rest of the steamed green beans
Night 4: Mahi Mahi burgers with mixed green salad with pecans, tomatoes, red peppers, and avocado. Throughout the day we munch on raw peanuts and pistachios, sliced red pepper and broccoli dipped in hummus, skim milk cheese snacks, or mozzarella and tomato salads.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Shoe Addict Thriving: Crafting on the Go



I am in the process of packing for my vacation and I always take along a few things with me to do on the plane. I usually take a small crochet project and a sketch book with me. Here are some tips for taking crochet on the plane.

1. Get yourself some bamboo or plastic hooks. This goes for knitting as well as crochet. Crochet hooks tend to look less threatening than knitting needles. This article has great tips for knitting. While plastic hooks are cheaper I have to say I would invest the money in the bamboo. I purchased them a year and a half ago for an Orlando, FL. vacation with my husband and they are now the only hooks I use.

2. Small, blunt craft scissors with a blade under 4 inches are allowed on the plane! TSA's prohibited sharp objects list shows that "Scissors - metal with pointed tips and blades shorter than four inches" are allowed in carry one. I am always paranoid that they are going to take away my craft scissors even child ones with blunt tips. Also, the cruise line that we are going on has notorious crazy scissor confiscation stories and a whole message board dedicated to ways to outsmart the scissor police. So here is an out of the box option - Empty Floss Container!

3. Don't get to carried away. Be realistic you will probably only work on it during the flight so work on something with only a couple of colors.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Shoe Addict Thriving: Pineapple Upside-down Rum Cake



I recently tested out this recipe from (I have had pretty good luck with their recipes) It was for a Pineapple Upside Down Rum Cake. My co-worker has been asking for a cake like this since I first started the cake decorating classes back in August 2010. I have never made a rum cake or a pineapple upside down cake before and so I had no idea how to tell if this was a good recipe or not.
I purchased this adorable individual pineapple upside down cake pan from Amazon. Well, my co-workers birthday was yesterday so although the cake was not delivered to him on his actual birthday due to snow...I baked the recipe last night and made one pan of these. (I had left over batter, but was way too lazy to bake it up.)

I have a pineapple allergy so I made three with pineapple rings and made three like regular rum cakes. I used Myer dark rum and while it was pretty expensive I read up and found that this was a recommended dark rum for baking with. Remember when cooking with liquor - you are cooking out the alcohol and are being left with the taste/flavor. You don't want something that is cheap and tastes is good to put your money into what will soon be in put to the test on your taste buds.

Without delicious pineapple :(

It was not a hard batter to make it was difficult to put into the pans because it was a thicker batter and did not pour and settle like a typical boxed cake mix. The difficulty to this recipe was really that it had multiple components with the glaze, fruit, and batter. I baked it 5 minutes less than the recipe called for and when I did the toothpick test the cake was still gooey. I let it bake for the remaining 5 minutes and although the cake is still probably could have cooked for a couple minutes less.

I like my rum cake rummy so I also poked some holes into the bottom of the cakes and put a little of the left over glaze on the bottom as well. Overall, I really liked the recipe it had really nice flavor and texture. My co-worker had a great suggestion for me to add peach rings to the bottom of the pan as a substitute for the pineapple I am allergic to. I am definitely going to make it again and try that out!

The birthday boy's cake...two cherries instead of just one!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Shoe Addict Thriving: Hat Pin Heaven... And Gluing My Fingers Together



I finally got my hat pin findings in and with cruise a mere 7 DAYS AWAY!!!! I was excited to start putting together some hat pins. I got a very good start on them and made myself a variety to go with the different things I might wear on the cruise.
Hats are going to be a must on the cruise...staying out of the sun for a very fair skinned melanoma survivor is priority number one! I quickly discovered a couple of things about the hat pins:

1. They are very very sharp.
2. They did not come with a nail head like pictured.
3. They are a lot more bendable than I expected

To try and prevent the top bead from sliding off I used a bit of beading glue - essentially super glue. I managed to glue my fingers together and to the hat pin finding the last one I made for the night.

So with one hand and some nail polish remover....

I tried to get my fingers free. 5 minutes later I had one free.

5 more minutes together and I managed to get the rest of my hand free. I will admit to still having super glue remnants on my fingers this morning.

Here are some of the results.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Shoe Addict Thriving: Practicing with Mod Podge




I have been wracking my brain and searching the Internets to figure out how to achieve the look I wanted for the wall art in Ben's man cave. I wanted to mount the pictures from the University of Maryland on canvas and then hang the canvases on the feature wall of his room.

When I searched the Internet there were many websites that had snarky answers such as, "Why would you want to mount a photo on a canvas? Why wouldn't you just have the photo printed on the canvas?" I had basically given up on the idea and just decided to do the collage in giant frames from the craft store.

Luckily at the homemade gift exchange last Friday my friend introduced me to the little product known as Mod Podge. I am not quite sure how I have made it this long without knowing what Mod Podge is, but am I glad she let me know about it! I searched Mod Podge the other day and found that there are many how to articles on how to mount photo's to canvas with it. had a lovely tutorial on making art on canvas. They used one print out to cover the entire canvas. Check it out for lovely ideas for canvas art. had many articles on how to use Mod Podge on canvas. They say to use the fabric kind to mount things on canvas.

For my test run I simply used the matte finish regular kind. I used an old canvas and painted it blue with left over latex wall sample paint. I then took pictures of my niece, nephew, and dad to make a canvas "scrapbook page" for my dad and mom.

I didn't do the most perfect job on it - some of the pictures are mounted crookedly. I really just wanted to get an idea of how the product would work. I was pleased with how easy it was to use, how it adhered the photos to the canvas, and how the finish looked. I believe I have found the technique I am going to to plan out the canvases themselves.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Shoe Addict Thriving: Tying Up Loose Ends



Crochet patterns always instruct you to weave in the tail of the knot after you end a color. I have never liked the results of this method. The kind of yarns I like to use are often very soft and sort of slick. It tends to loosen and slip out of where you have woven it in.

I sew down each knot in order to eliminate the worry that the crochet product will unravel or come loose. This is how I do it:

1.) I take needle and thread that closely match the yarn and sew through the yarn knot 3-4 times in different directions.

2) Then I tightly loop the thread around the "tail" of the yarn 3-4 times to make a tight hold on the tail.

3) I then guide the needle down the middle of the thread holding down the tail and make a knot and then cut the tail off close to that knot.

This leaves me with a nice finished end that I don't have to worry will come loose.