Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lookie What I Made!!

So I took this AMAZING class on Saturday with Deb Sengupta of Keepsake Blossoms. I learned how to make flowers out of this amazing new clay called Decoclay (I *think* that was it). Its super light weight, has a velvety soft finish when dry and is surprisingly strong/sturdy and it air dries! That last one REALLY rocks living here in Phoenix where turning on an oven in summer is just ... masochistic. But I think I'm in love with these flowers. Seriously - if I had known about them 4 years ago when I got married I would SO have had my bouquet done with these. They look THAT good. Also I now refuse to buy fake flowers for decoration purposes. When you see these pics you'll understand (please keep in mind this was our VERY first time, so we will get better). Also please forgive me for not posting any of the flowers my friends made. At like 11 images I thought it was getting a little long...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

In a funk

So I'm kinda in a funk. On the upside, I managed to get the kitchen completely clean today (before mucking it up again making dinner), I made REAL food for dinner (not quickie sandwiches or leftovers or anything) AND I'm thrilled to announce I have now lost 7 lbs doing Weight Watchers (rock on!), which gets me half way to my first goal of losing 5% of my body weight (if you figure out that math, don't tell me).

And yet, I'm in a funk. It was super, duper nice to have Adam home from work at 4 pm today. I think I'm really gonna like that part of his new schedule. But its going to suck to have him gone ALL DAY until about 9 pm tomorrow AND the next day.

On the upside I've got a play date over at Kathleen's house tomorrow. I'm going to take pictures of all the stuff I made last week to post for sale on the new site (more on that later), which does mean more photo editing *gag* but I can get my tools and wire which means I can start working my way through the Intermediate Series of wire jewelry design. Which I am SUPER excited to get started on. I'm not 100% in love w/ all of the designs in the series but I do think its uber important to know all of the techniques and to be proficient in them. And who knows, maybe they look prettier in person? It could happen.

I guess my funk is mostly the blahs b/c my sleep has gone to crap. I really miss sleeping well every night and waking up feeling refreshed in the morning. Its a lot harder to motivate myself to do stuff when I just wanna go "BLAHHHHH" and curl up and take a nap.

Neways, I guess I don't have much of a point to this post (shut up! I do occasionally have a point). So I'll just stop rambling now.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


We're thinking about trying for baby #2 sometime soon. And so in preparation for that I've had to give up all my lovely sleep meds.

This SUCKS and I mean BLOWS. I miss not feeling like a zombie all the time. I miss being able to go to bed at the same time every night and just crash out in 30 mins or less and then wake up in the morning, BEFORE my alarm goes off feeling refreshed.

I sincerely hope we get pregnant like the first try just so we can get this dog and pony show OVER WITH and I can return to feeling like a human being. It was SO frickin cool to feel that good and be that productive. I really miss it.

I'm just scared that its going to be like last time I got pregnant where it takes 6+ months just to get pregnant and then 10 months after that to actually have the kid.

Hi, I'm Ami and I believe in better living thru chemistry.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dining Room Part Deux: Design Dilemma

Okay so heres my big problem:

We have a 3 bed, 2 bath house with one large living room and one large kitchen/dining room. Right now the arrangement goes largest/master bed/bath is mine and Adam's (obviously), middle bedroom (smallest) is the nursery,  last bedroom (middle sized) is the "office". I use the word office loosely. B/c "office" in my mind implies function. Where as that room is more like the pit-o-filth. And the pit-o-filth has a love/hate relationship w/ my dining room b/c they sort of feed each other. B/c the PoF no longer functions at all as a work space so when I need to craft/work/sort papers/etc I do it in the dining room (occasionally the living room, but the stuff gets stashed for the day out of reach of the kiddo in the dining room).

And many a time I have deep cleaned the dining room only to have it get funked right back up again in record time and I blame the PoF for the back log b/c things can't get processed through and filed/shredded/put away like they should. In my ideal, perfect world, there should be a place for everything and everything should be in its place and right now that JUST AIN'T HAPPENIN'.

So I'm having the realization that in order to tackle one I HAVE TO tackle the other.

And it seems reasonably easy. I should have PLENTY of room in my office to craft, store books (5 BIG bookcases FULL of books mind you) AND deal w/ my paperwork mess.

Here's the little monkey wrench tho: We want to have another baby in the next year or so. Theoretically we could put two kids in the same room. BUT right now the nursery is our SMALLEST bedroom and you'd better believe Mr Caleb and all his crap sucks up every last inch of it. So at the very least we'd need to try to cram our already packed to the gills office into the SMALLER of the two rooms, in order to have enough room for a bed, crib, 2 dressers, changing table, etc into one kids room.

The other problem with trying to put 2 kids in 1 room is that the baby will undoubtedly wake Caleb. That means crabby Caleb b/c he's been woken up repeatedly by his crying sibliling. NO thank you.

ALSO Caleb will turn 3 next year, that means he's going to start playing w/ all the toys that are for 3+ (aka contain choking hazards) so he's going to need his own play area where he can keep all his toys safely away from his younger sibiling.

So we need that 2nd bedroom. That means I've got to clear out my stuffed to the gills office and COMBINE it with my dining room (b/c theres no way in heck I can put all that stuff in my living room. Its FULL). My single scariest thought right this second is: where the HECK am I gonna fit my (absolutely essential) filing cabinet!


The first thought I'm having is that the bookcases are going to get doors and get moved into the dining room. Like do a whole wall with them maybe? But ours are the Billy bookcases from Ikea in the brown black. Yeah I didn't pick that color. Adam had 2 of them when we got married so when we bought more we just bought them to match. So a whole wall of DARK book cases sounds very oppressive. I mean I might be able to pull it off like we did in the office by sticking w/ this pretty robin's egg blue on the walls and white trim but I'm not sure I want it in my dining room... I could theoretically paint them all white and just buy white doors for them but MAN that would be a pain in the TUSH.

Maybe I could replace my filing cabinet w/ one of those Effektiv systems from Ikea... Of course that would mean parting w/ my perfectly good, only a couple years old filing cabinet... *sigh*

I dunno. But I think this TOTAL revamp is going to be the ultimate answer. *SUCK*

Oh and if the office becomes Caleb's bedroom I just have one question: where the heck are the litter boxes gonna go???

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Collage Update

I've got ALL but one of the frames hanging (have to make a trip to Ikea to score that last one). Now I just need to finish picking photos to go IN the frames (amazing how THAT works).  Isn't it pretty?!

Glass Fusing

So I took another amazing class at Art Unraveled last week. It was taught by an awesome artist named Peggy and I learned how to cut glass, how to layer it, do inclusions, dichroic glass, how to set up and run a kiln and how to fire the pieces we made. It was super duper cool. We only had time to fire one piece per person during class and the rest our teacher took the rest home with her to fire in her kilns and then mail them back to us. I haven't gotten my piece mailed back yet BUT I did finally get around to photographing the one piece I took home.

I also learned that photographing glass is harder that photographing silver (which is hard) and its also VERY helpful if you clean the finger print smudges off the glass BEFORE attempting to take a picture. You know you appreciate these little pearls of wisdom.

I'm definitely not in love with the color combo here but the glass changes colors some as you cook it so it was a learning experiment.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Living Room Photo Collage: Take 1

Okay so I first saw/fell in love with framed photo collages at my friend Jayne's house. The woman has a gift I tell you. I love her house. Every time I go over to her house I promise myself that the next time I will remember to bring my camera so that I can take photos of the perfection that is her house so I can study them and possibly glean there from the wisdom of the decorating sages. Yes I love her house that much. 

Alas I digress, so I wanted one of these lovely, amazing, beautiful photo collages for my very own! And so here is the giant piece of bare wall:

Well, I've been buying up frames for the last week or so to go on this wall (along with a couple other things I already had). So since the hub and the kiddo both went to bed relatively early tonight I decided to take advantage of the floor space and lay out all the frames and trace and cut them out on to news paper. The first place I ever saw this method for arranging frames with newspaper mock ups was on . I've since seen it several places but this was the first. :) 

Annnnnd  here's our first attempt. Tip: Use masking tape not painters tape for this. Its cheaper and it sticks a heckuva lot better to the news print. Lesson learned.

I'm cool (mostly) w/ the left side of things, but I'm not loving the little center frame on the far right side. I think what I REALLY want there is one of these. I'll hang it horizontally to get me some more variation in the line and visual interest. I think I even know which series of photos I'm going to want to put there. :) I can't go any lower down the wall b/c the cute but evil child would undoubtedly diss the frames. But I think I like whats going on here so far. I'll stare at it for another day or so to make super duper sure and then start putting holes in my freshly painted wall. *shudder*  But I think it will be real purdy!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

1 Hour White Bread

So I had this glorious amazing life changing class on how to make white bread, from start to finish in 1 hour. And its GOOD. Like REALLY good. So since I mentioned this on FB I've been getting requests for the recipe. So here it is folks. The recipe that breaks all the rules and yet it works out SO well.

One Hour White Bread

10 1/2 cups white bread flour (do NOT use all purpose flour)
1/2 cup sugar (you can swap for honey, agave etc but you should probably cut it back to 1/3 c)
1 TBSP salt
3 heaping TBSP SAF Instant Yeast (You WANT this brand. Keeps forever in the freezer)
3 quarter sized drops of liquid Soy Lecithin (this is NOT a fine science you can go up to a silver dollar size and still be good but don't try to measure cuz its heck to get off measuring spoons its THAT sticky. Its your replacement for eggs and oil. Keeps fresh forever.)
4 - 4 1/2 c HOT tap water (don't wimp out on me here you need it HOT to wake up that instant yeast and dissolve the lecithin, not boiling but the hottest water you can get out of your tap)

Mix the dry ingredients (thats right throw the yeast in there dry straight outta the freezer and mix it w/ that flour). Then add your lecithin directly to the flour, pour 4 cups of hot water in there and start mixing. Keep your mixer on LOW b/c this stuff is thick and sticky and you don't wanna kill your mixer. You want the dough to be SUPER sticky. I mean REALLY sticky. So keep adding water a tablespoon at a time until you get it good and sticky, and once you do DO NOT add more flour not even to knead it or prep it). Then mix it for 5 more minutes or knead it for 10 minutes.

So how do I handle it with out flour? The answer my friends is PAM (or other non stick cooking spray). Just spray the counter, rub your hands in it and voilĂ . Once you've got it all mixed pull it out on your nice sprayed down counter, give it a knead or two and form it into a nice round ball. Grab your knife and cut it into 4 big pieces.

Each one of those pieces can be made into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf of bread, you can make boules, baguettes, cinnamon rolls, rolls whatever. Let it raise for 25 mins then bake at 350 for 25 minutes. You know its done for sure when the bottom is nice and golden brown. If you want the bread to be nice and crusty then spritz the top of the loaf with water and put a bowl of water in the oven with the bread while its baking. The steam will make it nice and crusty. Otherwise I endorse brushing the top with butter or herbs or an egg wash, whatever makes you happy.

Enjoy it!

And I'm SUPER excited b/c I take a class on how to do wheat bread with these folks in 2 weeks!! :-)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Little Gardens of Glass

aka - My Torch Enameling Class I took Weds. I'll post more about it later but here are the pictures. Please note I'm not happy w/ my wood block. She wasn't exactly descriptive about the size in the class supply list so I just took a stab at it. I'll be changing the base/arrangement and you'll get final pics at some point in the future. 

Here are some close ups. You can definitely see where I need more practice but all in all not a bad first attempt. I did the leaves last and you can tell by the last couple I was really starting to get the hang of things. Also I'm in love with the blues. I want to do a whole little bunch of nothing but blue flowers. I resisted the urge this time so I could experiment with more colors.

 See these were the last 2 leaves I did and I definitely thing they turned out the best of everything.