Thursday, July 28, 2016

13 Months Later...

As you can tell, I have been MIA for over a year. Oops. Quite obviously, I've got some explaining to do, for the few (if any) faithful followers that continued to check back for new posts during my prolonged hiatus. Most likely, I'm talking into a void (given that almost 13 months of inactivity will without a doubt make any website obsolete), but it's my void, and I'll talk into it if I want to.


The reason for the disappearing act? I went to public school. (Cue dramatic music and lightning strikes.) It wasn't that bad, really. I made friends. Joined a ton of clubs to make up for the underwhelming academics. I'd rate the experience a 6/10. But at the end of the day, when I'm being "taught" material in seventh grade that I learned in fourth grade, it's a waste of time. Simple as that.

That being said, I'm back in the homeschool saddle, and skipped a grade while I was at it. So I've joined a new orchestra, will be joining the pre-college strings program at the university in my town, and just overall dived into preparing myself for the giant leap of faith that is the future of yours truly.

Fingers crossed!

(Edited to say: Given my oh-so-busy schedule including school, lots of music activities, etc. the chances of another hiatus are pretty high. Just wanted to prepare anyone in this void for that.)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Tutorial Tuesday: Chalk Paint End Tables (Part One)

I recently inherited two identical end tables from my great-grandfather. They are brown and bland; not my taste! The first time I saw them, I immediately knew that they were crying out for some D.I.Y. magic. The answer? Chalk paint!

Chalk paint is amazing, in a nutshell. No sanding, no stripping, no priming, no preparation whatsoever! Just make sure your piece is clean and dry and you're good to go! I bought my chalk paint from American Paint Company (click here to browse their site!) and it went on like a dream. Just a 4 ounce jar of paint covered both of my tables!

You might notice from the title of this post that is T.T. is a two-parter. Therefore, the 'after' picture above is what the tables look like after I applied the first coat of chalk paint. I applied one coat of white chalk paint first, and then I will paint over the white very lightly with a color of chalk paint and then a clear finishing wax.

For my colors, I'm using (left to right) Purple Mountain Majesty, Beach Glass, and Navajo White. Only Navajo White is used this week.

Here is a picture of the Vintage Antiquing Wax I will use to finish the tables. I got the clear variety.

If you have end tables like mine that you've been wanting to paint, use these tips from this week and next week!

(Note: The directions and supplies below are are specific to this week's tutorial. Also, you can adjust the amount of paint or color of paint based on your project.)

Chalk Paint End Tables


-2 end tables
-1 four-ounce jar American Paint Company Navajo White chalk paint
-1 one-inch paintbrush


Make sure that your tables are clean and dry. Dip your paintbrush lightly in the paint such that the tips of the bristles are covered with paint. Paint your tables with smooth, even strokes; making sure to blend your strokes together. A little of this paint goes a very long way, so use as much of the paint off of your brush as possible before refilling it. Once you have covered your tables in one layer each of paint, allow to dry overnight. 

I hope y'all are looking forward to next week as much as I am! Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about the paint, tables, or method of painting.  Happy DIY-ing!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tutorial Tuesday: Italian Delight

This easy recipe was passed down to my mother from my grandmother, and it is the epitome of comfort food! My mother remembers this being her favorite meal when she was a little girl. I hope you enjoy this crowd pleasing dish as much as my family does!

Italian Delight


-1 lb ground sirloin
-1/2 lb elbow macaroni
-1 jar spaghetti sauce
-1 1/2 cups frozen corn
-Pepper, to taste
-Italian seasoning, to taste 
-Cheese of your choice; the original recipe called for Kraft singles. (optional)


Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside. Brown ground sirloin and season to taste with the pepper and Italian seasoning. Add corn, spaghetti sauce, and macaroni to skillet with meat. Stir and heat through, about 15 minutes. Top with cheese and serve.

From my family to yours, enjoy!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Tutorial Tuesday: 5 Tips for Amazing Photos with Nature as your Background

As you might already know, I enter a board of ten photos in my county fair every year. This year, I have earned the opportunity to also enter a large individual photo (like something you might see in a museum). Since my ten pictures are pretty much all nature shots, I teamed up with my long-time friend Grace to enter a different sort of picture for my larger photo!

For today's TT, I'm using those photos to give y'all a couple of my best tips on taking portraits outside!

Tip One: Plan Ahead.

Think about what you want to capture in your photos. Since it is summer, I wanted to show the beautiful light and airy vibe that nature produces this time of year. Therefore, we did the photoshoot on a sunny day, in a nature park; and Grace wore delicate-looking clothes with light hair and makeup. 

Tip Two: Pose your Model Naturally.

Candid shots usually turn out the best, so make sure that your model isn't too posed. Looking away from the camera, or just barely glancing at it, makes your photo look more natural and comfortable.

Tip Three: Use Nature as your Props.

This tip goes hand-in-hand with the previous one, and here's why: extra props in your nature photos give away the secret that it's posed! 

Tip Four: Get the Big Picture

Although your model is the star of the show, make sure that you capture the beauty of your background! If I had just zoomed in on Grace's head/shoulders or feet, you wouldn't have seen the interesting surroundings.

Tip Five: Look  for Interesting Backgrounds

Since nature is full of amazing things, keep an eye out for unusual trees, flowers, fields, etc. to add interest to the background of your photos. Both the picture above and below are of the same huge tree, which we hopped a fence and ducked under branches to reach! The pictures turned out mysterious and interesting, so it just goes to show you how a creative eye is a photographer's best friend!

Let me know which is your favorite photo in the comments! 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Mediterranean-Insipired Salad with Garlic Oregano Dressing

Let's talk about salads. You can put anything on them, just as long as you have some sort of leafy green underneath. I like to think of the salad as a road to what you would rather be eating, for example: craving a gyro or some other sort of yummy Mediterranean dish? Make this awesome Mediterranean-Insipired Salad!

Seasoned chicken, carrots, red bell pepper, crunched pita chips, chickpeas, and shredded parmesan cheese are the toppings I used, but you can put whatever you like on your salad! Recipe below!

Mediterranean-Insipired Salad with Garlic Oregano Dressing


-2 small chicken breast, diced
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/2 teaspoon oregano
-pepper, to taste

-1/4 cup olive oil
-2 tablespoons fresh oregano
-1 1/2 teaspoons minced red onion
-3/4 teaspoon minced garlic
-1/4 teaspoon black pepper
-1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
-1 tablespoon parmesan cheese, grated
-1/2 teaspoon honey

-Chicken (above)
-Dressing (above)
-Romaine lettuce
-crunched pita chips
-shredded carrots
-shredded parmesan cheese
-red bell pepper, diced


Saute chicken in olive oil with herbs until cooked through. Set aside. Place all ingredients for dressing in a jar. Seal lid tightly and shake until combined. Set aside. Prepare desired salad ingredients and arrange on plate with chicken. Drizzle dressing over and toss. Serve.

I hope you enjoy this healthy and delicious salad as much as I do!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Tutorial Tuesday: Sun Tea

When I think about summer, the first thing that always comes to mind are the heat waves that usually last from early July to mid August. The grass turns yellowish brown, fire and water bans are put into place, and Independence Day fireworks become a bit nerve-wracking for those of us who actually listen to the fire ban.

Luckily, we Hoosiers have a foolproof way for staying cool: always keeping a big jug of ice-cold sweet tea on hand. My grandmother has shown this fun way of letting the sun brew your tea for you, so now I'm showing y'all! Tutorial below!

1)First things first, get yourself a quart-sized jar. Put two family sized tea bags inside aforesaid jar. (I use Luzianne brand.) 

2)Fill the jar with water.

3)After that, simply seal the jar and sit outside in a very sunny area. 

When the tea has finished brewing (about 6-7 hours) it will be similar to this color:

4) Pour jar of tea into a 2-quart pitcher. 

5)Add desired amount of sugar/sweetenter. (Optional)

6)Fill empty jar with water and add to pitcher of tea. Refrigerate.

Pretty easy, am I right? Hope you enjoyed this Tutorial Tuesday!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Tutorial Wednesday: How Completely Screw Up Tutorial Tuesday

It's Wednesday. Yesterday was Tuesday. Tutorial Tuesday to be exact. Only the second one ever. As you can tell, I missed it.


Today, I am attempting to make up for my poor time management skills by doing a Tutorial Wednesday. (Just doesn't have the same ring to it, does it?) Well, I have discovered that Tutorial Wednesday is a flop. A big flop, to be exact.

I had big plans for this, make-up day: I was going to make cute little picturesque mini fruit pies. Sounds delightful, right? Like your typical recipe blog post? Wrong.

Look at that carnage. Pretty bad, right? These "cutesy little pies" (or, as my mother and I prefer to call them, Lil' Craps) took me two hours to mess up. I found a pie crust recipe. The pie crust recipe was horrible, but I kept on. I made a mixed berry sauce. It proceeded to be thin and sugary. I stuffed that dense crust full of my diabetic sauce, put some little fork marks around the edges to at least try to make them look somewhat blogger-ish, popped those suckers in the oven and hoped that they would turn out in the end.

As you can tell, they didn't.

The Lil' Craps were heavy-duty cemented to the baking sheet. A crowbar, sledgehammer, WD-40, and a lightsaber eventually got them off the pan (which was immediately drenched in Mr. Clean spray and sent off to therapy) and we tried them. Very bad idea. They tasted like cardboard soaked blue Kool-Aid. I'm guessing, by now, you can see why they have been deemed the Lil' Craps.

Oh well, I'm only human! At least it was fun to ridicule them.

Next week, I'll come back swinging with a killer T.T.!