Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My International Gallery Wall

For months I have been wanting to create my own gallery wall and I wanted it to have an international flare. I started off with pieces I had collected over the years. Then I added some of my own pieces that I had made that had global and international inspirations. Finally, after finishing my world map art last week, it was complete enough to call it a gallery wall.

This gallery wall is in my bedroom on the wall across from my bed. I love looking at it as I fall asleep.

The best part about this globally inspired gallery wall is it literally is international. It has pieces from all over the world.

1 - Metallic World Map Art
2 - Metal key from a shop in Bowness-on-Windermere, England (2011)
3 - Street art from Paris, France (2008)
4 - Street art from Venice, Italy (2006)
5 - Street art from Paris, France (2006)
6 - Street art from Amsterdam, Netherlands (2006)
7 - Ombre Teal "Change the World" Art
8 - Art from a shop in Venice, Italy (2006)

Here are close ups of the pieces.

Each piece has a story and wonderful memories attached to it which makes it even more special.

All of the pieces from 2006 were procured while I was studying abroad in Cork, Ireland. The 2008 piece was from when I went back to Europe with my family to attend my cousin's wedding. The 2011 piece is from when I went traveling with my mom when she visited me while I was living in Scotland for my master's degree.

This gallery wall is not finished. I can't wait to add more art from around the world! It needs some art from a few other continents!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Some Things Have To Be Believed To Be Seen Free Printable: Monster Version

It's back to school time. Children are groaning everywhere and parents are cheering. I've got a free printable for kids today (and children of all ages) who have a great imagination. The quote comes from Ralph Hodgson:
"Some things have to be believed to be seen."

You can get this free printable here!

This week is about the monster but I've got another version of this printable for you next week! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Metallic World Map Splatter Art

I have seriously been digging on some world map art. I have been inspired by projects like this, this, and especially this. I decided to give into my urge to create something. I had downloaded this Silhouette file a long time ago with another project in mind that I never made and I had a 12x24 canvas in my closet. I grabbed some paints, got to crafting, and finally made my own world map art.

To make something similar, you will need:
-metallic paints: I used Martha Stewart's Metallic line in gold, light gold, copper, pewter, platinum, and sterling silver
-paint brushes
-12x24 canvas
-adhesive vinyl
-drop cloth

To begin, I opened the world map file in Silhouette Studio. I only had 12x12 pieces of vinyl so I knew I would need to break the file up into two 12x12 files to fit nicely on my 12x24 canvas. It was important to make sure the files remained equal in size so I enlarged the entire file so that Africa, Europe, and Asia filled the 12x12 square in Silhouette Studio and then I cut out the Americas, Greenland, and Australia and dropped them into another file. One file had North and South America, Greenland, and Australia and the second file had Africa, Europe, and Asia. I cut them out and put them on my canvas using transfer paper.

Now, here is where I made my mistake. I could tell my vinyl wasn't sticking to the canvas well enough. But I decided to keep going anyway. I didn't feel like trying to fix it. I just wanted to craft and I didn't want to wait. I took my canvas outside onto my balcony (I had spread out my laminate picnic table cloth that I use as a drop cloth) because I knew I was going to make a mess (make sure you wear paint clothes and don't wear glasses!). 

I did one color at a time. I put some paint on a paper plate and added a few drops of water. The Martha Stewart metallic paints are pretty thick and didn't splatter easily so the water helped. I splattered, dripped, and threw the paint around until it had covered a lot of the canvas (and myself).

Then I carefully peeled the stencil up. Here's where my previous mistake came back to bite me. I had bleed through of course. Listen to your instincts! Here's a picture from my camera phone of my mess.

After the paint had dried, I got some white paint and painted all along the inside of the continents to cover up all the splotchyness. Then I went back with all my colors and added some more carefully placed strategic splatter around everything. The United Kingdom and Ireland had been lost as had New Zealand so I made sure you could see them better.

I am super happy with how it came out! I know it's not perfect by any means. I lost some of the smaller islands and the cragginess around the continents but I'm okay with it.

I can promise you this isn't my last world map art project! I see more in my future!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Chemicals React Free Printable

Today's free printable comes from one of my favorite songs from back when I was in college. It was released by a pair of Disney sister-stars, Aly and AJ (now called 78violet). The song is called "Chemicals React" (here is a link to it). It has a lot of great lines but I took my favorite:
"You make me feel out of my element, like I'm drifting out into the sea, like the tides pulling me in deeper, making it harder to breathe."
I have two versions of this printable. One is full of color:

And the second is in black and white to save you some printer ink:

You can download the color printable here and the black and white printable here.

Come back next Monday for the next free printable!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Garlic Naan Bread and Orblue Garlic Press Review

When I lived in Scotland, I was finally introduced to Indian food. This might be slightly blasphemous but one of my favorite comfort meals became this frozen chicken tikka masala with a pre-made garlic naan bread that you just had to throw in the oven. It was delicious and the naan bread was to die for! Unfortunately, the main grocery stores here don't sell naan bread (or at least the one I frequent). A few months ago I tried making my own and I had a huge fail. A few weeks ago I went to my first Indian restaurant in DC and thought their garlic naan bread was pretty bad so I knew I had to try again. With the help of the Orblue Garlic Press*, I was ready!
*I received this product free for testing purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

1 packet active dry yeast (about 1/2 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon sugar + 1/2 teaspoon sugar
6 tablespoons warm water
1 cup flour, + extra for rolling
1/2 teaspoon salt, + extra for sprinkling
1/16 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons plain yogurt 
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced and divided
1/4 cup melted butter
(this recipe makes 3 naan pieces)

1. In a large glass, dissolve the dry yeast with 1 tablespoon of sugar in warm water. Let sit for about 10 minutes until frothy.

2. While the yeast mixture is sitting, sift flour, salt, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, and 1/16 teaspoon baking powder.

3. Once yeast is frothy, add 1 1/2 tablespoons of plain yogurt and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to glass and stir.

4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Add 1 minced garlic clove to the mixture.

Let me just take a moment to say that before I made this, I had never used a garlic press before. When I got the chance to review the stainless steel garlic press from Orblue, I was so excited. I had always wanted to try one because I heard garlic presses are great. I heard right. I will never not use a garlic press again! When I chopped garlic by hand, I would always get huge chunks. I love garlic but not like that. You just put the garlic clove in the press (you don't even have to peel it!), squeeze, and you get perfectly minced garlic! I highly recommend this product.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

5. Gently mix the ingredients with a fork. When dough is about to come together, use hands to mix.

6. Keep going until it transforms into a soft, slightly sticky, pliable dough. Stop mixing as soon as the dough comes together. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 2-4 hours.

Here is mine after 3 hours.

7. Mix two minced cloves of garlic with 1/4 cup melted butter. Let sit so garlic will infuse the butter.

8. Fill a bowl with flour and a bowl with water once ready to cool. Separate the dough into 3 portions and lightly roll each one in flour.

9. Shape into teardrops (or kind of like the shape of India). The dough will be very sticky so flour your rolling surface and rolling pin well.

10. Warm skillet on high until almost smoking. Dampen hands in bowl of water and use your hands to dampen the naan bread. Put in skillet for 1 minute (it is very easy to get ugly naan - trust me - so be careful). Flip. Cover with a lid and cook for about 30 seconds more. Remove and brush with garlic butter and sprinkle with salt.

Place in a towel lined dish and serve immediately.