Monday, April 28, 2014

DIY Yoga Mat Cleaning Spray

I am the sweaty lady at the gym. Whether I'm strength training or tying my shoes, I can usually be found covered in a fine mist of newly made sweat. So it was no surprise that my yoga mat smelled of gym socks after a few sessions of Bikram Yoga. In the past, I’ve just washed my mat in the bathtub with Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Castile Soap. My mat would be squeaky clean but it would take about three days to air-dry. In search of a more efficient way to clean my yoga mat, I took to the interwebs. I came across some "natural" commercially produced brands. They had ingredients I couldn't pronounce and a price tag I couldn't justify. I found tons of homemade recipes, but a number of them featured vinegar as an ingredient. After my experience using vinegar as an all-purpose cleaner, I knew I could not and would not deal with the smell of vinegar while in Half Tortoise pose. This recipe is a pared down version of several homemade recipes and uses Witch Hazel instead of vinegar. 

Here's What You Gotta Have:

- Water
- Witch Hazel
- Tea Tree Oil
- Peppermint Essential Oil
- Spray Bottle

Here's What You Gotta Do:

  1. Fill the spray bottle up 3/4ths the way with water.
  2. Fill the remaining amount with Witch Hazel.
  3. Add 1 drop of Tea Tree oil per ounce of liquid (So if your spray bottle is 8oz, you would add 8 drops of Tea Tree oil.)
  4. Add 1 drop of Peppermint oil per ounce of liquid.
  5. Twist the spray lid into place and vigorously and shake the bottle for a minute.
  6. Spray a generous amount of the Cleansing spray onto the mat and wipe down with cleansing cloth or paper towel. Turn the mat over to other side and repeat.
  7. Hang the mat and let air-dry.

Tea Tree Oil has natural antiseptic and antifungal properties.

Witch Hazel is an astringent that is commonly used to treat skin ailments, but can also be put to use as a cleaning agent; like isopropyl alcohol and hydrogen peroxide, the chemical cuts through grease and helps break up dirt and oils from skin and sweat.

Life is Delicious...Go Taste It!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Vegetarian Sloppy Joe

It's family game night at my cousin's house and I am so excited. Sloppy Joes and sweet potato fries are on the menu. I am byov- ing ("Bring Your Own Vegetarian") this event. Here is my version of sloppy joes for tonight's festivities. I've broke with tradition and left out the tomato paste. I'm not a fan of the stuff when it has a prominent flavor, reminds me too much of ketchup.

Here's What You Need:

  • 1 1/2 cup dehydrated beef crumbles
  • 2 cups warm vegetable broth (salted)
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp finely minced garlic
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup sliced green and red bell peppers
  • 2 1/2 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp liquid smoke.
  • 1 14 oz can of diced roasted tomatoes
  • 12 slices of toasted bread or buns ( 2 per sandwich)

Here's What You Gotta Do:

  1. In a medium bowl combine the crumbles, broth, onion powder and garlic. Let sit for 15 minutes or until the crumbles are fully rehydrated.
  2. Add oil to a  large sauce pan and heat to medium. Add cumin and heat for 30 seconds before adding the bell peppers. Cook until bell peppers are soft.
  3. Add the beef crumbles ( broth and all) to the pan Let simmer until all of hte liquid evaporates, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. When there is very little liquid left in the pan, add all of the remaining ingredients. Let simmer for an additional 10 or until most of tomato liquid is thickened.
  5. Spoon out a portion of the sloppy Joe mix onto the toasts or buns and Enjoy!
Makes 6 sloppy Joes more or less*

Serve on top of a toasted bun with or without cheese.
This one was amazing with pepper jack cheese.

Brain fuel...bring on the Board Games!

Life is Delicious... Go Taste It!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Going Home: DIY Chandelier Makeover

One of the first things I noticed when I walked into my sister's new home was the chandelier that is the topic of this post. It was a classic piece, grand, detailed and oozing with potential. My sister saw it as dusty, old fashioned and trash worthy. Like I said before, the amount of trust my sister put in my offbeat vision was awesome! We hashed out a plan to give the dingy chandelier a new life. I was inspired by a recent trip to New Orleans. That city has got a good handle on bringing modern sensibilities to traditional pieces. Cafes and shops were filled with vintage pieces that were traditionally crafted and ornately carved but covered with a modern print fabric or a coat of paint in an unexpected color. There was a marked nod to the classics and an ushering in of "fresh". We would bring in a little but N'awlins  by updating the chandelier with a coat of glossy black paint. Pairing the classic profile with a unexpected color saved the chandelier from the trash heap. 

First things first. This bad boy had to be cleaned. Years of dust and grime had settled
 on the fixture. I used Windex and a soft microfiber cloth to get it cleaned. A lot of the crystal pieces were barely hanging on, so I had to rewire quite a bit of them. 

Next, I used a primer. Seen here on the right. The glossy black paint  that I used as the final color is seen here on the left. 

I  stuffed the light bulb sockets with cotton balls to keep the paint from getting inside and interfering with the electrical elements of the chandelier

This is the chandelier after the first coat of primer. 

 It took two coats of primer to cover the clear spots. It looked cool white, but I couldn't even imagine the amount of dusting required to keep it that way. 

It took three coats of the glossy black spray paint to cover the entire chandelier. If I had to do this project again, I would have looked for a primer made specifically for darker colors. 

 The amount of detail in this chandelier was amazing. 
It was a challenge to paint everything, but so worth it!

This was my painting studio backdrop for the afternoon, I couldn't complain too much really. 

I ended up taking off the larger hanging pieces because two were missing. 
Removing the bulky crystals gave the piece a more balanced  look. 

The black really stands out against the rich mandarin color of the dining room walls. 

The final product, wired and hung, in the formal dining area.  
Seriously it's smashing!

Life is Delicious...Go Taste It!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Going Home: DIY Dry Brushed Bedroom Furniture

My sister insisted that we do something that bordered on french cottage and dreamy romantic. Her husband insisted on a dark room, preferable grey. I saw no reason the two couldn't get exactly what they wanted. But first we had to get some furniture. Their previous apartment was chock full of modern and hip furniture, so we had to start from scratch. Sis found this cool wooden furniture for super cheap and the plan was to paint it chalk white then go over it with black wax for a distressed look. I began, in earnest,  to cover the head board with the white paint. After a few dry brush strokes, I stepped back and thought,"that looks really cool". I dry brushed the rest of the headboard and sent a photo to my sister. She loved it.  Dry brushing would take a third of the time to do all the bedroom furniture; sold!

Below are the "Before" pictures: I totally forgot to take the pictures before I began painting but remembered before I painted all of them .

This will serve as the tall dresser drawer for the master bedroom. 

Nightstand for master bedroom. 

Here is a drawer from a night stand, minus the hardware. 
This is sanded and ready for paint.

The original plan was to coat the entire piece in white paint, then use black wax paint to create a antique distressed look. Dry brushing in this case, was a lot easier and a quicker way to create the shabby chic look we were going for. 

This is the exact picture sent that changed Sis's mind. 

The paint finish really brings out the lovely details in this antique wood headboard.  

I dry-brush painted the furniture with a  flat white acrylic paint. The look was achieved by lightly dipping a dry paintbrush into the paint, then lightly going over the surface. 
The goal is to leave a bit of the wood exposed. 
This is one of the few times when seeing the brush stokes is a "good thing". 

My sister was sold on this bedroom set when she saw the detailed handles on the drawers. 
They really are quite beautiful. 

Here is the tallboy in the master bed room. 


This looks so good against the the dark grey of the wall. 

Painting furniture can compete change the look of a piece of furniture. Take a chance on pieces that have great details but may not be in the best shape. You can always nail, glue and sand a piece into working order. 

Stay tuned for more DIY Projects. 

Life is Delicious...Go Taste It!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Going Home: The Buffet Revamp Part 2

I am so excited to share part two of the trash-to-treasure buffet revamp.  In a previous post, I wrote about a discarded buffet my sister and I picked up after a neighbor left it out for trash . The top part became a dry bar for the formal dining area in my sister's new home. (See the awesome Dry Bar) The bottom half became a lovely accent table for the formal living room.

First I began by sanding all of the pieces. I used a light sand on the buffet because the top portion is made of pressed particle board. Sanding allows the paint to adhere better to the painted surface.
Ignore the ashy legs and paint in hair.

This is actually the bottom part of the buffet and will serve as an accent table in the formal living room area. 

We used the same turquoise from the living room accent wall to cover the bottom half of the buffet.

We changed out the original hardware (same as the handle on the top of the buffet) in exchange for these gorgeous acrylic faceted pulls and handles. 

The handles really transformed the piece from whuh? to Wow!

Did some paint touchups after taking these photos. Late night painting usually results in retouches the next day. 

My brother-in-law was happy that we took a chance on some one else's trash because this piece really turned out to be a treasure twice over. 

Life is Delicious...Go Taste It!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Going Home: DIY Buffet-Turned-Dry-Bar

I am enjoying the sunshine and breeze of my sub tropical home in between painting walls, sanding furniture and harassing the carpenters. on the day my sister and Brother in law sign the documents for their new home,  we passed a discarded wood laminate buffet. We talked my brother-law into turning around so we could access the situation. The piece was in two pieces and pretty banged up, but there was potential there. It had great detail and hardware. My sister took it as a good sign. The first piece of furniture acquired for there new home was free.
     As we loaded the buffet onto the truck, the homeowners came outside to help us load it onto the truck. My brother in law remained skeptical of our booty but once we got it home and came up with a plan, he gave us the thumbs up. He even came up with the color we would paint the piece that would be repurposed into dry bar for the formal dining area: matte black. 

Buffet-Turned- Dry-Bar

 The dry bar was made out of the top half of the buffet. Since the top of of the original buffet was rough and uneven, we decided to flip the buffet over. The flat surface on the bottom part was better suited for the purpose of serving up drinks and housing decorative items.  Since the bar is technically up-side-down, I flipped the handle after painting. 

Like I mentioned before the buffet was a trash- to- treasure find, so it was not in the best shape.
No problem, I wiped the furniture down, all holes were filled with wood filler, and the glass was taped off to avoid paint mishaps. 

Here it is in the dining area after the paint dried. 

We choose to go with a patterned paper to make the piece pop. 

We found this gift wrap at Target on sale for $1.97 a roll. 

 This baby cam a long way. Stay tuned for the DIY side board made form the bottom half of the rescued buffet. 

Life Is Delicious...Go Taste It!