Print Your Own Tattoos

This is just a little review of something that I bought for no reason other than the little kid in me wanted it. I don’t have any real tattoos because I have commitment issues, but I’ve always wanted one. I still remember my first temporary tattoo. It was a pterodactyl that came out of a box of frozen corn dogs. So I was really excited to find out that you can print your own! This is Silhouette’s printable tattoo paper.

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It’s obviously made for a silhouette, but it prints with just a regular inkjet printer and the only difference is that you have to cut it out yourself. You can buy this stuff for about $10 on amazon or $7 on a sweet sale at JoAnn (or whatever other craft store you have near you) which is where I got mine. It comes with two 8.5×11 sheets.

First you have to create your image (or find one to print). I like to draw my own in Photoshop because that’s just the way I roll. Just make sure to mirror your images!

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Print it on your inkjet printer, press on the clear plastic, then cut out around the tattoo. When you’re ready to apply, peel off the clear plastic.

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Then press the tattoo on your skin (printed side down) and cover with a wet cloth.

 

When the paper is saturated, peel off the paper. And Voila! You made your own tattoo.

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This is the biggest tattoo I’ve ever done and in my experience, smaller tattoos last longer. Depending on the  size, it will probably last 2-5 days.

Nine Excellent Documentaries On Netflix That You May Not Have Seen

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Netflix. *sigh* Sometimes it is hard to find something new to watch and their suggested videos just seem to be things you have already watched. Hopefully this will help you out of your Netflix drought. These are just a few of my favorite documentaries that I have discovered over the last six months. They are listed in no particular order, but all are amazing and worth a watch.

Dinosaur 13

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I actually found this by accident as I was searching for a movie from my childhood. But what a great mistake. Dinosaur 13 is easily one of my favorite documentaries on Netflix. It tells the story of the paleontologists and researchers who discovered the most complete T-Rex skeleton ever found (the famous Sue, which now resides in the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History). But this documentary is not just about dinosaur bones. While a team of preparators began to clean the bones the FBI and soon after the National Guard showed up with a warrant to take the dinosaur. And they did. What follows is a crazy insane legal battle that includes actual jail time, millions of dollars trading hands, and other crazy things that you would never expect to be involved with a dinosaur skeleton. This one is a must watch!

 

Beltracchi: The Art of Forgery

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This documentary really shows that something as simple as a signature changes the whole way we perceive a piece of art and its value. Beltracchi used his insane skills to his advantage to create works of art that are “missing” from famous artists collections. Maybe a piece that was mentioned in literature but has since been lost, or a piece that looks like it could belong with the rest of a collection. Using old canvases bought from flea markets and after mixing his own paints, he created fake masterpieces. He even went as far as to stage old photographs with the paintings in the background to help the forgeries have a history and appear more authentic. It you like art or crime or art crime, this one is for you. Edit: I should maybe give a heads up, this one is entirely in French so you will have to watch it with subtitles.

 

An Honest Liar

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“Magicians are the most honest people in the world. They tell you they’re going to fool you, and then they do it.” -The Great Randi

After The Great Randi retired from stage magic, he turned to challenging paranormal claims and debunking frauds. He was especially bothered by people who used their “magic” to take advantage of people who didn’t know better and spent 30+ years exposing psychics, spoon benders, and faith healers. You have probably even heard of several of these debunkings and didn’t know it was all the same man that proved them to be hoaxes.

 

The Propaganda Game

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Everything you know about North Korea is wrong. Or is it? I still don’t know. This documentary honestly raised more questions than it answered. But sometimes I like it that way. It was filmed by a Spanish film director who had a connection with the only non-Korean man in the North Korean government and was allowed to film some of the things that happen within the country. There are several interviews with citizens about what they think about the rest of the world (especially America), and many who wanted to set the record straight about stories that us outsiders may have heard about this mysterious country and its leaders.

 

Secrets of Underground London

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You may think you know what London looks like, but beneath it is all kinds of historic secrets you may never have even thought about. This documentary is very well written and covers so much history. It tells stories of ancient roman ruins, haunted caves, vaults of silver, mass graves from the days of the plague, as well as secret bunkers and bomb shelters and the digging of famous Thames Tunnel two hundred years ago.

Sorry, I couldn’t find a trailer for this one.

Samsara

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This was unlike any documentary I’ve ever seen. Imagine all the leftover film from the Planet Earth or Human Planet series all put together in one movie with beautiful music and no narration this is what you get. The filming is just breathtaking!

 

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga

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Have you ever wanted to just move away to the mountains and love on your own? That’s exactly what these people do. Yes it looks freezing because it’s northern Russia, but the snow is beautiful and you can really understand why the simple freedom makes these people so happy. The guy even makes his own pair of skis from a tree he chops down!

 

First Position

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This one was much more up close and personal than any of the others on this list. This simply shows a few days in the life of six different dancers as they train and perform in one of the most prestigious ballet competitions in hopes or winning scholarships or being hired by a dance company. It feels very raw and really shows you what ballet looks like from young dancers’ perspectives.

 

Secrets of Henry VIII’s Palace: Hampton Court

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So you may know a bit about Henry VIII and the whole thing where he killed a bunch of his wives. Well this talks a little bit about his home life and history while showing his crazy large palace. From the immense kitchens where meals for up to 1,000 guests where prepared every day, to the indoor tennis court, to his royal lavatory chamber, and of course his great court (where the term eavesdropper originated, but I won’t spoil it for you).

 

Enjoy!

 

Naturalist Journal Style Wall Art: Free Printable Downloads

The style of the naturalists journal has always been one of my favorite kinds of art. Maybe its the simplicity or maybe it just reminds me of adventurers and scientists like Charles Darwin, William Kirby, or Henry Walter Bates. Anyway this is part of a series that I started working on a couple of years ago. I hoped to start an etymology series to go along with it, but I have yet to find the time for that. When it does happen, however, I will post it here as well.

All of these are 8×10 and high resolution.

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Stamp Carving

My boyfriend and I have been really into letter boxing recently and I have become obsessed with the hand carved stamps, both finding ones other people have carved, or carving my own. Hopefully I have a few tips here that are helpful and not on every other blog post about stamp carving.

The most important thing about carving stamps is getting the right materials. I prefer the Speedball brand slab of pink rubber which you can buy at most major craft stores as well as on Amazon. The blue rubber is a little bit harder to carve and I’ve heard that it doesn’t last as long (drying out, flaking, and crumbling). I tried both kinds and though my stamps made from the blue rubber have not crumbled in over a year, I still prefer the pink simply because it is easier to work with.

Getting the image onto the rubber is the hard part. You can hand draw it directly on the rubber, but that doesnt leave much room for mistakes. There is an easier way that requires no special tools.

Start by drawing (or printing) the picture you want on the stamp on a regular piece of paper.

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Then flip the paper over and draw with the flat side of a pencil on the back of your picture.

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Then turn it back over and place the paper on your rubber. Trace the image lightly with your pencil.

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And this is what you are left with.

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Clean up the edges by going over it again lightly with your pencil. Be sure not to sharpen your pencil too much or press too hard because you don’t want to pierce the rubber.

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And voilà! It is ready for carving.

 

Earl Grey & Honey Cupcakes

My boyfriend loves tea. Earl Grey happens to be his favorite. When I stumbled across this recipe, I knew I had to make it for him. And it was a huge success. The earl grey flavor is subtle and it almost tastes like a spice cake with a hint of tea. And I can’t think of anything better to pair this with than lemon and cream cheese. These are just perfect!

This recipe is my adapted version of a recipe found in the book Two Bite Cupcakes by Viola Goren, probably my favorite cupcake recipe book at the moment.

For the Cupcakes:

Start by placing a teabag of Earl Grey Tea (of if you are using loose leaf tea, about 2 tablespoons) in 3/4 cup boiling water. Do this first so that you have time to allow the tea to cool to room temperature before adding it to the mixture. Temperature is important because adding a boiling liquid like this to a recipe can actually cook your eggs a little bit and throw the whole thing off.

While waiting for the tea to cool, move on to the rest of the recipe.

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup earl grey tea

Preheat the oven to 350° and get your cupcake pan ready with paper liners.

With a standing mixer or a hand beater, mix together the sugar, honey, eggs, and vegetable oil until light and fluffy. Gradually add the heavy cream and buttermilk and mix it all together.

In a separate bowl, stir together your flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. Once this is mixed, combine with the sugar and honey mixture and beat on a medium speed. Finally add your earl grey to the mixture and mix slowly until all ingredients are incorporated.

Spoon the batter into your cupcake liners until they are about 3/4 of the way full. Then place in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Then remove them from the oven and cool to room temperature before frosting.

For the Frosting:

  • 1 cup (1 8 oz. package) of cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a bowl combine the cream cheese, and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Then add the lemon juice, cream, and cinnamon and beat until well mixed.

Scoop the finished frosting into a piping bag with your desired tip (I used Wilton 1M tip) and frost your cupcakes. Finish the cupcakes by drizzling honey over the top.

These are best served fresh, but if you must save them, refrigerate in an airtight container.

Enjoy!

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How To Triple Your Jo-Ann Coupons

Jo-Ann is awesome as far as coupons go. They offer so many coupons that there is practically no excuse for ever making a purchase without one. They offer four (sort of five) different ways to get coupons and I’ll cover each separately. After I do, I’ll cover the basics of how to use your newly acquired coupons. Also keep in mind that these tips are from my own experience and that regulations may vary from store to store.

It always helps the ladies (occasionally gentlemen) at the register if you already have your coupons pulled up and ready to go before they start to ring up your items, so it’s best to stay organized. I will discuss that below as well.

Oh, and don’t feel bad about using a lot of coupons, or asking for help finding one, or signing up for something. The employees are asked to encourage customers to sign up for coupons and sometimes have a quota that they are supposed to reach.

Email Coupons: I’ll start by saying that these are definitely my favorite. Here’s why. I usually get an email from Jo-Ann just about every day. Before I go to Jo-Ann I check my email and pull up all the recent coupons. If I have an email from Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I can usually use all three! Here’s how you tell. As long as the number under the bar-code is different, it counts as a completely different coupon!

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I usually get several in the week and I just save them up for the next time I go. Just be sure to pay attention to the expiration dates.

Mailer Coupons: These are mailed directly to your house. I have heard some complaints about this one because if you don’t use your coupons for a few times in a row, you will stop receiving them and you will have to sign up again. If you have stopped receiving them, you can sign up again in any store or here on their website.

Text Coupons (no smart phone required): For text coupons, simply text the word “coupon” to the number 56266 and within minutes you will receive a %20 off your total purchase coupon. If you ever want to stop receiving them, just text the word “stop” to unsubscribe from their text list.

Disclaimer: Certain carriers have blocks on these kinds of texts to stop spam from getting through, so in rare cases, you may not be able to receive these coupons.

Website Coupons: Coupons can always be found on Joann.com (in the top right corner of their website there is a ‘coupons’ tab). These will have a different bar code number than any that are send to you via text, mail, or email, so they all count as separate coupons. Add them to your stack!

Competitor Coupons: If you still don’t have enough coupons, you can always use competitor coupons (with a few exceptions). It seems like Hobby Lobby has their %40 coupon going all year round, so pull that up and show the cashier.

Organizing Your Coupons: I like to keep my coupons in a folder on my phone (except the mailers obviously). That way the cashier can swipe through your pictures and scan them quickly, instead of having to wait for webpages to load. Everything just runs smoother this way. All I do is take a screenshot of the coupon and add it to the folder.

Percent Off Regular Priced Items Coupons: Unlike Hobby Lobby and Michael’s, Jo-Ann lets you use as many coupons in one purchase as apply (keep in mind that these coupons do not work on clearance or sale items). This means that if you have four cuts of fabric that are all regular price, and you have four coupons, you do not need to buy them in separate transactions to use them all. Each cut of fabric counts as a single item, so if need multiple pieces of fabric for a project, get it cut as one piece instead so you can get a discount on all of it.

Percent Off Total Purchase Items: The best part about these coupons is that they work on top of sale items. This means that if something is regularly $10.00 but is on sale for %50 off, you can get it for $4.00 instead of $5.00 with a %20 off your total purchase coupon. %20 is the most common amount off on these coupons. %30 is the highest I’ve seen and I’d say that this coupon is available every couple of months, so keep an eye out for it. Also keep in mind that you can use both single item coupons and total purchase coupons in the same purchase, but that anything you use the first kind on will not be included in the percent off the total, because a discount has already been applied. Basically you can only use one discount on each item. One other thing to remember is that when you are paying at the register, you don’t need to figure out which items you want each coupon to go towards. The computer will automatically apply the largest coupon to the most expensive item eligible for the discount. Which definitely makes it easier for everyone involved.

The Art of Thank You Cards

I remember a conversation from years ago between my father and his grandfather. My dad asked him what is the saddest change in society he’s seen in his lifetime. His reply: People just don’t say thank you anymore. I really took this to heart. I don’t ever want someone to think I was not grateful for something they did for me of gave to me. For my birthday a few days ago, The Boy’s parents sent me a package with little card, some candy, and a pair of earmuffs. Not a big gift by any means, but it meant the world to me. And I wanted to let her know.

I’ve been slacking on my thank you cards recently, so as I prepared one for The Boy’s parents, I made several more to keep on hand. I’ve learned over the years, that that is the secret. Always have a few cards and stamps handy because you aren’t very likely to make it to the store/post office like you promise yourself. Plus its better to write it when you feel it. It’s hard enough to find the perfect words for inside a card without waiting until all the feelings are gone and whatever that thing was that you were grateful for is a distant memory (that isn’t saying you shouldn’t write it anyway, it’s just harder).

So here’s my stack of 12. It should last me a while and hopefully when I run out, I’ll have the time to make some more by hand.