DIY Canvas Art

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I don’t make resolutions. Unless if by resolutions you mean falling asleep with a glass of wine in your hand while watching the same episode of Sex and the City for the 5th time, then I’m totally into that.

I have been feeling uncharacteristically nesty lately and have been putting forth a lot more effort into making my home less of a 1,000 square foot dedication to Netflix and more of a haven for existential thinking and other shit the self-help book my mom sent me says I should be doing.

As most of your know, I treat Christmas like the love child of a Jew and The Grinch, it’s just not my bag. But my parents were coming to stay with me so I felt I had to at least pull out a shred of Catholic guilt and do a little decorating. I even tried making gingerbread houses which were more globs of ginger-spackle and than house.

I  digress.

I had a few canvasses (canvassi?) laying around from a big order I made from Blick a while ago. You guys, this is the best deal on canvas anywhere short of an army surplus store. Conveniently, I was also running low on [real] paint, and Mary Kate Olson’s Christmas dinner plate was more full than my bank account. For all my sympathizers our there, the craft Gods have answered our prayers. Head over to Lowe’s for Valspar samples – they run about $3 and work just fine for a cotton canvas.

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I think I subconsciously really wanted a McChicken when I got these, so I picked a deep red and mustard color and a few other sidekicks. Steps as follows:

1) Use an angled foam brush to free-hand thin lines down the canvas. It’s okay to mess up (a lot) on the first few layers. This craft is forgiving, just keep drinking and keep going.

2) Before your first color dried completely, rinse your brush and start the process again with a second color. Slight blending of the two colors looks great, but it’s important to cover as much of the white canvas as possible. Repeat this process for the rest of your colors. I think 3-4 colors works best, anything more looks like a diaper of indian food.

3) Once the canvas dries, cut and place equal strips of blue painters tape in whichever pattern you like the best. This brick/chevron kind of came to me as I was playing around with the tape. Get funky with the shapes here, the less perfect, the better, so let loose you bashful goose. Let all colors dry.

4) Paint a layer of white over the tape. I used a small roller for this to avoid paint globs near the tape edge lines.

5) I have next to zero patience, so I ripped the tape off right away. Voila, you’ve got a rad, personalized art piece to impress your fancy dinner party guests.

P.S. – You don’t have to listen to Salt-n-Pepa while you do this, but I did, so I’m not convinced it would work out otherwise.

Stay crafty.

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The Francy Four

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1. Um hai beautifully-simple-handmade-not-from-urban-outfitters-won’t-turn-your-neck-green-locally-made necklace, I love you. I actually bought this on the street in Portland, so if you’re looking for a similar one I suggest checking out Northwest and find the craftsman in fair trade denim, a flannel and a fixed gear bike- can’t be that many.

2. Hippo Hardware: Dying, died, dead. If you search “restoration hardware in Portland” and you’re phone doesn’t explode, head up to E Burnside and NW 11th and gawk at THEIR ENTIRE ROOM OF CLAW-FOOT TUBS. I bought an old windowpane that I’m turning into a breakfast tray- more on that to come this weekend.

3. Homemade Chai Concentrate: I know I’m in America’s one percent. No, not like the financial one percent, but the once percent of people that much prefer rain to sun, cold to warm. I’m holding on to every last shred of winter with this comfort classic.

4. The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens: Sorry Mrs. Dignan, I didn’t actually read this in high school (but it wasn’t on Spark Notes at the time either so feel kind of bad for me). Funny story- I was using it as bedside decoration and accidentally spilled my nightly gin and tonic on it. As I quickly lurched to save my drink, not the book, I remembered I got a chuckle out of it many moons ago and started to reread it. Think of it like a 19th century literary version of Funny or Die.

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The Broke Girls Guide to Shiny Hair

 

There are certain household items that become luxuries once you move out of your parent’s house- double-ply toilet paper, name brand laundry detergent and that stuff that makes your hair smell like a baby prostitute.

Probably because I never really had to buy it on my own before, I never realized how expensive designer shampoo and conditioner can be. It’s harder for me to justify splurging on this shit (that literally goes down the drain), because, unlike my expensive shoe habit, no one can tell that you’re using the hottest shampoo brand, or that you shamefully went for Head and Shoulders this time. As long as your hair looks somewhere in between Amanda Byne’s wig and Jennifer Aniston’s Seabuscuit mop, no one will be looking at your locks.

My solution? Hippy shit- patchouli and Bob Marley black-light poster optional.

Unless your shampoo is made of unicorn cum, ditch it. Instead, wet hair in the shower and liberally rub baking soda over your scalp. You’ll miss the suds, but if baking soda can take the triple mac and cheese crust off of my cast-iron pan easily removed salad dressing from my flatware, then it’s good enough for your hair.

YOU WILL LITERALLY HAVE SQUEAKY CLEAN HAIR, IT’S AWESOME YOU GUYS.

Condition with one part apple cider vinegar with The Mother (very important, don’t ask me why) and three parts water. I bought a travel size hairspray container and Target and keep in the the bathroom. Also handy for impromptu salads in the bathroom, in case you’re in to that kind of thing.

Trust me, you’ll never buy drug store shampoo and conditioner again. I even considered braiding my hair to a trailer hitch to show you how strong it is ( a la Garnier Fructis commercials), but then I carried on living my life.

Scary Monsters and Nice Spirits

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I’ve turned into one of those people who claim that they saw Jesus’ face on a potato chip. For whatever reason, I’ve been more sensitive to (read: desperate for) signs around me, hoping they’ll offer some (any) sort of guidance as there are a few decisions I’m in the process of making. 

I needed to hear someone tell me what do to (undisputed), and thought seeing a tarot card reader might be a good, albeit unconventional way, of uncovering answers (disputed). 

I expected some woman with long, uncared-for hair to be hovering over a crystal ball and see the name of my first child, or what fro-yo toppings I should get on the way home. Half-disappointed, half-releived, my reader looked surprisingly…normal? In the kind of “what if God was one of us” way, I expected someone who dabbled in minor league witchcraft would at least be donning a pentagram of sorts. 

Without saying a word, my reader told me that there is no crystal ball. She has no way of seeing into the future and predicting what will or will not be, nobody does. These sorts of things are only meant to make sense of the signs around, because, without sounding like someone who discovered Kabbalah and can now tritely explain every phenomena in the world, the answers are within. 

If nothing else, I feel empowered. Take a lap, Google, because I have all the answers. I just have to stop seeing Jesus’ face in a potato chip long enough to find them.

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Listening to: Gypsy, Fleetwood Mac

 

The Francy Four

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1. Fit Bit: This thing is my fitness tamagotchi. I can barely bring myself to wash my hair three days a week, yet for some reason I feel an uncharacteristic maternal responsibility to make this little guy happy by taking more than 10k steps a day. Amp up daily cardio, no surfboardt required.

2. Emily Post’s Etiquette: Because if you think you can call your boyfriend and tell him about every caffeinated beverage you had that day on the bus, you’re clearly huffing glue. Manners matter y’all.

3. London Rebel Parker Sandal: Hello, lover. A little Mrs. Smith meets June Cleaver. Don’t worry guys, I got it in black because I’m not a stripper.

4. How ‘Bout Them Apples Lip and Cheek Cream Palette: Gives you that “J Crew Model with a top knot and poppy pouted lips” look without the coke addiction. Because a poppy colored lip was the only reason I didn’t look like a J Crew model before. Anywho, this palette is **~*~fLaWlEsS.

Oh the Weather Outside is Weather

Seattle did this weird thing where it rained for 48 hours straight. Like a prisoner of war (okay, maybe not) I was confined to my (overpriced, ahem) fortress, convinced that I couldn’t possibly bear the cold, cruel outside world.

 I had about 5 ingredients in my fridge. Thin mints, apple juice, apple, pork shoulder, fennel and an onion. So I made the obvious choice, and whipped up thin mint crusted pork.

Yarf.

I did finish the the thin mints, and then made braised pork shoulder with an apple, fennel and onion reduction so good you’d slap your mother. Recipe as follows:

1lb pork shoulder

1 bulb of fennel, cored, halved and sliced thinly lengthwise 

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1 red apple of your choice (I used jazz because I like that musical theatre shit), sliced and cubed

1 cup apple juice

1. Start by cutting the pork shoulder in 1″ cubes and sauté in a few table spoons of hot olive oil in a dutch oven. Cook until all sides look like they received a bronze 3 spray tan. For guys, that means cook it ’till it smells like a sorority- I mean it’s brown on all sides. Transfer into a bowl. VERY IMPORTANT: Do not crowd the pan, this lowers the cooking temperature. Brown in batches, betches.

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2. Saute the onion and fennel in the same pan, adding additional oil as necessary. Use a wooden spoon to deglaze the bottom of the pan and incorporate the golden brown deliciousness that has accumulated. I didn’t include steps on how to dice an onion because if you can’t do that, you might want to take a lap and catch in at the “How to Make Top Ramen” post, chief. 

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3. After the onions turn translucent and the fennel is tender, deglaze the pan with 1 cup of apple juice and add the cubed apple. Bring to a simmer and let half of the liquid evaporate. Keep the cymbals splashy, and, Jay, let’s take the bass line for a walk. After the pot has reduced by half add the pork back in and reduce to a simmer. Let cook for 2-3 hours. 

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5. Uh, enjoy the shit out of this meat candy. I topped it on a bed a mashed cauliflower because lessbiannestt, this chick doesn’t need to be noming on mashed potatoes. 

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Tickle My Francy

We get it, Wednesday. We know we still have half of the week left. Unless you’re a glass half-full type, in that case you need a glass half-full of vodka and a reality check.

Here are some things that tickle my francy and hopefully make this a suck-less Wednesday.

1. Rewined Candles: Although I don’t usually need help making my house, car, clothes or breath smell like wine, I welcome these nervus olfactorious pleasing additions. Rewined turns previously loved bottles of wine into beautiful recycled candles. Scents feature the usual cast of characters including Mimosa, Cabernet and Pinot Noir.

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2. Fratty Bird: Because, college.

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3. Adele Dazeem Twitter Account: Can’t wait to see her performance in Blent, I hear it’s fabulous.

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4. Lush Dark Angels Cleanser: The only appropriate black face, this black sugar and charcoal cleanser gently exfoliates and absorbs excess oil. Did I mention the whole black face thing?

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5. The Sounders Burger from Rain City Burgers: Holy cholesterol Batman, I don’t know what I was doing before, but I’m alive now.

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