Not Martha

A Dozen Fabulous Easter Egg Ideas

I’m a bit in love with all the possibilities that surround Easter Eggs, here are a dozen of my favorite Easter egg crafts and ideas. (Over at Babble.)

· comments [3] · 02-28-2013 · categories:holidays ·

a peek inside my makeup box

It’s been way too long since I said I’d share more of my favorite makeup. Oops. There is a bright side though, I can say I still find these products to be my favorites. Earlier I wrote about which products I keep in my bag, the following are the ones I have at home and use on a semi-regular basis:

Too Faced Shadow Insurance – Eye makeup doesn’t stand a chance on me unless I’m using eyeshadow primer. This works great and doesn’t add any shimmer (an enemy of mine when it comes to the eyes). A tiny bit goes a long way and this lasts me for a long time.

MAC Eyeshadow – I find these to have plenty of pigment and stay well. Most often I use Omega (light brown) for the crease, Carbon (black) as eyeliner and Print (medium gray) to smudge it out.

Wet n Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow – I read a lot about Wet n Wild eyeshadow, that the quality and pigment load for the price was great. I’ve bought a few sets and I do like the pigment but it’s all got a bit too much shimmer for me. I keep these to use one peach or one light pink color on my lids. I probably won’t seek these out again but it is an inexpensive way to play around with a lot of different colors.

Smashbox Photo Finish Light Primer – This is a light, oil-free foundation primer that does it’s job and doesn’t make me feel like There Is Something On My Face.

L’Oreal Magic Smooth Souffle Foundation – A tiny bit of this smooths on easily and hides my giant pores. It does dry quickly so I work in smaller areas. It can emphasize dry skin but does well with my ever present oily sheen. It doesn’t necessarily require a foundation primer but I usually don’t wear foundation unless it’s going to be a long day so I use it.

Nars Blush – In Orgasm, of course. I really like this for a bit of subtle color. Blah blah blah everybody loves this and I do too.

Sonia Kashuk (Target) in Flamingo – I use this one when I’m going for some bright Irish Lass cheeks. It’s a matte color and I’m really fond of the low profile packaging it’s in.

L’Oreal Voluminous False Fiber Lashes – After reading about it at Girls of a Certain Age I’ve been testing this out and it’s mostly replaced my usual for the time being. I like the drama of this but it can go spidery on me if I overload it. It plays nicely with my sunscreen and eye cream and doesn’t flake or smudge.

Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture in #001 – I thought I had talked about this already but apparently I only did over at Flickr. This is a powerful matte bright red that isn’t too blue and isn’t too coral and works with my cool-pale skin. I found this when I needed my first ever red lipstick and was hovering around the makeup section at Nordstrom being fiercely ignored by the people at the MAC counter when a kindly YSL lady pulled me into a quiet chair and applied this. I kept looking in mirrors for the rest of the day. I love it. I use an eyeshadow primer around the edges of my lips and apply this using a lip brush.

NYX Jumbo Lip Pencils – I’ve seen these recommended a lot and I have to say I like them too. I find them easier to apply than a tube of lipstick, and they fit well in a makeup bag if you’re taking it with you. I like Chaos (724), which is a dark pink that isn’t too Barbie-pink.

Coach Poppy Flower – My current favorite perfume. I only wish that it came in a single roller ball instead of a double-headed roller ball because I’m convinced it’s going to break in my luggage when I travel and then everything is going to smell like the other perfume which I don’t like very much.

Makeup brushes – You hear this advice all the time but I didn’t really know how much of a difference it would make for me: invest in good makeup brushes. They make a huge difference in how even the cheapest makeup goes on. I have some brushes from Target that are often recommended in beauty magazines but they aren’t nearly as good as the MAC brushes I’ve invested in and the Target brushes have been relegated to blending brushes. Here are the brushes I use most often:

  • MAC 266, a fine angled brush I use as an eyeliner brush.
  • MAC 242, I use to press eyeshadow into the crease.
  • MAC 217, I use to blend my crease color.
  • MAC 224, a big fluffy brush I use when there is a larger field of color to be applied.
  • Bobbi Brown Ultra Fine Eyeliner Brush, comes to a tiny point and is great for adding a very thin line to the base of the lashes.
  • Sephora 60, a retractable lip brush. I couldn’t apply red lipstick without this. It stays nice and neat in a bag.

· comments [17] · 02-26-2013 · categories:beauty ·

Oscars Party Foods, star-studded and gluten-free

This post is brought to you by Bing. Know what Bing does really well? Image searches, which is why I now need to go plant seeds to have these ready for next year. Thanks to Bing for making finding ideas for Oscars party food and star shaped foods easy to find.

My husband is on call for work the night of the Oscars so we stay fairly low key in our house. A little bit of celebration is in order since it marks the end of a big annual work project. So this year I’m making it The Night of A Thousand Star..shaped foods. Or at least a few star shaped foods. All of these are gluten-free, almost by coincidence. Though I know so many people who are gluten-free that it’s become normal to avoid it when menu planning.

I hope some of these ideas help make your Oscars snacks a bit more sparkly.

Red Carpet

We’ll start with a fruit salad and champagne. Pineapple rings and kiwi slices act (sort of) like rays of light and the stars are cut from slices of pear. I used Sumo citrus wedges here, their delicate taste doesn’t overwhelm the other fruits. (Shout out to my friends who have shown me the way to Sumo love!) Add pomegranate seeds to your champagne glass and watch as they bob and float.

Opening Monologue

DIY star shaped tortilla chips! The best thing about homemade tortilla chips is that they are extra strong and can stand up to the chunkiest of guacamole.

The chips are are easier than you might suspect, I followed the instructions you can find over at Savory Sweet Life. You’ll need a bag of corn tortillas, a star cookie cutter and some vegetable oil. Brush or spray vegetable oil on both sides of a tortilla and use a cookie cutter to cut shapes, I could only get through two tortillas at a time. Spread the chips on a baking sheet in a single layer, sprinkle with salt and bake at 350 degrees for about ten minutes, flipping about half way through. Since I don’t know the size of your cookie cutter I recommend flipping them after five minutes and checking them every two minutes after that. If you have a crowd coming over you can make some star chips for decorations and then slice the rest of the tortillas into wedges to save time. (Kind of like bringing out the cheap wine after the good wine has been consumed and nobody will care at that point anyhow.) If you want to make these in advance they can be crisped up by baking in a 200 degree oven for a few minutes.

Acceptance Speeches

Finger foods are in order to keep our energy up during commercial breaks so I’m going with stuffed mushrooms and star shaped cheese crackers. This is the first time I’ve made stuffed mushrooms and I had no idea that they are so easy, I’m going to be making these a lot more often for no reason at all. For these I simply subbed in gluten-free bread crumbs.

The star shaped cheese crackers here are the Cheesy Squares recipe from Lara Feroni’s book Real Snacks. I’ve made these before (for cookbook club) and at the time I made both the version with wheat flour and the gluten-free ones to compare. We found that the gluten-free ones turn out a bit more crisp and are more fun to eat. This time around I made a few different sized cheese stars and the smallest size were our favorite by far, the crispy edge ratio is just about right. The ones shown here arout 1.5 inches tall. I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour. If you make these a day early they can be crisped up by heating in a warm oven for a few minutes.

I had a little conundrum at the grocery store over these. The good sharp cheddar I could find didn’t have the ultra-orange coloring that would make these really fun to look at. But the good sharp cheese is delicious so it won out. You could likely make these far more Cheez-its orange with different cheese.

Cheesy Stars
Recipe from Real Snacks, by Laura Ferroni. Used here with permission and changed slightly.

  • 8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 180 grams (1.5 cups) all-purpose gluten-free baking flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk, plus more for brushing

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine the cheese, butter, flour, onion powder, salt, and milk in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the dough blade. Pulse to form a ball, 1 to 2 minutes. Divide the dough into four parts and flatten into discs, wrap with plastic wrap for the time being.

Roll dough between two sheets of parchment paper until it’s 1/8th to 1/16th inch thick. Cut the dough out using a small star cutter and transfer each star to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper leaving about 1/2 inch between each. (You will likely be popping each one out of the cutter so it’s easy to just deposit them right onto the baking sheet.) Brush the dough with milk and prick the center of each one with a skewer.

Bake until the crackers are just slightly brown on the edges. Check after five minutes frequently after that, times will vary depending on which size cutter you’ve used. Cool crackers on a wire rack.

Best Picture Announcement

Dessert will be something we can make quickly so we don’t miss anything. Here are simple scoops of ice cream with metallic sprinkles. I found these at Joanns. I cannot tell you how delightful I find these tiny edible gold stars. I’m going to start putting them on everything, like eggs and steak.

· comments [13] · 02-22-2013 · categories:food ·

links: technology

How can I most efficiently “spring clean” my laptop? | Ask MetaFilter.

Designing For The Modern Web. Via Swiss Miss.

Cool Tools – Linx. “This inexpensive construction kit uses simple plastic hubs to connect grocery store drinking straws. You can assemble quite large — and featherweight — structures in crystalline and geodesic designs.” This will make a great present and activity for our niece and nephews next time we visit.

3D printed cookie rollers | Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories. I’ve seen plenty of 3D printed cookie cutters but I’m falling in love with the rollers here. Love the comparison between creating ancient things with modern tools.

· comments [4] · 02-20-2013 · categories:links · technology ·

Seduced by Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey

In the last few weeks I watched all of Downton Abby after avoiding it for years. I’m completely hooked. I’ve posted more about it’s powers of seduction over at Future Imperfect.

· comments [8] · 02-18-2013 · categories:misc ·

Valentine’s Day Treasure Hunt, Three Ideas

Scott and I have a tradition of creating treasure hunts for each other. He started it! When we were first dating I came back to my apartment one day after a business trip (or long day at work? or maybe just a Monday?) to find a small trail of clues from my kitchen to a closet to my computer and then to a stuffed animal. I was smitten.

Treasure Hunt Idea #1

Here is one hunt I set up for Scott on the first Valentine’s Day that we lived in the same apartment after we moved to San Francisco. I hid a dozen small cards around the apartment with messages. I put them in spots where he’d find them while getting ready for work in the morning. For example I tucked a card that said “I love your smile” in the medicine cabinet next to the toothpaste. I hid more inside a coffee cup, under his pillow, his computer bag, the pocket of his coat and inside the shoes that I knew he’d be putting on.

I made the cards above by cutting 1.5 inch cards out of colorful cardstock and using a heart punch, though you can cut the hearts by hand. My original cards were created with scissors (all I had at the time) and were all a bit off center.

Treasure Hunt Idea #2

If you want to send a message why not scramble it? This is an idea I’d been planning on using this year but, oops, I guess he’ll be expecting it. For these I bought tiny envelopes, found at a local scrapbooking store, and filled them with punched out hearts.

Each heart has one or two letters on the front and a number on the back. Once each one is found and put in order they spell out a sweet message. You can use as many hearts as you need for whatever message you have in mind.

Treasure Hunt Idea #3

Scott did this for my birthday a while back but it would be just as great at Valentine’s Day. He hid little toy capsules filled with toy rings (they echoed my engagement ring) around the house. Then, at different times, I was given two maps. One was numbered on vellum, the other was a layout of the house. Put together they revealed locations of the capsules.

Treasure hunts like these don’t have to be elaborate to create utter delight. Scott and I have been together for 13 (14?) Valentine’s days and there have been flowers and restaurants and probably chocolates but it’s the treasure hunts like these that I remember the most of all.

· comments [12] · 02-12-2013 · categories:holidays ·

links: Valentine’s Day

Nerd Valentine: Top 10 Valentines for Geeks  | Mighty Girl.

Bake The Book: Bouchon Bakery Marshmallow Eggs | Serious Eats: Sweets.

swissmiss | Heartshaped Straws. These are cute, and I really want them.

Valentine’s Day Candy Buttons · Edible Crafts. Love this idea!

Play Food « bakerella.com. These cookies are teenier than they seem at first and they are absolutely adorable.

swissmiss | Valentine’s Multi Tattly Pack.

oh meaghan: locket valentines for gal pals. Simple and so sweet!

Heart Balloons in a Closet at Oh Happy Day.

Candy Filled Straws « Sweet Simple Stuff. Very simple and sweet idea for a unique valentine. Via Edible Crafts.

Assemble Shop and Studio: Crafty Project: Junior High Love Note Folding.

· comments [4] · 02-11-2013 · categories:holidays · links ·

Ten Clever DIY Ideas for Valentine’s Day

I adore clever things for Valentine’s Day and I’ve collected a few of my favorites. These are all things that give my brain a little spark.

Go see them all in my post over at Babble!

Pictured above is the Heart Attack by The House That Lars Built.

· comments [2] · 02-8-2013 · categories:holidays ·

links: craft

Project Fail: Glitter On Demand (And also success!) – Grathio Labs. “This is the kind of stuff that razor wire aspires to be.” It’s pretty but dangerous.

How to boot cuffs from a sweater, at Petit Elefant. So simple and add a nice visual touch.

Current Crush: DIY Paper Diamonds and Gems – Creature Comforts. Links to so tutorials for awfully pretty paper gems.

Laura’s Loop: Reversible Stripes Scarf – the purl bee. I’m really taken by this reversible stripe pattern, I’m also taken by the fact that it lies completely flat.

Faye’s Super Soft Merino Chunky Cable Hat – the purl bee. Simple and very pretty.

Past & Present: Uten.Silo & DIY Wall Organizer | Design*Sponge.

· comments [3] · 02-6-2013 · categories:craft · links ·

links: the home

$10 DIY One Hour Upcycled Firepit | House & Fig. Made from the drum of a washing machine.

Cool Tools – Belkin WeMo Switch. A simple device that you plug into the wall and it allows you to turn things on/off from your mobile device. This would have saved me so much worry when I was using my iron on a daily basis, I was always heading back inside to double check that it was off.

Iron Out Carpet Stains | Pintester. It actually works! You open the windows, spray Windex (or diluted ammonia) on the spot, put down a towel and use the steam setting on your iron to get all the gunk up. (Spot test first, of course, and beware scorching.)

The kitchen has been painted! | Door Sixteen. Here Anna used a gray paint from Valspar called Filtered Shade which we used in one of our bathrooms and love. This particular gray paint has also been recommended to me by Holly at Nothing But Bonfires.

· comments [4] · 02-4-2013 · categories:links · the home ·

links: misc

Reclaiming Wife: Chore Monsters, Feminism, and Zombies. Love this suggestion on how to mentally sort domestic skills balanced against being a feminist: “you can always bring in the zombies. As in, would doing or being good at this thing help me survive the zombie apocalypse if I were alone?”

Seeking movies to help me think about clothes. | Ask MetaFilter. A great list of movies I wouldn’t seek out but am intensely interested in.

Make-Yer-Own Oscar Pool Page 2013, at Defective Yeti.

Pamie » Hey, Pamie: “How Do I Not Give the Fuck Up When Other People Get What I Want?”.

Cool Tools – Human Dimension & Interior Space. A comprehensive set of measurements to help you design interiors, furniture and wearables for all people: “Good for architects, costume designers, gadget makers, interface designers, and interior decorators.”

Read Better: Five Steps to a More Balanced Media Diet | Media on GOOD. Via Juniper Moon Fiber Farm.

Sometimes when I am in a three-person conversation the other two people make lots of eye contact but I am excluded. Am I doing something wrong? | Ask MetaFilter. This happens to me all the time and I’d love to know what is going on.

What You’ll Need to Escape New York – NYTimes.com. Puts my bugout bag to shame.

Monday Music – “Sexy Sexy!” The 2013 Brooklyn Valentines Day Playlist at The Amber Show. See also The Makeout Playlist.

The Business Cards of Alt Summit 2013 – Creature Comforts. See also this roundup at Giverslog. It’s true, the business cards at Alt were amazing this year.

· comments [2] · 02-1-2013 · categories:links · misc ·