Saying Goodbye to Summer

I’m feeling extremely weepy today. Maybe it’s because I can see the sunlight changing. While everyone in most of the country has been burning up, we here in the PNW have only had summer temps for about a month and they haven’t been too extreme. As much as I hate hot temperatures, I still would have liked just a teensy, weensy bit more of summer. I’m not complaining, maybe just a little wistful?

I keep thinking about how in just two weeks my little man will be back in school. He’ll be a first-grader! We’ve been talking to him about how different everything will be: he’ll need to do his homework, stay out of detention and trouble (his words, not mine), work on his handwriting, and learn more math and science. Those two subjects, he’s really excited about. As much as I would love him to be interested in the arts, he really likes science-y things more.  I have to admit how proud I was when we were looking at NOVA and he pointed to the screen and said, “Hey, that’s a nebula!” In order to encourage him, I got this app on my phone that takes your location via GPS and tells you what constellations you can see in the sky. He LOVES that one. Thanks, NightSky App!

But anyways, with him starting school and an impending visit from my mother (yikes!), I feel like summer is slipping away so fast and I can’t account for the time and before you know it, it will be autumn and the days will turn to grey. I’m trying not to think about it so much. I’m trying to focus on the Boy and how each new day, he’s growing a little bigger, a little wiser, a little older and a little less of the wee little baby I brought home from the hospital. It may go by quickly, but I am going to enjoy and savor it as much as humanly possible.

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Orange Painted Shoes

Back to the painted shoes….

Sorry, I took this picture in low light.

I had another pair of shoes I bought at the Goodwill. Old Navy shoes, brand new and soft grey, covered in yellow dots. I wasn’t fond of the ankle straps but that was a minor issue. I wore them once and surprisingly, well to me, they just didn’t work. They just weren’t flattering.

I decided that they must be painted. Since  the shoes were not leather maybe canvas? synthetic?, I needed something to cover the yellow dots that shone thru the area that I test painted. I used gesso, the painter’s primer. I covered both shoes with the gesso, waited a full week (man, I’m lazy!) and then painted the shoe a vermilion red/orange color. I thought I sealed it with the matte version of Mod Podge. I thought.  The surface looks great but I’m a hard heel striker when I walk. The color around the heel has started to chip. I plan on redoing it with another few coats.

So much better looking!

I have some other shoe projects that I’ll be posting soon. Have a splendid weekend!

Red Painted Shoes

Why am I obsessed with painting my shoes? It’s like I see a pair of shoes and then will decide that I don’t like the color and then I’ll have to tweak them.

It all started with a pair of shoes from Target. Little ballet flats, so cheap that they looked completely worn down after one wearing. I bought three pairs before knowing that they were such poor quality. One of the pair was supposed to be a really nice shade of grey. They turned out to be so shiny and patent leather-like that I couldn’t conceive of wearing them in that state. I painted them black, using the paint I had on hand: 3-D paint by tulip and some shitty acrylic craft paint. It worked out some sort of way because the 3-D paint gave the craft paint a nice gloss while dulling the patent leather look and the craft paint made the the 3-D paint last longer and it helped extend the  life of the shoes. The surface hardly showed any wear and tear. I only tossed them when I  finally wore the soles down to nothing. They still looked good.

Since then, I’ve painted other shoes. Red, blue, black, orange (how I did the orange ones, coming soon) and I came close to falling into the glitter shoe fad but I abstained.

Aren’t we so cute and perfect?

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when we were in a Gap’s outlet store. I see the perfect pair of high heeled espadrille sandals on a mannequin. Even though they were a lot higher than I normally wear (I normally never wear anything with a raised heel. Flats forever, yo!), I looked all over the whole store for them. I wanted them bad and I couldn’t find a single pair like the one on display. Resigned, I went to the register to pay out and the salesperson asked if I found everything ok. I said no, I wanted the mannequin’s shoes and didn’t see a pair. To make a long story short, the pair on the mannequin were the last in the store and they were my size and they sold them to me for only 11 bucks! Hells yeah!

The only thing…they were white. Now listen, I’m not saying everyone with big feet looks ridiculous wearing white shoes but I’m saying that I look ridiculous wearing white shoes. I’m short with big feet. I look like an escapee from Ringling Bros when I wear white shoes and/or sneakers. Just stick a red nose on me and call it a day.

Wear us and ye shall suffer! Suffer!

So the white shoes…I decided to paint them red with a bottle of fabric paint. Turned out so cute! I boldly wore them to work. For nine hours. All day I felt so tall and pretty! I could look above my cubicle wall without trying! It was so great. And then for the next five days, my back hurt so much I could barely sit, lie down or bend at the waist. They’re like torture shoes. But at least I looked cute, right!

TTV round 2

On the pedestrian bridge

It was one of those lazy Saturday mornings when I was awake way before I wanted to be, so I was already in a pissy mood. The Boy had decided to annoy us both by doing typical six year-old stuff. In order to preserve everyone’s sanity, I decided to take the boy out, along with two box cameras, one for him and one for me.

Since I only had one digital camera, I tried to get him interested in focusing on a subject and then I would try to take a photo through his box camera. I’m still trying to get him interested in focusing the lens on a subject instead of being fascinated with the flash going off. He has his own cheap camera but he only cares about clicking the buttons and watching the flash go off. I was hoping this would maybe get him interested in photography. Well, not at all. I think he  kept asking about the flash and where was it and why wasn’t it going off. But we had a good time walking through the neighborhood, just spending time together. And we gave The Husband a good hour of quiet time.

They sure don’t make ’em like they used to.

I love TTV. It’s like Instagram or Hipstamatic without the iphone. Speaking of which: I actually tried out Instagram and I can understand its popularity and appeal but I really didn’t like that I had to create an account to use it. I quickly deleted it. I ended up downloading a few other photo apps just because they didn’t ask for information or an account. I could just use the damned app!

 

 

Whoopie Pies Everywhere!

Get in my belly!

My lovely husband recently celebrated another birthday. Beforehand, I asked him if he wanted me to bake something for his big day. I thought for sure he was gonna say a pie, like a berry pie, peach pie or a key lime pie. What can I say, the man likes his pie! He surprised me by requesting whoopie pies.  Now, a few years ago, I had no idea what a whoopie pie was.  It almost sounds kind of dirty (use your imagination). But apparently, like millions of other suckers on Apartment Therapy, I got sucked in on the trend.  Let me tell you, I’m glad I did. Whoopie pies are like soft chocolate dreams with a creamy delicious filling. I like that they are hand-sized, which makes for easy portion control. My recipe is below. I should have used a homemade chocolate cake recipe (and you can too if you like!) but it was too much of a pain in the ass to go out and buy all the ingredients that we didn’t have on hand.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • I used a Sharpie and a mug to draw circles on sheets of parchment paper so that I could keep the whoopie pie size consistent.  I have no idea how other people can get them so perfectly circular. If you know, please leave a comment. I flipped the paper over so that I wasn’t  putting cake batter on the direct sharpie ink.  I’m sure you won’t die if that happened but it’s always best to err on the side of caution.
  • Use room temperature butter! I totally spaced and forgot to leave the butter out to warm. I tried to warm the butter in the microwave. It melted a little too much. The taste was fine but the texture of the filling was a bit grainy. And I’m not a fan of marshmallows. If you would like that sort of filling, check Apartment Therapy for a recipe.
  • Eat and Enjoy!

Joy’s Whoopie Pies

Ingredients

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package devil’s food cake mix, super moist
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of butter

For the filling:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
  • 5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted or about a cup of regular sugar, to taste.

Directions:

  • Preheat oven at 350 (or whatever the cake mix says).
  • To make the pies: Prepare mix as directed on package except use only ¾ of a cup of water and substitute the shortening with butter.
  • Drop batter onto greased cookie sheet (or use parchment paper to line pan) in 2 1/2 to 3 inch circles (see note above). Your batter should make about 16 to 20 circles.
  • Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool. Note: If you use two cookie sheets, bake them one at a time. It allows the pies to bake evenly.
  • Transfer the filling to a clean pastry bag fitted with a round tip or a large freezer bag with the tip cut off (much easier to do with the freezer bag!).
  • Pair the pies up by shape and size and pipe the filling onto one half. Put other half on top.
  • Makes about 8-10 delicious whoopie pies.
  • To store, place in airtight container and refrigerate.

To make the cream cheese filling:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until well-combined and smooth.
  • Mix in the vanilla extract.
  • Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat again until smooth.  Note: Make sure you taste it as you add the sugar. Two and 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar is a lot! I ended up using about a cup of regular sugar. Your taste may vary.