Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Japanese Recipes

While I have a little more time this summer I really want to spend some extra time studying Japanese. I've been able to keep up with reviewing my vocabulary flash cards every day, but most of the time that is all (and I haven't added new ones in a while).

I thought it would be fun to translate a few Japanese recipes or craft patterns & post the results on here! Just keep in mind that I am not that good, so there are bound to be mistakes & sections where I have no idea what's going on.

Cookpad is a great Japanese website for people to share their recipes. I'll probably be picking a lot from there. To start with I translated the categories on the main page (click on the picture for a larger version) ~

Cookpad categories (translated), 1

Cookpad categories (translated), 2

Some of the sub-categories were a little difficult - a few contained a previous category name along with a word that could mean "arrange" or "arrangement". So you have "udon" and then "arrangement of udon"? (I listed it as "udon (more)") At least the Japanese contributors seemed just as confused and usually listed the same recipe in both categories!

I also like this selection of recipes on a Miso company website. Of course they all have some miso in them!

So, feel free to browse through those recipes & pick out a few that you'd like to see translated. The same goes for craft projects - I am taking requests! Which are you more interested in, recipes or crafts?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Patriotic Nails Tutorial

I wanted to do a fun patriotic nail design for the Memorial Day festivities (we've got a packed weekend!) and with Justin home I even had time to take photos & put together a tutorial along the way! For this design you will need:
  • Red, white, and blue nail polish
  • Fast Drying Topcoat
  • Scotch Tape & scissors
  • Clean up supplies (nail polish remover, q-tips, etc.)
  • Optional: silver polish

First, apply a base coat (if you have one) and then paint your nails white. (I would definitely not recommend the white polish I used, but that's all I had!)

Patriotic Nails Tutorial, 1

Clean up around the edges of the nail as needed and add a coat of your fast drying topcoat. The topcoat dries the nails super quickly so you move on to the next step without waiting all day! (I use INM Out the Door but there are a lot of good options like Seche Vite, CND Air Dry, etc.)

Cut down a piece of Scotch tape to about 1/3 the height of your nail. For my thumb I needed about 1/2 the tape width, with smaller strips for smaller nails. I worked one nail at a time, but cut two strips so I would have the same size for the opposite nail (like the same size for both thumbs). Lay the strip across the center of your nail, pressing it down well to get rid of any air bubbles or folds. Make sure to press it down into the crease on each side of the nail as well.

Patriotic Nails Tutorial, 2

Use your blue polish below the tape and red above, adding another coat or two as needed. (I used an ancient Wet N Wild for the blue and China Glaze Ruby Pumps for the red) Carefully peel off the tape, hopefully revealing nice straight lines!

Patriotic Nails Tutorial, 3

I did have a few spots where the polish leaked under the tape a little but was able to clean this up pretty easily with polish remover and a metal tool with a small point (you could use something like the point on a metal nail file). Dip the tip of your tool into the polish remover and then gently scrape off the mistake. If you end up with a bead of polish remover sitting on your nail you just dab it with the corner of a paper towel to remove it.

Clean around your nails again (I had a lot of blue to clean up!) and then use your top coat again. Try not to brush over the same area twice to help avoid one color streaking into another - one stroke down each side of the nail & one in the center with a well-loaded brush should be enough. (Unfortunately my blue streaked an abnormal amount, so I touched up my center stripe with some more white)

Optional: add some silver stars!

Patriotic Nails Tutorial, 4

You could follow this tutorial to create some nail stickers with your tape & scissors or a star shaped hole punch, free-hand some stars by dipping a toothpick or nail dotter into silver polish, or stamp some on. If you make a mistake you should be able to easily wipe it off with some polish remover (because of the topcoat) and try again!

I stamped the thumb & middle finger with the star on BM05 and used the star from BM206 for the rest. And of course, top it off with another coat of your topcoat! I love that stuff.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bundle Monster Stamping

I have actually not done any stamping for about a month now. I realized that I had a few new bottles of polish that I had not used yet, so I've been trying to make sure I test out each one (most are too packed with glitter for a design to show up too well on them). I was also terribly sick for about two weeks and could not convince myself to do much of anything!

But I've got a couple of old pictures for you!

The first one was done over a purple called "Daddy's Girl" by Sinful Colors. It looked almost black in the bottle with a lovely purple shimmer (and touches of gold?) but on the nail it was a very sheer jelly purple. Remind me never to trust a $2 polish again. I think after 6 coats the nail line was still quite visible, so I ended up laying down a coat of pink first (to give it more of a red tint) and topped that with a couple of coats. It was still pretty bland so I added a coat of Pure Ice  "Cheatin" on top for some sparkle.

Silver Stars over Purple (Bundle Monster)

The stamping on this was quite fun though! I had seen someone alternate her nails with the full nail stars print on BM21 and the large star on BM05. How did I not notice how similar they were before? I decided to create a different pattern on each nail using those two along with a couple of the tiny stars from BM14 as filler. It was crazy jumping around between 3 plates! I was attempting to have nothing overlap, but I am not that good at aligning the stamps yet. So it ended up slightly busier than I was hoping for, but still very nice!

In this picture I've also added a matte coat on top, Essie "Matte About You". I love this stuff! It will turn any color into a matte polish & is great for photos too, since you don't have to worry about the glare covering up your stamped design (like in the image below). I didn't add that for a few days though, so you can see I've got some pretty bad wear on my tips.

Just before my hiatus, I actually bought the newer 25 pc. Bundle Monster plate set. I added the pictures of all of the plates from that set that I am keeping for now on this Flickr set, if you want to check them out. At least I tried out one new plate before my break...

Actually my first attempt was with the top design on BM214, but after many tries I could not get it to run straight down my nail. Grr! I gave up & switched to the top design on BM206, running it down the side of the nail so I could hide any slight crookedness.

Gold on Green (Bundle Monster)

The base is a very pretty polish from Kleancolor called "Metallic Green" (how original). It's made up a mix of tiny grass green and spring green particles that kind of blends into a lovely shade in between. I actually stamped this with Pure Ice "Silver Mercedes", but somehow the green changed the silver to a golden color!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Dinners for the (Half) Week

A friend was telling me about this blog, where the writer posts her weekly menu with recipe links (along with a lot of other posts). I love that idea! We do a lot of cooking but I don't get many chances to talk about it on here. In the past I've mostly posted meals that I've tweaked several times & written up an official recipe page for, which does not happen very often. And then, after all of that work, it's never seen again. Such a shame!

I'd like to start posting which dinners we are planning on making for the week whether they are old favorites, brand new, or something I am working on (with any links or other info). Then, the next week I can also give an update on how any new recipes turned out! I think it will be a fun series, and thankfully will give me something to break up the nail polish posts as well. ;)

Spaghetti Casserole

This post is a short one - we just grabbed enough at the grocery store for a few days and will be heading back mid-week. Normally we choose enough meals to get us to the weekend (but don't plan which day we are actually going to cook it).

Baked Spaghetti Casserole - (pictured above, makes 2 dinners) Spaghetti with cream cheese and French onions? Insanely good. The only change we make is omitting the peppers, but I'd like to re-write this one sometime soon because I find the wording a little confusing.

Chicken Taquitos - Made these for a get-together with salsa, cheese dip, and chips on the side. These are easier to make than you would think, and *way* tastier than the frozen kind. I'm linking to my Pinterest page where you can find the recipe link and my notes on what we changed. If I ever remember to take a picture of this one I'll probably write it up officially with our changes.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

New Konad plate - M86

*Sorry for the repeat! Since there was little interest in doing a giveaway I took down the previous post but wanted to share my review by itself.

I was fortunate enough to be given one of the newest Konad nail stamping plates to review by!

The three new plates are all French tip designs, but this time they give you five different sizes of the same design so you can can get the perfect curve on each finger (there's also a bonus lace design in the center of each plate). I chose M86, which features a deep curve, while M87 and M88 have a normal curve and are patterned with animal prints.

I thought this plate would work great not only for French tips, but also for the crescent moon manicures I've been seeing a lot of lately. I haven't seen anyone use them that way so I was excited to try both!

Konad M86 nail stamping

Without any practice stamping French tips, alignment was a bit of a challenge, but that is something that just gets better with practice. I also had not tried a plate with such a large area of solid color. At first I was ending up with a bald patch in the center again & again, but then I tried scraping from the outside-in and that solved the problem.

Aligning the stamper for the crescent moon manicure was a lot easier. I know that there is usually a small gap between the stamp and your cuticle, so for these I dabbed a little polish right at the base of the cuticle before stamping & it seemed to work well.

You can see NailPolishCanada's full range of Konad supplies here. It looks like they have a huge selection! I only wish the plates were a little clearer in the photos.