Projects · Seen/Heard/Tried · Tried

Flower Pressings & Happy Spring

Today is officially the first day of spring, though there is still plenty of visible snow in my part of Michigan. Despite the cold, I’m feeling hopeful that nicer weather is around the corner, and I plug my ears and shout “LALALALALA” every time someone tries to tell me otherwise. (Don’t judge me. We all have different ways of dealing with this evil, never-ending winter, and this is one of mine.)

Apparently, today is also National Happiness day. Things that made me happy today? Discovering a new bakery, relaxing with my kitties, and working on some art journaling in my craft room (my craft room in itself makes me happy!). One new thing I’ve been trying out to add to some art journaling pages has been making pressed flowers.

IMG_0117Years ago my parents gave me a Microfleur Flower Press for Christmas, and I went searching for it last week to preserve some flowers that were special to me. Using the Microfleur is super easy: you just put flowers in between the cotton liners, wool pads and vented platens, put clips in place to hold everything together, and then microwave the flowers in short bursts until dry. IMG_0118

In the first picture, I laid out some flowers, and in this picture you can see that I clipped the Microfleur shut.IMG_0119

After the first burst of heat from the microwave, I checked to see how the flowers looked so far. One nice thing about the stage after the first bit of heat is that the flowers are usually still a little damp so you can do some rearranging before subsequent heating.

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Above you can see how the flowers turned out.

IMG_0122I did three sets of flowers from the bouquet I received, and thought they all turned out rather pretty.

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I used glue dots and Mod Podge to attach them to my art journaling pages a few days later, which worked pretty well (though, I’ll be honest, the flowers are so fragile that attaching them was a little stressful!). Have you ever tried drying flowers? What method did you use to preserve them, and if you attached them to something, what was your approach?

Hope you’re having a pleasant first day of spring, and that there are loads of things bringing you happiness today!

Friday Five

Products I’m Loving 💚

For a belated “Friday Five” post, I thought I’d share some products I’ve sort of been obsessing over:

1. Embryolisse

embryolisse_laitcremeconcentre_75ml_900x900I found out about Embryolisse through my monthly Birchbox subscription, and I am so glad! Embryolisse is known as a 24-hour Miracle Cream, and can be used as a primer, moisturizer, and make-up remover. Although it is probably the most expensive “beauty” product I buy, Embryolisse has been totally worth every penny. My skin stays moisturized without feeling oily or like it has heavy lotion on it, and the overall quality of my skin is improving as well. I use it morning and night 🙂

2. Bath & Body Works Amber Blush Body Lotion

Amber BlushI just love the smell of Amber Blush. I tend to moisturize my hands with it, but I always rub a little extra behind my ears and on my wrists, too. Like most Bath & Body Works lotion, Amber Blush tends to keep its subtle scent throughout the day. (I love the Golden Shimmer Body Soufflé and the Sheer Perfume Mist, too!). Bath & Body Works describes the scent of Amber Blush as “a sensual blend of raspberry champagne, gardenia petals and magnolia blossom with a seductive kiss of crystallized amber and creamy vanilla suede.” So pretty!

3. Revlon PhotoReady Concealer

Revlon Photo Ready Concealer

Since moving back to the states, I went through some sad, crazy breakouts for a good few months there. Things are under control now, but unfortunately I have a bit of scarring. So far, Revlon PhotoReady concealer is the absolute best concealer I’ve tried; PhotoReady creates the appearance of an even skin tone, almost completely hides any scarring, and lasts for hours. After trying several other brands, I was so pleased to find that Revlon PhotoReady worked for me.

4. Wet n’ Wild MegaLiner Liquid Eyeliner

Wet n' Wild MegaLiner Liquid Black

Several years ago, I read about Wet n’ Wild’s MegaLiner in a beauty magazine that toted it as an inexpensive liner that many makeup artists use on celebrities. I gave it a try, and have been addicted to it ever since! I love the Black MegaLiner because it lasts all day long, it can be used to create even, clean-looking wing tips, and the brush offers a lot of control.

5. Burt’s Bees Cleansing Towelettes

Burt's Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes

After a long day, sometimes (okay…often) I feel really lazy and don’t feel like washing my face. But that’s where Burt’s Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes really come in handy. These remove make-up, cleanse and tone, leaving my skin feeling fresh and moist. I love that the ingredients are recognizable for the most part, and that the wipes easily remove even makeup products meant to stay put (like the MegaLiner I just mentioned, for example!).

These five products have become key inclusions in my daily routine, and I’ve loved sharing them with you! Here’s a picture after using all of them (except for the Towelettes, because those come later, obviously 😉 )

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What are some products you can’t live without?

Food & Cooking · Seen · Seen/Heard/Tried · Tried

Week in Pictures

This week was one filled with lovely nature, marketplace excursions, culinary delights (such as that jambalaya we tried for Fat Tuesday!), and a pattern search in and around our house. (Anything to keep us busy and keep our spirits up 😉 )

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Rosy Mound #1

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Rosy Mound #2

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Rosy Mound #3

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Goodies from our Asian Market trip (some of which were used for our Hina Matsuri dinner)

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Bubble Tea at a restaurant next door to the Asian marketplace

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We tried pho for the first time!

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Pretty flowers sent to us

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My favorite beer

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Nutella French Toast #1

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Nutella French Toast #2

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Patterns #1 (Don’t the knots in the tree look like eyes?)

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Patterns #2

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Patterns #3

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Patterns #4

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Patterns #5

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Patterns #6

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Patterns #7

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Patterns #8 (Okay, so maybe I just wanted to take a picture of our kitties because I love them…)

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Goodies from a trip to The Cheese Lady in Muskegon (We tried the Vanilla Balsamic drizzled over fresh strawberries!)

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I made homemade Crab Rangoons and Gyoza…

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And Chad made amazing homemade ramen!

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Dinner party dishes #1

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Dinner Party Dishes #2

I wonder what the weekend has in store for us! What have you been up to this week?

Food & Cooking

Me Oh My Oh!

Happy Fat Tuesday! I’ve had the song “Jambalaya” stuck in my head all day today, and the question is: Has it been stuck in my head because it’s Fat Tuesday, or because I knew I was about to make this awesome recipe for the first time!?

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To be honest, I barely followed the recipe because it called for such large portions of sausage and shrimp. I basically cut the amount of sausage and fish down to a forth of what the recipe called, and then added more veggies and rice. It. turned out. AMAZING. I guess that’s the nice thing about jambalaya–it’s a mish-mash of delicious ingredients that come together to form a delicious meal, and you don’t have to be very exact. I was especially pleased because today was my first time making it!!

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This year was also my first year trying paczki, a type of Polish donut. I found out from this informative article that back in the 16th century, paczki were filled with pork fat and fried in lard, and I would just like to say I’m pleased paczki have developed into the lard-less, pork fat-free sweet pastries they are today.

Italian Masquerade Mask

Source

Something I didn’t do this year was wear a pretty mask. Will someone PLEASE give me an excuse to wear a pretty mask? I love the colors in the one above, and the colors and style in the one below.

Masquerade Mask

Source

I’ve also never been to a Mardi Gras celebration of any kind (aside from our little culinary fun tonight). I think going to New Orleans to see the festivities first-hand at least once would be fun just for the experience. Have you ever been, or would you like to go? If so, how was your experience? If not, why would you or wouldn’t you want to go?

Food & Cooking · Monday Matters · Tried

Hina Matsuri Dinner

Today it’s Hina Matsuri in Japan, also known as Doll’s Day or Girl’s Day, so I decided to make a Japanese meal to celebrate from Michigan.

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I was really excited to find a simple, pretty-looking recipe for chirashizushi using fresh, sushi-grade tuna. Chad went all over town in search of tuna I could use for the recipe, and finally found some at our local D&W supermarket. Chirashizushi is basically a bowl of sushi rice topped with fresh fish, and–in this case–a colorful salad mixture.

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Yes, I know this picture is blurry, but at least there are cute dolls decorating it.

In addition to the chirashizushi, I also made yudofu (recipe at my old blog, here!) and ichigo daifuku. Yudofu is basically tofu boiled with kombu (dried kalp), and ichigo daifuku is a lovely spring treat consisting of fresh strawberries wrapped in sweet red bean paste and mochi.

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Here you can see my colorful bowl of chirashizushi, as well as the plate of yudofu in the background. I used traditional white sticky rice rather than the brown rice for which the recipe called.

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So bright and cheery!

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Here are some up-close pictures of the ichigo daifuku. I had to do some conversions when using the recipe because everything was in grams and ounces, so I think I’ll be experimenting to make them look prettier in the future. When it comes down to it though, I didn’t care too much about how they looked because they tasted really yummy, and totally brought me back to Japan (they were one of my favorite Japanese sweets! Natsukashii!). You can find the recipe I adapted by clicking here.

We really enjoyed having a Hina Matsuri dinner, and I was so glad everything turned out! Hope you have a lovely Girl’s Day!

P.S. I know I had promised I’d be back last Friday, but something…unexpected came up. On the bright side, I’ve reserved the post I’d been planning to write, and should have it ready for you this Friday instead! 🙂