Saturday, April 30, 2016

Made From Scrath Peppermint Cappuccino Mix

Are you unhappy with a lot of the store bought junk available?  Here's a quick, easy way to make your own cappuccino mix.

What you need:
  • Instant Coffee: 1 Cup + 2 Tablespoons
  • Powdered Creamer: 1 Cup + 2 Tablespoons
  • Unsweetened Cocoa: 6 Tablespoons
  • Sugar: 1 1/2 Cups
  • 9 crushed peppermint candies
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and wallah.  See, easy.

Tips I've discovered over the years:
  1. The instant coffee crystals don't allows mix as well.  I find it easier to grind them into a powder.
  2. Crushing the candies means they don't dissolve well.  I find that grinding them into a powder works best. 
  3. Make sure you measure pre-grind, because a lot more powder fits in your measuring cups than the crystals.



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Another Recycled Bottle into a Light

Now that I've figured out how to do this, I am having some fun!  Check out my new lighted bottle!

A Cruzan Vanilla Rum bottle with the blue LED light string inside.  I think the purple from the tag and the frosted glass look good, don't you?


Saturday, April 23, 2016

Pallet Compost Bin

I knew that I wanted a compost area in my yard somewhere, but I didn't want to spend a lot of money on it.  After looking at the ones you can purchase and browsing online, I decided that I would try my hand at making one out of palettes.

Things you need:
  • 4-6 palettes, depending on the size
  • L-brackets, 6 of them
  • part of a scrap 2x4 
  • weed block
  • tools: hammer, pry bar, saw, drill, staple gun
  • 2 hook and eyes
  • gloves to protect against splinters
  • Optional: stain
I ended up using 6 palettes for this.  3 were the same size, one was REALLY big, one was somewhere in between the big one and the 3 same sized ones and the last was a really crappy, not well put together one.  The REALLY big one ended up being the back of the bin and determined the size of the overall compost area.

I pulled apart (using my hammer and pry bar) one of the 3 that were the same size to use to fill in the gaps between the pieces of the other two.  You might be able to see that in the pictures.  These two completed palettes became the sides of my box.

For the front, I knew that I wanted it in 2 pieces, the lower half stationary and the top half removable so that I could reach in to turn the compost.  For this I used my power saw to cut the fifth palette above the middle 2x4.  The pieces of the rest of the palette I used to fill in the gaps.  I then assembled all of my stationary pieces using L-brackets.  Using what was left of the 5th palette and pieces of the 6th really crappy condition palette I made the top half of the front.  I made a box frame out of the 2x4s and used the palette pieces to match the lower half.  It sits on top of the lower portion with hooks keeping it from falling, one on each side.

On the inside I used my staple gun to attach weed block that I had cut to size.  Since I wasn't to worried about making it seamless, this is to prevent compost from pushing through the cracks and seams.  Optional: I had a bunch of water repellent stain left from the previous tenant, I used one to pretty it up.  The different colors of palette wood make it look really unique and nice after adding the stain.  It is movable, as it's not attached to the shed, open enough to dump more in easily, but closed off enough to prevent the dog and area critters from getting into it.



Saturday, April 16, 2016

Allegiance of Honor by Nalini Singh


I was recently sent an advance readers copy (ARC) of the next book in the Psy/Changelings series by Nalini Singh, Allegiance of Honor.  IT WAS WONDERFUL!!!!! 
I have been a big fan of this series for a number of years now, I constantly go back and read my favorites.  Ms. Singh has created a wonderfully, in depth world where three races: the Psy, Changelings and Humans live together in various stages of conflict and harmony based on their differences and interest in being the most 'powerful.'  What makes this book the most fun is that it does not follow a particular couple as they start dating and eventually end up together with a happily ever after.  All of the past stories in the series do follow those normal parameters, but this one is basically one big epilogue.   

Allegiance of Honor showed you what's happening in their world politically but then took you into the lives of each of the previous couples, even couples that were in short anthology stories.  It was almost a 'where are they now' moment. We got to see Lucas and Sascha, who are from book 1: Slave to Sensation, and there one year old daughter, Naya, as she learns to shift.  Mercy and Riley, from book 6: Branded by Fire, finally have their babies.  And every couple and supporting people from every previous book make an appearance as they deal with the current issues and the power struggle for the PsyNet and public opinion. 

This is a wonderful addition to the series, it comes out for purchase in June so you have plenty of time to get caught up in the series!!!!!


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Have you ever done this...part 2: Yeah!


It's finally finished!!!!!  It turns out that it was possible for one person to install this, it just wasn't me.  Thank god for brother in laws!!!  The way he did it was this...
  1. Determine where around your window or doors you want the curtain rod to hang
  2. Mount each shelf bracket to the wall so that they are level to each other
  3. Place your board with equal amounts of overhang on each side and use interior wood screws to mount the board to the shelf brackets
  4. Thread your curtain onto the rod and mount the rod into your shelf brackets
That's it.  Like last time, it still seems simple.  In my situation it was, I didn't do it.  My brother in law did!  But it was time consuming.  You need to be very precise about being equidistant on each side of the window/door and being centered. Also, if you intend to put stuff on your shelf than you need to make sure it can support the wait.

Find your studs, screw your board into the frame (that's what I did), figure it out!  Good luck!!!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Author Recommendation: Laura Jo Phillips


    


If you are a fan of ménage romance/erotica and science fiction/fantasy, than I have an author that you are going to love: Laura Jo Phillips.
 
The first book of hers that I came across was through an Amazon recommendation since I had read other similar titles.  I believe she self-publishes or uses an independent publisher, so she isn't out there a lot.  I've never even found a photo of her, although I do know this is a pen name.  

The Dracons' Woman is the first book in a series called the Soul-Linked Saga.  This series is set in the future, where other planets, alien species, interplanetary travel and the like are normal everyday things.  The male characters are a species that call themselves the Jasani, hundreds of years ago their planet was destroyed and they fled its destruction eventually coming to an uninhabited planet they colonized and named Jasan.  Most of the females of their species were killed in their planets destruction so they've put out a call to compatible females to become mates to their males.   Now, Jasani are a species that always reproduce in threes.  Always triplets and unless males find their one perfect mate or Arima, as they call it, than those offspring are always males.  See the problem.  

In Dracons' Woman, Lariah arrives on the planet seeking refuge in a woman's sanctuary on the planet, but is almost immediately scented by a male set as their Arima.  The first Arima to ever be found in thousands of years.  She soon finds out that the Jasani people are shifters.  There are 6 different types of shifters or clans and Lariah's male set are Dracons, mammalian fur covered dragons to be exact.  (I love dragon stories!)  Lariah discovers that by mating with her male set, she will make the soul-link possible linking together the one soul that each of the triplets share, giving them immense magical powers and making it possible for them to have daughters. 

I know that this all seems very confusing, but Laura Jo Phillips does a fantastic job of explaining in a way that's not confusing and really enjoyable to read.  The scenes between the three brothers and Lariah are tender and HOT!  And as the series carries on, coupling off male sets from all of the 6 shifter types with women of all kinds and eventually revealing an unknown history of their people it gets even better!  It's also fun because there are multiple kinds of villains, some small personal revenge kind and throughout the series a destroy the universe kind.  And sometime around book four we are introduced to more female characters, one of which eventually leads to the Orbs of Rathira trilogy, which has become one of my favorites.  
 
The Orbs of Rathira trilogy takes place on the planet Rathira and deals with demons that are trying to infiltrate our dimension through a dimensional tear on the planet.  This trilogy is not a ménage story, each book involves one couple.  Each woman having a significant role to play to stop the demons from succeeding.  The third series that Laura Jo Phillips is currently working on is the Hearts of ICARUS series.  After both the Orbs of Rathira trilogy and the Soul-Linked Saga were completed, the Hearts of ICARUS takes up after them with the children of the couples from the Soul-Linked Saga trying to stop some of the ripples of damage caused by the universe killing villains from earlier.  It's all very exciting and they're just as good as the first few series'. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Easy Mother's Day Craft

Are you looking for an easy craft for Mother's Day, a birthday, or just a fun craft to do with the kids?  This is the one for you!  There is a REALLY easy way to dye silk.


What you need:
  • Silk Scarves: I found mine at Dharma Trading Co. online for about $2.50 a piece
  • Bleeding Art Tissue Paper: this is a special kind of tissue paper; normal tissue paper DOES NOT WORK!
  • Spray bottle of water
  • Gloves so the dye doesn't stain your hands
  • Plastic to cover your crafting surface, I have used both saran wrap and a cut open trash bag
  • Paper towels to clean put and blot colored water

Total cost per scarf: $4, when you average out the small amount of tissue paper you use for one scarf against the price of the 100 sheets of Bleeding Art Tissue Paper.

Start off by protecting your surface with plastic.   Lay out your scarf on your plastic covered surface.  I have done this both laid out flat and folded, the color will bleed through the folded scarf.  Tear up
your chosen colors of tissue paper and lay them out across your scarf in whatever pattern you wish.  The lighter colors can be overwhelmed by nearby dark tones so keep that in mind when placing your tissue paper.


Spray the tissue paper with the water bottle. If you lightly wet the sheets it'll help keep them in place, than go back and really wet the paper.  You should start to see the color bleed onto the scarf almost immediately.  This is when you really need your gloves!  You will probably need to press the tissue paper down in places were it has 'bubbled.'  The tissue paper will color your hands but it does come off after a few hand washes.  Once it is all wet it only takes about 5 minutes for the color to bleed in.  Blot the excess water with your paper towels and hang to dry.  You may need to place more paper towels under your hanging scarf to catch any color water that drips off.  Once my scarf stops dripping, I tend to throw them in the dryer on low for a few minutes.  You are done!  Once you have everything prepped it goes really quick, I did 4 scarves in about 20 minutes (not counting drying time).

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Series Recommendation: Kitty Katt Series by Gini Koch


I am not usually a fan of alien romance and erotica novels, which are becoming more and more popular, but there is a small sect of them that are more like shifter and pararnormal romances and not gross, creepy alien novels.  So I was incredibly surprised to find out that I really liked the Kitty Katt Series by Gini Koch.

There are currently 12 books in the series with the 13th to be released in May 2016.  And since this is technically listed as a science fiction series, it doesn't follow a romance series concept.  By that I mean, that each book is not a different couple in the 'World' of the series.  The series follows the life of Katherine "Kitty" Katt as she discovers there are aliens all around, some parasitic gross things that take over humans and some good, incredibly handsome ones that are aligned with humanity to protect Earth from the gross and violent aliens.

Kitty is a take charge, no nonsense kind of girl that falls in love with an alien, but is so bad at keeping secrets from family and is such a pain in the butt to the villains, that eventually all of her friends and family are sucked into the alien world.  But then so is the rest of humanity when, later in the series, Earth is attacked and Kitty and her friends must save the day. 

Through all of the craziness of evil aliens and their megalomaniac allies, human politics and world hopping fun, Ms. Koch was able to create a series of intricate villains, dangerous situations, a fairly in depth introduction to US politics in relation to these bizarre situations, introduce new characters flawlessly, pair off couples as needed, and throw in the occasional tear jerker moments.  An all around fun series which has me highly anticipating the next book each and every time!

Katherine 'Kitty' Katt
1. Touched By an Alien
2. Alien Tango
3. Alien in the Family
4. Alien Proliferation
5. Alien Diplomacy
6. Alien vs Alien
7. Alien in the House
8. Alien Research
9. Alien Collective
10. Universal Alien
11. Alien Separation
12. Alien in Chief
13. Camp Alien (Out in May)