DIY: Rubber Stamp Tutorial

Yesterday I found myself at the art store replenishing what seems to be the never ending pile of broken x-acto blade replacements. There out of the corner of my eye I spied some wood carving knives and for $16, I couldn’t say no.

Coming home with new art supplies is like the gift card in your wallet. You just HAVE TO USE THEM. This morning I decided to bust them out for some play time and figured I would make something and share the process with you, hence the birth of the “Make Your Own Rubber Stamp Tutorial”. Celebration!

So here is what you will need to make this magic happen, as so…


– 1 piece of rubber carving goo (speedball speedy-carve or most art supply store sell it in loose pieces. The piece shown is approximately 2×3″)
– drawing tools of choice (pencil, micron, pen, etc.)
linoleum cutters/wood carving knives

First you need to draw your design on the rubber. Keep in mind what you want to be negative/positive. I used pencil and freehanded my design on it but if you’re not as comfortable with drawing you can always print out your design of choice and use transfer paper to get your outline in place on the rubber.


Slowly carve away at everything you do not want to be part of your stamp. Tedious, messy and somewhat therapeutic. Tip: Always carve away from your body and hands cause if you happen to slip you could puncture a fingertip AKA “won’t stop bleeding in forever and a day”


Now this is where the fun happens. Bust out your ink pad and do a test run. The impression will show you pieces that may need be chipped away at a little more. I had a few. Maybe you want to add details, like in this case I decided to add small veins on the leaves. Clean that B up!


And you’re done. It’s pretty simple when you get the hang of it. Just keep in mind the smaller the stamp, the harder it is to get small details. Start bigger and go from there. If you want to make it easier for use, glue it onto a similar sized piece of wood.


DIY: a drawer of secrets and curiosities

It is painfully obvious that I am a collector of knick knacks and oddities. A couple years ago I finally decided to make a cabinet to display them all. Over the years I have outgrown my cabinet with all of my little treasures, especially with the tiny things that just don’t get displayed properly.

Many years ago, I picked up a vintage letterpress drawer on ebay. This was way before it became a “thing” and way before I turned into an antique hunting junkie. Either way, it has been used once before to put a lot of Reza’s small toys and now… well, I took it back and decided to give it a little life and this is what happened…

(click photo to view bigger)

So what do you need to make something like this? I will show you!

1 letterpress drawer
Several scraps of awesome paper (I used scrapbook paper from Halloween and vintage spelling pads)
Double stick tape
x-acto knife/scissors
flathead screwdriver, hammer, drill and mounting kit
Lots of awesome collectibles, tchotchkes and treasures.

I won’t lie, this is not a cheap endeavor because of all the magic that goes in it. A lot of it is years worth of collecting… and a drawer can run you anywhere from $40 and up, most of which I have seen in the $50-100 range depending where you get it.

This is what the drawer looked like before.

With the flathead, you want to dig up and remove all of the nails on the backing. It’s a pain in the ass but well worth it. Once all the nails are removed, you want to gently pry it apart. This is what it would look like.

If you got a particularly crusty antique on your hands, dust it off with a rag prior to continuing the project. Careful when handling it because the slots/partitions can come out/apart. My drawer had some slots that were very small, too many, so I pulled out some of the dividers to open up more space for larger items.

Set the frame aside and lay down the backing, front side up. This is the fun yet tedious part… take your papers and lay them across to map out where you would like to put them. The cool part is the back had the spaces kinda worn in so I could make better planning when it came to what papers I wanted where. Stick them down with double sided tape so you can reposition accordingly. You can glue if you want to but I didn’t in case I want to change the papers and the frame will hold them down anyway.

You with me up to this part? Cool. Pick up your frame and place over the backing just to see if everything is placed where you would like it, then remove once more. If you need to reposition and switch things up, now is the time.

Gently flip over your backing and cut off any trim or excess papers off the back and then reassemble the drawer.

I was lucky enough to get one that already had the mounting hardware on it. If yours doesn’t have some, some screws and picture frame wire would suffice. Mount on the wall! You will need to screw in some of the corners to the wall in order to keep it nicely anchored.

Then the fun part… fill with treasures and revel in the awesomenesss.


Earlier today I found myself in Target, you know, the $50 “need” run that turns into the $100 “how’d that happen?!!” run. You know exactly what I am talking about. Dish soap and butt wipes turned into Monster High dolls and hair treatments. Yes, oh wallet sucking store of doom. Anyway, it was about 18 degrees outside… And what am I greeted with when I set foot in the store? Bikinis. Fucking bikinis in the peak of Winter. I can’t even. It’s sad how fast consumerism throws us into the next season when we are still living in another. I won’t even get into the packages of Cadbury mini eggs I also saw. Easter! In January!

Notice I said “living” and not “enjoying”? I am pretty much over Winter and its bullshittery. But hey, I am going to try and find silver lining… Like the fact I can go grocery shopping and errand running and not have to worry about the groceries getting skanky or melty cause the trunk of the car might as well be a fridge. No joke. Truth be told is Winter really is the fart in the elevator. It makes me really pissy, whiny and achy. I seriously have to exercise some restraint from being that person who is on Facebook complaining about everything that falls from the sky. Some people just don’t understand that being a SoCal/Mexico person all my life combined with having broken some bones is a shock to the body and psyche. Granted, there’s been some acclimation but nothing in the world will ever make me love this bullshit. Give me a case of swamp ass, mosquitoes and sweaty armpits over this any day.

Been back at the sketchbook… these are some of the favorites I have dished out in the past few days.

True story: I cannot cut onions without crying like a bitch. I have to put on glasses of some kind to help with the fumes. I couldn’t find some sunglasses today. F you onions. Speaking of, I have been having some odd eye issues, blurriness in the corners, dryness on the right side. I have been trying to out rule if it’s sinus pressure or I am just getting old and the vision is going. So I went to the optometrist (for the first time mind you) and did the tests. Apparently I do need glasses but the rx was VERY mild. I want to see if the weird pressure is attributed to weather and anxiety before I fork out for some lovely eye gear. It’s a shame the below frames are “for fun” and were purchased in Japan.

The other day I subjected myself to another round of Brazilian waxing. Yes, total tmi and I don’t care. A few months ago I went to this place that left my venus mound looking like it had mange. I left them a nasty yelp review. (Note: don’t read it unless you want to know things about me you probably didn’t want to know). Good lord did it hurt, but the payback outweighs the torture and humiliation, let me tell you. I can’t even change without my husband looking at me like I’m the last Saltine on The Island. Waxing or not. It’s kinda cool really cause a lot of people bitch about how their sex lives go to shit when kids and years of marriage arrive. We don’t have that problem and even on days when I am feeling dumpy and fluffy, my man still thinks I am hot. Not a bad place to be.

As part of my whole “Make 2013 Awesome”, I bought myself two things off my wish list.

One: I started reading Mötley Crüe The Dirt. I have had it on my wish list forever, I got it and I am thoroughly enjoying this trashy, gut spiller. So good.

Two: I saw this print making the rounds on Pinterest. I pinned it, tracked it down and I ordered it. $8 + a $5 clearance frame from Target = awesome. The frame was a hideous shade of purple and since I had a can of matte black at home I picked it up and gave it a makeover.

It came in handy it was 20 degrees outside cause it dried lickety split! Ok, there’s another good thing about Winter. Whatever. But I am happy with the outcome.

There are other things I want to share but need to wait due to time and sensitivity of nature. That will be in the next pot of stew!

turkey chipotle chili

I will be the first to admit it, I thought cooking with the crock pot was for lazy people. In fact, I never even owned one cause I thought it would be an insult to my stove slaving ancestors. But then one Christmas I opened up a box to a rice cooker (that I really wanted) that also doubled as a slow cooker. GASP! I see what you did right there Josh, trying to make me into one of those broads. *shakes fist*

Then something happened: we had a kid. Oh shit. All of a sudden, kitchen time isn’t as readily available and I am finding ways to make tasty food while not being in said kitchen for hours at a time. You chop up some stuff, a dash of seasoning, add your favorite protein and hollah! I know, I know… I shouldn’t call you lazy cause it really isn’t… Ok, you win universe. I admit defeat and the error of my ways, I am a crock pot bitch.

Trying to watch your diet during Winter sucks balls. You want thick, hearty, creamy, starchy… all of those words end up straight on your ass. No joke. So I know I can make some chili and at least a couple of those words will be in it and yet maybe there will be less thick on my ass. I know the husband would never complain about creamy thighs. But before this takes a one way ticket to Erotic City, let’s get to the food yeah? Ok.

Here is what you’re gonna need!

( meatses not shown to spare the non-carnivorous)

Chipotle Chili

1 lb ground turkey (or chicken, or beef – your call. I made turkey)
1 medium white onion
4-5 garlic cloves (freshly pressed)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 14-15 oz can black beans (drained)
2 15 oz cans of tomatoes (diced or whole)
1-2 tbsp of ground chipotle powder (depending on how much kick you want)
1 tsp chili powder *optional for more kick if needed
1/2 tbsp of ground cumin
1 pinch or 2 of all spice
1/4 tsp of paprika (I used smoked spicy paprika – it’s thee shiz)
salt & pepper to taste
splash of beer *optional

garnish options: grated cheddar and jack, sour cream, green onion, cilantro… etc.

1. Chop up your onion, press your garlic and cook on the stove along with the olive oil for a couple minutes.

(Note: I don’t know why these recipes you look up tell you to use onion and garlic powder – that’s BS. Use fresh, it’s better!)

2. Add your meatses of choice, break it up and make sure it’s cooked through.

3. Pulse the tomatoes in a food processor or blender. You want them still a little chunky so don’t get all ninja on them cause if not you’ll end up with soup.

4. Combine ALL OF IT in the slow cooker and let it fly!

I leave mine in at a minimum of 5 hours but you can milk it more. If you see it looking too dry, add a splash of broth or even better, beer. A good porter or IPA will do. None of this Budweiser shit.

I like my chili more con carne than con frijoles. If you want to bulk this up add another can of beans. I cut it back… it’s a self preservation thing you see? Can’t wake up all hot boxed at the hand of the husband. Also, careful with the salt and chili powders. Flavors intensify in the slow cooker so if you want to play those by ear and add as it cooks, totally up to you. This has a kick for sure.

After the slow cooker does its wonderful business, serve with your chili toppings of choice: sour cream, green onion, chopped cilantro, cheddar, cheddar jack, more hot sauce if you want a case of ‘ring of fire’. You know what I mean.

Yes. The best part? If you have leftovers they’re even better the next day.

puff pastry with brie

Here’s a little something I whipped up for Thanksgiving. I decided to hold off on sharing this… can you blame me? After the Sin In A Bowl I posted earlier, I don’t think anyone wanted to look at more food. That’s the beauty of food based holidays though. The day after you’re looking for crazy cleanses, swearing off food, going to the gym in hopes that Aunt Ginny’s marshmallowy yams will unglue from your intestine. Did I really use the word “intestine” in a food post? Fuck yeah I did, it all goes there anyway. Just calling it how it is man.

A week later you’re back to trolling Pinterest for the next great thing to wow with. Look no further!

This is a perfect appetizer for a gathering, delicious and a guaranteed plate cleaner unless the people you hang out with hate cheese and fungi. Heathens.

Puff Pastry of Awesome

Here is what you will need…

1 box puff pastry sheets (I used 2 sheets on this one)
1 triangle of your fav brie of choice
fresh leek
2 handfuls of chanterelle mushrooms (or oyster)
1 granny smith apple or pear
1 egg white for egg wash (optional)
drizzle of white truffle oil
freshly cracked pepper

Got your stuff? Cool… Let’s make this happen.

First off, slice your fruit. I used pear in this case but the apple is just as tasty. Totally your call, either way you won’t jack this up. Play fruit ninja on the mandolin slicer. The slices should be very thin. (Get yourself a mandolin, trust me. You will be amazed how much time you save)

Julienne slice your leek.

Now, about the mushrooms…. 1) I live in Jersey. 2) I was last minute shopping on Thanksgiving week… so you can imagine my finding the right fungi was not available to me. I was not about to rack my brain and risk suicide in the Wegman’s parking lot to find them so I made due with some oyster/shitake mix cause there were not enough oyster. Chanterelles are the #1 choice here but those bitches are expensive! If not, go oyster all the way. Lightly sauté them in a pan, add cracked pepper and set aside.

Let’s put it together…

On a baking sheet you layer the items as goes…
pastry sheet
fruit (pear or apple)
cut up the brie in pieces and spread out over entire sheet, leaving an edge
add cracked pepper
drizzle white truffle oil
brush egg white on all the edges to give a shiny, crusty edge (optional)

Done! You’re ready to pop into the oven. Temperature should be as indicated on your puff pastry package. This is what your baby should look like…

Bake till your puff pastry has risen and has a nice golden tan. This bakes relatively quick and keep in mind it is best served warm and fresh out of the oven. Speaking of fresh out of the oven, get a load of this beauty…

Hell yeah. Cut it up in squares and let your guests go to town. This particular serving went straight to a party and swooped up in light speed which is why I have no better photos.

It is a veritable explosion of delight in your mouth. See what I did there? Oh yeah.

DIY: a cabinet of curiosities

I am a collector of knick knacks. I like *things*, but mostly things with sentimental value or incline toward my interests. This has been more than a decade in the making since some of the items you are about to see go that far back.

You could say this process was a labor of love cause it took many days to finish. I had this old cabinet that was once used for medicine and toiletires. Ole girl needed a make-over in a big way so I decided to give it to her.

Step 1: Dismantle: remove all hardware, it had a fabric panel in the window that I gutted out as well. I removed it all. I only took photos with my phone so forgive the quality.

Step 2: Primer. I used a flat white primer but didn’t prime it to a solid white cause I wanted some of the grain to strike through. The old hardware was brass/rusty. I don’t like it much, especially not on white so I opted to go silver.

Step 3: Paint! I chose to go with white since A) all the moulding in the house is white and B) it helps showcase/pop the items you are going to display. I used Glidden Trim & Door paint cause I had it lying around, it’s oil based and has really good coverage. Only problem with this stuff it takes a tap to dry and stinks to high hell. Painting it was a 2 day process because of the dimension and the drying time.

Step 4: Reassemble by installing all the hardware. The hinges, knob and roller catch thingy were all acquired at Home Depot and no more than $8

Step 5: Curate! In all honesty this was the best part. Gathering all my little knick knacks, papers, postcards, treats, rearranging, getting it to look the way I want. It took a while but I am really happy with the outcome.

And here she is…

Let’s look inside shall we?

Curious about the goods and their significance? Here are a few details.

Left to right: the quartz I got at a gem fair eons ago, the devil mask belonged to a creepy harlequin clown my sister had in the 80’s, the boxes: the top is filled with bees, middle: cicada wings I have collected, bottom: sea glass & shells I collected on the beach in San Diego, the sugar skull was the first one I ever made.

the cicada was the first one I found when we moved to NJ, I thought that agate slice looked like a Turkish eye when I bought it.

Left to right: Kevin, 9 is my favorite number, the plate in the back is from the order of the Eastern Star – It was the first Mason organization that allowed women. Josh’s grandmother Floye was one from what I was told. The jar of safety pins belonged to her.

And the rest is stuff I like… Halloween, vintage medical and chemistry items, bottles and cool antiques I have picked up over the past year.

To say I am in love with this process is an understatement. Something tells me there will be another one down the road but on a much larger scale.

antique key frame tutorial

It is no secret that since moving to this side of the country I have discovered my love of antique store hunting. I always go with intent of specific items: medical, glass, old photos and antique keys.

I have amassed a nice collection of keys and skeleton keys over the past couple of months. It was always my intent to get them put together in a frame but somewhere between Procrastination St. and Slacker Rd. I just never got around to it till today.

I could have easily gone out and bought a shadowbox style frame but I wanted something that wasn’t so thick. Doing it this way it would not protrude from the wall so much. It wasn’t nearly as complicated to do so I figured I would share my crafty hour with you.

Here is what you will need…

1 8×10 photo frame. I got myself the trusty and cheap Ribba frame from IKEA. ($9.99)
double sided tape ($2-4 depending where you get it)
double sided clear mounting tape ($5-7)
a piece of cardstock/paper for use as background. I went with black.
keys, lots of them. I used a dozen.

Step 1:
Take apart the frame and on the backboard of the frame, line edges with double sided tape. Mount your background paper onto that so it stays in place. Trim the edges with scissors or x-acto.

Step 2:
Lay your backing down, place your matte over it. This is where you may take a little time cause you take the keys and play with the placement of each item till the desired shape is achieved.

Step 3:
This is where it gets tedious… you take each key one by one and add tiny strips of mounting tape to each one. I found the best way to do it is to cut the strip, place it and then peel off the label to expose the sticky side. Now, you can use a glue gun if you want but I chose not to cause that would basically ruin the keys. This stuff comes off. After you have it ready for mounting, set it down in the place you had chosen for it but don’t press down, you do that at the very end once all of them are adhered and in their spot of choice.

Step 4:
Set aside the key/backing and grab the matting. On the back of the matting you layer the mounting tape as such. This will give the frame some dimension and depth.

These keys are relatively flat but they still need a little room to breathe so they aren’t flush to the glass. I am sure you can use the foam version of mounting tape. I added 2 extra layers (right) on the corners and once I was ready to mount it you peel off the corners and adhere it to the backing with the keys.

Step 5:
Assemble frame and hang it somewhere awesome.

It just so happens that today I also finally got around to start hanging my wall art and knick knacks in my attic room. We have guests coming this weekend and it was time yo! That entire wall will eventually be clad with frames and loot from ceiling to floor.

In case you were wondering, no, I have not gotten sick of this wall color one bit. Still absolutely in love with it.

rainbow in the dark

Reza and I had a short girl outing to the mall yesterday. She has been imploring for another nail polish color and I can’t say I blame her since most of my colors are dark in nature. So I took her to Sephora and let her pick out a color.

Wide eyed in front of the nail rack, she went from red, to purple, to glittery gold, and finally settling on this little number by O.P.I. for Sephora. Well played Reza, well played. I took the opportunity to do my own as you can see.

colors used:
Spark-tacular! top coat by O.P.I. for Sephora, Union Jack Black by Butter London, clear coat.

It’s pretty basic stuff really, 2 coats black, dust/stagger the glitter polish on the tips to look like your nail tips are dipped (1-2 coats depending on how you want it to look), top with clear coat. The glittery coat is clear based so it’s pretty fool proof.


valentine project

I saw this photo for valentine crayons on Pinterest and decided to give them a shot for Reza’s valentine goodie bag at school. Yes, I am going to be “that mom” that doesn’t hand out candy. Crayons and bubbles it is!

Since they seemed a little labor intensive I decided to work on them this week so I am not scrambling the week of Valnetine’s Day. Reza had a great time peeling the wrappers with me. The wrapper removal is the most labor intensive part but was made easier by using a razor blade down the center, but in case you didn’t see the band-aid that Nurse Reza applied, we did have a little bit of a casualty so careful!

The silicone muffin tin was from the Target dollar section but I think it was $2.50, Reza had tons of broken/abandoned crayons, enough to yield muffin size. I looked for the smaller sized baking tray but came up empty handed. So happy hunting! You can also find boxes of crayons for cheap at Big Lots or save those restaurant crayons when you go out with the kidlets.

Peel & chop crayons
Place in tray
Melt in oven. I went 260 on mine, all ovens are different.
Pull and transfer to freezer til hardened.
And you’re done!

kitchen witch

I have been quiet… lords have I been quiet here. It isn’t for a lack of having things to say cause I really really have stories and photos to share but I have been engulfed in home makeover projects. This is the thing about old homes… they are quaint, charming but lords do they need A LOT of love. Word to the wise people, if you install white anything in your kitchen… FUCKING CLEAN IT. It looks pretty when clean but if you don’t plan on the upkeep I don’t recommend it. I spent a lot of time on the floor with my other husband, Mr. Clean and his magic eraser, scrubbing these fucking cabinets to holy hell. They needed some SERIOUS LOVE.

With visitors coming in the month of November I have had the match lit under my ass to get this stuff done. It’s a lot of fucking work but honestly, I was happy to take on the projects of painting and redecorating cause a) I like being crafty anyway, b) I take pride in the work and love my space even more, c) professionals are EXPENSIVE and d) it’s therapeutic. About C…. I have been glum and lonely here and keeping busy also keeps me distracted. But that is another post for another time. Happy times ahead.


Not sure how this happened but I decided to re-do the kitchen. I am not an OCD clean freak by any means but when a kitchen looks dingy, well, I get grossed out. The owners of this house have four kids and it shows in places… aka everything white was not white. So I re-painted all the white trim and baseboards and after I did that, the walls looked yellow and not in a good way. So I decided to paint the walls and I am so glad I did!

What theme to go with?

Since I have lots of Halloween goodies, spooky whatnot, I decided to go the kitchen witch theme. I posted a photo on facebook and got great color suggestions from people. There is a Benjamin Moore dealer 2 blocks away, I got some color strips and it is ON. Benjamin Moore makes the BEST colors and if you want to re-paint get their colors but if you can’t swing the price tag take it to Home Depot to knock it off like I did 😀

I ended up picking a color called “dusk to dawn” (how vampiric and appropriate). It’s a smokey lavender color and based on the time of day it looks more grey or purple. I was nervous about this cause it is a statement color to put in a kitchen but I rolled with it and WHOA. I. LOVE. IT.

So onto the photos yes?

The photo on the left is when we were moving in…. as you can see the white wasn’t so white, there were white lacy curtains (not my style). The right is after. I still plan on doing some form of window treatment but it won’t be white or lace. Heh.

I made the mistake of not taking enough photos when we moved in. This is the best “before” photo I could drum up….

and…. after!

And then came all the accessory whatnot, or what I refer to as “room bling”…

Now, I had some of this stuff but now that I put purple on the walls, shit just did not look right. I bought a spray can of flat, black paint at Home Depot (CHEAP!) and gave new life to some things so they could fit into the room and save the extra expense. The mail/key organizer, paper towel holder…. black! The doorbell cover was white one time but it went beige so to hell with it, I sprayed it too! By the way, you can’t just buy a doorbell cover, if you want a new one, you have to buy a whole thing. Uh yeah, NO.

One other thing I did was switch out all the switch plate covers from plastic/white to brushed silver. Plastic looks cheap and gets dirty easily. You would be surprised just how much this simple/affordable detail changes the dynamic of the room. And voila!

Another thing I have been doing is transferring things to glass bottles. It just looks better, cleaner and your house isn’t all logo clad. I buy bottles at IKEA (cheap) and The Container Store. Oils, spices, coffee…

I have been scoring up on the discounted Halloween merch at stores. Nothing too crazy but I got that skull and crossbones apron for Reza (Williams + Sonoma) and then these plates at West Elm. They were 50% off yo! $10 for all three.

I got these cool plate hanger things at The Container Store. They don’t damage the plate and when I am done with them you just soak in water and the decal peels off.

I have a couple other projects in the pipe for the kitchen that I am not done with. I have found the most awesome antique store around here and since it is in Jersey and not in a major city, it is an untapped resource of awesome that isn’t all picked over by eBay people who buy shit just to sell it. I have spent countless hours in there scouring and scoring! Don’t even get me started on the vintage turquoise, Pyrex mixing bowls I found. A whole set for under $35.

I plan on making a shadowbox with a bunch of vintage skeleton keys I acquired, as well as finding the right frames for the prints and vintage Halloween goodies I have found. I loved the framing treatments on those old photos but I dunno if I want to display real, tangible photographs of people I don’t know… you never know what kind of energy they have. So I am gonna make some silhouettes to put in those mattes. I was thinking The Wicked Witch of the West and Dracula. The Victorian bat girl is a print, total score!

I also have a medicine cabinet I have had that I plan on refinishing and making a curio of jars and vintage tins. Work in progress but all coming together! All it needs is a purple kitchenaid mixer 😀

The whole re-do was actually pretty cheap cause I already had a lot of the stuff and the things I have bought were on sale or already affordable. Between the paint, switch plates and matching accent items it wasn’t more than $200. Now, the labor and love I put into it? Priceless. I got the broken nails and bruises to prove it.

And now, for those of you who made it this far… A GIVEAWAY!!!

Two years ago I designed a Day Of The Dead print for Cup Kozy and not only did it sell out, but was a big hit. She decided to re-release the print in another color combination so pink+black was born. I just got my share of the bargain and well, one is up for giveaway… they’re not even available yet so you may be the first person besides me+them to have it. So what do you need to do? Comment on this post (not the post you may be reading through LJ). I will pick a random winner on Day Of The Dead (That’s November 1st for you gringos). One submission per person please since I am not making you do things like whoring me out on fb/twitter/wherever you web-socialize. But hey, if you want to whore me out, have at it.

The next installment will come soon enough… all about how I am acclimating, the cold, Reza’s birthday and how Philly sports fans are real dicks. Oooffff…. *shakes fist*