That tentative touch

This weekend was my first time, in a while, to volunteer at a local animal shelter. I didn’t realize how wonderful that experience could be. My job for the day was to interact with dogs, cats and kittens to gradually get them used to humans and their touch.

FullSizeRender (1)My first animal interaction was with a female kitten. She was afraid. You could clearly tell by the way she hid in the corner of the cage. But with my almost 30 minutes of crooning and talking to her, she finally stepped toward the front and gently stuck her paw out. She let me hold her paw for a few minutes although I could sense her wanting to pull back.

When I went back to her at the end of the day, she was a lot friendlier, having interacted with more volunteers. She kept playing and sticking her paws out. She’ll definitely be one of the first to get adopted 🙂 Wish I could have adopted her but chinchillas and kittens… not the best idea 😛

 

via Daily Prompt: Tentative

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The wonder of spices

Spices are plant products used for many, many years to flavor food. During and after the Middle Ages, seafarers such as Marco Polo and Christopher Columbus undertook hazardous voyages to establish routes for trading spices, especially with the spice islands, so named due to the nutmeg, mace and cloves that were exclusively found there.

Why use spices at all?

The use of different spices and amounts vary from place to place converting dishes to something really hot or just giving a mild enough kick. The exotic colors and heady aromas can elevate an ordinary dish into a feast for the senses. Additionally, most spices also come with health benefits such as combating food borne illnesses, so every meal that includes spices can become an experience in enhancing health and well-being.

A few common spices that should be in every kitchen:

  1. Pepper is the most widely used spice in the world. Every kitchen should carry this. Pepper is very beneficial in digestive ailments (specifically to treat indigestion).
  2. Cinnamon is one of the healthiest spices. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, it can be used to treat muscle spasms, vomiting, diarrhea, infections and lower blood sugar levels.
  3.  Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties and is a natural treatment for arthritis. It also has a role in reducing and removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain.
  4. Cloves stimulate blood flow, saliva production and gastric secretions to aid in digestion. Clove tea has also been used to kill intestinal parasites and harmful bacteria.

One can always grind and mix their own spice blends. You should understand whih spices and herbs complement each other while aiding in health. Using a beginners guide to spice blending is highly recommended.

References:

via Daily Prompt: Flavorful

Boho Home Series: Doily bowls

I love how doilies pretty up the most boring place. And they don’t have to be used just under cups or plates. You can do so much with them…. make fun lamps, pretty bowls for your odds and ends… candle holders etc.

What you need:

  • A lot of doilies (different colors, shapes and sizes. You can find them at Michaels, antique / vintage stores)
  • Matte mod podge
  • Cling film
  • A glass bowl
  • Gloves
  • A thick brush
  • A plastic plate and bowl

What you do:

  • Turn your glass bowl face down and cover it with cling film.                                                         IMG_3138
  • In the plastic bowl, mix matte mod podge with equal parts water. Mix evenly.
  • Use the brush to cover the entire doily in this mixture. Lay the doily over the bowl and spread it all over the base of the bowl.                                                                                       IMG_3154
  • Leave to dry for 24 hrs.
  • Gently and carefully peel off the doily and it will retain the shape of the bowl. You can do this with any size bowl.

Currently I’m storing my washi-tape rolls, headphones and stamps in it… And random coins and toothpicks 😛

 

 

 

 

DIY Harry Potter Series – Loony Luna Lovegood

Luna was one of my favorite characters from Harry Potter. She was so eccentric and uniquely odd, it was wonderful watching her interact with everyone else. She had some fascinating fashion choices and I have tried to make a few here (possibly as a potential Halloween costume).

Butterbeer Cork Necklace:

Materials:

  1. A plain cork
  2. X-acto knife
  3. Some light blue cord or twine (long enough to come to the middle of your neck)
  4. Bead caps (See link here: Michaels Caps)
  5. Eye pins, jump rings, round nose mini pliers (all available at Michaels in the jewelry section)

Procedure:

  1. Cut the cork into a cone shape using the knife (be careful with this step).
  2. Use an eye pin to attach one bead cap to the center of the cork.
  3. Attach 3 jump rings to the loop of the eye pin using the pliers.                                                   IMG_3005

4. Connect the cork to the cord and make a double knot at the top (I had a cord necklace which was blue so I just used that).

Dirigible Plum Earrings:

I love how these turned out but they take a lot of patience to do. You’ll need –

  1. Red, green, white beads – Size 10/0
  2. Beading wire – Make sure it fits through your beads
  3. Scissors
  4. Earring fish hooks (available at any craft / jewelry store)

What you do –

  1. Cut a section of wire as long as your upper arm. Add one white bead and move it to the center of the wire.IMG_3021
  2. Add 2 beads close to one end of the wire and attach the other end of the wire through the beads, forming a cross with the wires, with the beads at the center.
  3. Gently pull the 2 wires away from each other forming a loop with the 2 beads. Pull all the way till they reach the first bead to form a triangle. Make sure the wire is taut so the beads sit tightly together.IMG_3024
  4. Repeat this with one row of 3 beads, one of 4 beads and one of 8 beads.                                       IMG_3025
  5. Keep continuing but this time using red beads over the white. You should have 7 rows with: 8 beads, 9 beads, 10 beads, 11 beads, 9 beads, 8 beads and 6 beads. This completes the earring. IMG_3029
  6. Form a knot on the top with the wire and then twist a couple of times to make sure everything is closed and sealed. Leave the remaining twisted wire attached to the top of the plum.
  7. Repeat steps 1-6 for the second earring.
  8. Now you follow the same technique to make the leaves. You will need to make 4 (2 for each earring). Each leaf has 7 rows – 1 bead, 2 beads, 4 beads, 5 beads, 5 beads, 5 beads and 4 beads. Use step 6 to hold everything together.
  9. Use the extra wire to attach the leaves to the plum, arranging them the way you want them to look and twist all wires together.                                                                       IMG_3034
  10. Attach the twisted wires together into the fish hooks and twist a few times. Cut the remaining wire away.

The Quibbler:

The easiest DIY ever. You only need paper, a color printer, glue and scissors.

  • Go to google images and type in ‘The Quibbler Pages’. You ‘ll find a whole set of images you can print out. Just make sure the layout and dimensions are the same on your printer for all images. Here are links to a couple I used (Quibbler Page, Quibbler Front Page)
  • Cut the extra white from the paper and arrange the different pages the way you want them.IMG_2974
  • Glue all the inner pages to your outer booklet using Elmer’s glue. Once everything is dry, you’ll have your very own magazine.
    • Here is the front look of my magazine.                                                                                    IMG_2976
    • And these are the inner pages.

       

Luna’s Wands:

Luna had two wands. The first one from Ollivander’s after which it was confiscated after her abduction by Death Eaters. She was given a new one by Ollivander after their rescue and escape.

You will need: two chopsticks, hot glue, brown fine sharpie and acrylic paint – khaki, espresso brown

Paint the chopsticks (one brown and the other khaki). Let them dry. I used this template to draw the pine cone and vine design (link here: Luna First Wand Design) on her old wand (the khaki one).

The second wand is shaped like a closed flower, with all the petals folded inward. Use the hot glue to create this design (here’s the template I used: Second wand design). You will need to add multiple layers of glue to get the design. Paint the entire wand with another coat of brown and let dry.

Spectrespecs:

When I think Luna, I picture her with the Quibbler and her wacky pink glasses. See the world through her crazy glasses.

You will need: A cut out of the glasses ( I printed mine off of google images), thin plastic (from ziploc bags / plastic from gift bags etc), acrylic pink and blue paint, elmer’s glue, transparent tape, thin brush

  • Glue the ear pieces of the glasses to the frame.
  • Cut out 2 small circles of plastic and use the thin brush to form swirls (one pink and one blue) to the circles, starting from the center.                                                                              IMG_3148
  • Let dry and stick it to the eye pieces with tape (stick the pink to the left eye piece and the blue to the right).

For more sturdiness and rigidity, stick the spectrespecs paper design over existing glasses.

 

Pumpkin carving Art

With Halloween coming up pretty soon and this week’s photo challenge, I decided to share this wonderful creation taken during Halloween last year. I was astounded by the minute details… the mustache, the forehead wrinkles, the teeth and lips.. It was mind blowing. Must take a lot of patience and attention.

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via Photo Challenge: Structure

Entrance to Harry Potter in Orlando

I’ve been lucky to have visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando more than 4 times in the past 3 years (clearly I can’t get enough of it 😛 ).

The entrance is built at an ordinary corner, one side a bookstore called Screed & Sons and the other side is the actual entrance with a huge ‘King’s Cross’ sign through which you enter to take the Hogwarts Express.

IMG_1594 IMG_1596

Right in front of the entrance is the Knight’s bus complete with the driver having a conversation with a shrunken head.

IMG_1598

via Photo Challenge: Corner

Foamy Vengeance

When I think ooze, I’m reminded of a clever prank played by Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory. He uses ordinary dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, and saturated potassium iodide to produce a large quantity of foam that gets bigger and bigger like a giant monster.

This is a perfect prank for Halloween (and yes it does work). I’ve had friends try it out but you have to be careful with your amounts.

via Daily Prompt: Ooze

DIY Harry Potter Series – Hermione’s Wand (Blogger Request)

I wasn’t planning on making any more wands since I have enough in my stash for at least 14-15 surprise wizards / witches during Halloween. This DIY is a special request by blogger Hana Elwan from my Weasley Wand DIY post. So here goes…

Materials:

  1. A chopstick
  2. Acrylic Paints – Beige or Fawn, Metallic brass gold sharpie (medium fine)
  3. Hot Glue
  4. Pencil and brushes of medium thickness

Process:

  1. Use the hot glue to create the vine-and-leaves template on the stick (this is the image I used: Hermione’s wand template). Here’s an image of how the design looks (it’s a combination of swirls followed by leaves). Just repeat each vine pattern on the stick.
  2. Let the wand dry for 45 mins.
  3. Paint the entire wand with the beige / fawn. Use 2 coats and let dry in between for at least 30 mins.IMG_3341
  4. Use the gold pen to highlight the vine design and let dry ( you can also use a thin brush and gold paint instead of the pen).

I added the name Hermione at the bottom so I would not confuse it with my other wands. Once again, thank you Hana for giving me this idea to try out 🙂