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Create A Day

One creative project every day for a year

Archive for January, 2013


Day 334: Mason Jar Salads

Posted by annagrace under Days 301-365

This creative project came from… Pinterest. Ok, it’s a problem. But it is giving me lot’s of post ideas, so deal with it! This post is about the layering of different ingredients in a salad inside a mason jar in such a way that it’s able to stay good for up to a week! The original posting had some recipes, so I decided to follow a couple!

I went to Kroger when I got off of work specifically to buy the ingredients I needed as well as the mason jars… fail. Kroger only had huge 10 or more packs of jars and I only wanted 3! So, I found another glass jar-like container that sealed pretty well and decided to use that instead… but they just had 1! So, when I got home, I decided I would try the same basic idea, but in tupperware containers instead of jars. I think the layering is the most important factor.

The first salad I tried is the Poppyseed salad. I changed this a bit by leaving out the green peas because I hate them, and I added some leftover chicken from dinner. Also, I used spinach for all of these because it’s my favorite! Here’s the finished product!

I love the way the layers look! I think I may have done too many toppings in comparison to the spinach, but I still think it will taste great!

The next meal I used the same recipe as the last one, but used ginger dressing instead of poppyseed and strawberries instead of raspberries.

Not quite as pretty as the jar, but I still think it will be great!

The last meal I made was the seafood salad! On the site it says she made her own dressing, but she doesn’t give the amounts of each ingredient, so I just started mixing everything in a small jam jar until it tasted good!  I ended up making a lot, so I can use more later!  I did this exactly like the directions said, but used carrots instead of cabbage.

I couldn’t find any canned shrimp salad, so I went with the crab, although I’m a little suspicious of it to be honest. I tried a piece and it wasn’t bad, so we’ll see!

I’ll be sure and let you all know how well these keep in the tupperware! I’m excited about my lunches for the rest of the week!

Anna Grace


Day 333: Banana “Pancakes”

Posted by annagrace under Days 301-365

Yet again I have an example of how Pinterest has taken over my life in the form of a crazy recipe! This one is actually pretty great and sooooooooooooooo easy! This will be a short post because it’s so easy and I forgot to take many pictures…

This recipe was for Banana “Pancakes!” I put pancakes in quotations because they aren’t made of the ingredients you would think. It’s just two main ingredients: 1 ripe banana and 2 eggs! That’s it! You just mix the ingredients together and pour it into a pan and fry them up like normal pancakes! I added a touch of cinnamon just to give it more flavor, but they were really good! You would never no that they weren’t normal pancakes! Here’s the only photo I got… sorry!

They were extra good with a bit of syrup on them, but tasty either way! And I coated the pan with coconut oil versus olive oil, so I think that added to the flavor and sweetness a lot. These were so good! And easy! I will definitely be making these again!

Anna Grace


Day 332: Typography

Posted by annagrace under Days 301-365

Over the past few months I’ve seen a lot of images on instagram that had text added to them. I thought they looked really neat, so I did a bit of research and found that most of them were made with an app called Over. So I downloaded it and played around with it!

This first one is an instagram picture that I took awhile back as I was relaxing in the tub. Something I forget to do often is to take a moment for myself during my busy schedule, so taking a nice long bath is the perfect way to do that! Here’s two variations of this text because I couldn’t decide which I liked better.

Which do you like better? This next image was taken of 2 of my cousins carrying my aunt who has cerebral palsy into the ocean! I love this picture of them! When I got back to Atlanta after Christmas I found a quote from Maya Angelou that perfectly describes how I feel about my family. Since I found that quote, I’ve been trying to figure out a creative way to use it… so why not on this picture?

Then I decided to use the same quote and make it a bit more fancy.  This is the original photo taken by my amazing cousin Callie (Check out her photography! of her two precious girls! I thought this photo definitely supported the quote.

I then took this photo into Adobe Photoshop Express and messed around with the saturation, hue, etc. until I got it a little antique looking. I decided to play around with different fonts to make it more interesting!

I LOVE how this turned out! It’s now my desktop pattern, and I think I will print it out to put in this awesome frame I got for Christmas! I hope Callie doesn’t think I butchered her photo… Sorry Callie! But I’m really happy with it!

At least one more post coming up tonight or tomorrow!

Anna Grace


Day 331: The Orchestra Song (Instrument Song)

Posted by annagrace under Days 301-365

This creative project started as just something I did for fun, but then I decided to really do it and record it right, so now I’m posting it! The idea to do this came to me the other day while I was nannying. The baby I nanny for is just 12 weeks old, but has just started really smiling and making happy baby noises! He is soooooo cute when he smiles, so I was singing to him and trying to make hime laugh. I realized that he smiled and “talked” a lot more when it was an upbeat sort of cutesy song, so I started to think about the songs my family used to sing on road trips growing up. The Orchestra or Instrument Song was one of our favorites! It is a sort of round where everybody singing has different words they sing, but all the parts fit together! So I started singing all the different parts to Levi (the baby), which he loved, but then I really wanted to hear all the parts together again, so I started recording it. Well, recording while nannying on my iPad is near impossible, so I got down a couple lines, but that was all. Then I decided today that I would record it right!

Just a side note real quick: I just got a new computer for Christmas (well… new to me anyways! It’s my dad’s old laptop, but still like new!), so it doesn’t have everything on it. I’m trying to find a firewire cable so that I can transfer everything from my old computer to the new one, but haven’t had any luck so far. And I can’t just use an ethernet cable because the old computer won’t turn on!! Ahhhh… At any rate, at this moment I don’t have Garage Band on my laptop (although if it were a brand new Mac, it would come with it on it already…), so I recorded this on my iPad without any of my usual “live recording” effects and what not. I think considering the simplicity of the song, it doesn’t need all that, but I just think my voice sounds better with effects, so… whatever.

ANYWAYS, I started just like my family did growing up with the Horn part, which is just the same note repeated over and over saying, “The horn, the horn awakes me at morn.” This part helps sort of keep everything together. I can’t remember the order that we added the parts in growing up, so I just did what I thought sounded right, starting with Clarinet. That part goes “The clarinet, the clarinet goes doodly, doodly, doodly, doodly, det.” Then I added Trumpet singing “The trumpet is calling, rat-tat-tat, tat-ta-ta-tat-tat, tat-tat, tat tat-ta-dat” After that was the Kettle Drum with “The kettle drum plays. It plays only two notes. Five one, one five, five five five five one.” Then was the Violin singing, “The violin sings with joy for me. The violin sings with joy for us all.” Now in most of the versions of this song you’ll find, that’s all the parts. Well, my mom’s family growing up, being the musicians that they all are, decided to make up a couple more parts! The first one was the bassoon, which I think my mom made up, if I remember correctly… It goes, “The bassoon it makes a noise, a joyful noise. Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo.” And the final part that I believe my Aunt Gwenn made up is the Piccolo, singing “The Piccolo, the Piccolo, aaahhhHHH!”

So, I recorded all of those parts a couple times through, then put them on a loop so I wouldn’t have to sing so, so much! Then I decided that instead of just adding each part in one at a time all on top of each other, I wanted to make sure each part was heard individually with just the horn. So, I broke it up into sections, then after that did the layering…. I feel like those last couple of sentences were hard to understand… but it’s after midnight and I’m tired, so just listen to the song and I think you’ll get it!

Orchestra Song (Instrument Song)

I’m really happy with how this turned out! Doing this brought back a lot of happy memories with my family, so I’m glad I recorded it!

Last post for the night! More tomorrow!

Anna Grace


Day 330: Homemade Hair Gel

Posted by annagrace under Days 301-365

Following the theme of the last post, in addition to making shampoo the other night, I also made hair gel! This one I actually got directly off of Pinterest. The original posting is here.

I’ve been playing with the natural texture of my hair lately and trying to embrace the waves. I’ve tried several different scrunching gels and mousses and have found a few I like, but they are all so expensive and ultimately leave my hair feeling crunchy and weird, so I looked into a natural scrunching product and made it up!

This recipe consisted of three ingredients… Water, flax seed, and essential oils. I won’t go through all the steps because they’re on the site, but here’s a picture of the flax seed cooking.

So then I followed the directions like it said, but I feel like mine never got as thick as it needed to… possible because of using a gas range versus electric. My theory is that when you turn off an electric eye, it stays warm far longer that a gas one because of the coils, so maybe the flax seed didn’t cook enough… It ended up more of a thick hairspray consistency versus a gel. At any rate I just went with it and put it into two little spray bottles after adding tea tree and jojoba oils. After taking a shower, I sprayed it all over my hair and scrunched my hair like always. Here’s a picture of me not really caring after my hair air dried.

So, it gave me a bit of texture, but not really as much as I wanted. I think next time I will use more of it and see what happens. I also think I may make another batch and cook it longer. It’s so cheap, I’m not worried about tossing out the other stuff! I’ll update you all when I’ve made it again.

Anna Grace

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Day 329: Homemade Shampoo… FAIL!

Posted by annagrace under Days 301-365

Let me preface this post by saying that I’ve had several posts ready to go over the last few days, but have been sick and/or otherwise busy, so I didn’t have time to post! So, there will be several posts over the next day or so.

As you all know from my recent cooking endeavors, I caved and signed up for Pinterest… and it has since taken over my life!! But, it has also given me a lot of inspiration for creative projects to do for this blog, so I feel like it’s worth it in the end. At any rate, I saw a few recipes floating around Pinterest for homemade shampoos, and decided to do a little research and make my own! I searched on Pinterest as well as online to find the recipe that I thought would be the easiest and would work with my hair texture. I ended up using the Lemon and Cucumber Recipe on this site.

So, I followed the directions exactly and blended everything then stored it in little travel shampoo bottles in the fridge. Here’s the only picture I took of the process… sorry I forgot!

I could have put all the “shampoo” into one big bottle, but since it had to be refrigerated, I decided to split it into smaller bottles just in case I accidentally left it out. That way, only part would go bad versus the whole batch. Anyways, the next morning I decided to put the stuff to use… and I HATED it! It didn’t froth up at all, so I didn’t feel like it cleaned my hair at all. AND it left me with tiny bits of cucumber all in my hair that I couldn’t just rinse out! So I had to use shampoo to get it all out, which totally defeated the purpose. I will say, though, my hair did seem to feel softer after it dried, but that could also be because of the new conditioner I used that day, so who knows!

So, ultimately I would say this creative project was an utter fail… but I may try using it again and see if I can git all the bits out with just conditioner, but I’ll keep you updated

Keep an eye out for more posts tonight or tomorrow!

Anna Grace


Day 328: Digital Portrait of Dad

Posted by annagrace under Days 301-365

As you all know, when there comes an occasion where I need to give a gift, I usually try and make something rather than purchase it. This christmas was no exception. I made one thing for most of the people in my family that I will post at a later date, but for my dad, I decided to crochet him a hat! I found this really cool pattern that was rated as easy, so I thought, “I could do that!” NOPE. For reasons unknown to me, it ended up big enough to completely cover Bob Ross’ fro without smashing it down a bit and the bill could have doubled as a paddle.  So, after all that, I unraveled the whole thing and started over with a smaller crochet hook. Half-way through I realized I was going to have the same problem again!! So, the whole point of that story was that I ended up doing something completely different for my dad for Christmas: a digitally drawn portrait. It’s a completely random gift and I don’t know that he’ll ever print it out or anything, but I had fun doing it!

I’ve done digitally drawn portraits in Photoshop before, but I had never done one on my iPad. I had heard and seen pictures of these amazing images people created on their iPads, so I decided to give it a go!

This is the original picture I copied and it happens to be one of my favorite pictures of my dad!

I read some reviews about different free drawing apps and decided to use Sketch Book Express from Autodesk. Autodesk is the maker of AutoCad, a computer drafting program that the majority of designers, architects, and engineers use, so I figured it had to be good! And I’m glad I chose it, because it was so nice to use! I started by loading the original image into the background layer, then slowly layering colors onto a new layer using the paintbrush tool. In photoshop when doing this sort of thing, I could have it select exactly the color I needed, but SketchBook didn’t have that tool, so I changed around the CMYK levels until I got the colors I needed. I started with the face and hand, then the hair (this was more of an airbrush tool to soften it), then the shirt. I finished with the background, or a rough interpretation of that! And here’s the final product!

I totally meant to crop out the edges where I went outside the lines, but I sort of like the messy, artsy look of it! Overall, I’m really happy how this turned out! I sent it to dad, and he loves it too! It’s sort of goofy, but so is my dad, so it works. :mrgreen: I think I will definitely be using that app again as well!

Anna Grace


Day 327: Dry-Roasted Edamame with Cranberries

Posted by annagrace under Days 301-365

This is the last in the series of healthy snacks I found on Pinterest. I’m sure there are a TON more out there, but these are the ones I came across that looked interesting. I may do another series of these next weekend because it was fun! …other than the hummus :neutral:

Anyways, this creative food project is Dry-Roasted Edamame with Cranberries! This is such an easy snack and SO GOOD! I started by thawing and peeling my frozen edamame (the Kroger here in Clarkston, GA doesn’t have pre-peeled edamame… what?). Then I just spread it out on a pan with some olive oil and sea salt.

Then I just baked it for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, and then tossed in the dried cranberries and I was done!

This is DELICIOUS! When dried out, the edamame take on this sort of nutty, crispy quality that is perfect for a snack. And the tart/sweet craisins really help balance the flavors. The only thing I didn’t like about it was the fact that it made so little! I could’ve eaten all that I made in one sitting if I let myself. I will definitely be making this again in a much bigger batch!

Anna Grace


Day 326: Eggplant Spread

Posted by annagrace under Days 301-365

After the whole sweet potato hummus debacle last night, I was a little hesitant to dive into another healthy snack recipe today. I was especially wary of this Eggplant Spread because it also involved a food processor… which I didn’t have. But, I’m really, really happy I decided to make it!

I started by splitting the eggplants in half and stuffing thyme and garlic then drizzling olive oil and sea salt on top.

After baking for an hour at 400 degrees, they came out looking like this:

And they smelled AMAZING!!! I mean, my mouth was watering like crazy! So then I scooped out the meat and added the rest of the ingredients into the blender. Once it started blending, my fears about it not working went away! It blended perfectly and easily, and tasting so, so, so good!! It’s not the most appetizing color, but just trust that on crackers it’s as addictive as crack!

So good! And so good for you! I had to stop myself from spoiling my dinner by eating too much! My uncle tried some and was amazed at how good it was. I’m so, so happy with how it turned out, and I’ll definitely be making it again!

Anna Grace


Day 325: Sweet Potato Hummus

Posted by annagrace under Days 301-365

As I mentioned yesterday, I found a few recipes on Pinterest for healthy snacks, so I decided to make some! The next one I made was Sweet Potato Hummus. Well… I have to tell you. It was a major struggle to make this stuff. I mean, one thing after the other kept going wrong. I ended up finally finishing it after about an hour an a half, but it was anything but enjoyable. I won’t go into all the details here because it would take me forever to type it all out, but I did take some process photos.

I started by chopping the sweet potatoes into cubes.

Then I was supposed to use a steamer basket in a large pot to steam the potatoes… what the crap is a steamer basket?? So obviously, my aunt didn’t have one in her kitchen, so I tried to improvise with a colander balanced in a pot…

This is where my problems started… this method SUCKED! I was supposed to cover the pot with a lid, but because of the colander, the lid didn’t seal at all, so after tripling the amount of time to cook the potatoes, they still weren’t soft! So I ended up popping them in a bowl in the microwave with wet paper towels on top for steam and then they were finally cooked.

So then I was supposed to put all the ingredients in a food processor, but I didn’t have my tiny one and my aunt didn’t have one, so I used a blender. Major. Fail. The thick sweet potatoes with the hard chick peas and paste-like tahini just would not blend! The tahini was a nightmare in itself…. You’re supposed to mix it before using and it was so separated, it was like straight oil on top and then cement at the bottom. I splattered oil everywhere, including on my brand new cardigan and ended up having to blend it up in the blender to be able to use it… Never doing that again! At any rate, I ended up having to sort of mash what wouldn’t mix in the hummus by hand. It turned out a bit lumpy, but ended up tasting good!

I think it actually turned out pretty tasty and I will definitely enjoy it this week, but I am NEVER doing it again!!! It was soooo stressful that I just can’t even think about it… And while it tasted good, it wasn’t good enough to be worth all the suffering. But there’s a lot of it, so I froze half and will be able to enjoy it for awhile!

Anna Grace