Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pink Wednesday (Pink Mosaic nails)

I haven't done a Pink Wednesday post in forever. My nails were bare this morning so I figured, why not? This will be a really short post so here we go...
Items I used:
Finger Paints Art Nouveau Glow
Milani #1 Hottest Pink
China Glaze Purple Panic (Neon)
OPI That's Berry Daring
Orly Sugar Plum
Revlon Plum Seduction
OPI Flashbulb Fuchsia
Kiss Black nail art pen
SV topcoat
 I really like this. I only used one coat of each polish. This mani took about 30 minutes to do. Let me know if you try it. Thanks for reading!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

African American Art at it's Finest

I had my eye on this piece for quite some time before I actually purchased it. I wasn't sure if I wanted it because I didn't know if it was going to fit with the theme I had decided to go with in my kitchen. But I couldn't stop staring at it, so in 2009 I bought it. I loved it so much I was going to change my whole design idea from an Old-World Tuscan theme to an African American theme complete with Aunt Jemima cookie jars, Mammie salt-n-pepper shakers, etc. Here is the art piece from Heritage Fine Art...
Heritage Fine Art is an online gallery that displays African American artists and their collections for purchase. This piece is called "Sixty Pounds". The woman depicted here is sitting at her old fashion farm sink cleaning sixty pounds of pork chitterlings. If you don't know what chitterlings are...well...I will just let you research them for yourself! The artist's name is Annie Lee.  You can read about the artist and see more of her amazing work here.  It is an 18"x24" Open Edition Lithograph.

**Open Edition - The quantity of prints reproduced is not limited. As long as the image is in demand, it will be reprinted. 
**Lithograph - A print produced by a printing process in which the image to be printed is rendered on a flat sheet or metal plate or stone, and treated to retain ink while the non-image areas are treated to repel ink. 

So here it is all framed and beautiful, hanging in my kitchen. I just love it.
It fit perfectly in the space. I had it custom framed so that it would look really good. I also chose the more expensive non-glare glass so that I could enjoy it from any angle, and the red matte accent was meant to highlight the 6 red buckets. It's amazing. My mom saw it and fell in love with it. So since my decor is changing, I'm going to graciously gift this work of art to my mother. Here it is in a more expanded view...
Notice the paint work around the edges of the wall and cabinets. These are my beginnings to making my kitchen look more Old-World and Tuscan. So Mrs. Annie Lee's beautiful artwork has to find a new home, because she no longer fits in with my decor. My mom will be so excited!! Thanks for reading!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing...My First Attempt!!

First off, I finally decided to take action on my blog. I hated the layout I had. There are too many beautiful things that I love, and I only want to manage one blog, so I took away the fancy background and pictures. I designed my own header, added a blank background and presto!! I can see clearly seems so much brighter & organized, and much easier to read, I hope. Anyway, on to the cookies. 

I have an oatmeal raisin and a chocolate chip cookie recipe, and I have perfected them both to my own tastes. But I have never tweaked a sugar cookie recipe to my liking, until now. After reading several cookie blogs, I found my favorite one, took some notes and got to work. I know you're probably saying, what's the big deal, it's just a sugar cookie. But not to me. I wanted to learn how to decorate them all cute and fancy like you see in specialty shops. My local bakery sells one cookie for around $3.95 and up! So I said no way, I can do this myself. And thanks to Sweet Sugar Belle I can make my own! They're not the best you've ever seen, but they're mine, and I was so excited at how they turned out!
I think I may have rolled the dough a little too thin but they turned out great anyway. I worked the recipe a little bit because I like sugar cookies that taste sort of like tea-cakes. And sugar cookies are fairly simple, so I knew this part would be easy, but now on to the icing.
Very stiff and stable, just like it should be at this point. From this batch I made icing for piping and my flood icing. And it was fairly simple to do. I decided I would pipe the hearts in pink and fill them with white icing, just because.'s my first attempt at outlining cookies...
To be honest, I think I did okay. I had lots of broken lines, but I think I either had too much air in my piping bag that I didn't squeeze out or my frosting was too thick. And I was a little nervous so I was shaking, don't know why, so I kept touching my cookie with the tip of my icing bag, instead of staying well above the surface of the cookie, which is what you should do to achieve a nice even line. I will have to practice this more. Now on to filling the cookies with the white icing...
I picked this photo purposely to show the air bubbles that dried in my frosting. I did not pop all the bubbles as I filled in my cookies, I guess I was too excited about actually having made them at all!
I really think that I should have used a larger tip to outline my cookies. It looks weird to me.  Maybe I just need to practice a little more. I printed some practice sheets from  Karen's Cookies to help improve my skills. So what do all of you professionals think? Did I do good for my first go at it? Let me know what I can do to improve. Overall, I had a blast doing this. I see lots of cookie Saturdays in my future. Thanks for reading!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Starry Night Nails...

Mama can you put me on your blog? This is all I heard from daughter Tuesday night after she did her nails. I think I've turned her into a nail polish addict too! (just a teeny tiny bit). This idea evidently had been brewing in her head for a while, so she finally decided to sit down and have a go at it.
I love it! She used Orly Liquid Vinyl and Nicole by OPI glitter called Twist of Fate. She never uses a base coat (shame shame) but I think she used an SV topcoat, I doubt it though...I'm still training her, she's seventeen so she's all about going, going, going. Applying a base coat takes too long mama! That's what I hear all the time. So, **sighs and shrugs shoulders** c'est la vie...her nails, not mine.  Anyway, she said this mani reminds her of stars falling from the sky. I think so too. So kudos to my baby girl. Nicely done! Thanks for reading!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Personal Art Piece

Almost every wall in my home is bare. We built and moved into this house in 2006. I know what style I like (Tuscan, wine-themed, Mediterranean style with rich muted colors and rustic wrought iron details), but I can't seem to translate it into real life. Visit Accents of Salado for a better idea of what I'm talking about. Their website is gorgeous! I have bits and pieces in different rooms to show and maybe get some insight on how to decorate from you guys in future blogs ;-)

But today, the focus is the beautiful work of art that sits on my fireplace mantle. It's not Tuscan or Mediterranean by any means, but it's beautiful, and I love it! Everyone that knows me knows that I like African American Art. You all will soon learn that too! My husband has a very talented cousin that drew this by hand several years ago. I loved it so much I had it framed and displayed it here.
I've always loved the way framed art and mirrors look when you just lay them against the wall. So elegant and casual at the same time. Anyway, his inspiration photo was the picture below of R&B singer Mary J. Blige...
Isn't this breathtaking?! It's almost like you can feel her heartache and struggle, even though she's making sure she looks elegant and beautiful for the camera. I just love it. I've never been sure if it goes with the leaves, random statues and candle pillars...but I know I love to walk in and see this picture everyday. He's such a talented artist. We've had him do several other things around the house I may show on future blogs. But for now I had to show this to you guys, because I believe it is definitely worthy of being on a blog called "Beautiful Lovely Things". Thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Homemade Bubble Bath

Hey y'all, I have another one of my homemade BLT's for you today. Oh, and If you read my previous post, my blog still looks the same so far with just a few tweaks here and there for now. Still clueless on what to do with it.
Oh, and before I forget...remember this post from last month? Well, my new bag finally arrived! I'm much happier now! The upside down label on the inside pocket was just unprofessional on their part, and I would not have been satisfied if I had kept it.

(Side Note: for future reference, BLT = Beautiful Lovely Thing, hence the blog name)

Now let's get to it.
I was convinced that making my own bubble bath was going to be difficult and expensive, but I was pleasantly surprised. Bubble Bath is such a luxury to have because after a long day you can soak yourself into a blissful state of comfort!

Here are the items I used:
2 cups liquid soap (unscented)
1 bar castile soap (flaked)
3 oz glycerin (or 6 tbsp)
1/4 cup water
15 drops pink sugar scented oil
15 drops fresh rain scented oil
4 drops red color

Add these ingredients to a large bowl and mix them well. I microwaved the soap flakes in the 1/4 cup of water. I bought a really cheap cheese grater that I could use for all my bath products.  It is much easier to grate a bar of soap and melt the flakes than to cut the soap into chunks  and then melt the chunks. I learned that the hard way! The heat from microwaving the soap flakes will help to melt all the ingredients together. You can buy castile soap as a liquid but I prefer this brand and I haven't been able to find it in a liquid yet. 

Castile soap is used to soften and moisturize the skin, and in most brands it is made from 100% Olive Oil. This particular brand (Kirk's) uses all natural coconut oil. Liquid glycerin, a by-product of soap making, is another skin moisturizer.

Essential oils are the key ingredient to homemade bubble bath. They help soothe & relax your body, depending on the scent you choose. I love lavender, chamomile, jasmine, etc. I also use essential oils over fragrance oils in my bath products because I'm always afraid that fragrance oils will irritate my skin. So I save them for candle making!
So after I mixed my ingredients, I added them to one of my favorite containers. I saved this one after using all of the store-bought bubble bath. I think I got it from Wal-Mart. Since the fragrances I used are called Pink Sugar and Fresh Rain, I wanted the bubbles to be kind of pink, so I used 4 drops of the red color.
And voila! Here it is! I named this one Petal Water because it looks like what the dew on pink roses would look like if you bottled up it all up. If you want more of an opaque bubble bath, use unscented liquid soap or shampoo that is white or milky looking. I used clear with the batch I made today because it fits with the name. Also, adjust the amount of water/glycerin in the mix for the thickness/thinness that you desire your bubbles to be. Now add a capful or so to your bath and enjoy. Thanks for reading!



Thursday, July 7, 2011

De-Clutter or Remodel?

I really love my blog. I love posting & I love reading everyone else's posts. But something bothers me every time I log in and click "View Blog". 

I hate the way my blog looks! Maybe because the more gadgets I add to it the more cluttered it looks. Or maybe it's because I blog about so many different things, but the background of my "cookie cutter" template is a wine glass. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love wine, but I love lots of other things too, hence the blog title. I don't want to lose myself in this blog so I probably better straighten it up a little bit. 

I don't really want to start from scratch, I think I just need to edit a little here and there. And I love blogger, so I won't be switching to some other place like WordPress or something (I love love love my dashboard!!!)

I want my template to be a little bit more custom, something that fits what my blog is all about,. But, I'm not sure where to start with the whole custom template thing. Does anyone have any ideas? To start things off, I'm trying out this custom signature thing, because I want a nice personalized "out' at the end of every post. I don't know. I'm up at 1am brainstorming this whole thing, trying to figure out which road to take. I will come up with something, eventually. If you're reading this, thanks. Hopefully I will come back soon all custom and personalized! Goodnight...

Monday, July 4, 2011

Blue Monday

Happy Independence Day!!!
My mani today is not going to be one of those traditional 4th of July manis, because that's really not my thing. I love to see it on other people, but it's just not for me, at least not today! Besides the holiday, today is also Blue Monday. So in keeping with the theme, I have a color that's at least on the blue side of the color wheel...turquoise! I have two colors that I just knew were the exact same color so I did a mani comparison:
I bought Jesse's Girl Glee on my birthday and just knew I already had something similar. I got home, and there was its twin, OPI Catch Me in Your Net  sitting on the shelf. From the pics, you would think that the OPI would pale in comparison because the shimmery glitter in JG looks super intense right? After all, the bottle says high intensity nail color...
Well, not really. Maybe it's the thickness of the glass bottles, or maybe it's the amount in each bottle?
There's really no difference here that I can see. Can you? Well, there is a tiny bit of VNL on the OPI nails, but they both look like blue-green shimmery glitter polishes to me! I hear these polishes have another dupe out there too...Zoya Charla. I don't have it to compare to these, but there are lots of good swatches all over the internet if you wanna check it out too.
It's always hard to get my camera to focus on detail, but it's even harder when the detail is glitter. But you get the point of what I'm trying to show you, I hope. I applied to coats of each color with a base coat of American Classics Gelous. I did not apply a topcoat because I wanted to see if I could tell a difference without the added shine that a topcoat gives.
Sitting at a red light, I just happened to look down at my hand and decided to take this pic with my iPhone. Even with the blurriness, they are still exact dupes. So you choose, Jesse's Girl Glee for around $3 or OPI Catch Me in Your Net for around $9. Either way, same results. Since I can't tell a difference in these two polishes, I think I will wear this mani all day...Happy Blue Monday ya'll! Thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Homemade Bath Salts

Yea! I'm finally gonna show yall one of my most favorite things to do in the world! As I mentioned in my "About Me" I love making homemade bath products, so today I'm going to share one with you. I'm sure we all love bath salts, but we hate to buy them because sometimes they can be really expensive, or you add them to your bath water and you can't tell that you ever added them. Well try my recipe & tell me what you think. Below are the ingredients you will need...
I played around with these ingredients for a long time to figure out what works for me. You can do the same. The mixture I used today was:

1 cup Epsom Salt
1 1/2 cups Coarse Sea Salt
1/4 tsp. Baking Soda
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Baby Oil
10-12 drops Scented Oil
 2-3 drops Food Color

This is what you should have. I always use a wooden bowl and spoon because I don't like the way the salt sounds when you stir in a metal bowl (that whole fingernail / chalkboard thing). You don't have to add color, but if you do, mix thoroughly.
After you've mixed it all up & it should look like this...
Voila! You're done! Super Easy right? I used blue food color today because the blue kind of  makes it feel spa-like. The scented oils I used were Eucalyptus and Lemongrass. I used 15 drops of Eucalyptus and 12 drops of Lemongrass. I like my bath salts to be strongly scented. and more therapeutic so I use essential oils instead of fragrance oils. But beware, essential oils are a bit more expensive! Use less if you need to, or smell as you stir to get the strength you want.
I can't wait to use this one, it smells so nice & the inside of a massage parlor at the back of my favorite spa...
Now just pour them into a cute (air-tight) container & place them on your bath tub until you're to use them. All my cutesy containers were being used already so this is one of my backups, which works for me because the amount I made today all fit perfectly in here!
So there you have it! Your own homemade bath salts. So, to soften your bath water & soothe tired, aching muscles, add 2-3 scoops under running bath water. Enjoy...thanks for reading!