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Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday's Click Picks

Design Quick-Fix: Protecting Your Floors with Felt

My new apartment has hard wood-esque laminate flooring. Hoorah, no more wall-to-wall carpet! However, this meant that I had to prepare my wood furniture for the floor so I wouldn't scratch it to death from day one.

My only option for this according to Bed, Bath & Beyond are overpriced felt furniture pads - such as these.

But here's what they don't want you to know... are you ready for the quickfix bombshell? Michael's and other stores sell entire 8.5x11" sheets of adhesive backed felt that work just as good if not better than these specific furniture pads!

I'd argue that they're even better because you can get whatever color you want, they're only about $1.25 each, and you can cut them to whatever size you need.

So next time you are hardwood floor-proofing your furniture pieces, head right for the craft store and save yourself some moola.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thursday's Click-Picks

Chalkboards: They're Not Just for School Anymore

An old mirror gets new life as a gorgeous chalkboard at FullHouse

Recently, a friend of mine was surprised to find out that chalkboard paint is readily available and used often now in home decorating. As a fan of house blogs for a year now, I've noticed tons of great uses for chalkboard paint that result in practical and surprisingly chic results in the home.

It's readily available at most stores and Lowe's even carries chalkboard spray paint to make your DIY even easier.

If you'd like to make your own chalkboard paint from any shade - here are instructions from Martha Stewart Living:

Start with flat-finish latex paint in any shade. For small areas, such as a door panel, mix 1 cup at a time.
  1. Pour 1 cup of paint into a container. Add 2 tablespoons of unsanded tile grout. Mix with a paint stirrer, carefully breaking up clumps.
  2. Apply paint with a roller or a sponge paintbrush to a primed or painted surface. Work in small sections, going over the same spot several times to ensure full, even coverage. Let dry.
  3. Smooth area with 150-grit sandpaper, and wipe off dust.
  4. To condition: Rub the side of a piece of chalk over entire surface. Wipe away residue with a barely damp sponge.
And to get you inspired, here's a bunch more ways to utilize chalkboards for something more amazing than homework assignments...

Message Center

A favorite of mine - the Chalkboard fridge!

Children's Bathroom

Magnetic Chalkboard (created with a coat of magnetic paint, then a coat of chalkboard paint)

Last but not least, the most amazing use I've seen, the Chalkboard Paint Dining Room table! Check it out here at Design*Sponge.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wednesday's Click Picks

Disney's Halloween Costume Contest

Obviously, I was in very good company with my Up! costume.
To my right, Michael won 2nd place in the Disney category. His Russell Costume was too perfect.

For more about my costume and how to make your own, please click here and here.
Also, in case you missed it, Up! just came out on DVD and Blu-ray yesterday.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tuesday's Click Picks

New Feature, Fun Links of the Day

In my former job, I would send out a daily newswire with all the day's headlines. At the bottom, to keep myself creative, I'd put some interesting, fun, or incredible links of the day.

Since it was a loved feature and because I miss doing it, I will usher in a new era of fun links called "Click-Picks"!

Be sure to keep a look out for this (hopefully) daily post of fun places to go on the web. Feel free to suggest your own using comments!


5 Reasons not to miss "The Princess and the Frog"

This weekend, I was lucky enough to go to the Cast and Crew Premiere of The Princess and the Frog, a beautiful film that ushers in a very welcome return to hand-drawn animation and the golden age of Disney musicals. The party itself was like nothing I've ever been to, especially in light of the fact it was technically "a work party."

Aside from the food, the New Orleans Jazz band, and the complimentary milk and cookies as we left the ballroom - I think the thing that will stick with me the most about the experience is the wondeful sense of togetherness and collective pride in the studio's accomplishments as a team. The applause was nearly constant for the entire duration of the five minute credit sequence.

I'm used to watching little short films I did with friends and being excited when we all applauded our work. This, there is nothing to really compare it to when you are in a room with people like John Lasseter and everyone who brought the film to reality, from the executive producers all the way to the lighting artists and assistants.

Having seen the movie for the first time on Saturday evening, I won't tell you spoilers other than it was easily another Disney classic, a beautiful movie with a great message, and something that should not be missed.

On that note, here are my top 5 reasons you should take my word for it and check out the film went it debuts in theaters nationwide on December 11.
  1. It's directed by John Musker and Ron Clements. Know what else they directed? The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Hercules. Remember those little movies from your childhood? Yeah, I know you're totally singing "Friend Like Me" in your head right now... dork.
  2. Everyone knows that Princess Tiana is the first African-American Princess. However, did you know that she's also the first American princess? Forget the fourth of July, the time to be patriotic is now.
  3. Miss those catchy Disney musicals? Not only is Princess a musical, the entire soundtrack is done by New Orleans native and acclaimed composer, Randy Newman. The genius behind "You've Got a Friend in Me" has captured the spirit of the city in songs that will entertain a whole new generation of kids and adults alike.
  4. John Musker went to CalArts with John Lasseter, Brad Bird (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles), Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo) , and Pete Docter (Up). There's a reference in the movie to their classroom "A113" - you gotta see the movie to find it.
  5. Oprah does the voice of Tiana's mother. Enough said.
Seriously, it's a fantastic movie and everything you've been wanting to see return from Disney Animation. Go see it and get back in touch with that incomparable feeling you get when you watch those amazing musicals you or your kids grew up with.

Oh, and I got to meet Jennifer Lewis (the voice of "Mama Odie") so that was pretty flippin' sweet.

Monday, November 9, 2009

One-Sentence Dinner: Mini-Brisket

Recently, my dear friend Laura (aka Ooroo) shared with me a one-sentence dinner that is too good not to pass along. What do I mean by one-sentence dinner? Just what you might imagine, here's a delicious recipe that I can tell you from beginning to end, in one scrumptious sentence...
Combine one can of Cream of Mushroom soup, one seasoning packet of Ranch dressing seasoning, 1 lb of brisket or chuck roast in a crock pot and cook for 7 hours on low for a yummy, easy dinner that'll impress any dinner guest. 
I've nicknamed this dish "Mini-Brisket" since it's a poor-man's slightly quicker version of my Nana's incredible, only-a-Jewish-grandmother-could-concoct, brisket recipe.

Here it is, step-by-step, in case you need more than my lovely sentence above.

  • 1 lb boneless chuck roast or beef brisket (brisket is picture above)
  • 1 package Ranch dressing seasoning (Hidden Valley is my preference)
  • 1 can Cream of Mushroom soup (Try Cream of Mushroom with Roasted Garlic if you're a garlic fan)
  • Water (as needed)

1) Place the meat into your crock pot and top with the entire seasoning packet.
2) Add the entire can of Mushroom soup.

Steps 1 & 2

3) Fill the soup can 1/3 full with water and add to the space surrounding the meat (this liquid will add to the awesome gravy that forms around the brisket).
4) Cover crockpot and cook on LOW for 7 hours. If you will be away for longer than that, set the timer for 7 hours and then it'll revert to the Keep Warm setting (at least, on my Crockpot it will). For the record, I've let my brisket cook for 8 and 1/2 hours on Low and it was still perfect when I got home!

5) Serve with rice or mashed potatoes (and some veggies if you have any) and enjoy a meal that takes only one sentence to say and literally 5 minutes to prepare (and photograph!)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Think Different

I'm in love with a rare series of posters made by Apple in 1997. As part of their "Think Different" campaign, they created posters with 10 individual designs featuring great minds and people of the 20th century. One of those people was Jim Henson (and Kermit iconically posed in the background). In addition, there were major figures like Amelia Earhart and Ghandi. It was part of a marketing strategy to re-brand Apple in a world where IBM was greatly eclipsing it, circa 1997.

The take home message of each poster: "Think Different" juxtaposed with someone who changed the world through their passion and their achievements - I think that's really powerful. It's no wonder that originally, Apple sent them out as complete packages of posters to schools and educators all over the country.

The campaign was a huge success and you can read more about it here, at the Low End Mac blog.  Now, more than a decade later, the series in both sizes, 11x17" and 24x36" are highly sought after and have become major collector's items. Just one like the Jim Henson poster here is selling for at least $200+ on eBay and other sites.

If you're interested in making the investment, I've read that they are only going to grow in value. One site where you can readily get them is here, at the Missing Bite (overpriced in my opinion, but consistently available right now). I'd recommend purusing eBay and craigslist, however, you should be cautioned that there are many fakes out there. eBay has a great article that details what may constitute a fradulent "Think Different" poster so be sure to consult it before buying.

Even if you can't afford one of these posters now (aka you're like me) - take a second, be inspired, and watch 59 seconds of the Apple "Think Different" commerical below.

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