Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Custom Kitchen Aid DIY

Reid surprised me with a brand new kitchen aid the other day. After my squeals of glee I immediately did what everyone does when they get something brand new- started figuring out how to paint it. It wasn't the wrong color mind you it was red exactly as I wanted. Well, at least it would be exactly as I wanted as soon as I figured out how to paint a pin up girl on it. I have had this idea in my head ever since I saw a custom painted Kitchen Aid by Nicole Dinardo of Un Amore in a give away. (I didn't win.)

I wanted to do mine similar to this:

Although I found some great online tutorials on how to repaint an entire kitchen aid a solid color it seems the only way to get a custom painted design like I wanted is to have a professional artist like Nicole do it using an airbrush. Her work is amazing, but unfortunately out of my budget. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I'm extremely tenacious when I get an idea like this in my head so I kept searching until I found a solution! I discovered some clever crafty people have started making vinyl decals in all sorts of designs specificaly for customizing Kitchen Aids! You can find them for sale online at sites like Etsy or Ebay. They are inexpensive, easy to apply, and I was able to find designs to get exactly the look I wanted. 

I ordered some cherry decals from HensInDaisies on Etsy and these pin up decals from Amazon. (The pin up decals are actually made for autos, but I figured cars and Kitchen Aids are both metal so it should be just fine.)

I will show you how I did mine (and how you can too!) step by step:

1. You want to start with a clean kitchen aid. Any grease or residue will prevent the decals from sticking properly. I had an advantage here since mine was new. But if yours isn't just give it a good scrubbing. Once your kitchen aid is thoroughly clean wipe it down once with some rubbing alcohol or vinegar. 

2. Cut the decals out so you don't have a bunch of extra space around them.

3. Now the fun part! Plan out where you want each decal to go. I actually taped the decals on to do this so I was sure I liked the spacing and placement.

4. Now the really fun part! Start sticking! The auto decals were like a regular sticker. I simply removed the backing and stuck them on. I used a bone folder to smooth them down. (This is a tool I have because I'm a former librarian and a also a huge crafter. If you don't own one, no sweat. You can use a Popsicle stick or the handle of a butter knife or spoon.)

5. More Sticking! The vinyl decals come sandwiched between two sheets. To apply them first remove the heavy white backing. Now the decal will be exposed. Place the exposed decal side against the kitchen aid keeping the light wax top sheet still attached. Rub over the top of the wax sheet using a bone folder or Popsicle stick to apply the decal. (The fancy name for this step is called "burnishing.")

6. Now the funnest part! Slowly peel off the wax paper sheet. Tada! The decal will be perfectly affixed underneath!
I think it turned out great and I love that I was able to give it a custom look doing it myself and for under $30! Now it's your turn!

That's all there is to it!  See?  You can do that!

Here is my completed kitchen aid:

Monday, March 24, 2014

How Do You Say "Charge It!" In Indonesian

Jakarta Diaries 3:

Good news! The narrator on my Indonesian language lesson just promised me that by the end of the audio course I will be able to handle social situations with grace. I am pretty excited because I can't even do that in English!

I am now able to say in Indonesian: coffee, traffic, easy, and expensive. So I'm pretty much prepared for any situation.

Despite my obvious mastery of the Indonesian language I am struggling a bit with the currency. I have an app on my phone that converts rupiah to US dollars which helps, but it's when I hear the amount as opposed to seeing it written that really throws me.

Just this morning as Reid was on his way out the door he said,"I left ten thousand for you on the coffee table."

Ten thousand?! Instantly my head started swimming with visions of designer clothing and shoes. Mama gonna get her some Louboutins!
Imagine my crushing disappointment when I discovered ten thousand rupiah meant he'd basically left me milk money.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What Would You Do For A Klondike Bar

Jakarta Diaries 2:
Today I went grocery shopping with Ibu Kasih, our maid. She speaks very little English and I speak even less Bahasa but I was somehow supposed to communicate to her what foods I would like or any dinner preferences I have. I followed along behind her and she picked everything with the exception of using charades, pantomime, whatever it took to communicate to her that I wanted a large Swiss Milk Chocolate bar when we passed the candy section. Oh, and I pointed at a papaya.

Traffic in Indonesian is insane. It can take two hours to go to the store one day and twenty minutes for the exact same trip the next. There are scooters and motorcycles everywhere and they carry anything and everything! I've seen chickens in cages, huge flat screen tv's and families of 4 on a single scooter.

Cars squeeze into any free crevice of space on the road and lanes seem to be regarded as more of a suggestion.

Yesterday on the way to pick Reid up from the Embassy, Pak, our driver, taught me my first word in Indonesian: "macet." (Traffic) Today when I said it Pak was absolutely thrilled. He broke into a huge grin, laughed, and said "Mrs. Stesi! I like! I very like!" and he gave me a coffee candy.

Then he started teaching me numbers 1-10 in Indonesian. When I repeated them back correctly he exclaimed enthusiastically, "Good! Good! Mrs. Stesi very smart!" Then he gave me another coffee candy.

I couldn't help but think of the Big Bang Theory episode where Sheldon starts feeding Penny chocolates to secretly train her by using positive reinforcement.

In other news it is a minimum of 89 degrees here morning, noon, and night. I am a hot mess at all times. Trying to put make up on a face already dripping with perspiration is pointless. My visions of frolicking about Indonesia looking something like a modern day tropical pin up girl have been replaced with the futile hope that the sweaty bangs plastered across my forehead won't dry like Alfa from the Little Rascals when I enter a building with air conditioning.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Beer Makes Everyone An Artist

As fun and exciting as travel is, living a life where you are constantly uprooted can be hard. To help with the adjustment it's important to get out, explore, and meet new people.

Although Reid and I know this is true it is very easy to fall into a pattern of school and study for one of us and lounging in yoga pants, watching Lifetime movies, baking scones, and forgetting to shower for the other. (One of us obviously knows how to do it right.)

To prevent us from becoming weird disconnected hermits while we are here in DC we have set a goal of going out and doing "something" twice a week. The "something" can be anything that gets us out but preferably something social and free (or inexpensive). Because I have the most free time (unless it's Tainted Love Tuesday on Lifetime) I am relationship cruise director and plan our outings for each week. One event I found that has been our favorite by far is Handi Hour at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Handi Hour is an ingenious combination of a craft night and happy hour. There are all-you-can-craft projects, live music, craft beer,  and food. This is all going on in a beautiful museum setting among incredible works of art!

Shrinky Dinks and friendship bracelets were the featured crafts for this month's Handi Hour.

Ordinarily I am not the greatest at setting goals. Or thinking ahead. Or being prepared. Or remembering where I parked my car. But when it comes to the important things in life, like crafts I am completely on it.

I searched online ahead of time for creative project ideas using Shrinky Dinks and found this amazing 3D layered ring design which I absolutely love. There was even a printable template and step by step tutorial.

The author said she chose her windmill landscape design because she lives in Holland. I decided to use the same inspiration and do a Washington DC design for my ring. I printed out a small DC skyline silhouette to bring and use as my template.

Reid, who is not a crafter, decided to help me on my ring. He picked the most detailed building of the three to cut out and did an amazing job!

We met a really nice couple sitting across from us. 

I liked them even though they were drawing professional looking Shrinky Dinks freehand. I felt much better after learning she is an art teacher. She also makes gorgeous purses, clutches and other leather goods. Take a peek at her work in her online shop!

Fortunately, all the time we invested slowly and meticulously cutting my rings out really paid off. The design turned out perfect!

Unfortunately, the sizing did not. Wow. Shrinky Dinks REALLY shrink don't they?

Crafting blunders and all we had a really fun night out. 

I love that there are more than just 20 somethings attending.
Remember making these?!
What events do you enjoy where you live?

Have any great ideas for low cost fun?

If you are in the DC area the next Handi Hour will be June 11.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Jakarta Diaries

When Reid first told me he was being sent to Jakarta, Indonesia for his first Foreign Service post I had no idea where that was. Literally none. Next to to math, science, organizational skills, time management, and self control around sugar and French fries, geography is my weakest subject.

So, of course, it makes perfect sense that I would end up in an environment where one of the common ice breakers when I meet people right after "what is your name" is to ask where in the world they are just returning from or preparing to go next.

I think I've got masking my blank stare into a knowing smile, nodding and saying something like,"Ah...yes Mauritius," down to a science. Sometimes I even add a delighted chuckle as if I'm reminiscing about a boat/scooter/camel ride across a lake/road/desert on my last trip to Mauritius. Then I politely excuse myself, run to the restroom and in the privacy of my bathroom stall frantically google "Mauritius."

It was armed with this geographical ignorance combined with never having traveled overseas, or even having a passport before, that I headed to Indonesia to join Reid.
(Love makes us do crazy, crazy things.)

The following is the first post in my series "Jakarta Diaries." These are writings from my experiences while living in "The Big Durian."  (I figure if you wanted purely facts you would be googling "Jakarta" from the privacy of a bathroom stall instead of reading my blog.)

Jakarta Diaries:

After 19 plus hours we arrived in Jakarta!
Although I was completely exhausted when we arrived it was impossible not to feel excited and have my head on a swivel as we drove from the airport to our house.

Jakarta seems like a place full of contrasts.
There are beautiful trees, tropical flowers, and lush green foliage under a polluted smog filled sky.
The landscape can go from rice paddies surrounded by tiny shacks built from mismatched scraps of painted corrugated metal sheets to a tall modern skyscraper in less than 20 feet.
As we drove through downtown Jakarta I saw barefoot vendors pulling dilapidated wooden street carts in front of high end shopping malls with stores like Cartier and Louis Vuitton.

Even the people here seem to be a contrast. Although most live in what we in the United States would consider extreme poverty, they are an extremely friendly, warm, and happy culture. Everyone smiles and seems genuinely good natured.

Woman are addressed as Ibu or Bu (pronounced Boo) and men are called Pak (pronounced Pock). Everywhere we I go I hear "Halo Bu!"

Reid told me his local staff at the embassy are almost all women (Bu's) and there were only two men on his staff. Only two Pak's. Get it?! Tupac?! 2Pac!!
Maybe it's funnier when you're ready to collapse from jet lag.

First Indonesian meal!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Toilet Paper Is So Last Season

Hello! Welcome to my blog!

Now let's get right to your burning questions.

Who am I and why am I starting this blog?

My name is Stacey and I currently live near Washington DC with my boyfriend, Reid, and our new puppy Sherlock.

I say "currently" because we move a lot. Don't worry, we are not fugitives on the lamb (although that would make for some exciting blog posts).

We move so much because Reid is an officer in the Foreign Service.

We just returned from our first post in Indonesia and are now busy preparing for our next post to Madrid.

Well, one of us is preparing. The other has done Lesson 1 of Rosetta Stone Spanish (twice!) and is calling it good. I figure my finely honed charades skills have served me well so far.

Foreign Service life can be exciting and fun yet it also has it's share of challenges.

Trust me, nothing can take the wind out of your sails faster than attending a ball in your custom made gown, feeling glamorous as you rub elbows with ambassadors and dignitaries, only to end up spraying yourself in the face with a bidet after just narrowly escaping a fall into the squat toilet.

Okay, granted that may be my own unique problem and not necessarily attributed to foreign service life, but constantly changing cultures and customs certainly doesn't help matters.

I am starting this blog to share my experiences with you as I travel the globe.

 Because really, who doesn't want to hear cautionary tales about global plumbing?

Sherlock <3