Long Lasting Memories- In a Mug!

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. 

If you are reading this, I will assume you have more than one coffee/tea mug. I will also assume you are considering adding another mug to your collection or want to design one as a gift for someone else. Either way, today I will show you how I created a long lasting custom designed coffee mug. Self-designed mugs have been around for years and, thanks to Pinterest, over the years the recipe to designing these mugs continues to get more efficient.

img_8411When I first read about self-designed cups, I read they were designed with sharpie markers and then baked for 30 minutes. However, when searching for designs for my own cup, I also came across countless of reviews talking about how faulty that method is. Nevertheless, I decided to give the method ago but instead, I doubled the steps and added one more material to the process: Acrylic sealing spray. And that my friends, appears to be doing the trick. Mind you, it was a long process but one that is worth it if you want to give a gift that lasts.

So, here’s what you need:
1. Blank mug, whatever color
2. A design for your mug
3. Oil based sharpie marker(s)
4. Oven
5. Acrylic sealing spray
6. Gloves


Steps:

  1. Draw your design on the mug once and allow it to dry for 2 hours. Add another coat to your design and allow it to dry, again for two hours. (Tip: if you need help on how to draw or transfer your own design on to the mug, check out this blog post: http://crafts.tutsplus.com/tutorials/how-to-decorate-a-coffee-mug-using-a-porcelain-marker–craft-7454)
  2. Place mug in cool oven and allow it heat up to 350 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes and let it sit in the oven until it is completely cooled off. Do not move the mug while hot because the ceramic can crack. Once the mug is cool to the touch, you can move to step 3.
  3. Draw over your design one more time. Allow to dry for two hours.
  4. Repeat step 2.
  5. Once mug is completely cooled off, put on your gloves, go outside, and spray your mug with the acrylic sealing spray. 1-2 coats is enough.
  6. Allow your cup to dry for 2-3 hours.

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Yes, I know this is a long process! But it’s what seems to be working. Below is a picture of the cup I gave my friend after many washes.


I had a great time creating this project. Even though I had to design two mugs since I accidentally dropped and broke the first one. Haha. Have you ever designed a mug with sharpies? If so, did the design last? I would love to learn more ways to make ceramic designs that last and survive the dishwasher. I can’t wait to see how this mug turns out in a year or so. Don’t worry, I’ll update this blog post :P. In the meantime, I will continue designing mugs using this method. Remember, there’s no limit to your creativity.

Thank you for stopping by!

Stay groovy,

-Sirene

 

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. 

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The Sunflower Bakery & Café- The Sunflower of Galveston

Little gem in Galveston, Texas! The Sunflower Bakery & Cafe

Recently, my boyfriend and I had the opportunity to brunch at the delightful Sunflower Bakery & Café, located on Galveston Island.  We were in G-town for one of my dear friend’s wedding (beautiful wedding, btw), and being the opportunists we are, we made the event a mini get away for us.

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Look at all those goodies!

We live in Houston, so naturally we have been to Galveston often, but never on a staycation. We both know of Galveston’s gastro reputation; we know there are plenty of big chain restaurants, as well as local gems, such is the Sunflower Bakery & Café.  The bakery/ café was established in 1999 (rebuilt in 2008 due to IKE) and has been serving fresh food created from scratch ever since. They take pride in making and baking all of their menu items from scratch, and specialize in making their dishes and desserts using local and seasonal ingredients.

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Sunflowers every where!
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Their own pancake mix! Yum!
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Sunflower Granola Mix

The experience:
When we walked in to the restaurant, I was a bit confused because there’s the restaurant sitting on the right side and a cool small shop on the left side- the Bacon Farm. This small, unique shop carries all kinds of cool stuff! Anything from antiques, to furniture, to great collectibles.  Nevertheless, after some re-orientation, we were welcomed by the hostess who proceeded to sit us right away. We were fortunate to get a table in front of the dessert pantry.  Like kids in the proverbial candy store, we were both gawking over the pastries tugging at our eyes and hearts. Soon enough, we were greeted by our polite and agreeable server, Serghei, who was very knowledgeable about the restaurant.

One of the things my boyfriend and I pay close attention to when visiting a restaurant for the first time is the menu selection. If a restaurant has one too many items on their menu, it makes us wonder what can they cook really well, since they have so many dishes to focus on and prepare “well”.  Can they focus on cooking all dishes deliciously without having a few of them being cooked half-heartedly? What is their specialty dish when they have so many dishes on their menu?  Not to our surprise, the Sunflower had a good handful of items in their brunch menu: not too many, not too few. And they are all brunch-relatable items that align with the culture of the restaurant- A cozy, home-cooking type of place.

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One of the sweets pantries.

Our food:
We ordered the Big Breakfast and the Eggs Benedict. Both dishes were served in a timely manner, they were both very delicious, and were both hot and right out of the kitchen onto a plate. The Big Breakfast included freshly made pancakes from the Sunflower’s own pancake recipe. I personally don’t fancy pancakes much, but my boyfriend does. Let me tell you, he was in pancake heaven. The pancakes were steaming, soft, and cooked thoroughly. Not to mention they tasted delicious. He claims they make Le Peep pancakes…weep, and IHOP pancakes drown in their own syrupy sorrow.  Our Eggs Benedict was worthy of a Michelin star (if Michelin ever gave stars for breakfast); eggs perfectly poached and the sauce culled from the Hollandaise gods. The coffee was proper and so fresh; a perfect accompaniment to our perfect breakfast foods.

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Eggs Benedict, Big Breakfast & Coffee
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Season greetings
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Life really is SWEET!

Over all:
We loved The Sunflower Bakery and Café! For as long as it’s been in operation, my boyfriend and I couldn’t believe we hadn’t made the trip to dine there sooner. It’s evident that they care about who they hire and what they cook. The food was peerless, coffee was spot-on, and customer service was 5 stars.- thanks Serghei!  The Sunflower Bakery & Café is the perfect place to enjoy a sunny seaside brunch whether you’re a flip-flopped, vapin’ bohemian or a hungry hungover sailor.  We encourage all Texas visitors to make the trip to dine here, you will not be disappointed!

Till next time!

love,
Sirene

The Art of Gifting This Holiday Season

Five suggestions to a more thoughtful gift.

I think we all have that ONE family member that we don’t know what to buy for during Christmas. Yea, stores will suggest tons of ideas for gift giving, but let’s face it, they just want you to spend money on their store… makes sense. Besides, that flashy reindeer sweater Macy’s is pawning off on you is one even uncle Fred wouldn’t be caught dead wearing.

Unfortunately, you can only give someone that same paisley scarf X amount of Christmases in a row. Same goes for wallets, purses, shoes, etc. I think Christmas shopping is a bit more difficult because you are shopping for your entire family, not only one person.  Of course you don’t want to give the same gift to two different people. I am very lucky that I have a tiny family (five people + pets). But for those of you who have 10-30 family members to shop for (bless your heart.. and your pocket), buying gifts can be stressful. Even if you have a small family, gift shopping can get complicated if you don’t do your research. Let’s check out these gift giving strategies that might make Christmas gift giving a bit easier and more fun!

My mother’s handmade “Santa & Friends” wall decor

1. Utilize conversation/text topics/Facebook stalk:
Think about an ongoing theme in conversations or text threads you may have with that person. Sometimes an inside joke said in a text can turn into a great gift idea. Also, I am sure if you are considering getting a Christmas present for someone, you are more than likely their Facebook friend. When it comes to gift giving, you gotta get creative and maybe a do a little bit of FB stalking. This is something I have done before in order to pick up on someone’s interests. Here’s how: 1. Look into the pages that they like. 2. Match those page likings with their FB feed. Remember, FB feeds are constantly updated with someone’s latest topics of interests. Page likes? Not so much. But if you find a topic on a person’s “liked pages” and also on their fb wall, then you know that person is genuinely interested in that one thing. Also, you can always have one of their FB pictures printed onto a mug/t-shirt or simply frame it.

2. Peek in to their bedroom
This one only applies if you know the person closely. Lol. Not if you’re shopping for a co-worker or something like that. Also, when I say peek into their bedroom, I don’t mean psycho-search their bedroom lol. All I say is to look around for maybe movies laying around, posters, records, work out gear, or any undergoing theme. If this person has a set of movies of a certain genre, you may gift him/her a new movie of the same genre or a missing movie from a trilogy. P.S. If you are shopping for a co-worker, look at their desk. What are some things he/she has hanging around? Do they like stationary items? Do they have a plant in their desk?

3. Ask them to put together a Christmas list of 10 items:
Okay, if all comes to worse, have the person put a Christmas list together of the things he/she needs/wants. My family and I started doing this last year and it make Christmas shopping a lot easier. You know you’re getting the person something they want or need. The only disadvantage of this “tip” is that it takes away the element of surprise. That doesn’t mean you can’t put your twist on an item though. If someone asks for, let’s say, a pair of shoes, you can order a pair of socks with pictures/relatable quotes imprinted on them to go with the shoes.

4. Gift a want, not a need:
These are things that people talk about, but won’t ever buy for themselves because they feel morally obligated not to purchase something they don’t need. How do you pick up on a cue of what that “want” may be? Refer to suggestion 1.

55. Pick a special moment with that person and bring it to life:
That one is self-explanatory. But here is an example: During one of my favorite shows, “The Office”, Jim gives Pam a tea pot full of little gifts: a year book picture, a hot sauce package, a small pencil, among other things. All of those little trinkets mean something to Jim and Pam. In the same way, you can pick something as random as socks, and stick little trinkets in them that remind you of certain inside jokes or special events you and that person shared.

Some may say these “tips” may require too much work or are a little bit “too much”. I say that if you’re gonna gift someone something, might as well do it with care and with love. After all, Christmas is the time to give. I am sure that even if a gift isn’t considered “thoughtful” by you, it will still be meaningful to the other person. After all, it’s the thought that counts. Happy Holidays, beautiful people!

Love,
Sirene

Chimney Decor