Showing posts with label DIY. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DIY. Show all posts

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Cooking with Nemi: Pan-fried salmon with green beans stir fry, served with rice.

Hope the week is going great. Well this post is looong overdue. Nemi and I made this delicious meal (well more of Nemi making and me helping) months ago when I was in Oxford. As you can see, it is healthy because of the generous serving of veggies, and then the fish, and it tastes even better than it looks. If you like fish, and are looking for a healthier alternative to our good old rice and stew, this meal is a must-try. Now I won't ignore the fact that green beans are not a staple in our Nigerian diet (for those of you who live in Naija), and not so cheap either. I don't see why we can't grow green beans in this country- it is actually a very healthy vegetable and it is quite bland, so no overwhelming taste, and so it always tastes good when seasoned or stewed. However you can buy a big bag of green beans (can serve 6-8 people and can be refrozen) for between N1000-1500 at the frozen foods unit of any supermarket here. Anyway here goes the recipe!

Green beans
I small onion
Bell Pepper-we used 1 red and 1 yellow
Seasoning e.g maggi, then curry, thyme, salt to taste.
Chilli pepper
Tomato puree
Non-oily fish e.g salmon, croaker
5 tablespoons of olive oil
Rice- preferably basmati.
Chop the peppers and onion. Start by heating up a bit of oil in a pan or wok for a few minutes.

Add the green beans and peppers as well as onions and toss to combine. Break up any clumps of sliced onions that may have stuck together and stir fry till tender. This will take anywhere from 1-3 minutes. Turn off the heat.
To make the stir-fry sauce, mix some tomato puree with the seasoning and some chilli pepper and add a bit of water. Mix thoroughly.
Using only a quarter of the sauce mixture, thoroughly coat the fish with the sauce, and then using about 2 tablespoons of oil (heated in another pan), place the fish in the pan to fry for a minute, turn over and over till it is well cooked. (This takes about 4 minutes). If you like, you can grill the fish in foil for 3 minutes in the oven so the sauce soaks into it better. 

The rest of the sauce should be poured into the veggie mixture, turn on the heat again, and then keeping tossing till it begins to really sizzle. At this point you may add some soy sauce if preferred. Add a bit more water if the sauce is looking dried out. Turn off the heat. 
For the carrots, simply slice them with a julienne peeler or any other tool you like, then steam the carrots.
For rice, cook the usual way. Make sure the rice serving is not too large.
And there you have it!


Thursday, 16 April 2015

One hour Chicken Stir Fry

Last week I decided to make a chicken stir fry and it turned out quite nice. So I decided to share the deets with you. I actually didn't mean to do a post on it and the pics were taken to be sent to someone anyway, but then I thought, why not do a post on it?
Em, please ignore the disorganized look of my kitchen!
What I liked about the dish apart from the taste was that it took only an hour to make. For a dish that serves 4, one hour isn't too bad. 
Chicken breast: Half a kilo, diced into bite-sized chunks
Red bell peppers:3. Cut 2 into strips and set 1 aside
Tomatoes: 2
Onions: 1. Dice half finely and set half aside
Green pepper: 1. Cut into strips
Carrots: 5 or 6 medium sized ones. Cut into circles or strips
Chicken casserole seasoning. You can use any other chicken dish seasoning or even chicken broth.
Knorr cube: 1
Oil: 2 cooking spoonfuls
Soy sauce: 5 tablespoonfuls
Thyme, Turmeric or curry, black pepper (optional)
Salt (if needed)
I blended the 1 red pepper, half an onion and the tomatoes in a blender (added a little water) and set that aside. Then I started by adding oil to a pot and getting it warm on low heat. I added the carrots first, stirred for a minute, then the onions went in next. Stirred for another minute.
Added the red and green peppers next. Looks so colourful doesn't it? :) Stirred for about 2 minutes.
Then I poured in the pepper-tomato-onion blend, the chicken, and all the seasoning, and also about 2 cups of water. I covered it on medium heat for 12 minutes. Result in the picture above.
Lastly I added some soy sauce to give it an oriental twist and colour! Stirred and let it simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.
And it was READY! Now I cannot for the life of me understand why I always forgot to take a picture of the soup alongside rice or flat bread- you know that picture of the final served dish that should even be used as the cover pic for this post. I had it with bread once and basmati rice other times and it tasted really good.

You really should try it with flat bread- it's da shiznit I tell you. I remember now that every time I warmed it to eat, I was always so hungry that I just forgot to take a picture before digging in. Haha! Also this stir fry is pretty "healthy", due to the veggies, protein serving and low oil content.

Ever made a stir fry?

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Natural, homemade masks for removing a tan

Hi everyone,

I thought I should share on these 3 natural, homemade tan-removing facial masks that really work!
OK, first you need to know the following about these masks before you continue reading:

1. You need patience with natural remedies. If you are patient, you will see results in a week.
2. You need to be ready to make a fresh batch of the tomato-and-lime mask every 2 days.
3. For severe pigmentation, these masks may not be "strong" enough to take care of the issue.

So here are the deets on the three facial masks that I use every now and then, particularly when I have been out in the sun and see that I have darkened a shade-I burn really easily so I tend to darken pretty quickly!

Tomato-and-lime mask
This mask is my absolute favourite. Tomato has exfoliating properties and lime has lightening properties. The lime could be switched for lemon. This mask stings a bit, though in a minute or two the sting subsides. All you need are half a tomato and the juice from half a lime to last you two days. Just keep it in the fridge after using it. I usually wash my face and apply it on my face. It dries pretty quickly and I sometimes apply it a second time. I leave it on for an hour and then rinse it off.
Some people add cornflour to make it into a thick paste so that the mask stays on. However I just feel the cornflour would make it a little less effective and I don't use it.
My only con about this mask is that you have to blend the tomato in a blender with a few drops of water, compared to the other masks that require very little preparation.

Honey-and-lemon mask
This is my second favourite. The honey has to be the natural kind though. One tablespoon and the juice from half a lemon is enough for the face. Leave it on for an hour and then rinse off.

Turmeric-and-water mask
For this mask, you can use oil, your night cream, lime/lemon juice instead of water. You only need to add a few drops of water to make the turmeric into a paste and then rub it on for an hour before washing off with soap. 
The general issue everyone has with turmeric is that it stains like mad. You have to make sure you don't get orange stains everywhere!

What homemade masks have you tried?

*All images unless otherwise stated sourced from wikipedia*

Monday, 21 July 2014

Ombre-ing your weave (lessons learnt!)
Hi guys,
I wanted to share my very "interesting" experience, when I tried to DIY-ombre three bundles of deep wavy Asian hair I recently purchased from a human hair supplier. Now this hair came in a natural dark brown shade. However I recently purchased something a bit similar in colour and curl pattern and I told myself "Hmmm how can I jazz up this hair to make it look different from the other one?...Oh of course! I could dye it! No...better still, I could ombre it! I would do it myself. I love DIY projects. This would be fun."
I remember chatting with my friend and blogger Unoma of Vieve Butterfly (you should check out her blog for great make up reviews and other cool stuff) and telling her of my plans. She warned me to avoid using bleach, and told me about her horrifying experience with it, and how the bleach over-bleached her weave and the weave was never ever the same afterwards.
I agreed with her, but I couldn't find lighter hair colour to buy, and the hair colour I had bought wasn't lightening the hair enough after I did a test on a small strip of hair. So that morning I went to a hair supplies store in my neighbourhood to check for blonde hair dye. I saw Orino bleach and I was like...."Hmmm this can't be that bad, all I need to do is to be careful. I will do a test strip. I love DIY projects. This would be fun."
So I bought Orino bleach for N600.
That's the bleach. It comes in 2 satchets of blue powder, a plastic bottle of lotion-like stuff, and plastic gloves. I got plastic bags ready for this bleaching process as well.
I wore the plastic gloves, poured the satchet contents and the lotion in a plastic bowl, used my sprush to mix it thoroughly. The instructions said the recommended timing to bleach the hair was 60 minutes.
I did a test on a small strip of hair so that I would be able to estimate the time it would take to get the bleach to lighten the hair to the desired shade. It took almost 1 hour for this to happen so I figured I would apply the bleach to the whole hair-ends for 40 mins then apply on the section above the ends for like 15mins for a graduating ombre look.
That lighter strip of hair at the middle is my test strip.
The hair immediately after applying the bleach. I wrapped each bundle up in plastic and stacked them up.
One hour later, look at what the over-bleaching process did to the hair- totally straightened it out! Here's what happened:
1. Remember that from my calculations I figured 40mins would do, so that I would apply the second stage of bleach to create a graduating ombre. Apparently the bleach gods were laughing at me and I didn't hear them.
2. Crossed my legs and started doing some work on my lappy
3. 40 mins later I stroll to the stack. Notice heat radiating from the stack. Noticed fumes, yes SMOKE, wafting from the stack. Wiped my eyes to be sure. Confirmed it was smoke. Freaked out for 10 secs.
4. Got my sh*t together and RACED to the sink with the hair like a lunatic, while thinking IT'S EXPENSIVE HAIR, IT'S EXPENSIVE HAIR!
5. Ran water from the tap on the hair and started rinsing vigorously. Noticed the ends had been FRIED. FRIED almost to a crisp.
6. Freaked out some more.
7. Continued rinsing.
8. Used Pantene shampoo to wash after rinsing and folding the hair along the weft
9. Rinsed, used Alberto Balsam conditioner, rinsed again. Applied more conditioner, oils, hair butter, every thing I could find that could moisturize hair. Concentrated these on the over-bleached ends of course. Wrapped hair in a plastic bag and placed it near the hair dryer for deep-conditioning.
10. After 30mins, rinsed hair, applied leave in and more good stuff concentrating on the ends. Left hair to air dry
11. I kept checking on the hair and sighing over the damaged ends. Yes, about 2 to 3 inches of the hair were damaged, sparse, dry, straight etc. I knew I would have to do some snipping.

Here's the hair after it was 90% dry. I arranged the 3 bundles according to decreasing degree of damage starting from the left of this pic. The snipped ends are on the far left. Even what's left is still damaged, particularly the first bundle, which of course was the very first bundle I worked on, so the bleach stayed longer on it, hence the worst damage. 
Next day, I applied some curl butter (Curl Junkie Coco-Coffee Curl Cream) that I use on my natural hair to the ends. Only then did the ends look better.

1. If it is your first time using bleach, practice on cheap hair first.
2. Better still, try a blonde hair dye first and see how that goes.
3. Test strips are not true indicators of final results and timing estimations when it comes to using bleach for hair! I figure what happened was that when I bleached the whole length of hair and covered it up, the cumulative weight of the hair generated more heat and sped up the bleaching process. Sorry, I am an engineering major so I can't help sounding scientific at this point lol. But you get my point don't you? The 1 hour test strip time was OK for a tiny strip of hair, but was WAY too much for the whole hair that I eventually dyed.
4. When using bleach, check every 10 minutes! 

1. Use quality conditioners to deep-condition the ends, using heat
2. Use quality leave-in conditioner and curl butters- at worst, use shea butter and oils
3. Always keep ends moisturized.
4. Snip off excessively damaged ends.
5. If ALL the ends are excessively damaged, too bad, you are going to lose inches of hair, and if the hair is expensive, that would just suck.

So, ladies, please be careful when trying out DIY hair bleaching. That nigga called bleach is lethal! Lol.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

DIY fabric flower earrings!

Hello my people!
Hope you enjoyed the Easter break! I did...
Anyways I have come again with another DIY project of mine. DIY projects are not for everyone. I mean, you would rather buy an earring than make one right? But for those like me, it's about the process of making something lovely, from scratch, and also, you can make something custom-designed for and by you! DIY projects are fun to me, they relax me, and I have given out so many jewelry items as gifts. I am an artsy person, and I still believe sometime in the future, I will take up art classes. It's never too late eh?

So I made these cute fabric flower earrings some days ago.It's super-easy, and you can make yours to be bigger, longer, smaller or brighter in colour.

On the left: Items I used. Scissors, thread and needle (threaded and knotted at one end), earring hooks, length of chain (I used bronze), jump rings, round nose pliers (not shown here) a circular object to cut out circles of fabric, fabric of course. If you look closely I used 3 different types of fabric. Ankara, a shimmery fabric I cut from an old party skirt, and some netting fabric. This is where you get creative and custom-design your earrings. You can use whatever fabric you like, use as many different kinds of fabric, use any size of circular object to make your circles, cut out as many circles as you want, just do what you like.
On the right: I was cutting out my circles here after drawing the circular outline with a pen. You want to fold the fabric 2ce so you can cut out many circles at once. Saves time.
Once you are done with your circles, pick one and fold into half, then fold again into another half to form a quadrant as shown the 1st pic.
Pass the threaded needle through the base (the sharp pointed part). Make another quadrant with another circular piece of fabric and arrange it to align with the first quadrant. Then pass the needle through the base.
Continue this process, adding more quadrants in whatever pattern you like, as shown in the 2nd pic. Just make sure you align the quadrants so the bases are in the same position.
When you are done, pull the thread taut and pass it through the stack 2 times to make it tight and firm. Then make a firm knot. (3rd pic)

Snip off any excess thread. You can start opening the folds- you should have something like a flower.

When you separate your "flower", look for the middle region and look for the thread stitch. This is where you will pass the jump ring and then the chain. Pass another jump ring through the free end of the chain, and add the earring hook to it.

And you are done! Of course, you need to repeat the whole process for the second earring.
If you don't have pliers and jump rings and chains and you wanna try this project or begin to make your own things once in a while, you should go to "Crafties" store. This store has EVERYTHING you need, and at affordable prices too.

I wanna make another pair of brighter and fuller earrings, and I also wanna make a pair of super-long ones- the ones that graze the top of the boobies-yea those ones :-) It's really all about the length of the chain!


Thursday, 20 March 2014

DIY: Cropped top

Wanna make a simple and casual cropped top from a T-shirt? Cropped tops are in vogue at the moment and if you have no qualms about showing some midriff, AND you have a reasonably flat tummy, then this DIY might be good for you! Simply follow the instructions on the image above-photo credit to

I had tried this with three of my old tees, though I didn't bother modifying the sleeves. I drew a curved line at the back and an inverted curve at the front as shown and then I cut it out. It's usually best to measure the length you want and make it longer at first so you can make adjustments.

The abs still need some work! :-)

I wore one of cropped tops I DIY'ed to the beach back in December.


Saturday, 14 December 2013

DIY Makeup.


This is for my DIY-lovers out there. Ever thought of making your own make up? Lol. I know, "no thanks, I’d rather just buy my make up thank you very much". Nah, this is just a fun, let’s see what it would look like idea. I haven’t even tried any of these yet but I wanna try these someday. I think this is something I would like to try out with my daughter someday, just for fun :-)


DIY neon lipstick

What you need: Crayon (the right colours of course) cut into little pieces, a bit of olive oil, a bit of shea butter.

What to do: Melt the crayon by placing them with the shea butter and oil in a bowl and then placing this in boiling water. Mix thoroughly, then pour the mix in a little pot-probably an empty lip gloss pot.

DIY eyeshadow

What you need: Green tea or chocolate powder, coconut oil.

What to do: If needed, blend the tea or chocolate powder till it’s very smooth. Add a bit of oil to form a thick paste. Put this in a small container.

DIY tinted lip gloss

What you need: Powder fruit powder or punch, Vaseline.

What to do: Mix the powder with a bit of Vaseline. It’s that simple.

Lol it’s kinda silly huh? This DIY makeup thing….but really, the last 2 seem like safer chemical-free options. But nah, I’ll leave this DIY activity for much later when I wanna try out something fun with my kid.

What do you think?

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

DIY: African print (ankara or aso oke) iphone cases!


Like that iphone case? Well I do and I am gonna show you how to make one! I am a sucker for pretty things that are unique and stylish. I am gonna purchase a custom iphone case soon but today I decided to make my own iphone case-I even made two!

Here are the deets:

What you need:

Scissors, fabric, felt beneath.
You need your print fabric (of course). Use whatever fabric you choose to use. A pair of scissors, and some glue. Felt-I used felt because it's stronger than cotton wool. I had felt from last year when I did some supply shopping at the market. You may purchase felt at any craft store. Lastly, and this is optional, you need an embellishment. Use whatever you like: brooches, bows, but I decided to make mine, so I used some black net fabric. Other tools are a pencil/pen and a ruler.

Get started!

1. Cut out the felt: Use your phone as a measurement guide. You want a square of felt that would wrap around your fone with a cm of overlap. You also want to use the length of your fone or just a teeny-bit shorter than the length so that the top of your fone juts out a little bit. Also, make it a snug fit. You don't want your phone slipping out of your case!

2. Cut out the fabric: Place the felt square over the fabric and measure out 1-inch extensions around the square, then cut this out.

3. Cut out an EXACT size of fabric again, so that you have two squares of fabric. The plan is to have the felt between the two pieces of print fabric.

4. Place the felt square in the exact middle of the first piece of fabric. Make sure the wrong side of the fabric is facing up. Then apply glue to the edges of the felt and the middle.

5. Place the second piece of fabric on top of the felt and align the fabric well so it's flush with the one under the felt. Press firmly!

6. Flip the felt with the fabric now attached over, apply glue to the side facing up, place the second piece of fabric and press. Now you will have a felt sandwich. The felt in the middle and 2 pieces of fabric glued to both sides. Just ensure you align the fabric well.

7. Now place your phone in the middle of the pad you have made. Fold the pad over so it overlaps like it did when you were measuring. You will have some extra fabric jutting, so fold this under so it looks like this:

Do you see the idea? There's an overlap of felt. The fabric that extends is TUCKED under. Press to form a crease. 

8. Next you have to apply glue. Where you apply the glue is important. Lift up the flap, apply glue under as well as where the flap will rest on. Then press again firmly. In other words, you will create the same effect as shown in the image above but this time you are using glue to make it stay that way.

So press firmly so you have this:

9. Next, we create the base of the phone case. There will be about an inch of material jutting out of either side right? Pick the side you want to make your base. Apply glue on the OUTSIDE of the jutting part of the fabric....

Looking at the pic above, the glue should be applied from the edge to where the felt ends.

10. Tuck the jutting fabric with the glue around it inwards. You'll get your fingers sticky though! Tuck it in all around so it looks like this...

In the pic, I had not applied glue yet, but really there should be glue all over that inner flap you just tucked under. 

11. Now press both sides firmly to close it up! You will get this:

Now you have the base for your phone. Next is to finish up the other side-the open end where the phone enters.

12. The other end also has jutting fabric right? Apply glue, but this time on the INSIDE of the jutting fabric!

Here, I applied the glue around the inside part-just the jutting bit.

13. Tuck this under and press firmly and neatly. So that it looks like this:

This is the open end of the case. You are basically done! The next step is the embellishment part, which is optional.

14. Embellishment. I just cut a long strip of netting, folded it over and tied a bow around the case:

I folded the ends and stuck them in place with glue. Finally I found a gem-looking stone to use as a centre-piece and stuck that in place too:

Finished! Not bad huh? Here are some more views for you: back view, side view.....

I immediately made another case using the same method but using a different, thicker fabric. I did not fold under the open end because the edge was already neat-I cut the fabric making sure I took advantage of this neat end. The other end was not neat but I did not fold it in either to make the closed end of the case because the fabric was very thick. I just applied glue on the inside of the jutting fabric and pressed it together. 
Here it is:

I used no embellishment for this one because the fabric is already quite colourful. My sis loved this one so much! :-) 

Tips: I realized that glue holds much better if you wait for some seconds after applying, before pressing the pieces together. Also when pressing, do it firmly and hold it in place for a while. If the fabric is thick or layered due to folding, hold for longer, be very firm and maybe place a heavy object to hold it in place for some minutes.
For patterned fabric, take some moments to align the prints nicely before cutting. Also when glueing don't be absent-minded! Only apply glue to the wrong side of fabric! Trust me people make these mistakes lol.

So that's how I made two lovely phone cases today!

Try it out !