OBSESSED: A BEAUTIFUL MESS, OXBLOOD, AND CANDY

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We bring you a pretty big list today. Some old meeting new, some bloody ox, and a way to rot your teeth – sounds like a blast, right? Also, in #sonotobsessed we warn you of a sickness that is going around, one that left us in bed watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians for 2 days straight – we are sure they were to blame for the vomitting. Guess we’re a little masochistic.

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SHAWN HUCKINS
Totally obsessed with Shawn Huckins and the fact that he blended the old school with the new. What is greater than witnessing those folks stuck in paintings from the American Revolution using the text lingo of today?! While they are probably rolling over in their graves from the lack of grammar painted across their faces, this generation thoroughly enjoys it. I mean, lyke, c’mon. PS. His pieces will be exhibited at L2Kontemporary in LA as part of Ten Years Drawn starting November 16th.

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LEFTOVER/50% OFF HALLOWEEN CANDY
I shouldn’t have to explain why this is an obsession. You got dressed up, and if you were smart, you went door to door for free candy. Now, you will have a pillowcase full for weeks – or maybe days, either way, you did the right thing. If you didn’t trick-or-treat, fine, but now you need to make your way to the store and purchase the bags of candy that are now on sale. Your stomach may hate you, but we know unwrapping those itty bitty treats felt good at one point. That is really all that matters.

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DL&CO SEVEN DEADLY SINS PLATES
Thanksgiving is coming up, and if you are hosting a small dinner party, you should totes serve meals on these plates. What better way to discuss what you are thankful for while clearing your plate to reveal a sin you more than likely committed through the course of 2013? No, not a good idea? Whatever. If anything, they will be a conversation piece. And they just look really badass.

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OXBLOOD
We bring you another color for this installment: OXBLOOD. It’s the deep, dark red that’ll have you looking incredibly chic for fall – if the season ever makes its way to LA. To get this perfect color, it takes a few simple steps: find an ox, go to the desert, consume peyote, sacrifice the ox by draining all it’s blood and pray to Anna Wintour and Nick Wooster for their blessings on your #ootd posts. Wait, No. That doesn’t sound right. Well, whether you hand dye your clothing in actual ox blood or pick something out from your favorite brand, you’re autumnal wardrobe will be set with this color! #So2012 #StillNotOverit

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YOU SHOULDN’T DATE A GIRL WHO READS BY CHARLES WARNKE
“You, the girl who reads, make me want to be everything that I am not. But I am weak and I will fail you, because you have dreamed, properly, of someone who is better than I am.”
Sometimes we sit and wonder how to properly get our voice heard here in our office – and we mourn the fact that we cannot always come up with something so beautifully written – like this essay. All we have to say is, pick up a book and dream away lovers because life is nothing without some well put together prose.

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ABEAUTIFULMESS.COM
Do you need another reason to hate that you cannot DIY? Or that your home doesn’t look like a page torn from a catalogue? OR that you have yet to perfect that fancy cocktail or meal? You do, and the girls of A Beautiful Mess have got everything you need from a blog down to a science. They make DIYing look like a piece of cake, they make cake, and they give you tours of adorable homes. They also show off their super cute style and how to have parties like a pro. OH AND, they did a series of unique cocktails for their friends! How does it get any cuter than that? Anyway, check them out if you want ideas to put on your “to-do” list that will more than likely never get executed. We are guilty, but we go back for more.

CHILDISH GAMBINO FREESTYLE
First, he is a babe. Second, that has nothing to do with the greatness of this freestyle, we just had to get it off our chest. So back to him on with Sway in the Morning, rapping over Drake’s “Pound Cake,” and executing it with perfect effortlessness. Midway through the rap he breaks meter and discusses the power of money – while smoothly going back to rhyme. We can’t wait for his album to come out next month. We’re dyingggg.

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MIDI SKIRTS
While we enjoy seeing you rocking the minis and showing off those gorgeous gams, maybe it is time for a change. Take it back to the 1800s where the ankles we the most gawked at body part and find the perfect midi skirt. They are classic. They work for any body type and were basically made to be paired with some pointed stilettos. Our eyes have been on Tibi’s variety of full silk skirts (and the one leather one…gahhh) someone buy them for us ASAP.

#SONOTOBSESSED

SNL AND ITS LACK OF DIVERSITY
Basically, get it together.

STOMACH FLU
Reason why we were not able to give you #Obsessed last week. It was killer. Use that hand sanitizer ALWAYS.

 

D.I.Y: CUPCAKE SURPRISE

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Who doesn’t love delicious surprises? It’s a good time of year to do something cutesy or make a romantic gesture. How about this ice cream cone that’s actually a cupcake? This isn’t so much a recipe on it’s own (because using a mix is so much easier, and I love finding easy means to ends), but more of a way to look like a clever master baker without having to know what you’re doing. Also, I’m a sucker for trompe l’oeil.

INGREDIENTS/MATERIALS:

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-cake/cupcake box mix + whatever it tells you to get (mine wanted water, oil, and eggs)
-frosting
-ice cream cones (the “styrofoamy” ones with the flat bottom)
-sprinkles/things to decorate with (optional)

-mixing bowl
-mixer/whisk/fork
-muffin/cupcake tin, or a cookie sheet if you feel dangerous (the mini cupcake tin I had fit the cones perfectly!)
-spoon
-chopstick/tooth pick/skewer/fork

STEPS:

1. Follow the instructions on your cake mix box. Mine said preheat to 350F and combine all ingredients.

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2. Stand all your cones in your tin/on your sheet.

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3. Use a spoon to fill the cones. Do not fill to the brim. They will rise.

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4. Bake as long as the box tells you to. They usually give you a time window, mine said 21-24 minutes. I checked if they were done at 20 minutes by sticking a chopstick in them. (They weren’t.) If your chopstick/tooth pick/skewer/fork comes out clean, you’re done.

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5. Frost/decorate.

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6. Surprise! Enjoy.

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D.I.Y.: “WINE GLASS” / CATCH-ALL

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Oops, it’s February 13th. Have you been stumped for a gift that’s sweet or funny but not overly gooey? Maybe want something that is a little more original than chocolate or flowers? Get in your car and get to the craft/hardware store and let’s get to it. Here’s a super fast and simple idea for the “red neck wine glass” and the same idea as a catch-all (or jewelry stand).

 

materials

MATERIALS:
-E-6000 glue (available at most hardware/craft stores)
-a [mason] jar
-a candle stick holder
Optional:
-a plate
-other glass bowls/jars

STEPS:

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1. Decide how you want your thing to look (if you’re going for the catch-all). The “wine glass” is pretty straight forward.

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2. Run a good bead of E-6000 along the lip of the candle stick.

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3. Put your jar/plate/whatever you decided on top. (Repeat if you’re doing a catch-all.)

4. Let it cure for 24 hours. You can help speed up the process by using a hair dryer on LOW. Do not aim the heat directly at the glue.

5. Gift it. Enjoy!

Tips:
-Try thrift shops or dollar stores if you don’t already have candlesticks and jars on hand
-Fill it with candy or love letters or a terrarium
-Use candlesticks with wide bases to increase stability
-Don’t mess with it while it’s curing/drying
-Use a plate and candle stick to make a cake stand

D.I.Y.: VEGGIE POTSTICKERS

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Gong xi fa cai, Angelinos; the Lunar/Chinese New Year is this Sunday (the 10th, though the celebrating is usually done the night before). Potstickers (or dumplings) are traditionally eaten on the new year because they resemble gold ingots, and who doesn’t want that good fortune? My mother taught me how to make dumplings, and like all of her recipes, everything is done by eye– not measurements. The good news is, this recipe is pretty forgiving. The better news is, you can use it to clean out your fridge (like I did). And if you’re a devout omnivore/carnivore and don’t want to see a vegetarian/vegan recipe, you can absolutely add meat. If you’ve got basic staples (especially staples of Chinese/Asian cooking), all you might need to pick up are the dumpling wrappers/skins.

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INGREDIENTS/MATERIALS:
-Whatever you want for your filling. I used: half an onion, half an avocado, a handful of mushrooms, tofu, and carrots. If you love animal protein, use your ground meat of choice. Pork and chicken are pretty popular.
-Spices/seasonings (that I consider pretty essential): garlic (I used two cloves), green onion, ginger (I forgot to pick up fresh, so I had to use ground), a bit of salt and pepper, soy sauce, and some hoisin sauce for fun. A splash of sesame oil and some vinegar would have been great additions too.
-eggs (to act as a binding agent)

-mixing bowl
-cutting board, knife, grater (for the carrots)
-cup or bowl with water
-spoon
-preferred cooking oil
-frying pan

STEPS:

1. Chop up everything you want in your filling. Ideally, the filling should not be too chunky, which is why I grated the carrots and tried to do a decent job of mincing the onion. Add your spices/seasonings. Any time I asked my mom how much to put in, she’d always say, “Whatever is enough. You can see how much is there.” Rough. For the amount I made (let’s say 2-3 cups of filling), I’d put in a couple table spoons each of the sauces and a few good dashes of the spices. Err on the side of being too bland, that’s what dipping sauces were made for.

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2. Mix. Make sure to break up things like onions and mash down things like tofu and avocado. You want a pretty smooth consistency. Granted, this sort of looks like barf. In the second image, you’ll see I added a healthy dose of corn starch. My mixture was pretty soupy (thanks to my extra soft tofu, get firm!) so I tried to thicken it up. That is the downfall to veggie fillings. Meat really holds itself together. If you think you might have watery filling, you can try to drain/blot up excess liquid or add flour if you don’t have corn starch. You could also refrigerate it for a while to stiffen up, or give it a quick sauté to get those eggs to hold everything together.

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3. Here’s the fun part– assembly! Grab your spoon and scoop out bit of your filling to put in your wrapper. No more than a Hersey’s Kiss sized scoop. If you used meat/have a pretty solid filling, you might be able to squeeze in a little more. Dollop that in the middle of your wrapper.

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4. While holding a dumpling wrapper with the filling in the palm of one hand, dip a finger into the cup/bowl of water from the other hand. Then run a line of water across one half of the wrapper along the edge. Kind of like Rafiki did to Simba. Then, fold the wrapper in half, (like a taco) and pinch the sides together. The water is what will help the two sides stick together. This is why you don’t want to put too much filling in; it might leak out the sides if it’s too stuffed.

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5. Do this a bunch of times/til you run out of wrappers/filling. If you made more than you want to eat, freeze them! (I’d recommend freezing them on a cookie sheet, laid out so they’re not touching, then throw them into a ziplock for storage. You’re less likely to tear the dumpling skins later when cooking.)

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TO COOK:

You could always boil them like ravioli (when they float, they’re done), but these are going to be potstickers, so pan frying it is. Plus, that’s my favorite way to cook them.

1. Heat up your preferred cooking oil in a good sized frying pan. Lay out dumplings across the bottom. Try not to layer them on one another, if they touch a lot while cooking, you might tear their skins off trying to pry them apart

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2. Let fry for a few minutes, or til golden brown on the bottom. This gets them crispy. I usually let them do their thing and avoid stirring (again, skin breakage!), but I’ll give the pan a few good shakes to make sure they aren’t getting stuck to the pan.

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3. Add a half cup to a cup of water to the pan, then cover with a lid and cook another 5-7 minutes or until water cooks down. You don’t want to add more than a centimeter of water, not quite to halfway up the dumplings. The idea isn’t to drown them, but to steam them. This will make them tender.

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4. When the water’s gone, you’re done! The hardest part now is getting them out of the pan without tearing the skin. And they don’t call them potstickers for nothing. In my experience, trying to unstick them from the pan with a fork or spatula can result in mangled dumplings, often with that crispy bottom still stuck to the pan. My solution, again, is to shake that pan. Like you’re mad at it. Keep shaking until those potstickers gradually unstick and knock each other off the bottom of your pan. (And in case there’s confusion, I mean shake it on the horizontal plane, like you’re getting ready to flip a pancake or are making stove top popcorn. Not like a polaroid picture.)

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5. Plate it. Enjoy.

DIPPING SAUCE IDEAS:
-classic soy sauce
-a mix of soy sauce and vinegar (my fave)
–the above, plus some finely sliced ginger
-Sriracha
-sesame oil (+ soy sauce + vinegar)

D.I.Y.: SUPERBOWL ANIMAL STYLE DIP

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It’s Super Bowl Sunday! I’m sure you’ve got all the wings, chips, and light beer you can handle, but just in case you’re not at your snack capacity just yet, here’s a pretty simple dip recipe for a faux-Animal Style dip (à la In N Out). If you’ve got everything you need for a barbecue (because when isn’t it BBQ weather in LA?), you’ve got everything you need for this dip. This is definitely not healthy, but if you call yourself an Angelino, or even a red-blooded American, you should already be gathering ingredients. At least it’s vegetarian.

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MATERIALS/INGREDIENTS:
-8 slices of American cheese (for authenticity)
-10 or so dill pickle chips
-5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon mayonnaise; 2 Tablespoons ketchup; 2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
(or make it easier on yourself and substitute for about 8 tablespoons of 1000 Island Dressing if you have it, because that’s basically all ‘spread’ is)
-1 good sized onion + a little oil to cook it + a pinch of salt + water

-mini crock pot
-pan
-your chip of choice (or fries or crackers)

STEPS:

1. Finely dice the onion. Oil your pan, and start to caramelize onions over medium heat. This will take forever, but its worth it. Keep heat on low when the onions start to brown, and occasionally add a few tablespoons of water to help the onions caramelize. The water periodically cools down the onions so they don’t burn, so they can keep cooking down to a brown, gooey, sweet mess.

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2. Around the same time, dice your pickle chips and put them in the bottom of your crock pot, adding the 8 slices of cheese on top. This should keep the cheese from burning on the bottom. Lid it, and let your crock pot melt that cheese. (If you don’t have a crock pot, you should get one. Otherwise, you can do this in an over set to 350F, or a microwave if you’re desperate. Microwave in 30 second bursts and stir between blasts so it doesn’t burn.)

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3. Mix together your spread. If you already have 1000 Island dressing, this step is already done.

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4. Chances are, your onions will be done the same time as your cheese is melted. Add onions and the spread to the crock pot/dip vessel. Mix it all together and it’s ready to serve.

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5. Dip. Enjoy.

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D.I.Y: THE EASIEST PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES

You ever have a night where you really want some fresh baked cookies, but it’s late or dark or cold or you already took your pants off and a trip to the grocery store is the last thing you want to do? These cookies are the answer. You might even have everything you need. They’re so simple, you can get a batch made in the time it takes you to finish an episode of Girls.

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Materials/Ingredients:
Yields about 2-3 dozen cookies, depending on how big you make them.
-2 cups [creamy] peanut butter
-2 cups sugar (consider substituting 1 cup with brown sugar if you prefer)
-2 eggs
optional
-1 tsp vanilla
-1 tsp baking soda
-chocolate chips, toffee chips, spices, etc

-mixing bowl
-fork
-cookie sheets + foil/parchment paper

STEPS:
Preheat your oven to 350F.

1. Combine sugar and peanut butter. It will be awkward, but after a couple minutes it will combine nicely.

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2. Add eggs.

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3. Pinch off small amounts of dough. Roll around into a little ball (slightly larger than a gum ball) then press to flatten a bit. Place cookies an inch or so apart on a cookie sheet (they won’t spread too much, but give them room to bake).

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TIP: Line the cookie sheets for easier clean up and to make it easier to transfer cookies to a cooling rack.

4. Press the back of a fork into each cookies twice to make the cross hatch pattern.

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5. Bake for about 10 minutes. The cookies will be very delicate right out of the oven. Lifting them from the cookie sheet straight to the cooling rack by transferring the full aluminum foil (or parchment paper) sheet will keep the cookies from falling apart. Let cool for another 5-10 minutes to stiffen up/set.

6. Eat. Enjoy.

D.I.Y.: SUGAR SCRUB

It’s a time of year that’s rough for us Angelinos. We transitioned out of a warm summer with the hot, dry Santa Ana winds, then sporadic periods of hot and cold before Southern California settled on a dreary, drizzly, winter. That’s a lot for your skin to go through, so it’s time to treat yourself with this fool-proof sugar scrub. As a plus, it’s all natural, safe to eat, customizable, and you probably already have everything you need. Scrub off that S.A.D. and glow.

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Materials:
-granulated sugar
-brown sugar
-olive oil (or try coconut oil!)
-essential oil (we’re using lavender, but you can switch up the scents by trying peppermint, vanilla, chamomile, or eucalyptus. Just make sure you’re not using something that can be a potential irritant to skin– like lemon or cinnamon– or use it very sparingly)
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This is so fool proof. Your sugar, sugar, oil ratio will be 2:2:1. So if you put one cup each of the sugars, you’ll only add half a cup of oil. Don’t have measuring cups? Whatever! Use tea cups or mugs or shot glasses. Just use the same units at that 2:2:1 ratio.

TIP:This is a great D.I.Y. to give as a gift. Put it in a nice jar (we picked one up at a craft store for $1) and tie a ribbon around it. Good for moms, teachers, in-laws, or landlords. Why not?

STEPS:
1. Mix equal parts sugars together.

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2. Add oil and a few drops of essential oil. You don’t want to go too crazy since essential oils are potent. If you are making a batch that yields about two cups, then add maybe about 10 drops at most. if you’re just making one jar, then 3-5 drops. Err on the “too few drops” side. You can always add more later.

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3. Combine until smooth. Really work those lumps out.

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4. Spoon into your container.

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5. Exfoliate. Enjoy.

TIP: If you do decide to go tropical and use coconut oil, it has a habit of being solid at room temperature. If it seems too thick to easily rub all over your face, set the jar in a sink full of warm water. The heat will liquify the oil making it much easier to scoop and spread.

D.I.Y.: BOOK CLUTCH

Do you dream of having a secret room open up by pulling a decoy book lever? Can you settle for a smart-looking vessel to hold your cash or phone? Maybe something a little discreet to hide tampons or a spare key? Besides hiding things, this D.I.Y. could make a great last minute gift (or clever “wrapping” for a gift) for the literati in your life. Use a small book like us for a wallet, or scale up for a clutch.

MATERIALS:
-hard cover book (we used a small, thin book that could easily accommodate a zipper without needing extra fabric)
-zipper
-felt or other lining fabric
-hot glue gun + glue sticks
-razor/exacto knife
-scissors

STEPS:
1.Carefully cut off all the pages at the spine. If your blade is really sharp, make sure it doesn’t pierce through the cover or spine. (I made that mistake. Old books are especially brittle/delicate.)

2.Keeping your zipper zipped, begin hot gluing the front side of the fabric part around the edges of your book. For the second side, you’ll have to glue the zipper to the book by “closing the book.” Do the best you can to get the zipper down in the right place; you can always unzip the book and reenforce the second side with more glue. Keeping it zipped ensures the two sides of the zipper will line up in the end. (We started with the end of the zipper at the bottom of the book.)

TIP: Cut your zipper some slack by gluing it down in a more gradual, less sharp angle. It’ll allow for easier zipping, which means better functionality.

3.Measure/cut your felt (or lining fabric of choice) to fit across the inside of your zippered border and glue it down.

4.Zip up. Enjoy.

D.I.Y.: GILDED ANIMAL ORNAMENTS


It’s that time of year, when hand made is revered. The best time to let your inner Martha out and make ginger bread houses from scratch, or knit a set of matching sweaters for everyone in the family. But in case you don’t have the time, or the skills, or the ambition, here’s an easy start to your own handmade holiday. When we saw these little animals on our way to picking up some string lights at CVS we thought they would look good as ornaments—if they were gold. It’s a perfect holiday blend of kitsch and glamor, and so easy to make. Put on your guiltiest pleasure movie (why isn’t You’ve Got Mail on Netflix instant watch??) and by the end you’ll have a mess of handmade ornaments.

 

MATERIALS:
-plastic/rubber animals
-wire ornament hangers (you could probably substitute paper clips)
-wire cutters (or heavy weight craft scissors)
-needle nose/jewelery pliers
-paint (we used FolkArt Metallic acrylic paint in Antique Gold, Pure Gold, Champagne, and Silver Sterling)
-paint brush
-straight pins/small nails
-hammer (optional)

STEPS:

1.Snip your ornament hangers in half (with ours, this left us with two hook shaped pieces of wire) and strip a few millimeters of the plastic coating off the straight end of the wire (this is the part you’ll jam in your animal).

2.Using a straight pin and needle nosed pliers (or a hammer if you prefer), make a pilot hole in the back of your animal where you want the wire hanger to go. Wiggle it around to make sure you can fit the wire.

3. Using the pliers and holding close to the end of the wire you’re inserting, force the wire into the animal. Get it in as far as you can.

4. Paint. You will probably need a few coats. If we were smart, we would have bought primer, but after 2-3 coats your animals will be sufficiently gilded. The metallic finish will definitely work in your favor.

5.Hang up. Enjoy.