a pom pom christmas wreath

The last of the Christmas crafts is here. I spent the weeks leading up to Christmas making hundreds of pom poms for this beauty for Ryan’s parents.

pom pom wreath

Begin with a 12 inch wreath, about 300 pom poms (using my tutorial)  and 300 red sewing pens.

Using the sewing pins, place the pom poms on the wreath. Once you’re finished, give it some flair with some glittery doodads. I bought them at Michael’s.

Pom Pom Wreath

And you know, put a bird on it.

quick christmas tree craft

It’s pretty amazing what you can do with some styrofoam glitter balls, a styrofoam cone, and some hot glue.

I saw these glitter balls at the craft store, and knew I wanted to do something with them. I wanted to make two, but they were kind of expensive. Also, it took a surprisingly long time to do all of the gluing, at least an episode and a half of The L Word. 

And I ran out of hot glue! How does that happen? So it got a little wonky at the top as I struggled to use Elmer’s glue to finish it up.

Things I want out of my my NYC neighbors and/or roommate: to at least own a hot glue gun.

Still, it is a nice addition to my holiday corner.

DIY holiday pom pom garland

I’ve had the past few days off of work, and instead of doing responsible things this season like Christmas shopping, cleaning my house, packing, or doing some contract work, I’ve pretty much been indulging in donuts, watching hours of The L Word, and making pom poms. At least I have something to show for it besides an expanding waistline.

d.i.y. holiday garland

So, you’ll need pom poms. I made about 30 using my tutorial, but I found a similar tutorial that uses your hand instead of a fork, which is great, especially if you don’t have a larger fork or are using a curved fork like I was, what a pain.

For the garland you’ll need: a tapestry needle, about thirty pom poms, and a thin yarn.

Thread the tapestry needle with the yarn and pierce the center of the pom pom. You want to make sure you get it through the middle that binds the pom pom together.

I just got them all on the yarn and spaced them out at the end. I thought I’d have to give them a knot to secure them, but they really stay in place.

Then hang them and be festive! I put them over my holiday display bookshelf.

Do you see that picture of Ryan and me? It’s the only one we have framed of each other, and it’s from our first Christmas. Yikes. <3

Mustache Cross-Stitch Fun

Does this still count for a No-Shave-November project? Ok. So, I swear I finished this project by November 30th, but I am only now getting around to it.

Mustaches

Let’s not bring up that this was Ryan’s Christmas present from last year, and I’m just now getting around to finishing it.

I am beginning to think cross-stitching is my niche in the world of thread/yarn crafts. I can actually read the patterns (that’s right, I’m talking to you, knitting), and the projects are generally on a smaller scale, which means I can actually finish them, even if it takes a year.

Mustache

These patterns were quick to complete and are going to make a fun decoration in Ryan’s apartment. You can purchase these patterns at the andwabisabi cross-stitch etsy store, which is filled with tons of super cute holiday themed cross-stitch patterns.

upcycled jar lid pumpkin

jar-lid-pumpkin1-2

I saw this canning jar lid pumpkin and knew I had to make one. Ryan and I have tons of jar lids lying around. I really love how simple this craft was. If you’re short on time, it can only take about three minutes.

Take a piece of ribbon or string and lace it through all of the lids. Ensure all of the lids are facing the same way. Tie off at the end.

Jar-Lid-Pumpkin-2

 

I used a few cinnamon sticks as a stem. If you’re looking to spend a little bit more time on this craft, you can give the lids a paint of coat. Well, actually it took three, if you’re using water-based acrylic paints. Wait an hour between coats.

Painted Lid Pumpkin

I wrapped it with some brown ribbon and used a drop of hot glue to secure the ribbon. This craft took between 25-33 lids.

What do you think? It’s great for Thanksgiving decorating.

Pin it here!

DIY-Jar-Lid-Pumpkins

Six Dress Halloween Costume

For Halloween this year, I went as a character from my all-time favorite TV show, Battlestar Galatica. I’m serious, guys. This is the most fan-person thing I’ve ever done. I’m not kidding, I’m getting excited just writing this post. The character is Caprica Six, or the six model of cylon. I find her fascinating and one of the most intriguing fictional characters ever developed. So, to show off the dress, Ryan, Watson and I did a little photo shoot. You think I’m kidding?

Watson Modeling

Watson was being his usual grumpy self. And ryan was showing me how it’s really done.

Ryan Modeling

So, he’s gonna kill me for posting that photo. Ok. On to the dress, which is why you’re really here.

Dress Before:

Dress Before Dress Before

Dress After:

I cut up an old dress my friend let me have. I created a shape for the bodice, extended the back (I couldn’t get it to zip over my breasts), cut out the waist and back, and shortened it.

Dress After Side view Dress After

Here’s the back of the dress.

Back of Dress

I bought a wig, but it looked cheap and horrible. I might be this character again and again for every Halloween. I saw a really someone create hand make the character’s jewelry, and I’d like to attempt that next time.

Here’s me doing the iconic pose.

Caprica 6 Pose

What do you think?

So now you know, I’m a huge nerd.

fourth of july cake

I need more reasons to make cakes. Yesterday, I brought this patriotic cake to a party. I only took one photo with my iPhone. Taking pictures may never come naturally to me. Anyway, it was one delicious cake.

Let’s be honest, I consume a lot. I buy a lot of goods and services, many of which I don’t need. My thoughts on consumption are, “it’s ok to consume, if you’re creating at an equal output.” Of course this is an arbitrary rule, but it doesn’t change the fact that I struggle with the fact that I don’t create anything. My friends say, “but you craft!” But look at this blog. I don’t craft anymore. I found that crafting caused me to buy too many things: paintbrushes, fancy paper, yarn, and tons of baubles. Don’t even get me started on the hundreds of dollars of cake decorating supplies I have.

Yesterday, I had a conversation with a friend who said, “I think we are all creating and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical product.”

I like that idea. And in the meantime, at least I can create a tasty meal and a pretty cake. And I really want to ramp up my re-purposed craft projects.

In other news, Ryan and I are going to Apalachicola this weekend to stay in a Bed & Breakfast (my first one!) and soak up plenty of sun.

Cake details:
White Cake Recipe – Martha Stewart (Crumb alert! This was one crumbly cake.)
Buttercream Frosting Recipe – Savory Sweet Life (except, I was like 3 cups short of powdered sugar)

DIY magnetic spice rack

Christmas is a weird time for me and Ryan. We have yet to spend a Christmas together, so gift giving isn’t usually priority for us. Like, it’s March, and I still haven’t finished Ryan’s gift. I’m hoping this will be the month, though, because I can’t wait to show you.

This year, Ryan gave me the best gift – a magnetic spice rack. He’s been meaning to give me this gift on numerous occasions for about a year (he’s had it in his house the entire time!). And two and a half months later, I eventually set it up.

This magnetic spice rack is the best thing ever.

First, some background. I have this eyesore sitting in my kitchen.

circuit breaker

Seriously, who puts a circuit breaker in the middle of the kitchen? And then there was this  hell.

spices

This is my over-crowded spice cabinet. I couldn’t reach or see anything. I’m on my tip-toes just trying to take this picture.

He used this instructable for creating the canisters. He bought the canisters from here and the magnets from here. These are the canisters. He glued some strong magnets to the back.

To make them pretty you will need fun stickers or labels. You can also use white labels and decorate them yourself.

My best friend gave me the crafty stickers. They’re the best. You’ll also need some fun colored markers.

markers

If your label is too long you can cut it to fit the canister.

canister with long label

Press the label on the lid and run your fingernail along the edge to seal the sticker in. Then take a knife, follow along the edge and slice through the sticker.

cut with knife

cut label

Then gently pull up on the sticker.

pull up label

fitted label

This was the first one I did. With practice, I was able to get rid of the frayed edge look. You can also use your fingernail to push the frayed label into the seam of the lid.

spice with label

The canisters look great in my kitchen. You can decorate them so many ways.

spices with labels

Here’s the finished product. I’m so in love with it.

magnetic spice rack

Sorry the glare is so bad in my kitchen.

magnetic spice rack

Looking at this makes me so happy. <3

valentine’s day cupcakes

Make everyone break their New Year’s resolution diets by bringing these everywhere you go.

valentine's day cupcakes

These cupcakes were the best cupcakes I’ve ever had. And I had two other people tell me that too! So, it must be true. I’ve never been great at making cupcakes. In fact, I sort of hate it. But these were real winners.

YELLOW CUPCAKE RECIPE
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
Yields: appx. 38
Prep: 10 minutes.
Bake time: 16 min per dozen or 48 minutes total

Ingredients:
2 cups cake flour
1 3/4 cup whole-wheat all purpose flour*
1/4 cup corn starch
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 sticks butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 eggs, room temperature
2 cups buttermilk

Do it!
– Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cupcake liners in cupcake pan.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, corn starch, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until the batter is fluffy, light, and no longer gritty.
– Mix in the vanilla and beat in the eggs one at a time on medium speed.
– Mix in the buttermilk at a low speed. The mixture will look a bit curdled.
Slowly mix in the flour mixture in parts, until everything in well combined.
Pour the mixture into the cupcake cups. I filled them 1/2 full. These really rise. When in doubt, do a test cupcake first.
Bake for 16 minutes.

*The original recipe called for four cups of cake flour. I only had two. I used this substitution. The cornstarch gave the whole thing a very slight cornbread taste, which made them taste amazing, especially since the frosting was so sweet.

valentines day cupcakes

 

BEST BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

Ingredients
2 cups vegetable shortening
8 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp clear imitation butter flavor
6 cups heavy whipping cream

Do it!
– In a large bowl, cream shortening until fluffy. Fiercely beat in the confectioners sugar about one cup at a time until it’s fluffy. Then add salt and the butter flavor.
Beat in the whipping cream in parts. You’ll know the frosting is done when it’s light and forming slight peaks.

This was a perfect amount of frosting vs. cupcake ratio (minus the cup my boyfriend probably ate while I was making it.) I dyed the frosting with Wilton’s food coloring gels. They’re the best.

valentines day cupcakes

I used these frosting tutorials.

Frosting Cupcakes
Four Cupcake Frosting Techniques

And just for fun, I thought these Valentine’s rose cupcakes were beautiful.