Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Pineapple-shaped pineapple upside-down cake


Listen, I'm not going to lie: I have jumped on the pineapple bandwagon pretty solidly, and have no intention of getting off it. Pineapples have kinda seemed like the theme for this year so it seemed appropriate that for my birthday I make myself a pineapple cake. But not just any pineapple cake: a pineapple-shaped pineapple upside-down cake! ^___^

 

I gathered around (most) of my pineapple things to have a little cake photo shoot because, as I think you've all learnt by now, I can not bake something without wanting to take a million photos of it. Especially if it comes out well, which I think this did! ^___^


A used a recipe from Taste for the pineapple-upside down cake except the only rectangle baking pan I could find was pretty big ... so I ended up tripling the recipe 0___o Also, instead of placing the pineapple rings whole on the bottom of the pan, I cut them into segments (had I thought of this earlier I could have just *brought* segments!) and placed them in a pattern which I thought was vaguely reminiscent of a pineapple skin.


I also made a small round cake to make into the top of the pineapple; for this recipe I used my basic cake recipe (see below) but added a cup of pineapple juice instead of the water.

Basic cake
1 1/2 cups of self-raising flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 cup vegetable oil

I cut it into a spiky shape and iced it with green butter icing. I had a bit of trouble with the icing though, because it *really* didn't want to stick to the parts of the cake that I had cut, which is possibly because those parts didn't have a crust on them.




Anyway, the most important part about a cake is taste, right? The verdict on this one: delicious. The pineapple upside-down cake was wonderfully moist (ugh, moist) and the pineapple on top was glazed and oh so tasty! The only change to this cake I would make is to perhaps put some crushed pineapple into the batter so it was extra flavoursome all the way through. As I am a fan of delicious flavour. 


The top cake was also really good; not as sweet as the upside-down cake, but a great accompaniment. However this cake is probably best served at a larger party to since it is pretty big! I ended up taking some to work to get rid of it ... but luckily my co-workers didn't mind! ~___^


Since these photos were taken, I have obtained even more pineapple stuff. This bandwagon ride is far from over folks. Although ... I did also get myself some watermelon duct tape (a highly necessary purchase, I'm sure) so perhaps I'll be taking a side ride on bandwagons of other tropical fruits? I guess we'll see. In the photo below, you can see my pineapple string art, pineapple tea cosy, and pineapple perler bead brooch, as well as the incredible pineapple sunglasses Tanya gifted me for the Giant Pineapple KAL and an awesome poster that I printed out from here.
 

And, my new pineapple jar! Pip gave this to me as an early birthday present without even knowing my pineapple filled birthday plans! What a champ ^____^
 



Since next week is Christmas (uhhh, what???!!) I probably won't post, but I will definitely be back directly afterwards to show you all the gifts I've been crafting. The race is on: will I finish them all in time? (Spoiler: probably not.)

- Lisa xx

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Pizza party! Mini clay pizza jewellery



Hello! At the end of November, a couple of friends and I had ourselves a little pizza party. It was such fun; we ate lots of pizza and garlic bread, watched The Craft (which I had never seen before!), and made tiny pizzas from sculpey! ^___^


To make these pizzas, I used a similar method to how I made the donut jewellery for my Princess Bubblegum costume; we made the bases and toppings, baked them separately, and then glued them together using puffy paint! ^___^


I still had some super sculpey in this beige colour left, which is perfect for pizza bases. I'm going to have to get some more soon though as all this fake food cooking is working through it at a very much increased rate! ^___^ I started off by making a flat circle; in retrospect, I possibly should have made this circle thinner as my pizzas have turned out looking very deep dish!


Then I rolled out a thin tube of clay and added that to the edge of the flat circle; this makes the raised edge of the pizza. I used a toothpick to smooth down the join between the tube and the circle.

 

I used a scalpel to cut my pizza base into eight slices, and then baked them for about 15 minutes.


I also made another pizza base, but this one was a bit smaller and I left it whole.

 

We also made some toppings and it was cool seeing how differently everyone made theirs! Although, we did end up sharing so I think we all ended up with a bit of a mix! ^___^ On my whole pizza base, you can see that I borrowed a couple of mushrooms from Rebecca; Bec made these perfect little mushrooms one by one and they turned out so cute! I think the green bits on the whole pizza were made by Clare, but all the red toppings I used were made by me. The only topping I didn't underestimate my need for is apparently pepperoni! Or tomatoes, I think Heena designated her red circles as tomatoes! ~___^


For my mushrooms and capsicum, I rolled out thin tubes in white and green and then used my toothpick to shape the entire tube into the general shape I wanted. I then cut the tube into smaller segments, but I did have to slightly reshape some of my toppings as they ended up getting a bit squashed. If I do this again, I might try to bake the tube and then cut off the toppings from it. We baked our toppings for about five minutes; since they are pretty small they didn't take long.


I wasn't able to find any yellow puffy paint at the craft store, so I brought some cream coloured puffy paint and mixed it with yellow acrylic paint. It was less thick than regular puffy paint would be, but it was easy enough to apply to our pizzas with plastic teaspoons. Then we just sprinkled our toppings onto our bases - if you want to get precise here, tweezers would really help!


After we decorated our pizzas, we put them back into the oven; it was off, but still warm enough to help the paint dry a little quicker so that everyone could take their pizzas home! ^___^ The next day, I used some E6000 to add a brooch back to my whole pizza and pendant backings to some of my pizza slices. I kept one for myself, but I've also been giving some away to friends ^___^ To give you a sense of size, my pizza slices are 2 cm x 2.5 cm so they make for quite small and delicate pendants.
 

I really wish I had remembered to take some photos on the night so I could show you everyone's pizzas, but I always always forget to take pictures when I'm socialising! Anyway, it was a lot of fun and I have more food jewellery in the works now ~___^ For a while I avoided making food jewellery/ clothing/ accessories because I thought people might judge me poorly for being a chubby girl wearing a lot of food but now I've realised that I really don't care that much what strangers think! I know that I eat pretty healthy, exercise most days, and keep my blood sugar levels in range as much as I can so if people want to judge me for wearing a pizza necklace, then they can go ahead. But I think we can all agree that pizza is delicious, and very cute in miniature clay form! ~___^
 
- Lisa xx


Tuesday, 2 December 2014

A refurbished school desk for vintage rustic wedding



Hello! So, I have working on this project for a month but now I can finally show you! I had this old school desk in storage with the plan of fixing it up someday and then my brother Brett requested it as the signing table at his wedding so someday finally happened!


Here is what it looked like to start off with; I had started trying to take some of the paint off on the corner and discovered that there were at least four layers of paint on it. With further work, Scott and I counted seven different colours of paint! I feel like these pictures don't really give justice to how ugly this desk was. The paint was obviously never sanded back before any of the previous layers so it looked crusty, the inside was a delightful combination of paint and rust, and the whole thing was dirty. Gross.


Scott and I started off by coating everything in paint stripper and then stepped back to watch the magic happen! Spoiler: nothing happened. All the paint stripping videos I'd watched on youtube had shown a wonderful bubbling potion like effect, and all we got was a sticky desk. Disappointing. Nonetheless, we started trying to manually scrape off the paint. I was still finishing uni at this stage, so we were mostly doing this on the weekends and worrying that it wouldn't be finished in time. The weekend before the wedding, we realised that there was no way we were going to get all the paint off, plus we still had to paint and seal it. At this stage, we had most of the paint off the wooden top, but the legs were a streaky mess. Luckily, my dad, Kevin, had just recently found a second hand wire brush attachment for his angle grinder so we made plans to head down to the country a couple of days early and get this desk cleaned up properly!


We had managed to loosen up the paint well enough that we could detach the top from the base; the screws had been painted over so much that they were originally completely invisible under all the layers! With some help from the angle grinder, orbital sander, and belt sander, we finally removed all the paint. I swear I heard some of kind of angelic chorus at this stage! 


We painted over the metal again (it was almost physically painful) because otherwise it would have rusted and all that work would have been for nothing! The paint we chose included a primer, is made to prevent rust, and was a very close match for the colour of the bare steel. You can see the hinges and some of the screws in this picture; they were so coated in layers of paint that we had to use the wire brush attachment to grind it all off and, for the screws, file deeper notches in the heads so a screwdriver could actually be properly used on them! Shoutout to Kevin for working that one out! ~___^
 

We used a sanding sealer on the wooden top of the desk which deepened the colour of the wooden into this lovely golden shade. Since Brett and Lavinya's wedding aesthetic was vintage rustic, we didn't putty up the scrapes in the desk. This desk has gone through a couple of generations of school kids and we wanted that to be evident! ^___^


There is still some work to be done on it though; we painted the desk Thursday afternoon and figured with a 4 hour suggested drying time it would be fine for Friday afternoon. But, it was very cloudy and humid and when it was moved to the ceremony location some of the paint got scuffed up >____< Also, one of the inner corners of the lid is badly damaged and the hinge couldn't be properly attached. So, after the ceremony (which was beautiful!) the desk went back to live in Kevin's shed for a while; I'm hoping to visit again before Christmas and finish up these last remaining touches.


It does look so much better though, Mum and Scott are both wanting to take it home now! I guess we'll have to wait and see who wins this bit of furniture tug-of-war ~___^ Also, can we just stop for a minute to admire Anne and Kevin's garden? The grass was legitimately that green! Brett and Lavinya's reception was held in mum and dad's garden so they did heaps of work on it and it looks gorgeous!


I did make one other small thing for the wedding; Anne had this vintage suitcase for guests to leave their cards in, but it needed a little something-something. I used baker's twine, chipboard letters and hearts, gold paint, and a scrap of hessian to make this little banner. I felt very lucky to be able to sit down and mess about with craft supplies while everyone else was working so hard! But don't worry, I chipped in more afterwards ~___^
 

As per usual, I completely forgot to take any photos on the actual day! One of Anne's friends, Michele, took this photo of the back veranda where we all had dinner. Almost 70 people were seated here; good thing my parents are fans of a big veranda area!


Anne snapped this photo of Scott and I just after the ceremony; I'm not sure what we're giggling about. Perhaps what a high refraction index my pale, pale skin has?


And, of course, I remembered to take a selfie ~___^ My curls lasted for so long, all I did for the next four days was gently brush them back into place and they looked so great! For my hair this is seriously low maintenance, I want to get my hair set every week now! ~___^
 

I love weddings; it was so nice to see all my family fancied up and having fun together! I am hoping that the professional photos turn out well so I can have photographic evidence of how well we all scrub up ~___^

I'm quite sure my brother doesn't read my blog, but nonetheless; another big congratulations to Brett and Lavinya!

- Lisa xx

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Skeleton hand necklace and Nerdvember


Hello! I haven't yet finished my biggish project, but I realised that I also haven't shown you my skeleton hand necklace! So, here it is ^___^


My hair is looking a little different, huh? This is actually a wig! I don't think I will wear it to my brother's wedding since my dark red hair is looking pretty good, but I think this wig will come in handy for cosplays and costumes. You may have also noticed that I'm dressed kinda like Wednesday Addams, this is because for the last couple of days I've been doing #nerdvember, which is basically where you dress nerdy during November ^___^

 

As you can see, I've been repping for Alice in Wonderland, Star Trek, LSP (in my skating gear), Hermione Granger, retro video games, and Adventure Time. You can also see that my hair has been lightening over the days ... ~___^ Honestly though, while I find this fun, I'm probably not going to keep with it this year. I don't down a lot of nerdy clothing, so I feel like mostly I'm taking photos of my jewellery which I think kind defeats the purpose of a fashion challenge. Also, I kind feel like my outfits are all a bit boring! I think if I do this again, I'd keep the Instagram photos to a once a week round-up kind of thing, and make sure that I had enough time to craft a few things to fit the challenge. As it is, I feel like I'm overwhelming my feed with too many selfies and I most definitely need to get a tripod so I don't have to bug Scott or rely on my bedroom mirror! ^___^
 

I've been working on a crochet project and a furniture re-do which aren't finished yet, but jewellery is something that I can actually complete! ^___^ I brought a couple of packs of wooden shapes from Typo which I believe are meant for papercrafts. However, some of them are a great size for brooches!
 

I covered the heart with washi tape, but left the others as they came, and just glued the brooch pins onto the back. Easy peasy!
 

The skeleton necklace was made with more of the plastic Halloween skeleton hands (no, you don't say??). To make this, I glued pendant backings to the middle fingers and joined them with a jump ring. 
 

The wrists of the hands are connected to the necklace chain via a piece of wire that has a loop at the end and which I have completely forgotten the correct name of. Hmm. Well, you can see what I mean in the picture below anyway.
 

I was pleasantly surprised that the necklace sits quite well! It doesn't flip itself over constantly, which was what I was most concerned about.


I simply can not believe it is almost December. I really must get a move on with my holiday crafts! I don't craft for many people anymore, just the people who I know appreciate it ^___^ And the ones that don't mind if their gifts are a month or two late ~___^

Are you crafting for anyone this year? Also, would you do Nerdvember? I think I'm going to make sure I stock up on nerdy clothes so I can make a better showing off it next year!

- Lisa xx

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Recovered recipe box



Hello! Scott is currently taking some off work and he's been cleaning up a storm. I don't think our house has ever looked this neat, plus we've donated a heap of stuff to the op shop so our karma levels are at a peak ~___^ I've been feeling a bit bad for not contributing since I mostly sit at my computer all day. I mean, I'm doing homework, but it doesn't really feel very productive when you're reading articles all day and then all you have to show for it is a couple of pages of notes! So over the weekend I thought I'd go through our recipe collection and make it so it didn't consist of post-it notes and ripped out magazine pages shoved in an old plastic sleeve.


I've had this paper mache box in the craft room for quite a while, and it's a good size for fitting postcards inside it so I decided to transfer the recipes onto my postcard collection and use the box to store them. However, it was pretty boring looking, so I first needed to make it look pretty! ^___^


I used mod podge to stick scrapbooking paper on to every side of the box and lid but the edges didn't look very neat, even after I had trimmed them down.

So I used washi tape to edge all of the ... edges ... (mmmm, word difficulties!) and trimmed the excess with a scalpel so the ends were nice and flush.


I didn't want to make this box too "this is a box for recipes!!!" in case I decide to use it for something else one day but I did use some tea pot and saucer patterned paper for two sides of the box, and added a "slice of the good life" sticker to the lid which I thought was a subtle reference to what is currently inside.

The "so very lovely" piece of paper on the lid is from another sheet of scrapbooking paper; the kind where the whole page is covered in these little quote like designs and you can just cut out the one you want to use. My kitchen has kind of a retro vibe, mostly because I insist on buying homewares from opshops, so I think the font will help the box fit in with the rest of the decor.
 

As you can see, I've still got a while to go before I get anywhere near filling up this box with recipes! And I must give a shout out to Rebecca for inspiring me to do this project by actually sending me postcards with recipes written on them; I've gotta admit, it's pretty fun to find a risotto recipe in your letterbox ^___^


My final assignment for my degree is due this Friday (gah!!) so after that I'll be trying to finish off this big (well, bigger) project that I've been doing for my brother's wedding. I hope I finish it on time! ^___^

- Lisa xx