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

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Easy skeleton hand hair clips

Hello! I just have a tiny little craft to show you today since I am in the final weeks of my degree now (!!!!) and have been making more essays than projects. I have just handed in the final assignment for my Cultural and Media studies class, and have two weeks to write two more research essays. And then I am done! I am really excited, but also very nervous as this means I will soon have to find myself a job. Eeek!

I brought these plastic skeleton hands from ebay, which are apparently meant as Halloween decorations. Like, I guess you just scatter them around? I am not sure. I brought them because I wanted the kind of jewellery that I see in the goth shops, but am too cheap to shell out for ~___^

I got ten hands, so I now have plenty to work with! These clips were very easy to make; I just glued the clips onto the underside of the palms, making sure that the length of the clip was hidden behind a finger. I used E6000, so they're staying fairly well, but I think a different style of hair clip would work better for this. I just used what I had in my stash, but I will be keeping an eye out for better alternatives.

My next task is to make myself a necklace, however, I think I also need to look into varnishing or sealing them somehow as the black on the hands rubs off very easily. I have some spray varnish, so I'm going to give that a go.

Looking at these pictures makes me feel a little sad as I think soon I will have to say goodbye to my pink hair! ; ___ ; At the end of this month my job search begins, and also my brother is getting married, so I was planning on dying my hair a very dark red to look a bit more "normal". But, that's apparently not normal enough and I have been told brown or black is what is required! I really am not looking forward to letting all the bleaching time I've been putting into my 'do go to waste.

I think I will try using Manic Panic black and hope that it will fade, in the same way that the blue, purple, red, and pink dyes that I've used from them have faded, so hopefully I can go back to brighter colours afterwards without having to rebleach. If anyone has any experience in this dilemma, I'd love your advice! Otherwise, perhaps I will just get myself a wig ~___^

- Lisa xx

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Hipster Princess Bubblegum costume

Sigh! Another Halloween has come and gone ... next year, when I'm not at uni, I plan to dedicate a lot more time to decorating and crafting and costume creation and just general Halloween shenanigans! However, I did still have a lovely Halloween, and I succeeded in making myself a costume so, without further ado, may I present ...

The hipster Princess Bubblegum! ^___^ Do people even do hipster versions of things anymore? This is how out of the loop I am. However, I have big, thick rimmed glasses and I didn't want to wear my contacts so this is the costume I went with! ^___^

The scarf, shorts, and shoes were thrifted (Bec actually found the shoes for me, so a shoutout to her! ^___^), and I already had the belt, top, tights, coffee cup, and bag so this was a fairly easy and inexpensive costume to put together.

After I made my crown, I guess I could have called it quits, but what is a hipster without some jewellery? (I actually don't even know. Do hipsters wear jewellery? I've heard they like triangles, do they wear triangles as jewellery?)

I watched this fantastic tutorial video by Nerd Burger and decided that I simply *must* have some donut jewellery. I'm not really sure if there are any donut people in Candy Kingdom, but I just couldn't resist.

They were really easy to make; make sure you check out the video as Cazz explains the process wonderfully. I already had some Super Sculpey in the beige colour that I used for the dough, and I picked up some pink and purple puff paints and blue and yellow sculpey from the craft store for the icing and sprinkles (I already had the sculpey in the other colours).

I made one purple donut into a brooch, and two smaller pink donuts into earrings, just by gluing the pin/earring backs on with E6000.

I also made this brooch using some of the light blue shimmery clay; mostly because I had this song in my head the entire time I was crafting things for this costume.

I also had a go at making a little Peppermint Butler brooch; it's not perfect (I need to work on making sure I don't leave nail marks on everything and I think his head stripes are too raised ...) but I think it's pretty cute anyway.

And, speaking of cute, you may have noticed that in the pictures above I have a little friend riding on my shoulder - Science the Candy Corn Rat! Yay! Pops de Milk made an adorable Science, and even shared the pattern for her so I knew I had to make one too ^___^

Patricia's pattern was lovely to follow; very simple to understand with with lots of pictures! (I always like to have photos to refer to so I can tell if I'm on the right track with a pattern!)

I did my Science's face differently in that I sewed on small felt shapes instead of using safety eyes and embroidery for the eyes and mouth respectively. I did actually have some 7mm safety eyes that I was going to use but when I put them in they just didn't look right. I didn't have any smaller ones, and I was too lazy to go back to the craft store, so I used felt instead! ^___^

One thing I must get better at doing is making the legs for amigurumi - mine always come out slightly bigger at the base than at the top and I think they are meant to be the same the whole way through. Practise makes perfect, I guess!

My Science also has more of a curly tail; this is probably because I crochet too tight. However, it may loose its curl in time so I'm not too concerned about it.

I also crocheted two more brooches (one can never have too many brooches, right? ~___^). For the lollipop I used a pattern by Twinkie Chan, but used part of a wooden skewer instead of crocheting a stick. For the sweet, I crocheted a rectangle, sewed it into a tube, put a scrunched up bit of paper in the middle, and then tied yarn around each side of a ball. Then I just glued brooch backings onto both of them ^___^

As always, there is so much more things I could have crafted for this costume (Peppermint Butler handbag, Lady Rainicorn bracelet, science glassware charm bracelet ...) but I think I did pretty well considering I was also finishing off an assignment ~___^

The zombie project I was planning has pretty much completely fallen through at this stage so I'm not sure if that will be appearing on here anytime soon, which is a pity since I still think it's a cool idea! I might keep working on it. I've still got eight tiny donuts to make into something though (plus three major essays, blah!) so I've got enough to keep me busy. I'm thinking maybe a bracelet? Or magnets? Or more hair bows? Hmmm.

Until next week!

- Lisa xx

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Princess Bubblegum crochet crown

Hello! I don't know about you, but I spend a lot of my time thinking about costumes. They're just such fun! I love going to Oz ComicCon and Supanova and seeing all the creative ideas that people have come up with, but Halloween has a special place in my heart. I mean, it's a spooky day where you can dress up and dance with a zombie; is there anything better? ~___^

This year, since my hair is currently pink, I've decided to go as Princess Bubblegum from Adventure Time. Yay! I'm  going to do a closet cosplay and also go as a hipster version of PB; this is mostly because I don't really like wearing my contact lens and my glasses are so black and thick-rimmed that, well, they kinda suit the part!

So I've got a pink top, handkerchief scarf, skirt, and tights but to be truly PB-esque I needed a crown. I found lots of different ones, made out of all kinds of different materials, but I was most inspired by a crochet version I found and so decided to give that a go.

I also wrote down what I did to make this one so you can give it a go if you like! My crown is quite a bit bigger than others I've seen which I'm still kinda on the fence about. I like it because it stands out but ... I don't know, maybe it's too big? Either way, I guess you could just alter the pattern slightly so it suits you more. I will also mention that this hasn't been tested and so there are probably mistakes; if you find any, let me know and I'll add in corrections! ^___^

Princess Bubblegum Crochet Crown
Using a 4mm hook and yellow yarn (I used 100% wool in an 8ply), chain 120.
Row 1: Chain one (this is your turning stitch) and then do a single stitch in each chain stitch (120 stitches)
Row 2, 3, 4: Repeat row 1
Row 5: Chain one (turning stitch). Do a single stitch in the next 53 stitches. Chain 3, treble in the same stitch you just did a single stitch in (you will have a single and a treble in the same stitch). Treble in the next 13 stitches. Chain 3, do a single stitch in the same stitch you just did a treble in. Single stitch along the rest of the row. This will give you a segment in the middle of the crown which is slightly raised. Tie off your yarn.
Row 6: Tie your yarn onto the raised treble segment, four stitches in. Make one chain stitch and then do a single stitch in eight stitches; this will give you another slightly smaller raised section.
Row 7 - 22: Chain 1, single stitch in each stitch (8 stitches) 
Row 22 - 26: Chain 1, treble in each stitch (8 stitches). You could do these rows in single stitch as well if you wanted to, but they will be covered by the round part of the crown and I find trebles faster and easier to do. Tie off your yarn.

Crochet a flat circle using single stitch; I did 12 rows and my circle has a diameter of about 7.5 cm.
Cut out a circle slightly smaller than your crochet one from light blue felt. I painted my felt circle with glitter mod podge to make it sparkle!
Sew the felt circle to the crochet circle, and the crochet circle to the end of the uppy bit of the crown (yup, that's a technical term).
Sew the two rectangle ends of the crown together so that it forms a ring. 

Tie on your end at the back of the crown, where your sewn join is. Single stitch around the edges of your entire crown. This will smooth out the blocky edges of the uppy bit and just generally make everything look nicer ^___^

My crown was looking a bit droopy, so I sewed a thin craft stick to the back of the uppy bit. I was worried that this would make it really uncomfortable, but I was wearing my crown around the house last night (as you do) and it was fine. I may sew a little cushion over the end of it anyway, just to make sure I don't finish Halloween with a mark on my head ~___^ Other options to fix this would be to make it shorter, or maybe use fabric starch.

I, as usual, have grand plans for this costume which probably won't get done. I was planning on making a visit to the craft store today to pick up some orange wool to make this amazing Science the Rat but last night I broke my toe. Well, it may only be fractured but I enjoy being overly dramatic. Still, it's meant that a lot of my plans for the week have to be delayed since walking is rather painful.

On the bright side, I will be sitting down a lot over the next couple of days which will be the perfect reason to get ahead in my assignments. Yay? ~___^

Are you crafting anything for Halloween this year? I have two more Halloween crafts on my list, but it looks like they'll have to wait until next week. I've had this zombie project in my head for *ages* so even though Halloween will offically be over, I'm still going to make them! I can't wait to show you ^___^

- Lisa xx

P.S. Does the gem part of the crown remind anyone else of the Stargate?

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Death Before Decaf hoop and a Welcome to Night Vale Cake

Last Wednesday was the birthday of one of my most bestest friends, Miss Rebecca. Of course, this meant that a celebration was in order so I texted her asking what flavour cake she would like. I got back "surprise me! But not spiders" and so promptly decided that spiders must be somehow involved (I am cruel in that way). This, in my mind, transformed into spider wolves and from there it was pretty obvious (well, to me anyway) that the cake should be Welcome to Night Vale themed.

I do not have a good history of cake making. I think this is mostly because I almost always try to make them too quickly. This means that my cakes are often crumbly, half stuck in the pan, and have a melted look because I tried to ice them without waiting for them to cool down. But not this time! I used my recipe for Anzac Cake but doubled it and made two round cakes. I made two because I was worried one of them would turn out awfully, but, as luck would have it, they both made it out of the oven with only minimal sinking in the middle.

I went all out on greasing and lining the pans with baking paper and, lo and behold, both of the cakes were removed from the pans without breaking in half! This is a minor miracle in my kitchen. I let them cool overnight, and then returned with grand icing plans. 


Since both the cakes were looking lovely, I decided to use both of them; so I made some coconut icing (desiccated coconut + icing sugar + water) which I added between the two cake layers. It's probably fair to mention at this point that this cake is not diabetic friendly - I had to take a lot of insulin to eat a slice, but it was totally worth it ~___^

The icing on the top of the cake is the same coconut icing, but made purple with the help of some blue and pink food colouring. This icing is pretty thick but is only really good for flat surfaces; it will just fall off if you apply it to the side of a cake. 

So for the sides I made another batch of icing; coconut + icing sugar + water + unsalted butter, which I mixed with an electric beater until it was fluffy. I added food colouring again, but made this batch lighter so that the finished cake would have some contrast. I used a butter knife to apply it; I really love the textured look I ended up with.

I have seen some amazing Night Vale cakes in my journeys around the internet, but I knew I was going to have to stick to something relatively simple if I wanted any chance of pulling it off. I settled on a view of the night sky above the Arby's with the Night Vale eye added in at the top.

I used tubes of writing fudge for this, because I had them on hand and because I am totally unskilled with a piping bag. 

The tube was a little too thick to properly recreate the Arby's logo, but I think it's still vaguely recognisable which is really all I was expecting anyway ~___^ For the centre of the eye I used a little bit of the extra butter icing and layered the writing fudge on top of it.

And when the candles were put in and lit up here's what we have; a view of the lights above the Arby's! ^___^

As you can probably tell, I had a little fun with creating a Night Vale style photo shoot for this cake; I started off thinking I didn't have much I could use as props but after a scout around our house I ended up with my LSP headphones, some plastic spiders from our Halloween decorations, and a tiny chemistry shot glass set (I have never done a shot in my life, but I also can't resist teeny glassware so ...). I also printed out the flyer for Big Rico's Pizza and an Alert Citizen Card which are now on my fridge; I think they really made the scene! I am ridiculously pleased with how this cake turned out. I made Scott and Rebecca admire it multiple times before we were allowed to eat it ~___^ 

And I can report that it was delicious; the cake was moist and held together well, and the coconut icing is a great combination with the Anzac biscuit flavour. It really was a bit enormous though, especially since there were just three of us celebrating that night. As a result, I have eaten way too much cake in the last week. My taste buds love me, the rest of my body ... ehhh, probably not so much. Still, that's what exercise is for, right? ~___^

I also made Rebecca this Death Before Decaf hoop using a pattern from Urban Threads. I think I've mentioned before how much I like their patterns; they have some great designs and I always end up buying more than I need when I visit their site. This hoop is kind of a matching pair with the Eat Your Greens hoop that I made for Bec earlier, but I think the white stitching is a lot easier to read against the purple fabric than it is against the green.

As per usual I printed out the pattern onto thin paper and then stitched the main part of the design through the paper. I had to spend a while ripping off the paper at the end, but it really does do a good job of ensuring that the design is replicated accurately. I would still like to try out different embroidery transfer methods, but that will have to wait until next year when I (hopefully!) have a job which allows me extra disposable income to spend on craft supplies ~___^


After I had stitched the main shapes down and removed the paper, I went back and did all the little sketchy details and the thicker sides of the "death" and "decaf" letters.

The roses are one of my favourite parts of this hoop; I just think they look fab. I also really like the curving ribbon which holds the text. When I first did it it looked a bit meh, but after adding in all those little lines on the back of the ribbon and the little curving details it really transformed into something special.

I also really love the cute little skull tea cup. This hoop would be a great present to give with a tea set and some tea bags or coffee beans. (Non-decaf includes tea, right?)

My husband, who seemingly can't live without iced coffee, was a big fan of this hoop too; I'm kinda tempted to make up another one for him/ our hoop wall. But I think that will have to wait until I regain feeling in my pointer finger ~___^

I've got one of my final assignments due this week, so I guess I better get back to doing that. However, I will be back next week with more Halloween projects (I realise that this post is not totally Halloween-y ... but it had a skull in it so that counts, right?? ~___^). I hope it stops raining so that I can do some outdoors crafts; but only time will tell!

- Lisa xx

P.S. Another big "Happy Birthday" to Bec; I hope you had a super fantabulous day ^___^