Monday, 16 November 2015

Harry Potter art canvas

Hello! This year Rebecca and I decided to give each other Halloween gifts ... and then we both promptly didn't finish them in time for actual Halloween. BUT, I have finally finished Rebecca's gift and she has received it and now I can show it to you!

Bec has always said very kind things about my art canvases (which, to be honest, seems like a term which is a bit too fancy for what I actually create, but you can see them here, here, here, and here), so I decided that she better have one of her very own. I decided on a Harry Potter theme since Bec and I are Potterheads from way back, and making this type of canvas is easier if you know lots of random little things about a fandom.

In this picture you can see a library card for Hogwarts: A History with (nerd alert!) names and approximate appropriate dates for confirmed canon Hogwarts students, a laminex heart that I made from a sample card from the hardware store, a stag cutout to represent Harry's patronus, and a whole lot of stamping done with my mini alphabet set. I really love this stamp set, and I use it so much; I didn't really try to get the letters straight on this project though because I felt like it gave a more Daily Prophet style feel.

I made a winged key simply by cutting out two vaguely wing looking shapes from scrapbooking paper and sticking them underneath a wooden key embellishment. I inked the edges of the wings and curled them up a bit to give a bit more texture.

Since woodland themes are just going out of fashion in scrapbooking now, I found a huge kit of embellishments and cutouts at the discount shop for super cheap - huzzah! The wings, blue stag card, and the stag cutout from before are all from the same kit. I stuck the wings on with double-sided sticky foam which kinda makes them look like they're floating - perfect for the wingardium leviosa spell! ^___^ I wish I had brought up on supplies a few years ago when owls were in though, because no owls were included in this particular woodland kit ; ___ ;

Other things that you can spot on this canvas include a vintage suitcases sticker from a Amy Tangerine remarks set, a silver crown and Union Jack from a Ruby Rock-It Vintedge (yup, that's how it's spelt!) Imprints sheet, two clocks and a pointing hand also from Ruby Rock-It, two chipboard letters that I coloured gold with a paint pen, kraft paper tags that I wrote and stamped on to make the Hogwarts Express luggage tags and the tag under the HP, and a random gold embellished circle gift tag that I drew a lightning bolt on. Oh, and washi tape. Always washi tape.

The most important step of making an art canvas is to mod podge everything down afterwards. Seriously, I tried to skip this step because I thought double-sided tape and glue would be enough. Spoiler alert: it's not. 

I brought a few more canvases while I was at the discount store (seriously the best place to get canvases in this city) so I may have to spread out all my supplies (again) and make a couple more! What fandom would you choose? 

- Lisa xx

Monday, 2 November 2015

Halloween 2015: Mermaid costume and spooky sweets review

Hello! So, Halloween is over for another year. I adore Halloween; I'm always so sad when it's finished! I've been told a few times this year that my hair looks like "mermaid hair", which is SUCH a lovely compliment that I decided to go as a mermaid for my costume ^____^

Rebecca and I were planning on hitting our regular rink for their Halloween skate session and then a party afterwards so I wanted something that would be comfortable enough to skate in.

I figured leggings and a skirt would be a practical combination and when I found this gorgeous shimmery scale fabric at Spotlight, I knew I was on the right track. I used this tutorial by Cal Patch to make my own pattern for the leggings and, aside from making them a little tighter around the knees next time, they worked out wonderfully!

I'm not yet at the stage where I feel comfortable enough wearing only leggings, so I also made a circle skirt with the same fabric. This video tutorial by Annika from The Pineneedle Collective was extremely helpful for this, but as my sewing machine was still broken at this stage, I had to get a little creative with sewing it together. I ended up doing the entire thing on my overlocker, and not hemming the skirt or adding elastic to the waistband. I'm a little worried that the waistband fabric will eventually stretch out; if that happens I'll have to reverse engineer in some elastic, but it was fine for a costume.

For the top, I printed out a picture of clamshells and used them to make a freezer paper stencil. I mixed up some light blue and light green fabric paint (I just diluted the colours I had with more white fabric paint) and used sponge brushes to add the blue on the top and green at the bottom. Then I used a brush dipped in both colours to mix them together in the middle of the shells and create a colour gradient look.

And then I put silver glitter all over them! One can never have too much glitter ^___^ Lastly, I made some hair accessories simply by attaching, with E6000, hair pin backings to some shells and starfish I had in my stash  (hoarding from childhood holidays *does* come in handy! ~___^)

The day after Halloween I hosted a crafternoon, and took the opportunity to test out some spooky recipes!

The strange pink lumps below were meant to be the Bloody Popcorn Brains by Not Quite Nigella, but mine are not quite as pin-worthy! My popcorn turned out really sticky, so making them into any real shape was seemingly impossible. I just ended up blobbing down lumps, adding some raspberry jam and calling them Blood Clots! They taste amazing though and are perfect for a special dessert treat or for curing diabetic hypoglycemia (I'd personally opt for the former!). 

The Spooky Worm Halloween Jello by A Spicy Perspective was voted "grossest-looking" by my guests; some wouldn't even try it due to its appearance! I'll grant that it's creepy looking, and the tapioca pearls lend an interesting texture to the jelly, but Scott, Rebecca, and I all quite liked the taste. I used lime and grape jelly and they turned out these lovely pastel colours, which went really well with the "witchetty-grub" lollies I found in the supermarket (I couldn't find plain old jelly worms like the recipe called for anywhere!). I used little ramekins as my moulds, but the jelly didn't come out cleanly. No matter, I think it looks even more gross this way ~___^

I'd never made chocolate bark before, and I found The Pioneer Woman's Halloween Bark tutorial very helpful even though I didn't follow her recipe completely. I melted white cooking chocolate, poured it into a tray lined with baking paper, and then pressed in salted pretzels, Star Wars character cookies, mini M&Ms, and pop-rocks. After sitting in the fridge for a while, it was ready to be broken up and served! This was the most popular dessert at the crafternoon; the salty-sweet combination was considered most superior by my friends ^____^ I personally think that the addition of the pop-rocks makes it a very appropriate Halloween treat as there is something rather creepy about your sweets making random cracking noises ...

Scott's favourite was the coffin cake; which is just a plain chocolate cake with peppermint icing. Can't beat the classics, I guess! I got the coffin-shaped pan from Spotlight and it does have a cross indentation on it, but that didn't show through very well on the finished cake, so I added my own with writing icing.

And that's it! Gosh! Did you have a fantastic Halloween? I hope you did, and that you dressed up! I love hearing about and seeing other people's costumes ^____^

- Lisa xx