Monday, 25 January 2016

Baking, succulents, and parties

Hello! I realised recently that I have an awful lot of photos of little things I have made/ baked, but I haven't shared them with you! You may have seen some of these on Instagram, but here we can talk about them a little more without having to make those huuugggeeee comments that end up looking like a really dense wall of text ~___^

First up: ugly cake! Scott and I recently celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary for which the traditional gift is salt. I thought that sounded a little boring so instead I decided to make a salted caramel cake. I wanted to make a layered cake, but I also didn't want it to be huge so I made a rectangle shaped upside down cake, and cut it into smaller circles. The caramel part of the upside down cake means that I didn't have to put anything between the layers.

However, cutting nice looking circles from cake is actually a lot harder than I expected it to be! When I layered them up, I realised how wonky my cake was! >___<

I thought about covering the entire thing in buttercream icing to try and make it look nicer, but ultimately decided that salted caramel layers and a salted caramel sauce poured over the entire thing was probably enough forms of sugar for one small cake so I left it naked and ugly ~___^ We ate it anyway, and it tasted pretty good!

I also made a simple card for Scott. I used a black and white chevron paper to cover a blank card, glued on a square of gold heart patterned paper, and stuck a black and gold embellishment in the middle. I messily scribbled a border around the heart paper with my silver metallic pen and it was done!

Bunnings had a heap of tiny succulents for sale recently, so I brought, ummm, way too many of them. I put one in a tiny teacup to give to a friend for her housewarming, and put two more in two empty tins I kept because they're cute. I added dinosaurs because dinosaurs are awesome.

I put the rest in a bigger pot, and added more dinosaurs and some pretty little rocks. I'm not sure how well that one in the middle is going; I brought it because I thought it was a cool colour, but I'm now thinking that perhaps I brought a dying succulent. Hmm.

I designed a badge to give to some of my derby pals, and recently two of my buddies from skating star classes had their birthday so I used two of the leftover pins to decorate some hair bows. The fabric I used is the same design as the badges, which I got printed from my Spoonflower store.

For my birthday I had an Adventure Time themed party - I didn't take many photos but I did remember to photograph some of the food (the most important part, right! ~___^)

I made Lumpy Space Crackles with using this recipe ... except I didn't put in any cocoa and I used honey instead of maple syrup. I also added some blue and red food colouring which didn't mix in that well. I was hoping for it to make purple, but it mostly didn't. I also put on some star shaped sprinkles to make them more space like ^___^

I brought some Adventure Time cookies, but they didn't taste that great so I made them into chocolate bark, with the addition of salted pretzels and pop rocks. They were a big hit!

I also made a Tree Trunks apple pie; the fancy lattice top was trickier to make then I expected it to be! It tasted really great and even though it was huge, it got demolished really quickly.

These sunglasses were made for my friend Clare for Christmas. Clare has an adorable style and is a big fan of daisies, so I wanted to make her something to suit her look.

All I did to make these was glue little daisy cabochons around the frame of some round sunglasses. It was really easy, but they turned out really cute!

I also made these Wookiee cookies after seeing these super cute biscuits by Sugared Nerd.

I used a mini gingerbread person cutter, and melted chocolate for the details. I adore how they turned out!

I made this chocolate bark for my dad for Christmas - I added almonds, pepitas, pistachios, dried cranberries, and white chocolate chips to melted dark chocolate. I also made Dad some coconut ice using this recipe (except I used Stevia instead of rice malt syrup), a trail mix, and more gingerbread. I added twice the amount of ginger into Dad's batch than I used for the Wookiee cookies because both of us like our gingerbread really spicy (not that he wanted to share! ~___^)

Inspired by Messy Nessy Chic, I made this cheese platter Christmas Tree for after our family lunch. Honestly, we were all a bit too full for this, but we did our best anyway! ^___^

Lastly, I've been working on the Death Star blanket. If you've been a long time reader of this blog, you may remember that I started this project in, oh, 2011. It's been in the WIP box for a long time, but the new movie inspired me to get it back out. I've started joining the squares, which makes the whole project a little more inspiring - I've almost finished the rows with the laser! (Baby steps!) ^___^

- Lisa xx

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Pretzel Pillows Crafternoon

Hello! So, usually at my crafternoons everyone just brings whatever they're currently working on and we just sit and chat and eat cake and even occasionally craft ~____^ But when the last one was still in the organisation stages, one of my new-to-crafternoon friends asked, "what are we making?" And so we decided that it might be fun to all focus on making a specific project! We did a little vote on crafts and the winner was the Pretzel Pillow by Studio DIY!

We used brown polar fleece to make our pretzels, and stick on felt for the salt. The backing on the felt is not super sticky, but so far mine has held up ok! I know Bec has been adding some little stitches to her salt pieces to ensure they don't fall off, but the sticky backing actually helps a bit with that, since they don't move while you sew!

Bec and Miriam cut our strips of fabric to be 30cm x 200cm, which is little bit bigger than Kelly's instructions recommend, but it worked out fitting better to our fabric ^____^ Boulder and Fran cut up felt salt flakes and I used my sewing machine to turn the fabric strips into tubes.Then we turned them right way out. This part was surprisingly tricky! We left the holes large enough to fit a hand in, but then the tubes were so long, we had polar fleece bunched up around our elbows! We were thinking that a piece of string sewn into the end of the tube might help with the turning, but we didn't try it out (since all the tubes were sewn by the time we started coming up with ideas!).

A long dowel is super, super helpful for stuffing and I think we probably used about 1.5kg of polyfill between five of us (which doesn't sound like much, until you remember how light that stuff is!). Then all we had to do was twist and tack and then stick on the salt!

All of our pillows turned out super cute, and we took a group photo to celebrate! Trying to get us and our pretzels in the photo was a bit tricky since my yard is very small - we're thinking that for the next crafternoon I need to set up a photobooth, with a background and all! ~____^

We've got a few more projects planned for our next couple of crafternoons, so it'll be fun to see how they come out! 

- Lisa xx

The top twelve from 2015

Well, it's that time of year when we all start to look back on the year that's been, and I am no exception! I love seeing what my most viewed posts have been each year; it's always surprising, I'm sure to have forgotten one or two, and it's nice to see how the crafts have been holding up. So, without further ado ...

Huzzah for nerd crafts! The Darth Vader Coffee Cup Cosy (or DV CCC, for short ~___^) was a birthday gift for my wonderful friend Pip and even though she received it rather late, it was a big hit. I suspect my Star Wars crafts posts may have received small boosts in traffic due to the new movie, which goes to show, Star Wars never goes out of fashion ^___^

Also at number twelve was my post on three easy Addams Family crafts and I'm pleased to report that all of these projects are still going strong! The canvas is on display on my computer desk, the necklace is getting regular wear, and Scott and I use the pillowcases almost every night (almost because, well, we have to wash them sometimes! ~___^)

The fairy bread sweater clips and the peas in a pod brooch have been getting the most wear from me, but the other pieces are still valued contributors to the jewellery box team ~___^ I really enjoy working with polymer clay and actually have some new sculpting projects in the works - stay tuned!

Looks like 2015 was the year of the Addams Family on this blog, huh? I made these clay dolls for my lovely friend Clare and I'm so glad they made this list because they're one of my favourite projects! I had a lot of fun learning some new techniques to make them and, while my skills still can use some improvement, I'm still really proud of how they turned out. 

This project is my most popular post over at Cut Out + Keep, so I suspect there are a lot of sticker hoarders out there! All of my sticker jewellery has held up really well, but using super glue is essential for this project; they're just not secure enough otherwise.

"IT'S NOT A PHASE, MUM!" Oh, wait, no, it totally is. My moon phases necklace (*another* clay project, btw!) is a big hit every time I wear it. It's surprisingly light and gives a lovely witchy touch to any outfit ^___^

Omg, the kitty mugs. I made *so many* and they were such fun! They have held up relatively well; one cup got put in the dishwasher by a well meaning work colleague which didn't turn out so well, but with gentle handwashing the porcelain pens stay on ok. I think more experimentation with baking would assist here; although I followed the instructions on the packets, I think longer in the oven would help.

Awww, look at that wide eyed smile! I love my little Kraken and even though he's spent a year being squished on our couch, he still looks as happy as ever. I did learn that thin wire is not the way to go in the tentacles though; pipe-cleaners, like I used in the first Kraken I made from this pattern, work much better.

The Night Vale crafts were made for a craft swap, so I don't know how they're looking right now - or even if they are looking. Inanimate objects are notoriously bad witnesses. The Night Vale canvas is one project I really miss - I might have to make another one so I can keep it!

The toe guards that I made for my skates didn't actually survive that well. I used pleather for the main cover, and it just didn't hold up. The hearts were made of real leather though, and they're fine! So I guess the moral here is, if you're going to make them, use leather!

I'm surprised (but pleased!) that this one made the list! I made this for Scott, to hold his dice collection that he uses to play Warhammer 40K. My favourite part of this project was the cross-stitch because I found that two-headed eagle so darn tricky to chart that I was very pleased with how it came out. The bag still looks perfect, and Scott hasn't brought any more dice so it still fits his entire collection - yay!

Oh my gosh. I feel like I had forgotten how cute these little baby skates were! The pattern I followed was really great and my friend Toni sent me a photo of her new baby wearing them which was, no lie, pretty darn special. This project is definitely on the list for "future baby presents for derby folks"!

I'm still totally on the cowl bandwagon, and this one still looks great! The yarn is super fluffy and cosy, and it's in WARD colours so I can wear it to winter derby games! ~___^ Also in this post was the photos from my trip to Singapore and the costumes Bec and I wore to a 60s party the day after I got back!


This project is not the one I would have backed to come in the winner, but I'm actually really pleased it did! This bag is not in use anymore - the leather bits that connected the handles to the bag totally ripped off! Faux leather is just no match for all my derby gear! But the paracord handles are still perfect, and I've kept them for use on another project one day ^___^

Because I'm a huge nerd, I thought it would be fun to look at what kind of projects I posted in 2015! Here's the breakdown ...

Techniques most used: Crochet and painting! (10 each)
Techniques least used: Knitting (1)

Fandom most repped: Welcome to Night Vale (5)
Fandom least repped: A big ol' draw between Adventure Time, Game of Thrones, Warhammer, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, DC, and Marvel! (1 each)

Type of project most made: Home decor (17!)
Type of project least made: Clothing (1)

Honorable mentions:

6 projects made using miscellaneous techniques (like, is gluing a technique??)
3 projects featuring cats
6 projects relating to skating
3 projects featuring mermaids
6 posts with cake
3 posts on cosplay and/or costumes

If you're looking for a quick way to view all my projects, you can always check out my Pinterest board ^___^

Here's to another year of crafting!

- Lisa xx