Flower Boxes

Dare I say, I’m nearly caught-up on my backlog of posts!  Been doing shorter ones like this one to get the content out there! Bare with me!

Leslie had a great vision for doing flower boxes to put on the dinner tables at Shirley and Spencer‘s engagement dinner a couple months ago.  She bought all the supplies but wasn’t sure how to put everything together, so she called me over to assemble under her direction.  This is how they turned out!

Initials Flower Box

Leslie bought the white letters, and I used wooden chopsticks to hold them up.  I literally bobby pinned the fern branches down to some green styrofoam covered in faux moss.  Then I cut the flower stems and stabbed them into the styrofoam.

“Love” Flower Box

We weren’t sure how they’d turn out since I’d never done any sort of floral arrangement before, but I think it ended up being a solid collaboration.  The bride-and-groom-to-be really liked them!

A Day of Kitchen Failures and Craft Fail Blog

This blog makes me feel better about all of the unfortunate baking/crafting failures I’ve had in the last year, including the one I’m now going to write about.  I highly recommend bookmarking it for those inevitable failures we crafter/bakers are doomed to experience (unless I’m the only one?).  Thank you, Paper Source for finding me this website!!!  This particular entry made me laugh out loud.

Continuing from my 2011 holiday bake-a-thon, I thought I’d write a little jig about the horrid baking day I had on Christmas Eve.  The stars were not aligned, as they say, in my (galactic) kitchen.  I was to celebrate Christmas with my dad’s extended family over dinner on Christmas Eve, and told him I’d make dessert for us to bring.  My (apparently very proud) father told me to make something impressive because he had told all of our relatives that I was quite the baker. I threw out a few suggestions, and he kept saying “no – it should be something a little more impressive, but make sure it’s tasty!”.  Beginning to feel the pressure, I threw out suggestions for a Boston Cream Pie and a Bourbon Banana Layer Cake.  We settled on the Boston Cream Pie, though he ended up trying to buy a bottle of bourbon – you know… in case I want to make the Bourbon Banana Layer Cake some day.

Filling Off to a Decent Start...

I made the filling (twice – I messed up the first time) the night prior, and refrigerated it over night.

Ready to Set in the Fridge

I made the cake part the next day.  Everything was going smoothly.  I baked the cake for the time instructed in Martha’s recipe.  When I took the cake out of the oven, it smelled great, looked nice and fluffy… I even stuck a toothpick in the middle and it came out clean.  But when I cut the cake in half horizontally to make the two layers, I noticed the middle was extremely dense and a little rubbery.  It was undercooked.

Looks Can Be Deceiving

I tried to figure out if I had enough time to make the cake over again, as I pulled the Boston Cream Pie filling out of the fridge.  I stirred it up with a whisk as instructed, but noticed something was a little off…

Boston Cream Pie Filling, or Tapioca Pudding?!

The custard somehow curdled while chilling overnight.  Another key component – ruined!  There definitely wasn’t enough time left to make both the filling and cake over again. Thankfully I hadn’t started on the chocolate ganache sauce topping yet.  I decided to make the most with what I had and whipped up a new batch of Grinchmas Cookies with what little time I had left, annoyed that I wasn’t living up to the expectations of impressive culinary grandeur.

But the day of disaster didn’t stop there.

I usually only use the top rack in the oven when I bake things, and just do one pan in the oven at a time.  On this day, I decided to use both racks in the oven to save time.  The bottom rack was only 3 inches lower than the top rack – how much of a temperature difference could there be?  Well… apparently enough to torch half of my Grinchmas Cookies, while the half on the top rack came out just fine.

Half-Batch of Burnt Grinchmas Cookies

Things definitely didn’t go as planned, but on to more successful ventures!

Lace Earrings (For Sale)

For the entirety of the time I’ve been crafting or baking, I’ve listened to familiar sounds to help me focus.  At first, I would defer to having one of the Star Wars episodes playing on DVD.  I can’t tell you what it is – it’s just comforting to have it on as background noise.  As I got older and perhaps more considerate of the lesser affections my various roommates had for the trilogy (and even less for the prequels), I switched to music.  Adele’s 19 as of the last couple months has been my album choice lately, but even more so when I was making these earrings.  Perhaps a few of the tracks turned into my own personal anthems to an extent, but listening to her just made me wanna pump out some earrings!  Her voice is so soulful and, more importantly, calming – especially when I’m trying to avoid creative disasters.  What gets your creative juices flowing?  Send me suggestions!

Anyway, I really dig the look of lace earrings, and not only NEEDED to own a pair (oh yes, they will be mine) but I wanted to make them myself.  Having never dabbled in jewelry-making before, I bought a big surplus of supplies to make them a few weeks ago thinking it would take me a few tries to get it right.

Piles of Pretty Lace to Play With

I’d like to think the first pair didn’t turn out so bad after all, so  I ended up making a whole fleet of them with the extra materials I got!

Snapshot of the Different Lace Earring Styles

I was going to debut these little guys via this blog post, but Andrew trumped my big reveal (along with my photography skills) by posting the below on Facebook… along with another awful candid.  But that’s water under the bridge. #notbitter

"Snowflake" Earrings

I’ve also been toying with the idea of starting an Etsy account to sell some of my handmade things for a couple of years now, but never really knew what item(s) would make the most sense or have a high enough demand.  I unfortunately don’t have enough piercings (nor ears) to wear all of these earrings I made, so I thought these might be a good fit to start off my Etsy.

"Leaf" Earrings with Blue Ribbon - $8

However, when I looked into what people are selling handmade lace earrings for and the craftsmanship of their work, I got really intimidated.  Then, I figured, “What the hell, I’ll just be the Costco Kirkland brand of lace earrings and undercut my name-brand competitors”.

"Crochet" Earrings with Sunglow Ribbon - $8

With the exception of the “Snowflake” and “Floral” style, each pair of earrings is made using surgical steel hooks.  I have that type of metal in my knee, and haven’t had problems so those that have earring sensitivity probably won’t have problems with it in their ears.

"Floral" Earrings - $7

Bottom line is:  I’m selling affordable lace earrings!  If you’re interested in looking FABULOUS with these little guys, inquire within!

"Crochet" Earrings with Aqua Ribbon - $8

Pricing is included in the title for each pair of earrings.  I made duplicates of some of them, and can make more upon request.  If the demand is there for these, then I’ll make some more and start the Etsy account.  🙂

Future Cross Stitch Project

Does anyone know how to cross stitch?  I thought of a GREAT idea for a cross stitch project, but I don’t even know where to start since there’s no template.

I also Google’d “funny cross stitch”, and HAD to share some of the fabulous pictures I found.  Enjoy!

Reddit Rage Comic
Reddit Rage Comic
Om Nom Nom
Om Nom Nom
Oregon Trail
Oregon Trail
Lord of the Rings
Lord of the Rings

 

Ideas and Inspiration

I saw this Smash Book video on the Paper Source blog a few months ago, and have been meaning to share it here.  It’s the simplest idea for a product, but brilliant marketing!  I totally want one, but my OCD is already giving me anxiety about “smashings” things together willy-nilly with no order to it.

I was inspired by the video to start a scrapbook (essentially, a pretentious Smash Book without the chaos), and Jo-Ann’s just happened to have a big sale over the weekend.  I left the place with a sketchbook, some drawing pens, and a blank scrapbook.

I’ve also been wanting to get into drawing, but have been too afraid since it’s been SO long.  However, an idea for a short comic has been brewing in my head for a couple of months, so I’m going to try to flesh it out.  I’ve been trying to muster up the courage to draw a dog for the last couple of days, but it’s so intimidating.  I can’t even remember what a dog looks like accurately enough to put it down on paper.  Ugh…this might take a while.  Fingers crossed!  At the very worst, I’ll just use the sketchbook to draw out scrapbook layouts.  I think I still remember how to draw squares…

I’m also backlogged on a couple projects (i.e., wine coozie set, mini-scrapbook kits, etc.) that are pretty old, but I’ve been wanting to remake them and take better photos of the process.  I’m afraid to admit the photos I took when I was originally making them are really awful…not that I’ve come a very long way since then.

I also want to improve my photography!  While vacationing in Orlando back in June, I took some photos of things I thought were interesting looking based on color (for the Safari ride) or shape (for the Epcot ball and Imagination building).  While I’m on this train wreck of rant, I might as well share the photos!

Maybe I’ll learn how to use Photoshop while I’m at it!

Hopefully, Santa Claus or God or someone with some real power to make things happen is reading this post.