I hope everyone has had a warm and merry Christmas.
Archive for December, 2010
I’ve been so excited to share this project, but it was part of the advent calendar box Matt and I are doing, so I had to wait till it was revealed.
Matt’s not really a candy person, but I LOVE candy, so when I find something that he likes I usually go overboard buying it for him. When I was thinking of things to put in the advent box the idea of candy dots (or as some people call them, candy buttons) came to mind. These are such a little kid kind of candy, but Matt likes them, as do I because, well, they are fun. Real sheets would be too big to put in a tiny advent box and I just thought “I wonder if there are recipes online for making my own”. Immediately after doing a quick google search I find that it is simply royal frosting with food dye, and I definitely know how to make that, after hosting my annual gingerbread house making parties.
I made a batch of royal frosting, referencing recipes online using powdered sugar, egg whites (the boxed pasteurized type in the refrigerated section at the grocery store), and cream of tarter. I divided the finished frosting in 6 ziplock bags and then began adding drops of food coloring until I got the colors I wanted. Red turned pink, yellow, blue, and then mixed the primary colors to make the secondary colors, orange, green and purple. With all the colors mixed, I nipped off a corner tip on each bag of frosting and then was able to push the frosting out of the bag, like real frosting bags.
After that I had tons of frosting left and I had a plan to go the other direction and make mega rolls of candy dots. Think Willy Wonka, endless rolls of candy. While I was working on my looong strips, I realized I had a rainbow of colors. And just like that, I started making DOUBLE RAINBOW THEMED MEGA CANDY DOTS! Matt thought that was hilarious.
If you’ve ever had candy dots you know each dot is solid and hard sugar. I know from working with royal frosting it starts getting hard pretty quickly, but I wasn’t sure how long it would take for each dot to become entirely solid. The next day I attempted to smoosh one to see if it was solid and the very inside was still a bit soft. It probably took a couple days for them to get thoroughly hard, but once they were done, they really did taste and feel exactly like how candy dots feel and taste. I forgot to mention, I had also added lime juice to the secondary colors, but it must not have been enough because we couldn’t discern a difference between the primary and secondary colors with the completed candies. Perhaps if I used the “True Lemon” or “True Lime” products, which are crystallized, I could have added enough to make them flavored. It would be interesting to try a variety of different extracts and flavors to the icing. I just didn’t want to add more liquid to the recipe because I was afraid it wouldn’t harden properly.
When I was telling friends about this they asked if I had used waxed paper instead of regular paper, to avoid the bits of paper you get in your mouth from eating the original candy. I wanted my dots to be authentic looking and even though no one wants to eat paper, it’s part of the experience, so I didn’t, but it is an option. And to tell the truth, my candy dots that I made released easily from the paper. I don’t know if it was the type of the paper I used or the recipe. They’ve been fun and delicious as we’ve been munching on them for days.
There you go! If you are looking for a fun candy project, try making some candy dots.
The other day Matt and I created our third annual Kusudama Christmas ornament. This year, I’m proud to say, it’s actually size appropriate to fit on a tree, as an actual ornament.
Here are all three years.
The first year I had a vision of making a bunch of them to cover an entire tree. Even though I reduced the size of the paper, it became obvious rather quickly that this was going to be too big and take too long to hang a bunch from a tree.
The second year, forgetting that I had reduced the paper size the first year, we made the ornament and it turned out GINORMOUS!
This year I used tiny origami paper (probably 3 inches squared?), while in previous years we used cut down old catalogs. Looking at previous years I realize we are getting better at this. The first year it took us 3 hours with both of us racing each other. It still took about an hour to make, but that is still much better than the first year.
If you would like to attempt one of these, the tutorial/pattern we used is here, and I also suggest a tape adhesive, rather than glue, like the tutorial suggests. If we had used a white glue, it would have taken about 6 hours and we would have thrown in the towel much earlier than that.
On Monday, my SIL (Dacia) and I checked out a new-to-me furniture store, about a half an hour away. They sell new and used pieces and we both did very well. I picked up a vintage rocking chair and I absolutely love it. It was marked $70, but he gave it to me for $45. Hello, Sweet Deals! It’s really pretty, well built, but I was actually really attracted to it because it goes well with a stool I bought at an estate sale earlier this year.
Then today, I got an old G3 iPhone, when a coworker upgraded to a G4. I’m not interested in using it as a phone, but will use it as an iTouch instead. If I can access wireless, than the only difference is I won’t be making calls from it. Already I’ve been having fun downloading apps, like the one that allowed me to take the picture above: “hipstamatic“. Forever I’ve been drooling over all the beautiful pictures my flickr contacts have shared using this app and now I can play with it too!
For a couple of years I’ve been wanting to buy a large wooden Advent boxes with 25 doors. This year I picked one up at Target and told Matt that we were going to each do 14 doors. This will be 11 days back and forth with one item behind each door, and the final three days will have 2 items inside, one from each of us. We’ll get to alternate who opens the doors, and since we doing every other day, it will be a surprise for each person what the item will be. The doors are very tiny, probably about 1.5″ squared, so to avoid the stress of shopping for items that would fit through a 1.5″ hole, we composed a creative list of items to be put in each of our doors randomly. Our list is as follows:
1. a little sketch
2. a handwritten note
3. something made of paper
4. something from a gumball machine
5. something from your purse/wallet/pocket
6. something store bought for around $5
7. something to eat
8. something from the basement
9. a hand-made ornament
10. something to wear
11. treasure map/list of clues with a present at the end
12. something Christmas themed
13. something store bought for $20
14. a promise
My first day was something made of paper, so I made a garland to put on our Christmas tree and Matt hung it up already. I liked it so much I decided to make a quick little tutorial.
All you need is:
-a paper punch (I used circular, but you could definitely be creative and use other shapes)
-a sewing machine
I had the idea that I wanted my garland to be metallic gold and silver because I thought it would look pretty with white lights on the tree. At first I was going to go to the craft store and just buy some scrapbooking paper, but then I saw these rolls of a 60 lb. wrapping paper at Target, so I used them instead.
I pulled about 8-10 inches of thread out before beginning, as a leading for the garland. This will allow you to wrap it around a branch before the actual garland begins. Don’t forget to set your stiches further apart, so that you don’t perforate your paper into two pieces. Then just start feeding the circles under the needle. I alternated silver side up, then gold side up, but it doesn’t really matter because they turn all around when you hang it anyway.
Continue feeding one after another until you get the desired length.
Update: I also sell these garlands in my etsy store if you’d like one, but would rather not make it yourself.
I’ve been meaning to share some finished projects for a long time now.
It’s no secret. I’m a yoyo fiend. Back in August I got the idea to make some zipper pouches covered in yoyos and I have finally finished and added three to my Etsy shop. I love how they came out. My favorite is the one above. It was by some weird luck that I found a zipper that matched the fabric perfectly and now I want to make more with solid colors. I think it displays the texture of the yoyos so much better. Something like that would be perfect for a wedding.
My sister gave me the idea to add wrist straps. This makes them a perfect size for a clutch or wristlet to use all alone, rather than to keep inside your purse. The straps are attached to the zipper pull and are easily removed.
I quilted all the yoyos by hand, then sewed the purse itself by machine. I anchored the yoyos to the pouch, so they are on there sturdily.
And then last month I showed a progress shot of some jewelry pieces I was working on and forgot to show the finished product. Here are the rings. The one of the left is made from a retired library book’s pages. The one on the right is made from a vintage world map print.
I loved the one on the left so much I wanted to keep it for myself. It occurred to me to just make one for myself, so I did that this week. It’s funny how excited I was to have one for myself. I wear handmade all the time, but it’s almost always from other artist’s work.
I love it when customers come to me with GREAT ideas for new products. Like earlier this year Claire wanted some of my notepads, but on a larger paper and then asked if I had envelopes. Ta-Da! Why not turn my bunting designs into stationery? Then for the above commissioned piece – a customer asked if I could make one of my treasure boxes but with “you are my favorite” on top. Brilliant! Why didn’t I think of that before? I’m sure I will be making some more of these.
Lastly, a friend recently got a puppy. He’s a maltipoo. He was so tiny (under 2 pounds) and when they took him outside he’d just start shaking from the cold. So tiny, in fact, that they couldn’t even find any pet coats or sweaters that would fit him, so I made this little coat from some fabric I had on my shelves. It’s a red and white print of skulls and cross bones :)
I made it at home, just guesstimating his size and I was amazed that it fit him like a charm. It just has a strap underneath and they loved that because then when they take him out to to the bathroom he doesn’t accidentally “go” on it, like he would if it was a full bodied sweater. It wasn’t until after I made it that I realized they could probably also make some really stylish sweaters for inside just from old patterned socks. A hole in the toe, a couple slits for his legs and he’d be super cozy.