December 19, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Lookie what came in the mail today! A package containing a Nikon Coolpix, an adorable T-shirt and matching patch. I have instructables.com to thank for the wonderful prize I was awarded for my entry into one of their Halloween Contests.
Remember the wearable gory brain I made with caulking and a fitted cap and wrote for Craft for Halloween? Well, I entered it into the Instructables Halloween Photos Challenge and won Second Place. Yay! Many, many thanks!
If you want to have your mind blown away, you ought to check out the projects over at Instructables. I get lost in a pool of creativity every time I poke around over there. Lots of superdupertalented crafters!
November 20, 2011 § 8 Comments
Ok, so a month later, finally a recap of my first TV appearance!
I had the most wonderful experience at Canadian Living Magazine headquarters and Citytv Breakfast Television here in Toronto on October 25th! It was a very early morning, which started at 3:45 when my alarm sounded, after which I immediately threw hot rollers in my hair, and loaded my car with carved pumpkins. Arrival and set-up was 5:30. Make-up 6:00. And my super short three minutes of fame slated at 7:53 am.
This may sound odd to you — in the spring months I had actually visualized being on Breakfast Television and carving my butternut squashes. A premonition? “The Secret” come to life? Ok, I’m not here to prove nor disprove the law of attraction. However, back in the spring, I had a moment of reflection after a couple of friends urged me to pitch my crafts to the show. I supposed if I would pitch anything in the spring, it would have to be for something six months ahead, in the fall. I thought, if I were to make my first crafting appearance on live local TV, I’ll carve squashes.
As it goes, I didn’t bother with the pitch. Who cares about a random blogger carving anything on live television? The end to a reverie.
Then the bizarre twist of fate. While I was in California last month, I received an email. The short of it: Breakfast Television. Me. Carving Pumpkins. Here’s to you, universe — in my hands are the fate of pumpkins, not squashes! Seriously, though, what are the chances that my first television appearance would be to carve some autumnal gourd as I had earlier prophesized?
More importantly, you’re probably wondering — how do I get a random email request such as this?
I could not be more thankful to Canadian Living Magazine. I guess I have been silent here and not been revealing much about the work I do outside of this blog, until the work manifests itself in public. This year, I have had the greatest creative opportunity to work on crafts projects with Canadian Living Magazine. You’ve read the posts I wrote for The Craft Blog earlier this year. But, I have also been busy designing some fun crafts for the magazine’s print issues in 2012. The process is lengthy for print publication, and crafts ideas and articles go through a gestation period of sorts for about ten months before they are born into the world. In fact, this month of November, I was busily crafting for the April and May 2012 issues. Yep, despite my lull online, I’m not totally a slacker (not entirely, though I should totally pick up the pace on this blog)!
So, on with the show! We had four segments filmed live inside the Test Kitchen (where the magazine prepares all recipes in-house). I joined the three amazingly talented women: Austen Gilliland (Senior Editor and Craft Editor), Adell Shneer (Test Kitchen Manager), and Rheanna Kish (Food Specialist), and we each did a segment on creative Halloween ideas.
Of course, seeing that this is a month late, I just went to Breakfast Television’s site and wasn’t able to find the full episode that day. However, I found our individual video clips. I have no idea how to embed non-Youtube videos, so please click on each image to link to the video:
Adell had the first segment and concocted a cauliflower “brain” with dip. You totally have to try this recipe out. It is packed with cheese and absolutely delicious!
Me and my hair and, oh right, my pumpkins went for the second segment. I really did not anticipate a third of the segment would become about my hair! I wish there was time to explain the “convertible pumpkins” which let your children design and paint the features of the pumpkin. The features can then be placed on the pumpkins for funny faces during the day and removed to make jack-o-lanterns at night
Rheanna had the third segment and she made some yummy sweet-salty-spicy zombie popcorn. I could not have enough! Sweet. Salty. Spicy. You would be remiss not to try this recipe out!
The fourth clip of Austen doing creepy crafts is not available. Boo. It’s really too bad, she made awesome paper packaging for the popcorn! On a good note, I did a search and found this clip from last winter when she shared cool crafts ideas from the book, “Create, Update, Remake”. How timely — these are fantastic projects and gifts for winter and Christmas! Enjoy!
October 30, 2011 § 6 Comments
Ahh, I can’t believe Halloween is a couple of short hours away. I haven’t been holding out on you, I promise! I had some more ideas I wanted to test out and make and share here this month, but there simply weren’t enough hours in the day!
As mentioned in my last post, I spent the previous weekend brainstorming and carving pumpkins for the show on Tuesday morning which turned out to be such an amazing experience. I have plenty to say about what happened on Tuesday and I also have the video clips to post, but will do so in a separate post. After that, I caught my breath on Wednesday night. Come Thursday, O.T. was speaking at a conference in the east coast in Albany, NY, called me after work, and surprised me with “I’m taking the Greyhound from Albany, meet me at the station at 6:30 am”. Immediately after hanging up the phone, I attempted to embark on a cleaning frenzy, with no success (again, not enough hours in the day). In any case, my spectacular week couldn’t've gotten better! So he’s been here for several days and will be here until Wednesday.
As for the past couple of days, being Halloween weekend, the days are prime calendar real estate (after Christmas and Thanksgiving, of course). We had a couple of parties to attend this weekend and everything went by in a blink!
As for things that blink — I did have time to make these eyeball paper packages for the office tomorrow. 420 mini chocolates in 60 eyeballs in 2 hours. I wish I had shared this sooner, but I actually JUST came up with the idea today. One of the rare occasions when I’m glad I waited til the last minute. Otherwise, I would’ve simply reused my old ideas and would’ve felt a bit of self-reproach for not coming up with anything else different. I’m quite happy with the efficiency of these packages, considering how laborious most of my previous treat packages have been.
I have a 13″ x 19″ format color printer, and have stacks of 11″ x 17″ paper which I used. My very hastily made design (which you may download here for blue, here for brown, here for green) is intended to be 11″ x 11″. One eyeball paper package fits 7 pieces of mini chocolates. Simply fill with treats, gather, and twist. Yes, how handy that the excess twists into the optic nerve!
I’m sure you haven’t left your Halloween treats for last minute as I have, so perhaps this is an idea to consider for next year!
October 19, 2011 § 3 Comments
The latest article I wrote for Craft is available today! I know, I know, another caulking project from me?! I couldn’t resist, especially because it was so easy to turn a regular fitted ball cap into a bloody brain with my caulking gun.
This article had awesome timing. I finished it off here in Toronto before my vacation in California where I managed to get O.T. to agree to model it for the world. And how appropriate that the brainy wears a brain cap.
Did I ever mention O.T. is a computer chip designer in Silicon Valley with 3 patents to his name (one for each consecutive year from 2009 to 2011) and 4 more patents for approval? He exercised his brain from the age of 4 to 28, the years he attended school, unstoppably, from kindergarten to a doctorate (a fellowship, at that!) in both computer science and computer engineering. I love this chic geek of a man! Happy 32nd birthday, O.T. (it was his birthday this weekend and, yes, we’re only 2 weeks apart!). And thank you, O.T., for all your brilliant algorithms.
October 18, 2011 § 6 Comments
Everyone, meet Gord! For the holiday, I’ve carved this Halloween skull lantern out of a butternut squash, with a chunk leftover for some scrumptious soup (my fave kind of all time, not just du jour!). Yes, I do love pumpkins. But, of all gourds, butternut squashes are tops.
There’s no better shape for a carved skull than the butternut squash. It is bulbous, hollow in the bulb (perfect place for a tea light), and has a narrow shaft (appropriate shape for the jaw line).
This is my second go at butternut squash carving, all done with my trusty paring knife. Last year, my carved butternut squash flower centerpieces took half the effort and a fraction of the time as this one lone skull.
I figure it will be a challenge to explain the process into words, so I’m going to skip the long-winded tutorial and leave you with step-by-step pictures only (there is some interpretation to be left in between steps).
The key steps are towards the end of the process. It is important that the sides of the squash be sliced off and the forehead shaved down to a flatter shape, otherwise the skull will look more like an alien. I realize my skull balloons last week are looking like aliens…I must do something about that…
October 7, 2011 § 6 Comments
October 2, 2011 § 6 Comments
It’s pumpkin and apple season!
I’ve noticed that when candy or chocolate apples are made to look like pumpkins, lines are piped on the surface of the apple, which happens to be quite the opposite of how pumpkins truly are. I figured, why not imitate the recessed lines of pumpkins by cutting thin slices out of the apple?
So, that’s exactly what I did to make these apples look truly like pumpkins.
Then I figured, why not make them taste like pumpkin pie?
And that’s exactly what I did. I threw in some cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger into the candy melts. And now my pumpkin candy apples taste just like pumpkin pie.
Did the apples brown at the cut edges? Not so much. They were immediately dipped in candy melts, which coated them well enough to keep from browning. Would the apples brown the next day because they’ve been cut? Hmmm, I’m not so sure. I ate almost all of them almost immediately.
I did save one for a friend, which I packaged using the technique in my recent tutorial on packaging cupcakes, cookies, and macarons, this time using a 2L pop bottle.
October 1, 2011 § 39 Comments
It’s October! In a couple of days, paper, plate, and plane will turn one year old. At the end of the month, I, too, will turn one year older. I wanted to celebrate this wonderful month by giving away some cool crafty items.
With thirty two dollars in my pocket, two weeks ago, this diva-on-a-dime ran amok at my most favorite crafty source, Dollarama. What can I get possibly get my dear crafty friends for thirty two dollars?! (I guess it goes without saying — I’m turning thirty two on Halloween!). (And oh, as much as this has a tone of sponsorship, it is certainly just me raving about Dollarama, as I often do, and hauling things out of my own pocket, as I’ve done for the past year to keep this blog alive and kicking).
Well, here goes a long list! Ok, let’s take a look at what you’ll get. I tried to keep in mind a variety of your crafty needs. Let’s start with paper. It is my first passion, afterall.
Art Blanc Notebook
Art Blanc books sell for as much as $11 at gift shops and book stores. I was happily surprised to see Dollarama carrying this famous Russian line of luxurious, textured notebooks in their stationery aisle for a whopping $2. It was so difficult to choose which design to include in this list of giveaways. Of course, I chose the one that most looks like Turkish tiles (as you may know, I have a weakness for anything Turkish). I happen to carry a huge notebook (yes, the traditional paper kind) with me at all times so I can scribble and doodle all of my ideas that eventually materialize on this blog. I’ve never found electronic gadgets that efficient for this purpose. I actually bought a tablet way back in 2007 and fast forward to 2011, I still very much prefer my good old paper notebook.
Handmade Indian Scrapbook Paper
These sheets are 100% cotton paper, with beautiful gold foil details. There are two packs, each with 2 sheets of gorgeous handmade Indian paper. A total of 4 sheets. Size: 12″ x 12″ (30 cm x 30 cm).
Vintage Handmade Dimensional Stickers
Pretty 3-dimensional stickers layered with buttons, ribbons, rhinestones, and pearls. There are three packs, each with 8 stickers. A total of 24 vintage handmade stickers.
I’m not exactly sure if these colorful butterflies are made of paper, but these are perfect for scrapbookers. I’m sure I’ve seen similar at craft stores for quadruple Dollarama’s price. There are two packs, each with 3 butterflies. Each butterfly is 2-1/2″ x 1-1/2″ (6 cm x 4 cm).
These are intended for laptops, but they can also be for cellphones, printers, windows, walls, wherever you want to stick stickers that won’t stick forever. These are the removable decals you’ve probably seen being sold everywhere. Dollarama happens to sell them for $1.50 for a pack of 5 designs. There are 3 packs in 3 different glittery, blingy colors.
Bottles of Glitter and Decorative Beads
Dollarama has bottles and bottles of glitter in so many colors. It was difficult to narrow down the choices. I used shades of purple to make the juice bottle glitter vases back in July. For this giveaway, I chose green, gold, and blue, considering that Christmas is around the corner. I also bought a six-pack of adorably cute bottles of micro beads in Christmas colors.
Spools of Ribbon
Sheer organza polka-dot ribbons in yellow, apple green, and fuschia pink. Size: 1-1/2″ wide x 77″ long (4 cm x 2 m). Two stylish satin ribbons with illustrated flower prints in green and red. Size: 5/8″ x 72″ (1.5 cm x 1.8 m).
I didn’t forget you, clay makers! Dollarama doesn’t sell polymer clay, however they do sell these soft, light weight, air drying modeling clay packs similar to Crayola Model Magic . Each pack is 1.4 oz (40 g), in green, pink, and purple.
Decorative Push Pins
I thought these little lady bugs and busy bees would be a fun addition to your home office or your children’s boards. Each pack has 12 push pins. You know I love making me my push pins such as the light bulb and Kill Bill push pins.
When I was a kid, I had an obsession with erasers. My mom would avoid taking me to stationery shops because I always threw a tantrum over buying paper and erasers to add to my colossal collection. When I saw these as I shopped for crafty items, I couldn’t put them down. My childhood obsession with erasers is likely equivalent to my current obsession with sushi as an adult. I hope you or someone you know has an obsession with erasers and sushi, too.
Of course, there has to be a little bit of Halloween in the mix!
I adore these! The package comes with 12 teeny tiny pumpkins, about 1-1/4″ (3.5 cm) in diameter. There can be many creative uses for these little guys, but last year, I used them as place card stands.
Halloween Cupcake Liners
Who can resist Halloween cupcakes? These orange and black cupcake/muffin cups have a spider web design, are standard size, and come in a pack of 50 pieces.
Skull and Pumpkin Molds
These rubber ice cube trays make for great candy molds, too. I used them last year to shape my pumpkin butter.
So how can you grab all this stuff for yourself or for your kids/grandkids/friends? Please comment below before Monday, October 3, 2011, 10:31 pm EST. Say anything that comes to mind — what your favorite posts were in the past year or what other ideas you want me to explore or the types of crafts you most enjoy or simply share your blog link with the rest of us or anything else you want to say! I will count the number of comments, place the count in a number generator, and announce the giveaway winner with the winning comment number on Monday, October 3, 2011 after 10:31 pm EST. And wherever you are in the world, I’ll be happy to ship to you! Stay tuned!
September 29, 2011 § 2 Comments
I cannot wait to work on fall and Halloween crafts for October, but before I do, here’s a recap of the fall and Halloween ideas I designed last year. If you didn’t get a chance to make any of these creations last year, I hope you try them out this season!
My most favorite post was the one with the Halloween balloon body parts. Doodle on balloons to create creepy eyes, bloody brains, and witch’s fingers:
Make cute little phantom place cards by drawing faces on pumpkin seeds:
Cut out and fold an itsy bitsy spider treat box with the very first printable I designed and shared on this blog (and it was my very first tutorial ever):
Grab a tupperware bowl, four corks, scraps of paper, a pen, and some raffia and create this witch’s candy-filled cauldron with broomstick:
You know I love me my packaging, so here’s another printable! Fill this harvest corn treat box with…you guessed it…candy corn! (I think this is still my favorite treat box out of all treat boxes I’ve designed for this blog to date):
Your little ones can make art of autumn grains with this wheat and corn décor made of exactly that: wheat (pasta) and corn:
And the most popular fall tutorial I made last year was the carved butternut squash centerpieces:
Oh, and I almost forgot: I did a whole week of pumpkin experimental recipes last year:
My favorite from pumpkin week was the pumpkin panna cotta:
And, I almost forgot, I designed and baked a ginormous woven cornucopia cracker for Thanksgiving:
Enjoy! More fall and Halloween ideas from me coming up in October! And I have a birthday GIVEAWAY coming to you this weekend! paper, plate, and plane is very soon turning 1. And I am very soon turning 1 year older. I am excited to host a special giveaway to celebrate the occasion(s). Stay tuned!!! :D
October 24, 2010 § 5 Comments
Pumpkin week begins with my last Halloween craft for your upcoming party. I’ve found an amusing way to turn those pumpkin seeds into ghost-faced creations. These pleasant phantom pumpkin seed place cards are sure to charm your guests.
a. Pumpkin seeds and a permanent marker for drawing the eyes and mouth.
b. 2-1/2″ place cards printed from your printer. Using MS Word, I made black boxes with white names placed closer to the right edge, to allow for the ghost to be placed on the left. I used my favorite Halloween font: Chiller.
c. Foam miniature pumpkins. Many craft pumpkins are available at crafts stores and dollar stores. I got a pack of 10 from my favorite dollar store, Dollarama. Using an X-Acto knife, cut a slit at the top to hold the card. Of course, there’s no need for pumpkins. You can make the usual tent cards instead.
d. Circle punches in 2″, 1-1/2″ and 1″. If you don’t own these, your pair of scissors can still do wonders.
You are welcome to design and hand cut your own version of the ghosts’ bodies if you only need a handful of cards. I used circle punches for efficiency in creating large amounts. This way takes mere seconds to make each ghost:
1. Using the edges/scraps from your sheet of place cards (always make the most use of your paper), punch a 2″ circle.
2. Punch a 1-1/2″ circle up to the middle of your 2″ circle to form a crescent
3. Punch a 1″ circle out of one of the tips of your crescent in order to shape the arms.
October 22, 2010 § 14 Comments
This is my version of Halloween balloons. I’ve seen many of those orange balloons with pumpkin faces and white balloons with ghost faces and think they’re delightfully cute, but I figured perhaps too cute for some. So I wanted to take Halloween balloon-making up a notch: balloon body parts. Last night, I picked up my markers and, like a little kid, colored away.
Hang the eyes from the ceiling and give your guests that creepy sensation of being watched. Stick the witch’s fingers on walls and doors to give the illusion of sneaking in.
Balloons (9″ round white for eyes, 9″ round peach or light pink for brains, long green – the ones used for balloon animals – for witch’s fingers)
Broad chisel tip markers (in green, blue, black, and red)
Styrofoam bowl and cup, for tracing the eye’s iris (cut away the rim of the bowl so it can sit on the balloon while tracing)
October 18, 2010 § 3 Comments
Here is a wickedly easy craft that will have you flying off the handle!
There is a substantial collection of disposable plastic lidded bowls in my cupboard (thanks to Costco’s tasty frozen shrimp wonton soup). I’ve been saving the bowls and their lids for this year’s Halloween favors: candy-filled witch’s cauldrons.
a. Black bowl and lid. If you haven’t tried Costco’s frozen shrimp wonton soup, I highly recommend it. It comes with 6 black bowls with lids, the delicious soup is a bonus! :p Of course, if your cupboards are bursting with food containers, you can grab a bowl and lid between 3-1/2″ – 4-1/2″ in diameter and paint the exterior black.
b. Yellow paper, colored with shades of orange/red for flames. Cut along the outline of the flames and make sure to leave about an inch of space at the bottom for adhesives.
c. 4 wine corks.
d. A handful of decorative spider web. There is plenty at dollar stores this time of year.
e. Black pen and 2″ pieces of raffia, enough to cover the pen cap. Glue the raffia on the cap and have a piece of raffia to tie it for a finished look. This will be the witch’s broomstick.
1. Using double-sided tape, adhere the flames around the bottom and along the sides of the bowl.
2. Randomly adhere the wine corks to the bottom of the bowl using a glue gun.
3. Cut a small hole through the lid, large enough for the pen to slide through. Dot some glue on the top of the lid, and adhere the spider web for a bubbling look. Make sure you slide the pen through the lid before closing.
Don’t forget to fill with eerie treats. I used gummy witches’ fingers from my favorite dollar store, Dollarama.
October 3, 2010 § 10 Comments
Not looking for a trick this Halloween? This spider favor box is a happy creature filled with fun treats and yours to make and give away. I crafted the box out of simple black cardstock using a template I designed. You can download the template here. It is easy to assemble with cut lines and score lines for folding. Simply fill with your favorite treats. I love Reese’s Pieces for their colors and even more for their peanut butter goodness!
Here are step-by-step instructions after downloading the template:
1. Print and cut the template and trace onto a sheet of letter-size black cardstock. The heavier weight, the sturdier, the better. Make sure to cut carefully along the solid lines and not to cut on the dotted lines, as those are for folding.
2. Once you have everything cut out, fold the triangular flaps up, while making sure the fangs are left flat.
3. Fold the curved sides up, and leave the legs flat.
4. Pinch the triangular flaps through the top slits of each side, one by one. Make sure to fill your box with treats before folding the second side.
5. Fold down the tops of the triangles to close. Pinch the legs so that they are bent. For eyes, I used orange cardstock and black gemstones which I picked up from the dollar store.
It is adorable and so simple. Kids and adults alike will enjoy this little project. No tricks needed!