recycled packaging for cupcakes, cookies, and macarons

September 25, 2011 § 65 Comments

It’s bake sale season!  And soon enough, our kitchens will be converted to cookie factories come December.  So here is an almost-free approach to creatively packaging all of your yummy treats!

This is a fantastic way to repurpose all of those plastic water bottles, as well as to use up scraps of cardboard.  And it’s an opportunity to consume your collection of washi tape or pretty ribbon that have been patiently waiting at the bottom of your craft drawers for the day they are given purpose.

I picked up my 3-pack of washi tape at Daiso for $1.50 back in August when I was in California.  A combined 48 yards!  What.  A.  Steal.  Hundreds of these little packages can be made with a $1.50 inventory of washi tape.  What’s sad is that our households may actually go through that many plastic bottles in a year.  At least this project grants the plastic bottles another calling in their lifetime before they hit the landfill.

For use of two water bottles (ideal for a row of homemade cookies and macarons):

1. Cut off the bottom of two plastic bottles to preferred length.  Fill with treats.

2. Attach the plastic bottles together with tape.

For use of one water bottle (ideal for one mini cupcake, but also great for a smaller serving of cookies and macarons):

1. Cut the bottom of one plastic bottle to preferred height.  Trace on cardboard.  Cut cardboard circle.

2. Place cupcake on cardboard circle.  Cover with bottom of plastic bottle.  Make sure the plastic bottle sits on top of the cardboard circle.  Affix tape around the plastic bottle and cardboard circle.

If you do not have washi tape, you may use double-sided tape covered with decorative ribbon.

Make sure to bake your cookies, macarons, and mini cupcake to fit the diameter of the water bottles.  I haven’t endeavored in baking macarons, so I splurged on half a dozen for the sake of this post.  Really.  Sweets for blogging’s sake!

ice cream charms

July 8, 2011 § 27 Comments

I realize the crafts I’ve most enjoyed making on this blog are ones inspired by my musings at hardware stores.  In hindsight, the four years I toiled running a hardware store customer service desk during my late teens have paid off in dividends in the form of knowledge of unlikely crafty materials.  I hope you enjoyed this week’s no-carve stamps made of caulking because I am not done with caulking yet!

These teeny tiny ice cream charms are made of caulking.  And wooden dowels.  And screw eyes.  Yes, all hardware store materials.  And to make them, you will need hardware store equipment.  Don’t be alarmed, these cute charms are amazingly simple to make!

a. 1/4″ wooden dowel.

b. 13/16″ screw eyes.

c. Tube of white caulking/sealant.

d. Pencil sharpener.  A regular sharpener will do, however, I used my electric sharpener.

e. Hack saw.

f. Drill with the smallest bit you can find.  Drilling is optional, but I promise it makes things a lot easier.

With under $5 worth of materials, you can make dozens of ice cream charms to give away this summer!

1. Sharpen the dowel.

2. Using a hack saw, cut the sharpened point of the dowel into a cone.  I literally did a hack job.  The cut edge does not have to be perfect because it will be covered with caulking.

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you have as many cones as you need.

4. Using a drill, create a very shallow pilot hole on the flat end of the cone.  This will help ease the screw eye through.

5. Screw one screw eye into each cone, only deep enough to secure the screw eye, ensuring most of the length remains exposed.

6. Cut the tip of the caulking tube to create a hole no more than 1/8″ in diameter.  Squeeze the caulking out onto the flat end of the cone, covering the edge. Continue squeezing the caulking while twirling the cone until you reach the eye of the screw.

7. Press each charm upright into a Styrofoam block to dry.  Let cure for 24 hours.

I must say, this is a project I contemplated long and hard since my first caulking project, candy heart coasters, back in January.  It was almost natural to arrive at the visual idea of soft-serve ice cream from caulking, however, I spent an absurd amount of time considering the material of the “cone”.  At first, only considering the shape and size of what is available in stores, I thought: wall anchor.  But the color selection and the disproportionate ridges left me with little interest to undertake the craft.  I eventually considered cutting the shafts off of wooden golf tees and keeping the top wider portion of the tee to create flat-bottomed ice-cream cones, as most soft-serve typically come.  But I wasn’t happy, I wanted a cone — pointy, as it should be, in the truest meaning of the word.  Then yesterday, with a conscious glance at my pencil (the very one I use everyday to log my ideas on paper) it occurred to me that my pencil sharpener could go on a dowel-sharpening mission  It’s almost miraculous that we can alter our perspectives when are minds are willing to do so!

no-carve stamps

July 5, 2011 § 13 Comments

Hope you had a wonderful Canada Day and 4th of July holiday weekend!  I spent mine in Michigan at my parents’ with newfound relatives and without a moment to craft.  And I couldn’t wait until today to show you my latest contribution to CRAFT.  It feels like a while since I last posted a crafts tutorial using a totally random household material, so today I’m excited to introduce a technique that allows us all to design and illustrate our own stamps without having to carve rubber or linoleum or block or anything at all.

I illustrated and made my own peony, dahlia, and lilac clear rubber stamps to create these prints inspired by vintage botanicals, in celebration of summer, using a very simple technique with one household object that most of us would otherwise pass with little consideration for craft projects.

Yes, the random household object is silicone rubber caulking, which some of you may recognize as window or tub sealant.  Head straight over to CRAFT to read my super duper simple tutorial.  I promise it is easy and absolutely no carving is needed!  Please show me the designs you come up with using this technique, as I’d love to see them.  Enjoy!

woven crop top

June 25, 2011 § 7 Comments

Here’s a DIY-fashion kickoff to the first weekend of summer!  Now, if I may say, the last time crop tops were this explosive was in 1991, twenty years ago.  Yes, I have full recollection, considering I was already in sixth grade.  Now, if I must add (if you can add the numbers) — I really couldn’t, wouldn’t, shouldn’t wear a crop top now at my age.  Or…not at least without layering a tank underneath?  I do not have the guts to wear the top alone, the irony of which is needless to say, my gut itself.

I’m sure you’re catching on, I am really loving the basket weave.  I baked that gigantic basket-weave cornucopia cracker, crafted those eco basket-weave vases from milk and juice cartons, so why not basket-weave my clothes, too?

For this project, you will need two identical t-shirts, a rotary blade and cutting mat, or fabric scissors.  Conveniently, when I started planning to make this tee two weeks ago, Michaels had their shirts on sale, 2 for $6.

1. On one shirt, cut a boat neck.

2. On the same shirt, trim the sleeves to your preference.

3. On the same shirt, cut equal vertical strips (I did 3/4″) from the left of center, starting from the bust all the way to the bottom of the shirt.  Make sure there is a centered strip.  When you get to the end, trim off the last strip  — this will provide the horizontal gaps on the sides.

4. Repeat from right of center, until your entire shirt has vertical strips across.  Trim off the last strip, as above.

5. Take your second shirt, cut equal horizontal strips from the bust all the way to the bottom of the shirt.

6. Start weaving.  The easiest way is to fold back alternating vertical strips on the front and back of the shirt, then sliding one horizontal strip through.

7. Take your folded strips and bring on top of the horizontal strip, on the front and back.

8. Repeat the weaving by folding back alternating vertical strips on the front and back of the shirt, then sliding one horizontal strip through. Take your folded strips and bring on top of the horizontal strip, on the front and back.

9. Continue weaving until you have used all of your horizontal strips.

10. Tug on each strip to stretch it out.

11. Knot each vertical strip to the last horizontal strip.  You can play with the distances of the vertical strips to create various gaps.  I knotted about half of vertical strips close to center to be as close as possible to each other.  Then I knotted the remaining strips on the side at about 1″ apart.  Patterns can differ greatly from where these knots are tied.

Now wear it and bare it!!

cake chalkboard

May 31, 2011 § 18 Comments

Today, head right over to CRAFT to see my latest project contribution.  It’s a fun three-tier cake-shaped chalkboard for you and your little ones to make.  In fact, with little ones or without, anyone can indulge in this calorie-free craft.  Who doesn’t love decorating cake!?  Follow the easy steps in my tutorial.

no-fuss foam roses

May 7, 2011 § 30 Comments

Mother’s Day is hours away, but there’s still lots of time to make these beautiful foam roses in minutes.  They’re much more dainty than the no-fuss paper roses I made for Valentine’s, and perhaps far more versatile.  In a few simple steps, you can make these sweet rose magnets, rose pushpins, and rose jewelry.

You have probably made paper roses before by cutting and rolling spirals of paper.  This applies the very same technique, however, I’ve added the petal details by employing a simple tool that many of us have stowed in our crafting bins — scalloped scissors.

You will need: scallop-blade scissors, hot glue gun with glue sticks, and thin foam sheets.  I purchased a multi-colored package of 36 – 4″x6″ foam sheets from the dollar store.  They quality is much thinner than what you would find at the craft stores, however, they are the perfect thickness for this purpose.  The thinner the foam sheet, the smaller you can make your roses.

1. Cut your foam sheet into 2″x2″ squares.  A 4″x6″ foam sheet can yield six roses.

2. Using your scalloped scissors, cut each square into a spiral.  Two and a half revolutions around the spiral should be sufficient.

3. Starting from the outside of the spiral, roll the foam sheet inward.

4. Apply hot glue to the bottom of the rose.

While the glue is still hot, you can apply the rose immediately to a magnet, thumb tack, earring backing, or fashion ring.

Happy Mother’s Day!

calla lily tuile cookie with lemon ricotta

May 4, 2011 § 17 Comments

 The Iron Craft Challenge  is one of those things I wish I had time to accomplish since my recent life change.  I have set out ambitious plans for each of the weekly projects, but time has shuffled those ideas to the back burner.  However, this week, I had a couple of flower-making ideas slated for the blog in time for Mother’s Day and thought it was fitting for this week’s Iron Craft Challenge 18: April Showers.  The challenge is to bring May flowers, crafted any way you like.

As I have a penchant for crafting with food, I made bouquets of cally lily tuile cookies filled with lemon ricotta.  How?  Well, your simple fortune cookie batter just got reshaped into these spring flowers.

 

I had my first attempt at fortune cookies over ten years ago when my best friend shared her discovery of Martha Stewart’s recipe.  This was right when Martha catapulted fortune cookies into trend status.  Since then, I have made hundreds of fortune cookies for friends and family over the past decade.  I have also taken Martha’s trusted recipe to make my own creations from the batter.  The calla lily is one that I’ve been proud of creating, as well as a very simple and perfect food craft for this time of year.

 

To make your template, you will need: a 4″ x 4-1/2″ cut sheet of paper, a plastic cutting sheet (or similar flat plastic item), pencil, scissors, X-Acto knife, and cutting mat.

a. Fold your sheet of paper in half lengthwise.

b. Cut into a spade shape.

c. Trace on plastic cutting sheet.

d. Using an X-Acto knife, cut a hole through.  Insert your scissors through the hole, and cut on the marked line.

 

You are welcome to use your favorite tuile or fortune cookie recipe.  Here is the link to Martha Stewart’s fortune cookie recipe  that I’ve counted on for years.

Make the batter as instructed.  For this particular recipe, substitute with lemon extract and add a few drops of yellow food color. 

1. Spread a thin layer of batter over the stencil.  You can fit three in one cookie sheet, which is also the ideal number to get through the next step.

2. Bake until golden (with my oven, it takes three and a half minutes with a timer).  Quickly remove cookie from the pan with a spatula and roll up each side as shown.  Fold the sides with a slight curl.  You will need to work quickly while the cookie is hot, and quickly repeat for the remaining two cookies on the sheet.

3. Place on a cooling rack.

4. Pipe the lemon ricotta filling.

 For the lemon ricotta filling, you will need:

One package of stovetop lemon pie

2 cups of milk

1 cup of ricotta cheese

Yellow food color

Red food color.

Prepare the pie filling according to package instructions, however, substitute the water with milk.  Let cool.  Combine ricotta cheese.  Add a few drops of yellow food color and one drop of red food color for a light orange tint.

Once the lemon ricotta filling is piped, the cookie must be served immediately to maintain its crisp texture.

 This single recipe yields 4 dozen cookies — there’s enough cally lily tuile cookie bouquets to share with everyone!

Enjoy!

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