October 31, 2014 § 8 Comments
I just had to put an end to this extended hiatus right on my 35th birthday. We have lots of catching up to do. Hope you’re still here.
Introducing Lara. Today, she is a stack of macarons at 14-1/2 months old and was a shrimp tempura sushi handroll last Halloween and has been keeping me quite busy.
December 19, 2011 § 1 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 § 8 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 § 7 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