canadian living may 2012 issue: mother’s day topiary

April 13, 2012 § 2 Comments

Ok, my April issue unveiling may have been a little late.  But the Canadian Living May issue just came out last week with my latest contribution:

There is still time to head out to the newsstands to pick up a copy so you can make this daisy topiary from egg cartons for Mother’s Day or simply for spring!   I will update with the link when the article is available online.

super simple skulls topiary

October 13, 2011 § 2 Comments

Rather: super simple whatever-you-can-mold-from-ice-cube-trays-or-candy-molds topiary.  In this case: skulls.  I’ve been looking for ways to use fancy silicone ice cube trays and candy molds.  I figured, with a couple of cups of plaster and some form of styrofoam (ball, cone, or ring), that a holiday centerpiece, mantelpiece, or wreath can be made with these molds.

Knowing that I’d be at O.T.’s in California all week this week, I was excited to decorate his place with a bit of Halloween, but I also had to make sure the materials could be easily packed in my suitcase.  A Dollarama skull ice cube tray (which you’ve recently seen included in the giveaway; I adore it so much, I had to pick one up for myself — amazing investment for a buck), a styrofoam ball, a dowel, and some plaster barely took up any room in my luggage.  The result: a modern, obscure Halloween centerpiece for O.T.’s kitchen table.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be Halloween.  You can make any type of topiary with whatever ice cube trays and candy molds you’ve got.  My silicone ice cube tray collection includes skulls, pumpkins, hearts, and Christmas trees.  I can make one for every occasion.  And again, you can use a Styrofoam ball or cone or ring to make topiaries, trees, and wreaths respectively.

You will need: mold, plaster, water, toothpicks.

1. Mix plaster according to package directions.  Pour into molds.  Place toothpicks, pointy side up.  NOTE: I discovered later it was better to break the toothpick in half, so that it is shorter.  If the toothpick is too long, it may not go into the styrofoam completely.

2. Let plaster dry.  Unmold.

3. Press plaster pieces into styrofoam.

And it’s done!  It is very easy to do.  It’s a matter of waiting in between molding for the plaster to dry, but there’s always chores to do around the house while that’s happening (especially here at O.T.’s).  On that note, back to cleaning for me…

no-fuss foam roses

May 7, 2011 § 26 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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