easter egg pockets for canadian living april 2012 issue

April 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

Happy belated Easter!  Nope, I didn’t let this Easter pass without a craft from me.  But I have been so far behind, I didn’t tell you sooner!  Or can I just say I am a year early?

I made paper Easter egg pockets for Canadian Living‘s April issue this year.  Hope you can make it next year!  There’s definitely a lot of time to make these by then…

The direct link to the craft is here.

So sorry I am late!

juice bottle glitter vases

July 25, 2011 § 25 Comments

Here’s another beautiful way to recycle your plastic bottles into decorative vases.  Ridged rectangular juice bottles are so simplistic, they make quite some modern vases.  Add a dusting of glitter and you have yourself a stunning set to add to your table or mantle.

To make your own recyclable glitter vases, you will need plastic juice bottles (I prefer ridged rectangular ones, like Ocean Spray), glue, paint, glitter, foam brush, paint brush, and X-Acto knife.

1. Using an X-Acto knife, cut off the top half of the plastic juice bottle.

2. Paint the outside of the juice bottle.

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for all juice bottles you are using.  I painted each a different shade of purple.

4. Turn the bottle upside down.  Apply glue to the flat bottom (currently the top) of the bottle, on the outside.

5. Spread glue using a foam brush.

6. Pour glitter over the glue.

7. Tap off glitter onto a large sheet of paper.

8. Repeat steps 4 to 7, applying glue and glitter to short segments of the bottle.  It’s best to apply glue and glitter in segments to prevent glue from drying before glitter is applied.

9. Continue apply glue and glitter until the entire surface is covered.

10. Repeat steps 4 to 9 for all juice bottles you are using.  I used a different shade of glitter for each bottle.  Let dry upside down.

I smiled from ear to ear throughout the making of this craft yesterday, as it came into being with the help of serendipity.  I knew I was going to make glitter vases out of my collection of juice bottles, but hadn’t a single idea what color it should be nor what flowers to display.  I figured, I’d have the idea sorted out by the time I finished instructing a dinosaur workshop (my wonderful weekend job and the origin of many creative musings).

Along my drive, I randomly caught sight of purple lavender-like weeds on the side of the road.  It was decided my vases would be gradations of purple.  I made a mental note of the exact location of the weeds so I can later return for some pickings.  After teaching the class, I decided to stop into a Dollarama I hadn’t ever visited (no, I haven’t visited all of their stores in the Greater Toronto Area; well, at least not yet).  There, I found a trove of beautiful, fine glitter in cute jars and in an assortment of colors, none I had seen at other Dollaramas before.  I also found artificial lavender stems available in exactly three shades of purple, as I envisioned.  The weeds and the artificial lavender stems are so uncannily alike, it’s just so amusing how things turn out sometimes.  Everything I imagined appeared before my eyes.  I love those days.

woven crop top

June 25, 2011 § 6 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!!

design-it-yourself umbrella

May 19, 2011 § 65 Comments

It’s been raining cats and dogs here in Toronto.  We have been swamped with seven consecutive days of rain.  I’ve been ogling the clear umbrellas at the dollar store for over a year now and with all this wet weather, finally found a good excuse to pick them up.  Doodling a custom umbrella is one rainy day project to soak in during this rainy season!

I have had a hard time finding that cute umbrella.  It didn’t occur to me until experiencing all the rain this week that I can design my own umbrella any way I want.  Oh, the torrent of possibilities!  Skyline?  Spring flowers?  Sunshine?  The list is endless and, luckily, the dollar store is fully stocked with these clear umbrellas this season.  I will have an illustrated umbrella collection by the time all this rain ceases.  For now, let it keep raining cats and dogs.

You will need: a clear umbrella and permanent markers.

1. This project has little margin for error, so I decided to sketch my cats and dogs on paper before tracing them ON THE INSIDE of the umbrella with my Sharpie.

2. Continue the design around the umbrella.

3. Color away!  I wanted a simplicity to this design considering it’s quite cheeky to begin with, so I used my Sakura Permapaque white paint marker.

Now get outside, step into a few puddles, and sing in the rain!

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!

basket weave vases

April 21, 2011 § 44 Comments

Tomorrow is Earth Day!  In order to celebrate and honor our planet, I’ve salvaged some cartons and jars from being thrown into the landfill and woven the cartons into this pair of bright vases.

I made them in theme of the beautiful colors of our globe: the warp and weft are in cool blue and vivid green hues, and the vases are topped off with beautiful white clouds of hydrangeas.  Just the kind of décor my kitchen table needs this spring!

For each vase, you will need two milk or juice cartons of the same size and a jar, some paint and a hot glue gun.

1. Cut the cartons to preferred height, making sure that they are taller than the jar for containing the water for your bouquet.  Paint the cartons.  If you want your vases to be a single color, you may skip this step for now and paint after the cartons are woven.

2. For each vase: cut one carton into 1/2″ strips vertically, making sure not to cut out the bottom, and cut the second carton into 1/2″ strips horizontally.

3. Start weaving by sliding the horizontal strips into alternating vertical strips.

4. Continue weaving until you reach the top and glue the top pieces together so the basket weave does not come undone.

5. Fill your jar with water and place inside the woven carton and arrange your favorite spring blooms.

Happy Earth Day!

carrot easter basket

April 19, 2011 § 8 Comments

Today, I’m crafting over at Canadian Living’s The Craft Blog.  The photo I posted in my sneak peek yesterday is actually that of a carrot Easter basket.  What I didn’t mention is the totally random and unlikely craft item it’s made of, which is…a pylon!  Quickly hop over to your local dollar store to pick up your pylon before the holiday weekend (of course, I got mine at my favorite, Dollarama).  Then read my super simple tutorial to magically turn your pylon into a carrot Easter basket in three easy steps! 

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