Thursday, June 28, 2012

And now for a baking interlude...

Much like I love to read, I also love to bake (although one of these is certainly more delicious than the other). Last year I started to get into cake and cupcake decorating, and even went all-out buying supplies (as I always do) at the Wilton Tent Sale in Woodridge last summer. Of course, whenever I actually work up the energy to bake and/or decorate something beautiful and delicious, the tools I need never happen to be where I am. If I'm at school, they're at home, and if I'm at home, they're at school. Such is my life, and such is the case with this tye-die cake.

My first day at my new internship, my coworkers were nice enough to take me out to lunch, so to repay the favor, I promised I would bake them something delicious and bring it in the next week. Looking through my pinboard, I discovered that almost everything I wanted to make either required tools I'd left at home or ingredients I didn't have on hand (and I was NOT willing to make another trip to the grocery store to source them). This cake looked like the most feasible one, considering I had new paintbrushes and plenty of different food coloring (or so I thought). 

[Image from: Bird on a Cake]

Beautiful, right? Also MUCH more time-consuming than I'd imagined! While I have plenty of different colors of gel food coloring, I didn't have any in tubes like Robin used, which made for an interesting (and slightly less colorful) final product. But my coworkers loved it! Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of the inside. :(

I'd also discovered this recipe on Pinterest for Strawberry Spread with Pie Chips

[Image from:]

and thought it would be a great treat for my cousin's coming-home-from-the-marines party. It was a hit!

Like the cake, this was also fairly time-consuming to make, but oh so delicious! I'd recommend using a flat plan to grill the pie crust, as it would probably have made my life a whole lot easier.

Do you guys like to bake? If so, what's your favorite thing to make? Are you more interested in the taste or the look?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Who else is in love with the Hunger Games?

I don’t know about you guys, but I LOVE to read. I always have and always will. Unfortunately, I don’t have much time to read when school’s in session, but now that summer’s here, I’m trying to make up for some lost time. Along with this love of reading comes a love of collecting books. Books to be read, books to be loaned, books that just look pretty…they’re going to fill the shelves of the library that I am determined to have in my house one day. So when I saw these, I just knew I had to make some of my own.

As I was pondering which of my favorite books I should honor with some pendants, my thoughts wandered to my recent obsession with the Hunger Games, and how I could not only make some necklaces for me, but for friends and family who are equally enchanted with the stories. As soon as I thought of it, I was so excited to finish them, and am really happy with the way they turned out!

Here’s a better close-up of the covers. And if you want to make them yourself, here’s a Word file of the images I made and used. 

My favorite part is probably the surprise waiting on the inside…

All three books are so quotable that I decided to put my favorites from each one inside.
Other quotes from the first book:

“I want to find a way to show them that they don’t own me. That I’m not just a piece in their Games.”

“Here your dreams are sweet and tomorrow brings them true.
Here is the place where I love you.”

Other Catching Fire quotes I added:
“I just want to spend every possible minute of the rest of my life with you.”

“Stay with me.” “Always.”

And last but not least, Mockingjay:

Best. Quote. Ever. Other good ones: 

“Fire is catching.”

“Strange things did happen here,
No stranger would it be
If we met up at midnight
In the hanging tree.”

I gave some to two of my cousins and they loved them – and I absolutely loved their reactions! :) If I had more time on my hands, I would give handmade gifts more often…

I didn't bust any of my stash on this project (I added to it instead!), but it was so worth it. 
  • Mini books: $1.80 at Hobby Lobby
  • Spacer Bars: $0.75 at Hobby Lobby
I ended up making seven books, so I think that was a pretty good return on my investment, right?

What do you guys think? What books would you make?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

5 weeks?!

Oops. Five whole weeks have gone by without those blog posts I was promising…I had quite a few of them in the works, but postponed taking and posting the pictures for so long that I’m just now finishing them up! I really have been crafting, I promise! Anyway, on to the post…

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of talented ladies creating a lot of beautiful things, so my first few posts will be my humble attempts at following (or drawing inspiration from) their tutorials. First up is some jewelry – this seemed to be the easiest thing to tackle first, as it involves taking up the least amount of space with projects-in-progress (unlike when I scrapbook or sew!). 

I’m sure that you’ve seen this image (or something similar) floating around Pinterest a lot lately: 
[image from: ECAB online]
I’ll let you follow Jessica’s tutorial, as she does a great job of explaining the steps. This project presented some firsts for me – first time attaching a chain, first time with bead tips (the things that look like clamshells) – but was really easy to follow. I used seed beads, since I seem to have a multitude of those lying around, rather than going out to buy the same beads she used. 

Here are my versions (forgive the picture quality - the sun just would NOT cooperate the day I took these!).

I started with red beads, since I don’t really have any red accessories (to go with the dresses I plan to make). While I’m probably the only one who would notice, there are a few things I’m not happy with in this necklace. The chain I bought was really fine, and I couldn’t get the jump ring through it, so I came up with the workaround you see below, involving crimp beads and quite possibly a bit of swearing while trying to get the chain through it twice.

(Ugh, looking at these again, it seems the red one just did NOT want to be photographed!)

A few days later, I decided to make the blue one with some brighter, bigger chain I bought for another project.

 It looks much better, right? Live and learn!

 Stash busted:
  • seed beads 
  • thread
  • jump rings
  • clasp (which I didn’t realize I had, so I did end up buying some more…)
  • crimp tubes
Bought new:
  • Clamshells ($0.74 on ½ off sale at Hobby Lobby)
  • Chain ($2.99 at Michael’s - no sale, oops - I was tired of looking for the right chain, and Hobby Lobby’s selection was lacking…)
Total = About $4

This was a long (and long overdue) first post, but thanks for reading! Do you have any stashes you’re trying to use up? Or any big summer crafting plans? I’d love to hear from you!