Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘crafts’ Category

I’ve mostly been revising my syllabus recently, but I still have two things to show you today.

* * *

Handmade present:

Denim clutch (upcycled from the leg of an old pair of jeans I'd cut into shorts).

Details. Hand-stitched because I am horrible with a sewing machine.

Doubles as its own gift envelope!

* * *

And something edible:

Caramel Apple Galette

The recipe is sort of a mix of the pastry technique from Chez Pim’s rustic fruit tart, and the way my French (now former) roommate M does the filling for her delicious caramel apple tart. I used a thinly sliced pink lady apple and drizzled hot caramel sauce all over the top once the galette had finished baking.  The caramel doesn’t make it taste extremely caramel-y, but it adds moisture and shine and a nice note of flavor. M usually uses store-bought pastry, but I decided to make my own this time; it turned out pretty good — nice and flaky — and was easy enough to make that I was encouraged to try making my own crust again a few days later when I made quiche for a lunch date. I think I’ve finally begun to conquer my fear of ruining delicate pastry doughs!  Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of the quiche (I used a variation of this recipe from Tartine Gourmande, with ham, spinach, scallions, and swiss cheese for filling instead of her kale, zucchini, & spices), or of the chocolate mousse I made (which was also inspired by M, though the recipe I found online was a little too rich; I’ll have to ask M for her recipe, which is much lighter).  Whatever was left over was consumed very quickly by my family in the ensuing 24 hours.  Which I’m not complaining about — it’s always a good sign when a new dish you’ve tried out disappears really fast!

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

New Books.

Can't wait to sew and cook my way through these.

* * *

New Recipes
(Sweet Potato Crescent Rolls recipe from Land O’Lakes)

Delish! (And I've finally conquered my fear of yeast doughs).

* * *

Cleaning out my childhood room.  Digging up old treasures.

Pretty Origami Papers.

Old toys, new life. (I loved that Happy Meal toy once - it's a mini-transformer!)

* * *

A couple of bento.
(I finally convinced my parents to let me pack meals for them. The pear-ginger muffin is from Nigella Express).

Dad's lunch, Mom's snack.

* * *

A new craft.
(From Megan Nicolay, via Threadbanger.  I’m SO sad that the hosts are all leaving that channel!)

Infinity t-shirt scarf (DIY'ed), vintage brooch (from my grandparents).

* * *

LOTS of syllabus prep for my new job this Fall
(teaching Freshman Comp at Notre Dame).

I didn't end up using most of these.

* * *

I’ve gone shopping a lot, too. Trying to update my wardrobe to be more teacher-appropriate. (My official hiring letter says that I’m an “Adjunct Assistant Professor” during the term of my appointment.  0.o  It’s just for the fall term, but the thought still kind of boggles my mind!)

Issue 1, and then the syllabus have taken up most of my time (and mental space) so far.  They’re done (finally!) but still, there’s SO much left to do (as always, the holiday seems way too short). I haven’t had much time for writing, hanging out with friends, re-learning to drive, or finishing the cleaning/repainting/redecorating of my room (it’s currently a complete disaster zone — not that it isn’t usually, but trust me, it’s much worse than usual at the moment).  Still, I’ve been so glad for the time to complete my own stuff (it’s the first summer I’ve had since junior high in which I haven’t had to report to some combination of work or class!).  I’ve been working my butt off morning to night, but the freedom to wake up at leisure, spend the whole day working on my projects, and take time off at a moment’s notice to fulfill family obligations or socialize without the constant fear of major ramifications is so precious. Who knows when I’ll have another summer like this?

Read Full Post »

Potato-Stamped Postcard Set (March 2010)

I’ve been busy.  The last few months have been a flurry of activity: first AWP and a million department events, then turning in my thesis, then finals, then graduation, then a nice long visit with D & friends (and another IV wedding!) in NorCal; then I moved back to the East Coast (I’m living with my parents for the summer) and promptly got sick and lay around flat on my back for four days, after which I then proceeded to spend a week living in a cave while I was working on putting up the first issue of Lantern Review.  In short: no time for personal blogging.

Case in point: Back in what must have been February, I committed to blog for Ada Lovelace Day (in March).  Unfortunately, (as you can see) I never got around to that.  I did write a poem about Ada Lovelace, though.  Does that count?

However (as the photo at the top of this post — which shows some potato stamped reply postcards I made to send with a fellowship app — indicates), I have still been crafting and baking and gift wrapping (bento, not so much), despite my silence here.  And since I took pictures of most of the mini projects I completed, anyway, I thought I would share them now.

Cookie Thank You Gift (March 2010)

Back in March, when I applied to the fellowship for which I sent the postcards I mentioned earlier, I baked up some of Katie Goodman’s White Chocolate Chip Pistachio Cookies to thank the professors who wrote letters of recommendation for me.  I colored the stars on the tags red to complement the cute polka-dotted ribbon I picked up in the dollar bin at Michael’s.  I didn’t get that fellowship in the end, but apparently the cookies went over quite well with their recipients.  So that, at least, was encouraging. 🙂

Refashioned Rosette Tee (March 2010)

The idea for this tee was inspired by Charissa’s beautiful Double Ruffle Gift Topper post over at The Gifted Blog.  I’d been seeing a lot of embellished tees in the stores for some time and had been thinking that I might be able to find some way to do it myself.  Charissa’s technique gave me both the idea and the impetus to actually attempt the project.  So I took an old, rather faded t-shirt, recut the neckline, chopped the sleeves to 3/4 length (which you can’t, unfortunately, see in this set of photos), and used the scraps to sew little rosettes in the yoke area.  I’ve worn this tee several times since, and I’m pleased to say that despite my initial worries, it turned out to stand up pretty well to machine washing (I usually turn it inside out and line dry it just to be safe, but I think it would still survive a trip through the dryer if one day I forgot to take it out before transferring the load).

Lime Cookie Gift (March 2010)

I baked a batch of Simply Recipes’ Chocolate Cookies with Cocoa Nibs and Lime (although they weren’t exactly that, as I subbed chocolate chips for the cocoa nibs–I cook on a budget and your average Indiana supermarket does not carry such niceties) and sent them off with some candy and a card to D for our 5-year dating anniversary.  The tag on this box matched the card and the tag on the candy box.  Unfortunately, I don’t think I did the best job coordinating everything else in the suite of gifts, so I’m just showing you this one, which came out the best, in my opinion).

The end of March and all of April was incredibly nuts (seriously: I attended four conferences, D visited, and there seemed to be a department-sponsored panel or reading almost every free night that month), so not much crafting or baking (let alone sleeping or breathing) happened then.  But when graduation time rolled around, I found myself back in crafty mode once again, what with goodbye gifts and thank-you gifts.

Nest Necklace & Box (Late April 2010)

I created this bird’s nest necklace using this tutorial as a thank you and goodbye gift for my friend R.  She’s doing a publishing internship in the city this summer, so I modeled it after the ModCloth-ish kind of jewelry I used to see some of the Brooklynite types in my office wearing last summer. The chain is longish — around 18″ I think? — and the nest itself is about an inch and a half in diameter. I used my last two faux pearls (they are vintage, from my late paternal grandparents’ stock, and the finish is chipped, but I liked the feel of that in this necklace), and a filigree bead (also from my grandparents’ stock).  The box was created with thin white cardstock, using Patricia Zapata’s matchbox project (though I messed up the final set of instructions; hence the slightly wonky sides).  I cut the butterflies out of cardstock with an X-acto knife and used rolly tape (out of a dispenser-applicator that looks like one of those rolling tape white-out dispensers — I officially love that stuff now) to stick them onto the top.

Blue & Brown Gift (Late April 2010)

This is a more successful version of the same box as above.  This time, I used it to wrap a thank you gift for a professor.  This time I followed the instructions correctly (though I’ve discovered that you have to notch the long sides before folding them in at the end to get them to fit snugly with the added thickness of the cardboard on the short sides), and used a Triscuit box. I lined the inside bottom with the same blue cardstock I used for the sheath and cut the tag out of the Triscuit box, too.  The ribbon is also (sort of) recycled — originally the gift had been wrapped in another box, but that box got rather crushed in transit, so I just reused the old ribbon on the new box.

ED's Bracelet (May 2010)

Another handmade gift and its wrapping.  Stretchy green glass bracelet for a friend who loves the color (once again, all the beads except the white focal are vintage), and the wrapped version (makeshift mini-box from the leftover bits of the Triscuit box wrapped in cream tissue I’d recycled from another gift, twine, and a red heart cut out of scrap paper).

Wrapped Sweet Pea (May 2010)

This thank-you gift was one of the miniature versions of Kim Westad’s “Sweet Pea” pieces, which I packaged securely into a kraft box from Michaels, tied up with twine, and topped with a red-rimmed tag (the inside of the vessel is glazed in a deep terra-cotta red, so I tried to reflect earthy tones in the packaging) and a Martha-Stewart style tissue flower (made from the tissue that had wrapped a graduation gift I’d received, no less!).  I tucked the ceramist’s card in under the string so that the recipient would know where it came from.

M's Gift (May 2010)

My friend M loves a particular roll of striped wrapping paper that I have, and has borrowed it to wrap gifts before.  So I thought I’d use a square of it to decorate her gift.  The idea of using a graphic, sans-serif initial on the square was inspired by this post at Bugs and Fishes.  (Please excuse the weird stripey texture — that is a result of my taking this photo too close to my screen door, which gets good light in the morning).  As you can see, the box is another one of Patricia Zapata’s matchboxes.  I was a huge fan of them by that point (and still am!)  What’s inside, you ask? A pair of handmade earrings.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to snap a photo before I wrapped them.

Bananagrams Replacement Bag (May 2010)

This was part of D’s birthday present.  (I always try to give him one thing that’s store-bought, and a little something that’s handmade).  We both love to play the game Bananagrams together (partly, I’ll admit, because I am incompetent at most board games, but actually “get,” and get excited about, this one) — but unfortunately the cute banana-shaped case that holds the game broke recently, so D had been temporarily storing his Bananagrams tiles in his Scrabble tile bag.  Which, we both commented, was sort of a shame, because the banana-shaped bag is part of what makes Bananagrams Bananagrams.  Hence, I decided to surprise him with my version of a replacement for his birthday.  I am, admittedly, very much a beginner sewer.  And I don’t own a machine.  So a simple, rectangular drawstring was the most I could do (no banana shapes for me – figuring out how to line it was hard enough!)  To compensate for that, though, I added a little embroidered felt monogram in the shape of a banana, and used banana colors (white fabric, yellow ribbon).  I even wrapped the thing in white tissue and yellow ribbon (didn’t get a picture of that, though).  D liked the bag a lot, but the best payoff came the next day at his party when his brother and sister-in-law asked, “Where did you get a Banagrams bag that has a banana with your name on it?” To which D replied, “Take a guess: it’s hand-sewn and hand-embroidered,” and pointed at me.  🙂

J&J's Wedding Card (May 2010)

Okay, this is the last one, I promise (and then I really have to go to bed).  As usual, I couldn’t find a wedding card that wasn’t dripping with sappy sentiment in the store, so I made one.  the invitation was cream and light purple, so I decided to follow a similar theme.  The caption under the hugging pears says “To a perfect pair (pear?)”  Which is cheesy, I’ll admit, but — in my opinion — at least rather more cute than sappy (plus, I got to write the bride and groom a nice long personal note inside, which was nice).

And now — to bed.  But now you know, in part, what I’ve been up to since March.  Hopefully I’ll have more time to post this summer.

Read Full Post »

Do you remember this post from a few weeks ago?  Well, that little mess eventually turned into this:

It’s a brooch, made of yo-yo’s I sewed from an old sheet that had ripped in the middle.  I embellished them with pearlescent beads and swarovski beads, sewed them to a felt backing, and added pins.  So far I’ve only worn it once, in a manner inspired by a shirt I saw at Ann Taylor Loft:

I was so excited about jazzing up my old and slightly careworn blue oxford shirt (I’ve literally been wearing it since high school).  I can’t wait to mix up the brooch with other outfits.  I think it’d look really cool on a tee of some sort, or perhaps on a sweater or cardigan.

Read Full Post »

Who’s this?

Someone poised for a long postal journey to California . . .

Bearing a little heart and a message.  He even has a matching card!

(He’s an owl, by the way; even though I know he looks kind of like a penguin with ears.  I misjudged the shape of the face this time heh).  I was originally going to send my new little friend off with a packet of cookies, but snow prevented me from getting to the grocery store on time that week, so my messenger went solo (well, except for his card).  He’s made from a singleton, felted wool sock, acrylic craft felt, and stuffed with fabric scraps (including much of the rest of the sock) and rice in the butt to keep him sitting upright.  I say “him” but I guess it could really be a “her,” too.  I left the gender up to D to decide upon receipt.  I’m pleased with my handiwork, though I could definitely have done a better job with making him look more like an owl. Thankfully the card looked a little more recognizably like an owl than the original; D did say he was a bit confused at first, but the reference drawing and verbal hints inside helped! [Update: D has informed me that the owl is a boy, and that his name is “Glimfeather,” after the owl who helped Eustace and Jill in The Silver Chair].

And look what I received in return! (Well, actually, his gift arrived first)


Orchids, D told me, not just for Valentine’s Day, but also for Chinese New Year’s day, which coincided with Valentine’s this year.  I loved that he thought to send me something a little different than the standard roses.  The orchids were beautiful and delicate and are only just now (a week later) beginning to droop.  Speaking of Chinese New Year, since I always like to do a little something for my girl friends on Valentine’s Day, this year I made my roommates hybrid valentine-hong bao cards that consisted of little yellow cards with tigers on them inside little handmade red paper envelopes, and served them up with a big New Year’s dinner of dumplings and fried noodles.  I eventually wrote their names on the origami hearts, but that wasn’t until after I’d already taken the picture:

Last but not least, a little Wonderland whimsy; one of my classmates’ birthdays is on the 14th of February, so someone hosted a Wonderland-themed tea party for her.  I went dressed as the white rabbit (unfortunately I haven’t got a picture of my costume but I was pretty proud of it, since — with the exception of paper ears, white gloves, and a felt heart pin — I put it together almost entirely from things that were already in my closet), and brought the birthday girl (whom they dressed up as Alice) a little corsage of white paper roses painted red:

Unfortunately, the stem portion proved to be a little too scratchy and the curling ribbon would not hold the heavy corsage fast to her wrist.  If I were to attempt this craft again, I think I’d use fabric (jersey from old t-shirts for the roses, perhaps, felt for the leaves, and satin ribbon for the tie) instead of stiff paper and tape!

Read Full Post »

In Progress . . .

Yo-yo’s and fake pearls. I’m working on a brooch to embellish cardigans and t-shirt necklines. (Please ignore the egregiously messy desk). I’ve been cutting up a fitted sheet that ripped the other week while I was stripping my bed (don’t worry, I washed it before cutting it up to use in other crafts). Turning in my sleep + old sheets + years of abuse from university-issued plastic mattress covers = ripped sheets (apparently). The sheet wore really thin in the middle, where my body is, and the fabric just gave, I guess. (The material at the sides is still usable). I’m also trying something new with the image alignment. We center-align most images at the LR blog and I like the effect. So I’m trying it here.

I do not have time to be crafting.

I do not have time to be blogging.

I do not have time to be sitting at my computer, unshowered, not-yet-medicated, not-yet-caffeinated, looking at things which do not involve either LR or schoolwork (TONS of reading, and impending thesis deadline).

Nevertheless, I am

Blogging,
Thinking about crafts I don’t have time for (esp the one I should NOT have started last night),
Wandering from task to task,
Still in my pj’s
With no food, drink, or medicine yet in my system,
Staring out at the gloomy snow,
Bummed that my sun lamp time is over for the day,
Not working.

Blah.

Enough of this. Time to go shower and feed/medicate/caffeinate myself, then back to work, posthaste!

Read Full Post »

First, a birthday cake for my roommate M.

Nigella’s Honey Bee Cake, to be exact.

With Marzipan Bees and Roses.

Closeup of the bees.

(They’re staring at you).

I did not have a springform so I baked it in two tins and layered it with raspberry jam. Would’ve tasted better if I hadn’t let it dry out and burn a little (I baked it for the suggested time, and with foil for part of it, too!). :-/ Oh, well. People said it was good, anyway.

Second, a birthday gift.  A detachable bracelet set. (Also for M).

Tied together.

Bracelet #1.

Crystal, pearlescent beads, metal filigree, toggle clasp.

Bracelet #2.

Metallic ball beads, filigree bead caps, purple and clear iridescent glass, pearlescent beads.

Both bracelets are strung on clear elastic thread to make them stretchy and easy to put on and take off (the toggle on the one provides another option for closure, but is more for show).

Modeled after the general idea of this Forever 21 bracelet set. I may not like all of their clothes, but Forever 21 does have some lovely vintage-inspired jewelry this season (I don’t trust the quality or make of it, though; I generally don’t buy costume jewelry anyway, because I usually end up wondering whether I can make it myself . . ..) I was thinking about texture for this set.  The mixture of smooth, milky pearl colors with the sharp sparkle of crystal and the slightly more liquid gleam of intricate metallic filigree, the hardness of beads and metal juxtaposed against the soft white of the satin tie.  Texture is a lovely thing.  I’m glad it’s “in” at the moment.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »