Monday, April 25, 2011

Button Mania

Lately I have been completely and totally obsessed with buttons.

I don't really have a button collection, but I'm interested in changing that very very soon. There are some seriously amazing things that people are creating/embellishing with buttons.

This is made entirely out of buttons. How cool is that?!
I've been browsing a new blog, Bonkers About Buttons. As the name suggests it is full of amazing button related projects, and even some tutorials, which is always a plus. Now, while I'm dying to make my own incredible button mosaic, some of the other projects on the blog have me inspired for Mother's Day.

My grandmother collected buttons that now my mother collects. This year for Mother's Day I'd love to make her something that honors both her and her own mother using or displaying some of the more special buttons. Here's some ideas that caught my eye from flickr and craftster.

There were other button shapes I found as well. Hearts and bunnies and a million others, but I think I like the tree the best so far, unless I can think of another image that means something
special to my mom or grandma. The image on the left is part of a button book. I love that idea too!

Got any other creative ideas?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Feast your eyes...

...on my haul from Crafty Feast! I really wanted to photograph and blog the whole thing, but there was so much wind and rain I kinda just had to run through and pick up a few of the things I had my eye on.

love love love these cute tiny earrings from 17 Dove Street! My girlfriend and I could have spent an hour or more looking at all the different colors of earrings and bobby pins they had. Resin is a craft medium I have never mastered, so I'm always in awe of all the teeny little details on stuff like this. Plus, these were only $8! I've been wearing them almost every day since I got them, probably going to have to order another pair.

This tote bag from Not Made In China is my favorite purchase of the day, and one of my favorites from the day overall. I love the phrase thats printed on the bag. They also make pocket mirrors, bottle openers and magnets, and I couldn't resist picking up this one:

What can I say, I'm a sucker for puns. She had local themed choices as well which were all hilarious but somehow too realistic/close to home for me to buy.

I wanted to pick up A LOT of other stuff, but I had to draw the line somewhere. Plus I'm told most of the vendors have online stores as well, so I'm not totally out of luck if I remmember something that I can't live without.

I love browsing craft shows/fairs to see what kinds of awesome things people are making. There was so much variety this year, I can't believe how much its grown! Even the boyfriend browsed with me for a little bit when he wasn't trolling the city for stores participating in Record Store Day.

He even brought me a little freebie!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mailbox Love

Look at what I got!!!

OK, so I'm guessing you don't care so much about my embarrassing obsession with teen fantasy novels, but what might interest you is this:

Hooray it's here! I've been borrowing my mom's stitch dictionary for so long I decided to get my own. This is a pretty good one so far. I do wish it explained a little more *how* to do some of the stitches, but regardless it is a handy reference tool, especially when you want to play with texture and need some inspiration.

I also like the thread explanation at the beginning of the book, as I'm pretty loyal to the standard dmc cross stitch floss, but am looking to branch out and try something new.
I already started practicing some new (and relearning a few old) stitches:

I'm obviously still struggling with french knots :p

Monday, April 11, 2011


The 30 Rock sampler is finally finished! Check it out:

My boyfriend and I loved the quote when we saw it on 30 Rock embroidered onto a pillow in Jack Donaghey's office:

Didn't want to make a pillow, however, so went with a snarky sampler style project instead. I am actually really proud of this. I wanted to design and stitch this project from start to finish, so I even charted my own script alphabet based on a font I liked. Here's a close up on the design across the top and bottom of the quote:

I also like that the design and color scheme makes this look almost traditional at first glance. Can't wait to pick out a frame for it this weekend and hang it up on the wall. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

All Work and No Play

OK, maybe some play. I've been dying to bust out the sewing machine this week thanks to oodles of pretty spring fabric I've been eyeing from my stash. When it comes to sewing projects though, I'm mostly drawn to small-ish things that I can finish in an evening or a weekend, generally while parked in front of the TV. I needed a new fun little something to stitch up- here's what I ended up with:

It's a skinny little wallet, or (and this is totally what I intend to use mine for) a business card holder! I got coordinating fat quarters from the fabric store and some lightweight interfacing and went to town.
This is the outside. Then I decided to modify a little and created a different version:

This one just has the one pocket, and the fabrics for the outside and pocket are reversed. I also used more interfacing on this one to make it a little more sturdy, which I definitely prefer.

On the next one I'd like to add some elastic and loop it around a button so that the folding wallet will stay closed and you can use it for additional things. I can make three or four of these guys (depending on if you go big or small) with just two fat quarters, so its a great stashbusting project as well.

I think they are pretty darn cute, and I definitely plan to make some more, especially since they are done start to finish in about half an hour. Can't beat that!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Cake Pops! (finally)

OK So I know this isn't a baking or cooking blog, but I just feel like I have to share the cake pops I made last weekend week. I'll justify it to myself with the excuse that I took them to our last impromptu craft/movie night, and they were totally easy and delicious!

I'll start with the recipe I used, which is pretty much exactly the same as every other recipe I've seen for them, including on the Bakerella website, which I'm told is responsible for the phenomenon to begin with.

1 box of cake mix (I used vanilla)
1 tub of buttercream frosting
chocolate to melt for the outside (I used dark chocolate candy melts from the craft store)
popsicle sticks
wax paper

that's it. seriously.

I baked the cake according to the directions and let it cool completely.

normally the cake looking like this after flipping it onto the wire cooling rack would be cause for concern, but the next step is to crumble the cake up completely, so I wasn't worried.

I mixed in just about the entire container of frosting and let it chill in the fridge for a while, which makes it much easier to roll into little balls.

And then I rolled. and rolled. and rolled. Be warned you'll need to rinse your hands every 5th cake ball or so, otherwise it all sticks to your hands and the cake won't roll properly and you'll get really frustrated.

Once you have all your little balls, chill again. The picture shows them in the fridge, but I cheated this time and put mine in the freezer.  I was getting impatient. But its important for them to be chilled for a couple hours or as long as you can stand, or you'll have problems with the next step.

um... please ignore the really pathetic selection of food in my fridge

Then I stuck popsicle sticks in each one and melted the chocolate, adding a little bit of paraffin wax to smooth it out a little more, and in retrospect I could have used even more than I did.

Here's the stuff I used, candy melts and short popsicle sticks I got at the craft store. Next time, I will probably use regular chocolate chips, I just prefer the flavor.

I used a double boiler to melt the chocolate and this is 100% what I recommend. Candy melts say you can use the microwave and that's true, but unless you're pouring into a mold right away and don't need the chocolate to stay melted for long, the double boiler is really much easier and there's less of a chance of overheating the chocolate.

I dipped each ball into the chocolate, using a spoon in some cases to help get it on the top. Since this was my first try I wasn't overly concerned with how they look, I just wanted to make something that was edible and presentable.

my attempt at an artsy cake pop shot

I put them right back on the wax paper and chilled them quickly to let the chocolate harden back. Again, I'm impatient and I wanted to eat a few one. After that though they can and should be stored at room temperature. I lined mine up on my favorite carrying tray and headed over to craft night!

They were pretty popular! I'll definitely be making them again sometime, perhaps being more ambitious and subbing in a favorite from scratch cake recipe now that I know they'll turn out. I'm also tempted to sub in something else for the frosting that's a little healthier, like pudding, but I don't think its sticky enough to keep the cake together. I'll have to brainstorm!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Procrastinating and Pretty Fabric

OK, I clearly need to stop promising upcoming topics on this. This is the third time I've failed to deliver what I intended to blog about.

Last time I promised tales and photos of my first experience making cake pops, which was actually successful and pretty easy and stress free. I took pictures the entire time, and last week I even wrote the blog post in advance, thinking I'd just upload the pictures and add then in the appropriate places when I was ready.

And then a week went by. No uploaded pictures, no blog post. Why? I hate uploading photos. Normally I take blurry and awful pictures on my phone and upload them immediately to the blog and it's simple and easy. But these pictures generally kinda suck.

This time I decided to use my actual camera. Which means I have to pull out the memory card and put them on my computer. And then from the computer to the internet. And from the internet to the blog. Obviously this still hasn't happened. But I haven't given up, some time soon I will get around to uploading those darn photos.

In the meantime, check out this freaking adorable and amazing fabric I just bought from Sew, Mama, Sew!

A good bit of their fabric is on sale right now, so you should consider snatching some up before its all gone! You can purchase in 1/4 incriments or even buy some pre-cut fat quarters of select fabrics. Got a couple projects I want to try out soon, can't wait to get this and some of the other stuff I purchased in the mail.

Next Time: HAH. I don't think so. lesson learned.