making: zipper pins

I was playing around with a hot glue gun and when I started to glue up some old abandoned zippers that I had lying around. They were old and metal and not very reliable in how well they would zip and unzip so I had tossed them aside instead of using them in any of my sewing projects. But I liked the shiny teeth and the pattern they made when wrapped in a spiral.

So I glued a few of them together and cut a bit of vinyl to cover up the loose threads on the back and keep them tidy.

Then I attached a pin to the back so that I could wear them.

I like that they remind me of gears of mechanical bits of some kind.

And while I like any brooch well enough on it's own, they always seem to be a little bit happier when they've got company.


baking: holiday treats

Along with working furiously leading up to the actual day, (Christmas that is) I did manage to get some cooking and baking in. I made cookies, brownies and rice crispy treats, all classics and well loved, but I also wanted to try my had at some more candy making. So I got out a rolling pin and took out all my frustration with holiday commute traffic on a bag full of peppermint candies which I shattered into little tiny pieces. This was massively satisfying.

With those peppermint shards I made white chocolate peppermint bark. Super easy and tasty and also (I imagine) simple to tweak and change to be any sort of bark one might like. While I was sitting around melting chocolate and trying not to burn myself on the many pots I had precariously piled on the stove, I decided to make truffles again too.

These ones I did with a sort of 'faux ganache' which was mostly cream cheese and melted chocolate and criminally easy to make considering how decadently delicious it was. I of course had to package the results up in this cute mini mailbox tin that I picked up for a buck while waiting in line. I mean who doesn't like to get mail when it's chocolate?!


making: a xmas hat

I know it's a bit past the holiday, but what with currently working in retail I have been rather occupied with the pre-holiday rush and the post holiday oh-my-goodness-I-spent-too-much-and-must-return-something. So I am just now getting photos of this mini project aired out here. Apologies for the delay.
As you may remember I found a little pile of vintage red birds at the flea market amidst a booth full of retro holiday decor, and I snatched them up pronto. I knew I would come up with something soon to do with them and quickly the opportunity presented itself in the form of a vintage white velvet flower hat a friend had passed on to me. Now I am quite a fan of hats and head pieces of all kinds as I believe it is a fabulous and not often explored place on which to add decoration to ones person so I of course was thrilled to acquire a new hat for my collection. And when I saw the bag of birds sitting next to the pretty new hat I thought to myself 'of course self, you should make a Christmas hat!' because who doesn't need one of those?
So I did.

It was astoundingly simple to combine these two vintage elements, as the birds had wires on their feet that I could wrap around the bases of each flower. Thus I could ensure that the birds would be stable in their perch for the day, and yet could be removed afterwards if I wished. And here is a gratuitous glow-y warm light overly filtered photo of the hat in progress.

And it caused a bit of a stir on the train, was much appreciated at work and amused my friends at the Christmas Eve dinner party I trooped off to afterwards. All in all I have to say it was a great coming together of materials, and I most definitely plan to A. make this had work for Valentines day and Easter with some modifications, and B. start wearing more hats in general. Because I can't think of any reason why not to?!


making: corkboard before/after

The holiday fervour is winding to it's dizzying climax, and all gift making and buying is drawing to a close. But here is a fun do it yourself home project that you can make, for a gift or for whatever. I feel like I am always looking at creative ways to display/organize/showcase my little collections of ephemera that I am constantly collecting. Photos, doodles, interesting business cards or fortune cookie fortunes. All the little bits that build up so quickly. I don't want to throw these thins away, as after all I have collected them and they clearly hold some importance to me, but I don't want them to molder in piles. I want to enjoy them. So bulletin boards are a good solution.

This is one that I came up with using supplies that I had on hand, and some creative problem solving on my part, if I do say so myself. You see I had a frame but no cork board. So I thought about it for a moment, and realized that I in fact had a bag of wine corks from work (I was at the time working at a bar and had collected up a big pile of corks thinking I might someday find a use for them) and as most wine corks are made of cork (though phasing out in some places as it turns there are other materials that work better despite being less traditional) I had my material right there.

Now all I had to do is cut each of those corks into tiny 1/4 inch slices. Enough tiny 1/4 inch slices that I could fill a whole large frame that I had picked up for a few bucks at a garage sale knowing I would find a use for it some day (see a reacquiring theme here?!) which I had spray painted white. I laid out all of the squares until the filled the interior of the frame and glued them to a piece of board for the backing.
And Voila! I had a true cork board, that serves it's display providing purposes, makes me look like a bit of a wine-o and is visually interesting even when it is not all covered in stuff! I would say that is a triple win. Though I have to admit I acquired a sizable blister from cutting corks into slice, still in the end a fun (in a tedious way that I enjoy) and problem solving problem.


baking: pizza!

Just popping in real quick to say that homemade pizza is amazing. It is actually quite easy to do from scratch but if you don't feel so inclined or are in a hurry and want to grab just one thing I totally suggest the Bob's Red Mill pizza crust and bread mix. It even comes with a yeast packet and it's so easy and makes a delicious (regardless of one being gluten free or not) and rather delightful thin crust pizza. This and yet able to hold up the mountains of toppings that I like to add on.

And cheese. Because you see, I have discovered that when making pizza yourself you are in control of the proportions and if I had my way I would do twice as much cheese. So I do. That's right. I put sauce and cheese and toppings on my crust. Then after that I do ANOTHER layer of cheese. Because that's how I like it and I am the one driving the pizza truck as it were so my word goes.
And might I just add, when I'm driving the pizza truck it is delicious. Do try this at home.


making: paper necklace

I found an awesome project in a book, about what else, books! at Anthropolagie for a wide statement neck piece made out of book pages.
I used an old encyclopedic dictionary and a zigzag circle punch that I picked up for a song on sale at Michael's .

First I punched out a large pile of circles and then used a mini hole punch to make them into 'beads' of sorts which I could then string on to the wire torque and chain that I had picked up in the sale craft section.

This was a super simple project to do, it took all of about one Holiday movie special to finish both necklaces, and just a few dollars in supplies as most everyone has old books lying around.

I particularly like the longer chain version, on which I isolated an illustration of a seahorse as one of the ends. I think I would like to try this project again using glossy colored magazine pages to see what sort of effect that would create. But all in all it was a very satisfying simple project.


cook, wear, create

It's cookie time! I am thinking of baking up a couple different batches and putting together some (delicious) gift boxes for some friends and this very kitchen-sinkish recipe sounds and looks like it would be a real winner.

I often look to clothing for inspiration, particularly in textile patterns and prints. This particular dress has an amazing print, if you look closely it's step by step directions for how to fold a paper crane. Awesome right? Makes me think that I need to start designing some repeating prints for fabric.
Lastly it's too late for this year but I think that this advent calendar would be lovely to look at on a wall for a whole year.


Field Trip: Flea Market Awesomeness!

As always the glorious Alameda Flea Market opened up it's generous arms to me and showered me with it's riches. It's like a fantastic treasure hunt, where you never know what you will find in what corner. This time was no exception.
I found a booth of cute kitchen treasures cultivated by a cheery couple of sisters. In a pitcher was a set of vintage swizzle sticks topped with animals. There was a sign saying $10 which, in view of their awesomeness (there was a unicorn!!!!) was not too surprising, but upon questioning one of the proprietors of this bountiful booth I discovered that it was in fact $10 for the entire glorious set! My reaction to this news was to shout "I'll take them all" in an inappropriately loud voice and then jump up and down a bit. As I am collecting pieces for a vintage wet bar I thought that these were a fantastic find.

Next there was a great booth full of vintage Christmas decorations. The packaging on some of the ornaments was really awesome, so retro! In all that tinsel and kookiness I found a bag full of these red feathered birds. I snatched them up mighty quick knowing that I would have some use for them, at some time (and I have already come up with a fun project for them -more on that later).

Finally, this sweet little hand carved wooden box, and another old rhinestone piece for my collection. This time a necklace (I mostly have brooches and earrings) with a very pretty shape.

So hopefully these finds will bear fruit and lead to more fun creative projects and collections. As always the I recommend this particular Flea Market most highly, as it always seems to have the best finds, and the most curated collections from it's vendors. If you are in the area or have any chance to swing by in conjunction with the first Sunday of the month I cold not urge you to stop and visit enough. Trust me, you will strike gold at this one!


baking: various cookies!

I have been baking cookies frequently these days. I don't know if the crafting makes me crave cookies, or if while there are cookies in the oven, filling a house with their terribly lovely aroma I feel the desire to make crafty things but the two appear to have an indecipherable symbiotic relationship. And therefore as previously stated I've made lots of cookies recently.
Like these soft and chewy chocolate chip peanut butter delights.

Or some double chocolate toffee crunch crisps.

There are also these coconut chocolate chunk cookies, they seemed like a perfect marriage of a macaroon and a traditional chocolate chip cookie, with that toasty coconut flavor and toothiness throughout making a super delicious new hybrid cookie.
Luckily with these last ones (which were deemed by a fellow gluten free consumer-of-cookies to be the best cookies they had ever had) I wrote down up what I had done so that I was able to remake them exactly.

Coconut Chocolate Chunk Cookies
1 stick softened butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup rice flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1tsp xanthum gum
1tsp baking powder
1 1/2cups fine shredded coconut
1 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup chopped chocolate chunks
Combine all ingredients until wet and dry are well integrated. Form into tablespoon sized rounds and flatten onto greased baking sheet. Bake for 15 min and upon removing from the oven allow to cool as initially they will be very crumbly.


making: paint strip prints

I acquired these fantastic paint color wheels from and interior decorator and just had to come up with something to do with/on/inspired by them. So I decided to go rooting through my (rather impressive) collection of lino cuts, from various past projects and prints, and use them on the paint strips.

I tried some smaller ones with three similarly colored strips lined up and really like the way that those turned out.

Then I tried making a tonal patchwork out of some of the larger samples I had, erm, gotten for a 'possible painting project' at Home Depot over a series of properly spaced out visits. I made sure to use as many of the curved corners as I could mange include as I like the negative white space that they created.

I was really happy with the way that these turned out, I thought it was a super fun project to do, and I'm sure it would be interesting to play around with paint strips and smaller store bought rubber stamps as well. I would also like to make some really big patchworks and print over those as well. Like perhaps poster sized. Guess I have to head back to Home Depot again. And this time I'd better come up with a new and different 'painting project' story......


making: mini flags in action!

Remember those little tiny flags that I was making last week? Well this is what they looked like in a dessert.

Total cuteness right? So nice to see a finished product in the context it was intended for. And cookies don't hurt either!


cook, wear, create

Everyone likes oatmeal cookies, but if you add maple glaze..... that's downright irresistible! As in I would be scarfing these down like mad. Seeing as how I would not be able to keep my grubby little paws off these cookies I would be crazy to make them because I would eat them all one right after another. However, I think I'm going to bake them anyway!

I really am liking the mix of light floaty more spring-like fabrics with heavy knits this winter. This pale pink pleated skirt is lovey and something I would snap up in an instant if I were to come across it.

Lastly, this wreath seemed like such a good idea. A nice recycled book version of a holiday classic.


making: dessert toppers

I have been wanting to make little flags and banners to decorate some of my more cute and pretty looking baked goods for a while.

And with the help of a big box of 'fancy' toothpicks, and several made for television holiday movies, I was able to make that happen.

Now all that is left to do is bake some cookies, cupcakes or muffins and decorate them up with their own mini dessert flags. And sit back to admire the cuteness of course!


baking: truffles

With the holidays fast approaching it's time to really get down to business and start churning out gifts and general holiday cheer. One gift that always seems well received is baked goods and candy. So what about truffles?

I made these to test out some recipes I had been saving and it turns out that, SURPRISE! making truffles is simple and fun. And it's so easy to mix up new and different flavors just by adding a few things.

For these three variations I added orange zest and extract, coconut flakes, and peanut butter. They were all super tasty and different. I also made, SURPRISE! bacon truffles, which were aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamazing (not a surprise at all)! So in conclusion, yeah I will be making more truffles in the coming weeks.


cook, wear, create

And another week wraps up (pun not intended) and there are some great ideas out there that could be used to fill my time. For instance:
So these look amazing. I mean, pumpkin marshmallow biscuits?!?! yes please

This picture reminded me that I need to be wearing (and adding to my collection of) classic full skirted dresses. And we are approaching the holiday season after all, which means that it is easy to make the case for new party dresses!

These lockets are such a nice idea. I like the hexagon shape and the subtle image inside. What a good idea.

Making: a paint pallet repair

I have been using the same travel watercolor pallet for more than ten years now. It has these small rectangular pans that you are able to pop out which (hypothetically) makes it easy to get replacements when you run out of a color. However it turns out it's not that easy to find the new pans, and after several stops at several different stores I came up dry. Literally. I mean I was completely out of blue and needed to paint me some water scenes so that was just not going to fly. And while several places had suggested I look at ordering online, and I was able to find some refills that would ship, that wasn't gonna do me much good as I had procrastinated and needed blue now!!

So what's a last minute gall to do? Figure out a way to make my own of course! So after minimal experimenting I discovered that I can buy a tube of watercolor paint on the right color, fill the empty pan, smooth it out with a small flat brush and wait approximately 24 hours for it to dry. Turns out this totally works (thank goodness) and I was able to save my own bacon.
So today's lesson I'd, first; don't wait too long to get important supplies, and second; it is possible to figure out a creative way around your supply shortage. In some instances. But don't hold your breath. Next time I may not be as lucky.