Saturday, December 22, 2007

Fancy Sushi Candy

Inspired by this Brownie Points idea. I wanted mine to be a little easier, though, so no noritake belts or candy molds, or white chocolate for lazy ol' me.

California Rolls

puffed rice cereal
dark chocolate
jelly beans

I thought about rolling the rolls in crushed almonds, to simulate the sesame seeds on the outside of most california rolls. If I were making more, I would do both.

Make rice crispy treats according to the recipe on the side of the package. Try not to burn the butter, as this will mess up the color (see mine...)

When rice crispy treats are cool, use the top of a small jar as a guide to cut out small circles. Remove them and roll them flat. Melt dark chocolate on a stovetop using a double boiler, and dip the rice crispy treat in the chocolate using tongs. Try not to get any chocolate on the top.

When the chocolate is hardened, scrape off a little bit of the top of the treat in the middle, and press a pink jelly bean and a green jelly bean into the depression.

Fish Roe Sushi

tapioca pearls
dark chocolate

Inspired by one of the comments on the Brownie Points blog, I was challenged to come up with some tasty candy that looked like ikura.

Bring water to a boil. Pour a full package of tapioca pearls (I need to check the size on this) into the water, then let sit overnight.

Pour out the water. Add 2.5 cups water and bring to a boil again. Add 1 pkg Jell-o and let sit over night. Now you have Jiggler strength Jell-o filled with tapioca balls. The tapioca pearls will continue to expand as the mixture sits.

When fully hardened, dip in melted chocolate as above, with tongs.

Salmon Nigiri

The same as the Brownie Points one, except I used a butter knife to paint a nori belt on this. It looked cool, and was a lot easier than the method described on Brownie Points.

Ginger and Wasabi

powdered sugar
green food coloring
flavoring such as vanilla, almond, or mint extract (optional)
candied ginger

Not wanting to get white chocolate, I used buttercream frosting for the wasabi instead. My recipe for buttercream frosting is from the the cupcake blog. Flavor as desired.

I added some candied ginger as garnish as well, because I luv candied ginger.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Writer's Strike Fancy Scarf

Joss Whedon, wunderkind creator of Buffy, Firefly, and stuff, has some great observations about some of the media coverage and public opinion surrounding the ongoing WGA strike. It's rousing, eloquent stuff. Joss has always been surprisingly good at political waxing.

After the article, the disparaging image of a writer as layabouts in emo glasses and boho scarves stuck with me, so I decided to make a scarf in honor of the strikers. Initially I thought I would try to send it to Joss, but since he will probably get scarves by the bucket load after this, I'm just going to give it to my sister-in-law for Christmas ;)

Chunky "mistake rib" scarf pattern

This is what the mistake rib looks like close up.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mathilda Crochet Hat

How cute is this?

Look Professional

If only I knew how to crochet.

Triforce Holiday Pomander

A christmas classic craft is the orange clove pomander, an easy to make ornament with a yummy fragrance. This year I'm going to put some Zeldarific designs in my pomander.



Saturday, December 8, 2007

Palm Tree Christmas Cards

This isn't strictly geeky. Or really, geeky at all. Sorry, I've already lost track of my mission statement. Um, you have to use a computer to make these cards. Computers are geeky. And coffee. Yeah!

I live in Los Angeles. We don't have any snow or quaint wintry scenes here. We have palm trees, with strings of Christmas lights run around them. I wanted a card with that.

Supplies you'll need
White linen resume paper
Strong black coffee
Burgundy corduroy-textured paper, or similar cover stock
An exacto knife and cutting surface
Gold seed beads
Beading wire
Glue sticks
Blank ivory cards (I like Michaels "value pack" cards, with a coupon 40 cards for $6)
A computer with a printer

1. Coffee paper

Brew some dark coffee. This is kind of gross, but I just saved my grounds from the morning and ran the water through them again. Would taste really bad, but I'm not going to drink it.

Put the linen paper in a full size baking pan. Tip: make an extra sheet or two, because these are very delicate and can get destroyed. Pour coffee over it until it is soaked. After a minute, pull paper out, drain over a sink, and scrunch paper into a ball as if you are going to shoot waste basket hoops with it. But don't.

Wring excess water out of paper and flatten. The pattern of the coffee on the paper should be cool and chaotic. Put a paper towel on a flat surface, then place a paper towel in between each piece of paper and stack them on top of this, top with a heavy book, and let dry.

This will take a day, so move on, and come back to this. When you are done, it will look like this:

It's just flat enough to run through the manual feed of my Canon MP530. I printed my palm tree image and my holiday sentiment on it, like so:

The font I used is Christopher Hand, and the palm tree image is this little clip art I drawded, u can haves it, here:

It should print 2.5" square (crop the water mark).

Cut up the palm trees and the sentiments. The edges of the palm tree don't have to be neat because it's going to be covered by a frame.

2. Corduroy frame

Cut the corduroy paper to match the front of the cards, usually 5x7 inches. Draw a square on one card in the center (left-right) and towards the top, that is 2" by 2.25". Cut the square out with an exacto knife and use it to make all the other frames. Flip it upside down so you don't accidentally write on the good side.

3. Beads

String sets of 4 beads, 4 beads, and 3 beads each per card on the beading wire, tying off the ends so they don't slide around. With a pin, poke holes through the palm tree picture and thread the wire through. Tie it down in the back, keeping it as flat as possible.

Note: I am worried about these beads in the mail. You may want to make this easier and just use puffy fabric paint or something like that.

4. Assembly

Using a glue stick, glue the palm tree pic to the underside of the frame, so that it shows through nicely. Glue the frame and the palm tree to the blank card. Then glue to sentiment to the front of the card.

Now write something personal inside (or generic, whatever) send it to all you friends, and your mom, so she can put it on her fridge.

Final Fantasy Wine Cozies

I like giving wine as a present, because it tastes good, and it's special. But sometimes you need to make it a little more special, or at least... more silly. Enter wine cozies.

(image from

These wine dresses are wonderful kitsch. They dress up a bottle of wine, which, you know, doesn't actually need clothing. They are attractive and hideous at the same time. Swoon.

So I thought, how much cooler would it be if it were g33kier? Like if instead of generic chinese dresses, these classy bottles of wine were wearing robes of white and black mages from Final Fantasy?(!)

I know, technically white and red would make more sense, as these are the colors of wine, but the black mage outfit is so much cuter than the red mage outfit. Here's what I did.

White Mage

Supplies you will need:
White Satin, for the robe outside
White knit, for the robe lining
White ribbon, thin, for the fastening
Red fabric paint or acrylic paint
(and a small, stiff paint brush)
Strawberry blonde yarn, the cheaper the better

1. The robe
Cut a piece of the satin and a piece of the lining in a flattened cape shape, like this. Make sure its scaled properly for a bottle of wine, this is just a rough sketch.

With a machine, sew them together around the outside with white thread, with the outside of the fabric facing each other, leaving a small hole at the bottom. Flip it inside out and then sew the hole shut. Hand sew the top of the head of the cape together. Test it out on a bottle of wine and see how it looks.

2. Triangle trim

I'm sure this would look great if you hand made each triangle sewed them on the robe... but come on, this is just a wine dress.

I recommend the little cheap bottles of acrylic craft paint at Michaels, or some Tulip fabric paint, and a small, square paint brush (cheap=OK). Mark out even intervals on the satin with a pencil, then just draw the triangles freehand. This is easy, we learned triangles in kindergarten. However, waiting for them to dry is hard.

Is it dry yet?

Is it dry yet?

3. Neck fastening

I wanted to tie her robe closed at the neck with some ribbon, and also give the neck a nice ruffle texture. decribes how to make a ruffle here. After forming the ruffle, sew the ribbon around the neck and tie a pretty bow. After making sure the robe still fits loosely over a wine bottle, sew the bow in place so its perfect bowness doesn't get mussed in the future.

4. Hair

Figure out how long you need the hair to be, then double that length and add an extra 1/3 for safety and knotting and braiding. Unravel a length of yarn from your skein that is 12x that length. Cut it in 6 equal pieces, line them up, and tie a tight single knot in the middle.

You should now have 6 pieces of equal length hanging off each side of the knot. Braid them. Tie off the ends. Sew the top knot into the top of the hood of the cape.

Black Mage

Suppies you will need
Blue silky fabric, for robe outside
Blue stiff fabric, like denim, for lining
Tan needlework fabric, the stuff with the holes in it, for hat
Plain tan cloth, for hat lining
A hook and eye type fastener, or some silver Effect Sculpy
Hot glue gun

1. Fastener

You can buy a nice fastener something like this at Joann Fabrics and skip this step, but if you are a Sculpy luver like me and already have some on hand, this is fun.

Roll out two chunks of silver Sculpy into two thin strands. Roll them together so they look like a nice spiral. Cut this in half. Shape the spiral strands into a hook and eye, with loops for the thread to go through. Make sure they fit together. Bake in oven according to directions.

2. The robe

Cut a piece of the silky fabric and a piece of the stiff fabric into these shapes.

(I must stress at this point that these shapes are approximate and not to scale - I didn't really keep track of this as I was going along. Make sure to measure your shapes against a real wine bottle, and let me know if something is grievously wrong.)

As with the white mage robe, sew together around the outside, leaving a small hole. Then outside of the fabric facing in, then flip outside out and finish the hole. Sew the two pieces together with a few well placed stitches, then sew the fastener on at the neck.

3. The hat

I spent a lot of time looking for the perfect fabric to approximate straw - because I didn't want to really weave a straw wizard's hat. I found needlepoint fabric, which has a big weave look and a nice rough texture.

I really hacked this out, there is a probably a better way but I was getting tired. If you want to look at a commercial witch hat and see how it is sewed together, that might work better. This is what I did. Cut the tan base fabric and the needlepoint fabric so they look something like this.

With a sewing machine, sew the top part of the base fabric to the brim. Then sew the seam of the top part together. Its OK if this looks totally crappy as long as it's the right basic shape.

Now, hot glue the needlepoint pieces to the base shape.

There will be an ugly seam between the top part and the brim part. I covered this with a hat band made of the blue silky fabric from the robe.

Now you're all done! Share these with a fellow g33k, or horde for yourself.