Friday, May 30, 2008

Insert Clever Mafia Joke Here

I went to my second LA Craft Mafia meet up last Tuesday at Saints & Sinners in Culver City. These have been really fun. The first meeting Mark Montano of the Big Ass Book of Crafts came out and showed us how to make stamps out of craft foam (it's good for something other than props). I made a butterfly.

We also got to look at his book, which really is Big Ass and pretty sweet.

This week Sonya Nimri visited, promoting her new book Beadalicious. She brought some great glass beads and showed us how to make branched jewelry. I don't have pierced ears so I made a pendant, but these looked fantastic as earrings.

I've never been a jewelry maker, but the book has a lot of good simple ideas. I really like one where she shows you how to make a cameo. She has another book that I want to check out called Just for the Frill of It, about adding trim to blah clothing.

The Mafia meets once a month, check the website for more info, it's really fun!

Thursday, May 29, 2008


I'm working on a lot of stuff right now but I can't post it because it is all surprises. I'm making a special cake for Morgan, and I'm working on a Craftster swap for a Dr. Who fan in England, and I can't wait to share these because I think they will be really cool. But it's a secret right now so shhhh.

In lieu of crafts, here is a picture of me hugging a tree.

That's an Ancient Bristlecone Pine. It was our second wedding anniversary this week, and we went up to the mountains near Big Pine, CA to celebrate, where we hiked and ate a whole lot. Hurray marriage! ;)

Ooo, edit: I made that hat, from a pattern in that book I love, Saturday Night Hat. It's called the Engineer's Hat and is made from one pant leg of a pair of ripped corduroys. So, crafty after all.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Flies are Hard

My sister-in-law warned me: flies are hard. It was extra hard because the line in the Burda 7841 detailing how to attach the underside zipper made no sense. Like really, it was in the English column, but it wasn't the English that I speak.

These are for a Gaius Baltar cosplay, in case you're just tuning in.

Apart from the puckering around the fly, which is not too obvious when attached to a person, the pattern was great. The fit is nice and slim, the pieces fit together in a simple and obvious way, and the pockets are nice and roomy. I skipped the back pockets because they didn't seem necessary for this suit, and they looked a bit complicated.

I picked this pattern because it was literally the only pattern for a simple pair of men's pants in all of Joann Fabrics, but I've heard good things about Kwik Sew 3267 if your store has that brand in stock and you want some better fly instructions than Burda has to offer.

The fabric is from's sale section and was only $2 a yard. It's a stretchy suiting.

Geoff was unavailable to model these pants, so they are being modeled by the curtain rod over my bedroom door. Yes, my bedroom has curtains. There is a reason, and it has to do with cats. It gives my bedroom a Turkish harem feel, I think.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Super Strawberry Cake

This was so much prettier in my head. I thought I had figured out how to get smooth (not lumpy, pictured) frosting, but I thought wrong. I swear I sifted the sugar! Argh. I'm still going to eat it.

Do you want to know how to make a possibly lumpy, but EXTRA delicious, Super Mushroom/Strawberry cake? Read on...

Strawberry Cake

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 TB baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
4 eggs
1/2 cup butter
1 cup pureed strawberries
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter (or spray) and flour 2 9-inch round cake pans or one 9x13 cake pan. Set aside.

Combine remaining dry ingredients (except sugar) in a large bowl. Cream butter and sugar in a separate bowl, beat remaining ingredients together. Add to dry, beating with a wire whisk. Pour into prepared cake pans. Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes or until done when tested with a toothpick.

This recipe comes from Whole Foods, and I was very happy with it. It was hard to find a strawberry cake recipe that did not use white cake box mix and/or Jello!

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

1-1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
1/4 cup cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Beat butter briefly, scrape bowl.
Add the sifted powdered sugar and cream. Beat until smooth.

I was not so happy with this. I'm not sure what went wrong. Maybe I did not beat long enough? Maybe I accidentally put in too much cream?


Cut the domed crust off the two cakes, leaving a flat surface.

Frost the bottom layer.

Slice a handful of strawberries into thin pieces and arrange them on top of the bottom layer.

Frost the bottom of the top layer then lay it on top of the bottom layer and frost it.

Put cake in the refrigerator to harden frosting.

Strawberry and Ganache Topping

Dice a handful of strawberries into small pieces and toss with red jam (to maintain color). With a butter knife, carefully sketch out the shape of the Super Mushroom into the frosting, then arrange the strawberries in the appropriate place.

In a(n improvised) double boiler, melt two bars of high quality dark chocolate (I like Callebaut). When fully melted, add cream until ganache is the desired consistency.

Let ganache cool a bit, then transfer to a ziploc bag and cut off the tip of the bag. Draw the outline and the mushroom eyes with the ganache.

That's it! Perfect for birthdays for eight year olds in the eighties (or lazy days for twenty something right now).

Monday, May 12, 2008

Using All the Scraps

Geoff was working Saturday, so I spent my alone time on a bunch of little projects, like this skirt. The green part was already a skirt I own, and liked, and bought for $10 at Ross. The fabric is green with a white flower embroidered pattern on it. The problem was that the hem wasn't very nice; it was a semi-unfinished hem with only a serged edge.

I thought, this would look nice with a band of white satin at the bottom, and I wondered if I had any white satin. So I looked through my scraps, thinking I might have some satin left over from the White Mage project. While searching I happened to find the hem from my wedding dress; the seamstress had given me the excess when she shortened it.

Perfect! Heck, it was already hemmed, I just had to attach it. I think it really adds something to the skirt, and it's good to use all your scraps, especially the sentimental ones.

Getty Sunday

Geoff is having a tough time at work lately, and working almost all the time, so we needed to do something fun and easy on Sunday to help him relax. Decided to go to the Getty, which as a museum is honestly a bit whatever but the location is wonderful.

There was an awesome beetle thing in the lobby, that we rescued.


The tram was very crowded, so we walked back down. It is a very nice walk, I recommend it.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Sakura Lights

Craftster challenges come up with great things. Check out these sakura lights by sf craftster.

A side note: When I google image searched "sakura" some Naruto/Sakura shipper fan art came up, and I threw up a little bit in my mouth. Sorry fan art person, I ship for Naruto/Hinata and Rock Lee/Sakura ;)

Monday, May 5, 2008

Make a fabric ranunculus

OK, this doesn't have to be a ranunculus, it could be any poofy flower, but ranunculus does actually come in this color so I'm calling this a ranunculus. Also, ranunculus is fun to say.

This is inspired by the flower in Sew Subversive (I think) but its poofier.

1. Cut several circles out of woven fabric; I used about ten. First circle should be about 20% bigger than you want the width of the final flower to be, and then subsequent circles should descend gradually in size.
2. Cut the edges of the circles with scalloped scissors or pinking shears.
3. Cut a small circle out of the middle of each circle of fabric, each cut should be the same size.
4. Baste around the edge of the inner circle of each piece of fabric, then pull the thread tight so that the fabric scrunches up evenly.
5. Sew all the pieces together and attach a fabric covered button to the center (for info on making a fabric covered button, please see this tut)

These work great as decorative accents or brooches, and are fun stash-busters.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Flowers Swapped

I sent off my first Craftster swap a few days ago, for the Flowers swap, and it arrived today. One medium and two smalls. I had a lot of fun doing this and when I have more time I've got to do another!

Oh my gosh. Is that... is that a toilet paper cozy? Jessica, do you have a problem? Do we need to send you to TP Cozies Anonymous?

I made this out of Dr. Girlfriend and the Monarch scraps, and for some reason I'm really proud of that. The pink is from her dress, and the orange is from his wings. The ribbon I bought for the dragon pillows before I decided to embroider them, and the button is something I bought for my wedding dress but did not use. So no, I don't have a problem; I spent $0 on this (and I also got to practice my button holes).

I'm going to post a HOWTO about making the flower, since I really like how it came out.

Pretty pretty recycling. This vase used to be an awesome bottle of vinegar. It's my first experiment with glass paint, and I wish I had used a natural brush as recommended so it wouldn't be so thick and streaky. But I still like it. The flower in there is now quite dead, and I didn't make any flowers to put in it, but I recommend a few buds of Gerbera daiseys, like so.

Note cards from a painting I made of the flower above. I really love watercolor, it prints up so nicely. These were also a stash buster, made from the leftover paper from my wedding invitations.

I sorta considered sending her my leftover wedding invitations themselves, but that would be such a cheat, right? Yes. Now I have to decide what to do with the actual painting. I wonder if my mother would like it for Mother's Day - she could put it on the fridge, like old times.

Airstream Alchemy

I made this card on commission through Etsy's Alchemy, which is a pretty cool service. It's inspired by an old Airstream trailer.

The front is made with Stardream paper, one of the fabulous papers you can buy relatively cheaply at Paper Source in Beverly Hills.

This was a fun drawing to do. I like working with heavy blacks because it hides my deficiencies in line quality. I can draw, I just can't ink so good, no da?