Birthdays Make Me Crafty

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while then you already know how I feel about birthdays. To sum up for the new kids: I like them a lot. (example, example, example)

I had a string of birthdays recently, and it brought out the craftier side of me that apparently had been napping for the past couple of months. I love a good craft project so I sort of ran with it. It started with my gal L’s birthday. I had planned a specific project for her birthday since it was a milestone year and I was going to visit her in San Fran (read about it here). My plan was to make a scrapbook of her birthday weekend. I prepped the book prior to leaving for the trip and the plan was that I would run to the store, print out the pics, glue’em in (I brought some supplies with me) and I would give it to the birthday girl just before we all left. It was a flawed plan. We were jamming in super fun activities until the moment we left for the airport. So I had to finish it when I got home and mail it instead.

A book to remember our magical weekend gallivanting all over San Fran together and celebrating birthdays.

A book to remember our magical weekend gallivanting all over San Fran together and celebrating birthdays.

Not too long after that came two back to back birthdays. First was one of my best buds C. Second came my co-worker R. I attempted to try something cool for C that I had seen on the internet, and Pinterest, a millions times. An ombre layer cake in a mason jar. All I can say about this endeavor is that it was horrible lol. EPIC PINTEREST FAIL.

UGH...started off decently with the ombre cupcakes. But look at this shizzzz. HORRIBLE.

UGH…started off decently with the ombre cupcakes. But look at this shizzzz. HORRIBLE.

Ugh. Just looking at the picture annoys me. I couldn’t possibly give this monstrosity to C. It ended up in a mushed pile on my counter that was later eaten by my roommate.

I ended up admitting defeat on the whole ombre thing and making a mason jar cake instead. I filled it with some nutella as an added perk. To make it extra special (and because I turned into an unstoppable craft machine for like 2 weeks) I printed out tiny pics of us from our years of friendship and made a little photo-tree topper for the cake.

Apparently we are incapable of making attractive faces.

Apparently we are incapable of making attractive faces.

As you know, I love a good theme. As it happens, my coworker R shares my love of Doctor Who…so it struck me with the idea of making her some Doctor Who cupcakes for her special day. Basically it gave me an excuse to craft and indulge my nerdiness.

The Doctor Who Gang

The Doctor Who Gang

I printed small pictures of each of major characters from the new reboot of the series, including a 3D Tardis so that I could use them as cupcake toppers.

I used my awesome little cupcake screw thingy and filled them with some Tardis blue buttercream icing (recipe from my Gram…thanks Gram).

I got this little tool from some weird Chinese overstock website I found 2 Christmases ago

I got this little tool from some weird Chinese overstock website I found 2 Christmases ago. Icing piped in with my super sophisticated ziplock bag.

Vanilla and Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting and blue buttercream filling

Vanilla and Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting and blue buttercream filling

All in all, the birthday crafting went over really well. Everyone seemed pretty pleased with their birthday surprises.

Also, if you’re interested in making the white cake the recipe is super simple:

-1.5 c flour
-1 c sugar
-2 eggs
-1/2 c milk
-1 3/4 tsp baking powder
-vanilla

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs. Add everything else. Bake for 20-30 mins at 350.

 

Sunday Funday

So turns out that I wrote the majority of all my blog posts while I was wasting away of boredom at my old job. Now that I have a new job I have way way less free time lol. But I have a moment now so I figured I’d slap something up.

I had a fairly whirlwind weekend this past weekend…which was a nice change of pace. On Saturday afternoon my bestie and I went to this cool terrarium making party at a local glass shop where she blows glass (I hang with a talented crew lol). We got to make wet and dry terrariums. NOTE: every single time I think or say terrarium I confuse it with a house for spiders…I think they sound the same). Anyhow–I was pumped because a wet terrarium is essentially creating a Jurassic Park type scene in a jar! Spoilers mine has a pterodactyl in it! Boom.

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It was our other friend K’s birthday this weekend so we had some extra fun activities planned. We spent a fun hour kayaking on the Charles River. It was a murky chilly type day but it was really fun.

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We couldn’t really continue the party because we all soaking wet, but a bunch of us met up later that night to eat tacos and watch Game of Thrones. My contribution was cupcakes. But not just any old cupcakes…these were the stuff 90s kids dreams are made of. They were vanilla cupcakes with purple frosting and pop rocks on top! You can hear them snap crackle and pop on you plate…and then comes that creepy-but-awesome blitzkrieg of pop that happens the second they hit your mouth lol. They were really fun!

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Overall, it was a solid weekend with my lady pals 🙂

Birthday Cake the Classy Way

So it was recently my college roommates birthday (Happy Birthday Girl!!). My friend C and I decided to make dinner for her, so I offered to make a cake…because as you know, I love birthdays. (Evidence here, here, and here).

I decided to make something from scratch so I searched the interwebs for a recipe I thought was worthy. It didn’t take long to find a good one.

Dry Ingredients

 

Melt the butter, cocoa, and water

Melt the butter, cocoa, and water

How you make buttercream

How you make buttercream

Batter

So the batter is a little more liquid than boxed cake, but I think its because its a fudge cake.

I only have one cake pan….and I thought the batter would all fit. Turns out there’s more than I thought….so rather than double the bake time by using the same pan (no thanks) I had an epiphany. I noticed that a bunt pan is the same circumference! I decided to use my one cake pan and the bunt pan…which would make for a fun layer cake.

Funfetti Frosting Layer...Layer of Champions

Funfetti Frosting Layer…Layer of Champions

Frosted with Vanilla Frosting

Frosted with Vanilla Frosting

30 Minute Chocolate Fudge Cake

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 sticks butter
1 cup water
3 Tbs cocoa powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk***
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

Mix flour and sugar in a bowl. In a sauce pan mix cocoa, butter, and water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Mix into the dry ingredients. Mix well, once cooled slightly add eggs, buttermilk, baking soda, and vanilla. Pour into greased pan and bake at 350 for about 20 mins.

***I made buttermilk by taking just under 1/2 cup milk and adding 1/2 Tbs of lemon juice. Let sit for a couple minutes…and BOOM buttermilk.

Photo by Jenn Sheehan :)

Photo by Jenn Sheehan 🙂

See….it’s a cool effect. If there had been a little more time I would have filled the whole with something…a cupcake, fruit…something. But for this time I left it open.

I did make a fun decorative banner to top the cake though. Here’s how you do it.

What You’ll Need:

fun paper (I used scrapbook paper
skewers
dental floss

Cut out some triangles

Cut out some triangles

I started by folding the edge of the paper over, and cut small triangles.

Then I cut a length of dental floss and tried it to the skewers.

To attach the triangles, I put a dab of glue and placed them over the floss (the glue makes it so they stay). Let it dry and BOOM classy cake decor.

DIY Painted Glasses…aka The Epic Craft Fail

Ugh…the wounds are still fresh on this one folks…

So you all know how I spend lots of time surfing the depths of Pinterest. I’ve found tons of super cool craft ideas on there. Its great. I had found this one project that I was totally psyched to try out. They were these knock of Anthropologie Confetti Tumblers. So cute. Also the blog its from, Radical Possibility, is HILARIOUS and awesome. Totally check it out. The girl is super funny and has some excellent ideas!

Anyways…when I was home for Thanksgiving I stopped by the dollar store and picked up four stemless wine glasses so I could make my own confetti glasses.

Stemless Wine Glass

I was all set to start confetti-ing the crap out of these guys…and I started…and I sucked at it and gave up lol. I really didn’t like how the paint looked sort of transparent (I was using my own Basics brand acrylic paints from Michaels). So I washed ’em off and started again…attempting a type of ombre-esque feel using a paint sponge.

Painting with a sponge

I was so-so about the sponge, but I liked the coverage and texture much better than the dots looked. So I painted them different colors.

Painted Glasses

I was feeling like something was missing. So I decided to mix up lighter versions of the colors and lightly sponge it over the glasses (except I used yellow on the orange one to make sure it didn’t look too much like the red one). I used a flash on my camera to show the overlay colors better (in regular light it creates a sort of frosted look).

This is with a flash...in regular light it looks 'frosted'

This is with a flash…in regular light it looks ‘frosted’

DIY Painted Glasses

In the end, I was happy with the final product! I sprayed it with a couple coats of Mod Podge Acrylic Sealer and thought I was good to go.

this is the spray I used for reference

this is the spray I used for reference

Turns out…I was NOT good to go. I let them dry for 4 days. And when I went to give them a quick wash so I could drink out of them, DISASTER STRUCK.  The paint cam right off! 😦 I was…and AM…SUPER bummed about it! I really don’t know what went wrong.

FAIL. Ruined Glasses

I’m hoping that some of you super crafters might be able to shed some light on what exactly caused this tragedy. I think next time I attempt to re-do these glasses I might just spring for some paints specifically made for painting on glass…maybe the Martha ones.

Leonardo da Who? One Gal’s Attempt at Chevron

Da Vinci ain’t got nothing on me these days. I’ve been painting more and more…something that actually comes as a little bit of a surprise to me because I have some OCD perfectionist issues.

The whole painting thing started kind of gradually. Certain cities (like Boston) have this thing called Paint Nite. Where local artists set up in random bars and teach you how to recreate their painting…while you drink of course. Its really fun and shows up on the groupon type sites. I’ve gone with my lady pals twice now and painted some cool stuff.

Paint Nite Number One: Cityscape; Paint Nite Number 2: Cocktail 🙂 Third is a picture I copied off of one I saw on the internet lol.

Anyways…this is just to show how it began. Back to the present. I have a living room full of blank walls and it bugged me so I went on a trip to Michaels and got some paints and canvass. This is the most recent painting adventure I’ve embarked on. The DIY Chevron.

Ugh. Looking at this irritates me. Here’s the thing. I read on a blog about how “it’s so easy” to DIY Chevron and that the secret is to basically treat it like a pie crust (the woven kind). FALSE. It sucked and I instantly regretted it lol. It made the tape not stick well because you handle it so much, plus it was just WAY more work than just making a pattern.

Once you get your Chevron lines figured out then you can start painting. I went for solid stripes.

Here’s where my OCD kicks in a little. Because I had handled the tape so much making the lines, they ended up bleeding a little. Which is just mildly annoying to look at. Also the stripes are 100% equal…but I’ve been learning to brush this biz off and try and ignore it.

This is more of a weekend project because you have to wait for the first stripes to be completely dry before you finish. So I painted the first stripes Friday night and finished it all up on Saturday. You cover the painted stripes with your painters tape then paint away. I went for a messy approach. I just painted random colors over the tape.

Once the paint is dry, peel the tape off and BOOM. You got yourself a piece of art. So there you have it folks. Go forth and put Van Gogh to shame!

DIY Ink Coasters

As you know by now, this girl loves a good craft. On one of my many journeys through the depths of the Pinterest universe I can across this guy. (you have to scroll a bit to get to the ink coaster post).

This craft adventure appealed to me on many levels. First, I love coasters. I think they’re great. Second, the colors looked super cool.

 

It occurs to me as I’m writing this that I didn’t take any ‘during’ photos of this project…just final shots. Oh well…I’ll paint you a word picture lol.

 

These are actually pretty simple to make. But you do need to prepare a bit first.

Things you’ll need:

-Ceramic tiles (not found at many craft stores…check Home Depot around .15)
-Alcohol ink (try Adirondack!)
-Alcohol
-Aerosol finisher
-Paintbrush
-Pads for the bottoms (felt or cork work)

Instructions:

1.Start by coating your tile with regular alcohol. (which works the same as the ‘blending solution’ at the craft store and costs way less. Make it a thin layer.

2.Now start dripping little spots of ink onto your tile. Allow the ink to slide around a bit before adding your next color. Keep adding more color, until you have covered your tile completely.

The great thing about this project is that you can essentially start over if you don’t like it or you make a mistake. You can use a paper towel to dab any extra ink or just wash the whole tile clean in the sink. (which I absolutely did…twice).

3.”Once your surface has dried to the touch, take your coaster to a well ventilated area, and spray it with a coat of aerosol finisher to seal the colors. I find that the colors REALLY pop out after this step.” This is a quote from the blog I used.

I did NOT find this to be the case. What happened when C and I sprayed our tiles was that the colors ran a little. My ink blots were a little sharper BEFORE we sprayed them. I think maybe they needed to dry longer?

4. Once your coasters are dry, add felt or cork parches to the bottoms and use away!

 

My notes on this:

I will totally do this project again. I will definitely wait longer before spraying them with the finisher. Also, we gave them a few coats of the spray, but they really do need a bit more. I will probably just brush on some modge podge before really using them to give the designs a little more protection.

 

DIY Picture Candle Holders

So for some reason I’ve been sitting on this post for MONTHS. I’m not certain why I haven’t gotten around to putting the whole experience into words…that I would then share with all of you.

I saw this project on a few different blogs and thought it would be cool to try out. But the specific site I used is here. It happened to coincide with my friend’s wedding so I thought I would include it as part of her wedding present. Like a true creeper I stalked her Facebook photos for engagement pictures that I could transfer onto these cool glasses/candle holders that I grabbed from the dollar store.

I did this project a second time as a Father’s Day gift for my dad. I’m just going to include pictures from both to illustrate how it came out.

You start by gathering your materials. You need a printout (from an laser printer, inkjet won’t work!) of the photo you want to transfer, A candle holder/glass you want to transfer to, scissors, and clear contact paper.

 

You want to cut out the picture/s you want and put it picture side down onto the contact paper. Then cut the contact paper so it matches the picture. Take a Popsicle stick or credit card and rub the image. You want to tranfer the ink onto the contact paper. So rub firmly to get sharp detail and a solid transfer.

 

Then you want to soak the image for at least 7 mins in warm water. Be careful because the picture will roll, just make sure its under the water. Next comes the hard part. You have to slowly and carefully rub the paper off of the contact paper. Use your thumbs and rub the paper off. This part is tricky because you don’t want to rub too hard because you’ll rub the ink off. Get off all the paper (hold it up to the light to see areas that still have paper remnants on it. You can hold it under the warm water to help get some trouble spots out.

Then you want to let it dry. Once its dry/as its drying you’ll see any paper still remaining. You can re-wet the area and rub the paper off. Once its dry the tackiness will return and you can attach it to you’re candle holder.

 

You can see from the pictures that my transfers weren’t perfect. I had a hard time getting the paper off the contact paper. But in general I was happy with the way they came out.