Marbleized Easter Eggs

Do you remember dyeing Easter eggs as a kid? I remember my eggs hardly ever came out the way the PAAS packaging illustrated it would. Maybe I just hadn’t honed in on my crafting skills yet or quite possibly there was more to the decorating that wasn’t explained in the instructions. You know those little tips and tricks you learn by trial and error. I would always wonder too if they were safe to eat. My parents strongly advised against it and I would soon agree once I peeled one or two that had cracked during boiling and the egg white was some funky color due to the dye.

Fast forward a few years and now decorating eggs is on a whole new level. Instead of using real eggs, I’m using this nifty plastic craft eggs I found at Michaels that I can use for years to come to decorate around my house. And forget about dyeing them, I go with using paint to get the exact color I want.

And that brings me to the topic of this blog post… Marbleized Easter Eggs. To create the marbleized affect I lined a plastic shoe box with wax paper. I then squirted some of the paint colors on to the wax paper. Next I placed one of the craft eggs in the shoe box and tilted the box back and forth to roll the egg around so I could get the marbled affect.

 

I let the eggs dry…

 

And soon had a dozen marbleized Easter eggs…

And since I wasn’t too happy with the chalky look of the eggs I sprayed them with a gloss clear spray to give them a little shine. Unfortunately this picture doesn’t show it all that well.

Along with marbleized eggs, I also made two sets of gold-foiled eggs. One that I made last year with more bold colors and one this year with more pastel Spring-like colors. These are quite easy to create as well, but, you will need a Gold Leaf Kit, which you can purchase at your local craft store. You start off by painting the eggs and letting the paint completely dry. Next, you apply the adhesive to the egg, not on the entire surface as you just want the gold foil in random places. You let the adhesive dry for about 10-15 minutes. It’s ready once it begins to feel tacky. Next, you place the gold foil around the egg and using a clean brush brush off the excess gold paper where it didn’t stick. And finally, apply the sealant to the eggs to ensure that the gold foil won’t tarnish and to give the egg a nice sheen.

 

Please note you could also use these techniques with blown out Easter eggs. I’ll be honest it’s something I have never tried. I feel that if I did I would more than likely break the egg trying to get the contents out and these plastic eggs are so much easier to store! You could very well use hard-boiled eggs, but, I feel like if you are going to decorate your eggs so lovely you should be able to keep them for years to come.

I hope you enjoy dyeing, painting, crafting, hunting or whatever you choose to do with your Easter eggs!

Christmas Wrap-Up

How was your Christmas? Mine was good… Filled with great times, great food and great cookies! As I’ve done in years past I had a Christmas baking marathon and baked various cookies to give as gifts. I took my last sheet of cookies out of the oven early in the day Christmas Eve. This year along with the usual rugelach and malted chocolate chip cookies, I made another batch of these vanilla spritz cookies along with peanut butter cookies and oatmeal cookies. YUM! And, there was also a batch of Gingerbread Men, one of who was a bit angry after losing part of his leg.

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And luckily this year I got my handmade Christmas gifts done in plenty of time, okay, with about a week to spare. This for me is good, since it gave me enough time to wrap them with pretty ribbon bows. I made two Afghans and an earring and bracelet set.

The first afghan was made with Lion Brand’s Thick & Quick Yarn following their Cromwell Court Afghan Pattern. Here’s a pic of the start…

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And the finish product…

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The second afghan was made with Lion Brand’s Vanna’s Choice Yarn following their 5 1/2 Hour Throw Pattern… Truthfully it took me longer than the 5 1/2 hours and since it involved crocheting three colors together I opted to wind the three colors into a ball to make crocheting a lot simpler.

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And the finish product…

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And finally the earring and bracelet set that I made using tila beads, superduo beads, seed beads and crystals just using basic beadweaving techniques.

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I also squeezed in some time to make my Christmas cards once again this year.

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I hope you are all enjoying the holidays and that you all have a wonderful New Year!

 

 

A little DIYing and Knitting

How has your summer been going? Have you knocked off many things on your never-ending to-do list or DIY list? I’ve been able to do a little crafting for items that have been on my list or jumped to the top of my never ending list overnight.

As a blogger I sometimes have a hard time taking photographs… Meaning, the background is never what I want. I always find myself moving things around my counter or on my kitchen table to get the right shot. During these warmer months I am fortunate that I can head out into my backyard and take pictures on my picnic table without too much worry of obstructions in the background… Grass isn’t bad as background I think. It’s especially difficult when I take pictures of some of my jewelry pieces or yarn projects… I have to wait until the light is just right (which is still usually in my kitchen) and set up a snack table with a white foam board as a backdrop to get the “right” shot. But, sometimes you want a little more color and personality than just a plain white board and I personally think that the white background isn’t always complementary. So, I did a little DIYing and created some backdrops myself. Now I know that you can purchase more sophisticated and professional looking one’s online, but, I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted and I am one who believes that if I can do something myself instead of paying someone else to do it then I might as well do it. Also, I just love creating things. It’s one of the ways I learn new things and get ideas for other things.

So, one day while I was at my local Jo-Ann’s I picked up project paper in two different patterns – quatrefoil and chrysanthemum – and decided to give this DIY project a go. I began by cutting a piece of the decorative paper bigger than my foam board. After covering my work surface with newspaper I sprayed the foam board with adhesive spray and carefully placed the paper on top of it, smoothing out any bumps. After letting the glue dry overnight, the following day I folded the excess paper around the edges and taped them to the back. To ensure that I would get smooth corners I cut the paper on an angle there before folding it over.

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And now I have two colorful and decorative backdrops than I can use for an array of things!

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Next up… Flower Crowns. Last year I went to the Renaissance Faire in upstate New York – I had wanted to go for years. I truthfully had no idea what to expect, all I knew was that the description made it sound like fun, and it was. So much so that I went again this year. While there last year I was tempted to buy a flower crown, not sure what stopped me. Oh yeah, I know, the fact that I would never wear it. I won’t even put a hat on my head when it’s freezing cold outside! This year my friends daughters were coming along for the fun; although only the eldest one ended up going. So I decided to make them flower crowns to wear!

Supplies needed are silk flowers, floral wire and tape, wire shears and a hot glue gun.

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After measuring the girls’ heads with the floral wire I wrapped the ends with the tape and began gluing flowers to it.

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And it wasn’t long before I had completed both flower crowns.

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And finally, my knitting project, which at the moment is a WIP – a work in progress. I finally taught myself Entrelac and I am quite excited about it (Hmmm… maybe I need to get out more!) Anyhoo… It’s been on my to-do list for years and I just never got around to it, but, I made it a point to hunker down this summer and learn. And thanks to YouTube the pattern didn’t seem as confusing as I initially thought. Oh, and I am sure you may be wondering… Entrelac is an interlace knitting pattern that creates a textured diamond pattern.

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Here’s a close-up shot of it… While it may look as though it’s different strips of yarn woven together it’s the complete opposite, the entire scarf is knitted in one piece with a series of triangles and squares. It sort of reminds me of a basketweave pattern, but, on an angle. Using yarn such as this one – Lion Brand’s Amazing – really helps one to appreciate the pattern because of the color variations.

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And that’s been my summer thus far on a crafting perspective!

 

Bead & Yarn Project Round-Up

Hope you all had a good weekend! So, as of late most of my posts have mainly been focused on the “spatula” part of the title of my blog, but, I definitely haven’t forgotten about the “bead” nor the “yarn” part. Hence the Bead & Yarn Project Round-Up title of this post. I tend to work on these projects without taking the time to take pictures of the process or the progress so today I will be sharing with you pictures of the final product.
 
Up first two yarn projects…
 
This is a clutch I crocheted following the Candy Color Clutch pattern from Lion Brand Yarn using their Bonbons Yarn in Nature. While the pattern called for using simple buttons that would need a crocheted button cover, I opted to add a little pizazz to the clutch and used gold-toned buttons instead. The pattern was super simple to follow, but, I did find it a little annoying to change the color of the yarn every two rows, but, the final look was worth that extra work.
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Up next, a baby blanket. The Dreamy Lace Baby Throw – also a Lion Brand Yarn pattern – which I used Pound of Love yarn (also from Lion Brand) in Honey Bee. This pattern was also quick and easy to follow, the one thing that concerned me was adding the shell border, but luckily I was able to add it without incident.
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And now on to the bead pieces…

My new favorite beads to work with are SuperDuo beads. The beads have two-holes so you are able to create some pretty cool earring and bracelet designs.

Like this bracelet…

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These earrings…
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Or this earring and bracelet set…
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Another two-hole bead that’s been fun to work with are Tila beads and CzechMates Two-Hole Tile beads.
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I’ve also finished a few crystal embellished seed bead bracelets. These are probably one of my favorite bracelets to make because even though they do require a bit of work to complete, you can play with all kinds of color combinations to create a very unique and original bracelet.
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The cross-weave bracelet using bugle beads, pearls, seed beads and crystals.
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The same bracelet but with an embellished edge comprised of seed beads and drop beads.
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Some ladder stich earrings.
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And finally, a cube and crystal bracelet.
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Hope you enjoyed looking at these items as much as I enjoyed making them. Have a great week!

Easter Eggs

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend. Ideally I would have liked to get this post up yesterday, but time got away from me. Since it is Easter Monday  though, I’m not all that late.

I had decided a while back that I wanted to make decorated Easter cookies for the holiday (the decision was easily made after I got this egg cookie cutter from my local craft store.)

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As opposed to Valentine’s Day when I used a package mix to make my decorated cookies, this time I was determined to make them from scratch. (While I do enjoy making things from scratch, rolled out cookies are among my least favorite things to make since I inevitably roll them out too thin or too thick which can lead to the baking time to be off which can then lead to a cookie that is inedible. Maybe it’s time to invest in some rolling pin rings.)

I opted to use the Roll-Out Cookie recipe on the back of the cookie cutter packaging since it didn’t require the dough to be refrigerated prior to rolling (I’m all about saving time whenever possible.)

To begin I mixed the flour, baking powder and salt in one bowl.

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In the bowl of my stand mixer I beat together butter and sugar until it was light and fluffy and then added in vanilla and almond extracts and an egg.

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I then incorporated the flour mixture into the butter mixture one cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.

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It wasn’t long before the dough came together, which I then divided into two balls in preparation for rolling.

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Once I rolled out my first ball and cut out the cookies I placed them on an ungreased cookie sheet and sprinkled them with Easter themed sprinkles. After baking for about ten minutes in a 350 F preheated oven they were done.

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I baked my second batch without sprinkles since I was planning on decorating them with royal icing.

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Once the cookies cooled completely I whipped up a small batch of royal icing.

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And after some dyeing, dotting and sprinkling my cookies were done.

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Along with Easter Egg Cookies I decided to make some actual Easter eggs. I haven’t dyed eggs in quite some time, but after seeing the directions for marbled eggs in a few different magazines this past month I decided I had to try it.

And this is what I ended up with. I really liked how the inside of the shell looked more than anything.

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And if you’re curious about Easter Eggs and some fun facts about them check out this article that was in the USA Weekend newspaper magazine this past weekend. Here are a few of my favorites…

-Before those little dissolvable capsules, egg dyes were made from a variety of materials, including onion peels, tree bark, flower petals, and vegetable and fruit juices.

-The PAAS Dye Co. launched its popular product in the 1880s in Newark, N.J. The first packets contained five colors for 5 cents. The company now claims to sell more than 10 million kits annually (no longer just dyes, but also paints, stickers, glitter and more) and says that consumers use them to decorate 180 million eggs.

-Many Easter eggs aren’t actually eggs but are formed from chocolate. In Scotland, a popular treat sold in fish-and-chips shops is deep-fried chocolate eggs.

-“Easter eggs” are found in numerous videogames and movies. That’s a term for an inside joke or hidden message planted by the creator. The term was coined at Atari after a programmer put his name in a hidden room in the game Adventure, released in 1979.

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Roll-Out Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoons almond extract

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In mixing bowl, beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and extracts. Mix flour, baking powder and salt; add to butter mixture 1 cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Do not chill dough. Divide dough into 2 balls.

On a floured surface, roll each ball into a circle approximately 12 in. wide and 1/8 in. thick. Dip cookie cutter in flour before each use. Bake cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet 8-11 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned.

Christmas Crafting

With Christmas just a few days away I finally got my cards in the mail the other day. I was so gung-ho about making them super early this year – I took out all of my supplies for them back in late October and put it on my crafting table all ready to go, but, got sidetracked with a few other Christmas crafts I wanted to get done first.

So, while I only have one main door to hang a wreath on – as most people – I ended up making three new wreaths this year. I only planned on making a new garland wreath to replace the one I made a few years back but while searching for ideas for that one I came across a yarn ball wreath that I had many of the supplies for – mainly yarn – and then I got an email that described how to make an ornament ball wreath in perfect detail. I tried making one of these a few years ago and didn’t have much success.

Up first… the Garland Wreath. While my local craft store did have those green wreaths I could have just bought and decorated I wasn’t too fond of the way they looked – that’s actually what my original wreath is made with and I never really liked it because of it – so I opted to wrap an 18″ grapevine wreath with garland. After that was done I then decorated it with various Christmas picks. I bought and returned quite a few of them before I was happy with the layout. This is actually the wreath that made it to my front door.

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Then there’s the Yarn Ball Wreath. I used different shades of green yarn I had leftover from different crocheting/knitting projects to wrap various sized Styrofoam balls. I then mapped out their placement on a wire wreath form and attached them using a hot glue gun. I then added in some red shatterproof ornaments for a pop of color and to make the wreath a bit more festive.

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And finally, my favorite, the Ornament Ball Wreath. This was definitely the most time consuming, but, worth every minute. To begin I wrapped a Styrofoam ring with red ribbon tying a loop with the ribbon at one point so the wreath could be hung. I then lined the inside and outside of the ring with alternating sized shatterproof ornaments. I then filled in the flat part of the ring with various sized ornaments and finally – the part I couldn’t get too crazed with – I filled in the gaps with smaller sized ornaments. It’s very easy to go from beautiful to gaudy when adding the ornaments.

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After the wreaths I moved on to making snowflake ornaments. I got the wire forms (6-inch) from Fusion Beads and then it was just a matter of decorating them with pearls, crystals and seed beads in colors that reflected the holiday season or the intended recipient’s favorite color. This was made all the more easier since I recently organized all of my jewelry supplies into storage containers.

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After a few wire mishaps (thankfully I bought extra wire forms) and a couple of wire gashes all of my snowflakes were done. After taking this picture I threaded all of them with coordinating ribbon so they could be hung from a Christmas tree, in a window, or wherever.

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And finally… My handmade Christmas cards. While getting started is always a daunting task, by the third card I am full speed ahead. I even got a jump on next year’s cards by making a few extra this year. We’ll see if I still like them in a year’s time or I may just have other ideas of what I want to make by then.

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Happy Holidays!!!

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(And yes, I did make this as well.)

Pottery Class… The Final Product

So, I finally got the vase back that I made in an introductory pottery class a little over a month ago.

I was happy with how it looked pre- firing and glazing…

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But, I am sad to say that I am not all that thrilled with the final product. While thankfully it didn’t fall apart during the firing and glazing process – which was a possibility – there were quite a few dings and dents in it that weren’t there before and the basketweave pattern that was so obvious before seems to have faded away in certain spots. Oh well… it was a fun experience with some great friends, but, pottery will definitely not be on my hobby list ever.

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