Staying Home and Crafting

How have you been spending all this extra time at home? Cleaning crevices of your home you never thought of cleaning? Finally clearing out your closets to discover items you had long forgotten? Constantly searching the internet for recipes to use up obscure items found in your pantry? Or simply catching up on television shows or discovering new ones? And of course, there are those things on your to do list that you know you should get to, but, just don’t seem to have the motivation to do so. One of those things for me is raking the leaves in my backyard. A task I am never fond of doing, but, once done I am so happy to have done. Sometimes too we put so many things on our to-do lists that we become overwhelmed with what to do first. I know that happens with me often. Especially on my list of crafts I want to do.

For quite some time I had a small pile of beadweaving projects that I wanted to get to. I even organized the beads I wanted to use for the projects so all I had to was actually sit down and make them. Well, I finally started working on some of those projects and soon discovered that I didn’t like how a few of them were turning out or I just didn’t have the patience so I gave up and moved on to the next one. I did find one project that I liked and I ended up making two pairs of earrings.

I’m in the middle of making this bracelet. So far so good, I just need to figure out how to put a knot in the end of the bracelet without destroying the braid or making it look wonky.

I also attempted to make a new Easter wreath. I picked up the supplies in late February after coming across the directions and they sounded simple enough. Decoupage plastic Easter eggs with small pieces of paper napkins and then glue them to a straw wreath adorned with Spanish moss. I’ve made quite a few wreaths so I thought I would have no problem with this one. I started, well, I should say I tried to decoupage the eggs and it was a mess. The paper wasn’t flat on the eggs regardless of how small I cut the napkin and I couldn’t stand the smell of the decoupage glue. Oh well. Thankfully the supplies weren’t that expensive and they are all things I can use for other projects so it wasn’t a total loss.

Before things got really bad with the virus and places were still open I was taking crocheting/knitting classes at my local library. I had just finished a series of three classes where we made crocheted tote bags and was starting another series of three classes to make a knitted keyhole scarf. I actually made a crocheted version last year. We got through one class before the library decided to cancel all classes and then ultimately closed. Thankfully in that one class I got the gist of how to make the scarf – it involved splitting stitches and using double-pointed needles, neither of which I had done nor used before in knitting – so, I was able to complete it on my own.

And then I started another scarf (my neck is ready for next winter). Initially, using Lion Brand’s Homespun yarn, I was knitting a scarf in garter stitch (knitting every stitch in each row) and once completed I was going to weave ribbon through the scarf in a basketweave pattern. I got to a certain point and tested out weaving the ribbon through and just didn’t like how it was looking so I decided to go with a pattern (Flights of Fancy) I had in a folder and I am liking this much better. I’ve thought about going through my yarn stash and putting all my remnant yarns together to make a blanket. For now though, I’ll just add that to my to-do list.

So, I’ve definitely been trying to keep myself busy at home as you can see. And yes, I have cleaned corners of my house I never thought of cleaning all while avoiding those leaves. As for television, I don’t subscribe to any streaming services so I split my time between watching actual television and listening to music. I am always amazed how there are so many channels and still nothing to watch at times. As for cooking and baking, I haven’t gotten too creative yet. I did make this Banana Cake with Mascarpone Whipped Cream Frosting last week as a means to use up some bananas and mascarpone cheese. I do have a pasta dish that I have yet to hit publish on that I give quite a few ideas to customize with what you have in your pantry. The main thing right now though is to stay home, stay safe and stay healthy!

 

 

 

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year! The holidays are quickly winding down. Truthfully, and I think most would agree, the holidays just seemed to fly by this season. Mainly due to the short time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. With Thanksgiving falling so late there was less than a month to get everything ready for Christmas. Besides posting my annual Cookie Palooza recipes I just didn’t have time to blog anything else during the month of December. That doesn’t mean I didn’t do a lot of baking though. There were chocolate covered pretzels, Almond Biscotti (these were so good that I ended up baking a second batch the day after making the first), a few cakes (one of which was supposed to be a tangled lights decorated cake but turned into a congratulatory cake for my oldest niece after competing in her very first gymnastics tournament and placing in a few of the events), and of course cookies, cookies and more cookies. I baked about 300 cookies in one day and by the end of the day the smell of sweets and sugar was just too much for me to handle.

So here we are in a new year and a new decade. Truthfully it didn’t really dawn on me that a new decade was upon us until I was watching the news and they started talking about it. I was just thinking of how the year had gone by so fast. And granted one could say that about every year, but, 2019 in particular seemed to fly by to me. I was thinking about things that happened and they didn’t seem like months ago but more so days ago. I have heard that one of the perils of getting older is that time goes by faster. Maybe it’s because you have a greater realization of things happening. As a kid I think you forget more than you remember but as an adult everything that happens gets filed away so it’s easy to measure things by the events in our lives. My dad has been gone 4 years and I still measure things from before and after his death as well as before and after he got sick. I’ll remember something or see something from a particular year and I measure it against these dates. Not always a good thing. But, it is a good reminder to me of how quickly things can change and can happen. It’s true what they say that life can change in the blink of an eye.

And for many a new year means resolutions to change things in their lives or do things differently. I myself have never made a New Year’s resolution. I personally believe that there is no time like the present to make a change for the better. Every day you are given the opportunity to do things better and/or differently than the day before. So why not grab on to that as opposed to waiting for the year to change. Let’s say you fail at your resolution in February, does that mean you should wait 10 months to try again? Absolutely not! So, instead of resolutions I’ll look back and see if I have grown as a person over the course of time. Of course there are things that I would like to be different, but, at the end of the day I am content. And being content makes it a bit easier to work on those things that I would like to change.

So, what’s on my plate for 2020 so far… A semi-monumental college reunion that I may or may not attend and a pretty exciting vacation! And of course more baking and crafting. Next month marks 8 years that I have been blogging. And while I may not have the amount of followers that others have, I am still trudging along and thankful for those of you who do follow me and welcome any and all new readers. I enjoy baking, crafting, photographing, writing, and everything else that makes up my blog so I will continue on! Besides, good things come to those who wait.

I leave you with two pics…

A pic of the Christmas cake I made (this was totally not the design I had in mind for this cake, but, I had a frosting fail at 10p on a work-night so I had to improvise and was happy with the outcome)…

And the cake I made for New Year’s Eve – I decided to try out the decorated sheet cake trend. After piping the designs on to the cake I then sprayed it with Wilton’s Color Mist in pearl and sprinkled it with a mixture of festive sprinkles…

Happy 2020!

 

 

 

Paint Pouring

One thing I will never be.. A painter. I’m great at visualizing things but not so great at putting them to paper. I’ve done quite a few paint nights and for me it’s more about the social aspect than the end result. But recently I discovered and tried a type of painting I can do without feeling inadequate about my painting abilities – or should I say inabilities -… Paint Pouring. It’s basically what it sounds like, pouring paint on a canvas to create a picture.

To create your paint pouring masterpiece you will need a canvas (I used an 8 x 8 and 10 x 10 inch canvas – anything bigger and you might need more paint), 2 oz. bottles of acrylic paint (I used 4 different colors), white school glue, disposable cups, a wire rack, an aluminum pan for the wire rack to sit in, disposable gloves and craft sticks. In lieu of craft sticks I actually used plastic knives; disposable cutlery has a lot more uses than just eating.

And while this is a paint pouring project, you can’t just pour the paint on the canvas, you have to mix them with water and glue which will allow the paint to flow easier and bind to the canvas without flaking and also allows the different layers of paint to stick together. To create the mixture you will mix two parts glue with one part water in the disposable cups and then add an equal amount of paint. My ratios were a bit off, I used .75 oz. of water, 1.5. oz. of glue and 2 oz. of paint, just so I could use the entire bottle of paint without having to measure it out. I don’t think my slightly off measurements made that much of a difference. A small hint, I used the same measuring cup for the water and glue, so I measured the water for each of my cups first and then the glue. After adding the water, glue and paint to each of my cups I stirred them together well.

Now it’s time to paint pour. Wearing disposable gloves pour puddles of the paint on different parts of the canvas. Tilt the canvas in different directions to spread the paint. You can use the craft sticks (or disposable cutlery) to create swirls in the paint. Continue to pour the paint and tilt the canvas until you have reached your desired “picture.” Make sure to get the corners and sides of the canvas as well. Place the canvas on the wire rack and allow it to dry completely – about 24 hours.

Hang and enjoy you quick and easy masterpiece.

I’ve made a few of these and I am happy with how each of them has turned out. These are fun pieces that can be personalized and would make great gifts.

 

Happy Painting!

Paint Pouring

Supplies:

Canvas

School glue

Acrylic paint

Water

Cooling tray

Deep pan

Plastic cups

Craft sticks

Disposable gloves

Directions:

Mix two parts glue with one part water in the plastic cups. Add an equal amount of pain and mix together well. Repeats for all the colors. Place the cooling rack inside of the pan and the canvas on top of the cooling rack. Feel free to lay newspaper below the pain in case of paint splatter.

Pour puddles of the paint in different spots of the canvas and begin tilting the canvas in different directions to spread the paint around. Use a craft stick to swirl the paint. Continue pouring, tilting and swirling until you are happy with the outcome. Make sure the pain reaches all of the corners and the sides of the canvas.

Place on the wire rack and let dry completely.