Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ghosts of Projects Past: Garden Party Cupcakes

This summer I got a book from the library called Hello, Cupcake, just for fun. I didn't have any special occasions, but the boy loves desserts, so I decided to get crafty and make him some fancy-schmancy cupcakes. My favorites in the book were the Garden Party Cupcakes. The tiny radishes! The peas! The cookie crumb soil! I had to make them.

And here they are:
I liked this book because they use things that are easy to find and for the most part easy to work with for their decorations. I know fondant looks pretty, and I've seen some really awesome cakes made with it, but I think it tastes gross. And I think it's kind of difficult to work with. I want to make something that looks and tastes good. My little pea pod twirlies aren't as good as the ones in the book because I couldn't find green licorice strands. I had to buy a package of Airheads, a package of Jolly Rancher Fruit Chews, a package of M&Ms and a box of corn flakes for these, and somehow I ended up with no orange chewies! I was going to do tomatoes instead of carrots, but I only had enough reds for the radishes (and I loved them so!) so even though my piping skills are not fabulous, I piped on the carrots. They were delicious (another great thing about the book, pretty easy but oh-so-yummy from-scratch cupcake recipes. These are vanilla, and we also tried the almond, delicious), but the fruit chews and chocolate and pretzels made for some strange flavor combinations. Chocolate on graham crackers, however, mmm mmm good.

I also made petit fours with mini almond cupcakes for some neighbors who took care of things around the house while we were away, but I forgot to take pictures before I delivered them. Oops. They were very pretty and delicious.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Now I Know My ATCs

As you may have noticed, I've been really into the paper crafts thing lately. And many paper crafters it seems, eventually end up making ATCs (Artist Trading Cards). The only requirements for ATCs are that they must be 2.5" x 3.5", and that they can't be bought or sold, only traded. They're basically like baseball cards for artists, tiny little works of art (although not as tiny as inchies). I've been making ATC's for a little bit, but mostly just messing around to try techniques, nothing really worth showing off. Now I've joined an ATC swap, and my first ATC was received by its new owner today!
Her theme was postage stamps. I recently inherited a huge collection of awesome stamps from my aunt, so I signed up to make a card for her. I didn't want to just put a whole bunch of postage stamps on a card, so I tried to think of phrases with the words postage or stamp in them. I was a little nervous about the "tramp" part, since I didn't want to offend anyone (for those who don't know, a "tramp stamp" usually refers to a tattoo on a woman's lower back). I thought it could be cute though, if I could find just the right tramp. I searched and searched for an image of a tramp that wasn't too sad, but not too clowny or cartoony either, and I finally found this little guy in the Library of Congress image collection. Unfortunately, there was no information about the artist, or I would give credit where credit is due. I think it turned out quite nicely, and my partner was very happy with it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Crafting for the Kiddoes

Actually, this is the stuff I crafted for a 13 year old girl (a tween? a teen?) in a swap, because what kid doesn't love getting packages in the mail? In return, I received some very exciting things for the bug, but I'm holding out until her birthday to deliver her package, even though it's killing me! I tried a lot of new stuff for this swap, and perhaps even advanced my sewing skills from the super duper basic beginner level (though, I did still want to throw the machine out the window most of the time). Some of the things my partner's daughter wanted were things to decorate her locker, a t-shirt, and monster stuffies. She loves rock and pop music, she's a tomboy, and bright purple, green, and pink are some of her favorite colors.

First, and what I am probably most proud of, the purple and green skully zippered pouch:
I did accidentally sew it shut inside out, and had to bust out my seam ripper to pull it through, but it made it, and I think it's perfectly punky.

Next, I made a French ribbon message board for her locker and a little monster keychain. I loved the safety pin fabric! And I think my monster is a cutie petootie.

While I believe that young people should be able to choose the music they want to listen to, I just couldn't bring myself to endorse Hannah Montana. We need more rocker girls in the world (and not the tie-wearing-Avril-Lavigne-loving kind, Avril Lavigne ruined tie-wearing for girls!). Her favorite AC/DC song is Thunderstruck, so I made a freezer paper stencil t-shirt that is colored (or un-colored?) with bleach. This project was the most intimidating for some reason, but I will definitely be trying this again. It was so easy, and I really like the way it turned out. The only down side is that I could only use the stencil once, because it got pretty wrecked when I took it off of the shirt (after all that fun exacto cutting, my favorite!).

And everything together. I also included some Emily Strange (a grumpy gothic girl popular amongst the tweens) magnets and stickers and Happy Bunny (a sassy, sarcastic, well... bunny, obviously) stickers, because her mom said they are some of her favorite characters. I think my favorite Happy Bunny quote, which is included on one of the stickers is, "hey, you made me throw up a little"

She received her package today (I think the waiting is the worst part of swapping. It's out of my hands, but if the post office messed up and lost or damaged the package I would feel awful!), and here's the message I got, which I'm assuming is from the 13 year old, and not the mother:

"yo fool thanx so much 4 my coolio was of the hook ...peace tripple a what?" followed by a whole lot of smiley faces

I think that's good, right? I'm not really down with the teenage lingo these days, mostly just trying to translate two year old speak.

Peace tripple a, I'm out , yo.


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