Monday, May 30, 2011

Holy Bejebus!

I knew I had been slacking. Really, the thought had made me wince quite often as I started on a new project or changed direction in the never ending cycle to catch my own ass. (It's not as amusing as it would seem, to chase one's own tail when one's tail isn't even long or fluffy like the tail my little puppy sports. Actually, it's probably just weird, me being a grown woman chasing after her ownself.... It's probably not helping that I'm harping on this bad habit of mine. Right. Other topics now...)

But apparently this whole MONTH has been far busier than I realized. For one, I didn't realize that it had damn near been a full MONTH since I had posted anything here! Ack!

Bad me. BAAAAAAAD me. *shakes finger sternly at the reflection in the mirror whilst frowning fiercly!*

My self dicipline shall continue as I shake fingers, fists, and the like at myself, but in attempts to catch any of you that might still be out there in blog world, reading my [seldom] shared bits of craziness and creation... this is what I've been up to::

*Moving my sister from one apartment to another in a town 2 hours away
*Cleaning out sister's old apartment
*Hanging out with sister in new apartment so she was un-lonesome while attending summer sessions
*Making an "Over the Hill" cake for one of my mom's friends
*Making 222 Chocolate Chip Cookies for the local Drive In (Not all at once, but some every weekend)
*Working at the local Drive In (I dress up a mean burger, man!)
*Making Bride and Groom Oreo Balls (Pictures... as soon as I find my lost camera - doh!)
*Making paper flowers for glass vases (Pictures, same as before)
*Making single flower 'center piece' (Again with the lost camera)
*Changing spring decor to summer decor (Damn you, camera!)
*Making and taking a picnic lunch to my girls' last day of preschool (*tear*... and pictures...)
*"Visually cleaning" a friend's house
*Making my Poppy a banging vanilla cherry cake for his birthday

Whew!!! There were other things in there, like the weekly cleaning, laundry, shopping, chase your tail, didn't I say I was going to stop talking about that, packing, and unpacking-ness of living *deep breath* BUT that list is the general reason(s) why I've been so absent.

I vow to ye, near and far, to do better than I've been doing.

Now, for the things to come::
*Find durn-blasted and thrice-damned camera!!!!
*Make some pimp hair accessories from the odd bits and bobbles my sister gifted me with after cleaning out her stash of hair do's and don't's
*Make toliet roll binoculars for my girls
*Make toliet roll bracelets for my girls (sensing a theme? yeah, i've secretly been stashing toliet paper rolls for about 4 months now. I could probably lay of road of them from one side of my town to the other and still have a few left over. So, now's the time to get creative with them.)
*Take/Post pics of my backyard's before and after. My dad's been HARD at work. It runs in the family ;)
*Bribe my dad into helping me fix up those antique furniture pieces I smuggled home a while back - just so I don't ruin them by tackling them on my own
*Make a breakfast quiche for dinner... maybe a nice dessert, too. I'm thinking tiny no-bake cheesecakes... mmmm.... cheesecake

Cheesecake gives me Homer-face. It's a good look on me. :)

Thank you, to each and every one of you that cares enough to still read my insanities. I promise to post pictures as soon as I find my camera (I'll sic the kids on it, they're like nifflers after gold, never stopping till they find their prize) and I spent most of today looking for new projects. Boy, did I score on that account!!! I think I bookmarked over 100 ideas to take on!!

So, really, more to come, more frequently, more often! If there are any takers, I'll even offer up an Unbreakable Vow!

Okay, okay, I don't want to make too many Harry Potter references (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two, END to an EPIC saga out in theaters July 15th!!!!) so I'll stop myself there! :D I'm not excited or anything... not at all....

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Birthdays and Building... of a Sort

Hey y'all! First week trying out this new no-rush-to-postness and... I was so un-occupied about updating that I got all kinds of creative. So much so that I forgot to take pictures of a few things. Are you surprised? You shouldn't be. Me and this brain of mine... we forget so much. Dang nabbit.

Memory issues aside, I've a BUTTLOAD of pictures for you nonetheless. A step-by-step process of tearing my kids' chairs apart and fixing them up to be (mostly) better. AND I have pictures of most of the things created for my sister's boyfriend's birthday. (Happy Birthday again, Jimmy!)

First, I forgot to take pictures of the white chocolate macadamia nut cookies I made. Sorry, cookies. BUT they were good. They smelled terrific and I have plans to re-make them soon for at-home consumption. Next time I'll give them their own photo shoot.

Second came the giant cookie cake. Seriously, this thing was like sixteen inches big. It was the first cookie cake I ever made and the edges were a bit rough... please ignore the writing. I CAN do better than that, but I was hurried and I was laughing a lot while writing it... the expression will be explained momentarily.

Lastly... Jimmy likes the show Swamp People. I had the, erm, pleasurable experience of watching the show with him and my sister one night and nearly died of the combination of hilarity and horror the show inspired. It is... consuming. You start to watch and it's like a car wreck - you can't look away. Your eyes become beacons of all encompassing pools, glued to the screen as people and gators tangle and twist and... watch it once. That's all you need.

Anyway, to get back on topic, I had made the cookies, made the cookie cake, and then I had this brilliant thought. "SWAMP PEOPLE!!!!" In fact, I yelled the idea out loud and thus created a commotion elsewhere in the house that was the cause of much cursing and the need for an armful of towels. Oops.

I wanted a gator cake. A gator lying in wait... about to get taken in by the swamp people. "Choot 'em, Liz! Choot 'em!"

Yeah, that's right. Another reason to watch the show. Find out exactly what "choot 'em" means... in case it's not obvious enough. ;)

So, gator cake::

I was proud of the idea to give him scales. *beams a winning smile* It made me very excited. I was glad that everyone immediately got the concept of what I was going for. I'm yet to be an artist with a tube of icing, but as ideas slowly swirl and form within my mind, I continue to work towards professionalism. Or something close to imitating it.

Till then I have fun!

Once I made my way out of the kitchen, I got down to business reupholstering the Disney tinker bell chairs that my girls got from Santa for Christmas. Poor chairs didn't survive the terror of my children. So I gave them a band aid. :)

Step One: Look at the chairs. Feel bad for them. Make a plan to fix them and go collect all the stuff you need.

Step Two: Collect your collected things. Take a picture of them... or just have them collected. That's cool, too.

Materials Needed::

* Broken Chairs/Chairs you want to update
* Material - enough to cover your seat with an additional inch per side
*cushions/solid foam
*staple gun
*sharpie or good marker
*small trash can or trash bag

Step Three: Take the seat off of the rest of the chair. Unscrew the screws. Remember, lefty loosey, righty tighty. :)

Step Four: Demo. Tear that seat apart. *rawr*


Step Five: Lay your foam out and place the base of your seat on top of it. Trace around the edges and prepare yourself for kindergarten flash backs.


Step Six: Get your scissors and cut along the line. Told you to be ready for the flashback! Follow the line carefully, cutting away the excess foam if it gets in your way. I tried to keep mine whole because I sat around pretending my square foam piece was a giant apple I was peeling all in one go.

Hey, I warned you my head was a funny place. That hasn't changed. ;)


Step Seven: Lay your material out flat. Mine was a bit of scrap I got from the Wal Mart junk pile for 75 cents a decade ago. No joke. I bought it when I was still in high school and had dreams of learning to sew. I still have the dream and the material, as well as the price tag. The price tag is gone now, but it turns out that my almost-dollar didn't go to waste.

Line your material, foam, and your chair's base up so they're all facing the same way and the edges are even.


Step Eight: Press your chair's base down before pulling the fabric material up and over its side. Pull it tight but don't dislodge it from where you've lined it all up. Take care of where your fingers are and staple that baby into place. I love the power of such a simple tool, but every time I shot a staple out I grinned. Being easily amused has its benefits.


Do this, pulling the fabric tight each time, all the way around the base. Be careful of the corners, I should have been more careful. Next time I will be. Tuck the fabric in and fold it over so you have pretty edges. I hurried and didn't tuck as well as I could have. It's not huge in the grand scheme of things, but knowing that I could have done better and didn't irks me.




Step Nine: Screw the seat back into place. Righty tighty!


Step Ten: Admire your work. Smile a bit. You deserve it.


Steps Eleven and Twelve: Do it all again (and again) until all your chairs are complete.

Grin like an idiot.


In other news, I've started on the cake pops I'm making. White vanilla cake with confetti frosting for the first batch, destined to become bride and groom pops and lady bugs. (The wedding shower is garden themed and the pictures of the ladybugs were too cute to not try!)

Sometime later this week or early next I'll be making a second batch, Cheerwine cake (crazy, right?!) with a simple vanilla buttercream icing. My fingers are crossed that the cakes come out cheer-worthy!

Oh, my jokes just don't even get better with time!!! Aw, well. Cheers, y'all! :)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Week In Review & Game Plan

That's right, I've created a genuine game plan! With the exception of those manic moments in life and time when inspiration blossom, blooms, and shoves its bosom in my face, I'm not that creative. Well, perhaps that isn't true. My mind is a wonderfully warped place and I can take nearly anything and make it into something else. However, there are always pitfalls and road blocks in my path to creative nirvana.

One day at a time.

Thus, my game plan. I've been attempting (low though the evidence supports the statement) to post on a daily or near-daily basis. It bummed me out. So... I'll be posting twice a week instead. A collection of my days' events and small conquests.

I think, this way, my freedom to play and create will relax and come out more often to play. Good times, yeah? Yeah.

Okay. So this past week I've been in the kitchen every day. I've made well over 10 dozen cookies, mostly chocolate chip, for several functions. Better than the cookies, though, were the apple-strawberry cupcakes with strawberry (and strawberry-chocolate) buttercream icing...


And the first successful chocolate layer cake I've ever made. It looked even better in person. I need better picture-taking skills!


Especially since my camera ATE some of my pictures! I had taken pictures of the beginning's of this weeks' craft, as well as one my girls did, but they're not on the camera or the computer or... anywhere. *sigh* Oh well. You can get the idea well enough anyway.

Step One: Visit the dollar store and buy a few frames. Check the back of them to find, or not find, a hanging hook. Decide whether you would like to hang your finished project from a hook or a ribbon. Or, get a hoot and have the option to still use a ribbon. Back up plans are nice.

I forgot to check for a hook so I got to play with ideas until I found a solution. Oh well, necessity is the mother of all invention!

Step Two: Buy (or if you're super spiffy, make) a wooden letter and paint it the color you desire. Take your frame apart and paint it the same color as your letter. Let them dry.

Step Three: Bend the supports on the back of the frame so they lay flat against the back of the frame, unseen from the front. Use a strong glue (craft glue, gorilla glue, hot glue, super glue - any should do the trick) and run a thin line all around the inside of the frame so that once the glass is replaced it will lay over top of the glue. Just don't use too much or the glue will smoosh out everywhere. Let the glue dry completely.


Step Four: Turn your frame over right side up. Get your glue again. Apply appropriate amount to the un-painted back side of your letter. Center the letter and gently press against the glass front. Let it dry.


Step Five: You can be done. If you bought a frame with a hanger piece, just use that. But like I mentioned, I forgot that step so I had to get creative. I was making these for my daughters so I used their favorite colors - pink and purple. I cut up a piece of ribbon, glued about 3 inches of it down either side of the frame, and let it dry completely. Then I hung it up. Yay!


Step Six: Enjoy!


This week is going to include: a surprise cake for my sister's boyfriend (Happy Birthday, Jimmy!), a cookie cake for Jimmy, and white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies. Additionally, I'm going to start working on cake pops and decorations for an upcoming wedding shower. I'm pretty pumped about the possibilities of ideas here.

I'm aiming, for my contributions, to work SUPER cheap but still produce cute, fresh ideas of worth. Here's hoping!

And I haven't forgotten my antique furniture! My dad is currently building a new porch/deck on the back of our house so I'm waiting until he has time to help me, so I don't mess things up and destroy the beauty of that furniture!

Finally, the two rooms (the room of disaster, semi-repaired and the other spare in the house) still need touch up work and a complete re-do. It'll all be done as soon as time allows for it to all take place. Being busy makes me happy. What makes your day?