December 10, 2012

Tulle Wreath Tutorial

I'm sure it happens to everyone on Pinterest at some point.  Becoming so obsessed with a DIY project or recipe pin that you must try it ASAP.

When I saw the pin for this tulle wreath:

that obsession took hold.  I was thinking of design ideas for the set of Rowan's Christmas photos and after I saw it, I went out the next day to buy tulle and a foam wreath form.  I apologize to the person who originally posted this photo to the 'net.  Pinterest wouldn't let me connect to the URL address for fear of a virus or some other nasty consequence.  A Google search turned up nothing.  I tried.  

To make this wreath you'll need:

~ 12" styrofoam wreath form.  Or check out this idea on how to make a super thrifty form. 
~ 10 m of tulle.  Check the prices at the fabric or craft store before you purchase.  Sometimes tulle can look similar but have a whopping price difference.  I bought mine for $2.50 per meter at Fabricland.
~ Scraps of white cotton fabric; enough to cover a 2 m length
~ Sharp scissors
~ Hot glue gun
~ 2" wide satin ribbon

I didn't plan on making a detailed tutorial, so I failed to take photos of each process.  Hopefully I don't lose you.  Once you start tying the tulle knots, this wreath is a perfect 'movie watching' project.  Easy, methodical and doesn't get too messy.

Cut fabric into 3" wide strips and wrap around the wreath form, gluing at each end.  Neatness doesn't matter, but you need to make sure your wreath is evenly covered.

Cut the tulle into 4" wide strips.  I left my tulle folded to make this part go faster.  I made my tulle strips 18" long, because I wanted a whispy, whimsical look.  

Tie two tulle strips in a double knot and position at the top of the wreath. 

Some of my strips ended up being a little lot shorter, but whateves.  Whimsical, right?

Scrunch the tulle close together until you've used up all the strips or have run out of room on the wreath.  Straighten the knots, trim the tulle to be somewhat even (or very's all about preference) loop a long ribbon around the form and you're done!

You can fasten the ribbon in a bow as demonstrated in the pink wreath above.  I tied my ribbon around the wire on the back of the picture frame.

Refresh the wreath each year (or each season!) by changing the colour of the ribbon, adding a string of beads, a cluster of fabric flowers...etc, etc.

I don't buy many Christmas decor items new from a store, but at a recent trip to IKEA I couldn't resist these little candle holders.  The glittery tree to the left is just a paper cone smothered in glue, teeny beads, sequins and glitter.  Fun project but m-e-s-s-y!  

I might not do another blog post until the new year.  If I get my act together and make some stockings (my 'Winter Holidays' pin board is full of ideas!) I might share them.  Most of the things I'm making are it'll have to wait.

How did the photo session go?

Very well!  Thanks Kerri for being so AWESOME.

Happy Monday!

December 3, 2012

Take Out Box Advent 'Calendar'

Bah haha.

This blog post is so late it's not even remotely funny.  Who writes about an advent calendar on the third day of December?  Moi.  Lame sauce.  To comfort my tardy soul, I should explain that this project comes together lickety split; you can have a new 'calendar' in one evening.  Or: pin it and save it for next year!

I decided on November 27th that I needed a new advent calendar.  The old one had teeny little pockets that held Lindt truffles perfectly.  Chocolate and a two year old with a memory like an elephant?  Nuh-uh.

Besides, I wanted to make this advent about doing things rather than getting treats.

For this project you will need:

24 take out boxes (I used 16 oz and 8 oz sizes)
Decorative paper
Cutting tool (like a Cuttlebug or similar) or pre-cut numbers
Circle cutter or punch in 2" and 1.5" sizes
Clear glue
24 items to place in the boxes

Cut out 24 x 2" circles and 24 x 1.5" circles out of decorative paper.  My paper came from this book of scrapbook paper, available at Michael's.

Cut out numbers (if you need to).  My crafting took place at 10pm on November 30th (hence the crap photo), I laid my numbers out to make sure I had cut the right amount (late night crafting = increase in errors) before packing my Cuttlebug away.  I used the 'Olivia' alphabet and number set.

Glue the circles and numbers on each box.

Fill with fun things!  I stuffed the boxes with tree ornaments, finger puppets, stickers, muffin liners, cookie cutters, and lots of activity tags.

The activity tags included:

Attending the Santa Claus parade
Skating (will be the first time!  Exciting for a mom who is an ex-figure skater)
Baking cookies
Baking muffins
Reading Christmas books
Watching Christmas movies
Having hot chocolate
Colouring in Christmas-themed colouring books
Making cards for family and friends

I had various ideas for displaying these little boxes: hang from a tree, string up like a garland, etc.  But ultimately, convenience and ease prevailed and I stuck them on top of a white fabric blanket on the piano.

Paired with my vintage bottle brush trees, I think they look pretty cute up there.

Today, Rowan and I have a date with a cookie cutter and cookie dough. Happy Monday!

November 12, 2012

One Hour Coffee Cozy

I'm not going to take a survey, but I'm willing to put money down that every knitter likes a project that can be done in one sitting.  One hour-long TV show, one (or two) cups of coffee or tea.  And for Mamas - one nap time.

These little coffee (or tea...or hot chocolate, or whatever it is you drink in winter) cup cozies are quick, easy and they use up scrap yarn.  Plus, they're pretty darn cute.

This is my second-ever attempt at writing a knitting pattern; so if you try it and end up making a headband...please tell me.

You will need:
5mm straight knitting needles
Worsted weight yarn
Tapestry or wool needle
Co-ordinating ribbon

Skill level: Beginner

k - knit
p - purl
yo - yarn over hook
k2tog - knit two stitches together
stockinette stitch - knit the 'right side' and purl the 'wrong side'

Cast on 30 stitches
Rounds 1 - 5: work ribbed pattern of k1, p1    
Rnd 6: purl, increase 3 stitches evenly across row; 33 stitches
Rnds 7 - 9: knit
Rnds 10 and 12: purl
Rnd 11: knit
Rnd 13: k1, *yo k2tog* repeat * to end.
Rnd 14: purl
Rnd 15 - 22: continue in stockinette stitch
Rnd 23: bind off, leave a long tail (30cm or 12") for sewing the seam.

When you've cut your long sewing tail, you'll have something that looks like the photo above.

Fold right sides together and sew seam.  Fasten off and weave in tail.

Weave your ribbon in and out of the little holes made in Round 13.  I would suggest sliding the cozy over a cup before knotting the ribbon; you don't want to tie it too tight!

To prevent the ends of the ribbon from fraying, melt the cut edge ever so slightly with a lighter.

Now that you're done, what will you do with it?  Gift it away?  Keep it?  Make another?  I think a little touch of homemade is on everyone's wish list for Christmas.  I would pair this cozy with a coffee shop gift card.  And just to be extra cute, ask for an extra cup, slide the cozy on and pop the card inside!

September 18, 2012

Sugared Molasses Cookies

It's not technically autumn yet, but on this dreary, sloppy, wet, cold (am I painting an ample picture?) day, I needed to make molasses cookies.

Yes, you read that correctly.  Autumn = molasses cookies.  I'm one of those people who associates certain foods with seasons.  Rich, hearty fair like stews, roasts, pumpkin pie (or muffins...or pumpkin anything for that matter) and molasses cookies are definitely fall and winter food.  Nonetheless, not I realize not everyone feels this way; I've actually had a debate with someone over when you should eat molasses cookies. 

It doesn't matter when you make them, they're damn good all year long.  I'm not sure where the recipe came from.  I begged an former co-worker for it (and her name is Autumn, nifty!) who cited 'the internet' as her source.

Collect the following ingredients:

3/4 cup butter, softened or shortening
1/3 cup fancy molasses (or black strap for a bolder flavour)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 1/2tsp baking soda
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup white sugar 

Crank your oven up to 350'F (180'C).  Expect 48 small or 24 large cookies.

Fresh ginger gives a fabulous flavour to these cookies.  My aunt (the Gingerbread Lady....and Strawberry Lady) swears by fresh ginger, and she makes AH-MAY-ZING gingerbread.  I keep my ginger frozen until I need to use it and then grate it with a microplane.  Of course, if you have ground ginger in your cupboard, go ahead and use it in place of the fresh stuff.

With an electric mixer, beat butter, molasses and brown sugar together.  Add the egg and mix well until combined.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Stir until smooth.

Add dry ingredients to the molasses mixture and blend slowly, either by hand or with an electric mixer.  Don't forget to scrape down the sides!

The dough should be slightly sticky, but if it's TOO sticky (ie cannot be formed into a ball for the life of it), add a little more flour.

Pour white sugar into a small bowl.  Take a tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball, roll it the sugar and place on an un-greased cookie sheet.

Press down slightly with the back of a spoon.

I like to make larger cookies, but for the kiddos, scoop out the dough by the teaspoon to make itty bitty ones.  Roll in the sugar and don't flatten.

Bake for 8 - 10 minutes.  Let cool completely before storing.  These cookies store well at room temperature for a few days, or for about 2 weeks in an airtight container in the freezer. 


August 22, 2012

Happy Birthday [little] Dinosaur!

Rowan turned two yesterday and to celebrate, we had a few family and friends over for a party!
I chose a dinosaur theme because Rowan is in L-O-V-E with them.  Here are a few things I put together:

Dinosaur tracks to the front door.

Paper pinwheels.  The plastic pinwheel handle is from Martha but I changed up the paper to suit my colour scheme.

A custom birthday shirt, which he refused to put on until right before cake-time. 

Dinosaur nest cupcakes.  Really easy to make!  After smoothing brown icing (could be chocolate, mine was just a buttercream dyed brown), I piped green icing with a grass tip and 'laid' (teehee) three yogurt covered almonds for eggs.  The R-O-W-A-N is paper taped to toothpicks.  I used my Cuttlebug and the 'Olivia' alphabet set to cut out the letters.

The cake!  I love that you can rent different shaped pans from Bulk Barn, otherwise I would need a second house for all the pans I'd have to buy!

For some birthday fun, I kept it simple and only planned one activity.  A dinosaur egg hunt!  Well, dinosaurs and candy :)  Rowan loved his dinosaur 'babies'.  He cuddled them as if they were real and gave them kisses.

A friend of mine gave Rowan a ginormous dinosaur colouring book for his birthday.  So a few sheets went up on the wall for an art break before dinner.  Between a 1, 2 and 4 yr old, only one line of crayon got on the wall!  I'd call that a success.

Rowan thought our 'Happy Birthday' singing was utterly hilarious.

Yummy-yum-yum!  Happy Birthday, my little dinosaur!