Thursday, July 31, 2008

Just Posted: Call Me Business Necklace

I finally posted my recycled paper bead necklace! Isn't it pretty?If you're wondering about the process, check out my previous posts. The purpose of this post is to provide more pictures of the finished necklace. Here are the beads in the center: Now these beads are handmade paper mache, so they aren't perfect. But I think they're imperfections add to the charm of this necklace.
I strung the beads on 3mm wide turquoise ribbon. This ribbon is a really gorgeous shade! I knotted it between each bead, and then knotted a loop for one half of the clasp. I used a vintage mother of pearl button as the other side of the clasp ~ it's knotted with a bow. Here's what it looks like with the button through the loop. This is the other side of the button. This brown side is almost as shiny as the white side, but you can't really see this in the picture. The ends of the ribbons are still long so that I can adjust the length of the necklace if needed. Here's what the clasp looks like when it was on my neck. This was a tricky picture to take by myself.And one final picture in my cute little bowl.I've been using this bowl to sort of unify some of my listings, especially the earrings. But the main reason is because I never photoshop these pictures. On some of the other pictures with the plain white background I might run a white balance just to even out the tones. This usually doesn't change the colours of the piece, but sometimes they appear a bit brighter. So this way I can be sure you're getting an accurate visual. The ones with me in them are taken outside, which sometimes bleaches the photo a bit.

Take home message: the pictures with the wooden bowl show the truest colours of the piece.

Anyway, go check out this necklace! If you hurry, it's 50% off today ~ just add "showcase" to the message to seller when you check out. For more details on this one day only sale, scroll down.

Main Showcase!

I snagged a spot in the main showcase for today! Go to Etsy and click on the words "Main Showcase". Click around until you find me!

PLUS, I'm having a one day only sale! All orders will be 50% off if you mention "showcase" in the message to seller. Just check out as usual and wait for a revised invoice (or if you prefer to pay right away, I'll send a refund).

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Supper, A Simple Recipe & A Purchase

We had roast for supper last night. That's Pat cutting it up there. I love roast... especially when it's cooked just right so that it practically melts in your mouth. Mmmmmm... Usually, when I cook a roast I cut up an onion, potatoes and carrots to place around for roast. It isn't my favourite way to prepare potatoes and carrots, but they come out pretty flavourful.

But last night I had no potatoes, carrots or onion. But I did have a tomato, and somehow I had 2 English cucumbers. So I made a simple cucumber and tomato salad that is so popular in the summer. I've only had it at Swiss Chalet before, and it was delicious there. Trying to reproduce the vinaigrette worried me, but I lucked out. Here's the simple recipe:Tomato and cucumber salad

Ingredients:

1 large tomato
1/2 English cucumber (or whatever cucumber you have)
KRAFT Signature Greek with Feta & Oregano dressing

This dressing turned out to be almost exactly the same as what I remember this vinaigrette to taste like. It's very nice, and officially my secret ingredient.

Method:

1. Wash you tomato and cucumber. Cut into bite-size chunks (leave skin on cucumber).

2. Drizzle with dressing. Don't be shy ~ see how empty that bottle is? I've only made this salad twice. Allow to marinate if you wish, but not too long as you don't want to tomatoes too mushy. I wouldn't recommend making more than you can eat in one sitting as it doesn't keep very well in the fridge.

Last thing. See that plate the salad is on? I just got that in the mail yesterday. Actually, I got 4 plates in total from lorenzstudio. She has a lovely collection of vintage kitchenware and fabric. These plates are Stetson Marcrest in the Swiss Alpine (or Swiss Chalet) pattern. As soon as I saw these, I fell in love. I ADORE this pattern! It's so pretty and whimsical. I want more pieces. I have my eye on a few through Etsy, and did an Ebay search and found lots. I told Pat he had to get me some for my birthday (only 22 days left!)... he just laughed and said no. Either way, I'll be getting more of these, and hopefully eventually have a (more or less) full set. If you see any, can you buy it for me? Please?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Food

I love food. I love cooking, baking and eating. I especially like eating out and trying new recipes. So when I found a simple recipe for fresh-squeezed vanilla lemonade (from The Black Apple), I had to try it. The simple syrup was easy to make and the lemons were a little tricky to squeeze without getting seeds into the juice. Luckily, I found that the seeds floated, so they were easy enough to take out. The hint of vanilla really sweetens this juice and gives it a nice little after flavour. I'll definitely be making some again.

My breakfast from yesterday:
How do you feel about breakfast? Do you eat it or skip it? My mom always has breakfast, so when I was little, I always would too. Throughout high school, I think most days I still had breakfast. It wasn't until I left for University that my schedule changed and I stopped eating breakfast most mornings. But I had this yesterday. Please notice the adorable little bowl. I love small dishes, cups and bowls... they're so cute! I'll have to post about this obsession later, when I get some little plates in the mail. :)
I added some blueberries into the little bowl. Unfortunately, they aren't fresh blueberries, but the large ones you get from the store. Never had the fresh ones? They're at least 50x tastier... but these were good too. On top, I piled on a cup (not an actual measuring cup, but the small individual serving cups yogurt comes in) of mixed berry yogurt and a cup of vanilla yogurt. After mixing, I enjoyed. And did I ever enjoy! Again, the vanilla added a pleasant sweetness that just totally makes this. There's some expensive yogurt that I sometimes get that has vanilla already added ~ this was a cheap version of that, and still oh-so delicious. And nutritious.

Oh, and the point to take away from this post is that vanilla can go in anything and make it better. Well... maybe not anything...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Paper beads update

Remember those recycled paper mache beads I started last week? No? Then scroll down a post and take a look at those pictures.

Since then, the beads have dried and were ready for drilling and painting. I drilled a hole into each one myself... which was fun. I don't think I've ever used a drill before, although I've seen my dad and brothers use one on many occasions. Then I painted them.I started out giving them a brown-ish base coat. I used 4 different colours of brown and an off-white. I wanted to start with different shades for the base so that the beads would have more variation.
Then, using a paintbursh, paper towel and/or sponge, I added some red and turquoise (as well as a cactus/sage green and some off-white and brown here and there). I finished them off by sponging on some gold paint.
Sorry, those are some dark pictures from last night. After that, I added a sealer and let them dry.
I think they turned out pretty decent. The beads are a little less perfect and more uneven that I would have liked, but they turned out a lot better than I expected. The next step was stringing them onto a pretty turquoise ribbon. Thankfully, the ribbon is fairly thin (4mm) so it wasn't too difficult to string them.
There they are this morning, all strung out on the ribbon (and looking a little washed out). Now I just need to finish it off with a clasp of some sort. I'm going to use a loop and a button as a make-shift toggle clasp. I've narrowed it down to 5 buttons:They're all vintage except for the soft yellow one at the top right (it looks white in the picture, but it is yellow). The one in the middle is a wooden ball with the hole in the back, which would make an interesting clasp. The one at the bottom right is mother of pearl (the other side is the irridescent white side) and is the one I'm leaning towards. The other two are plastic, one large and brown and the other cream with an orange irridescent centre. Which do you think would look best?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Paper Beads

I love finding different crafting ideas or tutorials online and trying them out. I'm constantly thinking "I could so make that!" so it's really fun to actually give it a try. I often get a strange look from Pat, but that's half the fun! A tutorial on WikiHow is actually how I got started making my handbound notebooks, which are so cute it's no wonder I'm constantly browsing for new ideas!

So I found this tutorial for making paper mache beads from old newspaper over at A Storybook Life, and I thought it sounded easy enough. As I mentioned in my post last night, I wasn't too sure how it was going... the paper looked like a big soupy mess. I'm almost positive I didn't rip the paper in small enough pieces because it was not very easy to manage. I used the business section from an old phone book, so I'm wondering if the paper was a bit thicker than an average newsprint? The paper didn't seem to break up much... But I did get 11 balls out of it. A few of them might break apart since the paper didn't really break apart and stick together... I had lots of lumps... So, hopefully I won't destroy these when I try to drill a hole through them... but I think once I paint and varnish them, they'll be quite cute. I'm going to try again tonight, but this time I'm going to:
  • shred the paper a bit more
  • use less so that it's more manageable
  • maybe try to find some old flyers lying around to see if the different paper makes a difference
Can't wait to try it out! In the meantime, I'm still posting new items regularly throughout the day! I just posted these delicate fan earrings and I have some new mini notebooks ready to post as well! Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

New items!

I've been really creative lately, and posting items like crazy in my Ulixis shop. Today, I relisted my Falling Leaves notebook, which is still reduced to $4. I also posted some lovely inner tube earrings, which you can see above, and the fringe festival bracelet:This bracelet is so fun! I made it almost a year ago, but held onto it, both as inspiration and because I like to keep handmade pieces I really, really love until I'm sure I won't be wearing them. Sometimes, those particular pieces turn out to be perfect for a favourite outfit; other times they sit on my shelf, collecting dust. It was the latter in this case. I don't know why, it's an absolute joy to wear... probably because I have a lot of other jewelry already that I can wear instead.

I was crafting again all night. I started making these paper beads... so far... not sure how that's going. And ~ SNEAK PEAK ~ I also completed this necklace: These disc-shaped beads are all great focal beads ~ the green glass ones are particularly brilliant... but I couldn't figure out how to use them on their own. So I decided to string them together, allowing their similar shapes to bring the necklace together. I like how it turned out, what about you?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mmmmmm... Recipe: Sex in a Pan

I love finding and trying new recipes online, so I've decided to start posting a few of my favourites. This one I got from my boyfriend's family, and is it ever good. Now, there's cream cheese in it, but Pat, my boyfriend, DOES NOT eat cream cheese... but he loves this. Just make sure it's room temperature so that it blends smoothly.
Sex in a Pan (yes, it's that good)

Ingredients:

1 cup ground pecans
1 cup flour
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup butter
250 g cream cheese (8 oz or a stick)
1 cup icing sugar
container of Cool Whip (35 oz)
package of instant vanilla pudding
package of instant chocolate pudding
2 cups milk

Method:

1. Mix pecans, flour, sugar and butter and press into a 9x12" pan. It's best if the butter is soft so that it mixes nicely, but it can still be grainy. Bake at 325F for 25 min. It'll just start getting golden around the edges. Now let it cool completely.

2. Mix softened cream cheese, icing sugar and half of the Cool Whip. Spread onto cooled crust.

3. Beat the vanilla pudding with 1 cup of milk. Note: the package will call for 2 cups of milk, but only use 1. Spread on top of the cream cheese mixture and let set. This won't take too long.

4. Now beat the chocolate pudding with the other cup of milk (again, only 1 cup). Spread this on top of the vanilla layer and let set.

5. Cover with the remainder of the Cool Whip. Garnish with shaved chocolate if you wish. Serve cold.

Trust me... this is delicious. I made this Saturday night and we've already eaten half the pan. These pictures were from my lunch. Try it tonight, you won't be disappointed!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Things I love

I recently purchased these Trash Ties from Heather Bailey. Actually, I ordered a set of small ones (five 4" hot pink ties) and one long one (25" light pink). I haven't quite gotten used to the long one, but the standard ones are so handy and easy to use!
They're basically like twist ties that come with garbage bags ~ a malleable wire inside of a satiny sheath... with a couple of cute knots on each end. These pictures show what I did yesterday. I twisted each of the small ones around twice.

And this is what I did for today:
It was so quick and easy, it was perfect on the first try! I only twisted the tie once this time. I love how they hold any amount of hair and don't move.

Now I just have to master the longer one! It's tricky because it's so long and I only have two hands... and can't really see the back and top of my head. It'll only take a little practice!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

New Projects

Here are some of the new projects I'm working on. I picked up cross-stitch from my Aunt, and made my grandma a cute piece with a little boy and girl on a path between two houses, with the saying "There's no place like home except for grandma's." I was quite proud of it, but a lot of work goes into cross-stitch so I didn't continue once I went on to high school.

But I remember how cute cross-stitch is and when my friend (Jellybeans) mentioned she was trying it out, I couldn't resist going out to get some Aida cloth, an embroidery hoop and a magazine with some small patterns in it.

Can you guess which patterns really sold that book to me???These adorable little buns are going to be made into some pretty little tags. Or maybe some fun little notebooks.. I just have to decide what to do with the edges to prevent the Aida cloth from unravelling... some sort of stitch should do the trick, but I want it to be pretty. So we'll see what happens. The process is the fun part!

I've always wanted to sew and make things with beautiful material. I've picked up a needle every now and again, but I haven't been able to find any fun projects to do. I picked up some felt at the same time as the Aida cloth and other supplies, and I figured I could stitch together a few stuffed ornaments for starters.

And then I came across Wee Wonderfuls and a few of Hillary Lang's free patterns. This one is for a darling pig. I cut out the felt and started stitching him up last night.
Then I ran out of black embroidery floss, or else surely he would have been finished and not left in this sad state... earless, empty and eviscerated...

(OK, that was a little dramatic, but I like alliterations and I was trying to get at the hole in his back and the missing innards.)

The pattern is just so cute. I'm looking forward to finishing him this weekend after a trip to the mall.
I didn't have any pink felt, or this little pig definitely would have been pink. I'm kind of glad though, I'm liking this little black pig.

On a side note, he's sitting on my new silk-covered notebook from pamelatang. It's a gorgeous notebook and I've already collaged the first page. I'll post on that soon.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Things I love

I love this bracelet. Sorry about the crappy pictures, but I love this bracelet. I made it wish pretty rectangular garnet beads (from patriciasartgallery which now appears to be empty) and brass chain and findings. Then, to keep the clasp at the bottom of my wrist I added a gorgeous brass bunny charm I got from geelizzietwo.I love it because, obviously I love bunnies, but also because it's a simple bracelet that looks perfect with a lot of my outfits, especially the raspberry-purple shirt I'm wearing today.

I went shopping at IKEA this weekend. I found a cool vase for $2 ... and decided to get a fish to put in it!Isn't he adorable? He's a betta, or a Siamese fighting fish, and clearly a brilliant shimmery blue. One of his front fins is smaller than the other, which makes him that much cuter. I'm still not sure what to call him... I was thinking Sensei, to honour his Asian roots, but I also like Senor. I've been calling him that in the meantime... it just rolls of the tongue. Senor. heehee

Also while at IKEA (I had a gift card from grad and needed cutting boards, which I did get) I also got a new cover for my IKEA couch. Before it was red: Now it's navy:I know the lighting is terrible, especially in that old shot, but I really think the blue changes the room. When I was washing the red cover a month or so ago, the couch underneath is an off-white. I liked that change too... really brightened up the room. I love how something so simple can really change the mood... I feel the blue is a little more cool and soothing for summer.

Anyway, that's all for now. I've received quite a few packages in the mail recently, so hopefully I'll have a blog up about that soon. In the meantime, have a wonderful week!