Saturday, May 29, 2010

Hors d'œuvres

Last night was prom night, and my friend and I made hors d'oeuvres before going: mini bacon bowls with buffet style fillings.

Scrambled eggs, leftover mac and cheese, and corn with pine nuts.

The bacon bowls were made in a mini muffin tray; half a strip of bacon placed in each hole to make a bowl shape, and then put in the oven at about 400F for half an hour or so. Just make sure they're stiff to the touch and cooked all the way through. 
A few of them curled in on themselves, but most were perfect. We then took the bowls out and saved the grease to cook other vegetables with. 

We had some mozzarella cheese too, so we filled a few of the bacon bowls with cheese before baking. They got eaten before we could get any pictures though!

We fried the remaining strips of bacon in a pan, and used the leftover fat to make the corn and eggs.
But I'm sure you could fill these bowls with anything really! 

We had some whole wheat toast too, since the bacon was pretty greasy. Everything tastes good on toast, right? =]

This was super super easy-- it only took about 45 minutes total to prep and cook, and everyone agreed it was delicious!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Kanzashi Flowers Tutorial

By request, I've made a tutorial for the kanzashi flowers I posted here previously.

I've seen some people recommend you starch the fabric first to make the folding easier. I personally found no problem with most of my fabrics except the dark green satiny one in the link above because it was really slippery when I folded it. However, if you're new to origami or fabric, you may want to invest in a bag of cheap clothespins or something similar. 

Note: if you're not big on sewing, you can easily replace any time I say "sew" with "pull out your hot glue gun" ;)

Here goes!

Find a small piece of fabric! This scrap that I used is about the size of one side of a pillow case, and I only used 1/4 of it.

Iron lines into the fabric where you want to cut. Or, use chalk if you prefer.
(Note: safety scissors don't work well on fabric. I switched out after about three minutes of frustrated snipping)

Yay for sharp scissors! Cut off one strip. Mine was roughly 2-3 inches wide, but you can vary the size. Obviously, the larger the width, the larger the petals.

Fold the corner over to make a square.

...and cut it out!

Fold one corner up to make a triangle. Make sure the right (patterned) side of the fabric is facing outwards.

 Fold one corner up...

...and then the other.

Then flip the whole thing over, taking note of the position of the point where all the sides come together (the "top" in the previous photo)

Fold one of the side edges in to the center (side = not the point noted above or its opposite)...

...and then the other.

Then fold both sides in this way.

It'll look like this from the side.

...and like this from the top.

Clip it together, and put it aside.

Make some more! I had 6 petals total, but you can make more or less for a different fullness. I wouldn't advise using less than 5 or more than 15 petals though, but you can experiment. 

Time to sew! (Or hot glue, if you choose that route). You know the deal, get a matching or slightly darker colored thread and a thin needle. Do yourself a favor and get a very thin sharp needle with a small eyehole: you'll be sewing through 12 layers of fabric at times. If you don't have a matching thread color, or you have a light colored patternless fabric, I would advise going the hot glue route for any stitches that come later that will show on the front. 

Sew all the way through one petal, somewhere around the middle...

...making sure you go through both of those little triangles.

Sew another petal on. Try to get the rounded ends aligned perfectly. Don't worry about the pointy ends-- we'll be cutting them off soon.

All strung together!

Time to cut off the pointy ends. Cut them off about 1/4-1/2 inch behind the place where the thread passed through.

Try to get the cut lines pretty even.

Now spread the petals out into a circular shape.

You get them into the flower shape by pushing down on the center bump.

Puff them all out, and then sew the last petal to the first to fix the shape of the flower.

Turn the flower over, and sew the bottom center area of each petal to that of its adjacent petal. This will help to shape your flower. 

Now, turn your flower right side up and sew the indicated areas similarly. Try to keep these stitches small, as they will be visible.

Now flip your flower over again and do a running stitch through all the petals near the hole in the center...

...and then pull the thread in to close the hole.

Do the same for the top of the flower. You can stop here for a plain kanzashi flower.

I wanted an embellishment for the center, so I found some round clear beads and shiny-hanced them with Sally Hansen's silver anniversary nail polish (or whatever matching colors you have laying around the house).


I love these kanzashi flowers because they're so simple to make and versatile to wear. Some ideas:

  • sew a bobby pin onto the back and wear it in your hair
  • hot glue some to a headband
  • sew it onto a ribbon for a bracelet or belt
  • make a tiny one for a ring
  • glue a pin to the back for a brooch
  • recreate authentic looking geisha headpieces
  • make two for shoe clips
  • layer them
  • make hundreds of them for a curtain
  • or just a few for a mobile

Come up with some ideas of your own and have fun!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Hungry Mouse Part 2

I baked it! And nothing charred! No grilled mouse and crackers today =D

My camera decided to break today though, so I can't show you the finished product yet. Not that it changed much from yesterday-- I just made little indentations for eyes, a hole for a jump ring so I could put a chain on it and wear it as a necklace, and then I glazed it when it cooled down. I'll edit this post with a photo of that asap though!

Finished product! I had to use my backup camera which didn't want to focus...but you get the idea, yeah?

But for now, tutorial time!

For the cracker, I used straight up yellow Sculpy III. Make a flat round shape first. Then cut out a rounded triangle shape, and smooth it all out with your fingers. This doesn't have to look perfect, since the mouse will be covering most of it anyway.

Sorry I forgot to take pictures until I was almost done the cracker. It's easy stuff though, so hopefully you can figure it out anyway. Send me a message if you're having trouble with it and I'll try to help!

Then, take an x-acto knife, and make little cuts around the edge. Run your thumb around the edge to smooth out the harsh lines just a bit.

To make the circle shapes, I used a ball point pen with a retractable ink tube. Just make sure you don't press too hard, otherwise you might end up with ink on your cracker!

Next comes the mouse. I suggest making a body shape first and holding it up to the cracker to make sure the mouse will turn out about the right size when you're done.
The body is 2 parts yellow to 3 parts white. 
These were the shapes I used:

Just the general idea: you'll probably have to reshape some of the parts as you're going. Also, I would advise that you have the tail lay down next to / on top of the mouse (as opposed to sticking out), and to not make the ears too thin, to minimize the chances of breakage.


Then do all the other stuff that I mentioned at the top of this post, if you like. If you feel like being really fancy, you could add little bits of thin wire for whiskers, use a different color nose, line the ears with pink, cut little teeth marks into the cracker, make a jelly cookie instead of a cracker...have fun with it!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hungry Mouse

So this is the first polymer clay project I've tried in a while. Just because clay is kind of annoying to me in that it dries out, gets hard, is a bit messy, and you need to bake it. I'll stop complaining now though. 

The easy part is over and done with...sculpting the clay:

Based on some picture that I found online...a long time ago. I'll try to find it again to credit it. 

So tomorrow is the hard part- baking. I always manage to mess up the baking part of this somehow, and end up with burnt tips or bottoms, even though I think I'm following the instructions (15 minutes per quarter inch thickness??)
I'll try taking it reaaaally slow this time though, and just 5-10 mins at a time, because I really don't want to burn this little cutie!

If you have any advice, leave me a comment before tomorrow afternoon, and I'll try it out!

Tutorial for this coming SOON. Stay tuned :]

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Paper Rose Boutonniere

I say boutonniere in the title because I made it for my prom date, but this could easily be altered to make a corsage, or just any kind of decorative flower. 

Also, I used sheet music (because it matches my dress quite well), but have fun with different colors and mediums =]

To start out, you'll need a bunch of kind of heart shaped pieces of paper. I used about 10.

Note: for the first, innermost petal, skip all the curling around the knitting needle and wrap it directly around the stem. 

Curl the tips around a knitting needle

And wrap it lengthwise across the needle to form a valley
Wrap the petal around a floral tape wrapped wire stem, and secure it in place. I'm using duct tape in this photo, but floral tape and hot glue are good options too.
Keep going!

Ta-da! There you have it-- your one of a kind handmade rose =]

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Origami Gift Box

Mother's Day is just around the corner, guys!
I just had little gifts, and didn't want to shell out $5 a box, so I made my own, bows and all!

Tutorial time!

First, you'll need 2 sheets of computer paper. 
Make a large square out of each of them, but hold on to the rectangle left over-- we'll be making our bows out of them!
Now follow my folds!
(fold the other corners)
(unfold again)
(See that square of four squares that my thumb and index finger are outlining? That's going to be the bottom of the box)
(make sure you tear exactly along that line, and only to the four square where the bottom of the box will be)
(Make sure you tear ONLY the lines shown here. If you do this to the other side, your box will fall apart)
You're done!
Rinse and repeat to make the top of the box. 
Now what to do with those leftover rectangles....

(Tear into four strips)
(This is a basic universal shape that I used in all of my decorations)

 The decorating possibilities are endless!

P.S. plantable roses inside the boxes are from How Does She?. Check out the awesome tutorial there too!