Monday, 18 November 2013

Christmas is Coming!

It's undeniable -- we're moving into the latter half of November; the Santa Claus parade has come and gone; people have started putting up their Christmas lights. I think it's fair to say that the holiday season is definitely approaching at a rapid pace!

Anyway. I haven't done a lot of Christmas crafting yet this year, but I did happen across the most adorable snowman upcycle craft the other day on Pinterest and thought I'd give it a shot. (Check the tutorial link for other instructions.)

Isn't it adorable?
This craft took me less than an hour to do, and that was with frequent interruptions from my Little Miss.

So you need:
  • an old sock, preferably crew length or longer
  • elastic bands
  • rice
  • buttons
  • beads, ric-rac, fabric scraps, anything else you want to use to decorate with
  • needle and thread, or hot-glue gun
The first thing you do is cut your sock off at the heel. Then turn the calf part inside out and put an elastic band near the cut edge (this is the bottom of your snowman). Turn it right-side out again.

Now you have two choices: you can embellish the belly with a needle and thread before you stuff the sock, or you can wait until you've filled it and then use hot glue. I chose the needle and thread route. The only thing I didn't like was the fact that the buttons ended up not quite in the right spot for what I wanted, which is something that could have been done more accurately with the hot-glue gun.

Anyway. Then fill your guy with rice, pushing it in firmly to widen the base. Add two elastic bands: one for the belly and one to form the head.

At this point, I also embellished the head. I used seed beads and stitched them on. If I were to do it again, I'd used slightly larger beads. I think seed beads are too small, proportionally, but they're what I had on-hand.

At this point, make a hat using the toe and part of the foot of the sock. Then embellish further with a strip of fabric (or whatever you have on hand) for a scarf to hide your elastic. I also put a little matching embellishment on the hat for fun.

And there you go! A cute little snowman to add to your decor. Easy and quick enough to make an entire family, if you wish.

Happy crafting!

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Bleached Beauty!

Hey folks!
One of the current trends I've been seeing all over (and really liking) is the DIY bleach-design T-shirt. I pinned a bunch of tutorials on Pinterest, and, after seeing a regular silkscreened tee with an image I really liked, I thought now was the time to give it a shot.

So the first thing I did was come up with a similar image to the one I'd seen to use as a stencil. Then I traced it onto freezer paper and cut it out. Then I ironed the stencil onto my shirt.


Then came the most exciting part. I stuffed the shirt with a plastic bag to keep the bleach from leaking through onto the back, and I lay down a bunch of newspaper to protect the floor. (I did do this in my laundry room, on the concrete floor.) I also put on a rubber glove to protect my hand. My bleach solution was 50/50 bleach and water.

After *one* spray. You can see the change already!

I didn't count the number of spritzes I used; I just gauged the color change as I went along.

After multiple sprays; maybe 5 or 6.

At this point, I pulled the stencil off. It came off fairly easily, which was good, because I had my rubber glove on and it was difficult to grasp the edges. But it did come off.

Spraying complete!

At this point, I put it in the sink in cold water, to rinse out the excess bleach. After this, I put it in the washer and dryer. I've seen other tutorials where the instructions indicate to just toss the item in with your regular laundry, but I was concerned about the possibility of any remaining bleach making its way into the rest of the load, so I just ran a small load of a few things that wouldn't be hurt if they got a little bleach on them.

The finished product!

I have to say, this turned out GREAT! I am so happy with the results! My only final thought is I'm debating whether or not to add long sleeves to the tee so I can wear it more up here in Northern Canada!

I'm going to make a bunch of Christmas gifts now that I know how easy and unique this craft is. I know other colours will turn out differently, but I also know that darker-coloured tees will give you a more dramatic result.

My takeaways:
  • The hardest part of this craft is designing and cutting out your stencil. Feel free to get as detailed as you want, just be careful that you iron the freezer paper on thoroughly, particularly around edges.
  • Go easy on the bleach. Do a couple of sprays and watch the reaction, rather than dousing the shirt to begin with. It's always easier to add more than take it away!
  • Use 50/50 water-bleach solution. Use rubber gloves. Protect your work surfaces and surrounding area. Ventilation is good.
  • I recommend rinsing the shirt right away, and laundering it as soon as you can to keep the bleach from sitting on the fabric. You want a cool design; you don't want holes in your shirt!
Good luck, and happy crafting!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Back In The Saddle!

Hello, all!
Apologies for the terribly long hiatus, but hopefully this post means we're back in the saddle -- craftily speaking, of course!

My first project back at the sewing machine came from some lovely flannel snowflake fabric I'd purchased as well as this pattern:

New Look #6170
Interestingly enough -- as with other sewing projects based on patterns -- the part that took the most time was the pinning and cutting. On top of that, in order to save the other sizes in the pattern, I made a copy of the pattern by tracing it onto tissue paper. Frankly, that took a heck of a long time. But I'll be glad of it in future, I think!

Anyway. The pattern was relatively easy to sew, with two exceptions: first, the top makes use of bias tape around the collar to finish it, which was a little challenging for me (but doable!), and second, the instructions were lacking in that there were no details on attaching the sleeves to the body of the top. No problem, I have just enough sewing experience to know how to do the work!

By the way, no, I did not go searching online for errata for this pattern. I didn't bother. But there may be something out there.

Bottom line, here's the finished result!

I think they turned out awfully cute! I'm going to use a similar pattern to make a matching pair for my older daughter -- I bought plenty of that material when it was on sale!

So...I don't know what my next project will be, but rest assured I'll blog about it when the time comes! :)

Cheers, and keep on craftin'!

Sunday, 28 July 2013

A (Belated) Birthday Gift!

Quite a while ago I found some wonderful fabric on Spoonflower that consisted of stick figures doing gymnastics. Immediately I wanted to use this fabric to make something for my dear stepdaughter, our family gymnast. Well, time passed and the fabric sat, washed and ironed but unused. As my stepdaughter's birthday approached, I decided it was time to finally whip something up. So here's the result!

Because I only had two fat quarters' worth (a bit of a long story there!) I decided the easiest thing to do would be to make a tote bag and a little matching zipper pouch. I used this very easy tutorial to assemble the tote bag, and this tutorial for the zipper pouch. I had a cute blue polka-dotted fabric that I used as the liner (you can't see it here). Because the gymnastics fabric is a normal cotton, I also tweaked the tutorial for the tote by putting iron-on interfacing on the back of that fabric to stiffen the tote up a little bit. I wanted it to be a bit stronger to both hold its shape and be able to carry slightly heavier things, if necessary.

She seemed rather pleased with the result, and as she's heading off to University this fall (wow!), I hope she'll find both items useful.

If you've never made these types of items before, I highly recommend giving them a try. It only took a couple of hours to put both things together. They make wonderful gifts, and you can find themed fabric in just about any print you could possibly want, if you just spend some time searching the Internet. That way, you can customize a gift to each individual recipient. A win all around, if you ask me!

Back again hopefully soon with more blog entries! Hope you're enjoying your summer!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Pillowcase Dresses...Yet Again!

I stumbled on a pair of absolutely gorgeous embroidered pillowcases at my local Value Village thrift store and I had to snap them up right away. I knew I wanted to make matching garments for my two girls, but I kept putting it off. I wanted to try a new technique for the neckline than my normal method.

I didn't take any photos during the assembly. I mainly used this site for the style, but I referred to this site because she's got a great list of measurements to use.

So here are the completed items -- my younger monkey got a full dress out of it, but my elder kidlet ended up with a top (the pillowcases weren't long enough to make her a dress).

And here's a photo or two of the girls wearing their new outfits. They sang two little duets at our local Bible camp, and everyone there thought they were just adorable! (Well, I think they are, too, but I'm just a tad biased!)

Two little songbirds!

 One more project to check off the list! I'll be back soon with more...!

Friday, 14 June 2013


Well, okay, no. I'm far from an expert, yet. But I DID finally bite the bullet and jump in to the refashioning pool! I had two tutorials (this one, and this one) pinned to one of my Pinterest boards (don't you LOVE Pinterest??) for a Polo-shirt makeover, and the idea has intrigued me for a while. So when I was last in Ye Auld Thrift Shop, I took a skim of the racks to see if I could find something that appealed.

 So this is the one that jumped off the rack at me. Not bad looking, huh? It's a men's XL.

So the first thing I did was cut off the collar and give the neck more of a scoop in the back.

Then I tried the shirt on and pinned the sides to take them in. You can just barely see the pins. I tried to make them approximately even in terms of the amount of fabric being taken in on either side. I had to do this twice. The first time I pinned too far in. After I moved the pins out about an inch or so, the shirt felt much more comfortable. I also marked approximately where I wanted the hem to be, because the shirt was too long, and I cut off about four inches, or so.

Then I stitched along the line of pins, and tried the shirt on again to make sure I liked the fit. Once I was satisfied with that, I trimmed away the excess material. I didn't bother running a zigzag stitch along the edges, simply because knit fabric doesn't fray so that extra step is completely optional.

Just for a little bit of added detail, I sewed about five inches of elastic along the lower side seams, gently stretching it as I went. This put some soft gathers in the sides -- just a bit of a feminine touch! This photo shows the inside of the shirt. The following photo shows how it looks on the outside.

I didn't bother hemming the bottom of the shirt because I liked the so-called "deconstructed" look of it. Along the neck edge, though, I folded the fabric in approximately 1/4" and stitched it down. That's it!

And now, the final product. The front:

The back:

I chose not to pick off the pocket, as I was worried about any potential holes left in the shirt. I didn't know what I'd do to patch them, if I needed to. So I just left it.

The verdict? I like it. It's quite comfortable, and in theory I could wear it right-way forward, if I wanted. I've caught people looking at me curiously, though. Seems people start wondering when someone appears to have her shirt on backwards...

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Little Pretty One

A friend had a baby recently, and I finally got my act together and created a little something to send to her (along with a cute little summer romper I found at the Carters store). I saw the original of this on Etsy and wanted to try my hand at my own version. I hope they all like it!

It's so fun to make stuff for little ones! Don't you agree? :)

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Dress Her Up!

Hey everyone!
Thanks to a bunch of extracurricular activities, end-of-year concerts and various other commitments, crafting time has been close to nil. Which makes this crafter-person a little bit cranky sometimes.

However, thanks to the upcoming fourth birthday of a dear little niece, I had to make time to sit at the sewing machine! I know, such a hardship!

I used this adorable e-pattern I purchased on Etsy (crafter warning: that site is WAY too addictive, almost as bad as Pinterest!) and it was quite easy to follow and assemble, and below is the result -- which turned out pretty darn cute, if I do say so myself!

Dress front.
 As this little princess is a blonde-haired, blue-eyed cutie, I decided to go with fabric in complementary purple shades and patterns. I think it turned out rather quite cute!

Next up, I want to make matching dresses for my girls out of a pair of gorgeous pillowcases I snatched up at our local thrift shop. And maybe a top for myself. And summer pjs for the girlies, and... Yeah. Let's not get carried away here, right? I know. Easier said than done!

Regardless, I'll do my best to be back soon!
Dress back.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Internet Favourites: The ReFashionista

Our sincere apologies! Life for Paula and me has been ridiculously crazy as of late, and as such, neither of us has had much time (well, okay -- read: none!) to do anything truly crafty.

So just to show you that yes, we are indeed both still alive, I thought I'd put together a quick post and introduce you to an amazing blog that I just love.

Jillian Owens writes a blog called ReFashionista, where she details how she takes thrift shop finds and upcycles them into really cool, funky pieces, giving them new life. I absolutely adore Jillian's creativity and her ability to see a "treasure" in what others might see as a piece of "trash". Not to mention, her bubbly personality and wacky sense of humour just sparkle right off the screen.

It also doesn't hurt that she's absolutely adorable, with a definite elfin vibe!

I have to say that Jillian is one of the bloggers out there who has inspired me to tackle some wardrobe refashions and thrift-shop finds. All right, all right. I haven't actually done any of those refashions yet -- I'm a little scared of completely messing up! -- but Jillian definitely makes me want to do them! :)

Be sure to set aside a good chunk of time to read through past posts -- I promise you'll be quickly sucked in!

Do you have any favourite "refashioner" blogs that you read? I'd love to discover more!

Thanks for stopping by -- we'll do our best to get some more content up soon!

Friday, 22 March 2013

New Craft: Freezer Paper Stenciling

I finally had a chance to take some time out of my busy schedule to try something new (to me): freezer paper stenciling! I know this isn't new in general -- the technique has been out there for a while -- but I've never tried it. It turns out it's actually quite easy!

For those of you who've never heard of it, it's like making your own screen printed shirts or bags, but without the complicated and pricey supplies and equipment. You're limited only by your own imagination, and maybe the difficulty of your image (really detailed pictures might be tough to do; you'll understand more when I go through the step-by-step).

So when you've got a strong ethnic background and identity like I do (and Paula, too, in fact!), it's fun to find items that let you show your pride. For us, it's anything Finnish! And unfortunately, Finnish items aren't always easily found. So I thought I'd make something for my wee-est munchkin. She loves her Paappa (Grandpa) more than anything, so I decided to make her an "I love Paappa" shirt.

Measuring stencil against shirt.
 To do something like this you'll need:
  • Freezer Paper (normally used to wrap around food for the freezer. It has a waxy, shiny side and a smooth, matte side. It's found on rolls right beside the wax paper, parchment paper and aluminum foil in your local grocery or department store)
  • a stencil idea or pre-made stencil
  • your garment, or fabric for a bag or whatever you plan to make
  • X-acto knife
  • printer
  • iron
  • fabric paint (I used Tulip Soft Matte paint in Grape, and Fashion Fabric Paint in Sapphire Pearl, Bright Green Shiny and Sapphire Sparkle)
  • one or more foam brushes
So the first thing you do is decide on your stencil. Because mine was just text, I made it up using Microsoft Word. But you can use Photoshop or some other design program to create your own, purchase one pre-made, or even use Jack o' Lantern Hallowe'en pumpkin stencils. Now you need to transfer your image to the freezer paper, and you can do this a couple of ways:
You can print directly on the matte side of the freezer paper; or
You can print onto regular paper and trace your image from the regular paper onto the freezer paper.

I chose to attempt to print directly on the freezer paper. I'd seen this on other blogs and it had been done successfully, so I thought, what the heck? I cut a piece of freezer paper into 8 1/2" x 11" size so it would fit in the printer, and I put it in the manual feed tray, ensuring that the printing would happen on the matte side of the paper. This is important. Don't forget this point.

Printing directly on the paper worked okay, except that the paper jammed in the printer right near the end of the print job. Thankfully, my image wasn't affected, and neither was the printer. I think next time I do this, though, I may just print on to normal paper and either trace the design or use the X-acto knife to cut through both layers.

Carefully cutting out the image.
Anyway. Next, you take your handy-dandy X-acto knife and verrrrrrry carefully cut out your stencil. This is where I could see major problems if you have an intricate or detailed image, but YMMV (your mileage may vary). You need to be patient for this part and not rush. You don't want any tears or mis-cuts in the stencil where the paint might leak into places it doesn't belong. Slow and steady wins this race.

Oh, and make sure you're cutting on top of something made to withstand cutting, like a self-healing mat or cutting board. You know, so you don't mark up your furniture. (And no, I didn't do anything like that!)
Little bits! Don't lose 'em!

Don't forget little bits like the insides of your letters (my As and Ps!) Make sure you don't accidentally throw those away. You'll need them later!

Stencil ironed on to shirt.
 Next, you heat up your iron so that it's hot, but dry -- NO steam here! Position your stencil where you want it on the item and gently press. Move the iron around carefully for a few seconds and check your stencil. It should be firmly attached. Be extra careful where you have corners or other spots that you want firmly in place. Don't forget to put your little cut-out pieces where you need them, too. The insides from the As and Ps were finickity because they were so small, so they're not exactly perfectly centered. Oh, well. The 2.5-year-old isn't going to care.

Once you're positive your stencil is securely in place, you can start the fun stuff -- the painting!

I put dollops of paint on a paper plate for easy cleanup, and also because you're not going to be using the paint straight from the bottle.
Using your foam brush(es), dab the paint onto the stencil. I recommend going inward from the edges to avoid the possibility of getting any paint under your stencil and wrecking your image. I used two coats of paint. After this, you let the paint dry. Thoroughly. Trust me, this isn't a place where you want to rush things too quickly.
Waiting for paint to dry is SOOO hard! :P
Once you know your image is completely dry, carefully peel the paper off. You'll initially think it's stuck for good, but I promise you -- peel slowly and gently and it'll come right off. If you're having trouble with the little pieces, a pair of tweezers helps a lot (just don't accidentally poke a hole in your fabric!). Some bloggers suggest using a pressing cloth and a hot iron to set the paint, but I've also read other bloggers who don't bother with this step. I didn't bother with it. The only suggestion would be to make sure your garment is washed inside-out to help the image last as long as possible.

All done! Looks cute, too! :)
And -- tadaa! The finished shirt turned out pretty cool! My only complaint is the the Fashion Fabric Paint was kind of old, so it didn't work as well as I would have liked (any bets on when those letters will start peeling off? 'Cause I'm positive they will, before long...). The matte paint looked the most like a real silkscreen or store-bought shirt, so I'll definitely use more of that in future.

While I had the fabric paint out, I drew some designs on a few pairs of Little Miss' socks that didn't have non-slip stickies on the soles. I'm not sure how well they actually work, because she was still slipping around on our laminate floors while wearing the first pair. Ah, well.

New technique challenge? A success!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Homemade Chai Tea for Me!

I've got to admit it... I"m a "give or take" kind of cook!  "That recipe calls for 1/2 cup brown sugar - give or take a bit."  My husband HATES it!  He loves the results, but hates the fact that he can't EXACTLY reproduce a recipe because I make them up and put in amounts that are "give or take" quantities.

But, I digress... onto my new favorite drink!  Chai Tea!  More specifically homemade Chai Tea!  My good friend Julie introduced this to me and it was love at first sip!  I'm not much of a coffee drinker and frankly tea that's not herbal is just not for me!  But Chai Tea is my new love!  If you've had Chai Tea at your local coffee shop, this is nothing like it.  It's better!!!!  The flavours just *POP*!  (Yes, I must use this many exclamation points when describing the flavour!)

A fabulous recipe can be found at "A Wooden Nest".  But I thought I might write out a simple one here, along with my added notes.

The simple recipe:

Spiced Chai Concentrate

4 1/2 cups water
Boil the following:
1 stick cinnamon
3-inch piece of fresh ginger, chopped
7 whole cardamom pods
2 whole star anise pods
10 whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon orange zest
10 bags of black tea
Add in after straining:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey1 tablespoon vanilla

Simply, just boil the water.  Remove from the heat and add in the spices and the black tea bags.   (I usually twist tie the bags together by their strings, then twist them onto the pot handle).  Steep for 15 minutes.

My friend Julie gave me the great idea to use a HUGE Mason Jar.  The jar hold over 6 cups (way more than the concentrate makes), so here's where the "give or take" comes in.
**See, I eventually come around and make the point!**
I usually add a little extra of the ingredients that I like from the spice mix, just to compensate for the extra water that I put in to bring it to fill the mason jar.  Sometimes it's a little extra anise or cardemom, sometimes a little more orange zest. I don't add any extra black tea bags, but if they are your favorite, go for it!

Once you pour everything into the Mason Jar, let it cool for an hour or so.  Then, when it's done, just screw the lid on and pop it into your fridge!  To serve, put equal parts concentrate and milk - then heat in the microwave.  I like to make mine latte style with a little extra sugar. So I usually whip up a little extra milk with my frother (hand blender works too) after it's been heated separately.  It's amazing!  I just have to remember to only drink 1 per afternoon, or I'll be up forever with that caffeine!

Hope you enjoy this little drink as much as I do.  Now I can't wait till summer and serve this over ice!!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Happy Birthday To Paula!

It's a little late in coming, but my co-hostess with the mostess celebrated a milestone last week. I thought I'd whip something up for her that I'd been seeing all over teh Interweebz -- a lollipop bouquet!

40 Sucks AND blows! Get it?? Heh.
These are really quite easy and fun to make. You simply need a container of some sort, some floral foam, your lollipops, some sort of medallion or tag, and any decorations you might wish to add.

Cut a piece of foam to fit the inside of your container. Start poking lollipop sticks into the foam -- as artfully as possible, mind -- until you reach your required number. I used a wooden BBQ skewer to hold my little sign. (It's attached to the stick with glue dots.) For a little bit extra, I tied some matching ribbon around the skewer.

Now here I'd like to take a moment to point out that, unless one is Le Martha, one generally can't be good at everything.

I am not good at graphic design. There, I admitted it out loud. If I could have gotten Paula the design queen to make her own sign, I would have. But that's okay. She knows I had only good intentions in mind.

I will also admit to you that I completely lucked out with the colour-co-ordination of this project. I didn't realize the lollipop wrappers would match the design on the flowerpot. (Hey, I could have fibbed and told you all I planned it that way, but that ain't how I roll.)

And finally, the card says "sucks AND blows" because I used suckers with bubble gum inside. Pretty darned clever of me, dontchathink?

On that note, stay tuned, because more neat posts are coming your way!

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Cover Me

Hey there, everybody!

So today's post is one for the beginning sewer (or do you guys prefer 'sewist'? Frankly, I don't really care...), and it's super easy. You only need to be able to sew straight lines. Duvet covers are a fabulous way to change up the decor of your bedroom on a regular basis--or, if you like to sleep European-style (no flat sheet), they're a regular bedding staple.

The problem is duvet covers can be really, really expensive. So I've got a great, easy way to keep costs down and upcycle at the same time (if you want)!

The first thing you want to do is buy (or repurpose) two flat sheets in the size of your bed. For my purposes, I'm using Twins. I made two duvet covers, one using brand-new sheets, the second using thrifted ones.

Wash your sheets and iron (if you like. I'm a rebel that way.).

Two purty thrifted sheets.
Then take your two sheets and put them right sides together, matching top and bottom edges (they usually have distinctive edges; the tops are wider for decorative purposes).

Sew from one long edge up across the top and down the second long edge. Choose whatever seam allowance you like, close to 1/4" is probably best. I used the existing hemmed edges and sewed right next to them.

As for the bottom edge, or the part you leave open, you can finish it a number of different ways. You can sew short sections on either side closed, leaving approximately a two-foot gap in the center (which is what I did), or you can leave the entire bottom open and hand-sew large snaps along the edge, every 8-10" or so, or you can use handy-dandy snap tape. Snap tape is a long ribbon that already has snaps attached to it and you simply stitch it in place wherever you want it.

I chose to finish my cover by just leaving a gap (IKEA's covers are like this, or ones from other European countries, too) at the bottom. It's the least labour-intensive method. Hey, Mama didn't raise no fool.

You can also customize by sewing short pieces of ribbon inside in the corners to tie to your comforter/duvet to keep it from moving around too much, if that bothers you. I've never worried about that, and I don't find the duvet to shift at all.

Oopsies. Edges no matchy-matchy. :P
The only other thing I wanted to mention was the hazard of upcycling thrifted sheets.

What? You're asking, How can thrifted sheets be hazardous?

Well, the hazard comes from using two randomly chosen sheets...that end up not being exactly the same size. Oops. Oh, well. I just sewed across and trimmed away the excess fabric (with pinking shears to ensure minimal fraying. Everything is hidden inside, after all.).

On the plus side to using recycled sheets, you get two different looks for the price of one, as it were. I can decide whether or not I want to put the floral side up, or the cutesy hearts-and-flowers side up.

Finally, flip that sucker right-side-out and shove your duvet inside. Sadly, I have no helpful instructions on how to get it in there with a minimum of foul language and without ending up sweaty, but I'm sure you smart folks can figure out the way that works best for you!

All done! Pretty and practical!
So there you go! I don't have a shot of them in action, so you'll have to take my word for it that these two are the finished products.

Enjoy your new bedding! Just don't get irritated with me when you find yourself making a bunch of them -- because they are that easy. (If you're at the thrift store and you see matching pillowcases, grab them, too! That's an extra, added bonus!)

Catch you on the flip side!

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Super Heroes to the Rescue!

Original artwork by
Calvin  Lin
As Tanya mentioned in the last post, life tends to throw you a nice monkey wrench at you  when you are making plans.  So, as we decided to start a new blog, I started a new, fantastic job.  So now my free “craft” time has been eaten up.  Not to worry!  Superheros to the rescue!  Literally!

My son was itching for something new on his walls.  His wall of costumes above his bed were nice, but they were getting in the way of making his bed, and he wanted something new.  (Read, his mother was annoyed that they would never be put back!)  So, it was time to say good-bye to them and hello to some new art!  But, being the crafty person that I am, I wanted to make him something.  Something memorable, something fun, something.. yes... cheap.  Say hello to Ironman!  The original digital artwork is by Calvin Lin, and available at Society 6.  All the Avengers super heroes are there as well as others.  

But, back to my dilemma. I wanted to put art on his walls, but really couldn’t afford anything.  I had a great stock of blank canvases and a lot of simple acrylic paint.  So, I decided that I would create Ironman on canvas, based on Calvin Lin’s originals.  Now, I’ve never painted anything on canvas, but I’m the type of person that is willing to try anything out!!

After a few days of agonizing over this canvas, I decided to just start.  The canvas has a base of modge-podged old book pages.  I wanted the canvas to have a lot of texture.  After a few layers of book pages and a lot of drying time, it was time to add the base of red.  Then more, then some “dirt” smudges around.  Finally I created a stencil of Ironman’s “parts” and painstakingly put brush to canvas.

Finished background on canvas (left),
modge-podging book pages onto canvas
In the end Ironman turned out wonderfully.  After about 3 weeks of doing this in the evenings, Ironman was done.  But, my plan backfired!  My son loved the art, but he wanted more.  Silly me.. I said ok.  It took a few months, but finally they are done!  All 5 of the Avengers are here.  I had to design Hawkeye myself because my son didn’t recognize the character based on the original comic book.

Paula's version of Ironman
Now he says that he wants more superhero art.  My 2 daughters *tried* to bargain with my son to get Black Widow in their room, but eventually I guess I’ll have to make them one or two.  I don’t know what I’ve gotten myself into!


P.S. Sorry for the pictures being all over the place. I'm still trying to figure out Blogger! ARGH!
Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Thor, Captain America
The Avengers in their new home!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

'C' Is For Cookie

Well! Didn't we just start with a fizzle??

Sorry if you've been waiting anxiously for a new post, folks. This is what happens when we decide on a new venture like this *just* when Paula starts a new job and I am eyeball-deep in freelance work.

Only we could manage something like this. Seriously.

Well, in times of crazy schedules and high stress, sometimes one needs a little treat to keep oneself going. KnowwhutImean, Vern?

And let me tell you, tonight was one of those nights that required something sweet and chocolatey. Enter the "cookie for one made in a mug"!

Cookie for ONE? More like Cookie for TEN!
The Monster Cookie
Yeah, it's not a mug; it's a small Corningware casserole dish. Twenty-four ounce, in fact.

I used this recipe from Zoom Yummy. The pictures looked deelish so I was verily intrigued, but leery at the same time.

I mean, it's a cookie made in the microwave. How is it going to turn out? More importantly, how is it going to taste?!?

Well, Gentle Readers, it tastes pretty good. Don't expect any crunch, though -- it's totally chewy. The taste is about what you'd expect. It certainly stopped the dessert craving in its tracks. And also on the plus side, it was definitely easy to make. The recipe claims something like a five-minute prep time, but mine definitely took longer as I had to keep dashing over to the laptop to read the next instruction or ingredient. (I'm weird that way. I always second-guess what's next.)

Bottom line? Two thumbs up. It won't replace traditional oven-baked, chocolate-chip cookies, but it will certainly do when you need something fast, warm and sweet.

Apropos of nothing, though, I realize I need a new camera. My old one died and all of my recent pictures have been taken on my phone. They're not horrible, but they're nowhere near excellent. This blog will definitely require half-decent pictures. How else will people get to see anything?

But I digress. Thanks for reading, and I promise you the next post will happen sooner rather than later!

Monday, 18 February 2013

Happy Birthday To Us!

Welcome to our blog about all things crafty! We know there are myriad excellent blogs to choose from out there that instruct and inspire, so we’re glad you’ve come by here to see what we’re all about!

So why did we decide to start up a blog? The truth? Practicality!

The conversation went something like this:

Tanya: I need a place to catalogue the stuff I’ve been making lately. You know, just to have a record of it all. I’m thinking of starting a blog, but I don’t know if I really want to.

Paula: Want to do one together?

Tanya: Uh... YES!

And there you have it. What followed was a long, drawn-out conversation about the name of this blog. Because we all know the name is important. It has to be just right, or it won’t feel good. So lists of brainstormed ideas were sent back and forth, ranging from the questionable (“Two girls and their stash.” Hmm. Does that sound drug-related??) to the obscure (“Recreation Compilation.” What, too Big Bang Theory?).

Finally, the breakthrough conversation went like this:

Tanya (in a fit of mild frustration): How about “Two Girls Who Quote 80s Pop Song Lyrics”?

Paula (in a brilliant flash of insight): Hey! What about just “Two Girls Who...”?

What followed was a moment of stunned silence, the type that usually follows a discovery of genius proportions. (We may or may not have then whooped and hollered. Those details are best left private. We’ve got reps to protect, y’know.)   

And after a few more minor details -- like formatting and designing the blog, and discussing parameters and wishlists -- we arrived where we are today -- our very first blog post!

So at this moment in time, we’re not going to be so regimented as to post blog entries on specific days -- they’ll just be up when they’re up, although we promise to have new content ready as often as we can -- so we hope you’ll pop back regularly. Even better, feel free to click on the tabs on the right to “follow” this blog. That way you’ll be notified when there’s something new to see. Also, we don’t expect this to be a very tutorial-heavy blog. You’ll get our spin on what others have done (properly credited, of course!), but we’re not always going to be making things up ourselves. Although you never know!

On that note, thanks again for stopping by, and here’s to Two Girls Who... might do a few fun things! Stay tuned!