Tag Archives: crafts

Recipes for an Egg-cellent Easter

Spring has arrived but it seems that someone forgot to tell Mother Nature! It is so cold and grey here in Louisville that I find it hard to believe that Easter is this weekend. The weather has made me downright anti-social, so I’m tempted to follow See Jane Blog’s lead and host an Easter egg-decorating party to help me and my friends shake off the winter blues. I love her party favours and printable invitations!

Image: See Jane Blog

I haven’t dyed eggs since I was a kid, so I was really impressed to find that so many bloggers have moved beyond the basic dunk n’ dye method to create several stunning options. And because I hate to see good food go to waste, I have included some awesome recipes to use up those eggs!

Brights

Bright colours are just what I need right now to shake me out of my funk but traditional eggs can be a little gaudy. However, not these ones:

Image: Spoon Fork Bacon

This one is so simple that even the kids can do it but the results are remarkably refined.

Image: How About Orange

For those who are as obsessed by Pantone as I am, these are the Easter eggs for you!

Image: Studio DIY

I love the idea of using candy to give eggs a little pizzazz. And it matches one of this year’s biggest fashion trends, the caviar manicure.

Image: Brown Paper Packages

Just about anything can be used to decorate eggs; these cheery ones were made by with flower-patterned paper napkins and Mod Podge.

Image: Taste.com.au

To match the vibrant hues of these eggs, I suggest Chakchouka, eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce. To do this with Easter eggs, you will need to blow out the insides. To learn how, check out this tutorial. The yolks will be a little scrambled, but will still work in this recipe.

Subtle

If you prefer a more subdued colour scheme for your holiday decoration, there are lots of pastel and neutral options out there:

Image: Rosalind Creasy

For those who are concerned with chemical dyes, Rosalind Creasy shows how to achieve a rainbow of subtle shades using fruits and vegetables.

Image: Joy Ever After

And regular brown eggs look anything but plain when patterns are added with a white-out pen.

Image: Better Homes and Gardens

A mix of plain and coloured eggs makes for a thoroughly modern and understated centerpiece.

Image: Martha Stewart

Another way to add texture to your eggs is to wrap them in lace (also a big fashion trend this year) before dropping them in the dye bath; the result is extremely elegant.

Image: Pickled Plum

The easiest way to make Easter eggs is to hard-boil them but, seriously, how many egg salad sandwiches can one eat? Instead, why not make Japanese Flavoured Tea Eggs, which are as sophisticated as the subdued colours shown above.

Graphic

Black and white is not a traditional Easter colour scheme but for those who want to match a more modern décor, here are some suggestions:

Image: Fraeulein Klein

The key to these are simple, bold graphics and awesome fonts.

Image: Alisa Burke

This style matches well with a visually simple dish, like tamago nigiri, Japanese omelet sushi. While it looks easy, it can be quite a challenge to get the technique just right. Smoky Wok offers a wonderful recipe and photo tutorial and you will have lots of eggs to practice with!

Image: PIRQ Blog

No matter what style or recipe you chose, I hope that you have a wonderful holiday weekend full of egg-cellent fun!


Posted in Culture, Design, Food | Tagged , , ,

Taking Scissors to T-Shirts

Adam Saaks in action. Image via Fashion Scriptures.

I like t-shirts — who doesn’t? They’ve got to be the most comfortable things on the planet, or at least way up there in anybody’s list. They’re so soft, so simple, so basic — and therein lies the comfort, as well as the iffiness some people (i.e., me) may have about wearing them in public. there was a time I felt they were too simple and too basic — they were originally meant to be underwear, after all. No matter what gorgeous print or designer logo may be on a t-shirt, it doesn’t change the fact that it is still just a t-shirt.

Eventually I did a turnaround as a became less snotty and more appreciative of the art and wit that came on them. Enter scissors-wielding, t-shirt-cutting rockstar-designer Adam Saaks, and my change of heart is complete. This guy is a wizard who transforms that most basic shirt into something spectacular.

He turns the shapeless to sexy, the plain to intricate, and the way he does it is a show in itself. He does his thing with just a pair of shears and his fingers, while the shirt is on the wearer. Can’t get more custom than that. He’s spontaneous, cocky, and just a little bit wild. Whew, that’s hot. I must admit though that I find most of his creations too risque for me to wear, but I still can’t help being enthralled by his process.

This and preceding images from Adam Saaks's Facebook page.

And now I look at my t-shirts with fresh eyes and try to find in them possibilities where previously there was just a whole lot of blah. I have done surgery on a couple and removed the bands at the neck, hem, and sleeves. The raw edges made them look a bit more, well, edgy, and made them even more comfortable than they are already. I have done some basic fringe-y things at the hem, and have recently ventured into more aggressive vertical slashes at the back, which lent the shirt a kind of folk-rock oomph.

Blogger morenabeachbum successfully employed some of Adam Saak’s twisty, weave-y techniques and came up with pretty great results, like this one below.

Image from Morena, Filipina, and Proud.

Here are a couple of other great takes on scissors on t-shirts.

From a discussion thread on The Fashion Spot. Shared by user Cocoly.

Found on Pinterest, originally pinned by Ashleigh Lewis.

Inspired yet? But though these works of art come from t-shirts, most of these end results can no longer technically be classified as t-shirts — they’ve reincarnated into totally different types of clothing.

Still there are others who don’t confine themselves to apparel when cutting up those t-shirts. ChocolateSushiHM on Etsy made a lovely necklace out of strips of cut up t-shirt..

Blue necklace by ChocolateShushiHM on Etsy.

Blogger ChiWei from One Dog Woof combined cut up t-shirt fabric with cool crocheting and created an awesome scarf.

Image from One Dog Woof


Posted in Design, Fashion | Tagged ,

Sashiko

image via sake puppets

I’ve been looking for a new craft to take up while I (not-so-patiently) await the arrival of spring, and I think I have found a winner. Sashiko, a traditional Japanese embroidery technique, is a simple craft that anyone can pick up, requires very few supplies and is very relaxing to practice. Sashiko is used to embellish cloth, assemble quilts and even sometimes to simply mend textiles. Today I will rundown the basics and point you in the direction of resources where you can find supplies or learn more about this beautiful craft.

sashiko needles via purl beeSashiko needles via the purl bee

sashiko threadsashiko thread via grumperina

Thread and Needles

Sashiko uses extra long needles and special embroidery thread that you can find online, or at some stores that carry embroidery supplies. This may be a contentious statement, but if you can’t find the real deal you can certainly learn and practice with ordinary embroidery needles and thread.  Etsy seller Sake Puppets also sells starter kits that are perfect for beginners and come with everything you need to get your stitching started.

traditional coat with sashiko embroidery via Charming Treasures

Fabric

Traditionally, indigo-dyed hemp was chosen for sashiko. The dark blue does show off the simple white stitches beautifully, but if you choose a more colourful approach that’s okay too. Densely woven textiles tend to be better suited to this type of embroidery so pick a hemp, canvas or cotton.

image via the purl bee

Patterns

There are numerous traditional Sashiko patterns that can be found online or in Japanese craft books, but you can also experiment with creating one yourself. Typically the patterns are geometric and made up of a series of interlocking lines or curves.

image via Sashiko Stitchers

Basic Sashiko Stitches

If you’re familiar with embroidery then most likely you know how to do a running stitch. This is the stitch that is most often used in Sashiko, and luckily it’s easy to learn. Simply insert your needle up through the back of your fabric so just the tip pokes through. Guide your needle tip into the fabric following the line of your pattern, making a short stitch while gathering the fabric on the needle. Keep doing these two steps until you have a few pleats of fabric on your needle. Pull your needle and thread through the gathered fabric and you should have a neat row of stitches. Continue working in this manner until your pattern is complete. There are two great tutorials that can be found here and here if you need more detailed instructions.

au petits oiseaux

That’s a very basic guide to Sashiko embroidery and I hope you’ve found it helpful. After tackling a few small projects I am looking forward to attempting something larger like a pillow or a quilt.

Happy Friday Everyone!


Posted in Design | Tagged , ,

DIY Valentine’s Invasion

floating hearts via Apartment Therapy


Valentine’s Day is next week and if you are looking for some ideas to show your loved ones a little extra affection I’ve rounded up a few love-inspired DIY decor ideas. Valentine’s Day has acquired something of a bad rap for being tacky and too sweet, but hopefully you’ll find these projects are anything but. So spread the love and get out your craft supplies.

Fingerprint Art via Man Made DIY

This easy wall art DIY project makes a great gift that can be displayed year round. When making personalized art you do want to make sure it isn’t something the recipient will be too embarrassed to display in their home, and this idea definitely fits the bill (unless it’s your first date, in which case it might veer into creepy territory.)

Giant Valentine Poster DIY by Oh Happy Day!

Sometimes it takes a big gesture to let your special someone know you want to lock lips. Oh Happy Day has graciously offered a tutorial and free download so you can make an oversized poster for your valentine.

Glitter Letters by Make Life Lovely

It is my opinion that everything in life is made better with a little sprinkle of glitter. These sparkly xo’s are a cute idea for a gift or just a Valentine’s decoration. If you want an unexpected touch shake on a non-traditional colour instead of the typical red or pink.

Giant Geometric Wall Heart via Oleander and Palm

I love this Geometric wall heart made by Oleander and Palm. It looks both easy and chic, and you could customize this by using other colours or even by adding initials. I think this is one valentine I would consider leaving up permanently.

Paint Chip Heart Garland via Grace and Light Studios

You’d think with all the paint chip projects out there paint stores would start hiding these things under lock and key. Luckily they haven’t yet, and all this pretty garland takes is some thread, a heart punch or scissors, and a handful of paint chips of course. This would also make a good project for kids to help with.

Heart Balloon Surprise via Oh Happy Day!

Surprise your valentine with a cascade of hearts by borrowing this simple but impactful idea. I sourced out a couple of places (1,2) where you can find heart balloons if you want to give this a try.

Chocolate Hibiscus Truffles via Bake Noir

Of course there’s also the lazy man’s option of just hiding candy and chocolates around the house to be found over the course of the day. Although, when it comes to delicious chocolates why wait for Valentine’s Day?

Happy Friday Everyone!

Origami for Chinese New Year

For most of my life, my origami repertoire has been quite limited. I only know the flapping bird, which my brother taught me when I was really little, and other very basic stuff from  my 5th grade art class — paper cup (very useful, I swear), crane, and a few others. But ever since a friend of mine got me a pack of beautiful origami papers for Christmas, I’ve been expanding my knowledge quite a bit.

Since Chinese New Year’s coming up on February 10th, I thought I’d learn to make some cute little things to mark the occasion. They’d make awesome decorations and if they bring good luck, well that’s a great bonus!

So I did a little research online and found some lovely prospects. I am listing them below in order of difficulty and complexity.

Gold Yuanbao

Yuanbao are what the Chinese call the boat-shaped gold ingots. Having likenesses of these precious bits are said to bring good luck, as they supposedly attract the real things. I found some instructions on how to make paper versions of these, and they are insanely easy!

Here are the products of my efforts. I used matte gold giftwrapping paper left over from the holidays, which I cut into squares.

Lotus flower

The Lian Hua, or lotus flower, represents of purity and wholesomeness, peace and harmony. Feng shui experts say that it clears away negative chi and generates positive chi and helps achieve enlightenment.

Some say it even attracts love and good marriage, which makes it a great good luck charm for Valentine’s Day. They’re pretty easy to make too, no complicated folds. The last bit is a bit tricky, but nothing that a patience and a gentle touch can’t manage. Here are the instructions.

The Omega Star


This awesome star is by John Montroll. It looks like a nightmare to make, but after bungling dismally on my first try, it got a whole lot easier. I love how sophisticated it looks, and it’s just made from a single piece of paper. Small versions of this would make great hanging ornaments and charms, and I can picture this as a lantern, when done on a large scale.

There’s a modular version of this, composed of pretty easy-to-make components, but takes some practice to put together.

Here’s a great video how-to from Origami Nut, and the page also has a link to a diagram, for those who find it easier to look at one picture rather than sit through a 10-minute video.

The Snake


This year is the Year of the Water Snake. This origami snake by Jo Nakashima is modular and is composed of several identical components that are joined together in the end, and the ends modified to make the head and tail. I thought this would be easy to make, only to discover later on that it’s not really for the faint of heart, nor for somebody who only has 2 hands with only 5 fingers each. But it felt so rewarding when I finally assembled it. And it looks adorable — probably because of the pastel blue and green paper. But still, even a person with ophidiophobia (fear of snakes) wouldn’t find anything scary in this cutiepie.

Ready for this challenge? Here’s a video on how to make it.

All images by Nathalie Mariano.


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