Tag Archive for Techniques

Name That Glass

Even before I treated myself to a digital cutter, I knew I wanted to try glass etching. I’d heard it was really easy and I knew what I wanted to try as my first attempt.

My husband and I belonged to a Bible study where each couple in the group took turns bringing either an entree, side dish, dessert, or soft drinks.

Every Wednesday, as we threw away paper plates and plastic cups, my stomach turned. I hated seeing all that trash week after week, so I proposed we buy reusable dinnerware. I offered to take up a collection and do the shopping myself.

I found a set of glasses for about $1 each. Problem is…in a group, you set down your Coca-Cola, walk away to get seconds, and then can’t remember whose glass is whose.

So, I used my SIL’s cutter (since I hadn’t purchased my beloved Silhouette Cameo yet) to make a personalized stencil for each glass, one per group member.

I finished off the edges with masking tape to prevent any leakage from the etching cream.

I pressed firmly to make sure there were no bubbles in the stencils.

Then I gooped over each one with a nice, thick layer of glass etching cream and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. That’s it!

Then, I rinsed off the cream, peeled off the stencils, and TA DA! Instant personalized glasses!

The group LOVED these and it made it so easy to keep track of our drinks!

Since then, I’ve done many more glass etching projects: mustache drinking glasses, a monogrammed 9×13 baking dish, picture frames, candy jars, flower vases, beer mugs, etc.

These may be simple projects, but their uniqueness makes a huge statement! Etched glass is perfect for weddings, showers, parties, and one-of-a-kind gifts.

How about you? Want anything etched? Tell me your vision and I can make it happen!

#106: Dessert Cups

In September 2009, I started a cupcake adventure. (At this rate, I may never finish! And, I’m not sure I even want to, so, ha!) If you haven’t read about it yet, you can do so here.

***

Need a simple way to make a dessert that doesn’t require many ingredients? You’ve come to the right post!

Ingredients:

  1. Candy Melts by Wilton or Make’n Mold wafers or other baking chocolate (regular chips in chocolate, white chocolate, mint, etc. work fine, too.)
  2. Cupcake papers (save your cute ones for another project…this is a good chance to use up those out-of-season or mismatched ones!)
  3. Fruit or other “filling.” I chose to use thawed, frozen strawberries from my grandparents’ farm. Yummy!

You start by melting the wafers in a microwave or double boiler.

You then use a pastry brush to get a dip of chocolate…

And “paint” a layer of chocolate all over a cupcake paper like so:

Here’s what a single layer looks like. You can tell by the transparency of the chocolate in the bottom that it’s important to do several coats! At least with candy melts. I’m not sure you’d have the same problem with chocolate chips or other baking chocolates.

I did a total of three coats and had some issues getting a smooth coating. The first coat was a little tricky to get on, and after that, subsequent coats of warm chocolate kept melting the previous coats.

So…they looked a little globby, but since they were going to be covered up, it wasn’t a problem! :) I refrigerated them for 15-20 minutes to make sure the chocolate was nice and set.

Once the chocolate had cooled and hardened, next came the really fun part! Peeling off the paper! The three coats made them nice and sturdy, but I still worked carefully to remove the wrappers.

Here they are peeled and ready to be filled!

I drained my strawberries and placed a scoop in each cup. I wish I had had more berries to go around and some whipped cream to top them off!

The original recipe suggested drizzling the fruit with raspberry sauce, but I just sprinkled each one with a pinch of sugar instead.

Darling!

Since making these, I’ve thought of so many fun ways they could be used! Mini ice cream bowls, “baskets” for Easter treats, pudding cups, yogurt parfaits.

You could even use them as mini serving bowls to hold nuts, mints, sprinkles, garnishes, and other small party foods.

And since Candy Melts come in so many colors, you could even make these bowls in pink or blue for a baby shower or in a bride’s wedding colors.

The best part? No dishes to wash…just serve and eat!

Pin It

Glitter is a Girl’s Best Friend

My artist-friend and resident fairy-godmother, Teresa, is one of those souls who just SPARKLES. There’s just no other word for the way she lights up a room and one’s soul with her presence.

If there is one thing Teresa loves more than red, it’s glitter! So, in honor of her upcoming birthday {I think she’s going to be 25…something like that, right, T? ;)}, I made her a special sign for her studio:

I found the perfect candy-apple red spray paint and gave the frame a makeover. Then, I used my Silhouette cutter to make a stencil, which I then painted in white acrylic on black matte board.

Sure, I could’ve just cut the letters from white vinyl and been done, but there’s something so authentic and organic and lifelike about seeing brushstrokes within the letters! They just make a work of art seem more like, well, a work of art.

Then, I added the finishing touch: GLITTER. Red glitter. And lots of it!

To say Teresa loved this would be putting it lightly. She immediately shared the above image on Facebook and Instagram and people started demanding to know where she had gotten it.

Though I intended this to be a one-of-a-kind, Teresa has not only given me her blessing to make replicas, she’s downright encouraged it. {I guess when you love glitter like she does, you figure there can never be too much of it in the world!}

So…BIG NEWS!

I will be making more of these in the weeks to come and you can get one of your own!! The color of the frame and glitter can be customized to suit your tastes {everyone has “their” color, right?!}. Each one will be individually handmade and cost $35 plus shipping.

For those who live in the Edmond/OKC area, we can arrange pick-up or delivery {for an extra fee} of your art. For those of you outside OK, I am researching shipping options to keep these as cost-effective for the buyer as possible. I hope to update this post soon with approximate shipping charges.

If you would like to purchase your own, feel free to leave me a comment on this post or email me privately.

Burlap Book

I mentioned in this post that I love making books for other artists. Some times, other artists are even willing to trade their art for mine. Win-win!

Abi and I were meeting up to do a photoshoot for BodSchool, my personal training business. She takes incredible photos and I wanted to bring a thank you gift that I could give her until I was able to make her official sketchbook.

In college, I purchased a book that teaches how to bind books without any glue. As you can imagine, that makes the process much quicker, as you don’t have to wait for anything to dry!

I had some burlap scraps another friend had given me and decided that would be the perfect material to try something new.

I chose to make a “quarto” sized book (a fourth of a page) from 8.5 x 11 paper. The final size was roughly 4.25″ wide x 5.5″ tall…a great little book for stuffing in a purse or camera bag!

I burned the edges of the burlap to give it a more finished look (and also in hopes it would keep it from fraying so badly). Have you ever smelled burnt burlap?! Eww.

Since Abi loves green, I chose olive-colored paper for the pages. It also looks really great with the earthy burlap, don’t you think?

The stitching I chose was Long Stitch/Link Stitch. The sections are sewn together so the stitches are exposed on the spine like this:

I really like how you could see the stitches if you knew to look for them, but that the twine also blended in nicely with the burlap.

This was a really fast book the make. The thing that took the longest was learning the new stitch, but even that went quickly once I got the hang of it.

Abi, thank you again for being willing to trade art! I love making unique things for unique girls like you!

Pin It

Mum’s the Word

If you want to make some impressive-looking cookies without slaving away in the kitchen all day, here’s an idea for you!

First, you’ll need the cookies themselves. Cut your cookie dough using either a circle-shaped or flower-shaped cutter and bake according to the directions.

Next, grab a bag of miniature marshmallows and some colored sugar. Place the sugar (I used orange, yellow, and hot pink) in shallow bowls. Grab a scissors and cut each mini marshmallow diagonally, allowing the cut side to land in the bowl of sugar.

The sticky side that is exposed from the cutting will get covered in sugar (though you may have to dab each one in the sugar a little bit to make sure they get as covered as possible.

Each marshmallow half becomes a ‘petal’ and how many you need will depend on the size of your cookies.

Next, frost your cookies one at a time. I used royal icing for these particular ones and did the outline/flooding method.

Once you have a cookie covered in icing, start sticking on the marshmallow petals. I like to begin around the outside edge and work my way towards the middle, but you might find a different method you like better. Feel free to experiment! This is supposed to be fun! :)

Repeat the process, one cookie at a time, until your batch is complete. Arrange on a pretty platter and prepare to awe your friends!

Another idea for decorating cookies, is to use nuts. I had some extra sugar cookies, but no more marshmallows, so I scoured my cupboards to see what I could find. The result: slivered almonds and candy-coated sunflower seeds (from a local bulk candy shop).

For these cookies, I covered the tops in a dark chocolate ganache instead of icing. I then placed the almond “petals” around the outer edge and filled in the center space with the seeds.

Decorating cookies couldn’t be easier! People will tell you how beautiful they are and you will know how simple they really are to put together! ;)

Ziggy Zaggy Keepsake Book

This post is about dreaming up experimental ideas and seeing them through to completion.

cover

I’ve been wanting to design a book like this for a long time (several years, if I’m being honest) and a couple weeks ago I decided to just bite the bullet and make it.

untie

Besides, I had this amazing retro paper that needed a purpose! I couldn’t just leave it sitting in the shoebox for too long! It was created for something greater (much like all of us!)

cover2

And though the cover was fairly basic, the book’s insides were anything but.

notusual

In fact, this adorable book measures just 4.675″ square when folded. However, once its contents are allowed to unravel, the book measures an impressive 36″ from tip to tip.

(I could make all sorts of analogies here about “don’t judge a book by its cover” and all that, but I think you guys get the gist without me having to dumb it down for ya.)

unfolded

The “book” has 16 panels (6 squares, 10 triangle halves) which could be used for a mini-scrapbooking project…photos in the squares, writing and ticket stubs and other ephemera. Or, it could become a canvas for writing, painting, collage, etc.

Once the book is full, the tie closures can be turned into a hanger, if you’d like to display the book’s contents. Think what a great gift this would be for someone you love!

hanging

The possibilities for this book are endless, and I’m excited that I FINALLY got around to making it. It went together fairly quickly and I hope to make more projects like this in the future.

In the meantime, if you have fallen in love with Ziggy Zaggy, I’m selling it! Click here for details.

First one to call dibs and send their payment will be the proud owner of this newest creation from Z as in Zebra!

Venetian Blind Book

The following is a project I did in college for my Experimental Bookmaking class. We were to use the Venetian Blind binding technique and here’s my result, a book that commemorates all the trips I’d made to different parts of the world at that time.

The covers were made from .5″ foam core board wrapped in textured scrapbooking paper (to imitate a leather suitcase). I made a nylon strap to represent the straps folks put around their luggage to keep it from bursting open–”gangly winch-’em-uppers” as my dad calls them :) Travel stickers were placed on the covers to give it the old-timey travel trunk look.

tied up

One of the requirements of every assignment was that we include a colophon which listed the date and the materials used in the project. What better place to include the info than on the luggage tag?

colophon

The strap is even fully functional!

unbuckled

With the Venetian Blind binding, two cords run through the covers and every page…much like, well, Venetian blinds. I clamped eyelets around each hole in my pages so the canvas wouldn’t ravel. The cords were made of seine twine (tough stuff often used in sailing.)

eyelet

Each page was cut from canvas and hand-stitched around the edges to prevent fraying. Photos I had taken while traveling were then printed onto ink-jet fabric transfers and ironed on to the fabric pages.

The Brooklyn Bridge and the St. Louis Arch were there…

brklyn

Adjoining pages were held together using small silver rings.

silver

From European sights to New York City architecture…

chrysler

to the courthouse in my hometown (Minden, NE) and the Roman Colosseum…

minden

to the Statue of Liberty to Monas in Jakarta, Indonesia.

statue

The Tower of Pisa and an Balinese infinity pool were all represented as well.

pisa

Though not a technique that is perfect for just any use, the Venetian Blind binding was a great way to show off some of my travel photography.

Family Photo Albums

For Christmas, my friend Sarah wanted some custom-designed photo albums for the women in her family. I was exciting to take this project on, as I’d never re-covered existing photo albums before. Below are the final results.

To start, I found several inexpensive albums that held at least two hundred 4×6 photos. Needless to say, I snatched them up!

After disassembling them and peeling off their original covers, I covered each album based on Sarah’s preferences. She had come to my studio the week prior, and can I just say that it made this project go SO smoothly. She knew exactly which materials I would be using for the covers and had a lot of input regarding the final product. I love knowing my clients will be totally satisfied!

For the Clarks, I covered their album in my Red Velvet paper and used black facing pages.

insides

Half-inch white satin ribbon closure ties were added.

ties

Metal letters were affixed to the front cover using ruby gemstone brads.

clarks

I kept the original spine from the album (complete with bow), as it gave the album an elegant touch.

spines

For Kerr family #1, I was told to stick to very natural textures and colors. I used a natural brown distressed paper for the cover.

cover

I used white marquee letters to spell out “Kerr” on the front cover.

kerr

Half-inch brown satin ribbons served as tie closures.

knot

This geometric leaf pattern was used as the inside paste pages.

insides

This book style was different from Album 1, in that the paste pages were attached directly to the first page of photos.

pastes

With clear sleeves and space to write in memories or captions, I was thrilled with how this album turned out.

spreads

Next, was Kristen’s book. Sarah’s sister Kristen loves childlike, playful patterns, so this brightly colored polka dot paper was perfect for her!

cover

Inside paste papers were a shockingly neon green!

insides

I removed the bow from the original spine…

cover2

and instead added a “K” brad.

k

On the cover, I used neon green marquee letters to spell out Kristen’s name.

kristen

Sarah brought me a swatch of fabric to use for her mom’s book. It was this amazing textured paisley. Since the fabric was a bit stretchy, I wasn’t sure how well it would work as a cover. I’m happy to report that it turned out great!

fabric

I added 5/8″ black satin ribbons as tie closures

ties

and used black Canson paper for the paste pages.

insides

cover2

Black letter brads spelled out the family name.

kerrs

Book #5 was for Sarah’s sister-in-law. Sarah chose an olive green fabric with chocolate brown polka dots for the cover.

ties

To balance the black photo pages, I used black paper for the inside pastes.

insides

Half-inch brown satin ribbons functioned as tie closures.

ribbons

A label holder held in place by peridot gemstone brads showcased the family name.

Shers

I kept the original spine, complete with bow, as it gave a nice flourish to an otherwise simple design.

spine

Book #6 was for Sarah’s other Sher sister. Sarah chose this purple and turquoise flocked paper from my supply inventory. ((Digging through piles of supplies with a client is the most fun part about a studio visit!!))

cover

To balance the black photo pages, I used black Canson paper as the paste pages.

insides

I removed the bow from the original spine and replaced it with a black satin ribbon with amethyst brads and slide-on letters.

spine

Silver letters beautifully spell out the family name.

sherspine

Sarah, thank you for asking me to make these albums for your family! I hope they enjoy filling them with photos for years to come!

#13: Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Cupcakes

In September, I started a cupcake adventure. If you haven’t read about it yet, you can do so here.

***

I wanted to make some cute “sweetheart-type” cupcakes, and I figured Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp cupcakes might be the perfect opportunity! I started by getting out my super-cute pink-zebra-print cupcake liners that my best friends got me for my birthday.

pinkzebra

Since rhubarb is naturally sour, I started by sprinkling sugar on it to cut some of the tartness.

rhubarb

While that was settling, I creamed together the butter and sugar, later adding the wet and dry ingredients.

batter

Then, I folded the rhubarb into the batter.

rhubarbfold

While the cupcakes baked, I warmed up some strawberry jelly in a small skillet.

jelly

Once that was ready…

meltedjelly

…I brushed the melted jelly onto the baked cupcakes.

brushon

Next, I took some gorgeous strawberries and slice them into quarters.

strawberry

Each cupcake was topped with two quarters of strawberry and brushed with a little more strawberry jelly.

final

As a group, they looked amazing together.

fruited

And even cuter on my little Wilton cupcake stand. :)

tower

Wouldn’t these just be precious as a Valentine’s Day treat?

heart

An Eating Rainbow

“Butterfly in the skyyyyyy…I can fly twice as hiiiiiiiigh.
When I bake, I make a cake….an eating rainbowwww”

Okay, so it’s a Reading Rainbow, not an Eating Rainbow, but I couldn’t resist…I had to get your attention somehow! ;)

This is one of the first cakes I made in my Wilton decorating class. The pattern was cheesy, but we all had to do the rainbow, and man, did we get GOOD at making stars!

Rainbow

I also like the zig-zag technique we used for making the clouds. I’m still waiting for a chance to use that technique again! I knew I would be giving this cake away after class, so I put my friend’s name on it in case she would try to re-gift it. Ha! It was also a good opportunity to practice writing in dots (writing with icing is still one area where I’d like to get more practice.)

This was also before I learned the importance of photographing your cakes from all different angles. Live and learn, right?