Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New Addiction

I'm not saying you should do this. But you should totally do this! I don't know how many of you out there are aware of Pinterest.com, but it is amazing. Basically, while you are surfing the web, you can "pin" the things you like, find inspiring, etc. and categorize it for others to gawk at. To me, it is kind of a mix between twitter and craftgawker/foodgawker (you can, in fact even tweet your posts from pinterest, etc.).

I just started, but I'm already a total addict. I love how the more things I pin, the prettier my little "pin boards" get. I also love checking out the things that inspire others. The only annoying thing is you have to request an invitation to join, so I had to wait a few days before I got to start using it.

If you have a pinterest account, I would love to see what inspires you! I can be found Here. Please feel free to follow me and see all of the things that I love!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Crafternoon Coffee

Today I decided to do a little crafting outside of the house. I set up an event on Yelp for some coffee and crafting this afternoon. I chose Heart, about 8 blocks from my home in Portland and it was awesome. I had actually never been to Heart before, but it is quite a nice place to get together with friends, and we had sunshine streaming in the huge windows (even though it did rain WHILE the sun was shining a couple times). The picture to the left is one I stole from their website, sadly I left my camera at home and had to make do with my camera on my phone which isn't really so great (as illustrated by the following photo of our works in progress).

The projects of the day were magnets and felt orchids. I will confess, not a whole lot of crafting got done, but it is always a nice break to get out of the house and socialize (and maybe get some crafting done as well). It's also nice to get feedback from friends on things you are working on, and give each other tips on materials. It was a great day, and if you ever happen to be in Portland, I would recommend stopping by for some coffee!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Food Craft: Chocolate Eclair Torte

Today's food craft is super duper easy and delicious! It's an ice box cake style dessert. This means you assemble it and then set it in the refrigerator to magically become delicious! I will also state that I generally use vanilla pudding in this recipe, but you may use any kind you like. Also, if you want to make your own homemade pudding, by all means do, I just wanted to share an extra easy recipe with you all this Friday (it has been a hectic week).

You will need:

1 family size (6.5 servings) instant pudding mix
3 cups milk (for making the pudding)
2 sleeves of graham crackers
1 container Cool Whip whipped topping
1 container of chocolate frosting (I only use about 1/2 the container, even when frosting generously)

First, mix your desired flavor of pudding according to the package instructions. Add your container of cool whip to the pudding and mix together well.

Next, place a layer of graham crackers in a baking dish of your choosing (this would also work well if you had some square individual sized containers). On top of your graham cracker layer add about 1/3 of your pudding mixture and spread evenly. Place another layer of graham crackers on top, then pudding, and so on until you have used the pudding up. Make sure to place a layer of graham crackers on the very top as evenly as possible.

Then, gently spread frosting over the top. It helps to use room temperature frosting and space globs of it over the top and spread them to meet each other. This way you don't move your crackers around too much and make a mess. *You can also microwave your frosting and pour over the top, as suggested by Melenie below!

Once you have your frosting covering your top layer of graham crackers, cover your dish with plastic wrap (or if you are lucky enough to have a container with a lid that will not touch and mess up your pretty frosting, place the lid on it and set it in the refrigerator. I recommend you refrigerate for at least 4 hours, but over night is even better.

Then, just slice and serve, it tastes just like chocolate eclairs!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rain Cloud Brooch

Today was actually a very nice day in Portland, sun and everything. So, I guess I must have missed the rain, as I decided to make this cute little rain cloud brooch. I even added a little light blue glass bead rain drop, though I think the silver chain looks nice on its own as rain. A little stuffing, a little glue and a pin back and voila! a nice little rain cloud, only this one won't leave you all wet and gloomy.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Food Craft: Best Chocolate Cake Ever

Today is my husband's birthday, so it is a special birthday themed food craft today. This is the one and only cake that my dearest love ever wants to eat, it is super moist, full of chocolatey flavor and absolutely delicious. I got the recipe from Barefoot Contessa on Food Network. If you decide to try your hand at the recipe (and I think you really should) keep in mind that the cake batter should come out very thin (or runny).

You will need:

* Butter, for greasing the pans
* 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
* 2 cups sugar
* 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1 cup buttermilk, shaken (if you don't have buttermilk, you can add 2 tablespoons of vinegar - i typically add apple cider vinegar - to 1 cup of milk and let it sit for 10 minutes. Don't just use regular milk, you need the acidity to interact with your leavening agents)
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil
* 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting (also from Barefoot Contessa)

6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (this time I actually used a dark chocolate, not a semi-sweet. Use whatever you like best.)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder

Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Aid for Japan

I don't make a lot of money, but I do make a lot of things. To try to do my part in aiding Japan after the recent earthquake and tsunami, I am offering this orchid magnet in my etsy shop this month. Also, I will be donating 10% of the proceeds from all other items in my shop for the month of March. Please go take a look here if you would like to purchase something and help me help Japan.

Roller Derby Pillow-- Contest Winner

I just received the colors for Daniel's winning roller derby pillowcase yesterday and thought you all might like to see the finished product (Daniel, it will be arriving in the next couple of days!). I hope you all like it, and keep checking back for future contests and giveaways!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

DIY Vinyl Decals

It's another cloudy, raining off and on kind of day in Portland so I am once again opting for indoor crafting on my days off. Today I decided to spruce up my Expedit bookshelves from the good old IKEA with a new vinyl decal! These are super easy to make, and also super cheap. All you need is some contact paper in any color or pattern you like, a surface for cutting on and an X-acto knife or mat knife/box cutter. Oh, and I guess it wouldn't hurt to have an image in mind for your decal (you can draw your own, or find something from a photograph, book, the internet, etc.). As you can see, I chose a paper airplane, which was extra easy to do because of the straight lines. You can certainly do more organic shapes, just keep in mind your own skills with an X-acto knife and whether you are up to the challenge. I have seen some people make some VERY intricate decals.

Make sure your blade is sharp to get the best results, as you may be able to see from this detail, mine was a tad dull on the inside tip cut of my paper airplane, so it's a tiny bit ragged. Since this is a temporary and very changeable detail to add to a permanent piece of furniture in my home, however, I wasn't too upset about the tiny imperfection. I got my roll of contact paper from a dollar store so I can probably make enough decals off that one dollar to last me a whole year if I update the look once or twice a month, depending on the size of the decal.

If you were wanting to make your decal a more permanent part of your furniture/wall/etc. you could certainly use this technique and paint over your decal, then make sure to gently score around the decal with a sharp blade before peeling the decal off (to avoid jagged paint edges and peeling) and leave behind the decal image on your finished piece. It would be like using a much more intricate painter's tape that comes in a large sheet rather than strips. I'm thinking about making some of these for the little nieces. It would even be great to make them some personalized stickers, since the contact paper peels off of surfaces much better than traditional adhesive stickers. I'm sure my brother would appreciate that.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Derby Pillow Contest Winner!

Hey everyone! Thanks to everyone who entered my contest this month to win a Roller Derby Pin Up Pillow case! A winner has been drawn and it is:

Daniel Newman, FB fan #54

Congratulations, Daniel!

To claim your prize email me at craftinomicon@gmail.com with the colors you would like your pillow case to be (you may also provide a link to a specific Teams site if you want the colors to be matched more closely) please specify if you would like a solid or patterned background fabric. Also, be sure to include your mailing address so I can send out your prize promptly!

Thanks again to all who participated and check back for future contests.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Food Craft: Peanut Butter Cookies

Another Friday, another food craft. This week we are going back to the sweet side of things with a recipe for peanut butter cookies. I kind of mashed together a couple different recipes I had to come up with this batch, which is probably the best one I've ever made. They were a great way to brighten up a rainy day. I recommend them warm with a glass of milk :) Try them yourself and let me know what you think!

You will need:

1/2 cups butter, softened*
1/4 cup margarine, softened*
3/4 cups Brown Sugar, packed
1/2 cups Sugar
2 whole Eggs (room temperature)
1 cup Peanut Butter Creamy Or Crunchy ( like to use natural peanut butter as it has a very intense peanut flavor)
1.5 tsp vanilla flavoring
2 cups Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt

*you will need an additional 1/4 cup of granulated sugar for rolling your cookies in prior to baking.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream the butter and margarine (I use both butter and margarine because I have found that butter gives a better taste, but margarine typically allows your cookies to become fluffier and not fall flat). Add the brown sugar and sugar and cream together. Beat in the peanut butter, then add the eggs one at a time, mixing until combined. Mix in the vanilla extract.

In a small mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and mix well.

Pour 1/4 cup sugar in a small bowl. Take a heaping tablespoon of dough and form into a ball. Coat the ball in sugar by rolling it around in the bowl. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.

Press the tines of a fork into the balls to create the criss-cross pattern on the top and to flatten the dough a bit. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are set and lightly brown around the bottom edges.

As you can see from the pictures, I also opted to add some chocolate chips to half of my cookies (the husband requested his be plain peanut butter--but I like a little something extra).

*I use both butter and margarine in this recipe as I find I enjoy the taste of butter in the cookies, but the cookies tend to rise and be a little fluffier with margarine.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Orchid Barrettes

Here is a finished barrette from yesterday's progress post. They really don't take long to make, I was just a little bit overwhelmed with projects yesterday. This orchid is rather small, so there is no stuffing in it, simply two layers of felt for each of the petal shapes, sewn together (hand stitched, not machine). I used glass seed beads in the center, as I think it adds a nice shiny thing to the barrette that makes you look at it and say "oooohhhh...pretty!".

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Many Projects: In Progress

It's been a few days since I made a new post, and the truth is it is because I hate posting if I don't have a finished project to share. Unfortunately for me, I have been working a little bit each day on several different projects, so today you get a little sneak peak at three of them. At least two will likely be done by the end of the month (one will likely be done tomorrow). Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Oh hello, Mario! So nice to see you again. This is an in progress shot of a Super Mario Bros. themed TV cover for the husband and I. We don't really watch a whole lot of TV, so I've been meaning to make a cover for the one in the living room for awhile. I think once it is done we may stare at the TV a whole lot more, because it will be awesome. One of his antagonists will also be appearing on the TV cover. Which one will it be? (I am hoping to finish this by the end of the month--sewing all these little squares together is driving me a little nutty).

I am going to see my adorable little nieces (Alexandria Virginia and Savannah Georgia--yes, those are their names--I love them!) in April. Far be it from me to not be showering them with gifts, many of which I made myself. Little felt Orchids just like this one are going to be sewn together to create some barrettes for them, or maybe a cute pair of slippers will be made and these will be embellishment. Maybe both. I'm hoping to have a mess of these made by tomorrow night, so you will all get to see sooner rather than later. I found a tutorial on how to make them at Cut Out and Keep.

Finally, this is a quilt for my husband. I have been working on it forever, so I'm not too hopeful of finishing it this month, but I thought I'd show it off anyway. Maybe it will be the catalyst I need to actually get working on the quilting (which I plan on doing entirely by hand). It is made out of a bunch of his old T-shirts that he just couldn't throw away once he decided they weren't really in wearing condition anymore. It's more of a lap quilt so it won't take as long as something much bigger, I just think I am making it into a bigger project than it is at the moment.

Also, don't forget to go here to enter into the Derby Pillow contest. All submissions must be entered by Midnight Pacific Time on Friday!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Crafty Weekend

My friend, Olivia, came over today because she wanted to make some painted glasses like I had done in February. Since I can not sit idly by while other people are being crafty, I made these two new glasses. The favorite for me is definitely the squid, only heightened by the fact I used purple and yellow on it which makes it look way more awesome than I could have ever dreamed.

It took me a little while to finish due to all the curves, tentacles and whatnot. Also, I mixed some of the paints into a more varied tonal range this time around. For those wondering, yes these glass paints actually mix quite well. Not often do you get this much versatility out of a 4 dollar paint set. The paints really appear to have almost watercolor like qualities when you look at them through your finished glass. To add the tiny spots to my squid, I used a sewing pin and dipped it into the paint, then lightly tapped it on the glass where I wanted the spots.

This octopus is based on one from the front of a "thank you" note another friend had given me. Believe me, nothing says thank you like a watercolor Octopus (well done, Kim!). I can foresee myself adding to the underwater menagerie again soon, as I am a fan of using all of the brighter colors in my paint set (maybe a nice green and blue sea turtle is in my future?). Another super fun day of crafting was had, to be sure.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Food Craft

Extra Chunky Apple Sauce

                                         You will need:

5 medium to large apples, any variety (I typically use at least 3 varieties of apples. For this apple sauce I used Granny Smith, Gala and Pink Lady)

2-4 Tbsp. apple cider or apple juice (you can use water, but I like to always add more flavor and depth)

The juice from one clementine (you may substitute lemon, lime or any other citrus type fruit. I like fresh juice and clementine's are what I had in the fridge)

2 Tbsp. Brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla flavoring

To make your apple sauce, first peel and core your apples, then dice them up. I like my apple sauce extra chunky so I am not very concerned with the pieces being a uniform shape, some can be small, some can be much larger.

Place your apples in a pan. I use a small stock pot, about 5 quarts, as I like a large surface area to evenly distribute the apples over the heat. Add in all of the juices and flavorings and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes (you may need less time if you cut smaller pieces of apple). After 15 minutes they should be fairly soft, at this point I use a potato masher and mash up the apples a bit to make more of a sauce. I then cook the sauce an additional 5-10 minutes, adding extra apple cider if necessary.

I like to serve this warm, and often times some vanilla ice cream manages to hop out of nowhere and perch itself on top. I really don't know how this happens, but it is too good for me to complain.

I've also been known to scoop a bit of apple sauce onto pork chops at dinner time.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Crafty Contest: Derby Pillows!

You read that right! I am having a giveaway and you could be the winner!

The prize is a custom made Roller Derby Pin Up Pillow Case! That's right, custom! The winner will get to choose the color palette of their pillow case. Favorite derby team colors? Want it to match your home decor? You get to pick!  The Pillow case will measure 20"x20" (approx. 60cm x 60cm), and have a standard envelope closure on the back.  It fits a throw pillow form size 20" x 20".

To Win:
There are 3 ways to win:
1)You may enter here on The Craftinomicon blog simply by commenting on this post. Just answer the question: What was your favorite February craft?
2)Follow Craftinomicon on Twitter and retweet my contest post!
3)Like me on Facebook and post a comment on my wall.
You may enter all 3 ways, but please limit your entries to once per method.

All entries must be submitted by 12am(midnight)Pacific Time Friday, March 11th.

A winner will be drawn at random on Saturday, March 12th. I will announce the winner that afternoon and they will have 48 hours to contact me with their custom colors.

This contest is sponsored fully by The Craftinomicon.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

February Flashback

Whew! I made it through February unscathed (mostly). I have to say it is a bit of a relief to not be requiring myself to do a whole complete project every day this month, but don't think I will be slacking off too badly. I plan on finishing up a bunch of projects that were simply too big to complete in February, most of which are really awesome and I am very excited about.

Some of which are only fairly awesome, but maybe they will end up being the best projects yet? Also, I have started meeting up once a week with some of my crafty peers at local Happy Hours around town. If you are in the Portland, OR area I will be posting about some of these on my Twitter account. Come on down and enjoy some crafting, food and drinks with us!

Last but not least I am planning a giveaway shortly (or is it multiple giveaways?--we shall see). What will it be? How will you win? Details are all coming soon.

Rest assured that we will be seeing a great deal happening in the next few days. Also, the Friday Food Craft has been such a success I plan on it being an every Friday feature. Mark your calendars for deliciousness!

*Beautiful calendar image taken from Poppytalk