Thursday, October 31, 2013

ruby's dragon costume + happy halloween

Happy Halloween! I was scrambling to put together Ruby's costume earlier today, but I think it turned out pretty swell.  She's not too happy with it, but at least she cooperated long enough for me to snap a couple pics. It's surprisingly difficult to take selfies with a DSLR in one hand and a squirming cat in the other.

I used this tutorial as a starting-off point for her dragon costume,  but used an old t-shirt instead of felt, got rid of the head and stuffed tail, added some wings out of foam, and hand sewed the felt spikes because I ran out of hot glue. I also didn't bother measuring any part of Ruby's body, and just held the fabric up and estimated. Worked well enough.

Isn't she the cutest?

Hope you have a wonderful, safe, candy-filled night!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

chocolate marshmallows

Marshmallows are surprisingly simple to make, as long as you have a stand- or hand-mixer and a candy thermometer. And the results are a definite crowd-pleaser. One batch makes up a ton, but at the rate they'll get eaten, you'll be glad you made so many in the first place.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

neighborly notes

They're finally done and ready to be slipped in to mailboxes. Hooray!

Monday, October 28, 2013

maintenance day

The website is going through a teensy little facelift, as I dust off my coding skills and try really really hard to translate my vision into reality. So it might be a little laggy for a little bit, but any wrinkles should be ironed out by the end of the week.

Also, the recent influx of posts are because I'm doing #91 of my 101 in 1001 list, which is to blog daily for a month. It's definitely been a challenge trying to come up with posts while keeping some sort of quality control, and while I've definitely learned a lot about how I blog, I can't wait until I can go back to my regular (irregular?) posting schedule. Today's day 12 of 31.

Happy Halloween Week! Thank goodness the weather's supposed to be nice on Thursday. I can't wait.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

paper bag princess crown

I can't believe I forgot the most important part of any princess outfit - the crown! Thank goodness it was an easy problem to fix.

I tried to keep my crown pretty close to the original. Using kraft paper once again, I traced out the design, which was essentially a long band for the base, and long squiggly lines topped with circles for the spokes. I was too lazy to line this part with packing tape like I did with the dress, but I think it will hold up just fine. I cut it out, crumpled it up a bit, and punched two holes for bobby pins.

I've seen people spray paint their crowns gold, which is a splendid idea, but unfortunately I have no gold paint =[. But it looks fantastic nonetheless. Halloween here we come!

P.S. Apple picking today was a bust, because apparently the crop was unusually light this year. Boo.
P.P.S. I edited this photo with PicMonkey, which was the first time I tried it. For some reason my computer was a tad slow, but it was really easy to use, and had a lot of features (although some are only available to paying members). I think I'll be using this until I develop my own PSDs to use with Photoshop.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

diy paper bag princess costume

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch is definitely one of my favorite children's books. I mean, a princess story with a feminist twist - what's not to love? If you've never read the story, it's about Princess Elizabeth who loses everything she owns to the fiery breath of a dragon, who also steals her fiancé. Dressed in a paper bag, she follows the path of destruction towards the dragon's castle to rescue her prince. She outsmarts the dragon (without violence! another plus), and releases Prince Ronald. Ungrateful Ronald is unhappy that Elizabeth doesn't look like a real princess, so Elizabeth calls him a bum and dumps him. The end.
It really is such a great story, and a wonderful change to all the traditional princess stories. It'll be so hard not to preach my feminist ideals to the little kids coming by =P
Plus, the costume wasn't too difficult to make, and I had all the supplies on had already. The plan is to sew together 2 sheets of kraft paper, and then cut a slit down the back to make it easier to put on and take off.
This is how I put it together (although fair warning, I am pretty inept at making my own sewing patterns).

Friday, October 25, 2013

link love + happy friday

When I'm Able to Find You - Me & Mr. Cassidy
I mentioned Oh, Hello Friend's 5th anniversary party last week, and Me & Mr. Cassidy was there to provide live entertainment. They were absolutely fantastic. Their cover of Drops of Jupiter/I Try is also pretty special (song starts at 1:02). You should definitely check them out! You can watch their videos here, or sample some tunes on their website.

We're going apple picking this weekend in Oak Glen. We'll see how it compares to apple picking out East =P
Have a lovely weekend!

- ff you're not a politics sort of person, but still want to know happened with the government shutdown, the NY Times provides a great summary
- a fascinating article on alcohol as an escape from perfectionism for women
- it's interesting to see what older people think about younger people, in this case about spending, or the lack thereof
- scientists are finally figuring out why people need sleep
- this really resonated with me for some reason. experience matters.

- I've never had a cronut, but this apple pecan pie version looks pretty tasty

Cool Finds:
- want: a disco ball pizza oven
- not sure if this qualifies as "cool", but a photographer takes portraits of the men who catcall her on the street in Philadelphia
cats napping in cute places. now say it with me, "awwwwww"
Kelly Clarkson covers songs and absolutely kills it. (my fave is "I Will Wait." That's a lie. I can't choose. "Lose Yourself" is def pretty epic though.)
coffitivity gives you coffee shop background noise without the distraction to boost productivity. win-win.
- this portland library turned home is absolutely swoon-worthy

Thursday, October 24, 2013

halloween decorations

Phew, these decorations are finally done. There's this one house on my street that goes all out every holiday, and for Halloween, they turned their home into a haunted house. I can't possibly compete with them, but my cute little decorations are enough for me. And probably much cheaper too! Perks of unemployment: free time out the wazoo to craft all these things.

(sources and some DIY instructions at the end of the post.) And without further ado...

FRONT DOOR HANGING SIGN: For the black lettering, I printed out a template for each letter, then traced it onto black butcher paper, making sure to connect all the letters so the "Trick or Treat" saying is one piece of paper. After cutting it out, I glued it on to a sheet of kraft paper, and created pockets for the dowels by folding back 1" of the kraft paper on the top and bottom and taping down the long edge. I threaded the dowels through, tied a loop of twine to the top, and added some washi tape for decoration.
DOORBELL WITCH: Idea from pinterest. I cut out the hat and cloak from black cardstock, and cut out a hole for the doorbell. The head is a foam circle I found, but cardstock will also work. The broom is made from a dowel cut down to size, and a length of kraft paper that I cut a fringe into and glued around the end of the dowel.
ORIGAMI PUMPKINS: see bottom of this post.
FRAMED SIGN: see #3 here for original sign. Frame from Aaron Brothers.
WINDOW SILHOUETTES: Ideas from here, cut from black butcher paper and taped onto windows. 100 count orange mini lights from Target for $3.50 each, and hung up with washi tape.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"you tried" halloween crafts

Before we get to the *big reveal* of all the Halloween decorations  put together, here's a list of the crafts that almost made the final cut.

1. Halloween Mummy Jars: Instead of using cheesecloth, fabric stiffener, and jars like the tutorial, I was going to use streamers and battery-operated candles. Too bad those candles got commandeered to light up my origami jack o'lanterns. (via Plaid Online)

2. Witch Parking Sign: Puns are my life. (via BitterrootDSign2)

3. Happy Halloween Chalkboard Art: I had the hardest time figuring out what to do with the front door, and was contemplating a typographic/calligraphy poster like this for a while. (via Lily & Val)

4. Front Door Mummy: This project is basically lots and lots of streamers, some tape, and two construction paper eyes. Couldn't be easier. (via Honey & Fitz)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

saggy pumpkins, and replacement origami ones

My cat, the once shy scared-of-everything little cat, has now taken to sprinting out of open doors, which is clearly a problem. I've had some close calls where I've just barely grabbed the end of her tail to drag her back in, but the adventure on Saturday just takes the cake. For some reason, she managed to sneak out the door without me noticing. Oh no, right? Thankfully I felt something was off when I went back inside, and I eventually found her in the rose bushes outside the front door, just chilling. And after I brought her inside and wiped off her paws, she immediately plopped down in front of the door, wanting to go outside again. This cat, I swear.

Anyways, I carved a pumpkin for the first time in about 5+ years, and it went surprisingly well. My tip? Use a sharp serrated knife. I had my leatherman on hand, and the saw blade slid right through the pumpkin. Since I'm only a novice pumpkin carver, I only have one tip to offer. Sorry.

My pumpkins ended up with my last initial (Z) and my Chinese last name (周), and I spent about an hour trying to find the right font for each character. They turned out pretty swell if I do say so myself. Unfortunately, (because of the warm Cali weather?) they've started the shrivel and sag. Oh no!

I ended up shoving a couple toothpicks into each one to straighten out some of the saggy pieces. But I ended up chucking these this weekend, which is how my cat escaped. Lose-lose situation all around.

I think next time I'll paint instead of carve. There's a great idea for a chalkboard typography pumpkinglitter monogram pumpkin, a glow-in-the-dark pumpkin, and a puffy paint pumpkin. Ugh, I can't believe I'm collecting ideas for next year's Halloween already!

But for this year, I folded some quick origami pumpkins, following these instructions (also mentioned in this post). Her directions say to use A4 paper, which is slightly thinner and longer than regular printer paper, but I found that her template works just fine with regular printer paper as long as you uncheck the "scale to fit" box when you print; you'll lose her logo, but the template comes out unscathed. 

I first tried it on orange construction paper, but for some reason the printer ink smudged all over the place, so I ended up flipping the whole thing over and drawing my own jack o'lantern face to compensate. That might actually work better, though, so your pumpkins don't show the black grid lines that tell you where to fold.

But I wanted big pumpkin-sized pumpkins, too, so I scaled up her project and made larger pumpkins out of kraft paper, and then medium-sized pumpkins out of black butcher paper to round out the set. 

awww, what a happy family

Pics on the entire set of Halloween decorations to come later this week! (aka after I've finished crafting them and putting them up...)

Monday, October 21, 2013

the last time i'll talk about chanterelles i swear

{a (welcome?) break from Halloween...}
A couple weeks ago, I posted a recipe for baked chanterelles with egg (it's delicious. and simple! you should try it), that only used up 1/6 of that humongous basket of mushrooms I got from Costco. Here are some instagram snaps of what I did with the rest.

(ugh I just saw this recipe for chanterelle hand pies and now I wish I had more mushrooms...)

mini chanterelle tacos {chanterelles, onion, serrano chile, garlic, and oregano, topped with avocado and shredded kale}
{slight more in-depth recipe here)

fettucini with chanterelle, kale, and parmesan {fun fact: I had no fettucini, so this is actually lasagna noodles cut into strips}

chanterelle and baby kale sauté, with zucchini chips and sriracha lime mayo

panzanella {mixed greens, chanterelles, grilled chicken, bulger, parsley, lemon, and parmesan-toasted bread cubes}

Sunday, October 20, 2013

witchy diy envelope template freebie

Lindsey over at The Postman's Knock creates the cutest illustrations and prints for sale at her Etsy shop, but every once in a while, she puts up a freebie up on her blog, like this witchy envelope template just in time for Halloween. Just print, cut, and glue. Easy peasy.

You can download the template right here, and check out all her freebies here. While you're at it, you should look at the rest of her blog; it's pretty fantastic.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

halloween tickets

Now that I'm living in an area with tons of kids who go trick-or-treating every Halloween, I'm loving the chance to get to decorate, and dress up, and do all kinds of awesome Halloween-related crafts. I'm pretty sure that during my four years of college, October 31st was an ordinary night just like October 30th and November 1st, and so all those ideas are bursting forth and finally getting their chance to shine.

With all these decorations, I didn't want to cop out in the candy arena. A bowl of Costco candy just seemed a bit... underwhelming. And so I came up with the idea to make some special treats for the neighbors' kids. Nothing's been nailed down yet, but I'm thinking marshmallows on a stick - chocolate for the kids and maybe a small batch of pumpkin (or boozy?) for the adults roped in to wrangling the hyped-up kiddos.

But then came this super long thought process* that eventually ended up in me making tickets to put in the neighbors' mailboxes for the kids to "redeem" for a special treat. Now that I've written it down, it seems a bit extraneous. But it makes complete sense! I think...

at least I had fun making the coupon...
CLICK HERE to download 

*my thought process: I've heard stories of parents not letting their kids eat candy that's not completely sealed (aka Tootsie Rolls), so I figured my homemade treats might fall under the category of "it might not be safe" and end up in the trash, which would be totally sad. Plus, kids have all kinds of allergies as well, and I didn't want anything to be triggering. So, I came up with the idea to send a note to each parent letting them know that I was planning on making some extra treats, with these ingredients, and if they were okay with letting their kids have some, then they could pass along the ticket to the kid when they went trick-or-treating. Ugh, whatever, we'll see how this plan works out.

Friday, October 18, 2013

happy friday

Important news first: I have finally finished an Expert-level game of Minesweeper. It has taken me approximately 10 years, but I have finally done it. I am now invincible.
a screenshot for posterity

This weekend is shaping up to be a good one. Tonight, we're heading to Oh, Hello Friend's 5th Anniversary Party, which sounds like it's going to be a blast. And then the rest of the weekend will be for Halloween crafting. I've got my costume to make, Ruby's costume to make, and then the rest of the house decorations. Nothing too complicated, but it will require quite a bit of time with a pair of scissors. Good thing the 'Hawks are playing this weekend to keep me company =]

Posts to come on how it all turns out! Have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

link love

Vinyasa Flow - Dylan Werner
This video is one of the coolest things ever. Now that I've seen this, I really want to add "learn how to do yoga inversions" and "go on a yoga retreat" to my 101 list, but clearly I can't because it's 101 things in 1001 days and not 103 things. Rest assured that I will not forget about those two goals, though! I will do those crazy handstands and inversions eventually. He also has a super awesome couples acroyoga video as well; I did not know that was a thing, but maybe that needs to go on my list as well... I think I need to find a boyfriend/partner first. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sunday, October 13, 2013

diy round-up

I've been clicking around the web this entire weekend and ended up adding a bunch of new blogs to my feed, and bookmarking a handful of DIY crafts.  Some of them are just so awesome that I felt bad keeping them to myself. Seriously, you might just squeal from the adorable.

1) Recycled Denim Whale: This stuffed animal is just too cute for words. Not to mention I have so many old pairs of holey (and right by the crotch, ugh) jeans that are collecting dust in my closet. Unfortunately, there is no template for all the pieces of fabric, but the tutorial is wonderfully detailed (with pictures!) to make things a little simpler. I'm thinking this might be a wonderful gift for a certain little someone with #66 of my list. I really can't get over how adorable this is. (via Valaan Villapaita)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

rainy days (and chanterelle tacos)

After a week of hot and dry Santa Ana winds, a day of rain was a welcome reprieve. Gloomy weather always makes me want to curl up in a blanket with a something hot and watch movies. Though I didn't get a chance to do that today, winter in soCal will bring lots more rain, so I'm sure I'll get the chance again.

rainy days are great for steaming bowls of [red bean and mochi] soup

Monday, October 7, 2013

baked eggs with chanterelles

I don't know what to talk about here.  I could, because it's October, talk about Halloween. I'm currently completely stumped on costumes, but definitely inspired for how to decorate the house (since I'm ridiculously scared of everything, we're going for cute). Or I could talk about my friend Harriet who's absolutely in love with mushrooms, and walks around muttering "'shrooms. give me some 'shrooms" like a crazy person. Or I could talk about Emma Approved, which just started. I'm currently in the middle of #50 of my 101 in 1001 list, where I'm not watching tv for six months, but I've decided that Emma Approved doesn't count, because it's a web series. Anyways, I just watched it, and don't really know how I feel about it, unlike the Lizzie Bennet Diaries which I'm pretty sure I fell in love with immediately. I'll give it a couple more episodes.