October 28, 2011

Upcycle a book into a decorative pumpkin!

I've been seeing books turned into creative decor items all over the internet recently so I decided to try my own. In the spirit of Halloween, a pumpkin seemed to be a good choice.

You should try it too! Here's how I did it...

First thing was finding a paperback book I didn't mind destroying. I am pretty particular about my books, so selecting one that was going to be ruined was a serious internal debate. I chose a book that came in a box of random books I bought at an auction that I had zero interest in reading.

Ripping the front and back pages off made my heart beat quickly. Ruining a book goes against everything I believe in.

I drew the shape of half a pumpkin on the front page.

Time to start cutting away the excess paper outside the pumpkin shape.

I started with scissors.

After the first few pages, the scissors became too awkward to use, so I switched to a knife with a fresh blade. The new blade was necessary since I tore a bunch of pages with the dull blade that was in it.

There were a LOT of teeny tiny paper pieces while I was cutting, it was a handy idea to keep the vacuum nearby!

Now... when you do yours, try and keep your edge straight. Unlike mine. I was so frustrated  by the time I got to the end that I trimmed up the pages as best I could and hoped nobody would notice. Thank heavens it turned out well.

I opened the used-to-be-a-book and bent the front and back around to meet each other and use hot glue to keep it together. I kept the glue close to the spine to make it more stable. It look some fussing and fidgeting to get the pages spaced the way I wanted, and I used some more glue to keep them where I wanted.

Then there was the whole issue of how to colour the pumpkin. I thought about watered down acrylic paint but then I worried about the pages sticking together. Then I thought about an orange ink pad, but I didn't find any I liked. So I used some orange spray paint. When I spray paint a project, I use the low part of the rock retaining wall in my backyard.

I let it dry inside while I went foraging for something to use as a stem

I ended up grabbing a twig the maple tree in my front yard left behind. I trimmed it to a reasonable pumpkin stem length and hot glued it in the middle of the hole made by the spine of the book

I rummaged through my ribbon basket and found a pretty green ribbon to tie around the stem for an extra punch of colour. Displayed next to a large decorative spider, it makes the bookcase at the top of my stairs look fun and festive!

Go ahead! Give it a try! Let me know how it works out for you!


October 24, 2011

It's Apple Crisp Season Y'all!

I love this time of year. The leaves are turning, the temperatures are shifting to cozy sweater necessary and the apples are ripe on their trees. Over the past short while, I have come to be in posession of 30 lbs of apples.

20 lbs of Gravenstein - 10 lbs MacIntosh
What better thing to use up some apples than the favourite dessert of He-of-the-good-ideas... apple crisp?!!

So I grabbed my favourite casserole dish (1.8L French White) out of the cupboard of my newly completed kitchen (squee!) and peeled a mix of as many peeled apples filled my dish (my version of fancy measuring!)

Naked apples in a dish
I core and cut mine into segments with my Pampered Chef apple slicer which I love because it cuts the apples into 10 segments. For the segments with a bit of the core still on it, I use a paring knife to tidy them. Toss the segments into a large bowl for doctoring.

I grease my casserole dish with soft margerine and sprinkle it with a tablespoon of flour.

Take your bowl of apple segments and pour in 1 tbsp flour, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 cup white sugar and a "shake" of nutmeg. Honestly, I don't measure this. I use this kind of nutmeg and use the wee shaker side.

Mix it all up and pour into your greased casserole dish. I assemble the apple pieces to make sure there aren't too many big bits sticking up. Take a piece of sweet, cinnamonney (it's a word!) apple and eat it. Okay? Eat another. I ate about 5. Okay, 6.

Now, for the topping!

I use a half-cup of block margerine that I cut up small and microwave in a glass measuring cup.

In another large bowl I mixed together 3/4 cup quick rolled oats, 3/4 brown sugar and 3/4 cup of flour.

Add in 1/4 tsp each of baking soda and baking powder

(I didn't take a picture of it, but I put in about 1 tbsp of cinnamon and a few shakes of nutmeg)

Add in the melted margerine

Mix together until crumbly

Mmmm I ate a piece of the topping too

Bake at 350 for half an hour. Sometimes I turn the broiler on for about 5 minutes at the end, sometime I don't.

I set it on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes, then dug into it with a nice big serving spoon!

A nice big bowl for me and an even bigger one for HOTGI!

Oh my... so good!! There is totally a 2nd serving in the kitchen just calling my name!

If you make apple crisp, I'd love to know what you do that makes yours a family favourite!


October 14, 2011

A Halloween craft on a Friday night

I tidied up my crafting room tonight. It still needs some serious sorting and organizing but I can easily use the space now and set up my new Cricut Create! Tonight I made something fun and festive for Halloween!

After some trial and error with blade depth and cut speed, I cut out a few letters using some orange coloured copy paper that I've had hanging around for years using the Don Juan cartridge. I glued the letters to a piece of black craft foam from the dollar store. Then the craft foam was glued to another piece of orange paper, popped the whole thing into a dollar store frame that I bought for a wedding project 4 years ago and finished off with a piece of green ribbon that was in my ribbon basket.

Cute, non?

I think it looks adorable all nestled into the bottom part of our TV stand in the living room. It is a fun punch of colour and seasonally appropriate decor. And on a $0 budget too!

How are you decorating for Halloween this year?


October 13, 2011

Mama's got a brand new toy!

So lately I've been dreaming about having my own Cricut machine. I have have been reading reviews and checking out prices and talking to others that I know who have them, trying to determine the best machine for my needs.

Then this morning I got an email from Michael's announcing that they were having a 2 day sale with some smokin' good prices on certain things. One particular thing was a Cricut Create on for $79 (reg. price $199!) so HOTGI went over (Michael's is fairly close to his office) after a meeting this afternoon and picked it up for me!!

I cannot wait to play with it!! Tonight I have too many domestic things to take care of around the house (not to mention baking an apple crisp to take to work tomorrow) so it will have to wait, but I have so many ideas of what I want to use it for!


October 6, 2011

Soapbox Moment – Local Community Support

Last weekend was the annual fire hall auction held by the Onslow Belmont Fire Brigade. This annual Harvest Sale is an auction that sells items both large and small as donated by members and friends of the community.
I love this auction. I look forward to it in a sensation that feels like a kid waiting for Christmas. You never know what is going to be there that you need. Or don’t need. Ahem.  Oh by the way, He-of-the-good-ideas is one of the auctioneers. I absolutely love listening to him up on the podium! He’s quick and keen and his description of some items leaves me and many of those in attendance in stitches. When he was younger he was an active member of the fire hall;  his father still is.

He-of-the-good-ideas and Johnny

There are dressers (there was an awesome one that got away) and lamps (I bought one), an alphabet stamp set (complete... also mine), some truckloads of gravel (good deal if you need it), a bull calf (for reals!), a bunch of embroidery thread (as seen here and here) and a bunch of other weird and wonderful things.

It’s a serious plunge into rural country life. There are some real colourful characters and some real good ole’ nice folks.  There are people I look forward to seeing every year. A nice older lady I missed seeing this year, but she’s a real sweetheart. I should ask if my MIL knows how she is.
The thing is... when you donate to a community fire hall for a fundraiser – either as a monetary donation or items given – you are helping your friends. Your neighbours. The people you care about. Give what you are able, if you are able.
The money raised helps the volunteer firefighters buy the things that make a firehall operate. The things that educate; the things that save lives. Volunteers who protect person and property have the resources to keep current and functional.
Never been to a community fire hall auction? Go. Do it. You never know what you might come home with. Maybe a passion to be a volunteer yourself.


October 4, 2011

It's Tuesday and I'm Kinda Nuts

So remember when I last posted, I showed you all of the embroidery thread that I bought at an auction?

Here they are now!

Oooh pretty! And holy crapload of work!
Yup, I wound all 124 skeins of thread around plastic bobbins that I bought at a hobby shop!

Added to the thread I already owned, I am now in posession of a whole mess of pretty bobbins!

And no, they aren't in colour order... that is a project for another day! For now (until I get more appropriate storage) the bobbins are hanging out in a 9x13 cake pan!

So, what should I stitch first?


October 2, 2011

Weekend Deal in Colour Order

This weekend marked the annual firehall auction/sale for the community where HOTGI grew up. He's been one of their auctioneers for the past 16 years or so and I have a blast every year when we go. You never know what you might come home with! There are some smokin' deals to be had if you are able to think outside the box a little bit.

This year I came home with some great goodies that I will be sharing in future posts, but what I am sharing today is maybe the favourite thing I came home with...

Embroidery floss. 124 skeins of embroidery floss... for $6!!

Check out these five shades of variegated threads!

Lots of beautiful colours! I can't wait to start creating with them!

I have lots of thinking/planning/stitching to do!