Saturday, April 28, 2012

Jar of Hearts

This is such an easy and sweet way to cheer up someone's day, celebrate a birthday, or just say hi. AND it's inexpensive! Even sweeter!
All you need is red velvet cake mix, cream cheese frosting, a chocolate bar, and an empty jar with a lid (feel free to change flavors). I found this style of jar at a local shop called Daiso (everything is $1.50!) and decorated it to my hearts content. I love Pinterest and I have been dying to make the folded-heart paper flowers. 
For this project, I cut out six small hearts from solid cardstock and folded them in half. I then glued one side of each folded heart to the jar's lid to create a flower. Just make sure to glue down the same side of the heart so that every other flower petal stands up. Add a ribbon with a tag or whatever accent suits your style.
Note: I found that two cupcakes stacked and held together with frosting filled the jar in a more aesthetically pleasing manner. I topped them the two with more frosting and chocolate shreds. :)


Sunday, April 22, 2012

We Know How to Do Fridays

Summer is officially in the air, and what perfect timing, as it seems to reflect my sunny disposition, a result of my excitement for Cal Day, my mom and sister's arrival, and Mom's Tea this Sunday. 
Friday's weather (dear Lord, I'm about to talk about the weather) was absolutely perfect adventure-weather. I am so proud to say that in just this one day I crossed many things off of my bucket list.
 To begin what ended as an amazing day, a few good friends and I went THRIFTING. By 1pm, all those bargains aroused in each of us a hunger that could only be satiated by fried chicken sandwiches from Bakesale Bette's (accompanied by lemon ices of course). We even skipped the mainstream method of eating our meal at a table and enjoyed our food in the cool shade of a tree. 
After enjoying our savory snack, we journeyed into Scream, an amazing neighboring sorbet shop whose White Guava ice cream is a flavor to rival Ici's entire uniquely-crafted menu. Scream had some very intriguing flavors, but since I tried the White Guava first, I didn't really feel the need to venture out and try all of them. Those that I did try just couldn't compete with the lingering light and fruity sweetness of the former.  
 I was extremely sad to learn that this flavor is to be discontinued sometime in the next few weeks. 
 After our dessert, we meandered down the nearby street to a used craft store. Once our food had settled and our purchases made, we dropped off our friend Mel and headed to the Gourmet Ghetto of Berkeley to indulge in some chocolate tasting. The tasting featured a little history course on the chocolate we were eating, but in all honesty, I just wanted to eat!
Oh boy, did we eat! I guess I make this claim with the thought of quality and not quantity in mind since we didn't really eat that much. I really enjoyed the 73 1/2 dark chocolate with nibs. The cacao/sugar ratio was perfect and the slight crunch of each bite was a pleasant surprise. 
As if we needed any more sugar, we then headed to Masse's Pastries and treated ourselves to some delectable macarons. I tried the cassis and the yuzu. I personally think the yuzu tasted like sugar-coated grass, but the fact that I associated it with grass at all mystifies me more than the flavor. (I don't eat grass, I promise.)
Finally leaving the ever-tempting gourmet ghetto behind, we rejoined Mel and headed to Berkeley Marina to enjoy the sunshine and the scenery. It was so beautiful.  
I especially loved seeing the sailboats drifting along in the wind. But the wind got to be too much and we decided to pack up our glitter nail polish and red curtain (we used it as a makeshift blanket, see?) and headed to Vik's Chaat for some more food and good conversation, the perfect way to wind down from a busy but fun afternoon. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ribbon-Bound Journals

The end of the semester is steadily approaching, and I would be lying if I said that I was for once not dreading its arrival! While the end means, papers turned in and finals done and also summer (well actually summer school), it also means I have to endure a few all-nighters, many late night cram sessions, and stress! ARGH! I am NOT ready!
At this time, I have already said goodbye to my Jane Austen decal class as our last day was this past Tuesday. It was such a chill class and I am sad to have said goodbye. I have become quite the Janeite. I am even contemplating joining the Jane Austen Society of North America, how devout is that?
I know, there is no need to answer!
Well for our last day everyone submitted a final creative project. Now, for Christmas my mom bought me a book on bookbinding (this reads so funny!) called Adventures in Bookbinding and I have been itching to implement my newfound knowledge. I did tweak the method a bit as I do own the more intricate tools of the trade. 
Our teachers were pretty flexible from the beginning, telling our class that we could pretty much do anything that involved the readings. I knew I wanted to make something, and when I decided to create a journal, I thought it would be fun to write this journal with the voice of 15 year old Jane. Practicing a little creative writing, something I have not done since my early teenage years when I was obsessed with writing horror stories (there really should be a genre entitled "spaghetti horrors" because these stories definitely fit into that category), I based the premise of my journal around what would have been Jane's 15th birthday--December 16, 1790. From here, I embodied what I felt to be the 15 year old intellectual/satirical voice of Jane Austen. The journal recounts fictionalized excerpts of her everyday encounters, encounters that are based loosely on the story and themes surrounding Pride and Prejudice, so as to suggest that her inspiration for the novel came from her own life experience, Elizabeth's relationship with Mr. Darcy included. 

 Making the Ribbon Bound Journal

Since I was attempting to create a journal from the 1790s, I tried to stay with muted, natural colors and a simple design. 
Using two cardboard rectangles 9" x 5 3/4" that I cut from an old box and wrapped in brown parchment paper, two pieces of burgundy ribbon 1 1/2" thick, burgundy embroidery thread, and several sheets of fine unlined paper folded and placed within one another, I created a simple, eco-friendly journal. 

1. Place all sheets together and make sure edges are even. Place a piece of ribbon on top of the creased edge, making sure the ribbon rests evenly divided. 
2. Thread embroidery through ribbon and pages and loop back, pulling thread back through to ribbon-side. 
3. Tie in knot and then tie in decorative bow. Repeat for top or bottom. Feel free to get creative and use thinner ribbon to make three of four bindings. 
4. Place parchment paper-wrapped cardboard on top of now bound journal pages (Make sure taped edge of wrapping is inside as it will be covered by inner page. Place ribbon binding on top of cover. Adhere ribbon to cover using glue dots or hot glue gun. Make sure to adhere ribbon right along the edge as well or the cover will flop away from binding when opened. Repeat. 

5. Inside, adhere first page of journal to inside cover. I placed my glue on inside cover and closed journal to see where the page naturally rested when closed.
Note: To decorate my cover, I used a dandelion stamp paired with a clear ink. After stamping my clear design (it shows up on the brown paper just as a watermark would), I sprinkled white embossing powder over my stamped work. After dusting off the excess powder, I heated the design using an electric heat tool (it dries the powder giving the design a three-dimensional, glossy finish).

Enjoy Your Lovely Little Works of Art and Happy Journaling!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Oh Sew Sweet Messages

Just in time for the Easter holidays! While I do love myself an Easter basket chock full of chocolates and plastic eggs filled with fun things, I love a heartfelt message even more. And what better way to remember the true meaning of Easter than with a sweet message and a bible verse--and all tied up in twine (my absolute favorite way to give a gift). 
Here is a sweet and unique way to let someone know that you are thinking about them.
 I recently asked my mom for old spools of thread and she sent me several bags filled with these gorgeous wooden spools (I really like the one on the far left). I untied the string and cut strips of colorful cardstock paper to fit in the groove of the spool. I adhered one end to the spool with a glue dot, the textured side away from the spool. I then wrote my message on the inner side of the paper and wrapped it around the spool, tying it in place with a small piece of twine.