Christmas Cards and Cardigans: I’ll be Coughing Glitter for a Week

Hey All, This is a piece I wrote last year and had forgotten to post. ¬†ūüôā ¬†More like Procrastinate-y Bitch, amiright?

So, over the weekend two of my friends had what I liked to call ‚ÄúFirst Christmas‚ÄĚ.¬† Both of them are embarking on the crazy, fun adventure of moving to Saudi Arabia for a year to work.¬† So, my amigos, Crowe¬†and Lady J, unfortunately will be spending their time eating McDonalds that can be delivered 24-hours-a-day and soaking up the sun in one of these spicy little numbers¬†instead of shoveling their driveways and wearing 8 layers of clothes to keep from turning into people-sicles.

What actually sucks about their Arabian adventure is that they‚Äôll be missing Christmas, which they are not allowed to publicly celebrate in the land of milk and camels.¬† The upside is that we are clever girls who have thought of a way to lesson this sting of holiday-withdrawal:¬† We had a “First Christmas” for them. ¬†“First Christmas” is just like regular Christmas except no one drunkenly falls into the Christmas tree. ¬†We ate dips and yummy homemade soup and hor d‚Äôoerves until we felt sick, then we exchanged presents and then settled in for a long winter’s nap, only to awake for turkey dinner.¬† Anyway, the point of this scpheel is that because they’ve been downsizing their lives to prepare for the move, Lady J gifted me all of her scrapbooking supplies‚ÄĒI was so excited I almost peed my pants.¬† So, I‚Äôve been spending the whole day making Christmas cards and I figured I’d share my card-making experience with you ūüôā

First and foremost, the first thing I learned was that one should figure out a couple of designs and stick to them.¬† If you try to get too¬†Martha-y with these bad boys, you’ll get overwhelmed and quit after a couple. ¬†Christmas is not the time to reach for the top; Christmas is a time to reach for the bare minimum and have low expectations of those around you, because, man, we’re all fucking tired. ¬†I‚Äôve been there‚ÄĒtrying to wrap gifts and bake 3 fruitcakes, all while trying to transform my humble abode into a Winter Wonderland.¬† Well, I can tell you from personal experience‚ÄĒI ended up with a garbage can full of wrapping paper, 3 fruit-doorstops and my apartment ended up looking like a holly-jolly holiday hell-hole.¬† Don‚Äôt take on too much, my wee Gingerbread people, I worry about you.

Dos

  • Do look around before you buy, especially if you‚Äôre planning on sending out lots of cards.¬† If you‚Äôre willing to dig a little at your local dollar store you can find paper just as good as the fancy stuff. ¬†Likewise, scrapbooking snobs will tell you that you ‚Äúsimply have to get the best quality rubber stamp because yadda yadda will deteriorate in such and such kind of ink‚ÄĚ which is, to be blunt, a shimmering pile of reindeer-shit. ¬†Usually that best quality rubber stamp will cost you your first-born and aren’t much different from the dollar-store kind except they might be a little more intricate in design. ¬†If you’re fine with the plainer ones, then punch those stamp-snobs in the face and proceed with your day.
  • Do use glitter.¬† Some people think it‚Äôs tacky, these people have Grinch-hearts and smelly faces.
  • Do stray from the norm and find your own bits and bobs:¬† I like to use swirl candies in wrappers or pretty bits I’ve cut off of old Christmas cards or newspaper print (non-descript, of course, you don’t want your card recipient reading all about the Scranton Strangler, and whatnot).¬† I‚Äôm not going to patronize you by going through every single item you can stick on a piece of paper–my readers are smart.

Don’ts

  • Don‚Äôt spend when you don‚Äôt have to‚ÄĒSure, you can spend 8 bones on pre-folded cards but no one is that lazy that they can‚Äôt fold paper.
  • Don‚Äôt buy the gadgets‚ÄĒ The ladies in my card making class raved about their ‚Äúpaper cutters‚ÄĚ. ¬†How convenient, she was selling them for only $29.99.¬† Do you know what they called ‚Äúpaper cutters‚ÄĚ in my day?¬† Fucking scissors.
  • Don’t stick to my designs– If you feel a crafty wind a-blowing, go with it ūüôā

A Girly one— Pink! At Christmas! ¬†Well that’s just re-dick!

Think Pink

Think Pink

A Trendy One– Black and purple, like my bruised soul.
302914_10150402429071026_425457008_n

A Classic Folky One– For all those little kittens on your Christmas Card list who hate straying from tradition (all the people you can’t tell dirty jokes to).
310684_10150402428406026_1805253500_n-1
As I said, I had made a bunch in my first attempts but I narrowed it down to these three that I liked the most for reproduction. Here are the others:
317750_10150402425136026_1204149567_n
And the final step is just to fill in the guts of the card. ¬†What to write, you ask? ¬†Well, that’s easy, just follow your heart! Ooooor, this website.

Merry Christmas, ya ho-ho-hos!

Nobody Puts Straw-Baby in the Corner!

In this crazy world filled with havoc and bedlam, there are not always many consistencies¬†in one’s life.¬† The span of one short day can turn any situation on its head, but in this¬†“misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms”¬†there are a few things that I’ve learned to depend on:

1.¬†¬†Put your tattoos in places you don’t see everyday, that way you won’t get sick of them.

2.¬† Honesty and kindness might seem like the greatest traits you can possess but if you’re creative and charming you can weasel yourself out of any situation.

3.¬† It doesn’t matter how down and out she seems, Madonna will come out with a new album and it will be amazing.

4.¬† McDonald’s drive-through will fuck you over at any chance they can– See The Bitchionary for The Bottomless Burger.

5.   Learn to master a piping bag and you can take over the world.

Don’t know what¬†a piping bag is?¬† It’s this majigger.¬†¬† Basically it’s a beauty-izer.¬† Because, realistically, you can spend all day¬†make a scrumptious meal, dessert, or pastry but no one will want to eat it if it looks like a steaming¬†mound of crap.¬†

I usually like to take a cue from Ms. Cardigan’s¬†father¬†(still don’t know who Ms. Cardigan is?¬† Check out the Bitchionary) who taught us to¬†drop a piping bag bomb on¬†our twice-baked potatoes¬†but I was recently invited to a¬†baby shower¬†so I thought I would take one of my¬†grown-up tasties and tweak it enough to make more of a “family-fun-for-everyone” type deal.¬† So here goes:

We’re all familiar with the infamous chocolate covered¬†strawberry.¬† A staple at valentine’s day, it’s a delectable¬†little treat that¬†has become so entwined with ideas of rolling in the hay that it¬†sadly hasn’t gotten a chance to break into the world of G-rated snacks.¬†

What you’ll need:
– White Chocolate Chips (or yogurt chips if you can find them.¬† In fact if you can find them, can you let me know?¬† For some reason I could only discover websites that would let me buy them in 20 pound quanitities… also the pet store sells them as rat treats but that is clearly not an option).
– Milk chocolate chips
– Strawberries (Cleaned, with stems left on)
– Blue or pink food colouring
-Piping¬†bag (if you don’t feel like buying a fancy-dancy¬†one, just snip off a small corner of a zip lock baggie)
-Waxed paper
-Toothpicks

Melt¬†yo’ white chocolate chips in a bowl over a steaming pot of water.¬† You can melt directly in the bowl but if you’re anything like myself you get distracted by shiny¬†objects and have a tendency to let things burn.¬†

Dip strawberries into the melted chocolate.¬† I like to use a toothpick as a sort of support beam as I’ve found that using the stem as a dipping apparatus usually means having to dive face and eyes into a scalding pot of¬†chocolate in order to fish out one sad, stemless piece of fruit.¬† (P.S. Sorry there are no actual pictures, I was covered in sticky chocolate at crunch-time and didn’t have my camera on me.)

Photo Source: dippedfruit.com

Set strawberry down on waxed paper.¬† Repeat this for the remainder of your berries and pop into the fridge to chill out and get stiff (was that meant to be dirty?¬† We’ll never know, will we?)¬† Again, I have no pics of my strawbabies¬†hanging out in the fridge, but here are some tuxedo ones I made a few weeks before:

Just for the record, that is not my Coors Light in the background-- Ick.

Once your strawberries are good and hard take some excess melted chocolate and¬†add a couple drops of blue or pink food colouring (or yellow or green, whatevs, I’m not trying to stuff your¬†kid into a societally¬†designated¬†gender role,¬†pft).¬† Fill up your piping bag with your chocolate and drop tiny beads in a circlular shape on the front of your strawberry, giving it a tiny hat-thingy that youngsters are forced into.¬†¬†Then add a little bow.¬†

Melt a small amount of milk chocolate¬†(seeing as it’s a couple spoonfuls, you can just nuke it rather than wash another pot) and add little sleepy eyes and noses.

Voila, you’ve got strawbabies!¬† Quick and dirty– just the way your mom likes it.¬† Whomp, whomp.

Song of the Day:

D.I.Wine: Cork the Excuses and Get Down to Business

After  a little vacation, I figured it’s time to get Crafty Bitch back on the go.  So, as my return-from-hiatus craft I wanted to make something that was not only fun and pretty but something with a lot of umph.  So, I made a short list of my favorite things: 1. Makin’ shit,  2.  Reading, and 3. Being a lush.  So the logical conclusion is to make alcohol, which sounds incredibly hard, but if you can read (see number 2) you can do it.

So, I set out into the interweby to see if venturing into the wine making world was for me.¬† But for some reason the only things I could find were frou-frou blogs and posts from sniffle-y wine snobs which used words that I had only ever heard on Fraiser.¬†So I veered headlong and without any sort of preparation into the wine-making world, but¬†I knew that my love of booze would triumph over my¬†tendencies¬†to let my interests wane¬†and a general lack of determination with these sorts of things.¬† Most people pick up hobbies that are intended to better oneself, but most people (myself included) begin to make wine so the world just gets a little bit drunker‚ÄĒthat, my little meatballs, is a true hobby worthy of my time and effort.

With a little help from Santa Clause I came into possession of a beginners wine making kit from Brewery Lane (which, you might remember, is the store¬†that¬†provided me with¬†the fizzy for my fizzy bath bombs).¬† This is a neat and compact little kit that has almost everything you need for making vino.¬† The most important thing is that you read your instructions carefully, as well as¬†take a little cue from one of my favorite books and “Don’t Panic”.

Know your Shit
Juice- This is what becomes delicious, delicious booze.

Packets- they’re filled with¬†stuff that do things that I don’t¬†care to figure out¬†(stabilizers, clarifiers, junk like that).

Plastic Carboy- A lot of my amateur wine-making pal-ios have turned up their noses at me when I say I‚Äôve got a plastic carboy instead of a glass one.¬† The big thing I‚Äôve been hearing is that there‚Äôs a greater risk of oxygen diffusion.¬† To these Debbie Downers I say, ‚ÄúWell, that‚Äôs just impossible because I don‚Äôt know what that means.‚ÄĚ

Auto-Siphon-¬† This is a nifty little piece of equipment that helps you transfer your wine from one vessel to the other.¬† When I first heard of a siphon I, classy lady that I am,¬†thought of pilfering gas out of a car‚ÄĒand that‚Äôs pretty much the kind of tool it is, which is convenient if I¬†you up creating a gasoline substitute instead of wine.¬† It’s not as unlikely as you might think.

Sanitizers- To keep the germies out.

Two very impressive pieces of equipment that are called “Spoon” and “Bucket“.¬†¬† Anything you can make in a bucket has got the Crafty Bitch stamp of approval.

Ye olde buckette, and ye olde spoone.

Making it Happen
Basically, and there is some variation to this process, you read the instructions and then follow them.¬† That’s about it.¬† Even the complex instructions are easy– they’re usually something like put this here, stir, now put it here, stir, stir some more, etc.¬† I know you’re thinking, “But what if I’ve never made wine before, and I bought all the stuff separately and I don’t have instructions?”¬† Well, to that I would say, “Go get your money back and buy a kit.”¬† I’m of the school that believes that you’ve got to learn how to fry up a grilled cheese before you conquer coq au vin.¬†¬† Anyway, the basic instructions go something like this:

1. Sanitize everything by following the instructions on your sanitizing powder.
2. Put your juice in the bucket followed by water and any other little extras that your instructions say to add (which are clearly labeled, thank Jesus).
3. Stir
4. Wait two weeks
5. Tranfer juice into the carboy using the auto-siphen.
6.  Wait four weeks

This is what you stare at longingly for four weeks.

7.  Transfer wine into wine bottles
8.  Add all the little finishing bells and whistles.  I got some black seals from Brewery Lane (do I love them because of the great customer service, or the adorable pun-name?  Who knows, who cares).  Then I ordered some labels online that cost way too much and are taking too long to get here, before I realized I can get them locally at a place called Brew Craft.  I made them myself with my trusty MS Paint:

 

Hurry up, Mother effer, so I can slap you on my bottles.

There were moments when I felt like a backwoods moonshiner, because, clearly, the very technical fermentation process doesn’t work unless you are barefoot and stirring like a butter-churning fiend.¬†¬† I also listened to some Bill Monroe¬†and Soggy Bottom Boys to keep in the spirit while¬†getting my churn on.

Just in case you're wondering, no, I'm not a Quasimodo, I'm a sloucher, it comes with the territory of being too hip for posture.

I found making wine was a lot like making bread– people say it’s hard but it’s mostly a lot of waiting around.¬† Then you present it to your friends and family with a smug look on your face that says, “I created this tiny delicious miracle out of raw materials and a dream, what did you do with your afternoon?”¬† This is a super fun hobby that involves very little thinking, in fact, you’ll probably even¬†kill¬†quite a few brain cells.¬† Plus, it’s¬†extremely rewarding (and I mean actually rewarding, not rewarding-by-obligation, like earning a degree, or¬†volunteering).¬† And if you find it’s something that you’re actually interested in,¬† you can, you know, start to use your brain and actually learn the ins and outs of it.¬† Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some lovely winos who would like shower heaps of praise upon me.¬† That’s code for “I’m breaking out Buster the Big Glass tonight”.

Song of the Day:

Homemade Gifts or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Bath Bombs

So,¬† I’ve been doing a lot of my Christmas shopping lately and as I’ve been wandering through throngs of people (seriously, don’t you people have¬†jobs or families to go to?) and sifting through¬†shelves of all the useless shit that’s piled up in the big box stores of this city and I’ve come to a realization that some of you little fruitcakes might have already had:¬† Christmas gift shopping sucks.¬† I know what you’re thinking: “But, Oh Crafty One, it’s only November, it can’t be that bad!”¬† But it is… it’s worse.¬† I like to spend most of my Christmas¬†holidays¬†not wanting to hang myself from the rafters with a piece¬†of tack-licious tinsel garland, so I stay out of stores¬†by getting all my gifts early.¬† However, I think I might be giving away too many of my secrets because it seems the masses have figured out my ploy and followed me,¬†Pied-Piper-style, to¬†Walmart and beyond.
So, what is a Crafty Bitch to do when you want to please your friendly-wendlies and loved ones and not kill your fellow shoppers in the process?  Why, you just whip together some hassle-free treats, stick on a gift tag, and call it a day.

One of the most underrated treasures in the world is homemade gifts.¬† Think about all the absolute crap you’ve gotten in your lifetime and how much it actually meant to you.¬† If I could take all the¬†shitty teddy bears I’ve gotten in my life and get them together, I wouldn’t have a teddy bear picnic, I’d have a teddy bear bonfire.¬† I don’t know about you, but I’m at a point in my life where I don’t need any more junk, and so are most of my friends,¬†so why should¬†I be throwing away tons of¬†my hard-earned¬†money at the mall finding that perfect something¬† when my pal-ios probably already have two of them, or they never wanted it in the first place.¬†¬†I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the most valuable thing you can give someone is your time, so why not put together a few time-filled goodies.

Bath Bombs
These are super easy to make and I love them because when you throw them in the drink with ya it’s like soaking in a big glass of champagne.

They’re also awesome¬† because you can lie and tell people they took you all day and they’ll believe you (Remember: The best relationships are built on a foundation of lies).

Ingredients:
1 cup baking soda:
I say sodium bicarbonate because it helps me remember baking soda, not powder.¬† Also, it makes me sound¬†like¬† a fancy scientist: “Hmm, yes, I need some sodium bicarbonate for cleaning my flatware… AND MY DEATH RAY”.¬† You can get this anywhere, I like¬†Bulk Barn because it’s cheapy-cheapy and¬†I can¬†pick up¬†¬†a shit load of candy while I’m at it.

1/2 cup of citric acid:
… or as I like to call it– Waldo, because it can be pretty hard to find.¬† Here’s¬†a few little tricks to finding it though that I didn’t really think of when I went out a-lookin’: Know what it looks like:
(I put a tiny wind-up Santa next to it to give you an idea of how big it should be.¬† Then I realized that tiny Santa’s aren’t exactly a universal measurement, but fuck it, I’m not taking the photo again.)

Secondly,¬†you’ll probably be asked what citric acid used for just so they’ll know what section of the store to find it in.¬† The answer is-¬†It should be everywhere, but it’s usually nowhere.¬† It can be used in small amounts¬†as an additive to jams and jellies so it could be found in the canning section of Walmart,¬†it’s also used to ripen cheese so it might be in your local health food or cooking supply stores, also, you can use it to cut heroine so you might try asking your local drug dealer.¬†¬†Just joking, smack is whack.¬† Anyway,¬†I thought I could just go out and ask some nice helpful salespeople and someone would have an idea.¬† However, most people looked at me like I was trying to build a bomb.¬† Which I was… a bath bomb!¬† (Just FYI, it’s probably not a good idea to use that one to said suspicious salespeople.)¬†¬†After 2 Walmart`s, 4 Shopper’s Drug Marts, 2 Dominions (brawl with rude customer service lady thrown in for free), and 1 Sobey’s,¬† I had a stroke of genius that involved calling around before heading out.¬† Of course the first place I called was a¬†wine making supply store that had tons of the stuff.¬† So, I’d look there first.¬† If you’re okay to wait, I’d recommend checking out Ebay or the Brewery Lane’s online store, Clickabrew, which is the store I got mine from.

2 teaspoons of cornstarch
Easy enough.

4 teaspoons of grapeseed oil
If you don’t know what grapeseed oil is it’s because it’s been camouflaged next to the olive oil at the grocery store for all these years.

A few drops of food colouring
I use neon food colouring because I’m wild and craaaaazy.

A few drops of fragrance
You can get these at Michael`s or any place with soap making supplies.¬† I’m not usually one who heeds all the warnings but I’ve heard that you must use¬†soap fragrance as candle¬†scent can irritate you body when added to a bath¬†and I always abide by such disclaimers when my hoo-ha is involved ;).

Extras
There are a few extras you can add to your bath bombs, such as vitamin E oil, but really you’d just be spending money to gild the lily.¬† Some people add sugar, sprinkles, or candies, but apparently these peoples’ mothers didn’t teach them about the pitfalls of women’s health (Thanks, Ma!).

Instructions (Make sure you pay attention, it’s real tricky)
1.  Mix wet ingredients in a cup (this batch is grapefruit flavoured, in case you were wondering).

2.  Mix dry ingrediants in a bowl.

3.  Add contents of cup to bowl.

4.¬† Smoosh.¬†¬† Throughout your smooshing process you will need to add more oil, just keep going until you get a sticky-ish consistency– enough so when you shape it it doesn’t fall apart.¬† Don’t worry if you go a bit overboard, as long as you don’t turn it into bath bomb-slop you can even it out with more baking soda.¬† P.S.¬† You will love how your hands feel after this– soft like buttah.

BAM! you got your mixture.¬† Use anything you want as a mold- ice cube trays, chocolate molds, plastic Christmas ornaments, it’s all good.
I like the little bubble¬† containers you get from gumball machines.¬† Pack it hard (that’s what she said) then extract from your mold.¬† Again, if they are a little powdery or oily just let them sit for a while to harden up.

Don’t be afraid to mix and match colours, some of my favorites are pink and green melon scented, and white vanilla paired with orange tangerine to make cream-sicle.

Put them in baggies, throw some straw or ribbon on it, and give them to all your smelly friends ūüôā .

Oh, and for all my homies reading this right now:¬† Guess what prezzie you’re getting!¬† And for all my friends that don’t like baths:¬† aw well, maybe you’ll get something next year.

Song of the Day:

“Cake Bitch” or “The Bachelorette Party sans Man-Bits”

So, if you’ve been a keener on my blog you’ll remember that my friend Katie got hitched recently. So, many of you know, doing the bridesmaid’s shuffle includes more than walking down the aisle with your little bouquet of fleurs. It can be hard friggin’ work. Without even factoring in the tasks of holding the bride’s hair back as she heaves or trying to get her hard earned 50 dollar bills BACK from the undulating, male stripper, there are many steps involved in making sure that the bride’s last hurrah doesn’t turn into a snooze-fest.  The one relief I had came from the only request Katie had for her bachelorette party: Please, no peens.

What I thought of as comfort later became a bit of a pickle (pun always intended).¬† I realized man-bits are usually the go-to for every bachlorette and without that template, I can tell you now that we had a little bit of a stressful day trying to gather a booze assortment, buy/apply decorations, bedazzle t-shirts, whip up tasty delights, and plan activities. When my fellow bridesmaid and best friend, Ms. Cardigan, dropped her rum in the driveway and ended up crying hysterically while splayed out on the asphalt (I had to convince passer-bys that she wasn‚Äôt severely alcoholic), I realized that man-bits really are the easy out for a stagette.¬† But, staying true to the bride’s wish (and because she has been such an accommodating bride, who really didn’t ask for much) I wanted to do something special for her.¬† So we trekked on with our penis-less party and after a hung-over morning filled with Cake Boss marathons (you know you’ve been there), I figured a cake would be a¬†a pretty¬†surprise that lacks genitalia of any sort. ¬† So, I’ve decided to share with you some of my amateur fondant creations so you can DIY the guts out of your bachelorette party (and it beats the hell out of paying someone else to do it).

The Cake for Katie:

Fondant is just like Play-Doh for grown-ups, so just think about it as making many shapes and gluing them together (with water, not glue, because if you really are a grown-up you know that eating paste is for the weird kids). So here’s how to do it…

Easy as Pie… er… Cake
Make your cake.¬† You’re going to spend a fair amount of time on¬†fondant, so I would recommend a mix from a box.¬† We don’t want to twiddle our lives away on measuring flour and other such foolishness.¬† I opted for a Betty Crocker French Vanilla.¬† The size and shape of your cake is up to you.¬†¬†I wanted to do a triple layer because I wanted an excuse to use my teeny tiny pan.¬†¬†After I had made the individual cakes and they had set enough that they weren’t doing all that steaming and¬†crumbling business, I cut each one in half and filled it with a generous heaping of Nutella and sliced strawberries.¬† Then I put it back together and “dirty iced” the bottom layer (thanks for the vocab lesson, Cake Boss!).

The Fondant:
Fondant is a pretty easy thing to work with, but it looks scary.¬† Buy a big tub of it (got mine at the Bulk Barn) and say over and over to yourself “Do not be scared, this is just a cake.¬† It’s only a baked good, I’m not performing open heart surgery”.¬† Use your kitchen table (clean clean clean), with a nice little layer of flour.¬† Knead in enough colour to make it vibrant, I choose flamingo pink, and roll it out with a floured rolling pin.¬† When you think it’s big enough, throw it up over your cake.¬† Mind you, the dirty icing will make it stick¬†so make sure it’s positioned well before you set it down.¬† Now, a lot of fancy, shmancy cake makers have a steamer that make for seamless fondant edges, however, I refuse to bust the bank for something I’ll only break out for holidays and special occasions, so I made some folds¬†around the¬†top corner using the natural sway of the fondant (kind of like how a tablecloth has natural folds when on a round table).

(BTW, check out my sick MS Paint skills.)

Add a band of  fondant to cover the untidy fondant edges at the bottom of each cake layer.

Pump it Up
Fondant shoes are super cute, iconically girly, and easy to make in a few simple steps.¬† You’ll need gum paste for these.¬† I used Wilton’s Ready to Use stuff.

First, mix in your colour.¬† And flatten ‘er out with a floured rolling pin.

Cut out the shape of a shoe-sole…

And the toe of it.  You can gauge the size of the toe by tracing the tip of the sole and making it just a teensy bit wider.


And assemble using water as glue.¬† Lean it on a piece of thick-ish paper so it’s got some slope to it and use a ball of plastic wrap to keep the toe rounded.¬† Make a little stump out of the gum.¬† Add as a heel.

Pop it in the fridge until it’s hardened (once it’s stiffened a little bit easier to work on- that’s what she said).¬† Add gum paste ribbons or bows.¬† “But, Crafty Bitch,” you say, “How will I ever make a bow?!”¬† Well, my darlings, I will tell you!

Tying the Knot
Bows are super-duper simple and look elegant .¬† They’re a little delicate so don’t Hulk-smash it onto your cake, but once you¬†make a couple, you quickly get the hang of it.

Cut two¬†“flower-petal” shapes out¬†of flattened fondant (or gum paste, whatevs).

Fold each petal around a pen (wash the pen first, you filthy minxes).

When you’ve got two of these little pieces, stick the points together with a little water.¬†¬†Cut out a tiny rectangle of fondant to wrap around the centre of the bow, hiding¬†the stuck-together-bit.

Cut out some slightly larger rectangles¬†and attach¬†like an upside down “V” to the main bow part.¬† Cut tiny triangles out of¬† the bottom of these rectangles, and, voila, you’re¬†fit to be tied.

Shaken, not stirred
A party for dirty girls isn’t complete without a few dirty martinis.¬† So I decided to stick some on the cake. For the olives, roll some green fondant into a ball, add a little red dot.¬† Shove a toothpick through it and place on your cake.¬† Voila!

For the martini glasses, use black fondant.  Roll it out on a floured surface. Using a knife, cut out some triangles, then cut smaller triangles out from the inside of your big triangle.  Add a stem of flattened fondant and use your small triangle for the base of the glass.  Throw in a tiny green ball for a mini-olive.  You should get something like this:
(BEHOLD the power of MS Paint).

The End
Arrange your tiny fondant pieces around your cake at your preference.¬† And if you’re wondering how tour party went: we stayed true to our word, there was not a¬†twig-‘n’-berries¬†to be seen.¬† However, I must admit, I thought pretty hard about serving the cake on these napkins:


Song of the Day:

Get Some Scents: Start Sniffing the Seasons

Walking into my Ma’s house during the holiday season always reminds me of being a kid.  As soon as you walk in the door you get punched in the face by a taste-tastic blend of cookies, Christmas tree, and just enough rum to make it a happy holiday season.  When I started living on my own I tried to copy this smell, however, not having fully developed my crafty bitch powers mixed with copious anxiety brought on by end of term finals meant I didn’t have the time or energy to put into it.  So, what’s a junior crafty bitch in training meant to do?  I bought a candle!  Whomp, whomp.

The problem with Christmas candles, mon petite bon-bons, is that they come in three scents: Vanilla, which is generally tasty but is a smell of any day of the year, evergreen, which is supposed to smell like a snow-filled forest or some bullshit but ends up something more akin to Pine-Sol, and Winterberry.  Winterberry is a variety of holly and, for anyone who doesn’t know, real holly actually smells like a big fat sack of…. wait for it…. nothing!  In an open statement to the candle companies of the world I would like to say:

I’m all about the commercialization of Christmas, but don’t scrape the bottom of the aroma pot, slap a stock-photo on the packaging, and tell me it’s the smell of heart-warming seasons to come.

In an effort to combat shitty holiday marketing ploys, my friend Marlena, who I will now refer to her only as Ms. Cardigan, likes to pull a fast one on her guests and make her own easy-peasy, air-freshener at X-Mas time; or as I like to call it an air-holidizer.  Because being a true crafty bitch is partially being a lazy bitch, she captures all of the dee-lish smells of Christmas with a fraction of the work.  So I’ve decided to steal her idea, tailor it to the autumn season, and take all of the credit.  Huzzah!

So, here goes:
What you’ll need:
1 medium sized sauce pan
2 cups of water

Autumn
1 cinnamon stick
2 apple peels
Spices: ¬Ĺ tbsn ginger, ¬Ĺ tbsn of nutmeg, ¬Ĺ tbsn of all spice
1 vanilla bean or 2 tbsns of vanilla extract
Christmas
1 cinnamon stick
1 orange peel
1 tbsn of ginger
About 4 tbsns of needles from an evergreen tree (think the park, tree farm, etc.).  We’re an artificial tree family, so this ingredient rocks my reindeer socks off.

Slap your ingredients and water in a pot and turn on the oven.  Let your aromatic mixture sit on the lowest heat and if you notice it getting a little dry add some water.  I’m not going to be like the candle-company hoodlums and tell you not to leave your mixture unattended, but I will say don’t be an idiot and burn your house down.

Try your own different concoctions at home‚ÄĒalthough I recommend not making a smell of spring air-freshener as a whiff of simmering grass isn‚Äôt as delightful as it sounds.

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice,
Crafty Bitch

Song of the Day:

Art for Tarts

So, I used to have secret dreams of becoming a beret-wearing, cigarette smoking, beatnik artist. It would be nothing for me to pick up a shirt or two because, ‚ÄúI could see myself painting in that‚ÄĚ. However, through my grown-up years, I‚Äôve found that while the art we hear the most about is often wrapped in pretentiousness and snob-jobbery, most artists are not. The best artists are the ones who aren‚Äôt afraid to give up their secrets and let you experiment for yourself, a la:

Ba-blam! Bob Ross is the man. Not only is his soothing, melodic voice the only thing I can stand on hung-over Saturday mornings, but he actually cuts the bullshit and tells you exactly what to do. Ex. Take your brush‚Ķ put it in the titanium white, put it here on the canvas. Fabulous. I love a man who can talk about painting and not the ‚Äúpain deep in my soul‚ÄĚ (artsy fartsy types drive me off the deep end). So, I‚Äôve taken a cue from Mr. Ross and figured I‚Äôd post up some instructions on making some cute ‚Äústick up on your wall‚ÄĚ art. However, I‚Äôm going to let you in on a little secret about oil painting that no-one tells you: that shizz is expensive. And in my opinion a painting shouldn‚Äôt cost a hundred-gazillion dollars to be seen as an accomplishment. I‚Äôm not ashamed to say that I‚Äôm a cheap-decorator and I‚Äôd rather make my own artwork than hang up some swirls of paint from some chap I don‚Äôt know from my Uncle Ernie. So, here goes:

What you’ll need:

  • ¬†One piece of canvas. I prefer the stretched stuff because getting paintings framed is a major hassle, for which I have no time. “Gallary Wrap” is what fancy fuddy-duddies call this stuff ūüėČ You can get this at most craft stores but you could end up fiddling away your hard earned nickels. Walmart canvas is where it‚Äôs at. I got a pack of 5 for somewhere abouts 20 bucks.
  • 1 bottle of paint thinner. You can get this anywhere. Mine cost me 2 dollars and will last me until apocalypse is upon us.¬†
  • ¬†Assorted brushes. This is the only place I‚Äôll ever tell anyone not to skimp. There‚Äôs no need to buy individual brushes because they‚Äôre usually expensive and often end up getting destroyed (maybe that‚Äôs because I paint like I‚Äôm at war) but a nice pack of 5 nylon ones will run you 5-7 dollars and you will use these for everything. Read the labels carefully, because stiff bristles will make your painting look like you did it with a rake. Take care of your brushes and they‚Äôll take care of you. Although, I recommend not leaving them in charge of your children as they won‚Äôt take care of them.
  • Oil Pastels. Now, some arts stores are tricky and will tell you that these suckers can go for pretty expensive and then they‚Äôll try and sell you the best that money can buy. I got these for a dollar at Dollarama and they are golden. Hoo-ah!

Step One: Print this. You may need to make it bigger or smaller depending on how big your canvas is. Or, eyeball it if you got drawing skills.

Step Two:

 If you have printed the above, cut out the pink dotted lines.

Step Three:

Slap it on your canvas and lightly trace around it with a pencil.¬† I say lightly because if you leave too much lead behind you’ll end up muddling the grey into your colours and everything will end up a hazy shade of Winter.¬† After you’re done tracing you may have to add in a couple lines here and there that are un-traceable, like the lines in the cupcake cup.¬†

Step Four:

Pick your colours and go to town with oil pastels. They work just like crayons. Try not to press too hard, because you don’t want itty-bits of crumbled pastel all over the place. If it’s not dark enough for your liking you can always go back and add more after the painting step. For the background pick a lighter colour pastel and use it horizontally on the canvas so you can cover a large area. I’d recommend applying a little bit more pastel in the corners, making it darker and giving your picture some depth.

Step Five:

Dip your brush of choice in your paint thinner and stroke along your pastels. Give it a go and don‚Äôt be afraid.¬†I‚Äôve seen my friend Marlena stare at a blank piece of canvas for what seems like hours, terrified to touch brush to canvas lest she make a mistake. This is not science, put down the rulers, people! If you think something would look good, throw it in there. I just put some circles in the background doing the same “technique”, drawing in oil pastel then painting over with paint thinner.¬† This is your painting and it represents you. It figures that my favorite things to paint are tarts ;).

When you get into it it takes you a very short time to make one painting and you’ll get braver at free-handing.¬† Here are a couple more I did:

Step Five: Stand back and marvel at your masterpiece which costs about five, fiddy.  Sign your name and display proudly. Or, better yet, sign someone else’s name and tell all your artsy-fartsy friends you got it at auction for a c-note.