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1  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Valentine's Day / Valentine's Tree! on: February 12, 2013 06:10:45 PM
When Peaches posted her Valentine Tree (http://www.auntpeaches.com/2013/02/guest-posting-hot-glue-hearts.html) , I was all like, I have GOT to make one of 'em!  So I did.



I used stuff that I had on hand--pipe cleaners for the hearts, ribbon scraps, 2 cardinals, vases thrifted a few years ago, and branches from a tree that didn't survive a storm.

More info and pics on le blog:

http://positiveponderings.blogspot.ca/2013/02/valentines-tree.html
2  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Weddings and Bridal Showers / My DIY Wedding Decor on: January 14, 2013 02:33:49 PM
For our wedding, I wanted a fun, quirky, crafty look.  Nothing overly fancy (we DID have our reception in the church basement).  Why the church basement for the reception?  I really liked the idea of having the ceremony and dinner in one locale.  As the Mr. wanted to wed in his childhood church, I decided to go with the basement.  Plus, it was free.  I was willing to stay up late to decorate it (with the help of my sister, a good friend, father, and father-in-law) and take it from "meh" to "ah, that's crafty!"

To show you can have a perfectly nice wedding reception sans the fanfare of fancy (and more pricey) venues, here are some pictures of the end result.  Not that I dislike fancy and more pricey receptions, they are fun to attend, but not what I wanted.  


All decorated, about 1am the day of the nuptials.   Twinkle lights from ebay (10 strings for $50!). I'd share the link, but my electrician father didn't think they are certified to be used in Canada, so I'll avoid any endorsements.  They were cheap and cheaply made (weird fusing of wires, bulbs not working), but they served their purpose.  The garland in the background is paper hearts from Martha Stewart, on sale at Wal-Mart.


The head table, featuring some sassy DIYed fleurs, inspired by Aunt Peaches's Cherry Blossom (http://www.auntpeaches.com/2012/03/friday-flowers-anns-cherry-blossoms.html) .  I used branches, coffee filters (not dyed), sand, old ribbon scraps, and reused glass jars.


My delicious cake, made by my aunt.  I made a BIRD TREE, inspired at the last minute by a tree seen on the blog A Beautiful Mess, from Abbey Hendrickson's book You Are Awesome.  I used vintage birds I had on hand, some ordered from etsy, and some from the Dollarama!  The cake knife and server are vintage and from ebay.  I posted about the peg topper here: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?board=97.0


I also made a butterfly tree. Butterflies from Dollarama!


The guest tables alternated between white lace (plastic) tablecloths and purple (plastic) ones (from various dollar stores).   The white tables had coffee filter flowers.  I made runners by ripping a bolt of discount fabric--no hemming as I liked the rustic feel.  Paper doilies were also used.  Each table had a "Happy Couple Fact" on tiny chalkboards (about $1 each at Michaels).  Favours were chocolate chip cookies (from Costco...I even had someone request the recipe, so they were well-received) in cello bags sealed with a sticker saying out names, the date, and "Thanks for Sharing Our Special Day!"  Chocolate chip cookies are the Mr's fave.  Smiley


The purple tables  had nature-themed centre pieces Frankenstein-ed together with glass votive holders (painted and glittered, the wood paper was already on 'em), lids of the glass bottles used to house the coffee filter flowers as the bases and tops, vintage bits and bobs along with some new crafty elements, such as this fawn.  The moss pad was from Michaels.


A DIYed sign, made with cardboard letters from Wal-Mart.


One of our "Fun Facts."


Paper lanterns and tissue paper poofs were hung from the sassy caged lights, my father-in-law's idea.  It made 'em glow  and covered up the ugly fixtures.  


The gift table, with painted wooden initials and ampersand (Wal-Mart), and card basket.


I LOVED having cards hand-delievered to us throughout the reception!  SO CUTE!  ALL supplies from Dollarama.  There was about an hour between the ceremony and reception and I wanted something fun for the guests to do.  We also had some fruit trays to snack on.


A calendar for the "guest book."  People sign their birthdays! The calendar is from Dollarama.



3  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Ombre Paper Lanterns on: January 14, 2013 02:22:05 PM


I wanted to DIY some paper lanterns (left over from our wedding) with a dip-dyed ombre effect.  I couldn't find any tutorials online, so I came up with this.

Supplies?  A paper lantern, some acrylic paint, a soft paintbrush, and water.

Step 1:  Squirt some paint onto the base of your lantern (or the top, if you want the colour gradient reversed).
Step 2: Start painting the bottom portion of the lantern.  Drag the brush downwards and let it get streaky.
Step 3: Dip your brush in some water and continue to downwards motion.  Smooth out the streaky bits.
Step 4:  Keep dipping your brush in the water as needed and continue with the downwards motion.  Leave the top section untouched.
Step 5: Allow to dry.
Step 6: Hang up and enjoy!

For those of you who would like more pictures of the process, there are some on my blog:
http://positiveponderings.blogspot.ca/2012/11/ombre-paper-lanterns-diy.html
4  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Easy, Glittery, Thrifty Snowflake Wreath on: January 14, 2013 11:17:49 AM


So, I wanted to make a wintery/festive wreath.  One that can stay up longer than traditional christmas decorations, 'cause I need some glittery cheer to get me through winter.  Oh, and it had to be cheap...like, under $5 cheap.

While I was perusing the holiday decor section of Canadian Tire awaiting my oil change to be done, I spied some glittery snowflake ornaments--a pack of like 400 (okay, more like 20) for $4.   The wheels started turning and the snowflakes were purchased.

Step 1:  Draw your wreath form.  I used a cereal box.  Two plates helped me with the circles.
Step 2: If your form is a bit flimsy, do make another one and glue them together (I used hot glue).
Step 3: Trim and watch your cat having fun with the scraps.
Step 3: Paint your wreath form a coordinating shade...I used a bronze acrylic.
Step 4: Start gluing on the snowflakes with hot glue, overlapping them.
Step 5: Personalize: I used more of the bronze paint and some gold paint to add more dimension.  Gently rub some on with a soft paintbrush.
Step 6:  Glue some unaltered flakes onto the wreath for a bit more detail (I used two), one at the top and one at the bottom.
Step 7: Make a hanger.  I used a picture hanging thingy I had laying about and hot glued it on the back side of the wreath, tying a ribbon on it (also from my stash)
Step 8: Hang this glittery bad boy up and enjoy its festive glory!  Ours adorns our door now that the christmas wreath is down.

Pictures of the steps are on the blog:http://positiveponderings.blogspot.ca/2012/11/easy-glittery-thrifty-snowflake-wreath.html
5  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Winter Terrariums on: January 14, 2013 11:12:36 AM


Who is rather fond of all the terrarium love on the interwebs these days?  Me!  In the spirit of DIY-ing the majority of our holiday decor and saving money, while hopping aboard the terrarium-loving-train, this craft was born.

Supplies Needed:
* Glass containers, as many as you desire.
*Air dry clay.
*Miniature figures for your displays.
 *Glitter and glitter paint.
*A paint brush, or q-tip, or your fingers...
Steps:

1.  Prepare your snow!  Knead in some silver glitter to the clay.  I did this using probably 1/8 tsp of glitter at a time until the snow achieved a sparkly effect.

 2.  Press the snow into the bottom of the glass container, adding more glitter on top if desired (who wouldn't desire that?!).

3.  Press your miniatures into the snow.

4.  Using the glitter paint, paint around the sides of the container, where the whiter snow is visible.  Painting on the top rim is also fun!  DAB it on, do not brush it on.

5.  Let it all dry, clean off any fingerprints/smudges on the glass (I used straight-up white vinegar for this), and ENJOY!


I spent $7.50 plus tax on this craft.  If I had had to buy all the supplies, it would have been around $25.50 plus tax (possibly less, if you used cheaper supplies).  Not too bad for decor you can keep up after the holidays...mine is still up and staying displayed until spring comes!


More pictures showing how-to are on the blog:http://positiveponderings.blogspot.ca/2012/12/winter-terrariumsdiy.html
6  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Cranberry Curd! on: January 14, 2013 11:03:23 AM


Mmm....cranberries.  And curd?  Always a good time.  Put 'em together and you have a treat for your tongue!

So, on pinterest, I came across a recipe for cranberry curd.  As it happened, I had a bag of crans in the freezer awaiting to be cooked.  So I decided to give the recipe a try...with a kitschbitch spin to accommodate my lack of refined sugar-ness and what I had in my pantry/fridge.  Also, I used an immersion blender instead of straining twice.  Cause I like cranberry seeds (roughage!) and am lazy.

More pictures on the blog, if you are so inclined:http://positiveponderings.blogspot.ca/2012/11/cranberry-curdsweetened-with-coconut.html
7  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Avocado Brownies! on: January 14, 2013 11:00:15 AM

Avocado in brownies?  Hells yeah.  Trust me on this one...avocado and coconut oil take the place of butter and the result is delightful.  Swap regular sugar for coconut sugar, spelt for all purpose flour, and add in some psyllium husk for a delicious and more healthy rich chocolatey treat!  Once they are cooled, you won't even taste the avocado (when warm, there is a slight taste to the brownies, but still yummy!).

Adapted from this recipe at  http://www.howsweeteats.com/2012/08/fudgy-avocado-brownies/


Ingredients:
* 2 large avocados, mashed
* 2 oz unsweetened dark chocolate (2 bars of baker's chocolate), chopped
* 1 cup cocoa powder
* 8 tablespoons coconut oil
*1 1/2 cup coconut sugar
* 2 large eggs
* 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
* 1 cup spelt flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
* 2 teaspoons psyllium husk

Directions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.  Grease a brownie pan (I used 2x 8 inches round cake pans).
2.  Place chopped chocolate, cocoa powder, and coconut oil in a saucepan over low-medium heat.  Stir frequently until melted and well-blended.
3.  Place the mashed avocado in a large mixing bowl.  Add in the melted chocolate mixture and coconut sugar.  Mix well.
4.  Add in the 2 eggs and vanilla extract and mix well.
5.  Add in the dry ingredients and fold in until mixed.
6.  Pour into pan(s), cook for 20-30 minutes (until middle/centre is firm), and allow to cool.

These have passed the preschool nieces and almost-30-year-old brother-in-law taste tests.
8  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Weddings and Bridal Showers / Cake Topper...Peg Doll Style on: October 02, 2012 01:28:29 PM
For the recently-passed wedding, I went rather DIY, including my cake topper.  Inspired by peg doll toppers, I went to town and created this:



Total cost? Under 10$!

Pretty simple to make, you just need patience and some know-how with a paintbrush.  More detailed DIY is on the blog ( http://positiveponderings.blogspot.ca/2012/09/diy-wedding-cake-topper.html ), but basically: you get peg dolls, paint them to resemble the happy couple, add in a pet or two, and adhere to a wooden base if so desired.

And, a close-up shot:

.

You MAY wish to get rid of hot glue strings, unlike me.  Whatevs, it adds charm, I say!



Also, my bouquet and my maid of Honour's are posted here: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=405143.msg4771167#msg4771167  if you feel like seeing more kitschy-bitchy wedding DIY.
9  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Naturally Sweetened Chewy Brownies with Chewy Chocolate Topping on: April 02, 2012 10:29:27 AM



Naturally Sweetened Chewy Brownies

Ingredients
*1 1/4 cup coconut sugar
* 2 1/2 bars of unsweetened baker's chocolate (4.5 oz)
* 1 tablespoon unsulphered blackstrap molasses (Healthy!  So much iron!)
* 1/2 cup butter (applesauce and coconut oil may work, but I have not tried it)
* 2 large eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 3/4 cup flour (I did a mix of quinoa flour and spelt flour)
* 3 heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and grease an 8 x 8 inch baking pan.
2.  Over medium heat, mix the coconut sugar, chocolate, molasses, and butter until smooth.  Stir continually.
3.  Remove from heat and let cool.
4.  Beat together the eggs and vanilla and add to the cooled mixture.
5.  Mix together the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. 
6.  Stir in the wet mixture.
7.  Pour into the pan and bake for 25 minutes.
8.  Allow to cool before frosting or cutting.

Chewy Chocolate Topping
My tied, tested, and true topping.  Used here and here.

Ingredients
* 1/3 cup coconut oil
* 1/3 cup brown rice syrup
* 5 heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder

Directions
1.  Place the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir until the coconut oil is melted.
2.  Pour evenly cooled brownies.
3.  Place in the freezer until firm, about 10 minutes.
4.  Cut into squares.


For more ramblings and an ode to coconut sugar, check out le blog:
http://positiveponderings.blogspot.ca/2012/04/naturally-sweetened-chewy-brownies-with.html
10  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Weddings and Bridal Showers / Bouquets--for me and my MOH, Whimsical Nature Delight! on: March 06, 2012 09:11:30 AM
Okay, okay, so my wedding is not for another 6 months, but I just can't help DIYing in perpetration!  Recent crafts?  My bouquet and that of my Maid of Honour, my soeur, L.  The look? Whimsical nature, in shades of ivory, turquoise, and royal purple.

Here are some notes about the "how to" of making these bouquets:
*Not everything had floral picks or wires, so I added tooth picks to the following: ivory flowers and the two birds.
*Hot glue was my friend.
*I wanted whimsical versus "perfect," so imperfections and a lack of symmetry are a-okay.
*Everything was ordered online, from etsy, ebay, and other craft sites.

Why make my own bouquet?  Well, flowers wilt and I want a bouquet that will be a keepsake.  DIYing allowed me to make them when I had some free time versus making a bouquet with real flowers the night before the wedding.  I knew I wanted to DIY my bouquets: making my own bouquets mean they are unique and hold a special meaning for me.

My sister/MOH's:




Mine:




More pics on the bloggio:
http://positiveponderings.blogspot.com/2012/03/bouquets-whimsical-nature-delight.html
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