Friday, January 30, 2009
i'm trying to make my blog look nicer and less like a straight up blogger blog. new headers with some of my pictures, better layout (right?), and more customized. i've added a list of my favorite things with links for you to get your own...or to at least see what i'm using.
am i missing anything? i know from my feed tracker thing that people outside my small circle of family and friends are looking at alaunamakes...so feel free to comment :)
i know i'm not a fancypants, tutorial heavy, links to such and such blog...but i've been doing this for a year and i don't want to toally suck, you know?
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
snowflake snow globe soap!
well, along came tsquared, short a few classes at this mini workshop thing hosted at the university we work at. when he asked me what i could teach, i couldn't think of anything on the spot. i know that seems a little ridiculous, because while i don't have that many talents and interests, there had to be something i could teach. i mean, i do make stuff. so i pondered things i had made or done and things i knew. and then it came to me: i should totally teach those snow globe things!
note: i have never made soap. my only experience with soap + crafts comes from about 2nd grade when i carved into a bar of ivory a fresh water fish i called "LMNOP"...like el-oh-minnow...with a p at the end. yeah.
you can find the original instructions at the link above or you can use mine, which are basically exactly like hers, only written in my numbered manner.
ice cube tray(s)
heat-safe measuring cup
clear glcerin soap
soap scent (your choice!)
blue soap dye
white soap shavings (bar of ivory, grated is good)
small ornaments or toys
1. cut glycerin into cubes (i did about 8 cubes at a time in class)
2. add cubes to measuring cup and microwave for 40 seconds
3. stir and continue to microwave in 10 second intervals until melted to liquid
4. stir in a few drops of soap dye and scent - start light and add more if needed
5. sprinkle in a bit of soap glitter and stir
6. fill ice cube tray 3/4 full of blue liquid glycerin
7. wait about 1 minute to allow glycerin to set slightly, then insert small object into each cube
(remember that the bottom of the ice cube tray is the top of the snow globe)
8. sprinkle white shavings on top of each cube - this makes the "snow"
9. melt a few more cubes of glycerin and pour over snow shavings to seal - fill to the top
10. place tray in freezer for 20 minutes
11. when set, remove from freezer and pop out as you would ice...tada!
you can clean them up a bit by snipping the ornament string (if it has one) and using a paring knife to cut away stray soap bits. in the photo above, i did neither which left a far more organic snow base...it's really up to you.
i bought clear cello bags and ribbon for the class and put my little cube in one as a sample.
this was such a cute, fun project and with a bit more practice and patience (say, not making the test run at 11 pm) i think these would be great gifts. i ran into some trouble finding small objects because i missed the holiday sale racks, so i found random sea creatures and toys at a papermart. i bet you could find tons of things online and if planned ahead more than 2 days, this wouldn't be a problem.
and since i taught these at a class..let me give a brief run down of how that went. 5 students were signed up. at about 1 minute until the class was to begin, no one was there but three of my coworkers (tsqaured included). then, a guy walked in looking lost, so i asked him, "are you here for the easy craft gifts class?". "um," he said. ::eye shift:: "yeah, [insert annoyed, resigned tone] i got put into this class." ::stares at floor:: [insert awkward pause] i hda no idea what to say, so i suggested he come on in and see if he liked it enough to stay. off to a great start!
so the four of us (coworkers and me) and the one who didn't want to be there set out on making our soaps. i handled the heating and my group stirred, poured, and adorned. in addition to making snow globes, i bought heart shaped ice cube molds and pink dye and people made some valentine's day themed soaps as well. another student joined us halfway through and a third joined us near the end...so i guess it was still a success. though we had so many sea turtle, squid and heart soaps in the end that the few students couldn't even take them all. anyone need a spare snow globe soap?
Sunday, January 18, 2009
stacked gingerbread cookies
husband and i actually tackled this together. and i know husband has had kitchen sucesses, so i set him up with the dry ingredients thinking things couldn't go wrong. five minutes and and an "um..." later, i noticed a large amount of nutmeg in the bowl. there was nutmeg in the recipe...but not that much. apparently he forgot which spice was which and what amount of each he needed to measure. so i scraped the spices and top layer of flour off and he started over, more attentive. then, at the party, he made guests ask me why the cookies tasted so much like nutmeg. they didn't and he set me up, but i got all flustered anyway.
i cut them into gingerbread boys and girls, peace doves, and stars. i think i did 1.5 times the original recipe and ended up getting between 50 and 60 cookies. i also took them out quite early so they'd be soft and chewy and not like ginger snaps.
people liked icing the cookie themselves and they were a hit. once everyone left i spent about 25 minutes, hopped up on mimosas (seriously), and decorated the rest of them. then i laid on the couch and drank 3 more mimosas.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
it was time for a makeover. not a resolution or anything. i've been wanting to switch to a white background for a while and even though i'm not totally set with the layout, i like the wintery theme for right now.
when my hands regain their ability to move and thus type, i will blog about some more things i made over the last few weeks. feel free to send mittens, an electric blanket, and gummy candy for my survival.
Monday, January 12, 2009
post feast brunch 2008
as we do every year, husband and i hosted a small gathering before the holidays. normally we try to go all out with a theme and have a nice evening shindig. this year, however, december was almost half over before we decided we'd have people over...so no time to plan and party till dawn. as an easier option, i planned a brunch for 20 people with limited offerings of food and drink.
here's the menu for holiday brunch 2008
pioneer woman's sleepin' in omelet x2
smitten kitchen's boozy baked french toast x2
alauna's crustless quiche (veggie and meat options x3)
simple fruit salad x2
friend helen's chocolate toffee scones
friend mike's cayenne chocolate scones
frost-your-own gingerbread cookies
spiked egg nog
check out the recipe for the sleepin' in omelet linked in the menu above. if you cut the butter in half (or more) you can feel a little better about it...and it's still tasty! so good, i made it again while back home in wisconsin. bread, cheese, butter....more cheese.
* smitten kitchen's recipe is not to blame!
prepped for overnight
baked brunch goodies
i love our holiday parties and i'm so glad we've got such a good group of friends to have over. and apparently, people don't mind stopping by...i inivted people the tuesday before a sunday brunch (which just happened to not far from christmas, so i figured for conlficts) and all but a few people responded within hours. feed them and they will come.
Labels: real food
Monday, January 5, 2009
i had grand plans for my holiday cards this past december. i wanted to gocco. i wanted silver and aqua. i wanted sparkly rhinestones. unfortunately, things did not go as planned and i got those things and then some...and then not some.
i started by ordering stardream cards and envelopes from www.envelopemall.com. i like this store because they have good prices and quick turnaround. i used them for most of the supplies for my wedding invites and i was pleased once again with my silvery stock. i ordered heat back rhinestones from www.artbeads.com. i made some snowflakes at make-a-flake (if this site ever goes down I'll be so sad) and printed the original.
then it was time to gocco. and let's all pause here, taking a moment to remember a time when i wasn't scrambling to find screens and bulbs and paying out the you-know-what to get as many as i could before they ran out. i am now the proud owner of 15 or so packs of bulbs and screens...so i guess I can do a few more before my world just stops turning and life as i know it is over. and gocco people...if you are reading, MAKE MORE. seriously.
i made little glitter snowflake dots to bridge the gap between extreme shiny (tiny crystal rhinestones) and extreme not (stupid navy blue ink). it worked! i liked it so much i glued back in the low lites i had so recently ripped out from my head.
Labels: paper/graphic design
Saturday, January 3, 2009
so we'll get into january by reminiscing about this year's christmas...only days ago and i already miss it. i only had one tree this year (yes, i normally have two) so i went big and traditional. normally i shy away from anything red or green but for some reason i thought it fitting to pair my gold tree with a mix of red, green and gold gifts.
so the day i shopped, i got home an wrapped everything until 2 am. i found these papers all over but my most favrotie thing was the thick, wired ribbon with dots and snowflakes that i found at costco. and i'm glad i like it because i've got 2 50 yd rolls of it still...and i paid only $3.50 a roll. i about died when i saw that...and i made husband take giant box after box of bulk ribbon to find just the right styles. after ransacking the aisle (we left it a complete mess due to poor box construction. sorry costco.) i practically raced home to tie up pretty gift boxes.
christmas, i love you. see you next year! (and blog, i'll see you as many days in january as i can. promise.)