Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a short note today to wish you all a happy Thanksgiving! May you have many blessing for which to be thankful. And lots and lots of pie 🙂

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Another Birthday Cake!

This post goes out to my Pop-pop, who turned 88 this week! He’s an amazing man, a World War II vet and a wonderful husband to my Grammy (of vegan chocolate cake fame). I knew I had to make an equally awesome cake. His favorite is carrot cake, with cream cheese frosting, so that’s what I made.

And here it is!

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I wanted to keep it subtle and classy, so I stuck with the natural color of the frosting and swirled rosettes all over the sides. I continued that aesthetic on top, with an 88 made up of the same swirls.

To achieve this look, I filled a piping bag with the frosting and put a 22 star tip on. (I think. The markings are kind of worn off my second-hand tips.) And then I made three rows of swirls, about the diameter of a quarter. This was my first time doing this style decorating, and in all honesty, I used it because I was having trouble with crumbs when spreading the sides. Also, in the future, I’d  do the bottom row of swirls first.

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As you can see, they sort of get squished down there, and that’s largely because I squeezed them under after I did the middle row.

Regardless of little imperfections, the overall effect was scrumptious and the cake was admired and scarfed down!

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Fabulous Floppies

I’m sure many of you have seen this tutorial on making floppy disks into planters. Or you may have seen any of the other numerous ones out there, using different kinds of glue and string, and even zip ties. Well, in the same closet where I found a stash of marbles, I found a case of old floppy discs!

So of course I tried out the project; it combines recycling and plants! I used the hot glue method, and made three fairly standard planters, experimenting with which side of the disk shows and working with the colored labels already on the disks.

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I like the circular hub showing. Extra silver is always good with me!

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On this one, I let the existing labels show, to provide a slightly color-blocked feel.

Once they were made, I looked at my cluttered workspace and decided that instead of three planters, I would have two planters and a handy desk organizer for my paint brushes!

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The brushes in their new home!

Once my brushes were all nice and on display, though, some more inspiration hit. Why not paint the disks to make a pretty, mod planter? And so I did!

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I lined the pre-assembly disks up while painting so that the zig-zag would wrap neatly around the finished planter.

It took several coats of the base gold and then quite a few coats and touch-ups of the turquoise zig-zag. I used acryllic paints, and they worked pretty well. I did notice they scratch off pretty easily, so it’s not the most hard wearing paint job, but I’m happy with it. Once everything was dry, I glued the disks together and then painted over the hot glue. And finally, I potted some lovely philodendron cuttings I’ve been rooting.

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I can’t wait for the cuttings to take off in their new home!

Because I put the soil directly into the planter, rather than in a pot in the planter, it leaks and I keep a plate under it. Even still, it’s a lovely touch in any room, and especially in a sunny corner of my kitchen where the gold paint gleams under the shade of the greenery!

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And at the end of the day, here’s a stack of 20 floppy disks that are not headed for the landfill!

I cracked (and capped) my marbles!

So this is a tutorial on making caps for marbles.

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Like the one you see here!

But not just any marbles! Special marbles! The process of making them special caused several people to question whether I’d lost my marbles… But *tbpppt* to them!

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I found this excellent post about cracking marbles. The end result was so pretty!

However, I did not have any marbles, and didn’t feel like rushing out to buy any. So I pinned the post and went about my life. Then, the other day as I was cleaning out a closet, I found a little box, labeled marbles! And sure enough, it was full of old marbles from my childhood! Score! I had the oven pre-heating before you could knuckle down and aim a shooter!

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And the marbles turned out beautifully!

But what to do with them? The author over at dream-it-make-it glued bead caps to hers. But I didn’t have any bead caps. So I decided to make some. And lucky for all of you, I remembered to take pictures so you can make some too!

Materials:

  1. jewelry wire – I used 24 gauge. You could probably make it work with a size up or two as well
  2. round nosed pliers
  3. wire cutters
  4. strong glue – I used E6000
  5. fried marbles
  6. optional – Styrofoam

Directions:

  • Cut a length of wire approximately 4.5 inches long
  • Using the round nosed pliers, make a wrapped loop at one end. Start your loop about 3/4 of an inch from the end of the wire, and wrap the extra tail around the main length of the wire

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    It should look like so when you’re finished.

  • Now bend the wire so sticks out from the side and begin wrapping it in a spiral around the bottom of the wrapped loop. I found it helpful to hold the spiral with the pliers as it grows so it stays flat, instead of coiling on itself. Here are two pictures to help you visualize this step.
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    View from the underside. The loop is in the center pointing directly away from the viewer.

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    See how the spiral forms on a plane perpendicular to the wrapped loop?

  • Continue spiraling until the whole length of wire is used.

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    Almost finished! Here’s the cap sitting level.

  • Shape your new marble cap into a slight cup so it will fit the marble.
  • I lightly pressed the cap around the butt end of my pliers, but any blunt tool will do
  • Glue the marble cap to the marble. It can be tricky to get the marble to stay still while the glue dries. I make a depression in a block of Styrofoam for it to sit in.

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    Carefully nestled in its Styrofoam cradle.

Once the glue dries, you can string them up to make a lovely necklace pendent!

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All strung up!

You could also use these for:

  • earrings
  • sun catchers – glue caps to both ends and link a few together and hang in a sunny window
  • hair ornament – attach to a chain and attach to hair chopsticks and let dangle