I don’t mean to brag, but…

I decided to make my coworkers a ginormous batch of cookies for the day after Christmas. All but one of us in the precinct is working the day after (aka “the Show”), and I think we’ll need some extra cheer during our busiest – and likely lowest attitude – day. And JT had us close a little early this evening, so that we could get home to our families, and I to my oven.

And I baked, dear reader; I baked.

I made a double batch of my favorite oatmeal-chocolate-chip cookies, and a regular batch of my Christmas tradition cookies (this time with actual sprinkles!).

Exhibit A
Exhibit A

This is but a taste of the baking that ensued when I got home.

That’s great, but that does not explain my title. Oh, no. Feeling particularly bold, I decided to try something new. A month ago or so, Eric and I bought a donut pan. I have since made a batch, but as I said…bold. So tonight I thought “I know what’s Christmasy! Booze!”

I switched up the recipe that came with the pan and made chocolate donuts. And then I dipped those suckers in a Bailey’s glaze. BAM!

The pouring got a little messy...
The pouring got a little messy…

The batter for these is always a little thin, and after two batches of cookies, it was strange to work with. And also, I am messy, so there are little bits of batter all over the pan. Mmmmm!

Making the glaze. I had to add more sugar than I had intended...couldn't get it quite thick enough at first.
Making the glaze. I had to add more sugar than I had intended…couldn’t get it quite thick enough at first.

It’s amazing what I can do with only about 4 combined feet of counter space.

Dippin' donuts, Batman!
Dippin’ donuts, Batman!
There they are!
There they are!

And then, because I was feeling so very fancy, I decided to sprinkle a little sea salt on these bad boys to offset the sweetness.

These are not for my coworkers. These are for my hubby.
These are not for my coworkers. These are for my hubby.

So, yeah. I don’t mean to brag, but I made some chocolate-bailey’s-glazed-donuts tonight. Merry Christmas to all!

 

 

 

 

 

Twofer Tuesday 1: Messenger bag, polymath style

Solve this equation:

(2 yards of Spider Man fabric + approx. 2 yards of black fabric + aida cloth + bias tape)Sam’s frustration = ?

You probably guessed, based on the title…

A Spidey messenger bag!

A few posts ago, I mentioned making a tote bag out of the remaining fabric from the Super Birthday Project, but then I remembered that I don’t like totes, and I rarely use them. Besides, using a Spidey tote for grocery shopping seemed, well, sad – Spidey deserves better.

The reason I don’t like totes is that I don’t care for bags that sit on the shoulder and hang down. I much prefer them to across the body. You know, similar to a messenger bag.

But, as usual, there was a problem. Messenger bags are generally sturdy, and they tend to require thick cloth. I have a ton of cotton prints and some fleece. Show me a messenger bag made with thin cotton and fleece, and I’ll show you another item that does not exist anywhere. In answer to this, I wallowed in self-pity for about an hour, bemoaning my lack of good fabric.

Then I got crafty because that’s what I do.

About a year ago, I purchased some black aida cloth for a cross-stitching project that never happened. If you are unfamiliar with this type of cloth, it can be fairly rigid, but it is also riddled with holes, since it’s for cross-stitching. Of course, it’s also easy to wrap in other fabrics.

So that’s what I did.

For whatever reason, I don’t generally use patterns. For better or worse, I just go forward with my ideas when I get them.

Pictured here: fabric about to be mauled

I trace things, sure, but I am not a stickler on perfect cuts or anything. This is probably where a lot of my problems start, but until it becomes a major issue, I seem to fake it fairly well.

I did trace the aida onto the cloth for the panels

I could have done three completely separate panels, but I opted for one large panel in which I sewed three pockets, essentially. I used black for the outside and Spidey for the lining of the insider of the bag. I lined them up on the wrong sides, sewed around the edge, then flipped it back right-side and sewed the smaller middle pocket (which became the bottom).

The flap for the opening

My thought was that having one panel of fabric with three heavy inserts would be stronger than three panels sewn together. Once I had the main panel done, I just had to sew the sides together.

Luckily I had not finished sewing it all up before I remembered I needed a flap for the opening, otherwise it would not be a messenger bag. It would just be a cross-the-body bag. So I made that rather quickly.

Kids, this is what happens when you rush

I did it so quickly that the bias tape is not actually attached to the fabric in one spot. This is a relatively easy fix if I ever bother to do it.

And besides, you can’t tell it’s there unless I pull the bias tape up and out, and even then, you have to be close to it.

The other part that is rushed and looks bad, though I forgot to take a picture, is where the flap attaches to the bag of the purse. To cover the spot, I added a bit of bias tape (why did I not use this stuff before?!), but my sewing machine went a little crazy in the middle of it, and there is this fine curve right in the middle. Luckily, that is the side that rests against my person, so it’s not noticeable.

New Holland shirt courtesy of Pa.

The straps I made with *gasp!* bias tape and Spidey fabric sewn together. I had not planned on making this, so I didn’t have anything stronger. To ensure it can hold up, though, I sewed probably close to a bazillion stretchy zig-zag stitches.

Things I might change if doing again:

1. I would actually buy some heavy cloth, though making the aida pockets worked great!

2. I would have made the pockets with all black fabric, sewn the straps on, then made a liner of the Spidey fabric, so that it would be reversible!

3. Had something more strap-appropriate.

All-in-all, I did a Happy Dance when I finished this project last night. I had a pretty important meeting today (more on that later this week), so I didn’t break it out today, but I definitely will tomorrow to see how it works. But seriously, I can’t believe I made that!
 

Wine Bottle Mach 2: This time, it’s personal

So not long ago (read: yesterday), I mentioned that I was unable to recreate a craft that I found on Pinterest. I also mentioned that, upon investigation, I learned the problem was that I did not first prime the bottle.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I remedied that but good.

Today I decided to give it another go, so I grabbed another wine bottle from my collection, some Mod Podge, some paint, and some brushes, and I went at it. The only real question was whether to name this post “Mach 2” or “Wine Bottle: The Remix”…still not completely swayed one way or the other, but I had to use something.

THIS is the answer to my problems!

I didn’t have the matte finish, which I read was a good way to prime glass, but I had the glossy, and I figured it would work just as well. So without researching, I just went ahead and coated it.

The bottle’s clothes are invisible!

One thing I did, just to make sure I wasn’t about to waste a lot of time on something that wouldn’t work at all, was I painted just the neck of the bottle to test it out.

Just like it looked before…

I would still need a second, and maybe even third coat, but it was coating much more evenly, so I saw this as a sign to move forward.

As you can see, I went with a different color choice here. I decided to use my TARDIS blue for good luck (yeah, I guess I should update on that soonish, too). It came out nice – the color really pops.

You might say this technique was true blue?

I don’t have chalkboard paint or twine, so I made my own little twist for the finish touches. I used a green, shimmery ribbon (one that I used on my pincushion) and green paint to create the writing box. Then I just painted words on. If I decide I don’t like them later, I can paint over it!

The wine glass was the special touch

So I think the end result was an improvement for sure. Now I’m just not sure how to use this – a flower vase, perhaps? Or, if I bought a funnel, I could keep drinks in it for when we have guests – be them alcoholic or not.

 

 

 

 

Twofer Tuesday 1: The Frame Project is COMPLETE!

I mentioned a project that had hit a snag on Friday, and I am happy to say that I rethought it, and it is finished complete.

Back story: I had had this idea to make a “Poem Frame”, which is pretty much what it sounds like. I cut up a poem and decoupaged it onto a frame in a fun and fanciful way (because what good is it if it’s not fun and fanciful?). Alas, as I was putting a picture inside the frame to see how it would look, I dropped the glass, and it broke. Now with a glassless frame, and one that actually did not hold a 5X7 picture very well, I had to think of something else. This brought me to an idea that I spied on sweetandsavoryfood.com for a frame with a letter hanging inside of it. I didn’t have any extra wooden letters (and, yes, I usually do), plus I could not think of what letter to put in it, so I put the whole thing aside for a bit.

Fast forward!

Today has been pretty amazing so far. I had a job interview (woo hoo!), and I realizedexactly what I wanted to do.

When I was frantically trying to decide on a bouquet alternative for my elopement, I had purchased a blackboard heart on a stick with plans to make it into a funky bouquet. Of course, I went with the lantern, but I still had this little knickknack, so I had painted “Eric & Sam” in white paint to make it look like chalk, and it has just been lying around.

So here’s what I did:

1. Painted, rather sloppily, the wooden frame with some silver paint. Because of the varnish on the wood of the frame, it came out looking more distressed than silver, but I liked it, so I kept it.

2. Cut out the lines of “Litany” by Billy Collins, which read at our wedding ceremony with family.

3. Cleverly pasted said lines on the frame in such a way as to make it look like I had a plan all along.

4. Cut out four images to include for a “pop”. Pasted those on more randomly.

5. Broke the glass and rethought the whole thing.

6. Cut the loooong stick off of the blackboard heart.

7. Took out the back of the frame and took off the back holders (I have no idea what the technical term is. Just look at the picture)

8. Painted the heart with red paint. One coat did the trick.

9. Dry-brushed with silver.

10. Tied the heart to a screw I left in the frame, so it hangs down.

All told, I think the project took maybe an hour, hour and a half? It was easy, and it looks pretty dang cool. I am happy with the end result, and I think it will be a very cute reminder of our early days of matrimony.

PICTURES!

A healthy dinner (?) and healthy distraction

Argh. Right now my mind probably looks something akin to an urban war zone. For TFA folk, it’s Institute season, and it shows all over my Facebook feed. During the last few days of school, I deactivated my account temporarily to avoid the sense of soul-crushing defeat, watching all of these (not much) younger people accomplishing something great. I see this as improvement: rather than being stubborn, I just avoid what I know will be a reason to belittle myself.

The point here is that, while trying to swallow this bitter pill of failing at the TFA model and teaching in general, I am happy to say that crafting will make a suitable distraction, and a productive one at that. This week on the docket: finish my frame project, repaint the miniature mentioned in my previous post, read a freakin’ book, and start working on Eric’s birthday gift, since he is in Chicago for a few days.

That being said, today, for some reason, I am feeling particularly wounded about teaching. Maybe it’s because I spoke to a former student this weekend? Either way, my mind keeps wandering to Patton Oswalt (we want a failure pile in a sadness bowl!).

Short post today, admittedly, but tomorrow is Twofer Tuesday, so I have to get to work to ensure I have something to showcase.

So…last night, I made chicken parmigiana. Funny thing is, I didn’t have any mozzarella. No worries! I had string cheese, so I shredded that a bit and used it instead. It was kind of authentic Italian meets hillbilly Flatlander. It came out tasting just fine, and I’m telling myself and you, dear reader, that it was perfect healthy.