epic cake fail etc.

ok. let’s see how much I can write before my green cake comes out of the oven.

what, you say? a green cake? yup. a green cake. a bright green cake. the second in 2 days.

but let’s back this train up.

me. last night. standing at the kitchen sink and saying to my husband in the most defeated voice possible “why are things so hard?”

like remembering that I was supposed to do that whole ‘fall back’ time change on the weekend.

saturday, 11pm text message from my dad: “don’t forget to change your clocks before you go to bed”

ok. because I totally absolutely did not know that I was supposed to do that.

I cannot get it together. over and over and over again.

sad face.

moving on.

the cake.

remember lyndsay sung’s beautiful coco land cakes? here, let me refresh your memory.

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as you may recall from my last post, kid #1 and i decided to attempt this cake. the tutorial made it look easy peasy. as in, even i could swing this thing.

so we did, although kid #1 preferred a green interior (hence the cake currently in the oven), and red frosting. because apparently we’ve moved on to Christmas.

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this is the cake that came out of the oven yesterday. the right side of it collapsed inwards. i had the magical idea to try to fill in the side with icing. did not work.

also my photo looks weird. i took it with my phone and uploaded it to my computer and it is somehow the wrong size and looks odd. i’m sure this can be fixed. currently do not feel like buggering around to make this better. i live with someone who can do this for me. besides, i’m busy making cake.

moving along.

the next step was to slice the top off a bit to make it flat. this involved lots of crumbs which seemed wrong but i was following the directions so this was not my fault.  although this could possibly have been attributed to the fact that the instructions said i could use a boxed cake mix, which i did, and i chose extra moist. it was on sale. 3 for $5. lot’s of room for error.

time to frost!

here’s kid #1 mixing up some accidentally holiday themed frosting.

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weird blurry small picture again. let’s ignore the fact that kid #1 looks glow-in-the-dark.

and now we are spreading frosting.

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oops! the cake caved in. kid #1 was reasonably concerned. i assured him that we could just cut around the cake and shape it into a smaller circle. at which point kid #2 was all like “yay cake!”

kid #3 enjoyed some too.

try to ignore that my daughters look somewhat radioactive.

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kid #3 is adorable even when she is covered in fail cake.

fur making time!

over the weekend i purchased the appropriate ‘Witon grass tip’ for the purpose of decorating this cake. however, i did not take into consideration that this tip would not be compatible with my ikea purchased ‘drommar’ pastry bag.

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we persevered.

here is kid #1 trying to hold the tip in the bag while also frosting. props.

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we skipped the fondant part. obviously.

fail cake anyone?

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life is difficult.

now while green cake the second is cooling, let’s talk about an awesomely crafty person who is not me.

during a former post i may have mentioned that i do not knit. i actually didn’t give myself a chance to fail at knitting. instead i bought a pattern for a scarf and then spent an exorbitant amount of money on red wool to complete my project. i managed to make it through about an eighth of the scarf before i decided it was taking too long and was actually quite boring to do. i figured i could buy an exorbitantly priced scarf at a store for less work instead. i actually did. it was leopard print and awesome.

my husband does not care for my ‘projects’. they are ineffective, abandoned, or a complete fail. like watercolour painting, or collaging, or scrapbook making.

my mother says i’m a “tryer”. she once “tried” to make a carpet. i don’t fall far from the tree.

enough said.

but now let’s meet super crafty british knitter fiona goble. she’s somewhat of a celebrity in the knitting world and holy moly she is amazing!

in another more crafty life i would knit the entire royal wedding. like all of it.

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oh my god! look how cute!

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what does this even mean? and also, holy painstaking!

for extra impressive fabulousness how about some knitted zombies?

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for real. who comes up with this craziness?

i am tempted to purchase this book. just to have. my husband would cancel the sale and claim our credit card was stolen by a crazy person. fair enough.

and storybooks!

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fiona goble is one kick-ass, creative knitter!

and i am not.

until next time in which readers will be privy to the results of mutant bunny cake 2.

cheers!

on winning back the affection of kid #1

happy belated halloween.

i haven’t posted for awhile mainly because my insomnia issues seem to have disappeared for the most part, replaced by snapping at kid #2 the other night for singing a song about cheese post 10pm.

last night i hit an all time sleeping low when i fell asleep during an episode of The Walking Dead. nowhere in my tv watching universe did i ever think that sleep would be induced by the sounds of apocalyptic zombie mayhem, painful screams, and gun shots, but there it was.

or maybe i just have 3 children. 3 demanding wonderful small human beings who suck the life out of me. or the fact that i’ve been trying to win back kid #1’s affection.

kid #1 and i used to be best buds. inseparable. we did all kinds of everything together.

and now he is 7 and in grade 2 and has taken a break from participating in family activities in favour of other things. part of it seems to be that he has become perpetually annoyed at me for having 2 other time-consuming children, one of which has to be hand-fed and diaper-changed. this is not to say that he doesn’t want to hang out with me. it’s actually the opposite, but the problem being that he wants to ramble on endlessly to me about his video-game playing, lego creations, and extremely detailed drawings. all the time. uninterrupted. all of which i want to hear about. but other people live here and have needs and want to talk to me. and this is fair because we are a family of 5 and no one of us is more important than the other.

except that kid #1 disagrees and this has become a problem.

consequently i’ve spent some time perusing handmade charlotte and spoonful to come up with some DIY activities to hold kid #1’s attention while i’m doing all the things he finds unnecessary such as cooking (usually in the company of kid #2 which is fun but means it takes a hellishly long time to get dinner on the table) or cleaning. because really, why not just order a pizza and let the dirt collect? 

i just want him to want to be in the same space as me despite the fact that other family members might be residing there as well.

i desperately want this to work because i desperately want him to be happy and not resentful that he has younger siblings. in retrospect a closer age gap between kids #1 and 2 might have made things easier but that’s a different topic for a different day.

this aside, poor kid #1 is the son of a serious craft-fail extraordinaire. but we’re trying.

may i present the spoonful version of the ‘hot-dog mummy’

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kid #1’s melon brain

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clearly this is the child of a craft-failure. doesn’t fall far from the tree.

nice professional pictures too i might add.

moving along.

so this week kid #1 and i have big plans to make, er, attempt to make, a mutant bunny cake care of coco cake land for handmade charlotte

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recently i purchased a piping bag and various tips. also i’ve watched a lot of cake shows so this should be do-able. maybe.

now let’s talk about coco cake land.

lyndsay sung is another super cool vancouverite who also contributes to poppytalk and craftsy – otherwise known as really awesome DIY blogs for pro-crafters like myself. and basically she makes brilliant cakes and cupcakes and offers step-by-step tutorials for idiots like me.

maybe one day i’ll make this

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or this

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or any of the other amazing things lyndsay sung seems to have whipped up. basically i’m totally on top of it.

just like everything else.

as always.

 

 

DIY for competent adults

there are things i can do and things i cannot.

in the interest of personal self-esteem, i will start by listing a few of the things i can actually do.

i can make babies. i can bake a pie like no one else. i can host a fabulous dinner party. i can write a research paper. also i am flexible. as in my body, not my attitude.

growing up i never learned how to make things or fix things or do stuff by myself. blaming is cliche but if i had to point fingers it would be at my mother. my mother is great. the greatest. but the woman does not know how to sew a button and neither do i.

in grade school i was a brownie and worked diligently to earn badges in all sorts of useless manner. braiding, making friendship bracelets, being nice. that sort of thing. my sash was covered with them. but while the other girls’ mothers sewed their daughter’s badges on, mine just super-glued them. 

one time my parents decided to paint their house blue. my entire “i did it myself” memory as a child was painting the front door. a few months ago i drove the kids past the house where i grew up and made them look at it. true story.

but that’s the only thing i ever remember them doing and writing this i’m wondering if they were responsible for painting the ENTIRE house or if they ended up hiring someone to finish up. if it wasn’t so late i would call and ask. the thing is that i remember various rooms in our house being painted different colours over the decade we lived there and i ALWAYS remember it being done by a professional.

need a new deck? hire a professional. decide to remodel the kitchen? hire a professional. need your pants hemmed? take it to a professional. or at least someone who actually knows how to use a needle and thread.

to my dad’s credit he once built my sister and i a playhouse in our backyard. it took him forever to make and was totally crooked but we loved it anyway. i also think he knew the basics of using a needle and thread. as in, if a button fell off his shirt he could probably fix it.

when i was in my first couple of years of university i remember this huge atkins diet craze happening where i felt guilty for even looking at a bagel. now i feel the same way about craftiness in general. etsy is a thing. pinterest is a super thing. knitting. canning. quilting. sewing. these have all become hipster things to do. akin to wearing glasses, skinny jeans, and being totally ironic.

suddenly i do not fit in.

also, i am obsessed with etsy. i used to like browsing the site but during my recent bout of insomnia my browsing became super intensive. i made categories of things to gift people. do i know you? then you probably have potential gifts assigned to you.

pinterest is one of those things that i could get lost in if i wasn’t careful. actually if i spent anytime at all on pinterest i would probably take to crying myself to sleep. “why are these people so talented and ingenious?” i would sob. “and how do they manage to glue things without sticking their fingers together?”

my mom likes pinterest. the site has given her such clever ideas as putting my kids in the bath with glow sticks and the lights turned off. actually they loved that. but then last christmas she insisted on attempting to make snowman marshmallows that theoretically should have looked something like this.

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except that we actually made this.

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well done us.

one of my favourite sites EVER is craftfail because it makes me feel normal for not being super ridiculously talented and creative. but also it makes me feel apathetic because i am dis-interested in attempting most crafts because i expect imminent failure. thus i do nothing. until i have a big idea to actually do something.

so during my sleepless summer nights of etsy-ing, i came across many shops selling gorgeous skirts and dresses for little girls.

such as corinne citrolo‘s,

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lakenandlila’s

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marvieshop

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and cre8tive.

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i could totally totally do that, i thought. how hard could it possibly be?

this all happened around the same time i turned 30. no matter the dress clothes, the mortgage, the three kids, i never felt like a real adult. i felt like i was tricking people somehow. but then i reminded myself (again) that 30 was actually a real adult number and decided that yes, i would in fact make clothes for my girls.

being all initiative-y and stuff, i signed up for a beginner’s sewing class at spool of thread in vancouver. i was super super psyched. “look at me”, i thought. “i am going to make stuff!!!” i excitedly perused around the store believing that i was soon going to be able to make all number of kids clothing goodness. i then stumbled upon oliver + s patterns.

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i looked through the stack of them as if i was some kind of a sewing master. “hmmm” i thought, “would this particular item that i am going to make look better on kid #2 or kid #3?” i asked myself. i was completely tempted to purchase one for the day (next week?) when i would be a skillful sewer.

but then i strode up to the counter to pay for my class and saw a basket with these cute little DIY felt hoop embroidery kits by heidi boyd and became so excited that i decided to purchase the fox kit immediately.

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“is this hard to do?”, i said to the girl behind the counter. “can you sew a button?” she asked. “ummmm. yes. definitely yes.” i lied. “then it should be no problem for you” she said. so i purchased it even though i had not sewn a button to date. oh, but i’m 30, i reminded myself. i am an adult and i can do things with buttons and sewing needles and such.

i went home and decided to begin my craft that night. except that i was so excited about the project i was soon to complete that i poured myself a large glass of wine and decided to do some etsy browsing instead. after all, having not even opened my kit, i decided that i should look at other felt embroidery to inspire myself. i was particularly taken with catshy crafts and decided that after my current project (that i was still to open) i would take on some of these designs. i was inspired with this grouping and had even decided which wall in my house would best suit all of my future handiwork.

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so pretty, i thought. and then i opened up my kit and cut out some felt fox pieces. and then i tried to pin them to the hoop except i realized that i hadn’t thought to buy straight pins so wrestled with some safety pins instead until they sort of resembled haphazard straight pin with weird curls on the end. then i got tired or bored or both and went off to watch tv instead. my craft was meant to be finished the next day. or the next. or even the week after. then it sat on the kitchen table unfinished for awhile so i would be forced to look at it. and now it has been moved into a cupboard where it lives to this day. really i should have just purchased a ready made (or two) from catshy craft. like this one

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or this one

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sigh.

but nevermind. i was going to be a sewer, not a stitcher.

i did complete my beginner sewing class where i made two very cute throw pillow cases. and while i was high as a kite afterwards, i look back and remember that i was hand-held the entire class. i didn’t really know what i was doing. i just listened and did what i was told and hoped for the best. of course i’m saying this in hindsight because at the end of the class when i realized that i had actually produced something nice, i felt like a total rock star and instantly signed up for a tote-making class. if i was to go back today and attempt (even with a pattern) to re-create what i had made i feel like the results would be iffy. or i wouldn’t be able to properly read the pattern. or that i would somehow set the sewing machine on fire. it happens.

i feel especially useless though when i take into consideration that one of my best friends is the co-creator of tin can knits. not only does this woman knit like nobody’s business, she designs patterns, teaches, publishes books, and made several dozen 1-cup mason jar servings of various flavours of homemade ice cream for her son’s first birthday. i chose roasted cherry goat cheese ice cream and it was close to the best thing i have ever eaten. this friend is also trying to entice me into learning to quilt. right. because i’d be stellar awesome at that.

oh wait, did i mention that i occasionally model for tin can knits

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hello me in lovely sweater and kerchief from ‘pacific knits’

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anyhow, long before tin can knits was a thing, this friend of mine gifted me a private knitting lesson at urban yarns. it was good and i learned a lot and being me i spent an exorbitant amount of money on a DIY scarf set. and then i got bored. and then one day my husband picked it up and finished it like it was no biggie. he’s crafty like that.

we have this sad but true saying in our household that everything i can do he can do better. even if i’ve originally taught the thing to him. he just has to one up me. saying this makes me sound self-deprecating and compliment-seeking but it’s the truth. every project the guy does turns to gold. he is currently wondering if i would like him to finish my felt embroidery craft. the answer is probably.

it is a given on etsy that people make amazing things. but also they design amazing things that they want you to make for yourself.  like fairyfox. apparently she believes that me or someone else can make an entire dollhouse and furniture out of felt.

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and the fact that she has managed to come up with all of this literally blows my mind. i am incredulous.

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a roasted felt chicken and smiley popsicles? not in my wildest dreams would i be able to come up with that.

also i love felted dolls and (hold the laughter) i have seriously considered purchasing one of these softie PDF’s and asking my husband to make one. or my son. whichever. just not me.

dolls and daydreams is amazing for softies. that’s apparently the hipster way of referring to stuffies. besides the fact that i hate stuffies and am always trying to rid our house of them. but those little buggers keep breeding some how and i can never get rid of them. but softies? i’m okay with softies.

in my “i actually have the patience to learn to make these” dream, i would acquire all of dolls and daydreams’ patterns. like for these gorgeous little girls

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or this knightImage

or the 3 pigs and big bad wolf because sometimes you just want to be able to tell that story and have the appropriate softies on hand to do so.

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pipe dreams. so good.

one day i will decide to accept the fact that my talents do not lie within the sphere of craftiness. other people can make their awesome things and i have a credit card to pay for it. but one day…