Easy Hand-Drawn Gift Wrap
First off, here’s a little photo gallery of the wrapping I did for some of his gifts! Toby loves turtles, and so the theme of course, was turtles and turtle-doves. This is our favourite method of wrapping: brown shipping paper and sharpies or markers. I googled “galapagos turtle” and found a few images I liked, using them as models for my free-hand drawing. Then, I did a bible word search for “turtle” and found a nice reference to turtle doves in the Song of Solomon that I thought was most appropriate for the gift of a bible sent from our family out in California. Et voila: turtle wrapping of all kinds!
Marbled Oreo First Communion Cake
1/2 recipe of your best chocolate cake batter [in a pinch? use a box mix and amp it up with vanilla or a shot of alcohol!]
1/2 recipe of your best white cake batter [in a pinch? use a box mix]
1 recipe of your best buttercream frosting [in a pinch? use pre-prepared icing!]
Gel Colour or Food Colouring of your choice [We used Wilton Kelly Green Gel Food Colour]
7 chocolate covered oreo-style cookie or plain oreo-style cookies
[We bought ours from the fabulous Ed's Real Scoop ice cream shop here in Toronto - Yes! They do fab chocolates, too!]
1 package of oreo-style cookies, smashed into bits with a meat cleaver or rolling pin [We used PC "Eat the Middle First" Cookies]
Wilton Cross-Cake Pan [We found ours at Bulk Barn - and we share it with other families at the kids' school]
Heat the oven to 350.
Spray the Cross-Cake Pan with baking spray or grease and flour it as you see fit.
Prepare each batter in a separate bowl.
Pour small clumps of each batter into the cross cake pan.
Use a spoon, fork, skewer or coffee-stirrer stick to swirl the batter in the pan.
Bake the cake for 40-55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
[Okay, it's a little weird "testing" a cross cake with a knife or pick!]
Colour Frosting with gel or food colouring of your choice.
Invert Cake onto a large serving dish.
Decorate top of cake with chocolate covered oreos.
Using your hand, press smashed oreo bits onto the sides of the cake.
As I posted previously, Blaise launched his second book of poems earlier this month: Zeppelin (Nightwood Editions, 2013). Inspired by some gorgeous t-shirts made by the ladies at A Beautiful Mess, I decided to make my own “Fan Shirt” for the night of the launch, for National Poetry Month, and, well, for ever after. My technique was slightly different than theirs, but the results were just as fantastic!
Dark Coloured Cotton T-shirt
A clean and empty School Glue Bottle or other squeeze bottle with a small spout
[Alternatively, you can use a Bleach Pen]
A large piece of cardboard [Ours was from a pizza box]
[Optional] White Chalk
[Optional] Hydrogen Peroxide, Water & Spray Bottle
The Book You’re A FAN OF as your model!
Black Permanent Marker
Decant gel bleach into school glue container or ramekin.
Place a solution of 1 part peroxide to 10 parts water in your spray bottle.
Place the square of cardboard inside of the t-shirt [i.e. between the front and the back of the shirt].
Lay the shirt absolutely flat on the table or other protected surface.
Set up your book on the table so that you can use it as a model for your t-shirt design.
[Optional] Use white chalk to outline your design on the front of the shirt. [We didn't bother!]
Use your home-made bleach pen [or paintbrush] to render the book’s title and basic design.
Let the image rest for 10-15 minutes until you have the penetration of colour you so desire.
Rinse the bleach off of the shirt.
[Optional] Spray with the peroxide and water solution to set the design and let sit for an additional 10 minutes.
Launder in cold water with a mild detergent.
Tumble or line dry.
If desired, use your black permanent marker to correct any “bleeding” or to perfect your image.
WEAR YOUR FAN SHIRT EVERYWHERE!!!
You can purchase Zeppelin (Nightwood Editions, 2013) locally in Toronto (Book City is highly recommended) or online: direct from Harbour Publishing or via Indigo,Amazon (Canada), Amazon (U.S), Barnes and Noble.
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Summer of Funner : The Lunchbox Season : In Defense of Burning
Over the past few weeks, the kids have been working with Blaise on a fantastic video project to coincide with the release of his second book of poems, Zeppelin (Nightwood Editions, 2013). I remember walking downstairs a few weeks ago and being utterly appalled to find that, after several hours of painting their “movie sets,” they had torn every piece of paper they had painted into shreds. It all makes sense when you WATCH the poem.
Here’s the finished project:
And now for something completely out of the lunchbox…
We have a dirty big secret! About two years ago, our family bathroom shower began leaking into the kitchen. So, we adults began showering in the smaller very useful basement bathroom. I actually enjoyed my showers there. I looked upon the shower as a kind of basement “grotto-spa,” so to speak. And it was easy to go from workout to shower in a jiffy. However, several months ago, the big family bathtub upstairs started leaking into the kitchen. In fact…and let me see if I can tie it into the “lunchbox season” theme, here….the family bathtub began dripping down from the second floor right onto the weekly treats I was preparing for the kids’ lunches. So much for my basement mini-retreat. It’s filled with tub toys and spilled shampoo. Let’s just say the notion of four people crammed into a utilitarian water closet is making getting “clean” much harder than it needs to be, particularly in a bathroom. So much for the very large family bathroom (originally, a tiny bathroom and a small den that were combined) we admired when we bought the house four years ago! Last week, the flusher on the toilet even popped off!! What about the bath-tub-water-gun-wars I had promised the kids for our upcoming Summer of Funner??
We could see it coming. We bought the house for its location, age and layout. We knew full well, not long after we purchased the house from a very “handy” young “dude” and his sometimes-prevaricating spouse, that things around here, even the costly ones, had been splashed about with a rather free hand: old wiring tied to new wiring, well-hidden in the ceilings, where it wouldn’t easily be identified; tiles “around” the toilet; tiles tiled onto the acrylic shower base upstairs (part of the cause of Leak #1) that squished and popped right off; tiles tiled over laminate on the kitchen counter-top; large crevices between the wood-slats in the newer wooden floors…the list goes on. All “vanity” aside, howver, it’s time to do something about the very large and very useless space upstairs.
We’re artists, not household DIY’ers, so we won’t be doing the work ourselves. However, we’re artists. So, to save on costs, we’ll be doing all of our own designing and sourcing of materials. While I thought, initially, that this was going to be a spectacular amount of fun, I have to say, it was a lot of hard work, and, at least for me, it is not as ultimately “creative” as I thought it was going to be. In fact, I have a feeling that this will be my first and last post about household design. It just isn’t in me, nor do I think, to be the kind of artist I want to be, it ever will be in me…Not to say there aren’t others who do it brilliantly. Take a look at Aubrey and Lindsay’s Little House Blog for an example of a place where art, home design and family harmonize well, and all the time.
In any case, renovation’s tentatively scheduled from late May to early June. Above, you’ll find a little picture of the types of things we’re planning on putting into the space after we recycle what we can, gut the space, and re-build. I’ll try not to have an asthma attack between now and when it’s shower-time again. Next time you see anything posted here about bathrooms, anyway, let’s hope it has to do with those bath-tub games I promised the kids for late June! One thing’s for sure…I’m not going to be all precious about keeping everything in pristine shape once the new room’s in place. We’ll all be too busy digging in and using it!