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The Time Garden – Quilt Page FO

This past Tuesday (Aug 2nd) was National Coloring Book Day. I’d originally planned to celebrate and post by working on a new page from one of my books but I’m working on a major knitting project that is requiring my time and my hands. Therefore instead I’ll be sharing some completed pages that were part of a previous blog post series of mine – my 2019 19 WIP to FO Challenge.

First up is the Quilt Page from Daria Song’s The Time Garden.

What I’d posted at the time:

This page took nearly 3 years (!!) to complete, due to nothing but me putting it off forever. I’d started it on June 11 2016 and finally finished it on March 7 2019 making it one of the 19-for-2019 WIPs actually FO’d during 2019.

The small sections and tiny details of the page made it ideal for fineliners. Except for some metallic accents (using my favorite Gel Xtreme pens that have lasted for literal DECADES) the whole page was worked with Stabilo 88s and Staedler Triplus fineliners.

The quilt flower blocks repeat on a diagonal so I chose a different color palette for each row and worked the same 5 colors for each stripe but rotated clockwise once for each repeat. (IE: the color that was at 12 o’clock in the first repeat was used at 1 o’clock in the 2nd, and 2 o’clock in the 3rd, etc). This kept the coloring more interesting than coloring the same thing many, many times over.

And then I stopped with only one set of repeat left to go. No idea why, but as I’d kept the paper with my swatch notes it was easy to pull out the matching colors and get to work finally finishing it up.

I used the same colors for the matching quilt flowers in the main character’s hair on the facing page. I’d had the idea of coloring her the same through the whole book so left her uncolored until I was ready to tackle her on all the pages.

It’s a busy, chaotic mess but it’s finally done!

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.


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Iced Angry Birds Cake

Over the years I’ve made a couple Angry Birds-themed cakes. Two of them were for members of the same family, and even though they were made years apart I wanted them to each feel unique. For this first one I used minimal fondant and worked with an iced base.

Cakes like this are pretty easy to do, and while I don’t have full step-by-step pics I’ll outline the process.

The bottom layer was baked and prepared exactly as in my post on how to bake a cake and prepare it for decorating. I then decorated the sides with Smarties (M&Ms for my American readers) and set it aside.

The top layer also started as a 9″x13″ cake which was cut into the shape needed. As for most of my shaped cakes I started with a paper template scaled to the proper size on my computer.

The template serves two purposes. First I used it to trace out fondant pieces for the eyes, brows and beak. As I didn’t want to cut into the template I used a straight pin (that I keep for food use only) to pierce the shapes’ outlines into rolled fondant. The resulted dotted line is easy to cut out with a knife or fondant cutter and the individual pieces can be attached to each other with a bit of water or fondant glue. The eyebrows and pupils were cut from pre-tinted black fondant, the beak was cut from white fondant tinted yellow with icing gels, and the eyes were cut from white fondant later outlined with a black food marker. Before putting away my fondant supplies I also cut out the birthday boy’s name from red-tinted fondant with alphabet-shaped cookie cutters.

Then I used the same paper template on top of the cooled cake and cut around it to cut the cake itself to the proper shape. (You can do these steps in the reverse order but sometimes cake will stick to the underside of the paper and that can discolor your fondant. Another option is to trace the cake shape onto wax paper or parchment paper which won’t stick as easily)

The second cake was then iced with red and white icing to match Red’s proportions and finally the fondant topper was added.

The fondant pieces give the cake a polished look while requiring minimal shaping or sculpting ability, making this a great way for beginners to try out fondant for the first time.

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.


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S.N.A.C.K. Time

Chances are that a number of you who follow my posts here also follow NerdECrafter over on YouTube, but for those who don’t I wanted to share the news that Jackie’s got a new craft kit out!

Last year she put out her very own craft kit – the Not Another Crap Kit. The heavy box was packed full of supplies and included (sing it with me) Everything You Need.

I bought one and really enjoyed making custom characters with my boys. It was a great activity that kept them busy during the Christmas holidays, and they really impressed me with their artistic skills!

A full post about their creations will come but here’s a little glimpse:

As a fellow Montreal-er I’m so happy that the first box sold out well enough that she’s now got another out – the SUPER Not Another Crap Kit – aka S.N.A.C.K.!

Per the Smart Art description, this new kit has a value of over $250 and is “full of a completely new set of crafting supplies that even the most experienced of crafters may find brand new! Featuring a hand-sculpted mold by Jackie herself, let your imagination soar and create your own mythical beast to inspire even the saltiest of grains. With stunning paints, a sharp pointy thing, and your very own airbrush, think outside the box and craft something truly all your own.”

Unlike the first kit that featured a humanoid-shaped character, this new one is more mythically-based, while still having the armature holes to allow you to add wings, tails, or anything else you desire!

The first kit gave the boys and I our first introduction to UV resin and this new kit is an introduction to airbrushing, as it even comes with an actual portable airbrush kit and paints (along with figure, base and wing molds, clay, tools, brushes, and everything else down to rubber bands to help hold the mold together).

This is not an ad– I bought the first kit because I wanted to support a local crafter and this post is for exactly the same reason.

Find the kit, and more information, here!


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The Color Cube

Picking colors that go well together can be a challenge when coloring. Sometimes you have no idea where to start, spending too long staring at the blank page afraid to make a mistake that will ruin the whole thing. You might find yourself gravitating to your favorite colors, only to have all your FOs start to feel the same.

Artists of any kind can have the same struggles, whether it’s choosing the right combinations of yarns for colorwork knitting or crochet, selecting floss shades when going rogue in an embroidery pattern, or blending the right fondant color to go with your iced cake base. This problem isn’t only for artists either! Think of matching accessories to an outfit or selecting the accent color for pillows to give your living room the spark it needs.

Colors can be hard. I’ve mentioned Sarah Renae Clark‘s Color Catalog here before as a solution I’ve turned to when coloring and I’ve found myself referencing it often for various projects.

The digital catalog is easy to search and scroll on my ipad and I like to take a screenshot of my chosen reference image to keep with my project notes and refer to as I work. For digital art it even provides RGB, CMYK & Hex codes for every color palette included in Vol 1 or Vol 2.

I’d also treated myself to her Color Catalog Companion to make swatching the right colors easier – it provides the color names/numbers to match the swatches for a number of popular marker and colored pencil brands.

The only problem with the catalogs is that they’re fully digital which could be an issue if my devices were low on battery or I was working outside and couldn’t see my screens well. I love swatching and always had a scrap of paper with my color scribbles on it but more so than the colors themselves I really benefit from the reference images in the respective palettes. They really help me to see how the colors work together and the various shades and tones of shadow and light.

Turns out having a hardcopy version has been a popular request and now it officially exists! This week Sarah introduced the Color Cube!

It’s available for pre-order now and *cough* I may or may not have treated myself to the bundle of both Vol 1 and Vol 2. I love the idea that I will be able to keep my chosen palette in my project bag or tucked into my coloring book for easy, convenient reference.

I also really, really love that not only does the back of the card have the same color codes as the digital version, but that the colors run right to the edge of the card – making color matching super easy.

The Color Cube is available through Sarah’s site right here. You can get Vol 1 or 2 (or both) or get them in a bigger bundle with the catalogs and companion too. I’m really excited about adding this resource to my crafter’s toolkit!

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.


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Bernat Capelet WIP to FO

Yesterday was World UFO Day. Ok- yes the day is meant to focus on sightings of Unidentified Flying Objects…but I decided to be a bit liberal with my UFO definition and look around my house for an Un-Finished Object to tackle.

I’ve had this Bernat Top Down Button Front Capelet on my grandfather’s old dress form since December 2021 when I “finished” it. I made it to keep me warm at work during the winter. It’s perfect in that I can throw it on over any outfit and still have my arms free from the elbows-down so it didn’t interfere with computer work. However even though I omitted the fold-over collar, the neckline still bothered me.

The edges of the button bands would often shift up and touch my throat or the underside of my jaw and it wasn’t comfortable. I’d planned to sew the corners down as a faux lapel and even left out two lengths of the original yarn.

And then I forgot about it…until today. In the spirit of my alternate UFO day I set aside everything else I was working on and spent 5 minutes sewing down each side of the ribbed bands. The buttons still open but now it won’t hit me in the neck any longer and this “finished” project is now officially done.

If you’d like to make your own capelet the Ravelry link to the free pattern is here or a direct link to the PDF is here.

I really enjoyed using World UFO day to work on one of my own UFOs and plan to make this a yearly tradition. Join me?


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Oreo Cake-Ball “Ice Cream Cones”

In honor of today being National Ice Cream Cake Day, here are some ice cream cones I made out of cake!

Cake pops are a great way to use up the extra cake bits you get from leveling or carving your cakes. I usually like to crumble the cakes into leftover icing, mix in sprinkles or peanut butter or some other add-in, then roll the mixture into balls and store in my freezer for future snacking.

In this case I’d mixed chocolate cake with crushed Oreos and vanilla icing and pressed the resulting cake balls into mini ice cream cones.

The ice cream “shell” is white candy melts heated in the microwave. Dip the cone in a few times to build up a thicker layer then top with sprinkles while the final layer is still wet.

Brown candy melt “chocolate syrup” and a red Smarties “cherry” make the final touch to help sell the illusion!


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Fleur-de-Lys for Quebec

In honor of my province’s provincial holiday today I’m re-sharing the fleur-de-lys pattern I published many, many years ago. The design was intended as a dishcloth or washcloth, but with a simple swap of yarn choice can easily be reworked as a blanket square or even a flag to share your Quebec pride.

The pattern comes with 3 fully charted sizes and can be purchased through Etsy here or through your Ravelry library here.


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Cake & Brownie “Sliders” with Cookie “Fries”

In today’s post I’m going to show you the super easy steps to make these yummy cake/brownie mini “sliders” that you can pair with sugar cookie “fries” for this adorable tromp l’oeuil dessert platter. While they’re a fun surprise for any occasion they work especially well for Father’s Day which happens to be tomorrow. Since they can be made with all store-bought supplies they can be whipped up last minute meaning you still have time to make them yourself!

These sweet treats have been around the internet for a LONG time, so this is by no means my idea. I actually got the idea from Bakerella’s blog back in 2009 and made my version pictured here for Father’s Day for my dad in 2014.

Angie’s original post is linked above, and she reissued it here with updated templates for other holidays and occasions including birthdays, Canada Day and the 4th of July.

Foodstuffs you will need:

  • vanilla cupcakes – “buns”
  • brownies – “burgers”
  • sesame seeds
  • sugar cookie mix – “fries”
  • Toppings: (all optional as desired)
    • icing – “ketchup” & “mustard”
    • granulated sugar – “salt”
    • orange starburst (or other taffy-type candy) – “cheese slices”
    • red gummy candy – “tomato slices”
    • green gummy candy – “pickle slices”
    • green candy tape/roll up – “lettuce”
  • Other candies to make any other desired burger toppings

I forgot to take pics of the fries-making process, but you can find the full instructions at the Bakerella blog post. Basically you bake vanilla or sugar cookies (I used Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie mix) and bake the cookies as wide rectangles which you slice into “french fry” strips once baked and then toss in or sprinkle with granulated sugar to simulate salt crystals.

Most versions of the faux sliders start with vanilla cupcakes for the buns and brownies for the burgers.

I baked mine using store-bought box mix but you can go an even easier route and purchase ready-made plain cupcakes and brownies to skip this baking step completely. Slice all cupcakes in half horizontally and then use a cookie cutter that best matches the bun diameter to cut burger “patties” from the brownies.

For the burger toppings I’d basically wandered the aisles at my local bulk store looking for candies that could pull double-duty as other foods.

I tested out a few orange taffy-type candies for the cheese slice and in the end went with orange Starburst. Laffy Taffy, Airheads or any other orange taffy that can be rolled flat would also work well. I found it easiest to squish the candy flat and then roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper. You can also use wax paper if necessary, as I did here for storing the candies and keeping the layers from sticking together.

I used the green portion from rainbow Fruit by the Foot to simulate lettuce by tearing it into jagged strips. If you can find an all-green version that would be even better, though my kids didn’t mind eating the other colors that were left over after I harvested all the green bits!

I used red gummy disks for tomato slices, first cutting them in half widthwise to get thinner discs, then I cut those in half again as a full circle of red candy would be a bit much with all the other candy.

My store didn’t have plain green gummy rounds to use for pickle slices, so I cut up some mint-leaf shaped ones instead.

Once you have all your toppings ready, tint some icing red and yellow to simulate ketchup and mustard, and then assemble your burgers as desired.

Mine had a slice of “cheese” on the lower “bun”, then the patty, and then tomatos, pickles and lettuce, all arranged to slightly overlap the sides so they’d be visible.

A drizzle of “ketchup” and “mustard” was the last step before placing the top half of the “bun” on top.

To really finish the look brush the tops of the cupcakes with a bit of water and then sprinkle on some sesame seeds.

Arrange them on a platter and sprinkle the faux fries around. If desired you can add condiment cups or little puddles of “ketchup” and “mustard” for dipping the fries into. These were as much fun to eat as they were to make and all these years later Henri still keeps asking me to make them again, which is the real testament to how much of a hit these were!

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.


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WWKIP Day 2022

Today is World Wide Knit in Public Day! I’ve usually got knitting out in the wild with me, but it felt especially required on today of all days.

I brought my current “purse project” with me to sound check before the Becket Players’ performance at the West Island Relay for Life event tonight. Didn’t get much knitting done but we did have a successful set up. We’ll be playing some great music for a great cause so if you’ll be around the Rive Boisée area come on by and check it out!


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Peelable Base Coat Nail Polish Hack

Has this ever happened to you?

It would happen to me ALL THE TIME.

Whenever I would use a peelable base coat (like ÜNT’s Ready For Takeoff) I’d be lucky if my manicure lasted 8 hours, whereas with a regular basecoat I can get at least 2 weeks. I’d go about doing normal things and suddenly discover a thumbnail peelie in my dishes or pinky nail peelie in my sock. It was super frustrating so I looked it up and it turns out it wasn’t just me! While the ease of removal made it perfect for nail polish bloggers and reviewers, many people were complaining about the base not “sticking” long enough to make it worth it for regular use.

I’d written to my place of purchase and their reply was:

Your complaint isn’t unique. I have heard that some people’s problem with ÜNT’s peel off base coat is “that it works too well”. However, we can’t seem to discern as to why some people have such success with it, and others don’t. 

The conclusion the nail community has come to is that personal biological factors can affect a product’s success. Meaning, your body’s natural oils and your nail’s health may be the cause of a polishes’ or base coat’s success. The nail is often considered an impermeable barrier, but this is not true. In fact, it is much more permeable than the skin, and the composition of the nail includes 7–12% water. 

Following that I wrote to ÜNT themselves but their replies were unsatisfactory and seemed like a copy/paste:

We are sorry to hear that our product is not 100% satisfactory. I would like to further explain several possible reasons for this to happen:

1. READY FOR TAKEOFF or nail lacquer did not dry completely

2. Coat of READY FOR TAKEOFF not thick enough (if READY FOR TAKEOFF is applied very thin, it takes more effort to remove. We suggest applying 3-4 thin coats.)

3. If READY FOR TAKEOFF is applied unevenly, some parts of it may dry quicker than others, thus causing the issue. 

So in the end I decided to try and figure out my own solution. I know the exact ÜNT product I have is no longer available but they have a different peelable line and Holo Taco has its own Peely Base and I really wanted to make these products (and my existing UNT bottles) work for me.

After a bit of trial and error (note- do NOT try filing down the surface of your nails to make the base coat grip better!) I found a solution that actually made the product usable, and in honor of today being Nail Polish Day, I’m sharing it publicly. Bonus: it’s something I bet you already own!

Another base coat!

I use Orly’s Bonder as it’s what I have on hand but any clear base coat will work. (I don’t recommend a creamy base coat like a smoothing base for this).

All you need to do is apply one thin coat of the regular base BEFORE applying the recommended 2-3 coats of the peelable polish. The peelable polish will grip better to the base than to your nail surface, and the manicure will last much longer. It’s a really simple trick but it helps to make the peelable products actually work for those of us who have a hard time with them.

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I might make a small commission on purchases made through the links, at no cost to you.