Have you ever heard of water slide decal paper? If you haven’t, let me introduce you to one of my favorite crafting products. I picked mine up at Papilio.com last year when I first discovered this product.
It’s a tradition that I make ornaments for each of my cousins every year, so last year I was looking for something a little more “professional” looking than, say dough ornaments or something. (which I actually still love) My research led me to this product.
It’s essentially gelatin on top of paper. You print an image onto the paper using your glossy setting, coat it a few times with a lacquer, and then you’re ready to add it to whatever surface you’d like. This year I was making ornaments for the Brownie troop I am now a co-leader of. I made sure to take a photo of each girl at our investiture ceremony so I would have something to work with. I took these photos, put them into Photoshop where I used a feathering on the sides so that the color wouldn’t have an abrupt edge to it. I also made a little thing that said “Oh My Honor…” with the troop number below.
After taking this photo, I took it to the garage and did about 3 or 4 coats of a clear, glossy lacquer. Once it was dry, I was ready to transfer the photos to the ornaments.
Last year I used ornaments that looked like this:
These were great because they provided a smooth, flat surface to which I could apply the transfer easily. The problem was that I ordered these online and this year I waited too long to get them, so I had to see what they had at Hobby Lobby. This is what I found:
These were great, but they posed 2 problems. The first one is that they were slightly convex. I know this would probably cause a little bit of an issue with the transfer, but because the curve wasn’t TOO bad, I figured I could make it work. The second thing is that they are clear. When you print on the gelatin, it doesn’t actually print the white out, so anywhere there would be white in your photo, would actually be clear. I thought to get around this problem, I could just fill the ornaments with something white and it would be fine. Well, that didn’t actually work, but I’ll show you how I got around it.
When you’re ready to slide your transfer onto your craft surface, you’ll need some warm water. Cut around your photo and dip it in the water. You’ll want to give it a minute or two until the decal begins to slide around on the paper.
Then, put your decal up against the surface of your craft and gently slide it off, and directly onto your surface. You’ll want to avoid getting bubbles underneath it, but if you do, don’t worry. You can use the very paper you just slipped your decal from to ease the bubbles out. You’ll feel that it’s still a little slippery, so fold your paper, slippery sides out, and use that to wipe the surface and smooth any air out.
From here, you can use a paper towel to dab the water off and let the ornaments dry.
At this point, you could be done if you wanted to be. However, because you can *sort of* see the decal’s edges, I wanted something to smooth it out, so I went over the surface again with the lacquer. I didn’t do this last year, though, so it’s up to you.
Now, if you look at the ornaments above, you’ll see what I mean about the color issue. Without white behind it, the image is pretty difficult to see. I noticed while the ornaments were sitting on top of something white, that the image was able to pop, plus I really liked the 3D effect of having the words above the picture. So, instead of filling the ornament with something white and having two sides, I decided to grab some enamel paint and paint what would now become the back of the ornament. (don’t mind the mess, this table has become craft headquarters)
So when they dried I was left with this:
I was really happy with how they turned out and I think the girls really liked them.
Now, if you are a visual learner and have to see how things are done, here is the video I taped LAST year before I even had a blog. I just shot this for some of my friends to show them how it was done, so it’s not the best quality. However, it walks you through the whole process. Enjoy!
And here is the ornament that was seen in that video:
I know, I know, I’ve been blogging a lot of recipes lately, and not so many crafts. But what can I say? Fall and Winter put me in a domestic mood and make me want to bake and cook. Bear with me, you’ll be glad you did. This recipe is SO YUMMY!
For the last cooking club, not only did I bring the candied apples I previously outlined, but I also brought this Butternut Squash Risotto. Now, I had never made a risotto before, and while I knew it would take a lot of time stirring and adding the broth, I don’t think I realized just how much. However, it was totally worth it! The end result is a nice, creamy blend of rice and butternut squash with a hint of Parmesan.
I found this recipe HERE. There are some other really tasty looking recipes over there. Be sure to take a look around!
6-8 cups chicken broth (use vegetable broth for vegetarian option)
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided into 4 Tbsp and 1 Tbsp
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cups butternut squash, peeled, and finely diced
2 cups arborio rice (can substitute medium grained white rice, but arborio is preferred)
1 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp chopped chives or garlic chives
(surprise surprise, my grocery store didn’t have the garlic chives or even regular chives, so we did without. It was still delish.)
First, peel and chop your squash into bite size pieces. I think if I do this again, I’ll cut them even smaller than I did. Melt 4Tbsp of butter and sautee the onions and squash until the onions are translucent. While you do this, heat your broth in another pot and keep warm over medium heat.
Add your rice to the onions and squash and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add your wine and stir constantly until the wine is either absorbed by the rice or evaporated. Then, ladle broth over rice until it just covers it. Cook over medium heat until the broth is absorbed.
Continue cooking and stirring rice, adding a little bit of broth at a time, cooking and stirring until it is absorbed, until the rice is tender, but still firm to the bite, about 15 to 20 minutes.
During the last few minutes of cooking, add the remaining butter, 1/3 cup of Parmesan, and chives. At this point it should be nice and creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste and garnish with remaining Parmesan.
This was a big hit! I am looking forward to making it again, actually. It was the first time I really had eaten butternut squash too!
Halloween has come and gone, and I must say, I was very pleased with the girls’ costumes! I managed to pull off exactly the look they requested. Thanks to the fabric store, Goodwill, and some time, I wrapped up their costume with all the finishing touches.
To finish off their shirts, I used THIS technique to applique the lightning bolt and star pattern on the front. I did use an iron on backing to make the applique more stable while I zig-zag stitched around it to make it more secure.
At Goodwill I was lucky enough to find the yellow karate belt both the girls are wearing. I cut the belt to size and took 4 hooks and sewed them on to make it a nice, snug fit.
For Jocelyn’s cape, I just serged around the edges and put a draw string at the top.
For her “helmet” we decided to go with just a headband instead. I sewed two little snaps at the base so it would fit snugly on her head.
For her boot covers, I loosely followed THIS tutorial. I used a pair of Mary Janes as the base and fit the covers around them.
I was really surprised to come across these great red shorts at Goodwill. For $.99 they were the perfect addition.
At the end of the day, the girls were super happy with their costumes. The best part? Now that Halloween is over they have an awesome pair of pajamas they can wear whenever they want. (like tonight)