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:
This year I wanted to put together some baskets for Christmas, but if you’ve ever put a bunch of stuff in a basket, you know that nothing stays in place. By the time you get it to where it’s going, everything is mish-mashed around, if it stays in the basket at all. While at the Dollar Tree looking for tissue paper, I came across these nifty “shrink wrap & pull bow bags”. And the best part? They were only a dollar!!! I picked up all that they had on hand. I had already bought out the supply of baskets at the Goodwill, so I am ready to go.
This is what the package looks like. I imagine there are many different brands on the market, just make sure they say “shrink”.
The bag inside is really quite large, large enough to accommodate a pretty good sized basket.
Place the basket inside, get it all settled as to how you want it.
Hold it together at the top, and shrink wrap securely around the gift basket with blow dryer.
You will see that it starts to shrink around the basket, making a nice tight fitting. If you had a handle, or anything around the top, it would shrink right around it. I wanted to leave a little room at the top, so I just stopped the blow drying process once it shrank around the basket, yet still had space at the top.
The package included a decorative pull bow.
Pull it and secure it around the top of the bag.
There will be a lot of plastic left at the top, just cut it off with scissors at the desired height. The plastic will fit nicely around the basket, and hold everything in place. They turn out really cute.
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!