Harry Potter Wine Charms

HP (5 of 17)Just recently it was the 20th anniversary of the release of the first Harry Potter book. That blew my mind. Although Harry Potter has been a major part of my life even before I could read, J.K. Rowling’s magical world still feels so fresh and present to me, as if the books came out just yesterday. I don’t even bother pretending I’m not a total Harry Potter geek. Seriously, the intro song still makes me giddy. I remember Christmas when I was six and my mom, in typical Mrs. Weasley fashion, gave my brother and I matching Gryffindor sweaters, I remember dressing up in robes for the book release at our local bookstore, and I remember going to the midnight premieres of the movies in Spanish (we were living in Mexico at the time) and loving them even without understanding them. Everyone should have something that brings out their biggest dopiest smile, like Harry Potter does for me.

So upon realizing that it was the 20th anniversary, I decided it was time to make another Harry Potter craft (check out our sorting hat cupcakes from last year). I’ve combined the wizarding world with one of my other favorite passions: wine nights. These wine charms are super easy to make, the materials are cheap, and I absolutely love them! It’s a subtle way to distinguish your wine glass from others’ and they aren’t so “in your face” Harry Potter so you could get away with saying they are just charms…. shaped like lighting bolts… and broomsticks. I made 12 so I’m keeping half for myself and sending the other half to Michelle. Now that our wine nights will no longer be spent together we’ll have to find new Harry Potter loving friends!


Materials:

  • Harry Potter charms (I found mine here)
  • Jump rings
  • Earring hoops
  • Beads
  • (optional) Paper that looks like parchment
  • (optional) Thin black pen or marker
  • (optional) Card stock
  • (optional) Glue

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Loop the jump rings onto the charms so that they hang the right way. If you use different charms than I did, just check the angle of the charm’s loop to see if you need them.

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String half of the beads onto the earring hoop, then add the charm, and then add the remaining beads.

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Thread the open ended wire through the loop and bend it back over to hold it in place. Repeat with all of the other charms. Seriously, it is that easy!

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As an extra touch, I wrote Harry Potter wine puns (after some serious brainstorming) at the top of parchment colored paper and pinned the final charms to them.

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Glue a slightly smaller piece of card stock to the back so that it is sturdier.

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I opted for “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Wine” and “It’s not wingardium leviosa, it’s wine-gardium leviosa”. Other ideas are “Sherry Potter” and “Moaning Merlot”. I’d love to hear if you guys can come up with any others!

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Happy crafting!

-Kirby

Graduation Cake Pops

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Well, we did it! We finally graduated from UCLA this past weekend. Somehow it was four years ago that we met as timid young freshmen, new to the city of Los Angeles. Looking back on all the friends and memories we’ve each made during our time here, graduation feels almost surreal. It’s the end of an era!! Despite the sadness that comes with leaving behind our friends, our apartments, and our beautiful campus, we are beyond excited to begin the newest chapter in our lives.

Starting this week, we will be working on this blog together from different cities (Michelle is headed to San Francisco and Kirby will be staying in Los Angeles), but we look forward to collaborating on ideas from afar and co-writing our content. To celebrate the end of the best four years of our lives, and the last craft we’ll be making together for a while, we made these graduation cake pops. Of course we made ours blue and gold for UCLA, but they are easily customizable to any school colors. They were (almost) too cute to eat!


Materials & Ingredients:

  • Cake (no shame in a box mix!)
  • Frosting
  • Cake pop sticks
  • White candy melts
  • Chocolate fondant
  • Yellow and black/brown royal icing (you can find our recipe here)
  • Ziplock bag or piping bag
  • Sprinkles
  • Baking sheet
  • Styrofoam or cardboard box for holding the finished cake pops
  • A knife
  • Scissors

Bake your cake and allow to cool completely.

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Mix the icing in little by little until the mixture is moist enough to form a ball, but not too sticky that it will fall off of the stick — we used about 1/4 of a container. Form as many golf ball-sized cake balls and place them on the baking sheet.

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Insert your sticks into the balls. Our secret is to melt a little bit of the candy melts and dip the sticks into the melted chocolate before inserting them into the cake balls. This insures that they won’t fall off the sticks when decorating. Then place the tray in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

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While the cake pops chill, you can make the fondant graduation caps. They aren’t hard to make but take a few steps so following these pictures might help! On a powdered sugar surface, roll out your fondant to about an 8th of an inch. Cut half of the fondant into little squares and cut the other half into thin strips. Cut your strips into 1.5 inch segments. Make your royal icing. You can get away with just half or even a quarter of the recipe. Dye half of it yellow and the other half black or brown, and place each color in a piping bag or ziplock. Cut a tiny hole in the edge. Use the black/brown icing to pipe on the end of your 1.5 inch long fondant segment. Then roll it into a circle, and repeat for each segment. Then pipe the black icing onto the top of the circle and place the square fondant piece on top. Finish them up with a little yellow icing tassel on top!

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Once you have finished the grad caps, set up your decorating station. Lay out your sprinkles, set aside your grad caps, and prepare your cardboard box or styrofoam to hold the finished cake pops. If you use a cardboard box, poke holes in the bottom and flip it upside down to hold the individual sticks. Melt your candy melts in a deep, narrow bowl or cup.

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Dip the chilled cake pop into the melted chocolate in one fluid motion. Avoid twisting or bending the cake pop, just pull it out.

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Immediately dust the cake pop with sprinkles.

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And finally, finish it off with a graduation cap. Place the finished cake pop in the styrofoam block or cardboard box to cool and harden, and repeat the process until you have finished all of the pops.

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Go Bruins and Happy Graduation!

-Michelle and Kirby

 

DIY Twine Bowl

twinebowl-6-of-12When we first lived together sophomore year of college, our sorority made us choose a theme for our bedroom. Yes, you read that right. And to be completely honest, we were pretty psyched. Remember those home improvement shows for kids where they went all out on the themed rooms? Well that’s what it felt like. After much deliberation (and accepting that a Harry Potter theme probably wouldn’t fly in the sorority house), we chose “country rustic”. We’re still not quite sure what that means other than we probably spent too much time looking at Pinterest weddings.

Anyways, to make this story somewhat relevant, this craft made us giggle because it’s very “country rustic”. If you put twine on anything you can call it rustic, but make a bowl out of it and use it to hold your farm fresh eggs, and now you’ve got country rustic.

But really, this craft is so simple (it’s only made of two materials!) and is a beautiful addition to a kitchen table when filled with fruit.


Materials:

  • Twine
  • Two bottles of Elmer’s school glue
  • Water
  • Two bowls (on for the glue and one for a mold)
  • Plastic wrap

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Pour 1 1/2 cups or so of water in your bowl and mix in both bottles of glue. Stir the mixture together until well incorporated.

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Unravel as much twine as you can and soak it in the glue.

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While the glue soaks, turn your bowl “mold” upside down and cover it with plastic wrap. You don’t have you use plastic wrap but it makes for easy clean up!

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Now wrap your glue-soaked twine around the bowl over and over again until there are a few layers of twine. The more you do this, the stronger the bowl will be. If you want to, you can be strategic with how you wrap it – you can make pretty loops or be very precise so that it is all really even. We opted for a more rustic feel, because you know, that was our theme. One you finish, patiently wait for the glue to dry. You want to wait at least 24 hours. The twine should be rock hard.

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Gently peel off the plastic wrap and any pieces of glue that are still stuck to the bowl.

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It makes for a great hat!

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Just kidding. Fill it with fresh fruit or whatever pleases you – because your bowl is ready to go!

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Happy glü-ing!

-Kirby and Michelle

 

Candy Advent Calendar

_mg_8162goldleavesIt’s that wonderful time of year – December is finally here! We’ve been overwhelmingly busy with final exams and packing for winter break, but decided to take a day off to craft and embrace the holiday spirit together before we leave for home.

Advent calendars are the most exciting Christmas decoration thanks to the sweet surprise that hides behind each day. Usually we get the cardboard ones where you punch out the chocolate each day, but this year we decided to make it more interesting. We loaded up on our favorite candies (pretty much all of them to be honest) and wrapped them up like mini Christmas gifts. The end result is so festive and cute, plus the wooden structure is sturdy and reusable so we never have to go back to the plain old cardboard calendars again. Because we were a little late starting this one, we embraced the excuse to eat five candies in one night, and there’s no shame in you doing the same!


Materials:

  • A long piece of wood
  • White spray paint
  • 25 nails
  • Black acrylic paint
  • A thin paint brush
  • Wrapping paper (we mostly used tissue paper)
  • 25 small candies
  • Ribbon
  • String (we used the red & white twisted kind)
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Command strips for hanging

Use a piece of wood that is long enough to hold all 25 candies. We found this scrap wood at the UCLA sculpture lab – it doesn’t need to be fancy. Set it down outside on paper or newspaper and coat the wood with white spray paint. We only did one layer for a more rustic look but feel free to do another for a cleaner style. Allow to dry completely.

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Carefully measure out where each number will go. It’s been a while since we took math and this took us a few tries, but it will look much better if it is evenly spaced apart. We marked each space with a small pencil mark. Then using whatever font you would like, paint the numbers over each dot. If you don’t have faith in your calligraphy skills, you could easily use number stickers from any craft store.

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Next, hammer the nails into the pencil dots. You want them to be secure, but still protruding quite a bit in order to hold the candies (Note: doing this in a Christmas sweater will add to the festive vibe).

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Pick out your 25 candy surprises. We opted for a large variety of things from chocolates to fruity chewy candies. Pick what you like, because you will be the one eating them! The goal is to find candy with small, easy-to-wrap packaging. Some things, like the starbursts, you can divide up into three separate days. We poured the skittles into little plastic baggies that would be wrapped into cute pouches.

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Wrap all of the candy. Warning, this is not a craft for those who hate gift wrapping. This is probably what it feels like to be Santa Claus for mice. We used tissue paper except for the plaid gift wrap, and we used variations of gold ribbon to create consistency.

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Cut different lengths of string (so that the mini presents will all hang at different heights) and tape them in a loop to the back of each candy gift.

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Using command strips, attach the wooden piece to the wall. Hang the gifts onto the advent calendar in a random order. We tried to arrange them based on wrapping color and the length at which they hang.

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Now relax, indulge your sweet tooth, and let the countdown begin!

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Happy December!

-Kirby and Michelle

Lavender Sachets

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Kirby & Lola in front of the harvested lavender field in Ojai

This past July, I spent a week in Ojai with friends and family. It was such a magical place with Spanish-style homes, flowering trees, and roadside farm stands that used the honor system. Every morning there would be tomatoes and fresh eggs for us to take, trusting that we would leave the money we owed. Each night we grilled outside under the stars then played games and drank wine. It was perfect. There was also a huge lavender field in our backyard that had just been harvested and the air was filled with the floral perfume. As my dad and I walked Lola (our family Cocker Spaniel) in the evenings, a certain topic kept recurring – how much my Grandma Carylon would love it there. No one would appreciate the vibrant flowers, the fresh produce, and the warm sunshine more than her and we quickly began plotting how to convince her to move so that we could visit all the time.

As a souvenir, I brought home a bag full of dried lavender from the harvest, but wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. Recently it dawned on me to make homemade sachets to send to my grandmother, a small sample of the place my dad and I knew she would fall in love with.

These were very easy to make – keep in mind the most I’ve sewn in my life is a button. With lacy ribbon and fabric paint, they are easily customizable and smell so incredible, a perfect gift. I plan to make a bunch more as Christmas gifts… and maybe a few for myself!


Materials:

  • Non-stretchy fabric (I used cotton)
  • Needle & thread
  • Scissors
  • Ribbon
  • Fabric paint
  • Dried lavender

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Cut your fabric into long rectangular strips. When you fold them in half, they should be a little larger than you want the final sachet to be. Don’t worry about loose threads and messy edges, they will be hidden.

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Take one piece of fabric and fold it in half so that the back of the fabric is facing the outside. Using a cross-stitch (don’t worry, I had to google that, too), sew the sides, leaving about half an itch from the edges. Then carefully fold down the top and sew all the way around, this time leaving about a quarter inch from the top. The fabric should look like an inside-out pouch by now.

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Turn the bag inside out so that the seams are hidden. At this point you can decorate the sachet however you like. I monogrammed the navy blue one with my Grandma’s initials (CC) and sewed crochet ribbon across the bottom of the yellow one. I left the flower printed pouch as is so that the sachets wouldn’t look too busy all together. Once you finish decorating, pour the dried lavender into the bag, filling it 2/3 of the way.

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Carefully pinch the fabric so that the pouch is tightly filled, then sew it shut to secure the lavender inside. Use a thin ribbon and bow to cover the seam and finish the decoration on the bag.

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That’s all there is to it, now you are ready to place them in your clothing drawers and be the best smelling lady around! (I made sure to thoroughly test them out on my clothes before sending them to my grandma).

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Happy sewing!

-Kirby