DIY: Snow Globe

DSC_0270editWell well well, what is this!? A DIY (not exactly Wednesday) post! It’s been a long time, I must admit. I can’t promise this will be a regular thing again, but we’ll take what we can get, right?

This is a DIY I should have shared ages ago, but it felt unsuited for anything other than the holidays. Making your own snow globe could be one of the easiest and fastest crafts out there, and it makes a great Christmas (Hanukkah, anything) gift. Over the years I’ve made several of these for some dear pals, so I can vouch for it as a thoughtful and neat gift.

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WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • A clean mason jar (or something similar that will contain water)
  • Neato item to go inside (I chose this eagle, but it’s your life, so do what you want)
  • Clear drying water resistant glue – can be found at Home Hardware etc. (do not use the one I have pictured above, not water resistant, I stupidly grabbed the wrong glue out of my cupboard, and well, it ended up being a mess)
  • Distilled water – I always use Smart Water (cause I’m smart)
  • Glycerin – found at any drug store
  • Glitter!!!
  • Twine

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STEP ONE:

Make sure the mason jar (or whatever) you selected has a wide enough opening that you can easily fit your object in without a struggle (i will admit I struggled a bit with the wings of this guy). Once you are certain it will fit, you can apply your water resistant glue to the bottom of the object, and carefully place it at the bottom of the jar (beware long haired dames, tie your hair back when using glue, I learned the hard way, not one, but two times). This can be tricky if you don’t have tiny dainty hands. My hands are rather small, but definitely not small enough to fit directly inside the jar. In a ghetto attempt to carefully place Mr. Eagle in the jar I used a pair of tongs. It did the trick, so I don’t care how weird it may have been.

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STEP TWO:

I left the glue to dry for 24hrs, but most glues will tell you you can wait 1hr. The longer it’s left, the better the hold. Jiggle your jar around a bit to make sure it’s secure, and then you can begin pouring your distilled water into the jar. I never fill the jar to the brim – a few inches before the brim will do just fine. Once your jar is a cool filled guy, add in a few drops of glycerin. Don’t get crazy now, a few drops will do.

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STEP THREE:

Stop, glitter time! Use whatever colour combination you’d like. I did have to remake this snow globe after my stupid glue situation, so I ended up using gold, red and silver glitter on my finished one. Because of the glycerin, the glitter will sit at the top of the water. Do not fret, once you shake that baby, things will get real snow globe glittery inside.

STEP FOUR: 

To add a little something to the finished snow globe, I usually wrap twine around the lid. As stated before, it is your life, people, but I do feel adding something to the top gives it a nice finished look. If using twine, make sure to leave the ends free so it can be tied into a little bow when you’re done. You’ll be quite sad if you forget to do this.

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And voila, a thoughtful gift that is very kind to our check books, and makes you look like some sort of DIY master (it’s not true though).

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Brooklyn to West

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Interior design and DIY blogs have a tendency to send me into hours-long day dreams about how I want to decorate/re-decorate my apartment. Brooklyn to West happens to be one of my favourites, and also probably the blog/shop that helps me procrastinate on all my real-life work the most.

Ariele Alasko is the mastermind behind Brooklyn to West – a DIY/Interior Design genius, who not only created the company, but designs and builds all the pieces in the shop herself. She also opened a restaurant in Pacific Grove (California) that serves up some of the most delicious looking pasta dishes I’ve ever seen.

I’m not feeling all that eloquent this morning, so I’ll leave you with the links to her Shop/Blog/Restaurant, and let them do the talking for me!

 

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Posted by Meaghan

Lavender and Honey Cupcakes

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As I had mentioned in my previous post, I baked cupcakes for Matt’s birthday, and thought it would be nice to share them with you guys! I have the most amazing cupcake recipe book – 500 Cupcakes by Fergal Connolly, that was gifted to me from Taylor on my birthday a few years back. If I am ever at a loss for what fun cupcakes I could bake, this is my go-to. It has everything – plain ol’ cupcakes, fancy cupcakes, holiday cupcakes, savoury muffins…I could go on. This time I opted to make lavender and honey cupcakes. Sounds delicious, right?!

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WHAT YOU’LL NEED

For cupcakes:
1 cup (1 stick) sweet butter, softened – i used salted…woops! I blame No Frills, the name is no joke.
1 cup superfine sugar
2 cups self-rising flour
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract.

For frosting:
1 cup cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
1/3 cup honey
blue food coloring
2 tbsp dried lavender flowers – you can get these at an herb and spice shop, or sometimes heath food/herbalist stores will have them.

Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C), and place your cupcake papers (I used fun polka dot ones) in your cupcake tray (why thank you Alex, a totally new concept to cupcake baking) . This recipe makes about 1 1/2 dozen cupcakes.

For the cupcakes, with an electric mixer (if you have one), beat together in a large bowl the butter, sugar, flour, eggs and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth and pale. To be honest, I didn’t love the actual cake part of my cupcakes. It wasn’t very sweet, and I’m not totally sold on self-rising flour. Next time I would probably opt for a little more vanilla extract, sugar and maybe just regular old flour, salt and baking powder. Once your batter is ready, pour into your tray and bake for 20 mins. After they are done, leave them on a cooling rack or whatever you have that acts as a cooling rack.

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For the frosting, beat confectioner’s sugar and cream cheese in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until light and creamy. Beat in honey and a few drops of blue food coloring and stir in half of your yummy smelling dried lavender flowers.

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Once your frosting is all delicious looking, spread the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and sprinkle them with the remainder of the lavender flowers, if you want, no pressure.

These cupcakes can be stored without frosting in an air tight container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

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And voila, you have created a lovely looking and delicious cupcake!

Posted by Alex

Cool Careers: Taylor Zorzi

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I have always been in awe of Taylor’s job as a Visual Merchandiser and now as a Display Coordinator. She started this career working for iQ Living here in Toronto, where I first noticed her natural talent for creating some of the most interesting and exciting window displays I have ever seen. She now currently works for Anthropologie and they are so lucky to have her as part of their team. I asked Taylor if she would be so kind as to let us interview her and have her share some of her window displays and things she has created with her two magical hands. So without further ado…Taylor Zorzi

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How did you get into your line of work? What did you study in University?

I took a completely absurd and unrealistic four-year program at Ryerson University. OK, let me preface that by saying, this was, upon graduation, my dream program. The program, New Media, is a multi platform fusion of sculpture, robotic arts, physical computing, programming and performance art. We spoke a lot about user interface and interactivity, social networking and environments. We wrote a lot of code in a lot of different languages and used that code to manipulate, transform and communicate to make move or interact a medium of our choice, mine predominately being sculpture. Anyways, the potential for a realistic, successful career out of this program seemed so….impossible. So I tried to cover my bases and started working alongside some super talented people in our sister program at Ryerson, Film. Here I honed set dressing, art direction, production design and prop making. So in short, I graduated with credits in new media and experience in film. Then after working in retail for a bit after school to help pay off some of my student debt, I used my portfolio to get myself a job as a merchandiser at a store on the Danforth (a street in Toronto), who happened to have the largest Window I had ever seen, and I just thought I could treat it like a film set. I was naive to think it would be that easy.

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Did you always know this was the job for you?

Never. I really had no retail experience prior to iQliving and I had zero merchandising experience, and to be honest I didn’t like retail. It was so far segregated from Fine Arts that I truly believed a career as a merchandiser would never be rewarding enough for me, and it really wasn’t.  I adored window dressing at iQ but I dreaded merchandising inside, I just had no passion for it. For a long time I thought of it as the work part and it was sort of the sacrifice I had to make to be able to continue to carry out my windows. So as I started to fall into my career as a Visual Merchandiser, obviously I heard more and more about Anthropologie and the job that they offered of Display Coordinator.

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What’s your favourite part of your job?

Having my own workshop is incredible. There is sort of an entrepreneurial vibe to Anthropologie, we have a lot of control over our own stores, which constitutes to the amount of passion people have for their positions. There is an incredible sense of entitlement in regards to artistic decisions I make at work and this is very rewarding. The other amazing thing about Anthro is I am a jack-of-all-trades. This can be at times the greatest challenge to the position but it is also why there is no other retail environment like Anthro. Every project I am divulging into a completely new and at most times foreign medium. This holiday we made animals completely out of different types of paper, and for our sweet shop I had to make cupcakes and pies out of cardboard. Last week I perfected the sewing machine and next week I will be working with casting in cement. It never slows down and you would be crazy to complain of boredom, ever.

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How does working for Anthropologie differ from iQ Living? 

In everyway possible. At iQ I was a Visual Merchandiser completely absorbed into the world of retail. At Anthro, I am a Display Coordinator alongside people in the retail environment, basically an in house artist.

 Do you decorate your own apartment as creatively as you do windows?

I have the best intentions and the worst follow through. Both my fiance and I have crazy schedules so our home serves as a hub for comfort and recovery with a few good looking moments here and there.

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Are there other creative things you like to do outside of work, or does your job satisfy your creative needs?

Absolutely I want to do other projects. Its weird, as creative as I get to be at work, it will always be work. That’s also the only way I can look at it as so I can separate myself from it everyday after 5. You can get so attached to this work that it can engulf you and there is no line between work and play…because work sort of is play. I’d like to do a project on the side…. that is just personal…. no goals, no expectations…. if I don’t like it I don’t have to commit, it would feel nice to not have to take my art so seriously.

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Are there other careers you think you’d like to get into in the future?

My ultimate goal, after Anthro, which is no time soon, is to get into retail design; setting up floor plans, building fixtures, setting the aura for a store based on the actual architecture and navigation of the space itself. I am always itching to be in other spaces. My true passion has nothing to do with the object itself in art, but the way objects live and breathe in a space and I want to examine that in as many different stores and windows as possible. Ambitious, I know.

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Any advice for aspiring people?

Try to find and meet people who feel the same way that you do about art and life and where they meet. Ask them as many questions about their successes and failures and make a plan for yourself based on those.

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Keep an eye our for this girl, I know she’ll be doing great things in the years to come. And thank you to Taylor for sharing part of your life and insight with us.

Posted by Alex

Home Sweet Home / Lindsay

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I have always loved Lindsay and Duncan’s apartment. It feels like you walked into an eccentric grandmother’s home, full of unique antique and found objects. It’s cluttered in the most organized way, which I think very few people know how to pull off. It has almost an eerie feel to it, what with animal skulls and even a scythe (!!!), while also being a place where you can curl up under a blanket and feel at home. With every turn of your head there is something fun to look at, which I think really represents these two. I’m telling you, these two have an eye for finding the best things and decorating in a way that cannot be taught.

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Posted and photos by: Alex