January 20, 2013

DIY Bird Nest Necklace With a Twist

DIY Bird Nest Necklace: Tried&Twisted

Sometimes the simplest design can look so classy! Today I'll share my twist to the popular bird nest necklace that has been appearing at craft fairs, Etsy, and blogs since birds came into fashion.

I learned this technique from the Sarah Ortega blog for my Christmas Craft & Cookie party, and all of the girls loved this DIY: so simple to make and so beautiful to wear. It's a versatile gift fit for Christmas, Valentine's Day, or Mother's Day since birthstones could easily be used for the "eggs" in the nest.

To any Crafting Studs out there -- this is a great gift idea for your lady! Jewelry is always a plus, but when you tell her you made it for her with love? Instant swoon!

Well, that's the sort of thing that would work for me anyway.

DIY Bird Nest Necklace: Tried&Twisted

January 18, 2013

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding: Tried&Twisted

Prepare for a gooey sugar rush from the gods: Sticky Toffee Pudding!

Sticky Toffee Pudding: Tried&Twisted

This classic British cake-like dessert is served warm with toffee topping and ice cream on the side. Considering it's made of dates, you can practically claim that it's healthy. It contains fruit!

Ok, so maybe it's not healthy and maybe you don't really want to know how much butter is in it, but I promise this is a dessert worth bending your new year's resolution.

January 15, 2013

DIY Fleece Ear Warmers

DIY Ear Warmer Headband: Tried&Twisted

Baby, it's cold outside! As our rather large families gathered together for Christmas by the fire, the time came to watch White Christmas, drink hot cocoa, and stuff those stockings with gifts. One easy, fashionable, and useful DIY gift that snowy day was this fleece ear warmer headband.

DIY Ear Warmer Headbands: Tried&Twisted

A thick ear warmer headband with rosettes or floral details can be so stylish and chic. Variations of this tutorial have been floating around Pinterest and I traced the directions back to Delia Creates. So what if I haven't used a sewing machine since middle school home ec class? How hard could it be, right? Well, it turns out you do have to be able to sew a straight line for her tutorial, so I made a few adjustments to the original design via trial and error to find an easier way to make the same look, even without perfect hems.

January 7, 2013

Candy Cane French Macaron

Candy Cane French Macaron: triedandtwisted.blogspot.com

How cruel am I to show you those gorgeous candy cane macarons and not share the recipe? My friend at CookieHolic, her husband, and I made this batch for Christmas, and in all the hustle and bustle, I didn't take detailed in-process photos. But, I promise to one day explain the delicate process of making parisian macarons in more detail.

Credit for the basic macaron recipe goes to my fellow macaron-enthusiast, Kathleen, from Pinterest and her instructor, Clemence Gossett of The Gourmandise School in Santa Monica. Thank you so much to her for sharing!

A few details were tweaked, including the addition of cream of tartar, which according to her Lady Martha Stewart, duchess of culinary perfection, should be used since it helps to strengthen the meringue. Ok, let's dive in!

Candy Cane French Macaron: triedandtwisted.blogspot.com

January 6, 2013

How to Make Sew Only Rosettes

How to Make Set Only Rosettes: triedandtwisted.blogspot.com

Have you noticed that Crafting 101 demands you know how to make rosette flowers? So many tutorials mention adding pizzazz and upscaling sweaters, bookmarks, ear warmers, or dog collars with the addition of a rosette. And why not? They're simple to make and the result is classy and chic!

Most tutorials suggest hot glue to bind the stripes of cloth together into a rosette, but hot glue can break down over time and won't last in the washer. So here's my personal twist: how to make rosettes entirely with only a needle and thread.

How to Make Sew Only Rosettes: Supplies

Start with long strips of fleece fabric between 1/2 inch to 2 inches wide. You can use strips that are all the exact same width or varying width. Since I want my rosettes to emulate nature and nature is so diverse and unique, I preferred to use strips of varying width.

January 5, 2013

New Year, New Attitude

It's a new year! Everyone woke up to this week with bright-eyed optimism and hope, armed with new resolutions. We promise to lose some weight, learn a new skill, finish patching all the holes in the wall, or what have you. Yet inevitably those resolutions fail. We eat that second donut. We watch TV instead of reading a book. We slip up once and it's so easy to put all our hopes and resolutions away for another year when it will be that much harder to start all over again.

I mention this depressing fact because resolutions are a lot like any creative project. Any time you choose to create something, you're taking a risk that you might fail. It's a hard fact to face, but living a creative life will be so much easier if you give up now. Expect to fail. But then pick up the left over felt and thread and try again!

Above, I posted a photo of my Christmas batch of French macarons (I do have a minor obsession with those chameleon pastries--so be warned that I'll share much more about them). This time, I took a risk. I tried a new recipe for macarons that a fellow Pinner was kind enough to share. The result the first time for these finicky desserts was not up to standards. The brand new gel food coloring that I tried made the macaron pink -- not red, white, and swirled. The macaron shell itself was too puffy, occasionally hollow, with pointy tops. Now, it tasted fine, but the perfectionist in me was quite disappointed. My fellow Pinner's macarons were gorgeous, absolutely flawless! And mine was like a puffy dreidel.

Poor puffy hollow macarons.

So what did I do? I tried the recipe a second time, altered a few details, and produced one of the prettiest batches of macarons I have ever baked.

The moral is that you have to keep trying, whether for a new year's resolution or for any creative enterprise. So what if your craft doesn't look like the one in the picture? Did you have fun making it? Do you like the final results? No? Then keep trying.  And if you do like it, then fantastic! 

I'll borrow from cooking icon Julia Child, who said that "The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” (Yes, that sweet lady actually said "what the hell"!). Be content with your projects, and remember that every failure is a lesson learned. Be proud that you dared to try and realize that most of your mistakes are far less noticeable that you think. So give yourself permission to fail. I already gave myself permission, so maybe I'll spare you a few mistakes along the way. Good luck with your projects and enjoy each failure and success!

January 4, 2013

Let's Get Crafty

Welcome to Tried & Twisted, my personal blog to share crafting, baking, and gardening experience. In this blog, I'll try out projects from around Pinterest and online and let you know which ideas are tried and true, while adding my own personal twist.