Tuesday, April 8, 2014

How to make a long stem rose out of duct tape


 How to make a long stem rose out of duct tape

      Duct tape has become a very popular medium in the crafting community. It’s not just for holding your car together anymore. With events like the Stuck At Prom Scholarship Contest being held, it has broadened the uses of the sticky stuff. Crafters have been making wallets and purses out of duct tape for years, but with the contest they have broadened their horizons. Full-length ball gowns are being made with dozens of rolls and hundreds of man-hours.
      Today, we are going to stick with something simple and learn how to make a duct tape rose. These roses can come in any color you want. With the patterns they are printing on the tape today, you could even make it leopard print if you like. These duct tape roses will never wilt can look beautiful for years to come. If you think you might miss the fresh rose scent, fear not! Adding a few drops of rose scented oil to the center of the rose will give you that freshly cut scent for weeks.
Step one: Gather supplies
What you’ll need:
  • ·      Thick gauged wire
  • ·      Wire cutters
  • ·      Green duct tape (for stem)
  • ·      Any color duct tape (for the rose)
  • ·      Utility knife
  • ·      Cutting board



Step two: Create the stem
Take your wire and measure out how long you want the stem to be, leaving about a half an inch extra at the top for the flower head. 12 inches is perfect for a long stem rose. Set aside.

Step three: Create the petals
Take the colored duct tape you picked for the rose. For this tutorial we used red.

1.    Pull the tape up from the roll and hold it out in front of you.
2.    Take the right corner of the duct tape, sticky side up, and fold it down onto itself, leaving a sliver of sticky uncovered.
3.    Next, take the folded left side where the sliver of tape is still showing, and fold it down so the sticky is touching the exposed tape at the bottom. This will create a triangle.
4.    Using the utility knife, cut about a half inch underneath the triangle, leaving a rectangle of sticky exposed under the triangle.
5.    Continue to do this until you have between 45 and 55 triangles depending on how full you want your rose.

Step four: Assemble the rose
The assembly is fairly easy after the first few petals are done.

1.    Take the already cut wire from before and lay it on the left hand side of one of your triangles. Slowly roll the wire to the other end, making sure to hold onto the triangle so it doesn’t slip off. Continue rolling until you have a small upside-down cone.
2.    Take another triangle, laying the middle point a few centimeters left to the point of the cone. Wrap the sticky bottom around until it is secure.
3.    Continue to do this, making sure to move each point a few centimeters to the left. This will give the flower its petals.
4.    You may need to add or remove petals depending on how tight you put them together. Make sure to look at it from the center to see if it is symmetrical.
Step five: Cover the stem
The step requires very little work and its imperfections will add to its beauty.

1.    Take your roll of green duct tape and cut off about five half-inch rectangles from the top. Place each rectangle underneath the rose, covering most of the petals. This will secure the petals and give a cleaner appearance.
2.    Next, cut a six-inch piece of green duct tape from your roll. Lay it onto the cutting board and slice it down the middle, creating two long strips. The smaller strips will make it easier to wrap with and cause less waste.
3.    Take a strip, starting from the top, and slowly wrap down the wire, covering it all. Make sure not to have any of the sticky side exposed.
4.    Continue wrapping until you hit the bottom. Make sure to cover the end so you don’t have wire exposed.

 
VoilĂ ! A beautiful long stemmed rose made from duct tape with your own hands. It will last forever and you never have to worry about watering it. Make a dozen more and create a beautiful bouquet.




Friday, February 28, 2014

Dark Red Velvet Cupcakes

Yum!
     These are my absolute favorite cupcakes ever. They have become sort of what I'm known for. My hair tends to even match the beautiful, rich, red color. These are very easy to make and are to die for. If you aren't a fan of red, you can pick whatever color you prefer. My boyfriend is a huge Bears fan, so I made these in blue before with orange frosting. 
     I prefer dark chocolate and think that the dark chocolate chips really add to the richness. If you're not a fan, semi-sweet would work just the same. I try to stir the batter between batches as the chips tend to fall to the bottom. This can cause uneven distribution between cupcakes. 
     I'd love to hear from any of you who try this recipe. I'm always interested in alterations to make these better. Please leave a comment below along with pictures. 

Dark Red Velvet Cupcakes

(adapted from a recipe found on White Apples)

  • 
3 1/2 cup cake flour

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
2 cup canola oil

  • 2 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 3 large eggs

  • 4 Tbsp (2 oz) red food coloring
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk

  • 2 tsp baking soda

  • 2 1/2 tsp white vinegar


1 cup dark chocolate chips tossed in flour
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
2. Whisk cake flour, cocoa and salt in a bowl.
3. Place oil and sugar in bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until well-blended. Beat in eggs one at a time. With machine on low, very slowly add red food coloring. Add vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk in two batches. Scrape down bowl and beat just long enough to combine.  Stir in chocolate chips until just combined.
4. Place baking soda in a small dish, stir in vinegar and add to batter with machine running. Beat for 10 seconds.
5. Divide batter cupcake pans, place in oven and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in pans 20 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.
Look at that red!

Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temp

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter room temp

  • 3 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted

  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1. Place cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl. With an electric mixer, beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

2. Add sugar and vanilla. Beat, on low speed to combine. If too soft, chill until slightly stiff, about 10 minutes, before using.

Once the cupcakes are cooled and frosted, I take an extra, unfrosted cupcake, and grate it with a cheese grater over the frosted cupcakes. This makes them pretty and look more presentable. 


Thursday, February 27, 2014

I hate writer's block

Writer’s block. Something every writer goes through at some point in his or her career. How do you get past it? Some say to write through it. If nothing is coming to you, how do you write through it? Sometimes I just sit and stare at my screen. It doesn’t help. I’ll think, “Hmm let me look this up to help get me started.” Looking up one thing will lead to another thing and an hour and a half later I realize I’m looking up movies Bill Murray has been in, or what do bats eat? How did I get there?

I think a writer’s worst enemy is the Internet. It sucks you in and distracts you without you realizing it. You think you’re doing research, but you’re not. You are procrastinating but making yourself feel better about it. I’m excellent at this.

I’ve found that the best thing to get through my writer’s block is a good bout of insomnia. When I can’t sleep is when my brain works the most. I will lie in bed for hours, just writing inside of my head. These are the moments that I have to grab my phone and email my ideas to myself. I co-sleep with my one-year-old so I tend to not jump up and get to my computer. He’s the lightest sleeping baby and this would just end in him waking up and me spending time getting him back to sleep.

            Some say that writing anything helps. A grocery list, a review of a book you just read, anything. Just write. I’ve had this help me before. Maybe not a grocery list, but writing down dreams has been a huge help. I don’t know about you but I dream pretty vividly and wild. A lot of my short stories have started out as dreams.

             This article written by Chuck Sambuchino has some great idea’s to help overcome writer’s block. He talks about freewriting and also just getting creative by doing something artistic. Most of his idea’s seem pretty helpful. I’d personally probably skip the speaking into a glass of water technique. I’m word enough on my own and don’t need ‘speaks to glasses of water’ added to my list of odd traits.

             Here is a great article on what type of writer’s block you have, and how to overcome it. Everything on this list I’ve been through. I’ve hit dead ends, had too many ideas, didn’t have enough ideas, I’ve also had boring characters. I think the easiest thing to do when stuck is to just walk away. I like to have a fresh pair of eyes on the work to see what I’ve done wrong. This sometimes takes a few days to a week of ignoring the work. If it’s too fresh in my mind it’s harder to see the flaws. Walking away and forgetting about it for a few days helps me see past it and find the root of my problem.

            This site feels more rigid with their examples. They encourage you to have a schedule and deadlines. They want you to try to force yourself to work. I personally will actually write if I have a deadline. When it’s just for me, it will never get done. I like knowing that I have to have such and such done by this time on this date. It puts a fire in my belly and forces me to work through my block.


            I’d love to hear how other writers work through their blocks. Let me know in the comments section below.

Me, in a nutshell.

            Let me introduce myself. My name is Autumn Miller and I just turned twenty-eight years old. I am an Aquarius and yes, I am one of those people who believe the stars affect your personality. I am creative and crafty and I love having a project to do. I am also a hothead. My temper can come out of nowhere and is gone just as fast.

            Right now I am in the process of getting my BFA in Creative Writing for Entertainment. I am getting this degree online at Full Sail University. I will be graduating in November. This has caused me a great amount of fear and stress. What will I do once I graduate? Will I find a job? Is my writing good enough to get paid for it? Will I die in horrible debt?

            I have a one-year-old son who I live for. Everything I do, I do to insure his future is as easy as possible. His father and I are together, but we don’t live with each other. I am divorced and because of this I am weary of ever marrying again.

            I love to write. I used to do it for fun but lately its all been for school. I feel like I never have enough time to write what I want. I hope that changes soon. I enjoy crafting. I am actually pretty talented when it comes to working with duct tape. I can do portraits and other things with great detail. I also love to bake. No from the box crap, it has to be from scratch or not at all.

            I enjoy a good RPG. I never have time to play with a toddler and mounds of homework. When I do get a chance, I play mostly Fable type games. I suck at first person shooters. I love to watch them, but I panic when I’m in the game. I also love MMOs and would love to be able to play them more.

            I’m not sure what sort of blog this will turn into. I guess I will just see where the wind takes me. I promise that this will be my only boring post that has a lot of stuff written about myself. I hope to post book reviews, duct tape art, recipes, and anything else that strikes my fancy. I guess this is all about getting some stress out and feeling lighter hearted.


Now….onto the good posts!