This pin on Pinterest had me completely starry-eyed:
I needed to make one.
Then I found out that chunky yarn is crazy expensive so I put the idea on hold until…
A SALE! My favorite thing. Michaels Craft Stores aren’t always the cheapest places, but they have some amazing sales and if you use their app with their coupons, you’re set. I picked up a couple skeins of chunky grey yarn, ordered me a rope of LEDs, and I was off!
Now, when I was on the dating scene, every guy I met I immediately saw red flags and ran – I was good at seeing red flags in men. But when I want to diy and I see red flags? My ability to ignore potential problems goes through the roof.
RED FLAG #1: Everywhere I read about this rug, people said not to walk on it! Heck, even the seller in the affiliate link from the diy page where I got my inspiration said not to walk on them!
RED FLAG #2: I didn’t know how to crochet.
But hey, not knowing how to do something never stopped me before! I sat down with my good friend YouTube and desperately tried to teach myself to no avail. I ended up shelving the project for a couple years.
Finally, years later, I found myself sitting at a desk job working with a girl who knew how to crochet! Whenever we had down time (which was a lot) we picked up our yarn. Again, I was off!
I learned two important things about crocheting:
It’s quick to do – having to rip out a round that you just crocheted because you messed up is far less upsetting than when you have to rip out a round of knitting.
You have to pay attention – on one hand, it’s mind numbing and relaxing. On the other hand, you mess up your count then, well, just remind yourself of the important thing above.
Honestly once I actually learned how to crochet, figuring out how to make the rug was fairly simple. The only snag I ran into was having to determine how many times I wanted to loop the yarn over the light so that ample light shined though but it didn’t look sparse. However because of that snag, I re-crocheted this rug. Three. Times.
All in all, I think it took me about about three years and two hours to make this rug: three years to find someone to teach me to crochet, and two hours to make the rug a few times until I was happy.
Admittedly, I was right! It was SO COOL! Now, please enjoy the pictures I took when I plugged it in exactly one time and my dog laid on it, before I shoved it up into storage because what the heck do you do with a rug you can’t walk on?
Maybe I’ll take it apart again and weave the lights into a piece of macramé… Anyone want to teach me macramé?
Today I’m going to share with you my recipe for a chocolate raspberry trifle.
Ready? Here it goes:
Bake a chocolate cake
Add too much raspberry filling
Make a total disaster of the entire cake
Slice it up into pieces
Dump the pieces into a trifle bowl
I love baking. It’s like art – you get to make something and decorate it, make it beautiful, then people enjoy it and it’s gone so you get to keep doing it again and again and again!
Decorating the cake is my favorite part of baking, so maybe I’m a little impatient. Maybe I don’t let the cake cool all the way. Maybe I don’t spend quite as much time making that frosting flavor just right. Maybe. I don’t know. Sounds like me.
You know that expression “fail fast, fail often”? That’s a pretty good description of me. I like to dive in head-first before checking the depth of the pool. I figured that’s how I make so many mistakes… but hey, that’s how I’ve gotten so good at fixing my mistakes!
It’s funny because I work with kids and I don’t know if this is a generational thing or if I just don’t remember this as being an issue when I was a kid, but I run into so many kids for just afraid to fail. They don’t want to try because they’re afraid it won’t work out and they’ll be embarrassed or they’re worried that I’ll be upset with them or something. Some kids won’t even tape two paper cups together they’re so concerned it won’t work out. Personally, I’m a huge fan of failure. I certainly didn’t get where I am without a whole heck of a lot of it! What I like most about failure is that it presents opportunity. I know I sound super cheesy right now, but I’ve made a lot of really interesting things after I failed trying to do something the “right” way. Granted, maybe if I took a little more time to plan before I started a new project I’d fail less, but what fun would that be?
Gimme a sec to step off of my soap box.
Okay, so for her birthday my sister-in-law requested a raspberry chocolate cake which I was pretty excited about because I hadn’t made a raspberry chocolate cake in a while and I have a bomb-ass chocolate frosting recipe.
It’s my secret that everyone loves!
Well maybe not so secret.
Actually it’s right here:
This isn’t a sponsored post, but Hershey, if you see this I’ll totally do one for you because DANG. So good.
As for the cake, I use a box. Judge me if you must, but honestly it’s my favorite cake! I’ve never liked bakery cake, they’re always dense and bland, but every box cake is moist and wonderful! You can’t convince me otherwise.
So my plan was to make a chocolate devil cake with chocolate fudge frosting and fill it with raspberry compote.
Yes, I’m very proud of my fancy word “compote” which I may or may not have learned from The Great British Baking Show #MostRelaxingShowEver
I make a lot of compotes because they’re the easiest thing ever. All you do is take a bunch of berries (I usually use frozen because, you know, cheaper) and you simmer them for an hour or whatever which makes your house smell amazing. It’s done when you stir it and think, “eh, that’s thick enough”. Then you put it in the fridge to cool it off bada boom ya done.
I made the cake using two 9” rounds, putting the first round on a plate upside down. I learned (from failing many times) that all cakes have a curve on top and if you want to avoid having to cut away delicious cake to flatten it, just put the first one down upside down on a dinner plate (which usually has elevated sides) so it fits nicely and you have a flat surface on which to place the second round!
I’d call it a “baking hack”, but that term drives me crazy.
The first round only got a thin layer of chocolate frosting because there needed to be ample room for compote! But if you just spread compote between cake layers it won’t go well, so the solution is a frosting dam. Now, I’m way too cheap to buy frosting bags, so instead I use a quart-size bag, open it up and put the edges around a cup so that I can fill it with the frosting. Then I cut one of the corners off the bag and it’s a diy piping bag!
Frosting dams (my term, I’m sure there’s an actual name for it but The Great British Baking Show hasn’t taught me yet) works really well, but don’t be fooled, this isn’t one of the recipes that worked “really well”.
Frosting dam built, I spread the compote in the middle and I just remember being like, “how much do I add?? I’ll just put the whole thing in there because raspberries are delicious”.
All that was left to do was pop the second round on top, cover it in the rest of the frosting, put a little compote on top for looks, then stick it in the fridge! Which I did and it looked beautiful if I do say so myself.
Ten minutes later I opened up the fridge to check on it and low and behold – the top layer is sliding off the bottom layer. Not my best work. But it’s the day before my sister-in-law’s birthday and I definitely don’t have time to make another cake.
Oh, I forgot to mention, see that little bit of blue? That’s the blue frosting I had leftover that I used in the middle of the cake because I didn’t have QUITE enough chocolate… It wasn’t supposed to be seen. It was seen.
I ended up cutting the entire cake into little squares with a butcher’s knife, pausing for a moment to take a picture of what appeared to be a bloody butcher knife
Then I dumped half of the mess into a trifle bowl, got myself a container of Cool whip to spread half of on top of that, dumped the other half of the mess on top of that and finished the whole thing off with the rest of the Cool whip.
What worked out so well is that the cake I made ended up being incredibly rich. I mean, I guess I should have seen that coming – chocolate cake, chocolate frosting, and tart raspberries is going to be a pretty rich cake. The Cool whip was really necessary. Honestly that cake would not have even been edible without vanilla ice cream or cool whip or something to keep your mouth from puckering at the richness of it.
I wish that I had a photo of the final product, but I never think to take pictures of the things that go right.
On September 9th, 2009, I walked to school with a tray a lemon flavored cupcakes because during the 15 minutes that my friends and I had before class began, my friend Amanda and I decided we would be married in the noisy, bustling cafeteria. Our friend Hanna stood before us and read those sacred words,
“Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam… And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva… So tweasure your wuv.”
The Princess Bride
I was a self-proclaimed awkward kid when I was in Middle and High School, although honestly I didn’t need to proclaim it myself because everyone else was doing it for me. I ran into some bullying issues when I was in 6th grade, but I was lucky enough to have a mother who gave me the support and confidence that I needed to get through it – by which I mean make new friends.
Since lunchtime was the longest stretch of time that we had to socialize, I devised my plan of attack for then. Our cafeteria had this really weird layout to it – two large platforms on either side with tables on them and then more tables in the middle which was lower. My “friends” and I would sit at a table on one of the platforms and I could see across to a table on the other platform where there was a girl (who I’d later learn was Amanda) who was loud and commanding and everyone just seem to listen to her and want to talk to her all at the same time.
I thought, “you know, that kinda looks like a good bunch of weirdos over there so I’m going to go sit with them – but I’mma go ahead and sit as far away from that popular one as possible because every time I try to interact with anyone popular, it doesn’t go terribly well”
All this is not to say that I had a low self-esteem, I was just realistic.
So I picked up my tray and crossed the depths of the lower cafeteria to the other platform to find friends who didn’t just like totally leave me out of sleepovers (still kind of a dick move, Deanna).
Anyway, this diagram below depicts exactly how I (an introvert) became bffs with Amanda (an extrovert):
Thus a relatively elaborate story was set in motion when Amanda “proposed” to me in the water at a grandfather’s camp at her birthday bash. The story grew until my new friends and I had fabricated an entire extended family together complete with a mythical pet (our friend Gus), a set of triplets (who were not the ACTUAL triplets in the friend group), and a jar of SunButter as our grandfather. By the time we were seniors in high school, Amanda and I had to take a hard look at each other and decide that maybe we should pull it back a little bit – people might actually start to think we’re lesbians and we’re both really big fans of guys.
However, the endearing terms her being my “hubby” and me being her “wifey” never quite made it out of our vocabulary.
Now, 7 years later after mine and Amanda’s lives diverged both in culture and geographically, we’ve found that we’re the type of friends who can go months without speaking, yet come together like no time has passed.
At one of those together times, she told me her boyfriend proposed to her!
Now real talk, I love Amanda dearly but I never had a whole lot of faith in her taste in men. BUT. The man she’s now engaged to is the first man I believe is worthy of her and I’m SO freaking excited for them!
In my natural DIY way I decided that I would make them an engagement present because, you know, that’s what I do, and that the most appropriate gift would be to give those vows that Amanda and I made on 9/9/09, back to her.
So here it is – the outside shape is a heart because, you know, cheesy romantic love stuff, and the silhouette actually is a tracing I did of the actors in the movie. Ironically, in the movie the quote is what was said at the wedding ceremony of the evil guy and princess (who of course didn’t actually end up together), but who’s really paying attention to that fact…
Originally when I made this for her, it was just a personal use piece so I honestly just googled “The Princess Bride Font Free” and I got a bunch of results. Since The Princess Bride only really has a title to go off of for font, I just found one with a kind of swoopy, serify look to it. Eventually I decided I wanted to make it possible for other people to use my cut file so I ended up going back and searching for a “free for commercial use” font and I found another really nice one called Harrington.
For the lights, I just ordered some fairy string lights off of Amazon that had a small double A battery pack. They make them with button batteries, the really little 3 volt batteries, but I wanted it to last a little longer than such a small battery would allow. I hot glued the battery pack to the back of the heart, making sure that she could still open it to replace the batteries, then I just made a mess of the string lights and used little dots of hot glue to secure it all around the outer and inner edges. Finally, I added little legs made out of stacked, laser cut circles (essentially diy dowels) to the back of it that were just ever so slightly taller than the battery pack so that she could attach the legs to the wall and the battery pack wouldn’t be an issue.
I like to design my pieces with love, it’s more motivating.
I do a lot of DIY stuff – I come from a super creative family so every fiber of my DNA tells me to DIY. My problem is that I can never choose just one thing to do or make. I’m always told to focus, choose one thing and get really good at it. Then after I try something new, I figure it was fun, but look at all the other things to try! With that said, here’s a short list of things you may come across on this blog:
Automatic Dog Feeder
Laser Cutting (A Lot)
Recycled Dog Toys
Ugly Cakes that Taste Good
Pretty Cakes that Taste Bad
Epoxying a Basement Floor
Sewing an Infinity Dress
UV Nail Art
And so on.
This eclectic list also explains the title of my blog “I DIY Everything with Varying Results”. I most certainly don’t get everything right… but as Bob Ross says,
“We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.”
So strap on your seatbelts everyone (or don’t, since you may or may not be in a car) you’re in for quite the ride.
I sat in front of this “About Me” post for hours (probably only minutes) not knowing what to write before deciding that I needed some inspiration, so I added the picture at the top.
Please enjoy this very strange picture of me, holding our puppy in a loving embrace as we sit on the floor next to the refrigerator at my grandmother’s house on Thanksgiving.
I honestly have no idea why we were were there or why we were taking selfies.
The guy in the back is my then boyfriend now husband, Josh, and the furry one in the front is our forever-puppy, Ellie.
Please especially enjoy this photo because I think it’s the only one when I’m holding her and he’s not. She’s a daddy’s girl. I’m not bitter. Whatever.
We got married
Bought a house
And we’re hella broke but we’re living our little dream together!
On previous episodes of the life of EGinny, I graduated college with a degree in Product Design with a minor in Business. I currently work at a STEM center for kids where I teach, do marketing, and get to be all-around creative. At this point, I’ve been gathering a plethora of random skills from the Adobe suite to Google marketing to doing headstands and I’m just trying to sort it all out into something useful – hopefully this blog will help with that!