Get Creative

As you’re all already aware I am useless when it comes to crafting, so Johanna took the lead on this amazing DIY plant hanger project! Here are her thoughts:

We dreamed up the idea for this DIY while spending many sunny mornings at Kitten and the Bear. They have the most beautiful chandelier hanging in their window and its many prisms cause rainbows to shoot across the tea room in every direction daily. As professional pastel hunters and magic makers this is the kind of everyday magic that we live for (we even track the rainbows we find from prisms with the tag #rainbowsinthewild!)

With a simple Amazon search we realized purchasing chandelier prisms is both super easy and affordable, so obviously we ordered a whole bunch and started brainstorming what we could use them for. On a trip to Mokuba, one of our favourite craft supply stores, we found the prettiest pastel cotton rope in every colour of the rainbow, and the rest is history!

Follow the steps below to infuse you’re own plant hanger with a little bit of prism magic.

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What you’ll need //

8 metres of two different coloured cotton rope (we used pink and gold)
Scissors
Sewing Needles
Sewing Thread
A plant pot

Instructions //

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1. Take each length of 8 metre rope and cut it in half – you should end up with 4 strands, gather these strands and fold in half in the middle – now you should have a handful of 8 strands, 4 of each colour. Tie a knot 3 inches down from your fold and cut the fold open.

This knot acts as the bottom or base of your plant hanger, the bottom of the pot will rest ontop of it.

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2. Now take your 8 strands and group them into two’s, one pink – one gold. You should have 4 “arms”

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3. About 3 inches from your base knot tie 4 separate knots, each knot is made up of one gold and one pink strand

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4. Now use your plant pot to gauge where you should tie your next set of knots. Grab one pink from one arm and one fold from it’s neighbouring arm and tie them together the same way you did in step 3. Go around and do this to all the arms.

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You should end up with something that looks like this:

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5. Once your pot securely fits inside the hanger you can move on – the bigger the pot the more knots you’ll need, the smaller the pot the closer together the knots will have to be.

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6. The next step requires a new type of knot you may remember from making friendship bracelets, a Chinese Staircase knot.

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7. Choose one of the colours (we used gold) and tie 10 Chinese Staircase style knots up the arms, continue on all 4 arms.

8. Gather all 4 arms and about 2 feet up from your Staircase knots, tie together in one big knot.

9. Now your ready to create the hanging loop! Divide the remaining rope coming from the large knot in two. Take the longest piece from each grouping (ours will be pink since we used the gold to make the staircase) and tie 6 Chinese Staircase knots on each side.

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10. To finish it off use your longest piece of rope that remains to make a Wrapped Knot, pull very tightly and trim off excess!

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Now you’ve made your very own Pastel Plant Hanger! We turned ours into a Prismatic rainbow maker by sewing in spare chandelier prisms!

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A special thanks to our friends at Mokuba for the pretty pastel rope.
You can shop chandelier prisms on Amazon!

Get Creative

We’re so lucky to know so many creatives in the city, whether it’s a designer, painter, seamstress, illustrator .. the list goes on. We decided to do away with pumpkin carving this year to show off some of our local artistic talent!

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1. Meaghan Way //

You might recognize Meg’s signature style from a couple of items in #shopRAOP! Clean lines and fun patterns make her work easily recognizable, she’s recently collaborated with Drake General Store and you can spot one of her murals on the corner of Richmond and Peter!

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2. Martha Chan //

An Illustrator and Surface Designer from Toronto, check out her website for all kinds of fun portraits, prints and watercolour paintings. Obviously, we’re currently loving her collection of Candy Coloured Portraits!

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3. Marta Ryczko //

Marta works as a Designer and Illustrator in Toronto as well as running Weekender Supply Co, an affordable art and design shop online specializing in prints & pins. Her lettering skills are some of our favourite and we can’t get enough of her project Everyday Letter!

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4. Johanna Martin //

Resident crafts person of #teamRAOP and serious Gem enthusiast, it was a clear choice to continue on the crystal magic theme with my pumpkin this year!

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Here’s a round up of some of our favourite dressed up pumpkins from around the web:

A Subtle Revelry’s Pool Float Pumpkins
Aww Sam’s Snapchat Filter Pumpkins
Studio DIY’s Confetti Dipped Pumpkins
Style Me Pretty’s DIY Fruit Pumpkins

Get Creative

Happy Hallo-weekend! Are all your costumes ready to go? Have you stocked up on candy? Are you looking for a spooky (or sweet) craft?

Well, we don’t have any tricks, but we do have a special Halloween treat for the #PastelCraftClub this week. We teamed up with Michelle from Big Ass Piñata to bring you the sweetest little pastel Candy Corn Miñata (aka mini piñata) ever. The best part? It’s so simple to make it’s almost like casting a magic spell!

Michelle is a master of tissue and cardboard, and we’ve been constantly impressed by her piñata magic for months, so it was really wonderful to watch her get down to work in the studio. Turns out with the right supplies and a strong vision piñata making isn’t as scary as we thought it would be! Are you ready to impress your costume party guests with the sweetest candy decor?

Scroll down for Michelle’s full DIY instructions!

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Mini Candycorn Piñatas

1. Start with a fun, cute idea for your mini piñata. Today we are making pastel candycorn!

2. Grab a pencil and draw the shape for your mini piñata onto a piece of thin cardboard. If the cardboard is too thick, it will be difficult to cut later.

3. Cut out the shape using scissors or an xacto knife. Trace your shape and cut again, so you have a front and back for your mini. Finally, cut a long, thin strip of cardboard to wrap around the whole shape of your mini.

4. Using masking tape, begin assembling your mini piñata by wrapping the long strip of cardboard around your shape and taping edges to the back of your mini. Once you have taped the back and sides of your mini, you can place the front on top and tape down. I call this the “ice cream sandwich” method!

5. Use your xacto knife or scissors to cut create a little door for your candy! You can make a pull tab that can be used to open it later or simply cut a flap into the side of your mini.

6. Time to decorate! Grab some tissue paper (I like to use streamers!) And use your scissors to cut and create a fringe effect.

7. Using glue or a glue stick, begin attaching your fringe at the base of your mini and layering upwards until you have covered your piece. If you cover your little candy door, that’s ok!

8. Surprise a friend with your mini piñata and have them pull the tab to release the surprise inside. Is it candy? Chocolate? Jewelry ? Who knows!

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Happy Halloween!

Get CreativeSips, Sweets & Snacks

When the weather turns cold here in Toronto (and trust us, Winter IS coming) there are only a few places where one can feel really truly warm. In all honesty, most icy days Paige and I have a hard time finding a good reason to even go outside, daydreaming about Hawaii, Mexico, or other tropical getaways instead. That said, we’ll never say no to a staycation at Miss Thing’s.

Miss Things is relatively new to the Toronto scene, but they instantly became a favourite for us the moment they opened. With a menu that includes incredible seafood, delicious shrimp Po’Bao (just try them) and a crazy good pineapple fried rice served IN a pineapple, the food couldn’t be more our style. Coupled with gleaming gold decor details and tropical prints galore, there’s really no place quite like it in the city, and it’s always a welcome escape from the daily grind.

But wait, the best is yet to come. We haven’t even mentioned the tiki cocktails yet.

Toronto has a lot of great cocktail bars, yes, but this place truly tops them all in the tropical tiki department. Everything from crazy cups to elaborate garnishes have clearly been carefully thought through, and we almost never manage to order just one per visit purely out of curiosity for how each one looks!

With winter sneaking up on us more and more, Paige and I have been craving a taste of the tropics more than ever, so we reached out to Miss Thing’s and asked if they’d share some of their magical boozy wisdom. A few weeks later we found ourselves behind the bar shaking up tiki classics and building banana dolphins! It was the most fun (and slightly tipsy if we’re being honest) Pastel Craft Club yet, and we learned SO much too.

Scroll down for an epic “Our Tai” cocktail recipe, and instructions for how to master some favourite tiki garnishes!

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The Mai-Tai, a classic Tiki Cocktail //

Funnily enough, the birth of the Mai-Tai, a classic tiki drink, was in California. Back in the mid-1940s, Cali bars started to adapt the tiki craze. There are two gentleman Victor “Trader Vic” Bergeron, and Donn “Don the Beachcomber”, whom claim to have created this particular drink:

The name is said to have been created when Trader Vic’s two friends from Tahiti came to visit. He wanted to make a special drink just for them, and when they tried his creation they said “Mai Tai roa ae” which means “Out of this world, the best!”

Our Mai Tai at Miss thing’s is more like Trader Vic’s original Recipe.

1 oz White Rum (We use Selvarey White)
1 oz Dark Rum (We like it with Mount Gay Eclipse)
1 oz Cointreau
.75 oz Orgeat – almond syrup (if not homemade we like to use Monin Syrup)
2 oz Fresh Lime Juice

*We also turn it into a minimum two-person drink and rename it the “Our Tai”, which is twice the amount of ingredients as the Mai-Tai.

Garnishes //

A garnish compliments the cocktail, making it look more pleasing both to the eye and to one’s Instagram followers. If a drink has lime juice, it’s usually garnished with lime, or a lime wheel might be added for extra flavour. But for tiki cocktails there’s usually a creative tiki mug involved, and garnishes get a bit more showy, like pineapple fronds, orange wheels, cherries or edible flowers. The cool thing about tiki is that the garnish adds a creative aspect and it can really be of whatever you think of. At Miss Thing’s we garnish our drinks with simple but fun ideas, such as…

Banana Dolphin //

1 Whole banana
2 cloves
optional- 1 blackberry

tools:
knife

slice off an inch of the bottom part of the banana. You can angle the slice so that the banana still has a point at the open end.

From the open end, slice the peel upward about an inch on either side of the peel. This adds fins to the banana.

Move to the top of the banana and create a mouth for the dolphin, this is done by slicing the middle of the part that connects the banana to the rest of the “bunch”.

Add the Cloves as eyes on either side of the “mouth”. You can put the banana dolphin in your drink, peel up the “fins” so they rest on both sides of the glass. Add the blackberry to the mouth of the dolphin as a little snack if you’d like!

Lime Sailboat //

1 lime
1 cocktail skewer (ex. bamboo stick, toothpick)

Tools:
peeler
knife

Zest one side of the lime, but be careful- you want to have two good rinds to use as the sails.

Cut the other side in half, then in thirds. Take one third of the lime and remove the flesh. This is the base or the hull of your boat.

Flip it around so it has the peel facing up, take your skewer and stick it in the centre of the rind and pull it through, leaving a centimetre at the bottom.

Now grab your rinds and cut them in half. Choose one side, then choose one piece that is slightly smaller than the other.

Fold the larger piece in half, rind side out, and stick it on to the skewer, repeat that step with the smaller piece. Those are the sails, try to space them out a bit.

For a cool added effect, simmer the boat in a small saucepan with 2 ounces of water and 3 ounces of sugar on medium heat. Remove after 5 minutes and sprinkle with sugar. You have just candied your sailboat!

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Frozen Watermelon Slices //

mini-watermelon
house made flavoured simple syrup
vodka (can also be flavoured)

tools:
knife
parchment paper
Vac-pac (bag or a container with a lid)

At the bar we have a machine in our kitchen that vacuum seals our infusions which helps speed up time, but you can do this at home with a simple airtight container.

Slice up your mini watermelon and place the slices in a vac pac with the vodka and our house-made syrup. Seal it and let it sit in a fridge for 6 hours, then place the slices on parchment paper in a container and leave them in the freezer overnight. Frozen slices can be used the next day and they stay fresh for up to a week.

If you don’t have access to a vacuum sealer, simply put the watermelon slices (1 layer) in a container and fill it with vodka and syrup for about a day, then wrap and freeze. Make sure to keep everything chilled for this process!

In the end the frozen watermelon acts as an extra component to chill the drink and won’t dilute the flavour. Plus once the drink is finished the watermelon will have defrosted and you can eat it for an extra kick!

*Note: make sure you keep the recipe ratio at 1/2oz vodka and 1oz syrup per watermelon slice or they won’t freeze!

Dress UpGet Creative

There aren’t many things out there that can’t be improved with a little bit of embellishment. Over the years Paige and I have experimented with adding sparkling details to just about everything, from socks and tights to jackets, and in this department we truly believe more is more.

Though we may have had a lot of experience messing around with glue and thread, our glittery finished product didn’t always have the lasting result we had hoped for. In an effort to hone our skills and master the art of embellishment, we turned to local designer Breeyn McCarney.

Specializing in all things delicate and detailed, Breeyn showed us the proper way to add some flare to your wardrobe, and we’re pretty sure after a lesson this thorough we’ll be spending the entire winter cozied up with embroidery hoops and iridescent beads!

Scroll down for the DIY!

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Items required:
– embroidery hoop/frame
– 2 small clamps (ours were originally orange but we decided they needed to be on brand, so ended up spray painting them!)
– gems/sequins/beads
– thread
– needle
– jeans

Draw a loose pattern onto your jeans with pencil. We opted for a series of intertwining swirls.

Once you’re ready to start adding your gems, insert the embroidery frame. The solid half goes inside, and the adjustable side goes on top. (pic to demonstrate) You want the area you’re going to bead on to be as taut as possible.

Clamp it to your table in such a way that your hands can easily access inside (pic). Once clamped, you will have both hands free to manipulate your gems and your thread and needle.

Start by laying out the first section of your gems overtop of the pattern we drew on so you have an idea where you want them to be placed. Don’t bother doing the whole thing, as they will move once you start threading, but this will help you to visualize what they’ll look like once they’re on.

In order to thread the needle, use a length of thread just about the length of your arm. Shorter than this will annoy you because you’ll have to re-thread more often, and longer than this will often result in tangles.

Pass one end of the thread through the eye of the needle, and then pulling the two ends even, tie a simple knot. Trim the ends to about 1/4 inch.

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Now you are ready to put the needle in the jeans. We used grey thread for this project, as it showed up least against the jeans and the gems. It is important to anchor your thread for beading projects, so that they won’t pull out. Starting from the top side of the jeans, pass the needle through to underneath, but don’t pull the thread all they way through. Bring the needle back up about a millimetre away, but before pulling it taut, pass the needle through the loop of the knot. Now your thread is solidly anchored, and it won’t slip through and let your gems fall off.

Then we started adding the gems! (Note: This method also applies if you want to glue your gems instead of sewing them on)

When you reach the end of your thread, you are ready to knot it in place. This will require another anchor. You will want to be sure that you leave yourself enough space to create your knot and anchor – depending on your needle length, you will want to leave at least 15cm. Once you are ready, make a tiny stitch through the jeans, going across the fabric instead of putting the needle straight down through the fabric. Do this one more time, and then tie a basic double knot (as pictured). Using your nail, hold the knot against the fabric so it stays flush, and pull tight. For extra security, you can repeat this step.

That’s mostly it – once we have everything prepped and in place, putting everything on just takes a bit of time, but there isn’t much more to it.

Recommended Sources:
New Collection 390 Queen Street West (next to McDonald’s at Queen and Spadina) – gems, sequins, beads, pearls, gem glue.

Neverin’s Sewing Supply, 451 Queen Street West – thread, needles, interfacing, embroidery hoops (they have a ton of different sizes)

Black Market, 256 Queen Street West: awesome vintage denim and other great finds all for $10 and under

Canadian Tire: clamps