Posts tagged ‘DIY’

Make Your Own Rock Candy (Or Not)

I attended Girl Scout day camp as a kid. The entirety of my excitement and joy for that week traveled home with me in the form of a carefully held final project: rock candy. It was not a triumphant declaration of my DIY candy-making skills.

I had a friend who went to the same day camp, but she was in a different group. I visited her house a few weeks later, and as you might guess, she did it. She made perfect, fat, sweet, Cracker Barrel-quality crystals.

Things did not look so good in my own kitchen. One day passed, and another. I wondered, “When does something happen? Is it working?” I held hope it would show up in a few days, then weeks. Accepting failure, I licked the soggy string a few times just to taste defeat.

In the spirit of pre-pubescence, my feelings flickered between The World Is Out to Get Me, and My Friend Is Awesome, I Am A Total Failure.

I’m-smarter-now candy making

I still think about a two-decade-old failed experiment. But it’s time to let that beautiful, little sad story go and try making rock candy now. And adult-like, I’d make it fancy—artisan, even. How about organic sugar and orange essential oil and lemon extract flavors? Bingo.

Rock Candy Basics

  • Dissolve sugar in hot/boiling water.
  • Add your food coloring and extracts, swirl and dissolve.
  • Pour the mixture into a clean jar.
  • Use something to hold your string (ew) or bamboo stick (yes) in place, like a skewer, pencil, or clothespin (yes, genius.)
  • If you use a stick, prepare it by giving the crystals something to cling to, like pre-rolling the stick in sugar or cutting into it slightly with scissors. (I tried the first one and found that when I dipped the stick into hot liquid, the sugar melted off. Duh. So when I added more sugar to the mixture the next day, I notched the stick. This works… mostly.
  • If nothing happens in a couple days, the sugar water needs a higher sugar concentration. Pour out the liquid, heat it, and dissolve more sugar. (I did this last step twice since I had two different flavors. Lemon started to form while orange did not so I did it again.)

I checked-in on my burgeoning sugar crystals a few times a week until at last—I successfully made rock candy. Boom.

Except… the victory tasted like ambivalence. It was so much work, for what? Two sticks I didn’t want to eat. And rock candy doesn’t emerge from the sugar ooze dry and ready to eat. Dealing with the aftermath wasn’t too far off from my original failure.

So, it’s time to own up. Making rock candy is a lot like life. If it doesn’t work the first time, try again. And then maybe you’ll have to try again, a little harder. And then you’ll get there and realize that maybe the things you carry with you aren’t really the things you want anymore. Like rock candy.

I’m just glad to make April of Yesterday proud. She’d eat it up.

Because I’m a curious being who doesn’t want to feel alone, I’m curious. Has this happened to you? Did you try to make something as a kid and it totally failed? What was it?! Did you try again?)

Collages from a Friday Night Collage Party

Several firsts transpired at last week’s Collage Workshop. It resulted in a loosy-goosey, experimental good-time!

  1. It was on a Friday night
  2. for two (!) hours
  3. with a right brain-warming mini-collage project
  4. and beer.

The evening’s inspiration was The Body. Everyone got their own fortune (formerly known as a prompt) to help guide their creation. Music played, ideas flowed, and these fantastico pieces emerged. Thanks to the excellent people who attended, to Celeste Noche for snapping pics of the process and Christina from MSS for being our location host!

Side note: promise for the next workshop that I will figure out that silly glare!

Oh. My. God, Ali. Look at Rose’s butt.

collage ali

A kiss on the Lips from Marybeth…

collage marybeth collage 3

Ashley won’t shoot her eye out!

collage 4

The braid whip by Amy

Collage amy

Christina walks on the wylde side.

collage christina

Kathryn’s Legs for miles turns into something completely different… fins.

collage kathryn

My reaction to the future “Get a bikini bod in 4 week!” Oy.

collage teach

Save the Date

June 11th is the next Collage Workshop! It’ll be two glorious hours on a TWOesday night. Bring a pal and come have fun! Save your spot with $25. Don’t forget—sign up for the mailing list and I’ll shoot you a note closer to the big day.

A Look at Collage Workshop #5

Hard to believe, but last Thursday was the FIFTH Collage Workshop at the Makeshift Society! It was a great group of brains. Here are the miraculous creations from the evening’s Color motif.

Greg‘s layered veggie creation. Update: Greg blogged about his experience at the Collage Workshop. Thanks, Greg!

Greg - blog Brittany goes vogue.

80s vogue blog

Prompt: Purple rain, purple rain.

umbrella blog

Prompt: green with envy.

green with envy blog

Blythe and the hills.

gold finger blog Kristine and her Colors in the Wind.

kristine blog pretty thing blog Julie used part of a great LSD Life cover.

Julie blog

Ashley got the prompt “Born with a silver spoon in her mouth.”

silver spoon blog Shona went on a journey.

writing blog Sharon‘s weird, wonderful creation.

sharon blog

vrOOM at Collage Workshop #4

Well me oh my, I neglected to post about February’s Collage Workshop beforehand. It happened tonight! It was splendid. Good group of people, excellent materials, and some inspired finished collages. Take a looksie…

Captain Jon Sung got the perfect prompt: “Robin, to the Batmobile!” Collage workshop 4.2-blog

“Toot, toot, beep, beep” by Alicia Collage workshop 4.3-blog

Another perfect-o prompt and collage from Megan… “Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads!” Collage workshop 4.4-blog

Beth’s prompt wasn’t terribly inspiring, so she created her own. Road trip!!!! Collage workshop 4.7-blog

Leila took scissors to her white space. Snip, snip, awesome! Collage workshop 4.6-blog

Laurie got the prompt “Doing donuts in the parking lot” and then created an entire collage around the dude she imagined doing it. Love. Collage workshop 4.5-blog

Kate did “When the rubber meets the road” in black and white geometry. Collage workshop 4.1-blog

Hooray! And now, two updates. One: the next Collage Workshop is Thursday, March 21st! Second: I am working on another own Collage Workshop project! What’s that? Documenting the techniques people use during the workshop in a small collection of examples. I firmly believe you stand to learn the most from each other. Go forth and create something rad!

Collage Workshop #2 – It’s Happening

You’re invited to the next super-duper deluxe edition of my Makeshift Society Collage Workshop!

Collage Workshop #2 Detailz

  • Thursday, December 13th at 6:30 pm
  • @ Makeshift Society (235 Gough St)
  • Don’t wait, buy your ticket! It’s only $20 and you just show up, craft, and walk away with sweet, sweet art.

Several notable things about this special-edition workshop:

  • The motif is going to be an AMAZING weird mix of the holidays and something else about the holidays. But don’t worry, if you don’t want a single December-themed thing on your page, it is no problem.
  • I won’t just be handing out white square sheets of paper, you will have a CHOICE in paper goods. One that makes your holidays gift-giving a bit easier.

Intrigued? Com’mon down! I want to see YOU at Collage Workshop #2!


Please tell your people, bring a friend.

On Twitter + Instagram: #CollageWkshp

Shareable class info URL:

And finally, 10 Reasons You Should Attend My Makeshift Society Collage Workshop

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