Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Count Down Cups




This post is a little late.  But this was a last minute quick idea for count down cups with foamies.  Simply take numbered foamies or felties and stick them on your campaign glasses.  This will also work as cup markers so your guest can identify their cups.  I did two sets, one with white foamies and the other I glue-sticked the surface dipped in purple glitter.  The foamies come out pretty cleanly from the glass cups also.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

I Got a Cake Pops Machine for Christmas


I have to admit that I'm usually not a fan of machines for cooking.  I just don't like kitchen gadgets that serve one purpose (ie make one thng).  Like waffle makers,"Big City Slider" pans, corn stripper, juicers, electric can openers etc.  Maybe its the engineer in me, I always want the most efficient, compact, multipurpose tool for the job.  It still boggles me why a company can't make a decent food processor/blender combo.  There are those machines out there, but when you read the reviews on them people are always complaining that it does one task poorly or worse, both task mediocrely.  Maybe if I had a grand kitchen I would feel differently, but for now space is limited and I try not to have too many space hogging kitchen gizmos around.

When I received this Babycakes Cake Pop maker, I was thinking great, I will spend two days using it, 10 years in the pantry, 1 day at a yard sale and a thousand years in a landfill.  But then my sister knocked on our door and dropped off some homemade Christmas cookies.  I was so unprepared to give her anything in return I looked at the cake pop maker and decided to see what this thing was made of.  I used Duncan Hines Yellow cake mix (all I had on hand). I always substitute the water with whole milk when I use cake mix (which incidentally that's what people recommend you do for this machine). I filled up the mix in a ziploc, snipped the corner and filled the liitle domes.  It was surprisingly easy and not that messy.  The instructions said not to overfill the domes, but I did so anyway because I was thinking that there was no way that the dough would rise to double in size to make a ball.  Boy was I wrong. You can see the images below of what happens when you over fill the domes.

This little machine actually did impress me.  It created perfect little spheres in less than 5 minutes.  They tasted just OK (like how box cake mix tastes).  I would say that the best thing about it is the speed at which you can make a bunch of these balls.  The machine also came with a syrninge so you can inject filling.  I happend to have a box of thFerrero Rocher chocolates so I decided to do something creative with the packaging.  One of my sister's favorite chocolate is Ferrero Rocher, so I decided to fill the pops with Nutella and dip them in white chocolate.  I could have dipped rolled it in hazelnuts too but I didn't have any on hand.  I removed all of the packaging from the original box of chocolates and put the cake balls in instead.

Finished cake balls (can't call them pops)

The left is what happens when you over fill.  The right was my attempt.
I could eat Nutella with a spoon straight from the can.

Chocolates with the packaging removed

Filled with Nutella and dipped in white chocolate.  For a tutorial on how to dip anything into chocolate go here.


I used my salt dough gift tag for this.
A few tips on using this machine:
Do not overfill
The instructions say to turn on the machine and then fill the domes.  This never worked for me.  It was easier to plug in the machine only after the domes were filled.  Or else the pops would start cooking and overflowing over before half the domes were filled.

The cake mix makes over 5 dozen cake pops.  All in all the machine is pretty cool.  It could be useful for parents that need to bake their kids treats for a class party, since its fast.  I also made donut-holes with it a few days later.  Those tasted wonderful.  Stay tuned for that recipe.


I feel like I need to write this part: I was not paid or compensated to write this article, this machine was actually given to me by a friend that has no relationship to the manufacturer of this machine.  The opinions are completely my own.

I Wrote an Article for Craftzine!

I'm super excited.  The tutorial I wrote for Craftzine was just published.  Come check me out there!
http://blog.craftzine.com/archive/2011/12/project_from_plain_used_belt_t.html 

I'll show you how to upcycle an old leather belt into the one below.



Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Low Tech Cardboard Tv

It amazes me to look at the pile of toys in our living room.  The living room is basically Avery's play room with toys stacked up, in baskets and scattered all over the floor.  I don't even know why I bought a new rug, as almost every square inch of it is covered in a sea of toys.

Growing up I very few toys toys, not nearly as many as my peers and definitely significantly less than what my daughter Avery has now.  I use to dream of having a roomful of toys.  I was a bit envious and jealous of my friends whose parents could afford to buy them toys for Christmas and their birthday.  As I look back, I can see that what I lacked in toys I made up for with imagination.  I do credit many of the posts in this blog to the fact that I didn't have much growing up, but was able to I make much with the little that I had.

This is a toy that I made as a child, I recreated it so I could share it with Avery.  The basic concept is its a "low tech tv" that plays a film strip.

Materials:

One small cardboard box
2 cardboard toilet paper/paper towel tubes or wrapping paper cardboard tubes (needs to be longer than the width of small cardboard box
1 plastic cover from a toy box (optional - see red toy box "stainless steel play cookware"  image below for example)
Tape
Glue
Scissors or utility knife


Take box and open it up by carefully pulling apart the glues seams.

Cut 4 circles on the sides of the box the same diameter as the toilet paper roll.  Cut out a rectangle from the center of the box between the 4 circles.

This step is optional.  If you want a more realist looking tv you can create one from another piece of cardboard and some plastic film from a toy package.

Tape the "tv" onto the box.  If you did not create this you can skip down to the next step.

Find comic strips and pictures or make have your children draw up a story line.  Cut them out and tape it together into one long strip.  You want to make sure that your comic strips are about the same width as the opening you created.  I used a variety of things, comic strips, pictures printed from my printer, and a few drawings.  Tape each end of the strip to each cardboard tube.

Roll up the tube like shown above.  insert the rubes into the box and seal up the box using tape or glue.  Tape 

Once box is sealed the tv is ready for use.


My Little Pony Fashion Spa Day with Elsa and Ariel too
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2os_1UVecwc

Frozen Fever Fashion Show with Elsa, Anna and Ariel

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGioMsDFPJU

Japanese Eraser Collection with My Little Pony Pinkie Pie

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpaNLkecT54

Monday, December 26, 2011

Upcycled Sweater to Hooded Circle Scarf and Leg Warmers

I'm so forgetful when I do the laundry. I have inadvertently thrown a wool sweater into the washer and dryer on multiple occasions. I don't even realize I've done so until I'm folding the laundry and thinking "I didn't know Avery has this sweater also" (because it shrank so small it looked like a 3T shirt).  The odd thing about some of the sweaters is that it shrinks only lengthwise, not width wise.  I have been known to still try to wear those sweaters.  This project uses one of those sweaters.  It is a wool, cotton blend so it didn't shrink so badly, but it was short enough that when I wore it my sister asked me if I bought it at Baby Gap.

The cool thing about wool is that when you put it though the dryer it felts it so that you can cut the sweater without finishing the edges.    I decided to take advantage of this felted sweater and make hooded infinity scarf and leg warmers with this sweater.  I was lucky that this was a cowl neck sweater so I could make the hood out of the cowl neck.  If you have a sweater that you would like to felt (it needs to be wool or cashmere) you can run it through the washer and dryer a few times.

This project does require some sewing.  I used a sewing machine on with the zig zag stitch to make the scarf.

The leg warmers were easy.  Simply cut the sleeves off.  Because the sweater was felted it does not unravel.  You can pop it in the dryer a couple of times to felt it some more.

For the circle scarf cut sweater into two parts of equal width. Take each piece and cut it open width wise so it make two long rectangles.

Take both long pieces sew them together (by hand sewing, or using a zig zag stitch on the sewing machine), to make one long circular shape.

Cut the cowl neck of the sweater off.
Cut the neck of the sweater in half, then sew the two pieces together along the part that was attached to the neck of the sweater.

I added decorative bias tape to the hem after, as this part will be seen when the hood is down.  This is completely optional. Once hood is complete attach to infinity scarf by hand sewing or using a sewing machine.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Easy Gift Wrapping and Salf Dough Gift Tags

When I did my salt dough gift tag tutorial I didn't post any pictures of how I used the salt dough gift tags. That's because this year I fell so behind in all of my Christmas shopping. I have been trying desperately to catch up and get all my holiday shopping complete.  I did manage to get a little more than half of my shopping done, so I'll show you some ideas on how to integrate the salt dough gift tags into your wrapping.  I'll also show you how to create some custom stamped wrapping paper of your own.

This rope that goes around the box is actually the handle from a shopping bag.  The paper is a brown paper bag.

I created a custom little pattern with some stamps and an ink pad.  I just love the look of brown paper bags as wrapping paper.

Left over yarn cheaper than ribbon.  I tape the ends so I can string it through.


Here are some of my wrapped gifts.  As you can see, I'm still quite behind and it's almost Christmas.
Salt dough recipe and tutorial here.

Bending Popsicle Sticks for a Wooden Helix Vase

The inspiration for this post comes from this blogger who showed how to make popsicle stick bracelets.  Bending popsicle sticks/tongue depressors seemed like a cool idea that I wanted to expand on.  I researched what the best way to bend wood (on a wood working forum), and came up with steam as a fast effective means to bending wood.   You can see my video tuorial on how to bend these craft sticks below.
The flowers on the right are fake so I did not add water to the vase.  If you are going to fill it with water I would find a smaller vase and put it inside.  Craft sticks are not finished wood and probably would not hold up to moisture well.

Used a steamer basket filled with enough tap water to last you about 20 min (or keep refilling water).  Steam sticks for 15 minutes and using heat resistant gloves remove from steam one at a time.  Bend popsicle sticks in same vase or similar sized vase that you want to decorate.  After sticks are bent and dry (about a day) you can spray stain them and seal them with polyurethane.  The words are wood burned on.  If you want to wood burn then do it before you bend the sticks.  I used a soldering iron to wood burn but I would not recommend it.  The soldering iron did not get hot enough and the stick was too long and hard to control.  Please see video tutorial for full details on bending wood.

You can put a whole message on the inside.  I was thinking about putting lyrics to a favorite song on each line.

Try different patterns.


Video Tutorial:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Custom Monogram Snowflake Tutorial

Here's a twist on the classic paper snowflake. Cut out your monogram on top.  I made a J for my husband and an A for my daughter.  This is a simple craft for a child old enough to use scissors.  If they aren't nimble enough to cut the letters, they can help cut the shapes for the center part of the snowflake.

1. Fold square paper in half
2. Fold in half again, then unfold
3. Take the left corner and fold 30 degrees, then fold the right corner 30 degrees from center (you could use a protractor, but I just eyeballed it
4. Fold in half one more time and cut across the top
5. Unfold and draw on the monogram letter
6. Cut the letter out
7. Fold in half again and cut diagonal so the letter is only attached by small section
8. Cut out little shapes for the snowflake
9. Unfold carefully



Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday?

I usually never do Wordless Wednesday, but I really wanted to share something pretty from my backyard.  I love this for two reasons, one, nothing pretty is ever in my backyard, two, I live in Southern California so I rarely get to see leaves change color.  I guess its not really wordless, as I just wrote a couple of sentences :P
Stay tuned next week for the craft project involving this picture above.  Who knew heart shaped ivy could be so beautiful?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Easy Kids Craft - Foamies Ornament

With all the ornaments I have been making for my blog, my two year old daughter has been very curious and wanting to help. I decided to let her help me make some simple foamies ornaments. Just peal and stick. It kept her occupied for quite a long time.  After she finished begged us to go downstairs so she could hang on the tree.


This one is the ornament that Avery made.  I like the fact that she overlapped the foam, it gives it more dimension.


If you want to see Avery making the ornament here is a short video.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

How to Fold an Eight Pointed Transforming Ninja Star

When I was making my ninja ornament, my husband said I should fold an origami ninja star to go along with the ninja.  I had no idea what he was talking about, so he showed me how to fold one.  I ran with the idea and made his ninja star into a book page-ninja star-transforming-wreath-ornament.  If you read my blog regularly, you will see that I just fused five ideas from my previous blog posts together.  Below are the links to my previous blog post.

Mini Wreath
Book Page
Ninja
Stars
Ornament

I love this "ninja" star because it slides in and out to make this cool octagon.  My husband wasn't too thrilled about the little bow I drew onto his fierce ninja star.

For this star you will need 8 sheets of square paper all the same size.  Follow the video tutorial below to learn how to fold them and construct the star.

This is how to assemble the first four pieces, you do the same for the next four.  Details are in the video.

Half transformed.


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