Sunday, April 28, 2013

Homemade Madeleine Cookies for Nautical Themed Baby Shower Favors

I throw a lot of nautical themed parties.  Not just because I love the look, but because its a versatile theme.  Here's a little secret: if you throw your parties with the same theme you not only save time but money and space also.  I save money and space because I have all the decorations for a nautical themed party (sea shells, lanterns, candles) so I don't have to fill my garage with decorations. I save time because I know exactly what's going to be on the menu and exactly what party favors I'm going to give.  For a nautical themed party I always give Madeleines out as the party favor.  They are great because they look like shells (nautical theme), relatively inexpensive, they taste great, and they don't become junk in someone's house (a must for favors that I give out).

I have the templates for the favors saved and always just change up the image and name on the label.  To make the favors look more professional I package them individually in plastic bags and adhere the label on top.

Basic Madeleine recipe below.

Home Made Madeleine (these are a tad on the too brown side).

Three eggs at room temperature.

Sifted flour.

Mix together

Fill greased pan

Remove from oven when edges start to brown.  Let cool on wire rack.

After Madeleines are cooled place in plastic baggies.

Custom labels I printed out .

To make the label look nice I staple on the back side and then use double sided tape to tape to the front so you do not see a staple in the front.

Place in a cute basket and favors are ready to go.

Basic Madeleine Recipe

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour (sifted)
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a saucepan or in the microwave, melt the butter.
In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugars at high speed until the mixture is thick and pale in color.  Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest. Fold in, using a rubber spatula or whisk. Fold In one third of the four mixture. Slowly add flour until completely mixed.  Do not over mix.  Gently fold in melted butter.  Cover and refrigerate the batter for at least one hour.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Grease the molds of two - 12 – large Madeleine with melted butter. 
Fill the batter into the pans 80% full.
Bake the Madeleines for about 8 to 11 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Do not overbake!
Remove the pans from the oven and place Madeleines on a wire rack to cool. 
Makes about 24 - 3 1/2 inch (8,.5 cm) Madeleines.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Upcycle Credit Cards and Gift Cards to Make Chevron Earrings

I know we all have them, old CDs, gift cards and credit cards.  I have stacks of old plastic cards that I usually just throw out or let Avery play with when she plays "cashier" at home.  I've been trying to get more into jewelry making lately.  Its actually one craft that I have never tried before.  I have tried beading and making friendship bracelets before, but never really tried jewelry making with jump rings, chains, and actual jewelry hardware.

For this craft I wanted to make it as easy as possible, requiring the purchase of little to no tools.  It's usually very daunting picking up a new craft, as you have to buy new equipment for a craft that you may not really love.  To make these earrings you can use tools from around your house.  I use an utility knife to cut the gift card, a stapler to punch holes into the gift card and nail polish to paint the chevron cutout.  The only materials you may need to buy are jump rings (6 total), earring connectors, a metal chain and needle nose pliers.

Cut two triangle shape out of the gift card.  Note you can just score the card with the craft knife and snap the card to detach pieces.

Mark chevron shape and score with exacto knife.  Cutting credit cards is fairly easy.  Just score the card and snap apart.

For the inside point you want to wiggle it a little being careful not to snap the chevron in half.

Use a stapler to punch holes on the corners of the chevron.

Remove the staple.

To make the hole larger poke the hole through with a large safety pin or needle.  Poke through on both sides picking off excess plastic on the hole.  (File if necessary)

Paint the chevron with the nail polish color of your choice.  Paint edges first and then paint top and bottom sides.  Let dry between coats.  Three coats of polish was necessary to cover all the text on the bottom side of the gift card.

Let chevrons dry for at least two hours.  Attach jump rings to each hole.  Cut two strands of metal about 4 inches long.   Attach metal strands to jump ring.  Find the center of the strands and attach another jump ring.  Attach that center jump ring to earring hook.

No one will ever guess these earrings are made from an old gift card.  You could also use credit cards or even cds.  CD's may be a little trickier as they are thicker.  

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Woven Wooden Paper Ball Vase Fillers

I made these faux wooden ball vase fillers a while back.  All you have to do is print out wood grained paper.  I usually just find wood grain images from google images. Next time I would print on both sides so the white paper doesn't show through on the inside.  This is a cheap and easy thing to make that's fun for kids too.  You can weave it to make balls to throw around with them (depending on what you weave it from).  In Thailand they weave these balls out of Palm leaves to play with.

Below is a video tutorial on how to weave these wooden balls.  Part 1 of the tutorial shows how to braid a four strand braid (which is the basis of weaving the ball).  Part 2 of the video shows how to weave the ball.

Print out wood grain and cut into strips.  See video tutorial below for instructions.

Part 1: Four Strand Braid Tutorial
Part 2: Paper Ball Tutorial

I've made these balls for Christmas as ornaments also.  See my post here.

How to Make Duck Tape® Roses

This post brought to you by Duck® Brand. All opinions are 100% mine.

Duck Tape® has to be one of the most versatile craft tools out there.  I've seen people make clothes, shoes, boxes and all sorts of crafty stuff with this tough tape.  I'm going to show you how to make Duck Tape® roses in this post.  This is a simple project that should take no more than an hour to complete.  All you need is a roll of Duck Tape® in the color of your choice, one roll of green Duck Tape® and some scissors.  To create these roses fold Duck Tape® in half, leaving a little of the sticky tape exposed.  Cut petals out about 30 petals in the shape of rounded triangles.  This doesn't have to be perfect, I did not use a template but just freehanded it.  You should make some smaller than others. Start with one of the smaller petals and fold it around in a circle (see image below).  Because you left the tape exposed it should stick onto itself.  Continue adding petals all around in a circular pattern until rose is the desired fullness.  Use green Duck Tape® for the bottom stem.  Repeat steps to make multiple roses.
These roses will make great boutineers or corsages for Duck Tape®'s Stuck at Prom® Challenge. Duck Tape® is offering schollarships for wearing Duck Tape® to prom!
Over $40,000 in cash scholarships are up for grabs.
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Singles Category Winner: $500 and $500 for their school


Eligiblity:  Legal residents of the United States and Canada, including the District of Columbia, but excluding Maryland, Vermont, Colorado, Puerto Rico and the Province of Quebec, who are at least 14 years of age or older. You must also attend a high school, home school association or other school-sanctioned prom in 2013.

Contest Runs:
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Sunday, April 7, 2013

How to Make Citrus Salt

I've been trying to eat fish at least once a week now. Making citrus salt is so easy and so great to sprinkle on top of seafood.  All you need is two ingredients Salt (Sea or Kosher) and Citrus Zest (Lemon, Lime or Orange).    Combine salt and zest about 2 tablespoon of zest to half a cup of salt.  Place on baking sheet and bake for 250 degrees Fahrenheit for about 1.5 hours or until zest is dry.

Divide salt into air tight glass containers.  I love giving this homemade citrus salt out in small cooking gift baskets along with other kitchen essentials.

Salt and zest, you could you a combination of zest or just one. 
This is how it looks after its dry.
Homemade citrus salt (with ombre polymer clay tag - tutorial coming)

Friday, April 5, 2013

How to Make Colored Sugar

I hate buying materials that I'll only use one.  I needed colored sugar for some marshmallows I was making, but didn't want to go out and buy tubs of colored sugar because I only needed a few tablespoons.  I decided to try to make my own colored sugar.  It was very simple and fast to make.  All you need is food coloring and granulated sugar.

Divide sugar into separate ziplock bags.  Add one  drop of liquid food coloring for every 2-3 tablespoons of sugar (more if you want a richer color).  Shake bag and mix well.  Easy peasy colored sugar.  You can now make small batches all colors of the rainbow.  If you added too much food coloring and sugar is very wet just lay out on plate and let sugar dry.

Colored sugar for decorating cupcakes.

You could also use gel food coloring.  I used liquid because that's what i had on hand.

Mix the sugar well.  It will clump initially but then it will loosen up.
Making it inside ziplock bags helps contain the mess.  Plus you can store away the unused sugar.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Beautiful Lilies and How to Arrange Them

This post brought to you by iBulb. All opinions are 100% mine.

I love having fresh flowers at my house.  What I don't love are flowers that are hard to maintain and that start wilting so quick that I do not have time to enjoy them.  I love lilies because they are beautiful large flowers that last so much longer than other flowers.  They have a great floral scent and are so bright that it livens up every room.  I will teach you how to arrange flowers when you buy them.  Nothing ruins a bouquet like the ugly cellophane wrap around the flowers, so be sure to remove the wrapping.  
Choose a vase or any household container.  I like finding unexpected jars around the house, maybe a tin pail or a mason jar to put my flowers in  (Just be sure to clean your jar as to prolong the life of the flowers). This adds a bit of character to the bouquet.  After you remove the cellophane be sure to trim the bottoms of the flowers at an angle.  Fill your container up with cold clean water.  To arrange the flowers perfectly I like to use the tape trick.  If you don't have floral foam (I never do) this tape trick is a life saver.  It helps support the flowers for arranging just like floral foam (but you always have tape on hand!).  Create a checkered pattern on the top of the container with tape.  This will help support each individual stem.  This trick is great for wide mouth containers, or for flowers that are too short to touch the bottom of the vase.  Place one or two stems in each checkered hole of the tape.  Viola, a beautiful arrangement for your home in no time.
Lilies are readily avaliable at your local grocery stores, garden centers and flower shops.  I purchased mine at Costco.  They are simply beautiful and I have been enjoying them for two weeks now!
Be sure to check out the Pinterst page for inspiration on 
Beautiful lilies purchased at Costco.

Use any old container you have, it adds more character!

Tape the opening of the jar in a checkered pattern to help arrange the flowers.

Place one or two stems into the jar in each tape opening.
Beautiful lily arrangement.


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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

How to Make an Extra Large Pom Pom Headband

My mom taught me how to make yarn pom poms as a kid.  It was always fun spinning the yarn around and around and the cutting the ends to form small balls.  To make large pom poms you basically do the same thing but you have to spin the yarn around many more times.  I used a 4 inch piece of cardboard and spun the yarn around about 200 times.  Carefully slide out the cardboard and tie the yarn in the center tightly.  Cut the two ends of the yarn so that each piece is no longer looped around. The pom pom may seem a bit floppy because it it large, so take a brush and brush the yarn gently.  This will fluff the pom pom and add more volume.  Alternatively you can put the pom pom in the dryer (but you have to be careful that you tied the pom pom tight or else the yarn will come loose and there will be lots of cleaning up!).  To attach the pom pom onto the headband I used a hot glue gun.  You could also add felt on the underside to give it more stability.

Instead of using a plastic headband you could crochet a headband like this.

Wrap cardboard with yarn around 200 times.  This large pom pom is 4 inches in diameter.  

Slide out yarn carefully.  I bent the cardboardso it will slip right off.

Tie the center and trim the ends

The pom pom may look floppy.

Use a hair brush and brush the pom pom to fluff.

Wrap yarn around headband securing with hot glue.

Make two pom poms and attach to headband.

My little munchkin with her headband.

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