Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Felt Food

Pin It Sandwich fixings--together and then separate Breakfast Pizza and taco fixings... and then put together Felt Food

Last year I did some felt food for my nephew's birthday (Sam is known for pounding and smashing things, so a soft-sided gift seemed prudent). I didn't have any patterns, but since most of the things are based on squares and circles, it wasn't too bad to make it up as I went. I did find some inspiration from The Idea Room.

I did learn from making the bread slices that there is an easier way (I made "boxes" which were difficult). Now, I just use 2 pieces of cream felt for the outside and 1 piece of tan for the crust. Draw a bread slice shape (on paper if you want to make a pattern first) and cut out 2 of the cream pieces. Make a slightly larger version and cut it out of the tan felt then sandwich it between the 2 cream pieces and sew around the edges. I've found that doing all the stiching as topstiching is much easier than trying to turn things inside out and stuff.

For the pita/tortilla I did sew the right sides together, flipped inside out and left a small gap into which I inserted a wire. Then I topstiched a seam so that the wire would stay near the edge

For the egg, sew the yolk on first through one piece of white (just put a small amount of stuffing underneath before you topstitch). Then sew another piece of the egg white underneath

Monday, December 20, 2010

Play Kitchen

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Before: A sad old nightstand...
I thought I wanted 4 burners, but decided 2 were enough. The wooden letter I trimmed to make it look like a faucet.

The top of the nightstand was really thick, but my jigsaw managed ok.
I will attach the backsplash once I've transported the kitchen to Idaho for Christmas. I used chalkboard paint on the side...
The burners are wood discs from a craft store that I painted.

First, let me say that I did not invent the idea of turning a nightstand into a play kitchen. I got lots of inspiration from other bloggers out there, so thank you (particularly the blog Husband, Wife, Happy Life)

So, I started with a thrift store nightstand. The hardest part was getting it all cleaned and the hardware all off. I took out the drawers and kept the face of just the top drawer. I tried to use stuff I already had in the garage, so I used leftover primer and white paint (spray paint would probably be lots faster). I wanted the knobs to be able to turn, so I used carriage bolts with a couple of nuts underneath so that the wooden wheels would spin. The faucet is a wooden letter found at the D.I.

Tools I used: Drill, jig saw, chop saw

Get a metal bowl (another thrift store item) and make sure it has enough of a lip to hang on the countertop. I traced the bowl on a piece of paper and then used a compass to make a circle inside the outline about 1/8" smaller. I traced the circle pattern on the top of the nightstand and used the jigsaw to cut out the hole.

I used leftover cabinet hinges on the drawer face to make the "oven". I had to screw a small block of wood inside the cabinet to keep the drawer face from falling inward. I used stick-on velcro to keep the "oven" shut.

The fabric was a cute turquoise and red "bowl of cherries" that I had leftover from another project and I used a tension curtain rod.

I have about $20 in materials invested (including the nightstand)--I made the felt food last year and so the kitchen is good to go! Perfect for triplet 23-month old cuties (my adorable nieces and nephew).

Friday, December 17, 2010

Recycled Sweater Bag

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First, my knitting skills do not include cable knitting, so while I might be able to convince some people that I actually knit this bag, I'll be honest with you, I just used an old sweater for this project. We had a fun craft night with the ladies in my church where people were showcasing fun "reuse and recycle" craft projects and this idea so just so fun I had to try it. The best part was that I already had all the stuff in the house!

Pick a sweater (large with interesting knit pattern or color. Mine had the cable knit on both front and back)

Cut off the sleeves and decide how big a bag you can make.

Pin and sew up the edges. I wanted to add a bit of gathering at the top so that the bag was narrower at the top than at the bottom, so I used elastic.

Use the sweater pieces to create a pattern for the lining fabric (I used leftover flannel). Sew on the cell phone and lipstick pockets BEFORE you do the side seams and get everything all attached.
Flip the lining inside out.
Stick the lining inside the bag with "wrong sides" together so that the nice, pretty lining is visible. Stitch it down.
I made the strap by using leftover bits of sweater and lining, but you could use a belt or ribbon.

I created a small loop using a bit of the sweater's collar to use as a buttonhole. I sewed on the toggle (.78 for 2 at WalMart) and ta-da, a cute new bag out of a sweater! This is the gift I'm giving to my sister-in-law for Christmas, so shhh. :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Entry Table

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Since everyone's house needs one more horizontal surface to pile stuff on, I thought I'd add one to my entryway. The color is pretty fun don't ya think? Its Martha Stewart "Araucana Teal" (you can buy a sample container already mixed up at Home Depot for about $3). The table was a bit wobbly but some woodglue and glides on the bottom fixed it right up.


Here's a preview of what I'm working on today, stay tuned for the finished project...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hanukkah Subway Art

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So, you may wonder why I have a Hanukkah subway art...seems out of the norm for someone who is big on Christmas right? Here's the explanation--I have a wonderful graduate student who works on a project with me who celebrates Hanukkah here in Utah. We had a workshop last week where the food table was decorated up for Christmas and I wanted her to feel included, so I did the subway art for Hanukkah and one for Christmas and put them both up. So, if you know someone who might like this, please feel free to send it along!

Click on my Google Site to download the file.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Jalapeno Jelly

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I was at the library and saw a gorgeous book on display that I just had to bring home-its called You Can Can by Better Homes and Gardens.

Its full of beautiful pictures of jams, jellies and other preserves--very inspirational. I was looking through it and found the perfect gift for my friends/neighbors this year. Jalapeno Jelly! I like to do homemade items, but I wasn't too excited to do repeats of projects from past years (cherry syrup, applesauce, chocolate popcorn etc...) and I thought how unique a gift this would be. Its really quite tasty with crackers and cream cheese (or goat cheese!) Its also tasty on a cornbread muffin or on a turkey sandwich. It was really simple to make--total hands on time was about 30 minutes from start to finish.

1 1/2 C. cranberry juice (not low sugar)
1 C. cider vinegar
2-4 jalapeno peppers cut in half (seeded or not...depends on how spicy you like it. I used 2 peppers and cut off the stem end and left the rest of the seeds)
5 C. sugar
1 3oz pkg of liquid pectin (Certo)

1. In a small saucepan bring the juice, vinegar and peppers to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
2. Pour the mix through a strainer to remove the pepper pieces (if you have less than 2 cups of liquid left, top off with juice to make 2 cups exactly).
3. In a 6-qt saucepan mix the sugar and hot juice mixture and bring to a rolling boil while stirring.
4. Add the liquid pectin and return to a boil and keep stirring for 1 minute.
5. Remove from heat, skim off the foam.
6. Pour into sterilized 1/2 pint jars
7. Process for 5 minutes (or just give it out right away and tell folks to refrigerate)

The recipe made enough for 12 of those 4 oz jelly jars. I was able to use a coupon for the juice and the peppers were less than $1! Great inexpensive gift.

I will warn you that the boiling of jalapenos and vinegar is don't stand directly over the pot in that first step.

December Subway Art Printable

Pin It I've been playing around with my December subway art project. I couldn't decide what color I wanted to decorate my room this year (last year was pear green and silver, the year before cranberry). So, I did a few different versions--the pear green one and burgandy ones will show up later today I think. I print them on 8.5x11 photo paper on my color laser jet, but we did one for my mom at Walmart on 8x10. Just remember to click on the thumbnail first and then right-click on the large image to save it to you computer. Have a wonderful 1st day of December. :) I also found a fun free printable at Eighteen25's blog, check it out!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Activity Book

Pin It I've got nieces and nephews to keep entertained today while the adults are chasing the triplets and getting the meal all ready--so here's a thanksgiving activity book that has a few mazes, puzzles and coloring pages. Have a great day!Thanksgiving Activity Booklet

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

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Most people either love or hate cranberry sauce on their Thanksgiving plate. I fall into the category of "love it"--providing that the cranberries are homemade! I suppose I grew up spoiled with a mom who is a great cook and does all of the Thanksgiving meal from scratch. For me the difference between that can of cranberry jelly and the homemade is about the same as the difference between fresh peas and canned peas--so different that one is edible and the other is not really food at all. So...if you haven't been a fan in the past, give homemade cranberries a chance!


1 bag cranberries
1 c. sugar
1 c. water (not quite full)

In a pot put the water and sugar (I tend to use just a bit less water, like a Tablespoon or 2 less) and bring to a boil. Dump in the cranberries. Bring the mix to a boil and then turn the heat down to medium. The concoction will get bubbly and foamy--let boil for 10 minutes (set the timer). Stir it up every couple of minutes so it doesn't scortch.

If you like the chunky cranberry sauce (and I don't) you can be done now. If you want the clear jelly you need to dump the mix into a fine strainer over a bowl and push the mix through the strainer with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. If you are going to make the clear jelly, be ready to strain as soon as you take it off the stove--cranberries have a lot of pectin and it will set up rather quickly. Once its all strained put it in a jar or container and refrigerate it.

That's it! Now you have delicious cranberry sauce for your turkey!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Harry Potter Crafts

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Many of you know that I'm a fan of the Harry Potter books and movies. I visited many filming locations when I was in Great Britain and last week, I got to go to Universal Studio's Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park. The theme park is really fun-its like being in the movie. They have created items to eat and drink that are mentioned in the books such as chocolate frogs, pumpkin juice and my favorite-butterbeer. Butterbeer is a non-alcoholic cream soda-like drink with a thick, creamy foam on top! I've been experimenting with making it at home and I think I'm pretty close!

Cream Soda
1/4 tsp. Artificial Butter Vanilla & Nut flavor (I found it at Smith's/Krogers)
1/4 C. Cream
Sugar (although I used artificial sweetner)

I've been making it by the single serving, so change it up for larger quantities. In a shaking jar (my magic bullet blender went from liquid to stiff cream way too fast) mix the cream, flavoring and sugar. Shake it up until it is a soft foam (less stiff than what you'd want for serving on pie). Pour cream soda in a cup and then spoon the foam on top. Drink it up and enjoy your cream mustache! This drink reminds me a bit of a rootbeer float after the ice cream has gotten melty.

I like it with the cream, but I'm going to experiment with Dream Whip mix too (the cream is a bit too rich compared to the one served at Universal Studios). Some of the other blogs I've visited have created cute gift baskets with bottles of IBC cream soda, mugs a recipe card as well as the bottle of flavoring. I've done the recipe card printable for you at the top of the post...just make sure you click on the thumbnail first, then print the full size image.

Tile JewelrySo, since I'm looking forward to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 next week I decided to make a tile pendant necklace to get myself geared up! If you haven't made glass tile jewelery before, it is super easy!

I purchased my tiles and Diamond Glaze from United Crafters Inc (you need tiles that are crystal clear, so don't get the kind at Home Depot...they won't work). I haven't been to Roberts or Macs in a while, but they might have them too. You will need:

Diamond Glaze
Glass tile
E6000 adhesive
graphic (print it out or use fun scrapbook paper)
Bail (the hanging loop) or a magnet if you are making a fridge magnet

Get your graphic the right size (my tiles are 7/8"x 7/8")--if you are using a computer image, you can just resize the image to .88x.88--if you are cutting the graphic out of scrapbook paper, just get it cut to a rough size, with your image in the middle.

1. Make sure your tile is all clean.

2. Set your graphic down on a table picture side up (I would cover the table in the event of glue spillage-which I failed to do and had to scrape glue later)

3. Use the Diamond Glaze to make a good size puddle in the center of your image.
4. Set your glass tile with the "rough" side down onto the puddle of glaze.
5. Quickly press firmly on the tile to adhere--keep pressing for a few seconds before you let go.

6. Let the Diamond Glaze set for about 15 minutes (or more)
7. Use scissors to cut off the excess paper

8. Flip your tile upside down and spread a puddle of more Diamond Glaze on the back of the tile to create a smooth, sealed surface. Let dry for a couple hours at least.

9. Now you can use the E6000 adhesive to attach the necklace bail or magnet.

10. Ta-da! Now you can be a fan (keeping it subtle or just add to your whole Harry Potter costume that you will be wearing to opening night)

You could use holiday themed scrapbook paper to make Christmas or New Year's jewelry or use pics of your kids or pets! I've always used my Color LaserJet with photo paper--not sure what would happen with an inkjet printer and the Diamond Glaze (it might make the colors run).

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

TV Cabinet Refurb

Pin It I have been thinking about having my dad build me a cabinet for my tv to sit on. I have had something in mind and wasn't finding it at the store (nor was I too excited about spending a couple hundred dollars on something that wasn't really what I wanted). But, having already made some drawings and measurements I was prepared when lightning struck at a spur-of-the-moment stop at the Welfare Square D.I. Sitting in the back in the "as is" furniture section was the top part of a hutch. It had great doors with really cool glass and it was just the right width, but a bit tall. No worries. I grabbed that hutch and took it home for a real bargain knowing I could make it work. I sketched and looked at it more closely and decided I could just cut off the bottom 12 inches and it would be perfect.

I used my skill saw and a straight edge (which I made by attaching a long straight board to the back of the cabinet with a couple of small nails) to cut off the bottom the hutch (being careful to make sure that the cabinet would still have enough height for the cabinet doors to still fit). I sanded the new edges and added some of those furniture glides that you nail into the bottom of the furniture.

Next, I selected a great green color (Bulfrog Green by Dutchboy) and got to work taping off the glass in the doors and painting over the grey/green paint.

I decided I wanted to give glazing a try and this seemed like the perfect project to start on. I used FolkArts Glazing Gel, which I got at JoAnn's for under $2 and mixed it with a Dark Umber craft paint. I first tried mixing it half and half, but that turned out darker than I wanted. I ended up using about 2 parts glaze to 1 part paint. I used an old t-shirt to dip into the mixture and smooth it over the painted surface. It worked great. As long as i slid it on smoothly and didn't rub it too hard, it left a darker stain and took the bright shiny new look off the green paint.

I had to take a break during the week from my cabinet, but on Saturday I got to work again finishing up the glazing. I decided that it definately needed a coat of clear polyurethane since I wanted it to be a nice hard, scrubable surface to set the TV on.

One coat of poly on the doors, 2 on the top of the cabinet and and hour to dry. Next thing you know, I'm hauling that bad boy down to the basement! It looks great. In the close up you get a sense of the wavy glass that came in the doors! So much fun :)

Now all I need is the new TV--just waiting for a great Black Friday deal!