Dying vs. Painting Easter Eggs

Image

 

This year we tried a Paas Kit labeled “24K Golden Eggs”  This kit comes with a tray, two paint brushes, three packets of color, and two  packets of golden color.  You just mix some gold with the colors and paint it on.  My son and I had fun doing this together.  He will be nine next month, and I do think this would get messy if his little five-year-old brother was in on this (he got to do the traditional ones below).  We did this batch by ourselves after his brother went to bed for some time together, and so that his little brother didn’t paint my entire house with golden paint.  We did get some on the granite counter top and it came right off with water.  A pretty alternative to the regular eggs.  

Image

These are your traditional Paas Easter Eggs.  I use the method of putting a tablespoon of vinegar and teaspoon of salt in the water before it comes to a boil.  Not sure if this helps the color or cracking, but that is just what I do, and it doesn’t change the taste any so no harm no foul.  I boil them for a minute or two, and then take them off the stove and cover them with a lid and pray they don’t crack.  We didn’t have any crack this year.  We added the three tablespoons vinegar, and a half cup of water to each cup per directions, and we got some great color.  We did use a few brown eggs (not shown) and the green color was even darker than the one above.  I wish I had tried more brown eggs with the dye.  Next year!!  

Advertisements

Bunny Art

Image

Here is a quick Silhouette project.  I was inspired by one that I found on Pinterest, but they used thin wood to cut out the bunnies.  The grain was cute and all but I didn’t want to spend the money.  I used a solid 8 x 10 color I liked and then just cut bunny shapes out of the brown craft paper.  I then just duplicated the mod bunnies shape found here:  http://www.silhouetteonlinestore.com/?page=view-shape&id=58260.  For the final bunny I cut him out in dark brown textured card stock, and used some pop dots to add dimension, and I added a bow, and a tail for some detail.  I decided to leave the glass off the frame because I always change out what is in this one for the seasons, but you can always put the bunny on top of the glass too.  I got the distressed frame at Aaron Bros.  I may add a mini banner to the top of this to wrap across the frame to add some interest, but I like the simplicity of it.  

Easter Treats

Image

Easter is almost here.  I made some chocolate cookies for a friend and decided to dress them up a bit (in non-traditional colors) with a bunny http://www.silhouetteonlinestore.com/?page=view-shape&id=26469.  I cut out on my Silhouette machine.  I also did a print and cut “hello friend” label called: “little things soup label” http://www.silhouetteonlinestore.com/?page=view-shape&id=45979. Don’t forget to add a tail (with a glue dot), and some baker’s twine, and your gift is ready to go.  

In case you are wondering about the recipe, I got it here: http://www.marthastewart.com/316883/grammys-chocolate-cookies.  Actually this recipe can also be found in the “Martha Stewart’s Cookies” book, which I love!  It has a picture for every cookie, just like the Food Network Magazine does with each issue.  I love the visual.  It gives me confidence if I know what my end result is supposed to look like, and hopefully if the look is right, then the taste is right too.  I am attempting to try as many of the recipes in the cookie book as possible.  I have made about 18 of the recipes so far, and I only had a problem with one being too sticky.  For this recipe, I recommend separating the dough into two, and storing it in a flat disc in the refrigerator until ready to roll into balls.  If it starts to get too sticky just put it back in the refrigerator for a while, or the freeze for a bit to get it to stay together.  The sugar crystals that you roll the dough in makes this cookie glisten and gives it a special crunch.  All ovens vary, but mine took about 16 minutes per batch.  This recipe makes about 2.5 dozen.  Try them out!  

Heart Lace Cookies

Heart Lace cookies inspired by www.sweetsugarbelle.com

Heart Lace cookies inspired by http://www.sweetsugarbelle.com

Have you ever come across a blog that just blows your mind? Well when I found http://www.sweetsugarbelle.com I just could not believe my eyes. She makes the most lovely decorated sugar cookies. And she has made many many many of them. I am no where near as good as her and here is her version of a lace cookie: http://www.sweetsugarbelle.com/2012/01/piping-lace-on-cookies/ Just beautiful. I don’t have the patience to use a push pin to plan out my design, and I don’t usually get my frosting consistency correct, but when I saw those I had to try to make some. She had some red hearts too, but I couldn’t find the page in her 65 pages. Her cookies are of course, way more clean and perfect, but I had to try it. You can also see an example of them in a circle shape in beautiful jewel tones and in black and white that you could use for any occasion. I free-handed my designs, which is why they are not as perfect. I also used her recipe that you can find on her site for sugar cookies, and royal icing. I had always used Martha Stewart’s before. I really liked the almond extract flavor way better than vanilla, and the real bonus was that you didn’t have to chill the dough. I was super skeptical. At first I thought it would never work and it would be sticky, but nope, it actually worked. I used some flour and it rolled out just fine. So if you ever see something you are dying to try, by all means try it. At least I know what I will do differently next time. Overall I am really happy with the end result. They are a labor of love, but your guests will appreciate them. And they taste as good as they look. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Candy Hearts

hearts two

Michael’s had some very cute wooden hearts for sale the other day. I picked up four, sanded them a little, then painted them with acrylic paint, and added some vinyl for my names and sayings. Also stapled a ribbon to the backs to keep them all together. They are displayed hanging straight down:

Candy vertical

A fun quick decoration for Valentine’s day!

Valentine Tic Tac Toe

Image

     It’s that time of year when us crazy moms (who feel the need to make everything) go out in search of a valentine theme that will satisfy our need to create, but also make our kiddos happy too.  And believe me, there is nothing wrong with grabbing a box of Valentines at the store as well. Kids sometimes love to just have that freedom sometimes to choose a favorite cartoon character.  I used to love picking the box (or was it a booklet type back then?) out at the store when I was a kid.  Valentines were so much more darling back then though.  I would carefully chose who got which one.  I remember this became very important in 4th grade when I had a crush on a boy in class…memories!  But I digress…because I am still not working outside the home, I took on the task of making them this year.

     The kids (ages 5 and 8) both decided they wanted Valentine Tic Tac Toe.  Easy enough.  They are getting the same design to make it easier on Mama this year.  There were a ton of examples online, but I just opened up my Silhouette software and went to work designing what they call a “print and cut” design. I just drew the grid lines by making rectangles and welding them together with the weld tool.  I could have also made these in Photoshop Elements too  but then I would have had to cut them with my paper cutter.  So I saved a step and designed, print, and cut them on my Silhouette.  

     I found some great little bags online with self closure on the back.  The size of the bags are 3 3/16″ x 4 5/16″.  There are many sizes to choose from at http://www.clearbags.com.  I have no affiliation with them, just thought I would let you know where to go if you are looking for bags or clear boxes, etc.  Here is the back view:

Image

I put sour Jolly Rancher gummies 5 each of two colors for them to play Tic Tac Toe.  But you could use two colors of M&M’s or jelly beans, etc.  Will the recipients get one game in before eating all the “pieces”?  Hmmm, I don’t know, those sour candies are pretty darn good.  I had my kids write their names on the arrow instead of typing it for them, for good practice.  Did you make Valentines this year?  If so, I would love to hear what you made.  Leave a comment below.

 

Be Mine! – Valentine Countdown Board

Back again with another countdown board! This time a Valentine theme. I used shapes found at the silhouette online store. You can route your wood yourself or grab a pre-routed piece from Michaels. Have fun making any design that suits your fancy. My kiddo loves changing the the days. Remember to stay away from glossy paint or your vinyl will not stick to your board. If you wanted you could Mod-Podge over everything except the chalkboard vinyl heart you write the chalk numbers on, but I skipped the Mod-Podge. I think I may add a bird to a branch and remove a heart as well. Have fun with it!

Valentine Countdown Board

Valentine Countdown Board

I also painted a 4×4 wood block out of leftover wood with chalkboard paint. I got this idea from seeing it at a local store. Each holiday I use my colored chalk pens to create different pictures to add to the decor. That is a quick project anyone can do. See you soon! Keep crafting!

4x4 Chalkboard block you can wipe off and change with the seasons!

4×4 Chalkboard block you can wipe off and change with the seasons!

Christmas Cookies!

Christmast Cookies with royal icing

Christmast Cookies with royal icing


I am a little crazy about Christmas cookies. My Mom used to make them with me when I was little, and now that she is gone, I always think of her when I make them.

My favorite recipe for the basic Christmas sugar cookie is the Martha Stewart Basic Sugar cookie recipe: http://www.marthastewart.com/338471/basic-sugar-cookies
and her simple royal icing recipe:
http://www.marthastewart.com/316888/royal-icing-for-sugar-cookies

The trick, I think, is to leave the cookie dough in the refrigerator overnight. Then let it get warm enough in your hands to shape it into a ball to roll out. Use flour to keep it from sticking on the rolling pin.

Pre-frosting

Pre-frosting

I also use a piping bag for each color of icing. I put a wet paper towel into a tall cup and when I set the tip into the cup it keeps the tip from getting dried out and clogging.

1472072_10152449641038852_544462731_n

Get the consistency just right and it will all be well. My white icing this year was a little too runny. Try and get it to where it will easily pipe onto the cookie, but not run down the sides. I use the tip to help spread the icing out. The great thing about royal icing is that it dries and you can stack cookies on top of each other after they have dried overnight. You may think they are dry enough after an hour or so, but the weight of the other cookies might cause indentations in your works of art, so just keep them in a single layer overnight, and avoid that. It’s like when you mess up your freshly painted manicure. So frustrating. I don’t think this icing is particularly as tasty as buttercream icing, but you cannot really package buttercream frosted cookies without a big giant mess in the box or tin. Always a price to pay for looks. But some people love this icing. It’s also fun to get new decorations or cutters once in a while to change things up, and finding the right container helps dress them up even more.

Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookies

Sprinkles!

Sprinkles!

Even blue works!

Even blue works!

These cookies take patience, and practice, and may give you carpel tunnel, but they always put a smile on the face of the receiver. I hope you made some yummy treats this year!

Christmas Countdown Board

The countdown to Christmas is on! Here is my take on a simple wood craft using my Silhouette Cameo.

Christmas Countdown

Christmas Countdown

I tied bows and a piece of chalk to the boards and gave them out for Christmas. I made several versions, so it would be appropriate for teachers, people without kids, etc…

Christmas Tree Countdown

Christmas Tree Countdown

days count 2

I was giving them out so quickly (since they are kinda no fun to get if there is no more countdown) that I forgot to get better pictures of them.

Shopping Days Countdown

Shopping Days Countdown

Just grab some routed wood, paint, your Silhouette, some vinyl, chalkboard vinyl, and a little creativity in your design, and you are good to go.

Happy Holidays!

Caramel Apples

Crimson Gold Apples

Crimson Gold Apples


Looking for an inexpensive and festive Fall gift that most anyone would love to get?  Here it is…yummy goodness awaits:
Crimson gold Organic apples

Crimson Gold Organic apples

I made the mini apples for a class Halloween party. They were so darn cute and small I had to do it. They are very much like a Fuji Apple. I found them in the organic section in a bag of about 20 for $2.49 for the bag.

My friends came over and help me make these Big Daddy’s!

Big Daddy's!

Big Daddy’s!

Very simple all you need are some apples, water, caramel, good chocolate, such as Guittard, shortening, crushed Heath Bars, and wooden sticks.

Wash the apples in hot water and rub dry, trying to get off any wax so the caramel will stick better. Follow the directions on the caramels package, I used Kraft:
http://www.kraftbrands.com/caramels/recipes/recipe-detail.aspx?recipeId=107072

Use a wooden spoon to help the excess off the caramel, back into the pan. Put them in the refrigerator for a while. After the caramel has dried, I used a double boiler to heat and melt the chocolate and added a little shortening, I didn’t measure, and a friend actually did this part, but just a little to smooth out, and thin the chocolate. Dip them in chocolate, and then dip in the crushed Heath Bars. Put on waxed paper and leave in the refrigerator overnight.

Dress up your apple with a tag, when giving as a gift.

Dress up your apple with a tag, when giving as a gift.