Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Another Craft-Tastical Weekend!

It's that time of the year again and we are back to our craft-tastical ways! Last weekend Mrs. A, along with the addition of Mrs. B, Mrs. C (me!), Mrs. D and Momma A, got together to craft up a storm! In addition to a few trial runs on some beauty related crafts (don't worry, we are dedicating a whole weekend and several blog posts to this), we did some awesome projects with only a few fails. In no special order, they are: - Flower filled pumpkin arrangement - Black Halloween wreath - Painted pumpkins - "Welcome" bucket flower arrangement - Toilet paper snow flakes - Winter glove snowman family picture - Sock snowball family - Wood circle snowman ornament - Epsom salt baby ornament Stay tuned for a review of all our craft attempts. Tons of pics to come!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Easy Pilgrim Hat Cookies- Success!

If you are going to make one Thanksgiving cookie, you might as well make two, right? After spending an hour or so making the Oreo turkeys, these pilgrim hat cookies were a cake walk! (Or is it a cookie walk?)
I was also able to use the same icing recipe for both cookies. If you haven't seen the adorable Oreo turkey's, check them out here:


I found the Pilgrim Hat Cookie recipe on Pinterest, courtesy of Women's Day. It's pretty self explanatory, and I added a few things, but here's the link just in case you want to look at it!


So, the Pilgrim Hat cookies. Here's the deal!

Ingredients Needed:
- 1 package (actually more like a half a package) Fudge Stripe Cookies
- 1 bag mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (I used half a bag on this recipe and the other half for the Oreo Turkey recipe)
- Food coloring

Icing Ingredients Needed:
- 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 egg white

Step One: Make icing. As I said previously, I kinda did my own thing to get the icing a little firmer. Beat one egg white until stiff. In separate bowl, mix cream of tartar and powder sugar. Slowly add cream of tartar/powdered sugar mix to egg white. Continue to mix. This icing is pretty firm, sticks well and dries fast!

Step Two: Dye icing orange (red and yellow food coloring). Put in a Ziploc bag and cut a small hole in the corner.

Step Three: Unwrap Reece's and put a dab of icing in the middle. Press down over the hole in the Fudge Stripes.

Step Four: Use icing to circle the peanut butter cup and make a small square on the candy. This should resemble a hat band and buckle.

Step Five: Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to eat. Take a picture and enjoy!

If you have a pastry bag and small tips, it might work better than the Ziploc bag, but that worked fine for me. Otherwise, it's pretty easy to do. This would be a great activity to do with kids. Of course, I'm a big kid at heart so I did it all by myself! :)

Oreo & Reece's Turkey Cookies- Success!

Happy Thanksgiving! In an effort to keep my creative mind rolling and continue the streak, I attempted to add some fun to tomorrow's Thanksgiving dessert and make Oreo and Reece's Turkey Cookies.

I looked around Pinterest for what seemed to be the easiest technique for making these and stumbled upon thesisterscafe.com blog. Thanks to them for the idea and comprehensive directions. I did make a few minor changes but here's there original recipe. http://www.thesisterscafe.com/2011/11/cooking-kids-candy-turkeys

Ingredients Needed:
- 1 package Oreo Cookies (I used the store brand)
- 1 bag Candy Corn
- 1 bag Reece's Mini Peanut Butter Cups
- 1 small box Whoppers
- Assorted colored sprinkles

Icing Ingredients Needed:
- 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 egg white

Step One: Make icing. I had to redo this because the original recipe just didn't firm up like it was supposed to. Instead of following that, I did the following. Beat one egg white until stiff. In separate bowl, mix cream of tartar and powder sugar. Slowly add cream of tartar/powdered sugar mix to egg white. Continue to mix. This should give you a pretty firm icing that sticks very well. Caution, though, it dries quickly!

Step Two: (OPTIONAL) Dye icing black so that it blends in better with the cookies. Keep in mind that this will make the icing a little more runny so you will need to add more powdered sugar. I did half of mine with black icing and half with white and don't really think it was worth the extra effort to make the black. Especially seeing as black never really seems to turn out black!

Step Three: Pull Oreos apart without breaking them (it's harder than it looks). Stick five pieces of Candy Corn, point first, into the Oreo icing to act as feathers. This is also harder than it looks but I washed my hands really well and then wiggled the candy corn into the cookie cream. You sort of have to reform the cookie cream around the Candy Corn. Add a dollop of icing and put the top back on the Oreo.

Step Four: Take a dab of icing and use it to secure the bottom of the Candy Corn Oreo to a flat side of another Oreo.

Step Five: Use a knife to flatten the side of a Peanut Butter Cup. Dab a bit of icing on the flattened side and stick to the Oreo.

Step Six: Dab a bit of icing on a Whopper and and stack on top of the Peanut Butter Cup to act as the head.

Step Seven: Let sit in the fridge for 5-10 minutes to firm up.

Step Eight: Remove from fridge and use icing to draw feet, eyes and nose. I added blue sprinkles to the eyes and an orange sprinkle to the nose.

Step Nine: Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to eat! Then take a picture and enjoy!

These were super easy to make, aside from figuring out the right consistency of the frosting and trying to get the icing black. Thankfully Mr. C is a culinary genius and was able to help with both tasks. Love you, honey! :)

Now these don't look anything like the ones I saw in Better Homes and Gardens, but seriously people...your cookies aren't going to look like that. Those people have all the high tech cooking equipment, spend hours to make them look exquisite and then have fancy schmancy photographers to capture them perfectly! This version...this is the real deal!


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Wine Bottle Vases: SUCCESS!

In an attempt to keep costs down during craft weekend (yeah right), we decided to try a few projects that involved things we already had. Obviously Mr. and Mrs. A are avid wine makers/drinkers/giver away-ers so wine bottles were something we had a great supply of!

Materials Needed:
- Wine bottles
- Epsom salt
- Spray adhesive
- Spray primer
- White spray paint
- Floral stems

Step One: We began the project by spraying several wine bottles down with spray primer. It was tricky to get the entire bottle all at once so it might be easier to do it in two stages.
Step Two: This step is optional, but will help if your wine bottles are colored. If the spray primer doesn't cover the bottle enough for your liking, spray an additional coat of white spray paint over it and let dry.
Step Three: Pour epsom salt into a dish large enough to roll wine bottles in. We used a pyrex dish.
Step Four: Spray the bottles with spray adhesive and roll in epsom salts. If you prefer more salt, you may want to repeat this process more than once.

Step Five: Let the bottles sit to dry about 24 hours.
Step Five: Add floral stems to your vases and arrange to make look pretty. Take a picture and you are done!

This project was relatively easy and our biggest challenge was figuring out how to prime/paint the bottles all in one step. We are very impatient crafters, but things worked out just fine. Although the bottles aren't perfect, it adds to their charm!

Yarn Balls: FAIL!

After seeing all the cute pictures of yarn balls filled in vases and used to make wreaths, Mrs. A and I were inspired to make some of our own. After all, everyone did this project as a kid and didn't have any problems. So novice crafters such as ourself should be A-OK. Not so much...

We were inspired by News.Holidash.com's blog and attempted to follow her instructions to recreate this project. Obviously her instructions were impeccable but our direction following was not so much. http://news.holidash.com/2010/12/20/balloon-and-string-ornaments-simple-diy/

Materials Needed:
- Balloons (water balloon size works best)
- Glue
- Water
- Glitter
- String
- Wax paper

Step One: Blow up balloons to be about the size of a small water balloon. We had trouble finding water balloons so ended up using regular balloons. Next time, I'll hunt a little harder, as the regular balloons weren't as firm once blown up.

Step Two: Mix glue and hot water. Holidash recommended two parts water to one part glue but Mrs. A and I came to the conclusion (after the fact, of course) that half glue/half water would work better. Mix well!

Step Three: Add glitter to the glue. The more the glitter, the better!

Step Four: Holidash recommended measuring the string around the width & length of the balloon and cutting individual strips. Mrs. A and I tried this at first but it didn't seem necessary so instead we cut a giant long string to wrap around the balloon multiple times. Of course, instead of using string, we used yarn. This did not work so well.
Step Five: Dip string in glue and start to wrap it around the balloon multiple times.
Step Six: Secure the end of the string and place the balloon on wax paper to dry for 48 hours.
Step Seven: Pop the balloon and remove with tweezers.
Step Eight: Place in a vase, tie with a string or do what you want. Take a picture and enjoy!

Unfortunately for us, after 48 hours the balls still hadn't dried all the way and the ones that had weren't strong enough once the balloons were popped. I think this was in part due to the glue/water consistency and in part due to the heaviness of the yarn as opposed to string.

Lessons Learned:
- Use water balloons instead of regular balloons
- Less water, more glue
- Don't try yarn...it doesn't work. When they call for string, they really mean string!
- Cutting small lengths of string isn't necessary. One long string wrapped multiple times works better.

Mrs. A and I will definitely try this project again. It was simple and very easy. Next time we just need to follow the directions!

Rock Trivets: SUCCESS!

Mrs. A and I saw several variations of projects using rocks and decided to give one of them a try. Because the trivets seemed the smallest of the tasks to take on, we decided to go with that first. Thanks to Pinterest and Martha Stewart for the photo and idea! We didn't have any directions for this project, so we made it up as we went along.

- Rocks. These can be purchased at the dollar store or picked up at your local lakeshore. With the snow on it's way, we skipped the lake and bought them at the dollar store. Make sure you get the smaller rocks for this project.
- Glue. We found that E6000 worked the best for attaching the rocks, as it's so strong. However, superglue worked better for attaching the felt to cardboard.
- Felt. A neutral color such as black or brown works best.
- Cardboard

Step One: Cut cardboard in the shape of a circle, large enough to put a pot or pan on. Tracing an existing pan works well.
Step Two: Cover cardboard with felt. Superglue worked best for this step. Be sure the felt covers the sides. I cut and glued pieces of the remaining felt for the top, as I knew most of the rocks would cover it.

Step Three: Start in one area and start gluing the bottom of the rocks to the felt with E6000. Because the glue takes awhile to set, it might seem a little loosey goosey at first but it will begin to stick after a little while.

Step Four: Complete securing the rocks and set the trivet aside for 24 hours to dry. When dry, your trivet is done!

This project worked pretty well, but the E6000 was very smelly and made Mrs. A nervous about the nasty chemicals inside. In response to the dangers on the container, she was kind enough to fashion these lovely face masks for us. If only we'd had them while spray painting!

Overall, the project worked great. I can't wait to give one of these to a friend for Christmas! (So if you get one of these from me, don't be surprised! :)

Christmas Ball Wreath: SUCCESS!

Mrs. A seems to bring all the good ideas to our crafting weekend. I think that this is a sign that I need to expand my creative pallet and learn to be a little more visionary. Apparently this is what you get when you take someone with a type A personality who has very little creative insight and toss them into a craft weekend. Thankfully I'm committed to honing my creative skills!

The Christmas ball wreath project started with a trip to the dollar store. Here, we purchased about 50 Christmas balls in various sizes and colors. Because we both wanted to include blue in our wreaths, we decided to paint some of the balls. If you are thinking of doing this, STOP and read my post regarding spray painting. It is MUCH easier to shell out the extra few bucks at Target and get the colored balls you want. Other than that little setback, the rest of the project went well.

In addition to the balls, you will also need:
- One wire hanger
- Pliers to bend wire
- Glue gun/glue sticks

Step One: Glue the tops of the balls so that they do not come off when placing them on the wreath.
Step Two: Take a wire hanger and bend it into a wreath shape.

Step Three: When the balls are glued and the wire hanger is ready to go, start stringing the balls onto the hanger, alternating colors and patters of balls. I was skeptical at first because it didn't seem to be working but once you get enough balls on it straightens itself out and starts to look good.

Step Four: When you have threaded all the balls on the wreath, use the pliers to close up the wreath and wrap the ends of the wire together. I must confess that Mrs. A and I did not have our Wheaties on the day we did this project and had to enlist the help of Mr. A to bend our wires. Good thing he's a trooper!
Step Five: Tie a ribbon over the connector site and you are good to go! We left the natural "hook" of the hanger for easier hanging in the future. We also used super glue to secure the ribbon.

In the end, the project was a huge success. It was so easy to make and only cost about $5! I'm looking forward to making another one in different colors!

Thanks to TipJunkie for the idea! It worked great!