Monthly Archives: April 2012

Octo-dogs!

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As we were eating, the kids and I were trying to decide whether to call these octo-dogs or dogtopusses… We decided on octo-dogs.
John used to make these when he worked in daycare years ago, and he said the kids loved them.
Because it is getting warmer out, I thought I would make these on the barbeque, but they also work well boiled.
They are very easy to make. First, cut the hotdog in half, then use a knife to start at the cut end, and slit them in quarters, stopping about a centimeter away from the round end.

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Then, because I found cutting with the knife a little tricky, I cut each quarter in half with a pair of kitchen scissors.

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I popped them into the barbeque on their sides…

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And as they cook, they began to curl, so I turned them so they were upright.

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Then, when they were finished, I added some ketchup eyes, put some ketchup, mustard and relish on a plate, and set them out for a swim!

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Roses!

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When I was in university, I made some extra spending money by selling jewellery. One of my favourite designs was to make roses out of a clay you can bake in the oven, and make the roses into earrings, pendants etc. I have also used the same techniques to make roses out of fondant to decorate cakes (I decorated our wedding cake), or out of pottery to decorate vases…
For this post, i have used the clay that is designed to be baked in the oven. It is called Sculpty, or Fimo, there are also brands available. Here are the instructions…
First, roll the clay into a little ball…

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Flatten it on your fingertip. For the center of the rose, I make a long oval shape…

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Pick the side that has the nicest edge to be the top of the flower, and roll it between your fingertips…

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Then to make the petals, roll smaller balls, flatten them on your fingertips…

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Then, once again, pick the nicest smoothest side to face up. Attach it to the center of the rose. I find it looks best if you overlap where the join of the previous petal was…

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Repeat four or five times until the rose is the size you want…

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When the rose is the size you want, use a sharp knife to cut off the stem to make a flat back…

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Here are some roses in different colours…

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You can cook these and then glue them on picture frames, pin backs, pendants etc. the instructions say to bake at 300 degrees for about half an hour. I put them in the oven cold so they heat up with the oven. Also, make sure you turn on a fan… They do create a chemical sort of smell…
Here is the pendant I made…

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And a summary of the project and instructions…

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Pop rocks

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I heard you could make your own Pop Rocks somewhere, but apparently the real pop rock recipe involves a whole lot of pressure that would be extremely dangerous to try at home. So, here is my version of the recipe for homemade pop rocks.
You need icing sugar, sugar, corn syrup, baking powder, and citric acid (tough to find…I found it at Bulk Barn) it is also a good idea to have some waxed paper, a cookie sheet, a couple baggies and a hammer

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In a large pot, mix 2 cups of sugar with 1/3 cup of corn syrup, and stir.

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Add 1 tsp water, or just enough to make the sugar easier to stir.

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Then, keep stirring until the mixture comes to a rolling boil, then stop stirring. While you are waiting, prepare your cookie sheet by covering it with waxed paper, and spread out about 1/2 cup of icing sugar, and 1/4 cup of citric acid on the waxed paper.
If you are the measuring, taking temperature sort of personality, use a candy thermometer to boil it until it reaches 300 degrees.

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If you are more of an estimating and make a guess type of personality, then let it boil for about 5 minutes. To test if it is done, let a drop fall into a small bowl of water, then take a bite, and if it is crunchy, and cracks when you bite it, it is done. If it is chewy, it needs a couple more minutes.
If you are a take a reckless chance on burning your tongue type of personality, like me, then put a tiny drop of the boiling mixture into your mouth, and if it is crunchy, it is ready.

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Once you are satisfied that the mixture has cooked to the right temperature, take it off the heat for a couple minutes (measuring type personalities, wait until it cools to 275 degrees) and add your flavoring, colouring, and the baking powder. Stir quickly, it will foam up a little, then pour it onto your prepared cookie sheet.

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As you can see, the colour of my pop rocks turned out to be a lovely brown. I added peach flavour, and was going for a nice shade of orange… I guess I should have added more red…
Anyways, sprinkle some more citric acid and icing sugar on top and let it cool.

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Then break it into pieces. They taste great in large chunks, but the real pop rocks are tiny, so I put some into a sandwich bag and smashed them up with a hammer.

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I have to be honest, I was a little disappointed at the lack of popping with these. I would call it more of a slight fizzing… But they do taste really great! I love sour candy and the citric acid made them really sour. Maybe next time adding more soda would make them pop more? Well, no one else at my house seemed to mind….

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Let me know if anyone has tried this before…

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Crunchy Kale Chips!

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My kids are pretty good at eating their vegetables, we regularly eat vegetables like spinach, and broccoli. We do our best to eat healthy most of the time… That way when we do have pizza for dinner, we don’t feel quite so guilty…. Anyways, for a while last year, we had an organic box delivered with produce grown locally. It was fun over the summer because every week was a surprise. We were delivered vegetables we don’t normally have like, kale. I have read about the health benefits of kale, but I have to say, it really isn’t the tastiest of vegetables. So, when I found this recipe, I thought I’d try it out. It turns out that the kids love it!
Basically, you take a bunch of kale, and start by washing it thoroughly…

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Pull the kale apart, to take out the vein in the middle because it is a little tough….

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Then rip it into smaller pieces and spread it out on a cookie sheet. Season with oil and salt. I put a generous amount of both oil and salt… It’s kale…something has to make it taste good, right?

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Cook at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. I check it and mix it around every five minutes. It will shrink down in size considerably when it is done. You will know when it is done because it becomes very crunchy.

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I add a little more salt to taste when it comes out of the oven if needed. You can eat the kale as is, but after a couple mouthfuls, it gets really dry. So we tend to eat it with something else, like with our dinner, but the kids will eat it alone. I also like it as a topping on potatoes, salad, or meat.

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Here is my summary

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Cool Kool-Aid Hair

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Those people who know me, know that I have a long history of colouring my hair… I started my hair dying career with kool aid and lemon juice, at a young age. However, I never had much success with the kool aid because my hair was too dark. The funny thing is now that I actually have to colour my hair to cover up the grey, it’s somehow not as fun…But, now I have a daughter, so I get to play with her hair! Samantha’s hair is very light blonde. It almost reaches her waist, I have only cut it once, other than the occasional trim, so we have lots of hair to work with. I saw this hairstyle and thought it was cute…

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So, because Samantha’s hair is so light, we didn’t have to lighten it before hand, it is light enough especially on the ends to show most colours.
Samantha picked pink and purple to start with, so we poured 1/2 cup of boiling water into a mug for each colour, and dissolved the koolaid mix into the water.

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We brushed her hair first, and decided we would dye a few chunks of hair at the bottom, like in the picture.

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We covered the area in old towels, and tested the colours by dipping a chunk of hair into each cup and waiting a few minutes. After a couple minutes, we pulled out the test pieces and decided we didn’t really like the purple, because mixed with her hair, the colour turned kind of a muddy brown, so we changed to blue instead.

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We left the strands of hair in for about 3-4 minutes. As I pulled them out, I squeezed them dry with the old towels I had.

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This is what it looked like after we pulled out the hair and squeezed it…

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Sam wanted to see the colour from the front, so we got out a paint brush and painted a couple chunks of her hair, with the towel underneath.

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So, this is what it looked like after…

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Thanks for reading!

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It is pretty cool to me that anyone else other than my immediate family is interested in what I am doing, so the fact that there has been over two thousand views at my blog in the last 20 days is pretty mind blowing to me!

It’s good that summer is coming up soon, because I might just be thinking of quitting my day job! (just joking john!) actually, i did look up blogging as a career… You can make a little bit of money blogging after you reach about 1000 views per day… So I think I’ll keep my day job for now…The best part for me about writing this blog, is I can look back at the last three months, and its pretty cool to see a record of what I have been doing… And the coolest part is that I could easily keep making and writing for the next 10 years with the all of the ideas I have…

By looking back at my life for the last three months, I have to say that I am very content with my life now, I’m in a very happy place! I have two intelligent, awesome kids; an amazingly supportive and involved husband; a wonderful network of family and friends, a job I love, and we are living in a fantastic house that provides me with just enough projects to do! For the record, if I die tomorrow, I will die feeling that I wouldn’t change anything right now.

Anyways, thanks to everyone for reading!

I have been looking for an excuse to use this somewhere….

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Secret message on a banana

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Here is a cute idea I saw on line…(where else) if you use a pin, you can scratch a message into a banana… The neat part is that it get darker with time, so when you scratch your message in the morning, you can barely see it, but by the time the kids open up their lunches, it will have turned almost black.
All you need is a pin, a banana, and an idea…

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Use the pin to scratch a message onto the banana….You don’t have to press too hard, just enough to scratch the surface…

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Then pop it into a lunch bag, and wait!

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Sam drew a picture on her banana…

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Then, I tried a fancy one…

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Update… Here is what it looked like a couple hours later!

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Sunshine manicure

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Those people who know me know that I am really not a competitive person… I don’t care if I’m on the winning team, or the losing team, but when it comes to being the craftiest… You better watch out, cause I got a huge crafty ego!
So, I have been spending far too much time on Pinterest lately, checking out my competition…and I have been noticing that there are some really amazing looking manicures, like my personal favourite, tye-dye nails!
So anyways, I was driving home tonight thinking about how horrible my nails looked because i have been painting a mural at school, which got me thinking about manicures, and what kind of manicure could I do that i haven’t seen before. (There’s my nasty crafty competitiveness showing through!) So i thought to myself, wouldn’t it be cool if I could paint a sunshine manicure?
So here’s what I did…first, let me tell you that I used a special type of nail polish that has a fine, detailed brush (I just don’t want you to beat yourself up if your nails don’t turn out as nice as mine… Don’t worry, it takes a little practice, you’ll get there!)

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So, we started with a nice pale sky blue as our background…Samantha willingly volunteered her nails…

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Then, I used the white brush to paint a few dots close together to look like clouds. I did this on every other finger for Sam. Then, I used the yellow to drop a blob of nail polish and used the brush to spread out the yellow to look like sun rays. Considering the size of Sam’s 7 year old nails, this was tricky!

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So, you might think that I stopped there, but oh no, I decided to kick it up a notch…by adding nail polish grass. That’s right, nail polish grass.

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Now, unfortunately Sam was refusing to sit perfectly still by this point, and it was her bedtime, so I had to continue on my own hand, which was actually a lot easier, because my nails are a much bigger canvas…there was enough room for a sun, cloud, grass, and I even had room to add three flowers!

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Now, if only I didn’t have to mess up my amazing manicure by painting my mural again tomorrow.

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Eggstra special craft for Easter

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I wish I had started this craft a little earlier, because it takes over a week for the grass to grow, but wouldn’t this be cute on the Easter table… I would like to use it on each setting. I would give step by step instructions, but this one is pretty easy to follow…

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Up cycled skirt from jeans

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Samantha and Dylan are going on a trip to the Toronto Symphony with school tomorrow, so of course, the most important thing on my daughter’s mind was what to wear. She decided that she needed a dress or a matching skirt and top, and that she should design and make her outfit. Once again, i think my kids think it’s normal to design and sew a new outfit for the next day when they need something to wear…. Anyways, I did have an idea. Sam had this skirt when she was younger and it has always been one of my favourites, so I kept it to use as a guide.

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Here are the jeans we picked to work with. They are now a little too short for her, but still fit at the waist, so they are perfect for this.

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So, since Sam was the designer, she picked out the fabric and lace she wanted from my scraps.

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The first step was to cut off the legs of the jeans…

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Then, we cut two long strips of each fabric about six inches wide, and about double the width of the skirt. I pressed the strips in half, then sewed both end the two strips together, so they formed a continuous loop, with one folded edge.

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I pinned the two pieces of fabric together so the fold of one piece overlapped the raw edge of the other. As I was pinning, I tucked in the lace piece, and then sewed all the way around.

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Then I pinned the lace to the bottom as well, because according to the “designer”, there had to be lace on every part because that is “the prettiest.” Fine.

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So, that’s basically the skirt. If you have a serger, you could definitely use that to finish your edges.
Now, to attach the skirt to the skirt top, I sewed all the way around the skirt, close to the top edge using the longest stitch on my machine, then I pulled the top thread to gather the material, so the skirt was the same width as the skirt top.

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Then I pinned the lace around the skirt top, and then pinned the skirt bottom to connect the two pieces together. I top stitched the layers together, but once again, you could easily serge this seam.

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Here is the finished product. As you can see, I followed the designers instructions to add a couple details to make a matching shirt. All ready for the symphony!

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