Once an Interior Decorator, now a mom, a baker, a crafter, a creator. Join me as I try to find time to indulge my creativity without wreaking too much havoc.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sparkle Boot Redo - DIY

These are my 6 year old's new boots. No they're not. They're her old, horribly scuffed boots that I won't let her wear anymore because she totally ruined them after a month of wear. What's a mom to do? Well, I did search high and low for a new pair of boots for her. Did I mention that I have the pickiest 6 year old in Chicago? I was so proud of her when she was younger that she knew what she wanted and wouldn't let people sway her. We want our girls to be strong minded, right? Yeah, that's only with other people. With us, they should bend to our wills, right? Anyway, back on subject. Since I couldn't find anything that was up to her standards I went back to the beginning. I decided to have a go with refashioning her old boots so they would be wearable again. After all, they are a perfectly good pair of boots, except for that ugly toe.

Horribly scuffed boot, ugh...
I went to my craft room and pulled out my trusty Mod Podge. If I could tell you how many things I've used Mod Podge for, I love this stuff. Don't get me started (not a sponsored post, blah, blah, blah). My first thought was black glitter, however I only had a small container of it so I mixed it with silver. I think I used a total of 2 small vials of glitter and maybe 1/4c Mod Podge, probably less.

First I took a permanent marker and covered the ugly. I'm not sure if this step was necessary but I didn't want to risk it. If I were doing it again, I'd probably scuff up the whole area that I was glittering a little just because it seems to adhere better where it's scuffed.

My initial though was to just glitter the toe. As you can see below, it goes on pretty white. Don't worry, it dries clear.

See? Clear. Sparkly! Hmm... Enough sparkle? I don't think so! Not for this 6 year old!

There we go, that should do it! I really had to stop myself before I covered the whole shoe. I actually asked my 6 year old at this point for her opinion. Big mistake. We almost ended up with hot pink and purple glitter on them too. Could have been cute, but I guess I'm not that daring. Oh, and I'm not 6.

Ta Da! Needless to say she's thrilled. She wouldn't take them off for like, 6 hours. My husband took the kids out to dinner that night and the second she walked in the door the hostess came up to her and said, "Wow! Great boots!" To which she replied, "Thanks, my mom made them."

Friday, March 2, 2012

Family Vacation Shirts

I've always seen those people at Disney Land and other various vacation spots with their whole extended family and was secretly a little jealous. My parents took us on plenty of family vacations. Amazing vacations. I have nothing to complain about. However, it was always just the four of us, Mom, Dad, me, and my brother. Don't get me wrong, lots of fun. You just see those people, all together, and it looks like such a great bonding experience. You always know who they are because inevitably, they're wearing matching shirts.  

Well, for my father-in-law's 60th birthday they decided to take all of us to a resort in Mexico. Amazing, right? My father in law is remarried so between the two of them there's 8 kids/spouses, and, at the time, 6 grandkids. I decided that this would be the perfect time to pull out the matching shirts. If, for nothing else, a good picture. We were in Mexico, after all. It's not like we needed the shirts to keep track of each other as you would in a place like Disney World. So, here you have the matching shirts. A very easy and quick project.

First I decided on a picture of my FIL that would work well. Considering I had about 6 pictures of him, I was lucky I found a good one. I used Photoshop but there are tons of free picture editing sites online now, so you can use whichever. First I changed the photo to black and white and played around with the brightness and contrast.

Then I used the artistic adjustments, both posterize and poster edges until I liked what I saw.

I then just copied and pasted the image and used the color fill tool to get a Warhol inspired design.

 I simply uploaded the image to Zazzle (there are tons of sites now that will print your design onto anything pretty inexpensively) and selected everyone's sizes and styles. The nice thing about it was everyone was able to pick their own style. My husband's cousin got a tank top, my sister-in-law got a babydoll t-shirt, everyone got what they wanted. 

The shirts turned out great. We made pink and blue ones for the kids and the fronts said, "I survived my Poppi's 60th." On the front of the adults there was a simple 60 where the shirt pocket would be. It's really a great idea to personalize the trip a bit. They made for great memorable pictures and I think my daughter wore her 'Poppi Shirt' for the following two years. 

Next time you have a family vacation or group outing you should try it. It's really very easy and takes very little time and trust me, everyone will be very impressed!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dairy Free, Soy Free, Nut Free, Egg Free, Ahhh!!!!

As my 3 year old says, "Sarah* is allergic to everything." She literally thinks that Sarah is allergic to EVERYTHING. Sarah's poor mother probably feels that that's the case most days. She brings her own snack to pre-school, birthday parties, restaurants. With three kids who don't have a single allergy between them I can't imagine how difficult it must be to raise a child with allergies to Dairy, Soy, Eggs, and Nuts.

For my little one's birthday at preschool, after talking to the mom in question, I decided that I would make just a little extra effort and adapt my sugar cookie recipe so all kids could enjoy. Let me tell you, it was enjoyed by all! It took forever for me to convince little Sarah that it actually was okay for her to eat the same cookies as everyone else and her mom said so too. Here is the recipe:

Dairy, Nut, Soy, Egg Free Sugar Cookies

2 sticks butter (dairy free, soy free, vegan) - softened
1 c granulated sugar
1 egg worth of Ener-G
1 T vanilla
1 T vanilla rice milk
3 c Flour
3/4 t baking powder
1/4 t salt

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In your mixer, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Prepare Ener-G as package says and add Ener-G egg substitute, vanilla, and rice milk to butter mixture.

Slowly add flour mixture, a little at a time, until incorporated and dough starts to form.

Here's where I do my cut-out cookies a little differently. Pour out the dough onto wax paper and roll between two pieces of wax paper until desired thickness. Usually around 1/4", maybe a little less, works best for me. Then I place the rolled out dough onto a baking pan and put the whole thing in the freezer. 

Now start preheating your oven to 325. While you're waiting, prepare cookie sheet by lining with parchment paper. I used to use Silpats but I find that the cookies spread less with the parchment paper. I have no idea why, or if this happens to anyone else, but I like parchment paper. When your oven is ready, take the dough out of the freezer.

Take your cookie cutters and cut out dough and place and cookie sheet. They will spread as you bake them, so make sure to leave 2" between each cookie.

Depending on size of cookie cutter used bake between 13-20 minutes, on and upper rack of the oven, checking then towards the end. All of our ovens seem to cook just a little differently. You'll figure out the right time for yours during the first batch. 

Because I could barely use any of the ingredients that I usually use in my icing, the icing used on these cookies was just a mix of confectioners sugar and rice milk. It's not great for decorating but the kids all seemed to love them anyway!

Good luck! Let me know how they turn out.

A much needed reinvention

This blog for a long time has been revolved around my cookie business. With many changes happening in the past two years with my life, I've decided that this is just not where I want to be. With the birth of my third child there's just not enough hours in the day to build a business. I now find that I need to find other ways to feed my creativity that don't take too much time away from my kids. I'll now focus mostly on what I fondly refer to as, "my projects."

Most of these projects can be done 5 minutes at a time because, lets face it, as a mom of three that's really all the free time we have. Five minutes here and there. I'll share with you my craft triumphs as well as my failures (there are plenty). I hope to inspire you to take just five minutes and create something.
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