Tag Archives: try this

Balloon Print Monsters

7 Feb

I’ve recently noticed that my darling Duckman is quite artistically inclined, which is something I wasn’t prepared for. Rooster, although he does enjoy art when he does it, he rarely seeks it out. Duckie on the other hand draws on everything, I am trying to teach him, with out much luck, that we only draw on paper, however he is rather free spirited and draws wherever and on what ever takes his fancy. Yesterday I discovered a master piece on our newly laid timber floor, thankfully it was done in pencil and will be easily removed.

balloon print

So with this new realisation, my February goal of more kid art and some one on one time with Duckie now Rooster is at school we embarked on balloon printing.

This is so simply and such fun.

All you need is

balloons

paint

a small cup or bowl to hold the paint

goggle eyes (optional)

markers

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First of all you need to blow up the balloon, not too big as it needs to be easily handled by little hands and it also needs to fit into the bowl of paint.

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Add some paint to your bowl.

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Dip the balloon into the paint and press it onto some paper.

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It does slip around so you need to be firm.

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We placed the eyes on while the paint was wet so that they stuck once the paint was dry.

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 You don’t need to use eyes, you could just draw them on.

Once the paint is dry use the markers to add personality.

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Easy peasy isn’t it?

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I am totally in love with the tie-dyed effect of this printing, and the texture of it. I think it would make some pretty rad wrapping paper.

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Little Duckie had a great time. Watching his creativity is super awesome. He turned his prints into a mixed media collage with the addition of some washi tape.


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Fruitsicles….perfect for hot weather

24 Mar

These week I made some delicious fruitsicles for the Minimen.

  I have been wanting to make home made ice blocks for a while. This week was the perfect opportunity as it has been stupid hot and the supermarket had these super cute ice block molds on sale.

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  I asked Mr4 which fruits he would like in the ice blocks and his reply was “strawberries, grapes and orange”

So this is what I used

  • about 6 strawberries cut in half
  • 9 grapes
  • 1 orange
  • apple juice

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I used my stick blender to puree the fruit.

First I did the strawberries and I added a small amount of juice, then I did the grapes, to which I also added a little bit of juice. You probably don’t need to add juice but I thought it would make the texture more suitable for ice blocks.

Then I juiced the orange.

When putting the fruit into the molds I tried to layer the fruits, but without freezing in between layers they weren’t very well defined.

I put them in the freezer until frozen. To free them from the mold just run them under warm water.

These were a big hit with both the Minimen. They are so easy to make and such a great alternative to store bought ice blocks which are full of sugar, flavours and colours.

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These will definitely be making a reappearance in our house!

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Paint chip update

16 Mar

 As promised, I finally got around to hanging my paint chip art works in the Minimens play room, and here is the finished picture.

I am really happy with how they look on the wall. Mr 4 agrees they look great but realistically I don’t think either he or Mr 1 are going to be spending much time pondering over and apreciating any of the art works that I put into their room.

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Cushions!

14 Mar

ImageI wanted to make some cushions to add some colour to the house. The first ones I made were a pair of  rectangular cushions with a border from a sweet damask pattern in my favourite, yellow and white. These were so simple. I used half a yard of fabric and cut it in half and then each half in half again to give 4 pieces. I pinned 2 pieces together, wrong sides facing and sewed them together, leaving a small gap so that it could be filled later. Then after turning it the right side out, I measured and put guiding dots about 3cm in from the edge and sewed around that to create the border, also leaving a gap. I used polyfill to fill it  and then sewed up the gaps, repeated the process and I had two brand new designer cushions for a fraction of the cost. I was so happy with the way these turned out, I think I will be making these cushions again!

The next cushions I wanted to make were sprocket pillows for the Minimen’s play room.

Image I had some left over fabric from the curtains I  made, to this I added a gorgeous teal geometric print and a white cord.

This is the tutorial I used. It was good but mine definitely didn’t turn out the way they do in the tutorial.

They are not perfectly round and I think this happened because I sewed my wedge pieces together as you would sew a normal straight seam, that is with equal distance between the edge of the fabric and the stitch. Doing it this way, I found that the fabric didn’t meet up in the centre the way that it should have and instead of having a semi circle of fabric after sewing 6 wedges together I had a small arc in the centre, which then made it difficult to sew 2 semicircles into a circle. By my fourth semicircle i figured out that I needed to run the seam from the edge of the large side of the wedge to the middle of the small side of the wedge.

I could have unpicked the other semicircles but I decided to persevere and see how they turned out.

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I chose to do the reverse side in a single circle of one of the 3 fabrics, you could also do the reverse in the wedge pattern if you wanted to, and I also used a large self covered button to cover up the fact the wedges don’t meet properly.

Overall, I think I could have done a better job on these, however, I do love the fabric combination, it’s so fresh and bright.

For a first attempt at something that is not super easy, I guess it is not too bad.

Mr 4 proclaimed “I love your cushions, Mum!” so at least I have a happy customer in him.

I will be making these again, as I know where I went wrong with these. Once I have them perfected I will post my own tutorial, so check back for that some time in the future!

An ambitious Easter Bunny…part 1

13 Mar

I found myself at home with no Mini men today so I thought I might start on what could be an overly ambitious idea of filling the dyed eggs I previously made with chocolate and ganache.

I found a how to on the  Martha Stewart  website, I didn’t follow her guide exactly as she tempered her chocolate and I thought that seemed like too much hard work and unnecessary. If you are interested in the whys and hows of tempering chocolate Cadbury explains it well.

All you will need to fill your eggs is some chocolate (whatever type takes your fancy) something to hold your eggs still while being filled and a disposable piping bag, piping tips are optional but it does make it a little easier.

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I broke the chocolate up and put it in the microwave for about 35 seconds.

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You want the chocolate to still be a little lumpy, just stir until it is smooth and completely melted. Then spoon it into your piping bag and you are ready to fill your eggs!

This was the part I was nervous about but I think it turned out much better than I was expecting. First I put some tape on  one of the holes in the eggs and made sure the other hole was large enough for he piping tip to fit into then I just piped the chocolate in swirled it around took the tape off and let the excess chocolate drain out. I then put them in the fridge to set, turning them a few times to make sure the chocolate didn’t pool to one side as it set.

I had envisioned a lot of mess and fiddliness and eggs being broken or thrown across the room in frustration, but it was actually easy, quick and pretty tidy. So far my filled eggs are a success, now I just need to keep them hidden in the fridge so the Minimen don’t find them.

If you want to you can leave it there but I want to also fill mine with ganache, if you are interested to find out how that goes pop back next week some time for part 2 of An ambitious Easter Bunny!

Eggs in cages

8 Mar

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This is a really cute and pretty easy Easter craft activity.

 Although this project would be a great activity to do with kids, I wanted to keep it a secret from my mini men as it will be one of their Easter Bunny gifts.

The things you will need to make your own little egg cages are some wool, craft glue, balloons, eggs or any other little treats you want to put in ( I tried some little fluffy chicks but their wire legs popped the balloon when I blew it up)

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The first, and probably hardest thing to do in this project is getting your treats in to the balloons. After you have managed to do this you can blow up your balloon to what ever size you like, I chose a small eggplant size.

For the wool, I cut a couple of long lengths and let them sit in the craft glue and wrapped them around the balloon and let them dry. Once they were dry I also sprayed a bit of hairspray on them just for some added firmness.

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Once dry I popped the balloon, in hindsight a layer of vaseline or something similar on the balloon before putting the wool on might have been a good idea, as the wool was stuck to the balloon and as the air came out of the balloon the little cages went out of shape. I was able to push them back into shape though.

If there are any little spots where the eggs can escape it is really easy just to add a little piece of wool to make the gap smaller and the cage more secure, and pick out any little pieces of dried glue with tweezers to tidy them up.

I am excited for he Mini Men to receive these, I know they are going to love them they are just too cute not to love!

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Chevron Love

5 Mar

I have often been put off sewing because of the high cost of fabric in Australia, but I recently took the plunge and bought fabric from America, one of which was this wonderful yellow and white chevron fabric that I had been eyeing off over here at $22/m and I got it for the bargain price of  $8.79/yd.

I don’t know when the humble zig zag grew up and became the much fancier chevron, but whatever the name I love them for home decor, that is why I decided to use this fabric to create some curtains for the mini mens playroom. I also decided to use an eyelet design as it is simple yet stylish.

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After cutting my fabric to size I ran a small hem around all Four sides.

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I used eyelet tape, which is readily available from the fabric shop and it comes with the grommits to finish your curtains with. When using eyelet tape you need to make sure that you have an even amount of rings for a perfect finish when hanging.

I measured and cut my tape and pinned it to my fabric.

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Using a zipper foot, to make it easier to sew beside the rings, I stitched along all edges of the tape with a straight stitch.

Once the tape was secured to the fabric I was able to cut out the fabric from inside the rings. This was the most time consuming part of the whole project, but once I had a cutting system, I got through I quite quickly.

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It was then time to fit the grommits over the  rings for a clean finish. These easily just click on and voila!..brand new gorgeous curtains. Image

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I am so in love with these curtains, I can’t wait to hang them! (photos will follow once they are hung) I will definitely be using this technique again when I do the curtains for the mini mens bedroom, it was so easy and quick (I ran up two curtains on a Sunday morning)

Under whelmed by eggs

2 Mar

The Easter bunny has ambitious plans this year. After seeing so many beautiful ideas for dying, painting and decorating eggs, I decided that I would try a few, but then I thought “What kid wants a bunch of hard boiled eggs for Easter?”the answer of course is none. So then, thanks to Martha Stewart, I have found a recipe for filling egg shells with chocolate. So this is my ambitious plan, and Mr 4, who helped me decorate some eggs thinks the Easter Bunny is coming to pick them up and will return them to us filled with goodness, so lets hope that I can pull it off. I chose two different styles of decorating the eggs, a marbled style and a stripey dyed style. You could choose to to this to boiled eggs, but due to my future plans for these eggs I blew out the insides of them. To do this you just pierce the top and bottom and blow. I also then boiled them in vinegar and water to sterilise them which also took of the brown layer of egg shell to reveal a lighter colour.

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We started with 6 eggs, 3 for each style. for the marbled ones we used food colour and shaving cream.

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We spread the shaving cream over a plastic plate and dropped some food colouring onto it, then Mr 4 swirled the colours around with a skewer to create the marbled pattern.

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Then we rolled the eggs around in the shaving cream to transfer the pattern onto the shell, we then placed them on a clean plastic plate to dry, you need to leave the foam on the egg to give the shell a chance to soak in the dye.

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For the stripey ones we used food colouring and plastic cups.

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We put some dye in the bottom of the cups and at several intervals we added water to the cups until the eggs were covered. This, apparently is meant to give a stripey, graduated colour effect.

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I added these eggs to the plastic plate with the others to dry out. During the drying two eggs were blown off the bench by a gust of wind and met their demise.

Here is the final product

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To be honest I Cant tell the difference between the two styles, the stripey eggs did not turn out the way I had envisioned. Although I am a little less than pleased with the way they turned out, Mr 4 was more than happy with them and I guess that is what is important, maybe it will just take some more practice to perfect them.

Now the Easter bunny just has to come to collect them, lets hope she has success carrying out her ambitious plans.

Goodbye Summer

1 Mar

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Yesterday marked the end of summer here in Australia, so I chose to mark the event by baking some lovely summery watermelon inspired cupcakes. All the recipes I found were American, so either the measurements needed translating eg. a stick of butter? We measure butter in grams so I am  not sure what a stick is or they contain packet mix, which from an earlier post you may remember is against my baking ethics. I did , however, find an interesting way to add flavour and colour to cakes…jelly crystals.

So I turned to baking bible …Women’s Weekly BakeImage

and found a simple butter cake recipe that I intended to add watermelon flavoured jelly crystals to, but watermelon jelly crystals don’t seem to exist in Australia, despite me standing in the jelly section of the supermarket staring at the jelly and willing them to appear, so I used the next best thing…strawberries and cream flavour.

The ingredients for this recipe were;

250g unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups of caster sugar (I only used one though as I added the jelly crystals)

3 eggs
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1 tsp vanilla

2 1/4 cups of self raising flour

3/4 cup of milk

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Cream butter, sugar, vanilla and jelly crystals until light and fluffy, beat in eggs, stir in flour and milk. I also added some extra red food colouring to get just the right watermelony pink. I also added some dark choc chips to imitate the seeds. I then put them in regular sized patty papers and baked for 15-20 minutes on 160 degrees celsius (around 350 F I think)

This is how they looked straight out of the oven

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Then to complete the watermelon look I topped them with bright green icing made with 125g butter, 2 cups icing sugar a splash of milk and of course lots of green colouring.

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They turned out to be a big hit with the fam bam…between hubby and Mr 4 they ate 10 last night while I was at work!

So…watermelon cupcakes, a perfect end to a great Summer!

Fun with wax and paint

21 Feb

Today the mini men and I decided to do some art. Mr 4 has been having fun with mystery letters at daycare lately, so he wanted to continue that at home. We took the always eventful trip to the supermarket for supplies and after a sushi detour we made it home to start creating!

While the mini men had a snack and watched a cartoon I drew some words, letters and pictures on some paper with a candle, then using sponges and paintbrushes we covered the paper with water colour paints to reveal the mystery images. Mr 1 was much more interested in drinking the painty water and there was some spillage but over all the activity was a success and fun was had by all!

REQUIRED MATERIALS:

Paper

Wax candles or crayons

Water colour paint

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Draw on paper with candle

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Mini men painting away

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Finished product

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