Friday, November 30, 2012

How to Remove the Print from Plastic Containers

I got this general idea on Pinterest from twobusybrunettes, but I didn't want to soak any of my washcloths or towels so I changed it for my needs and so I would have less clean-up.

You should do this in a well ventilated space, the acetone is pretty stinky and you shouldn't breath the "fumes".

-paper towel, about 3 sections long for each container
-acetone {normally used as nail polish remover and oil based paint clean-up}
-plastic container with label printed on it
-large strong rubber band, one for each container
-rubber gloves

1. Fold the paper towel in half, end to end; then fold in half lengthwise.  {This will depend on the size and shape of your container; you want at least 3-4 layers of paper towel all the way around your container.}
2. Wrap the paper towel around the container; the paper towel should be touching the container all the way around.
3. Put rubber band around the center of the paper towel to hold it in place tightly.
4. Working over a garbage can or a surface protected with newspaper, carefully pour a little acetone all the way around the container, saturating the paper towel.
5. Let the acetone saturated paper towel sit on the container for at least 10 minutes   {The longer you leave it on the easier the print comes off; but don't leave it on so long that the acetone evaporates.}
6. Wearing rubber gloves; remove the rubber band and use the saturated paper towel to rub away the print from the plastic container.  {It should rub away easily, if not "soak" longer.}
7. Wash containers with warm soapy water to remove any residual acetone.
8. Enjoy!  You can use these for food storage, kid's toys/art materials, your studio/crafting things things, holiday gift treats, the possibilities are endless!

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sequined Ornament

This is a very cool looking ornament; you could make these to hang around your house anytime of year or make them for your Christmas tree.  

This one is red, blue, pink, green and purple so I think I could keep it out all year.  Its almost like a colorful disco ball; might be cool hanging in my kitchen window?!

This does take some time and patience.  This is a 2 inch ball and the sequins were kind of small {maybe 1/4 inch}, so this took me 1 1/2 hours to complete {Little Miss J's naptime}.  Its just time to think about things, not necessarily about what you are doing. :D
I would like to try some larger sequins and see how much quicker these go together.  You could do a design, zigzags or something if you wanted; I just attached them randomly.

A little twist on this, you could cover the styrofoam ball with ribbon, snow paint or other paint (glitter paint), let it dry and then just use the sequins to add a design to the ornament.

I think this could be done with kids, maybe 5 years old and up; Big Mr J would like this, but I think Little Miss J would be too small for it.
-styrofoam ball {I used 2 inch, they also make egg shapes and other shapes so choose what you like}
-sequins {like I said above mine were about 1/4 inch across; the larger the sequins the faster you will complete the ornament}
-stick pins {I used a whole box of 450 pins called satin pins, size 17, 1 1/16 inches long, if you can find shorter they'll work too}
-short piece of wire, about 1 1/2 inch long {or string to glue on for hanging}
-glue, optional
1. Pour some of the sequins out on your working surface {you'll probably use less than you think; I put a large piece of paper (so I could easily pick up the paper and pour the unused sequins back into the bag) on top of a tray with sides (a baking sheet with sides would work).
2. Begin by putting a pin through the hole of a sequin and pushing the pin into the stryofoam ball all the way.
3. Continue, keep it up!
4. I got sick of the ball rolling onto its sequined side (because its now heavier) every time I sat it down so I "rigged" up this stand {its a can with a canning ring on the top}, so it held the styrofoam ball in place so I didn't have to hold it in my hand and it wouldn't roll while both my hands were reaching for sequins and pins.
Keep going!
Look from this side it almost looks done, but the other side is empty. :(
5. Continue with the pins until you have the whole surface of the ball covered; then fill in any places where you may still see just a little bit of the stryofoam peeking through.
6. All done!
7. Bend the piece of wire into a "U" shape.
8. Find a place between the sequins where you can push the wire into the styrofoam ball; push the wire into the ball.  You can put a little bit of glue on the wire to ensure it stays over time.  {You could also glue a string to the ball for hanging; use a decorative string to keep it looking great.}
9. Enjoy for the holidays or year-round!
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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ginger Pear Coffee Cake

This is a really fantastic dessert; I know it looks tedious, but its very good and you're sure to be proud of your creation {the pictures don't do it justice!}.

I found the original recipe from Allrecipes, but changed a few things.  I wanted more fruit and changed some of the fruit used.  You could still add more fruit or experiment with the fruit you love most.  Be creative, make it what your family likes!

I also like to add some turbinado sugar to the top before baking; it gives it that extra crunch and sweetness.  

What is turbinado sugar...
According to turbinado sugar is: (pronounced [tur-bih-NAH-doh]) sugar is a semi-refined, light brown, coarse crystalline sugar with a molasses flavor. It gets its name from the method used in making it: sugar cane juice is evaporated and spun in a turbine or centrifuge to remove most of the molasses and to produce large crystals. It can be used as a sweetener to replace table sugar in coffee and tea or as a topping for cookies, cakes, muffins, and pies.

Ingredients for Dough:
-2 1/4 tsp yeast
-1/4 cup warm water
-1 cup warm buttermilk {or stir 1 tbsp vinegar into 1 cup milk; let sit 5-10 minutes before using}
-1/4 cup sugar
-2 tbsp butter, melted
-1 egg
-1 tsp salt
-3 cups flour

Ingredients for Filling:
-3 fresh pears, peeled and diced
-2 cups dried apricots, chopped {you could use raisins; or half apricots and half raisins, or 1 cup raisins and 2 cups apricots}
-2 fresh peaches, diced
-1/2 tsp grated lemon zest (only the yellow)
-1 tbsp ground cinnamon
-1/2 tsp ground ginger
-1/4 tsp ground cloves
-1 tbsp butter, softened
-1/4 cup sugar

Ingredients for Topping & Glaze:
-1 egg, lightly beaten
-about 1/4 cup coarse sugar, optional {I like turbinado raw sugar}
-1 cup powdered sugar
-1/4 tsp vanilla
-3 tsp milk

1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water, let sit about 5 minutes.
2. Add warm buttermilk, sugar, melted butter, egg, salt and 1 1/2 cups flour.
3. Beat just until moistened, about 2 minutes.
4. Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups flour.
5. Turn dough out onto a slightly floured surface
6. Knead until elastic, about 6-8 minutes.
7. Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to coat.
8. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
9. Meanwhile, for the filling; mix  together pears, apricots/raisins, peaches, cinnamon, ginger, lemon peel and cloves.  Let sit until dough is ready.
10. Punch down dough, turn onto a lightly floured surface.
11. Roll dough to a 9 inch by 16 inch rectangle {I think I went a little larger}.
12. Spread softened butter over dough.
13. Sprinkle fruit mixture over the dough.
14. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar over fruit.
15. Roll up jelly roll style, starting on the long side.
16. Carefully, place seam side down on a greased and/or lined baking sheet.
17. Form roll into a ring and pinch ends together to seal.
18. With a kitchen shears or very sharp knife, cut from the outside edge to about 2/3 of the way in toward the center of the ring at about 1 inch intervals.
19. Separate strips slightly and twist to allow filling to show.
20. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour.
21. Brush dough with beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse sugar, if using.
22. Bake in oven preheated to 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes  until golden brown.
23. Cool on wire rack {I just used the parchment to move it from the baking sheet to the wire rack}.
24. For glaze, combine powdered sugar, vanilla and milk until smooth; you can add more powdered sugar to thicken or more milk to make glaze more fluid.  {You want it thin enough to drizzle but not so thin that it will just run off of the dough.}
25. Drizzle glaze over ring.
26. Enjoy!
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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fleece Hooded Scarf

Whats better than a hood and a scarf in one this time of year?!

I saw this very easy project on Sewing with Nancy.  I really usually don't watch this show, but it was on one morning when I was up before the rest of the family and it just happened to be the only thing on TV worth watching.  

I took notes and vowed to give this one a try! :D

I think you could try this without using a sewing machine and just use some sort of knotting technique to finish the edges.  Maybe like one of the ones below, I know there are a lot of other ways to finish the edges too.  

If you have a favorite way to finish fleece edges, please share; I'd love to see them!

This is the fleece I choose for trying this project; I think a cool animal print or a fuzzier fleece would be super cool too!
-1 yard fleece
-coordinating thread
-sewing machine
-circle shaped dish, optional
-fabric scissors
-sewing pins
-fabric marking marker
-straight edge {you could probably just eyeball it if you want; you don't need really straight edges for fleece}

1. Cut 2 pieces of fleece 16 inches across and 1 yard (36 inches) long. 
2. Stack the two pieces on top of each other with the right sides together.
3. Mark the top of the stacked pieces about 8 inches down from the top.
4. Using your circle shaped dish {I used a large bamboo turntable}, line up the curve of the dish with the mark (at 8 inches) and trace the curve onto the fleece.  {This will be the back of the hood.}
5. Pin the two pieces of fleece together along the curved line.
6. Trim off the corner of the fleece, cutting on the curved line.
7. I also decided to add a slight curve on the front corner, pin layers together.  I thought the extra curve would help the front of the hood stay on easier.  {They didn't do this on Sewing with Nancy.}
8. Fold over and sew with about 1/4 inch seam allowance from the front of the hood to the mark you made at 8 inches down from the top.
 This is what it will look like...
9. I also decided to finish front edge and back edge of the hood/scarf with a 1/4 inch seam allowance; its not necessary but I liked the finished edge more.
Here you can see the fished edge
around the back of the hooded scarf.
10. Turn the hood right side out.
 11. Optional: Cut a fringe on the ends of the scarf.
12. Enjoy!
My little model loves this hooded scarf!  I think I'll make a smaller version that will fit her better, then she'll have one just like mom!
She also has her favorite
blanket under the hood.
And you may notice the
butterfly wings behind her.
Make one for yourself or make one for someone you love!  Enjoy!
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