Saturday, January 31, 2009

creating in the kitchen

When Paul and I were in San Francisco we visited Tartine Bakery and quickly understood why it was so crowded. Tartine is a small shop that sells pastries and sandwhiches. We ate lunch and for dessert decided to try something different than we would usually order. Paul had a coconut macaroon and I had an almond rocher that was so tasty I bought the cookbook because it had the recipe in it! It's a simple little cookie that while a little strange looking, is really tasty and actually pretty easy to make.
I made some of the rochers (a fancy french word pronounced ro-shares) for Kate's party and then decided to use the new tart pan I got for Christmas to try my very first tart--chocolate hazelnut, also from the Tartine cookbook. It was delicious and worth the effort of peeling the skins off the hazelnuts (although next time I'll try to buy ones that are already peeled!) So far I'm loving the cookbook and dreaming about becoming a pastry chef and opening a shop of my own. It sounds romantic, although being around delicious pastries all day probably isn't the best thing for the waistline.

Another Christmas gift I received was a fancy cookie cutter meant to be used to make edible bouquets--similar to the ones they charge $50 for! You can find a video here with instructions, it was surprisingly simple to make and comes together at the end. While making it I kept thinking I was just going to have to give up and throw everything together in a bowl for fruit salad, but in the end, it turned out ok. It's fun for kids to look at and I think Kate may have eaten more fruit than usual because it looked so "fancy".

Thursday, January 29, 2009

toddler's placemat

Kate loves to help around the house and is getting quite good at some tasks. She helps to set the table but doesn't seem to know where to put things, so the forks or spoons just end up in one big pile in the middle of the table. I've seen place mats similar to these before and thought it would be easy enough to make one up with materials I had on had. I went with oilcloth for easy cleanup, it just wipes clean! I used pinking shears around the edges and used a plate, fork, cup and spoon to trace around. I then used the bright blue thread and did a wide zig zag stitch around the tracing so it would stand out a bit. It has really helped Kate figure out where to put things and it's now a little game. You could use regular fabric for this and some embroidery thread, or just fabric markers--the only downside being if your toddler is as messy as mine you'd have to wash it after every meal! See here for more examples.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Animal Puppets

I found these pictures on my computer and thought I would share these easy puppets with you. There isn't much to write about--I saw some in a Land of Nod catalog and they looked easy enough to copy, and they were. I used felt (try and get the good stuff with some real wool in it) and drew patterns on paper before tracing and cutting out the fabric. I gave these to a few of Kate's little friends for Christmas as well as my nieces and nephew to go along with the puppet theater. The possibilities with these guys are endless!
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Old McDonald

Kate loves animals. Some animal noises were some of her first words. She loves looking at pictures of animals, trying to find cats and birds out the window and singing Old McDonald. I saw a tutorial for a fabric barn or dollhouse a while back and decided to make it for her birthday. I can remember having these types of fabric playhouses when I was little and thought she might like the idea that it could also be a purse. We gave it to her on Saturday and she has loved it. She lines the animals up in her barn and makes their noises. She carries it around and says she's going shopping with her animals. It's been a lot of fun. I'm especially happy that she likes it because it wasn't the easiest project to do. Now that I've done it once, the next time will be a lot easier (if there is a next time) but if you attempt this project and get a little frustrated, just know I did too. :) It was nice to be able to use fabric I already had making it a somewhat "free" birthday present. There is just the time part... it did take some!
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Friday, January 9, 2009

Puppet Theatre

This was a fun and easy project I did for my nieces and nephew for Christmas. I got the idea and instructions from the Bend the Rules Sewing book and it basically consisted of sewing long, straight lines. I think my favorite part of this puppet theatre is that it rolls up into a nice compact bag. I'm becoming more aware of the amount of "stuff" kids can generate, so it's nice to have something that doesn't take up a ton of space! This is the first project I've done from the book and the instructions were really easy to follow. Maybe next year Kate and baby sister will be getting this for Christmas...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

a family tree

I made this family tree as a Christmas gift for my grandparents and one for myself as well. I got the idea here and it doesn't need too much explaining. I bought heavy card stock at Joanne's and traced out the trunk and leaves. I included first, middle and last names and left a few blank for the babies on the way. It's pretty simple, but I think it would look great on a wall next to a bunch of other framed photography. Family photos would be perfect. :)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Quick, easy magnets

I made these magnets for Kate to give to some of her aunts and uncles and great grandparents. It was a quick and easy project that was fun and could be adapted to make magnets with different things besides pictures, like pretty paper or pictures from magazines. I got the idea from my friend Becca and then came up with the idea to give them in old Altoids tins. There isn't much to the magnets, I found the big glass beads in the home decor section at Target. I think they are meant for candlescaping or fake flower arrangements. I bought the heavy duty 3/4 inch magnets from Michael's as well as the crafters goop glue (which works great, just smells toxic. I did these outside because I didn't want the fumes in the house.) Just cut out the pictures (which I re sized in photoshop) glue to the glass bead and then glue the magnet on the back. One tip-- I learned the hard way that if you spread the glue around on the bead before putting the picture on it, it will leave little air bubbles between the picture and the bead. Not a huge deal, but if you put a big drop of glue in the middle of the bead, don't spread it just put the picture on it and it will spread itself, you can avoid the air bubbles. Make sense?