craft

Too Cute Tuesday: Mosaics

Every Tuesday is a craft and a cocktail with friends. To see more crafts, check out the archives or like the Facebook page.

After a break (a crafting break this summer but also a much longer still-crafting-but-just-not-writing-a-blog-about-it break), Too Cute Tuesday is back. Resulting from missing friendly get togethers and enjoying way too much Pinterest, we began crafting again last week at our usual week day ritual.

Wonder what you can do with one night? Don't try doing this on a large surface is all we have to say. Here's my (Nicole's) final product.

Wonder what you can do with one night? Don’t try doing this on a large surface is all we have to say. Here’s my (Nicole’s) final product.

For those of you who are new, we pick a different craft every week, ideally something we can start and mostly finish in one night. This rules out things like quilts and rug hooking but it allows us to feel like we’ve ‘accomplished’ something by 9 pm while getting to socialize with each other. We do it on a school night because, well, weekends are busy but most people can spare two hours on a random day like Tuesday. On a personal note, my day job is online so I get a lot of satisfaction from having a physical object finished before me.

This week, Sam (or more accurately her cats) broke a mirror. We told her to bring it over and decided to mosaic. Since Sam was working late and I wasn’t sure if the mirror would be around by 7 pm, I thought I’d break a couple old plates for additional material. The construction supplies were donated via Derrick (my boyfriend who happens to be a carpenter) but you can get all these items at a hardware store if you choose. You don’t need much of anything though so see if you can borrow leftovers from someone handy.

Materials:

  • Broken mirror and/or plates
  • Hammer (if additional breaking is needed) and plastic bags (keeps the pieces from flying everywhere)
  • Silicone caulk (for gluing the pieces in place)
  • Grout (mixed with water to the consistency of ‘peanut butter’)
  • A sponge and bowl of water
  • Something to mosaic- Derrick gave us little trays made from some leftover wood that he made but you could also do this with a bottle, jar, or anything you could cover with pieces of mirror/plate really. Beginners may appreciate a flat surface to work with to start
The group tackles mosaicing. Hope handles the silicone, Sam lays out her pattern, and Nate looks on in interest.

The group tackles mosaicing. Hope handles the silicone, Sam lays out her pattern, and Nate looks on in interest.

1) Smash item to be mosaic-ed. I recommend covering it in a couple layers of plastic bag and taking it outside to beat it with a hammer. Note: we apparently had an earthquake while this happened and we didn’t notice. So fun!

2) Arrange your pieces on the item you are going to mosaic. Figuring out concepts took longer than we thought.

3) Stick the individual pieces to the item with silicone caulk. Other materials work better but this one dries quick, perfect for one night crafting.

4) Mix grout with water. Pour slowly onto item using a sponge to smear grout around evenly. Let dry, ideally overnight.

Cocktail of the Night: Because it’s fall we enjoyed some pumpkin cider that some house guests left me (thanks Phil and G!). While I’m not sure I’d necessarily buy it myself, I will say it was very fall-ish and fitting for the season.

This coming week, we are taking a fancy bar soap and multiplying it (magically) into a gallon of liquid soap. Ahh, the wonders of glycerine. See you then!

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Too Cute Tuesday: Sesame Balls

You know what the problem with Too Cute Tuesday has been lately? We’ve been getting together and crafting then I start the blog posts that stay in ‘draft’ form. Bummer! I did know that I had to write about this week’s craft though.

Sesame Balls

Sesame Balls

So little known fact: I love Chinese baked goods. They are so unlike cakes and cookies and usually involve a bit of a salty/savory element I find lacking in most other sweets. My favorite thing ever is the sesame balls. The outside is crispy with a slight fried layer and sesame seeds while the inside is doughy and filled with a sweet bean paste. I usually pick up a half dozen every time I’m in Chinatown. They are best fresh otherwise I’d stock up.

For a long time, I thought they may be difficult to make these, but at a health food store a few months ago, I picked up rice flour and bean paste and in my cupboard it sat… until Tuesday.

After finding the recipe at About.com and seeing they only took 30 minutes, I thought we’d give it a shot. Here’s the link: http://chinesefood.about.com/od/desserts/r/sesameseedballs.htm

Materials:

Rice flour
Water
Sugar
Bean paste (you can make it too)

Cooking Oil

In short, our balls weren’t quite as round and pretty as the ones above in the professional shot (which you can buy a poster of here) but were still quite tasty. I ended up having to mix more sugar in my red bean paste than expected to make the filling a bit less tangy and at one point, the oil we were frying them in got too hot, cooking the outside and leaving the inside of a couple balls not quite cooked all the way through. Once we lowered the temperature and adjusted the filling to be sweeter, we had quite the tasty treats.

Thanks to Amy and Dorrie for their cooking help. I’ll post photos tomorrow when I’m next at my office (where I left my digital camera card reader unfortunately). It just goes to show you that sometimes you really can do it yourself. If only things were easier than we thought more often in life!

Aren’t we crafty… with dumpling skills!

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Too Cute Tuesday: Peepshi

Editor’s Note: Too Cute Tuesday Saint Louis sent in this post. Thanks to Sarah for sending it in and keeping the crafting going in the Midwest!

Tada.

Tada.

We here at Too Cute Tuesday St. Louis love springtime (even though mostly it has just beenrainy here). And with springtime comes Easter, and with Easter comes PEEPS! We neededto do something with those delicious marshmallow animals covered in brightly coloredsugar.And that’s when we came across peepshi, the wonderful notion of sushi made of peeps.Perfect. (Peepfect?)

The final products look as good as the original blog entry. Go Saint Louis TCTers!

The final products look as good as the original blog entry. Go Saint Louis TCTers!

Kiri, Keith, and Sarah enjoying a little merge of American and Japanese traditions. Yum.

Kiri, Keith, and Sarah enjoying a little merge of American and Japanese traditions. Yum.

We used the directions here. http://www.seriouseats.com/

 

Supplies:

  • marshmallows
  • rice krispies cereal
  • fruit roll up
  • Peeps

1. Discuss how long it has been since you’ve made rice krispies treats.

2. Make rice krispies treats – you want a high marshmallow to cereal ratio for easiershaping.

3. While it is still warm, pull the rice krispies treats to make a rectangle sheet. It might helpto just make enough for one roll at a time.

4. Cut the fruit-roll-up to the appropriate size and layer it with the treats.

5. Slice up the peeps as you would sushi filling, in strips.

6. Roll it all up. This part is easier if the rice krispies treats are a bit warm. If the rollbreaks, no problem, just mold it all together again.

7. Take a sharp knife and slice up your roll into bite-sized pieces.

8. Let your imagination go crazy! Regular rolls. Inside-out rolls. Nigiri. Hand rolls. Thesugary possibilities are endless!

Cutting Peeps down the middle? Crazy stuff!

Cutting Peeps down the middle? Crazy stuff!

9. Eat one. Or two. Talk about how very very sugary they are. And how much you wantregular sushi now.

Aren’t you crafty? And ready to take on the Annual Peep Show? Check it out: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/photo/gallery/070402/GAL-07Apr02-69859/index.html

On a roll...

On a roll...

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Too Cute Tuesday: Mustache Mirrors

Mustaches on sticky paper, how much more fun did you have this Tuesday?

Mustaches on sticky paper, how much more fun did you have this Tuesday?

I am going to call this early and say 2011 is the year of the mustache in terms of pop culture America (I would have to say it’s sharing its title with bacon though). Had I planned this a little better, we honestly could have had a month of mustache related crafts.

Sue's visiting friend Amy came by and enjoyed the ridiculousness of the evening.

Sue's visiting friend Amy came by and enjoyed the ridiculousness of the evening.

Mirror mirror in my hand, who's has the fairest 'stache in the land?

Mirror mirror in my hand, who's has the fairest 'stache in the land?

You may remember when we made mustache pacifiers. This last week, our friend and occasional crafter Jen hung a mustache mirror in her house so we thought we’d try to make our own after seeing them not only in her house but in several gift magazines. You know us, if we think we can make it, we’ll try!

Now you can go two routes with the mustache mirror:

1) Use etching paste in a mustache shaped stencil to create frosted mustaches. (Kind of like how we did the etched beer mugs awhile back.)

2) Use opaque, sticky paper to print the mustaches out on and stick them to the mirror (that’s what we did).

The most labor intensive thing we did was finding out which mustaches we wanted to try to recreate!

Materials
Computer
Printer
Sticky printer paper
Mirror
Black Sharpie (for touch-ups)

Cocktail of the Night: Pear Brandy Sidecar (ironically, when I went to the grocery store to get the ingredients, I actually see a motorcycle with a sidecar on my way into the store!)

1. Search Google images for your mustache of choice. Concentrate on finding a shape that will work, you are going to use Photoshop or GIMP to size the image later.

Amy and Sue went with mirrored compacts while Dorrie and I did bigger scale mustaches.

Amy and Sue went with mirrored compacts while Dorrie and I did bigger scale mustaches.

2. Open your favorite image program and make the mustache the right size for your mirror. Consider the distance you’ll be holding it away from your face.

Getting that Dorrie mustache picture was a bit tricky, a behind the scenes shot.

Getting that Dorrie mustache picture was a bit tricky, a behind the scenes shot.

3. Print the mustache on the sticky paper. Cut out and stick.

Honestly, it was super easy and Amy, our guest crafter/Sue’s childhood friend kept saying ‘This is pretty ridiculous!’ and laughing the whole time.

The mustache mirror is a great tongue in cheek gift for that friend who has everything, or a fun addition to your entryway. Jen has her mirror set up so you can draw your own mustaches on it with a magic marker. However you do it, looking back at yourself with sophisticated facial hair will put a smile on your face.

Aren’t you crafty, and looking a bit more like Tom Selleck?

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Too Cute Tuesday: Irish Soda Bread

Dorrie may have cheated by using the mixer but the results were still delectable.

Dorrie may have cheated by using the mixer but the results were still delectable.

 

Due to Nicole’s travel schedule, Dorrie took over the Too Cute Tuesday reins and made her famous Irish soda bread in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. Here’s her post:

Due to the fact that the puppies ate my Really Yummy Blarney Scone Trader Joe’s Irish Soda Bread, I was inspired to make Irish Soda Bread myself. I Googled ‘easy Irish Soda Bread’ and found quite a few recipes. I went with Amazingly Easy Irish Soda Bread from Allrecipes (). It seemed easy enough and a quick trip to Hannaford to get the missing ingredients and I was off and running.

I mixed all the dry ingredients first (flour, sugar, baking soda, and baking powder). Then I mixed in the softened butter and buttermilk. (I cheated and used the Kitchen  Aid.) Once combined, I turned the dough onto the floured counter top and kneeded it just a bit to form it into a big round loaf.

Raisins: an optional addition to your Irish celebration (at least for Nicole!)

Raisins: an optional addition to your Irish celebration (at least for Nicole!)

Because the recipe I picked did not included raisins I did add a cup of those – I soaked them in some water to plump them up a bit too!

I melted the 1/4 cup butter with the 1/4 cup buttermilk in the microwave to brush on top of the bread. I cut the X and popped it in the oven.

*fingers crossed*

The Irish Bread: Ready to bask in the ovenly goodness.

The Irish Bread: Ready to bask in the ovenly goodness.

About 25 minutes through the baking, I brushed it again with the butter/buttermilk mixture and then with about 10 minutes left to go!

After waiting for it to cool, it was time to taste test. Delicious!

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Too Cute Tuesday: Homemade Marshmallows

This week, we decided to junk our initial plan when we saw the Too Cute Tuesday Saint Louis branch had a better idea: Homemade marshmallows. Not very difficult, these were all the rage a Christmas or two ago when I saw them in higher end gift giving magazines.

Sam got ready for the process of spreading the marshmallow mixture by oiling her hands...it didn't help a ton.

Sam got ready for the process of spreading the marshmallow mixture by oiling her hands...it didn't help a ton.

No matter what, it's kind of messy... but delicious messy.

No matter what, it's kind of messy... but delicious messy.

We used this recipe but most of the other ones we ran into online seem similar: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Marshmallows

The mixture worked hard for us while we did our other dishes. That's right, at Too Cute Tuesday, we practice no trace crafting.

The mixture worked hard for us while we did our other dishes. That's right, at Too Cute Tuesday, we practice no trace crafting.

It was just Sam and I this week but since Dorrie is nice and also has a standing mixer, we crashed her house to craft. That said, we practiced no trace crafting.

You will also appreciate this week that I bought a bottle of riesling for the cocktail portion of the evening only to find Dorrie’s wine bottle opener was broken.*le sigh

Even without our cocktail though, we still had a great time!

Materials
Corn starch
Powdered sugar
Oil
Parchment paper
Pan
Non-flavored gelatin
Corn syrup
Granulated sugar
Pot
Cooking thermometer
Standing mixer
Water
Vanilla flavoring
Scissors
A willingness to get sticky

Cocktail of the Night: Some cheap riesling Nicole got at the grocery store for $6, couldn’t open because the wine opener wasn’t working, then left at Dorrie’s house. D’oh!

Cleaning up, if it involves a crapload of sugar, can be the best part.

Cleaning up, if it involves a crapload of sugar, can be the best part.

1. Mix equal parts corn starch and powdered sugar. We did one cup of each and had way more than needed.

2. Put gelatin (3 packets) and cold water (1/2 cup) in the bowl of the standing mixer. Let develop.

3. While the gelatin is doing its thing, mix 2/3 cup corn syrup, 2 cups granulated sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a pot over medium heat. Stir and heat mixture to 244 degrees F.

4. Once mixture is at that temperature, dump it into the mixing bowl with the water and gelatin, which is now puffy.

5. Mix at the fastest setting for 15 minutes. During the last minute, add flavoring and/or coloring desired. We added a couple teaspoons of pure vanilla extract because we like regular marshmallow flavor.

6. While things are mixing, take a pan and line with parchment paper. Oil it and dust the corn starch/sugar mixture from step one.

7. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan. Sprinkle with additional corn starch/sugar mixture. Let set at least four hours (or in our case, overnight).

8. The next day, cover your scissors in the corn starch/sugar mixture and cut up your block o marshmallow into convenient sizes.

I won’t lie, Sam and I did take some tastes while cleaning up. “Wow, this tastes like marshmallow!” she said. That’s always a good sign at Too Cute Tuesday.

The true test was of course trying them the next day. And they’re actually good!

The magical Sam will now hold the whisk with only the force of her gaze... and the power of marshmallow goo.

The magical Sam will now hold the whisk with only the force of her gaze... and the power of marshmallow goo.

So there you have it, an easy way to impress people the next time you serve hot cocoa and cleanup that involves a bowl lick. Aren’t you crafty, and a bit sticky?

Too Cute Tuesday

Too Cute Tuesday is a weekly event involving friends, a craft, and a cocktail. To learn more, check us out on Facebook or browse our crafty archives.

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.
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