too cute tuesday

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: Bacon Jam

My favorite part about Too Cute Tuesday is when people send me stuff and say ‘You guys should try this!”

My friend Sarah C. sent me this link for Bacon Jam, a Foodista recipe which sounded just ridiculous enough for our group.

The most interesting condiment we've attempted. Photo from Foodista.

The most interesting condiment we've attempted. Photo from Foodista.

Dorrie, Sue, and Amy did the chopping of the chilies, onion, and and garlic while I cooked one of the pounds of bacon. Once the veggies were chopped, we sauted them in the bacon fat. We dumped it all into a slow cooker, set it on low, and headed to Aqua Zumba. (You know our group, we’ll try anything that won’t kill us… and we had to counteract our future bacon eating.)

I got home and cooked the second pound of bacon (thanks to Dorrie for keeping me company) and added it to the mix. Before going to bed, I shut off the slowcooker and put it in the fridge.

Tomorrow before work, Dorrie is going to bring over her immersion blender to make the whole thing a bit more jam-y. And we’ve decided we should make beer bread next week to go with our new bacon confection.

So if you’re looking for something to serve to make people say “Wha?”, this is it.

Aren’t you crafty, and serving people some crazy stuff the next time they come over!

Too Cute Tuesday

 

Every Tuesday, it’s friends, a craft, and a cocktail right here on the Breaking Even blog. To see our archives visit, www.toocutetuesday.com or like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/toocutetuesday.

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: Homemade Twix Bars

Just when you think you’ve got your crafting planned out, suddenly you see something on Twitter.

Our bars, with the exception of Andrew's really perfect one in the middle there, were a bit less than perfect. But delicious. Sprinkle sea salt on top for artisnal touch.

Our bars, with the exception of Andrew's really perfect one in the middle there, were a bit less than perfect. But delicious. Sprinkle sea salt on top for artisnal touch.

In my case, ‘homemade Twix bars’ with a link to beautiful snacks made of four delicious ingredients created by a fellow blogger and crafter I follow on Twitter. We had to try them. Full disclosure, her pictures are way better than ours. Here’s a link to the original post.

Once assembled the dipping was a bit messy but definitely fun.

Materials:
Carmels (I learned from my friend Hope after we did this that today was National Carmel Day– could we be any more accidentally psychic?)
Chocolate (we used semi-sweet chips)
Rold Gold honey wheat pretzels (you’ll see why so specific in a moment)
Nutella
Cutting board and knife
Plastic bag
Scissors
Parchment paper
Small saucepan
Fondue forks

Cocktail of the Night: Iced Tea

1.  Cut caramels in half. Squish so you make a little caramel sheet that’s thin.
2.  Line up two pretzels one next to the other, wrapping the caramel on the sides a bit. If your caramel sheet is too big, cut it down.
3. Using Nutella in a plastic bag with a hole cut in the corner, pipe Nutella in the crack created by where the two pretzels meet. Smear.
4. Melt some chocolate (use a microwave if you got it, doing this on the stove is a bit of a pain). Dip using the fondue forks if you are using a deep pan.
5. Place on parchment paper to dry. If you are Jen and impatient, put them in the freezer.

This week, we were joined by Amy, a new TCT participant. We originally became friends on the suggestion of my accountant. Thanks for looking out for my social life, Ron!

This week, we were joined by Amy, a new TCT participant. We originally became friends on the suggestion of my accountant. Thanks for looking out for my social life, Ron!

We ate our ‘mistakes’ and found that too much caramel wrapped around the pretzel combined with the warm chocolate made things slightly gooey-er than we meant for them to be.

But all taste testers agreed ‘These are so good!’ The pretzel, has a bit of sweet in it and the salt with the caramel, yum. “I think these are even better than regular Twix bars!” Andrew said. And they are, also it helps they are really easy! Thanks for the hookup, Twitter.

Aren’t you crafty, and now slightly covered in chocolate?

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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