craft

Too Cute Tuesday: Homemade Butter

It’s been a busy week already so yesterday, I had an email conversation with Sarah, who heads up Too Cute Tuesday in Saint Louis because I was feeling a bit more uninspired than usual. “Making butter is always fun.” she said, and her group did this a couple weeks ago. That Sarah, she’s good!

Materials
Whipping cream
Jar
Marbles or popsicle sticks
Willpower
Blue food coloring, maple syrup, honey, salt (optional)



1. Pour whipping cream in a jar (about half full) and stick in a few marbles or popsicle sticks. (The marbles or sticks may help get the butter agitated quicker, though in our field testing, having the marbles didn’t seem very significant in terms of getting butter quicker.) If you are feeling a little silly, add a few drops of blue food coloring.

2. Close jar and shake for a really really long time. What will happen is after awhile, most of your cream will become butter and the rest of it (more milky in texture) is buttermilk. To get best results, sing “Shake it like a polariod picture” over and over again. P.S. This video is hilarious involving both the Outcast song and an otter: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LClXK59VP0Q

3. Pour or strain out buttermilk and immediately pour the butter back into your jar. Stir in anything you want for flavoring. At the very least, you’ll probably want salt but you can also make it fun, like honey, maple syrup, and more.

4. Put in the fridge to chill if you want it a bit harder, or spread and enjoy fresh.

Nate has promised me to send photos of the blue butter on his bread which I’ll post on the Facebook page for all to see.

Aren’t you crafty, and like a pioneer?

Too Cute Tuesday logoToo Cute Tuesday is a weekly craft night involving friends, projects, and cocktails. To learn more, check out the Too Cute Tuesday archives or find us on Facebook.



Too Cute Tuesday: Cloth Takeout Containers

Too Cute Tuesday Mini Logo

Let me start out this story by saying I’ve never been good at origami. Ever.

I remember in junior high, we had the gifted and talented teacher come into our classroom every few weeks or so to do things with us like tangrams, engineering projects with toothpicks and marshmallows, and of course, origami. She’d walk by our desks looking at our work. And even as an 11 year old, I could tell she was just a little frustrated by me. While other kids would have a stack of cranes on their desk, I’d be working on the first one which looked a bit ugly. I was clearly not stupid, just an unbelievably spatial learner.

Good Chinese food is not possible in my town so I was excited for a grocery store option.

Good Chinese food is not possible in my town so I was excited for a grocery store option.

Fast forward almost 20 years. Dorrie really wanted to try these Chinese food containers she saw on another blog. They seemed similarish to the no-sew bags we did awhile back but also involved folding. But I wasn’t going to be alone with folding… or so I thought.

Plans and weather forecasts got in the way and I found myself alone with a folding project. Here’s how it went:



Materials:
Tai Pei Frozen Chinese food container (the one Chinese food restaurant in Bar Harbor is terrible, and I normally love even terrible Chinese food so you know it’s bad)
Parchment paper
Interface (fabric you iron to other fabric to make it stiffer)
Fabric
Scissors
Iron
Duct tape and/or fabric glue

1. Stop by the freezer section of your grocery store and pick up the frozen Chinese food. Long for good Chinese takeout options.

2. Open the container and take out the food to heat in the oven (some of us don’t have a microwave). Wash and rinse the container.

3. Unmake the container and place on wax paper. Draw in pencil the outline of the container on the wax paper. Cut it out.

4. Iron interface to the fabric. A damp cloth works best and the interface should come with instructions if you need more guidance. Note: You can get different ‘weights’ of interface at your favorite fabric/craft store. The kind I got wasn’t quite thick enough so go with the stiffest kind you can get. You’ll see what I mean soon…

Tracing and cutting I can handle. You know, because I rocked second grade.

Tracing and cutting I can handle. You know, because I rocked second grade.

The folding begins, and only sort of works because I have something to copy. Mrs. Pelletier (the GT teacher when I was in school)would be so proud of me!

The folding begins, and only sort of works because I have something to copy. Mrs. Pelletier (the GT teacher when I was in school) would be so proud of me!

5.  Once ironed, trace the design from the parchment paper onto the fabric/interface. Cut design in fabric. You might want to reiron the fabric/interface again.

6. Using the folds from the frozen container as your guide, try to fold it correctly. The original blogger made button holes so she could tuck the pieces into place. I am not that skilled (and didn’t have the kind of takeout box that was folded but instead glued together). I tried duct tape but as I troubleshot, I realized fabric glue may have worked better.

I also decided to give the interface side a layer of duct tape to make it stiffer. It sort of worked.

Here’s the final product:

Not so much a 'Ta-da!' as a 'Hmph. That kind of worked..."

Not so much a ‘Ta-da!’ as a ‘Hmph. That kind of worked…”

As you see, not superfantastic looking but a good first attempt. If I pick up fabric glue, I might be able to save it!

Aren’t I crafty, and defying my middle school self?

Too Cute Tuesday is a weekly craft night involving friends and cocktails. To see more Too Cute Tuesday, check out the Too Cute Tuesday archives or join us on Facebook.



Too Cute Tuesday: Fused Plastic Bibs

Every Tuesday, it’s an easy craft, cool cocktail, and fun friends. To learn more check out the archives at www.toocutetuesday.com or the Facebook page.

I may not have a kid, but I have a small cute model willing to try on my bib. Go Gidget go.

I may not have a kid, but I have a small cute model willing to try on my bib. Go Gidget go.

You may remember our first foray into fused plastic last year. This year, we did a specific baby related craft (dedicated to new mom Michelle and soon to be new mom Sue) with the fused plastic and ignored the extra step that could have involved stitching on bias tap as piping. Oh well, can’t do it all.

Don’t have a baby in your life? You can use fused plastic bags to create bags, placemats, snowflakes, shower curtain, tablecloth, pouch, wallet, and much much more. Clearly you could fuse plastic bags all day long and come up with some fun stuff. Voila our original inspiration: http://www.homemademamas.net/2010/02/fused-plastic-bib.html

This week we were joined by Sarah and her daughter. Passing crafting onto future generations…

Dorrie took the plastic bags her newspaper comes in everyday and fused a few different colors. Ooohhhh, shimmery!

Dorrie took the plastic bags her newspaper comes in everyday and fused a few different colors. Ooohhhh, shimmery!



Materials
Plastic bags (3ish)
Iron and ironing boar
Scissors
Bias tape, needle, and thread (for the optionally motivated)

Cocktail of the Night: Gin and juice… laid back….

1. Heat iron to rayon setting. This is apparenly not 3 on Dorrie’s iron. We recommend starting on the one setting and slowly increasing the temperature if the fusion isn’t working. Too hot and the plastic puckers. Eww.

2. Cut into desired shape. If creating a bib, you can use a bib as a template. We made ours with a pocket and thick wrap around the neck.

3. Fuse the pocket onto the bib on three sides. You can inside out the pocket to hide the fusion.

4. Add velco for closure. Add piping with bias tape if you are feeling super ambitious.

Other variations of the craft also happened (see photo gallery below) and a good and recycling filled time was had by all. Aren’t we crafty, and kid friendly!



Too Cute Tuesday: Mustache Pacifiers

Too Cute Tuesday logoEvery Tuesday, it’s fun friends, a (relatively) easy craft, and a refreshing cocktail. To learn more, check out the Facebook page (we post additional photos there), the Too Cute Tuesday archives, or our new Etsy store.

My sister just had a baby and somehow it came up that we ought to make some baby crafts at Too Cute Tuesday. And now that Sue has a bun in her cute oven, it makes even more sense to jump on the baby bandwagon.

 

Pictures you'd never thought you'd post of yourself online...

Pictures you’d never thought you’d post of yourself online…

I saw these mustached pacifiers on the Readymade website and thought this would be a fun easy craft for us to try out. I’m not sure if you’ve had a pacifier in your mouth since you were a baby but it’s kind of weird!

Materials
Pacifier
Knife (for scoring the plastic)
Cardstock in brown or black
Index card and pencil (to create templates)
Cutting mat and Exacto knife
Scissors

Cocktail of the Night: Limeade (Gin optional)

 

Dorrie tries out her curly creation.

Dorrie tries out her curly creation.




1. Acquire supplies at the craft and drug store.

2. Browse online for mustache inspirations. Just go to Google Images and type in ‘mustache’ to see all the fine examples the internet has to offer.

3. Create a template on an index card. We did it straight onto the cardstock and unless you really take your time, it doesn’t work so great.

4. Cut the template out of your colored card stock. We used a combination of Exacto knives and scissors to get the desired crisp edges.

5. Lightly score the pacifier where you will add the hot glue. This gives more surface area for the glue (I think).

6. Heat glue gun and add a bit of hot glue. Attach to mustache and let dry.

7. Mail to your sister and wish you could see her reaction when she opened the package.

Aren’t you crafty, and kid friendly?

 

Our mustache pacifiers on the table, awaiting cute babies to model them.

Our mustache pacifiers on the table, awaiting cute babies to model them.



Marketing Monday: Etsy 101

I have had several artists recently ask me about selling their work on their own websites. The problem is an ecommerce website is some of the additional costs that they require:

  • Secure certificate: The little padlock that shows the website is ‘secure’. Prices start at around $10/year  and go higher for more  thoroughly verified/vetted ones. (Thanks to @MattBaya for better wording which has been corrected here.)
  • Ecommerce software: You need some sort of software to handle items (photos, descriptions, etc.), track inventory, calculate shipping, etc. Something like BigCartel can handle this pretty well for a monthly fee (starting at $10/month) or you can pay a web designer a one time fee to set it up. (The going rate seems to be $500 and up.) Note: I’m talking open source (re: free) software and paying only for the web designers’ time to customize it.
  • Merchant services if you want to accept credit cards. Many use Paypal  to get around these fees but the downside is, of course, people being less likely to buy if you only have Paypal.
  • A domain name ($10ish/year), web hosting ($5/month or more), and a website to put the ecommerce software on. This will depend on what you decide in terms of shopping software. Some, like OS Commerce, can run a whole basic website while other software pairs with a content management system like Joomla or Wordpress.

You can see why most people who begin by wanting a shopping cart decide to hold off on it in the end! A lot of decisions and seemingly getting nickeled and dimed with fees.

So what are my crafty but frugal friends to do? I have sent a few to Etsy.com.

Don't want to pay to develop your own shopping cart for your artistic products? Etsy is a good alternative.

Don't want to pay to develop your own shopping cart for your artistic products? Etsy is a good alternative.

How does it work?

1) Set up a profile and pick a store name. Connect your account with a credit card.

2) Load products (20 cents/product) to list.

3) Publicize and ship out any orders you get.

And that’s it. Well, except for creating the products, answering potential buyers’ questions, and publicizing your store of course.



I have a few friends who have Etsy stores. Lynn Cyr sells some high end paintings,  Jessica Harris makes feather handbands and paintings that people see online then buy from her locally, and my friends Chris and Renee started on Etsy with Barkwheats before they opened their own web store and began retailing. (Anyone else out there with Etsy shops I’ve forgotten to mention?)

And I’ve decided to finally set up a Too Cute Tuesday store, you know, when I have time to populate it with crafts. :^)

In other words, Etsy is an affordable, relatively easy way to test the waters of ecommerce with your art. Bonus is the ability to track item views and having the possibility of being listed on the front page of Etsy.com with a featured product, resulting in exposure to millions of people looking to buy handmade online.

So to those of you making things that don’t know how to get them online, try Etsy and let me know how it goes!

Too Cute Tuesday: Candied Pecans

Too Cute Tuesday is a craft, a cocktail, and friends. To learn more check out the Facebook page or check out the cooking related Too Cute Tuesday posts in the archives.

Candied pecans cooling on the sheet, absorbing their own deliciousness.

Candied pecans cooling on the sheet, absorbing their own deliciousness.

Jen and Dorrie taste our wares, and Sparks hopes they'll drop something.

Jen and Dorrie taste our wares, and Sparks hopes they’ll drop something.

Twas the week before Christmas, and everyone was stressed, so we gathered in Dorrie’s kitchen to make a mess.

The sugar was melted on the stove with great care in hope that tasty nuts soon would be there.

Soon all were gathered to sample the treats, so crunchy so tasty, salty yet sweet.

OK, I’ll stop rhyming now. But the nuts were great and something we’ll do again I’m sure.

Materials
Pecans
Sugar (brown or white)
Salt
All spice, cloves, and nutmeg
Vanilla extract
Parchment paper
Cookie sheets, wood spoons, and pans

Cocktail of the Night: Modified Black Santa (Creme de cacao, peppermint schnapps, Baileys)



1. Queue up the recipes.

Nut recipe #1: Candied nuts from Cafe Johnsonia

Nut recipe #2: Candied walnuts from Simply Recipes (we used brown sugar instead of white to change it up)

Nut recipe #3: Sugared and Spiced Nuts from Cooks.com (Jen added nutmeg to the mix and *gasp* didn’t measure

Recipes one and two need to have the pecans seperated quickly so have the parchment paper, forks, and helpful friends ready.

Recipes one and two need to have the pecans seperated quickly so have the parchment paper, forks, and helpful friends ready.

2. Cover three cookie sheets with parchment paper.

3. Roast nuts in a 350 degree oven for about five minutes. We used pecans but Dorrie made a batch of almonds after the fact for her dad and they were also great.

4. Prepare coating of your choice. Coat and separate on a cookie sheet. Let dry. Yum.

Of the recipes, #3 had the best coating and overall consistency. Number 1 was clumpy and not so uniform and number two was better if only because we roasted the nuts in the oven precoating (note: this does make a difference).

Anyway, these nuts can almost make a salad tolerable and they make good presents when you put them in little jars. Aren’t you crafty, and festive?

Happy Holidays from the Too Cute Tuesday crew!



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