Sunday, October 21, 2012

Do It Yourself: Disco Ball Pinata

The finished disco ball pinata!

Sylvia turned 8 years old this week, and for her birthday she asked for a Girls Only Dance Party. Luckily enough, my mother owns her own DJ and Karaoke business, so we had the lights and the music covered. This left me with a little time to think about the decorations! 

We found small and large sized disco ball ornaments which we hung around the room, but the centerpiece of the decorations was our homemade disco ball pinata!

Here are some directions so you can make you own!

Disco Ball Pinata   
1 Large Paper Lantern (or 36" balloon or large beach ball)
1 batch of wheat paste (see below for a link)
newsprint (either newspaper or actual newsprint)
black paint
tacky glue
5 - 12" x 12" sheets of silver reflective cardstock cut into 1" squares

I made our pinata on a paper lantern. While this made it easier to hang and a little faster to make, if I were to do it again, I would use a 36" balloon or a beach ball for the base shape because the paper lantern didn't break well    

Whichever base form you use, start by applying two to three coats of paper mache. There is a fine line between not enough and too much. Too few layers will make a very weak pinata, while too many layers will require a wrecking ball to break open. I try to keep the paper mache to two-three layers because this seems about right. Leave a hand sized hole at the top of the ball for filling and hanging. If you are using a balloon or beach ball, reinforce the top of the pinata with several extra layers of paper mache as this will be where the weight of the pinata is borne. Allow the paper mache to dry COMPLETELY before proceeding to the next step.
 If you are using a balloon or beach ball, carefully deflate and remove it from the center of the pinata. I usually slip my hand inside and help ease the balloons away from the sides so as to prevent the paper mache from sticking to the balloon and collapsing as the balloon deflates.  If you have used a paper lantern, continue to the next step without removing the lantern.  
Paint the entire ball black (or whatever color you would prefer to see sticking out between the mirror "tiles"
After the paint is completely dry (wet paint will encourage the mirror paper to curl), using tacky glue (or hot glue) begin applying the mirror tiles in a straight row around the middle of the ball. The tacky glue was much easier to use but did cause minor curling of the paper. Hot glue may work better if you are experiencing a lot of curling. 
Keep adding rows until you reach the top and bottom. 
I found it useful to cut some of the squares in half as I got to the final rows on the bottom of the ball. I also looked at the bottoms of pre-made disco balls to get an idea of how the tiles would best fit together. 

The paper lantern will have two hanging tabs built into the lantern. Otherwise,  made three holes at least an inch into the ball to hang the pinata. 

Here is our finished pinata as the centerpiece at the dance party! We rigged it up so that it could be lowered down at the end of the party.

Wheat Paste Link:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Recipes: Tasty Yogurt Pancakes

I grew up eating pancakes for breakfast at least twice a week. I liked them plain (I HATED syrup and my mom refused to buy REAL butter) so the taste was really important to me. As an adult, I searched for YEARS to find the perfect recipe but could stand up to my refusal to use white flour, refined sugars, or tons of oil. A few years ago, I found it.

This recipe started out as the Silver Dollar Pancake Recipe from the Joy of Cooking. I have adapted it to use whole grain flour, raw sugar, and greek yogurt (in place of sour cream). What I like about this recipe is that it uses very little flour, and no added fats (except for the oil on the griddle and the fats in the eggs and yogurt). The bulk of the batter is yogurt and eggs, yet the result is a really delicious pancake.

Dry Ingredients:
1/2 C whole wheat flour
1 1/2 T raw sugar
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking soda

Wet ingredients:
1 C greek yogurt
2 eggs
1 t vanilla

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (for the pan)

Combine the dry ingredients and set aside. Combine the wet ingredients. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir until just mixed. This batter is thick.

Using a large spoon, drop small sized pancakes onto a hot skillet coated in virgin coconut oil. Cook on one side until you see bubbles forming along the edges of the batter, flip with a spatula. Due to the thick nature of this batter, I use the "wiggle" test to be sure they are cooked through. Using the spatula I press gently on the middle of the pancake. If it moves side to side, it is not yet cooked through.

If I am cooking for myself and my two little girls (5 and 7) I make one batch and usually have a few left over. If I am also cooking for my husband, I make two batches and usually have enough leftover to store in the refrigerator for one more breakfast for the girls.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Cut and Ready to SEW!

Train Themed Giant Fleece Ball - $50.00

Each ball is 14" in diameter and features 12 panels. The theme will be carried out as follows.

1 panel with a NAME

4 panels with theme related words ("All Aboard", Toot, Choo Choo, Chug)

3 panels with Train Cars

2 panels with Railway signs

1 Panel with Train Silhouette

1 panel with railroad tracks

Unless specified this ball will come in r...

Click Here to Visit My Etsy Shop!

Friday, April 06, 2012

Custom made to fit You!

Adult Skirt Custom Size Bits Recycled Jersey Skirt - $75.00

I got a little bored making straight panel skirts, so I started getting a little more inventive. This graphically stunning skirt is the latest from my spring/summer line. It is made from little bits of recycled tops and jersey scraps. They are patchworked together to create this colorful an fun skirt that twirls and sways beautifully as you move.

I have collected beautiful colorful jersey tops for two ...

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Monday, April 02, 2012

Cut and ready to Sew!

Personalized Giant Fleece Ball - English Horseback Riding Themed - $50.00

These balls are huge! They are made from soft fleece and stuffed with fiberfill. Babies can flop on them and big kids can too. This ball is about 14" in diameter.

This order is for ONE custom giant ball made with English Horseback Riding themed appliques. The price includes the following:

1 -Personalized panel

3 - Theme related words (the ball in the photo says "cross co...

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

FIVE Candy Free Fillers for Plastic Easter Eggs

FIVE things besides candy to fill plastic Easter eggs:

1. Pom pom chicks - We made these one year for our girls, and they STILL play with them years later. Here is how to make them:

1 bag large pom poms
1 bag googly eyes
1 bag of feathers
1-2 pieces of orange fun foam
hot glue gun with glue sticks

Each chick needs a beak and feet cut from the fun foam. Cut small triangles for the beak and larger triangles for the feet. Each chick also needs one pom pom, two eyes, and one feather.

Using the hot glue gun, put a dab of glue on the end of the feather and stick it to the top of the pom pom. Glue the feet on the bottom. Finally, glue on the beak and the eyes. Ta dah! You just made a chicken.

2. coins - pennies, nickles, dimes, even quarters. My kids enjoy putting the money in their piggy banks more than they'd enjoy the candy. They are old enough that they can count the money too.

3. stickers - the beauty of stickers is that they get used up. We buy a few sheets of stickers and cut them into individual stickers to stuff the eggs. Tattoos work great too!

4. Easter jokes or fortunes - Our seven year old is deeply dedicated to the art of joke telling, so this year, we plan to stuff some of the eggs with small slips of paper with Easter themed jokes on them. Click Here to download a sheet of jokes.

5. Flower seeds - We buy a few packs of flowers and divide them into smaller packets (simply fold little pouches from scratch paper and write the names on each pouch). After the hunt is done, encourage your children to plant their seeds in your garden or flower beds, in pots, or go on a walk and spread the seeds in vacant lots and along fence lines (every kid enjoys a little eco-terrorism)! They can enjoy watching their seeds grow all summer long.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Do It Yourself: Vintage Scarf Wine Bottle Wrap

A beautifully wrapped bottle of wine (or vermouth if you are out of wine...)

How many times have you given or received a bottle of wine wrapped in some sort of wine holder that can only be a wine holder. This is a quick project to use a vintage scarf like wrapping paper for your next bottle of wine. Most large vintage scarves will work great, double check by pulling on opposite corners of the scarf to see if it stretches on the bias. If there is a little bit of stretch, the scarf will work great. The best part, there is no cutting or gluing, simply untie the knot and your recipient will also receive a beautiful new scarf.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Do It Yourself: Paper Easter Eggs

The finished goods can be used as a fun greeting card, or stuffed with money, tattoos, or stickers.

A few years ago, our daughter lost her first tooth on Valentine's Day. Our clever tooth fairy folded her dollar like a heart and made her a tiny little valentine. As luck would have it, her second tooth fell out three days before Easter. She wondered aloud "I wonder if the Tooth Fairy will bring me something for Easter this time?" Wouldn't you know it, in the morning, the Tooth Fairy had created a tiny little egg that held her dollar.

Coming up on Easter again, these little paper eggs are a fun alternative to the cheap plastic eggs we have all come to stuff with candy.

The supplies

What you need:
White Glue
Colored Pencils or Markers
4 X 6 Pieces of Cardstock (Index Cards work GREAT!)
Washi Paper Tape (optional)

Decorating the easy way!

If you have Washi Paper Tape, decorating your eggs will be a breeze! Simply lay down layers of tape across your card stock. I am using 4 X 6 index cards, but a similar size piece of cardstock will be fine. If you choose to NOT use the tape, pre-decorate your eggs with markers, colored pencils, or decoupage (let them dry completely before proceeding).

Fold the paper in half and draw or trace an egg shape onto the back with pencil.

Cutting through both halves at once, cut out the egg shape.

On an additional card, trace the egg shape. On the back of one of the decorated eggs, draw a crack.

Hold both eggs together and cut the crack.

Trace the bottom half of the crack on the blank egg shape then carefully draw about 1/4" INSIDE the edge of the outline along the top half of the egg. This is the portion of the card that will be inside the egg, and needs to be smaller along the top edge so it can move freely in and out of the top of the egg.

Decorate the inside piece. I have drawn a chick with an Easter greeting. A vintage Easter drawing pasted to the inside would also be cute.

Cut it out just on the INSIDE of the outlines.

Put a small amount of glue on the back bottom half of the inside piece.

Press one of the bottom halves into the glue and hold firmly.

Along the bottom half of the front, place a thin bead of glue just along the edge of the paper. Leaving most of the bottom front half open will allow for the egg to work as a container. Press the remaining bottom piece into the glue and hold firmly.

On the back of one of the top halves, put a thin bead of glue along the edge. Leaving the center open allows the card to move in and out of the egg.

After the glue has dried...

Assemble your egg! There is probably a right and wrong way to put your egg together, I find holding the top over the bottom to see which way the crack matches up the best makes it easier.

Once the glue has dried, your egg can be used to hold coins, stickers, tattoos, sticks of gum, or in the case of this lucky egg, FIVE DOLLAR BILLS!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

New Gadget: Twist and Sparkle

Sparkle baby! Sparkle! In just a minute, I will be enjoying a glass of sparkling Raspberry Mint water.

My husband got me a Isi Twist and Sparkle for Christmas, and it is fantastic. I have a raging La Croix habit, and can easily go through 3-4 cans a day. I like the Twist and Sparkle because I can use it to create fresh fruit infused sparkling water, and I can make a bottle when I want (no more late night trips to the store to buy a warm case of La Croix).

To keep a stash on hand, each day I prepare two bottle of fruit water. I have tried fresh pineapple, oranges, clementines, mixed berry, and raspberry. This time of year, oranges and clementines are abundant, so I have been favoring those, but I also like to use frozen raspberries with a little dried mint from last summer's garden. I put in about 1/2 an orange or a small handful of raspberries with water (i use our tap water, but you could go all fancy and use filtered water). I let the bottle chill in the fridge until I am ready to fizz it up. The fizz lasts best for a few hours (I have no problem drinking 4 cups of infused water in just a few hours). It will keep overnight, but it is not as fizzy.

I think next I will try infused cucumber water, and some classic lemon lime.