Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My Little Man is Three

We celebrated by son's birthday yesterday and I was feeling some twinges of guilt because of the lack of effort dedicated to this big day. Here is what I was able to pull together.

The Chasing Fireflies catalog has great number shirts but not having $30 to spend on a t-shirt I opted to make my own out of a $3.50 shirt, freezer paper and some fabric paint. I really like this method and I love how it turned out!

To make your own cut your design out of some freezer paper. Place the waxy side on the fabric and use your iron on a medium setting to attach, then go crazy with the fabric paint. I put a towel in between the two layers of the shirt in case I went too crazy with the paint.  Let the paint dry and then set the paint with the iron.

For M's gift I wanted to make him a tent that he saw at my friend's house. I am going to try and post a tutorial on this once I recover for the holidays. I used nylon and in hindsight I think it would have been better with canvas. It is a bit bigger than originally intended, but M loves it and three kids can easily fit inside.

Testing out the new tent.
 Grandpa got M his own flashlight - a BIG BIG hit.

 We took him ice skating and he did so well and I didn't do so bad myself!

I wanted to make M a train cake and had big plans to carve a train but after realizing that it took a sheet cake to create and we weren't going to have a big party I scaled down the design. I made marshmallow fondant and it was great! I was a little rushed cutting out the train but it is identifiable.

I then had my husband cut a three inch piece of one inch PVC pipe and cap it off. I added some water and dry ice to make the train smoke. I was pretty impressed with myself!

Here is a close up of the smoking. Next time I will make sure to add enough dry ice to make it more dramatic but I was too chicken this time.

Having a December birthday is tough, especially so close to Christmas. We have already started to debate having a summer half birthday. Any people out there with December birthdays that care to weight in?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Sugar Cookie Massacre of 2010

There was a Christmas massacre at my house, I am not going to lie - it isn't pretty. At least that is what I think my sugar cookies look like this year. I tried to pipe icing with white and then flood the inside with red but apparently I made it too runny and a bloodbath ensued.  Rather than try and fix it I just went with it and hoped the sprinkles would help make them look more festive. Little Man and I had a pretty good time making this mess.

Not sure if she would want the credit or not but I got the frosting recipe from i am baker, and it is tasty and I am sure in more capable hands (i.e. someone that can follow directions) it would have worked great.

  • 1 cup Confectioners Sugar (powder Sugar)
  • 1 Tablespoon Milk
  • 1 drop Lemon Juice (fresh Or Processed)-this is optional
  • 1 Tablespoon Light Corn Syrup
The first victim. Clearly someone tried to cover up the crime.
 Double homicide or murder/suicide?

Not even the tree was safe. I do love the gloss!

 A herd of dinosaurs were near by but didn't hear a thing.

The damage. There was icing EVERYWHERE in my kitchen - counters, floors, cabinets, the dog...

More dinosaurs. We normally use these for Playdoh but thought what would scream Christmas more than a festively decorated Stegosaurus and Pteranodon.

The cookies taste amazing. Here is the recipe I used.

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
2 medium eggs
10 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

  1. Cream together sugar and butter.
  2. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well.
  3. Then add sour cream and vanilla and mix well.
  4. Sift the dry ingredients together and add to wet ingredients a little at a time.
  5. Chill in refrigerator till firm or even overnight.
  6. Preheat oven to 400°.
  7. Roll the dough 1/4-1/2-inch thickness and cut out into desired shape.
  8. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until lightly pale golden--not brown.
  9. Allow to cool completely on wire rack before frosting.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Someone Has a Case of the Mondays

Wow, Monday morning already! Two more days and my parents arrive from NY. I feel like my to-do list is growing rather than shrinking and I need to get my act together quickly.

Luckily for me, my parents aren't the type of house guest that you have to clean your house like you have never cleaned before. I do plan to pick up and do the customary laundry and toilet cleaning but there will be no polishing of the non-existent silver or dusting of any kind.

Even with cleaning not high on the priority list, this week is still full of to-do's which normally would be fun and filled with memory making opportunities but feel more like an endurance race at the moment. There is something about the holidays that can take a magical moment like decorating cookies with your kids and turn it into a chore. Am I a horrible person for writing that?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Bean Bags

Thanks to my dear friend Jayna, I was able to get G's Christmas present completed. She not only gave me all the wonderful fabric but also let me borrow her sewing machine. My sewing machine is not working properly and makes hand sewing seem like a valid option, while her machine is like a walk on the beach. I do see a new sewing machine in my future, hopefully not the distant future.

I hope G likes these! (Please ignore the dirty table and random threads that haven't been cut.)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Yarn Snowballs - Tutorial

Crafts keep me up at night. I lay in bed and occasionally I come up with a good idea. This may be one of them - yarn snowballs. 
You will need:
  • Cotton yarn, I tried acrylic but they didn't get hard enough
  • Balloons, I used the smallest ones I could find
  • Vaseline
  • Water
  • Elmer's Glue
  • Glitter
  • Clothes hanger
  • Needle and thread
  • Spray acrylic
  • Bag
Get started:
Step 1: Blow up balloons. I put too much air in some of mine and the end result is a yarn ball that looks like a balloon.

Step 2: Cover balloon in a thin layer of Vaseline. This isn't as messy as I thought it would be and my Little Man was able to help out with this step.

Step 3: Soak yarn in a water and glue mixture. I did 75% glue / 25% water. I used about 6 yards for one small balloon but think if I make these again I will try about 9 to 10 yards. 

Step 4: After you have the balloon covered with yarn, run some thread through the tied off portion and hang it on a clothes hanger to dry. It took mine about 12 hours to completely dry.

Step 5: Once balloon is dry, pop balloon and gingerly pull it out. I then threaded a piece of the matching yarn through the ball and sprayed it with some clear spray acrylic. This really smells so please do it outside.

Step 6: Place yarn ball in bag and go crazy with the glitter.

Step 7: Pull yarn ball out and admire your handy work. Hang in desired spot. They will still stink but by this time you might be enjoying that part.

I hung mine on my dining room light fixture. If I was better at making ribbon bows I would have attached them that way.

Here is my original acrylic yarn test. Too soft, but looks nice here on this light fixture. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Wreaths, Wreaths, Wreaths

Last night I hosted Cocktails and Crafts - Wreath Addition and it was a blast. Unlike previous Cocktails and Crafts, we crafted at night when the children should be asleep. I liked the change but the kids didn't get the memo that it was bed time until everyone had left.

The drink was a homemade hot chocolate, with or without amaretto. 
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • whipped cream
  • one shot of amaretto
Mix the cocoa powder and sugar and then slowly add the milk and stir until smooth. Heat to desired temperature, being careful not to let it boil. Add a shot of amaretto and top with whip cream. Yum!

Crafters brought whatever kind of wreath they wanted to make. We had a yarn, a grapevine and an evergreen wreath. I attempted the yarn wreath and before everyone got there I thought it would be a good idea to wrap my wreath prior to my guests arrival. I am glad I did, it too me over an hour to cover that sucker.

Everyone brought whatever they wanted to embellish their wreath and we heated up the glue guns. It was a pretty quick craft and some of us are a bit more skilled in the art of wreath making than others but for a first attempt I love mine.
Beautiful Grapevine Wreath
Evergreen wreath made of garland.

My husband said it looks like a hemorrhoid pillow but that is not going to deter me from hanging it up on the front door all season long. I love my glitter explosion hemorrhoid pillow wreath.

Friday, December 3, 2010

An Easy Christmas Decoration

I was visiting with one of my friends this week and saw the most magnificent mason jar ever. This thing was huge (at least 5 gallons) and it was filled with Christmas lights. I tried to recreate the effect using quart size mason jars and I love how it turned out.

 To make your own take one strand of lights and fill jar. The end. Simple. Modern. Cheap.

I wish I had battery operated lights, but since I don't my strand comes out of each jar and hops into the next one. We opted for the small fake tree in the window with Destructo Baby on the loose but I love the way a fresh cut tree smells so I might see what the jars looks like with some evergreens around it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Stegosaurus Dinosaur Hat

Introducing (drum roll please) the first crochet pattern I designed - The Stegosaurus Dinosaur Hat!

Since this is my first pattern, please let me know if you see any mistakes or have any questions. My Little Man loves his new hat, at least that is what I think all that roaring is about.

Click here to download the pattern.  You can also find it on Ravelry.

Creative Commons License
Stegosaurus Dinosaur Hat by Sarah Boccolucci is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Love this free pattern? Consider donating via PayPal to keep 'em coming.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sour Cream Cake With Coconut Frosting

I'm back! My loving husband gave me my Christmas present early because he knew I was spiraling into a camera-less funk. He got me the Canon T2i which takes terrific low light photographs. To celebrate I baked this cake, well not really, it is for my father-in-law's birthday today but it can do double duty.

The pictures above are from Baby Girl helping herself while I tried to take a photograph.

I had left over coconut from my Thanksgiving coconut cream pies so rather than have the coconut sit in the cupboard until next coconut cream pie I decided to make a sour cream cake with coconut frosting. I picked the sour cream cake because I had all the ingredients and we pretty much have no food in my house after the holiday and then a couple days of food poisoning and a sick baby.

Sour Cream Cake
  • 1 3/4 cup flour - called for cake flour but I just used regular.
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 egg whites
Baby Girl begging for more coconut!
  1. Preheat oven 375 degrees 
  2. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder
  3. Whip egg whites until stiff but not dry, put in separate bowl 
  4. Cream butter until soft and gradually add sifted sugar and cream until light
  5. Beat in eggs yolks and vanilla
  6. Add the sifted flour mixture to the butter mixture and add the sour cream. Stir the batter until smooth
  7. Fold in egg whites 
  8. Bake in greased and flour pans for about 25 minutes
I frosted with some store bought vanilla frosting and then covered with shredded coconut! I love this technique because it is quick and hides any less-than-perfect frosting application, which is clearly not an issue for me but I am just saying...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Felt Birds

First of all let me say that I know these photos blow. I am still without my nice camera and feel like my arm is missing. That being said, please ignore the blurry shots and just appreciate the cheap and easy craft.

We love the felt birds that we saw on Purl Bee. Their kits sells for $45.00, you read that right $45.00, not $4.50 but $45.00! Sure we used the cheapo polyester felt from the craft store and our total came to more like $1.00 per bird. Love that!

Here is what you need for one bird:
  • 1 sheet of white/cream felt
  • 1 sheet of colored felt
  • Coordinating embroidery floss
  • Ribbon
  • Scissors
  • Template
  •  2 Pins
  • Needle
The cocktail for the day was a nice bottle of champagne - cause we are fancy like that.

Step 1:
Cut two bird bodies out of the white felt following the template. Then cut out two birds with the colored felt staying a little bit outside of the template so you get a nice overhang.

Step 2: Cut wings out of colored and white felt and sew them to the white layer.

Step 3: Cut your ribbon to desired length and sew that in between the colored layers.

Step 4: Using a running stitch, embroider around the birds body. The tail is split, which I don't have a good picture so you will just have to trust me. As you embroider you will split the colored section apart at the tail. Make sense?

Step 5: Pour yourself another glass of champagne cause your are done!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My New Alarm Clock

pitter patter whoosh pitter patter whoosh
Is that what I think it is? My fears are confirmed as I hear the child gate opening...
"Mom, get up. Mom, the suns up. Mom, are you awake now?" Imagine that mantra repeating over and over again until I am standing up straight on two feet.

This is how I wake up every morning since my son has learned he can get out of his big boy bed and is allowed to do so once the sun is up. Lately I have been getting up around 4:30 - 5:00 with Baby Girl, feeding her and laying her back down right about the same time my husband's two alarm clocks go off. He is out the door by 6:00ish and then I have about an hour to try and fall back asleep before I hear the sound of feetsy pajamas across the hardwood floors.

My friend recommended getting a television for our bedroom to buy a couple more minutes in the morning to lounge in bed but I just can't. I wish our only other TV would go away, but that isn't happening anytime soon.

Another thought I like to entertain but consider more of a pipe dream than an actual option is staying up after putting Baby Girl back to bed. Think of everything I could get done! I could give meditation a shot, the house work would be done before the sun came up and dinner could be in the crock pot before 8:00 am. That just isn't going to happen people.

For now I am just going to be grateful that Little Man now comes in my bedroom to see if I am awake rather than yelling it from the couch - that phase lasted about two weeks. Not only did I benefit from the wake up yell but his little sister did too.

Maybe my morning wake up call would be easier to hear if I stopped typing this and tried going to bed earlier...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sashiko - Asa-no-ha

I was finally able to check this project off my list last night by turning my Sashiko sampler into the pillow it wanted to be. This also happens to correspond with House On Hill Road's Pillow challenge. I can't make one pillow a day but maybe I will get some craft cred for making one pillow.

This is the Asa-no-ha pattern from Purl Soho (I want to live there). I just read that that translates into Hemp Leaves. I'll just leave it at that.

I really enjoyed this embroidery/quilt (depending on who you ask) project. Very meditative and the best part is that is was just a running stitch. I am sure I didn't follow the directions on how to turn corners to avoid puckering, but once it was stuffed you can't even tell - Score!
Here is my dog looking less than enthusiastic about the pillow. She clearly doesn't have an eye for the finer things in life.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Handmade Holiday Exchange

Two of my favorite things: 
1. Handmade gifts
2. Packages in the mail
Why not combine the two?

Join me for the first annual Tots and Bottoms' Handmade Holiday Exchange so we can spread our crafty love around the country. 

To participate in Handmade Holiday Exchange and receive a handcrafted item for yourself or to give this holiday season follow these simple steps:

1. Become a follower of the Tots and Bottom's Blog and/or join us on Facebook
2. Email (TotsAndBottoms (at) Gmail.com) your address and I will send you the address of another participant
4. Create a handmade item between $5 and $20
5. Mail your creation to the address sent to you by December 18, 2010
6. You can post in the comments section what you are making if you like, but this is just good clean fun and not required

1. Please don't sign up unless you are actually going to participate because that is just sad
2. Items have to be handmade
3. I am not responsible if you do not receive an item, but still want to know
4. Non-perishable items only
5. US residents only

I would love to post pictures of what everyone is creating so please send me pictures of what you make/receive.

Help spread the word by adding the Handmade Holiday Exchange button to your blog. I wasn't able to make the picture link back to this post so don't forget to add that, or shoot me an email telling me what I am doing wrong!


Yay for handmade!

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