Sunday, January 24, 2010

Marble Painted Glass Ornaments

As promised a while ago, I'm finally posting this tutorial on marble painted glass ornaments. I can't say that I fully perfected it, so I may on occasion add new tips as I learn them.  This is a simple, elegant, and inexpensive ornament that can be given as a gift or used to add special decorative touches to your Christmas tree.  I received one of these as a gift a few years ago, and have always wondered how to make them.  Well, with a bit of googling, I found what I needed.  Here's how to do them.

 - plain glass ornaments (I like buying them on the after-christmas sales because I've seen them for as much as 70% off).
 - paints of different colors. (these cheap acrylic paints seem to work just fine and are available in many different colors.
 - small cup to hold/catch  excess paint.
 - straw (optional)
 - ribbon for finishing touches

How to:

1. Remove the metal cap of the glass ornament.

2. Add a few drops of each paint within the ornament, that you want to include.  Try dropping the paint in random locations within the glass ornament.  I used 3 - 4 drops of each of the 6 paints in the picture.

2a. This is an optional step.  As an added way of spreading the paint around, you can use a straw to blow the paint around the inside of the ornament.

3. Slowly rotate the ornament to cover the inside surface of the ornament.  You may choose to occasionally let the ornament sit for a few hours before continuing to rotate and cover the inside surface.  While you rotate the ornament, you'll begin to get more of a marbling effect on the paint.  By letting the ornament sit for a few hours here and there, you get less vertical lines when you begin to drain.

4. Once the inside surface of the ornament is completely covered in paint, you are ready to drain.  Place the ornament upside down (with the opening faced down) on a small plastic cup.  The paint will slowly drain out of the ornament and into the cup.  Allow it to dry for several days, a week to be safe.  (Seriously, it takes this long for it to fully dry).

5.  Once it's fully dry, put the metal cap back onto the ornament. Tie a ribbon on with a bow, and as a hanger for the ornament.

And that's it.  Ready for your decorating or gift giving pleasure.  Sorry it took so long to post this up. At least it's ready for next year. :-)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Jalapeno Poppers

It's been a while since I've done a food entry. :-)  These jalapeno poppers are just in time for the big game.  They're easy to make, quite versatile, freezable, and very tasty.  The greatest lesson to learn when doing these poppers is to use gloves.  Seriously, use them.  Especially when making them in bulk. I made that mistake once, then rubbed my eye... man, that stung.  So, use them.

Okay, here's the recipe... give or take some of the cheese (as I didn't measure that one).

- 2 dozen jalapeno peppers, halved and cleaned.
- 1 pkg of cream cheese
- 1 - 1.5 cups of cheddar cheese (mozzarella, or a mix of such should work fine here as well).
- 4-5 slices of bacon diced and cooked
- 1/4 cup of diced parsley
- salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder by taste.
- bread crumbs
- milk
- flour

1. Mix together the cheeses, bacon, parsley and spices.

2. Fill each jalapeno half with the cheese mixture.  Pack in the cheese mixture and make the top smooth. 

3. Bread the jalapeno poppers by first dredging them into flour, then milk, then flour, then milk, then breadcrumbs, then milk, then breadcrumbs.  Can you tell we were worried the breadcrumbs wouldn't stick to the jalapenos?  It sounds like a lot, but it works out well, with a nice layer of breadcrumbs. 

4. Once breaded, place on a cooling rack or cookie sheet, and put in the freezer. Keep them in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

5.  Set the fryer to 350 degrees F.
6.  Cook a few poppers at a time for around 4 minutes.  What I learned is that you want to remove them from the oil, just when it starts sputtering like crazy -- that means the cheese is hitting the oil.  The sputtering will only get worse as more cheese hits the oil.

That's it.  Just wait a minute or so to cool off the poppers.  Hot cheese really burns your tongue.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Easy Crocheted Charity Blanket

Late last year, I heard of a charity, called Project Night Night, thru a twitter post from a fellow crafter.  This charity put together totes of security blankets, books, and stuffed animals to be given to kids that had the misfortune of living in shelters or orphanages.  I loved the idea of giving kids a little something to hang on to.  So, I decided to make a blanket to donate it to such a worthy cause.  This blanket is a very simple design of double crochets. 10 rows of dc for each colored section.  I think it could have used another colored section, but I ran out of yarn. :(  I finished it up with a simgle crochet all the way around. I didn't get to make a tutorial on this, but I thought I'd share the blanket anyway as well as spread the word about the charity. 

If you want to help out, but do not crochet, you can sponsor a package, or even donate giftcards that have only a few bucks left. 

Friday, January 8, 2010

Reversible Square Giftbag/Purse

Happy New Year!  Thanks for being so patient with my lack of posts.  Hope this year brings you many great blessings.

A while back, my sis found came back from a shop with a cute little square bag that cinched on top.  She then tasked me with trying to figure out how to replicate it.  Anyway, I came up with this.  I think it's cute and pretty close to the original. I can see it as a nice gift bag or even a small purse. So, here's how I did it.

- 2 pieces of coordinating fabric (I used 9" x 17" but it really depends on the size of the bag you want to make)
- ribbon for the loops and ribbon to cinch the bag.
- small cardboard (depends on what size you need for the bottom)

How To:

1.  Fold one of the fabric pieces together with the right sides together (wrong-side out), and sew the edge farthest away from the fold. Repeat with the other fabric.

2.  Sew the bottom edge of the fabric (note, the importance of which edge, if the fabric has a definite direction.)

3.  Fold down the corners as show, and iron it down.  Do the same to both corners and both fabric pieces.

4.  Put the bottom sewn edge of each fabric face to face and pin together.

5.  Make a straight mark perpendicular middle sew line, where it meets from fold to fold with the length of about 4 inches. Sew on the line.  Repeat on the other side.

6. Cut a cardboard square out, about 4" x 4". (but really, cut the cardboard to the length between the sew lines as the width, and the length of the sew lines for the length of the cardboard).

7. Slide the cardboard square, in between the sew lines.

8.  Put the fabric together just past the unsewn edges of the cardboard, and sew the edge together as close to the edge as possible.. Do the same to the other unsewn edge.

When you flip over to the right side of the fabric the bottom should look like this.  Flipping on either side right side of fabric should result to the same look.


 9. Cut the 8 pieces of ribbon about 2-3" long.  These will be the loops for the bag.  It might be helpful if you fold the ribbons in half and iron them down.

10. Make 8 marks equally spaced, around the top edge of the bag. Sew each folded ribbon on the right side of one of the fabrics, with the fold of the ribbon down and using the marks as placement guidelines. (see picture)


11. Fold the top edge of both fabrics, wrong side in, about 3/4" from the edge and iron down.

12. Line up both folded edges, and pin together.

13. Sew the top edge together.


14. Thread a corresponding ribbon thru the loops.  Make a knot to tie the ribbon's ends together.  Voila, it's done.  If you have any questions feel free to comment, or email me and I'll try to answer them as I can.