Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Craftunity

craf•tu•ni•ty. noun \ 1. An unfavorable set of circumstances now tolerable because of craftiness. 2. An opportunity for craftiness.

Tuesday night I was coming out of the hospital (of all places) after my meditation/yoga class. I was really relaxed and feeling pretty good... and actually thinking to myself that I was really relaxed, and feeling good. I wasn't even minding the cold so much. At that exact moment I took a step, slipped on some sheer ice covering the sidewalk and fell, hitting my knee pretty badly.

After hours of waiting in the ER I left with a knee brace, some pain killers and a set of torture devices (otherwise known as crutches). I laid around yesterday in pain, annoyed that everything seemed so difficult to do with the crutches... but impossible to do without them I decided that if I was going to have to use them, I might as well make them my own.

So I broke out the Mod Podge and 2 pieces of scrapbook paper in a pattern that made me happy and went to work.

These are now more my style.

One tip though... if you are going to podge your crutches. Make sure you either work on just one at a time, or are prepared to stay put for the duration of the drying time!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss

Tomorrow is Dr. Suess's birthday and NEA's Read Across America Day.

To celebrate I made these Cat in the Hat Marshmallow pops.

A very simple no-bake treat
They really are very neat
Make them today, or make them tomorrowed,
even if the marshmallows have to be borrowed

Here's yet another peak
Now make them yourself, even it's next week!

These are very easy to make. You'll need:
  • Marshmallows
  • Confectioner's Sugar
  • Red Gel Food Coloring (available at most grocery stores)
  • Lollipop sticks
  • A paint brush used only for food
  • Parchment Paper (wax paper would do just fine as well)
  • Rolling Pin (or other heavy object)
  • Two very small bowls or tea cups
  • And a little water

You need two marshmallows per pop. Leave on whole and cut the other about 2/3 of the way down.

Stick your larger piece to the whole marshmallow using a little water. Do a bunch of those and set them aside.

Now take your small pieces of marshmallow, dip the sticky end in a little confectioners sugar so it's not sticky.

Set it between a folded piece of parchment paper and roll it out into a flat circle.

Stick this to the bottom of your stacked marshmallows. (my order went whole marshmallow, 2/3 marshmallow, flattened circle)

Now you have the basic hat shape!

Let this try for a few minutes and then put it onto a lollipop stick.

Add a drop or two of water to some red gel food coloring and paint strips three red stripes onto the sides and fill in the top with red and your done!

If you want to cut down on the food coloring just paint the stripes on the sides red and skip the top. It'll still look super cute.

Monday, February 28, 2011

A House for Leprechauns

In general Leprechauns are very clever creatures who love to collect treasure and be surrounded by nature. Some are solitary and quiet, known to be shoemakers or craftsmen. Other's love to gather together in big groups throwing parties where they dance and sing the entire night away.

There is a long history of people trying to capture leprechauns in order to get their gold or be granted the three wishes they can bestow. Because of this Leprechauns are very wary of humans and most of the time go unseen.

Some Leprechauns are very mischievous, and especially like to play tricks on humans the night before St. Patrick's Day. Other's (while still weary of humans) will show kindness towards those that bestow kindness on them- leaving these people some sort of lucky object or small treasure in return for the supplies given to them.

So in hopes of encouraging a group of nice, non-tricky leprechauns to take up residents near us I've built them a house.

This started out life as a plain wood birdhouse that I purchased at the craft store.

The individual petals of a pine cone made the perfect roof shingles.

Since leprechaun's love green, I painted most of the upper portion of the house a bright kelly color. Then filled the lower sections with small rocks.

Both the pine cones and rocks were attached with hot glue.

Once all my rocks were in place I filled in the gaps with white glue that was tinted gray using a few drops of craft paint. The final touch was to add moss between some of the rocks. This was the mister's idea and I just love how it added yet even more green and a different texture of natural material to the structure.

And a small detail, but important none the less, I painted the door knobs gold. Once finished the entire thing can get a coat or two of sealer to protect it from the elements.

Admittedly this house is a bit fussy for smaller kids to make on their own but it would be a wonderful family project. You don't even need to use hot glue- regular glue would work great the drying time would just be longer. You could also simplify this by not including the rocks (which were really the only fussy part). Or by using a simpler bird house, a flower pot, or even a milk carton as the base material of the house. You can really let your imagination run wild with this.

The night before St. Patrick's Day leave your house outside or by a window with a note to the Leprechauns. In the morning you might just find that it's disappeared and a little bit of lucky treasure has been left in it's place.

It's also fun to take a walk around and see if you can find where the leprechaun's have put their new home... if you're lucky you might just get a glimpse of it... but you'll probably never see the Leprechaun's who've taken up residence inside.

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