Saturday, December 6, 2014

Graham Cracker Crust

This year I made three different pies for Thanksgiving. A pumpkin pie, a pecan pie, and a blueberry pie. I have yet to find the perfect, easy to follow pie crust recipe for regular pies, but I have definitely tweaked enough graham cracker pie crust recipes to find one that is just right. I like to use it for berry pies, meringue pies, cream pies, or my Key Lime Pie. It's easy, and delicious! 

Graham Cracker Crust 

Crust:
1 Package Graham Crackers
2 Tbs Sugar
1/8 tsp Salt
6 Tbs Butter

Crush graham crackers until fine. Mix in sugar and salt. (I combine them all in a large plastic bag and crush the graham crackers until there are no chunks larger than the size of a pea. You could also use a blender or food processor, if you wanted a really consistent texture.) 
Melt the butter and pour over the graham cracker crumbs, stir until moistened. Pat firmly into a 9" pie pan. 

If using for a meringue or cream pie. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. (Cover with foil if you don't want it to turn brown too quickly.) Remove from oven and cool before filling. 

If using for a berry pie or one that needs to bake for  20+ minutes, there is no need to bake the pie crust separately. Just fill the pie crust, and bake at the allotted time for the pie you are making. 

Broccoli Salad

With my Husband being a pilot, we had to postpone celebrating Thanksgiving to last Saturday. But it was fun to tweak a few recipes for Broccoli Salad into a killer one that I just couldn't resist sharing. I hope you all enjoy it as much as we did!

Broccoli Salad

3 Broccoli florets (medium) finely chopped
8 Bacon slices (crushed/finely chopped)
1/3 Cup Sunflower Seeds
1/3 Cup Dried Cranberries (low sugar)
1/3 Cup Cheese (shredded)

Dressing:
3/4 Cup Miracle Whip (mayonaise, but it has a little more kick) (If you use regular mayo, you may need to use a little more apple cider vinegar to get the right amount of zest in this dish)
2 1/2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix together broccoli, bacon, sunflower seeds, cranberries, and cheese. In a separate bowl, blend together miracle whip, apple cider vinegar, sugar, pepper, and salt. Toss dressing into the broccoli mix. Refrigerate until ready to serve, can be made the night before. Enjoy!!



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Planning Mode

Ok, so I've been a little lame lately. Being 5 months pregnant with a 21month old can take it's toll on how creative one can be. Most of my days consist of cleaning, spending time with my boy, dishes, napping, laundry, picking up toys, and I bet you guessed it, more cleaning. Ok, occasionally I/we get out of the house for some sanity, but it seems far and few between. So when I do get some free time, I usually take a nap, spend some much needed time with my angel Husband, or plan. Yay for planning! Now that baby boy is big enough that I'm feeling him move around and start to kick, I have been going crazy planning where he will be sleeping, getting our house organized for when he comes, packing hospital bags for myself, baby boy, my husband, and a care pack for my oldest.

I've also been planning for Christmas far in advance so I don't have to stress out when I'm 8-9 months pregnant, huge, and uncomfortable. It's sooo much easier to get it done with time to spare, and be able to enjoy the holidays and remember the true meaning behind it all. Thanksgiving isn't just about food, and Christmas isn't just about presents. They are about being grateful for all the bountiful blessings we have been given, spending time with loved ones, helping the needy, and rejoicing over the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. So for me, I love to get things planned, in order, made/bought, and sent a month or two ahead of time so I can not only make the holidays fun, memorable, and magical for my family, but less stressful for me too.

I've been wanting to post the things I've made for Christmas gifts, but that would give away the surprise for the ones I've made them for, so you'll just have to wait until after Christmas. But my Ultimate Pregnancy Check List is something that I thought new moms, or pregnant moms would enjoy. Let me know what you think!

Amy's Ultimate Pregnancy Check List


Amy's Ultimate Pregnancy Check List


Wish list for Mommy:
  • Breast pump
  • 6-8 bottles, nipples, and a bottle brush
  • Breast milk bottles, and freezer bags
  • Nursing pads (disposable, or washable-get 20, you will use them up quickly in the first months)
  • Lanolin cream
  • Dresser
  • Changing station
  • Changing pads (one for home, one for on the go)
  • Crib, mattress, bumpers, 3 fitted sheets
  • 3 water proof mattress pads (layer 3 under sheet, baby pee's, take sheet off with one pad, put another sheet on, and you're good to go)
  • Car seat and base (be sure to have it inspected so it is installed correctly)
  • Nursing bras (3-4)
  • Nursing nightgown(s)
  • Nursing shirts (2-3 for the first months help a bunch for when people come over)
  • Nursing cover or large receiving blanket (2, one for living room when guests pop in, and one for diaper bag for outings)
  • Toiletries (disposable underwear for first few days when flow is  really heavy, and maxi pads for the first week)
  • Witch hazel (sore? pour some onto a maxi pad, put it in the freezer, and pull out when you need one) 
  • .
  • .
  • .


Wish list for Baby:
  • Diapers (12 per day) cloth?? disposable??
  • Disposable wipes
  • Diaper rash cream
  • Vaseline!! (slather on for the first few diapers, and that sticky mess is much easier to clean off their cute little newborn bums! It also helps prevent diaper rash)
  • Rectal Thermometer
  • Gas Drops
  • Baby Tylenol (for later when teeth come in, or if baby gets a fever at some point)
  • Baby teething gel (for later when teething begins)
  • Alcohol, bandages, and q-tips for belly button
  • Baby Shampoo, cleanser, and lotion
  • Baby nail clippers and a glass* nail file (glass is much softer on the babies new fingers and nails, plus, if you're not comfortable using the clippers, the nail file is effective enough, but gentle enough to do the trick)
  • small, soft toys for baby to look at or hold
  • rattles
  • activity mat/ baby gym
  • white onesies (12-24 put under baby's clothes, to help hold in inevitable leaks and explosions. White so you don't feel bad about bleaching the heck out of them. :) )
  • hand socks/mittens for hospital so baby doesn't scratch up their cute little face
  • Winter baby - hats, socks/booties, warm blankets
  • Summer baby - summer hats, baby sun block, light blankets
  • .
  • .
  • .


To Do:
  • Make dental appointment (hormones can make cavities more prevalent, best to get checked and be safe)
  • Start taking monthly belly pictures
  • Baby budget (approx. $6,000. 3 for one time purchases, 3 for on going purchases
  • Start a routine to think about and connect with baby
  • Talk with daddy about parenting and life after baby comes
  • Track food and water intake to make sure weight gain is healthy
  • Schedule daily exercise (either personal time for pelvic tilts, squats, and stretching, or sign up for a class i.e.. prenatal yoga, water aerobics, etc...)
  • Consider a baby moon (a chance for you and your spouse to have a last hurrah before baby comes)
  • Purchase a baby book (or a few for future babies) and combine with pregnancy mementos
  • Narrow in on a few baby names
  • Go on dates!! (it's important for your and your spouse to stay close throughout the pregnancy so you can talk about life after baby, challenges that may come up, and just to let your hair down every once in a while)
  • Sign up for infant CPR and newborn-care classes
  • Tour Birth/Delivery Center(s)
  • Create a baby registry
  • Start a college/mission/marriage fund
  • Make baby shower plans
  • Send thank you notes
  • Get and test carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
  • Create a will with your spouse (nothing should happen, but it's good to know who you would like to have take care of your precious little one in case something does)
  • Talk about work plans, maternity leave and paternity leave 
  • Assemble baby gear (crib, bouncer, stroller, car seat, etc...)
  • Talk to your baby (you might not have a name picked out yet, but it's good to start a relationship now)
  • Stock up on household supplies (better to have it now, to avoid sending an already exhausted husband to the store for a late night pick up)
    • Pantry items
    • Frozen food/freezer meals
    • Toiletries, toilet paper, bathroom items
    • Cleaning supplies
    • Medicine cabinet
    • First aid/emergency kit
    • Diapers/wipes
  • Clean house, or have it cleaned
  • Baby proof and do a safety check (crawl around on your hands and knees, look for anything that could fall, get knocked down, poke or scrape easily, or entangle)
  • Ask for helpers for when baby comes
  • Get a haircut
  • Keep up on car maintenance/ fix anything if needed
  • Keep up on home maintenance/ fix anything if needed
  • Is your ring tight? (Get a larger temporary ring, or take it off. Much better to not have to get your ring cut off, or worse, have a finger amputated. Yikes!)
  • Count fetal movements daily:
    • Look at the clock and begin counting every motion your baby makes.
    • When you have counted 10 movements, not the time.
    • Generally, you should notice 10 movements in 10 minutes, although it may take longer of your child to move or for you to notice the activity. 
    • Have a little snack if you haven't noticed that much activity; then try counting again.
    • If two hours pass without 10 movements, call your practitioner, just in case.
    • Make a habit to check in regularly with your little one as your due date gets closer.
  • Find a pediatrician (talk about circumcision)
  • Write a birth plan. Discuss with your spouse about the option of cutting the umbilical cord, and circumcision. Talk about cost and coverage. Also, make a plan in for a cesarean section. I know from experience it is better to have talked about it than to go in thinking all will be fine. I had a C-section thinking that I would go all natural, talk about it, for your sake!
  • Pre-register at hospital or birthing center.
  • Sign up for breastfeeding class (knowing from experience, it is better to know before hand how a baby should latch on.)
  • Purchase a few different types of nipple shields to try at the hospital. 
  • Find out where the breastfeeding groups get together, and how often. Make sure you know where to get help if you need it! 
  • (Also know that it's not always a mother's fault that a baby is not latching correctly. My son had a tight jaw and tongue, and he also couldn't coordinate sucking, swallowing, and breathing. We had to go to a Cranial Sacral Therapist for a few months to loosen his tight jaw and tongue, but as his latch improved my flow became too fast, and he would refuse me after let down. Ultimately we chose to switch to bottle feeding after 2 1/2 months. If you want to breastfeed, do what you can to learn about it now, and make sure you have resources handy. If in the end you are not able to breastfeed, you are not alone, don't get down on yourself! Sometimes it's better for you and the baby to go to bottle feeding, that doesn't mean you are any less of a mother, or that you failed. No matter how you feed your baby, you can still be a wonderful, loving, and successful mom!)

  • Pack Hospital bags
    • Mom's Bag
      • Flip flops for shower /slippers/ no-slip socks
      • Breast pads/lanolin/nursing bra
      • Nursing pillow
      • Paperclip or bobby pin (track which side your on)
      • Empty bag and folder for items you get from hospital
      • Baby book
      • Birth plan
      • Pics of family to help through labor
      • Shampoo/ Conditioner/ Lotion/ lip balm
      • Hair bands, barrettes, pins, comb/ brush
      • Toothbrush/ toothpaste/floss
      • Deodorant
      • Makeup
      • Witch Hazel/ Disposable underwear/ Maxi pads
      • ID & insurance card(s)
      • Hot pack/ Ice pack/ Stress ball (for labor)
      • Homecoming outfit (loose)
      • Nursing nightgown (so you can be comfortable, but modest when visitors come)
      • Bellyband (no one likes to have a floppy tummy after birth)
      • Robe (Hospitals are cold, and it's nice to cover up sometimes)
      • Towel & Garbage bag for car. Lay the garbage bag over the seat and put the towel over the top. This saves you from cleaning your car if your water has already broken or if it breaks on the way to the hospital.
      • .
      • .
    • Dad's Bag
      • Change of clothes (or 2)
      • Pajamas
      • Pillow
      • Toiletries (toothbrush/toothpaste/deodorant)
      • Camera/Video Camera/ Cell phone
      • Chargers
      • Cash & change (if the hospital's cafeteria is closed, you might want something out of a vending machine)
      • Snacks/Candy/Drinks/Gum (for you and him)
      • .
      • .
    • Diaper Bag
      • Homecoming outfit (newborn if small & 0-3 if large)
      • Socks/onesies/hat/mittens
      • Diapers/wipes/sacks for dirty diapers (6 is plenty, the hospital will provide you the rest that you may need)
      • Burp cloth(s)
      • Nipple shield & lanolin
      • Pacifier & pacifier clip
      • Tissues & nose bulb (the hospital usually gives you a bulb)
      • Baby nail clippers and glass file
      • Blanket/receiving blanket
      • Toy or anything you want for hospital pictures
      • .
      • .
    • Care Pack for older children
      • If being watched at home
      • List of Emergency contacts (Hospital, parents phone numbers's, pediatrician, poison control center, etc...)
      • List of allergies and things they can have instead
      • List of foods and activities they like
      • List of daily routines (when they usually eat, any special bed-time or nap time routines or things that help them go to sleep)
      • If kids are in school, bus schedule and when they need to be dropped off and picked up, plus school lunches or home lunches
      • It never hurts to lay out an outfit or two so that it's easy to grab and go
      • .
      • .
      • If being watched at someone else's house
      • List of Emergency contacts (Hospital, parents phone numbers's, pediatrician, poison control center, etc...)
      • List of allergies and things they can have instead
      • List of foods and activities they like
      • List of daily routines (when they usually eat, any special bed-time or nap time routines or things that help them go to sleep)
      • If kids are in school, bus schedule and when they need to be dropped off and picked up, plus school lunches or home lunches
      • Clothes, underwear, socks & shoes
      • Pajamas
      • Sleeping bag(s)/blanket(s) & pillow(s)?
      • Diapers/wipes
      • A few favorite toys/books/coloring books & crayons/stuffed animal/blanket etc...
      • Toiletries (toothbrush/toothpaste/floss/shampoo/conditioner/soap/lotion etc...)
      • .

  • Know Signs of Premature Labor
    • Leaking or discharge (clear, bloody, or brown) 
    • Loss of mucus plug 
    • Contractions every 10 minutes or more.
    • Cramps with or without diarrhea
    • Pelvic Pressure (baby dropping)
    • Backache
    • WHAT TO DO
      • Lie down and relax
      • Drink water
      • Rest & wait, if symptoms don't get better in an hour, call your doctor!
      • Lay low if symptoms go away, be sure to put feet up, & talk to your doctor!
  • Know Stages of Labor
    • First Stage: Start of contractions that cause effacement and dilation of cervix. 
      • Early Labor - cervix effaces and dilates
      • Active Labor/ Transition - cervix dilates more rapidly, contractions are longer, stronger, and closer
    • Second Stage: Labor begins when fully dilated and ends with birth
    • Third Stage: Right after birth, and you deliver the placenta
  • Learn about coping with Labor pains
    • Early Labor
      • Time Contractions!
      • Take a shower or bath
      • Listen to relaxing music
      • Have a gentle massage
      • Try slow, deep breathing
      • Change positions
      • Drink water, juice or other clear liquids
      • Eat light healthy snacks
      • Apply ice packs or heat to your lower back
    • Active Labor/ Transition
      • Massage
      • Change positions - if pressure in lower back, get on all fours
      • Cool cloth on forehead/ cold pack or warm compress on back
      • Rock in rocking chair
      • Roll on birthing ball
      • Take a warm shower or bath
      • Take a walk
    • Second Stage/ Pushing Baby Out
      • Focus on the fact that the hard contractions are helping your baby move down and out with each contraction
      • Stay Positive!! You have made it this far with or without meds. You can make it one contraction at a time. Remind yourself that you are doing a great job and that the baby's arrival is near
      • Relax your upper body and focus on pushing where it counts
      • Find a comfortable birthing position: Squatting, sitting, kneeling, or hands and knees.
  • Practice relaxation and breathing techniques
  • Make a plan for when you go into labor (who will you call, where will you go, and at how long will you wait until you go to the hospital)
  • Make a list of who to contact when baby arrives w/ phone #'s &/Or e-mails. (Think about delegating to someone who would love to get the word out... i.e... your mom/mother-in-law :) )
  • Make birth announcements (paper or electronic)
  • Learn what your body will be like after birth and what you can do to prepare
  • Wash linens and just enough baby clothes for a few days. If baby is big, you may need to return some of the clothes that were given to you.
  • Do exercises that will prepare you for Delivery
  • Call insurance to find out when you can add Baby to the policy
  • Review Baby Registry
  • Review Birth Plan
  • Enjoy the last few kicks & the feeling of having baby inside of you. 
  • Do squats to prep for labor
  • Be ready for water to break/ mucus plug/ bloody show
  • Take time to rest
  • If baby is over due, try tricks to bring on Labor

I hope you like my list! I'd love to hear what you put on your list, reply or send me an e-mail about your pregnancy check lists and things that made life easier for you pre and post baby!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Key Lime Pie

I had some visitors over the other day, and their favorite pie is Key Lime Pie. I have never made it before, so I looked around for the best ever key lime pie recipes, combined a few, and came up with this. My visitors liked this pie so much they asked for my recipe! I hope you enjoy it just as much.

Crust:
1 pkg Graham crackers
2 Tbs Sugar
6 Tbs Butter
1/8 tsp Salt

Filling:
1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk (Eagles brand is best)
4 Egg Yolks
1/2 C Lime juice (Fresh or bottled 100% juice)
1/2- 1 tsp lime rind finely grated

Topping:
1-2 C Whipping Cream
2 Tbs Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1/4-1/2 C. Shredded Sweetened Coconut (optional) 

Crush graham crackers until fine, mix in sugar and salt. Melt the butter and pour over the graham cracker crumbs, stir until all crumbs are moistened. Pat firmly into a 9" pie dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. (Cover with foil if you don't want it to turn brown too quickly.) Remove from the oven and cool. Set the oven to 350 degrees.

While the crust is baking or cooling, whisk the sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks until smooth. Add lime juice and rind, whisk until smooth. Pour into pie crust, bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. When the pie is done it should jiggle a little, but still be firm. Cool to room temperature. 

Sprinkle the coconut on a baking sheet and broil for 5 minutes, just until golden. When ready to serve, whip the cream just to stiff peaks. Make sure not to whip too much, or you'll get butter. :) Whip in sugar and vanilla. If you like coconut a lot, stir coconut into the whipped cream and top each slice with a small spoonful. If you only want a hint of coconut, instead of mixing the coconut in with the whipped cream, just sprinkle a little on top of the whipped cream right before serving. 

My personal favorite is served warm with a spoonful of whipped cream and a sprinkle of coconut. 

Serve pie warm or chilled. Serves around 9 (1 inch slices). 

Friday, August 1, 2014

German Pancakes

Simple breakfast, but so delicious your family will think you spent hours making it! Great for any day, or for a special occasion. If you're going simple, serve with maple syrup, bacon, and eggs. If your going for a special occasion, dust the german pancakes with powdered sugar and serve with a fruit salad, hash browns, sausage, bacon, eggs, and maybe even a fresh homemade berry syrup/glaze. I know you'll love it, enjoy!

1/4 C. Butter
1 C. Flour
1 C. Milk
6 Eggs, beaten
1/8 tsp. Salt 
1/4 tsp. Vanilla

Heat the oven to 350. Put butter in a 9" x 13" pan, and place in the oven to melt. In a mixing bowl combine flour, milk, eggs, salt, and vanilla. Whisk together, until most of the lumps are gone. Slowly pour mixture directly over the melted butter in the baking dish. Do not stir in the butter, this is what makes the batter puff up along the sides of the baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve warm, and enjoy! 

Serves approx. 6 people. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Rainy Day

We get a lot of rain here in Georgia. So, even though it's not spring right now, I thought it would be fun to make a little Rainy Day piece. I hope you enjoy it!

Original design created by Amy Stevens 

(occasionally available for purchase on etsy-http://www.etsy.com/people/ExpressiveCreativity)


You will need:
SculpeyIII polymer clay:
Yellow                Orange
Beige                 Red
Dark Gray          Green
Blue                   Purple
2 black seed beads
Ball headed straight pin or stylus
Tin foil
Toothpicks
Clay conditioner



Boy:
1) Head - 11/16" beige ball
Nose - 1/8" beige ball
Hands - two 3/8" beige balls

Body - 7/8" yellow ball
Collar - 5/16" yellow ball
Shoes - two 5/8" yellow balls
Arms - two 21/32" yellow balls
Hat - 5/8" yellow ball (or more)

Trim - 5/16" dark gray ball (or less)
Sole of shoes- two 5/16" dark gray balls
Buttons - two 1/8" dark gray balls 




2) Body: First, create an elongated oval of foil, and cover with the 7/8" yellow ball. Flatten the bottom, tapper the top, and widen the bottom to make a slight bell shape. Flatten the top and insert a 1/2" toothpick for the head. For the trim, roll 5/16" dark gray ball (or less) into a 4" strand. Flatten to desired width (mine is approx. 3/16"), and press firmly onto the bottom of the Jacket. Connect the ends in the back, and smooth the seem. 

3) Shoes: Roll two 5/8" yellow balls into elongated oval shapes. Slightly flatten and square out the sides. Pinch the middle of each oval to make a peanut shape, with one end slightly bigger than the other. Insert a 1/4" of a toothpick into the small end of each shoe, and press firmly onto the body/jacket. For the sole of the shoes, roll two 5/16" dark gray balls into elongated ovals. Flatten to the width of the shoe, or less. Match the curvature of the sole to the shoe, and press firmly onto each shoe. Press body firmly onto a flat surface to stabilize the piece. 

4) Arms & Hands: Roll two 21/32" yellow balls into tapered logs. Bell the wider end to make room for the hands. Flatten slightly, lengthwise, onto a flat surface. Choosing a right and a left arm, curve the smaller 1/3" of the arm up for a shoulder. Press firmly onto the body/jacket. Adjust the arm to the desired position. Wash your hands to prevent mixing of colors. Roll two 3/8" beige balls into slight ovals. Flatten slightly, and press firmly onto the bell of each arm. Press hands together firmly. 

5) Collar & Head: Roll 5/16" yellow ball into a 3" long strand. Curve into the shape desired and flatten slightly to create a thin outer edge, and a thick inner edge. Press onto body. Wash your hands to prevent mixing of colors. Roll 11/16" beige ball into a slight oval shape. Press firmly onto the toothpick, pivot/swivel around the toothpick to create a solid bond between the body and the head. Roll 1/8" beige ball into an oval. Flatten slightly, and press firmly onto the middle of the head. 

6) Eyes & Mouth: Use flat headed pin to gently mark where seed beads will go on face. Place one bead on straight pin. Press surface of bead into clay, but do not let the pin touch the clay. Carefully slide pin out of bead. Use the flat end of the pin to gently push bead farther into the clay. Press the point of the pin just outside of the eye in the middle and again just above to create eyelash indents. Repeat again for the second eye. For mouth, just under the center of the nose, push the point of a pin into the clay about 1/16" in. While removing the pin, curve slightly up and to the right. 
7) Buttons: Flatten two 1/8" dark gray balls into desired width. Using the ball end of a pin or stylus, press firmly onto the body/jacket, just underneath the arms. Using the point of a pin or stylus, press 4 holes into each button. 

9) Hat: Roll a small portion of yellow clay into a slight oval, and flatten on a flat surface to create a dome for the center of the hat to rest on. Press firmly onto the head. With the remaining yellow clay, roll into an oval and flatten just enough to help it through the clay conditioner. Insert the clay widthwise into the conditioner to get as close to a circular shape as possible. Once flattened to the desired width, (mine is approx. 1/16"), press onto the top of the head/dome. Curve the front down and around the face. Gently pinch the sides to create a slight flare. Round out the back of the hat down, just past or near the center of the collar. 
Umbrella
1) 3/4" to 7/8" balls of each Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, & Purple
Dark Gray - 3/4" ball (or more)
7 toothpicks

2) Circle: On a piece of parchment paper, draw a circle approximately 4 inches in diameter. Using a pencil or pen, split the circle into 6 even segments. Form each color into a triangle. Using the circle and segments as a guide, flatten each triangle until it fits within each circle segment, without any spaces. (Be sure to wash your hands after working with each individual color, to prevent mixing colors. It is especially important when going from a dark color to a light, or vise versa.) Once each segment is complete, carefully, but firmly press each color together, smoothing out each seam, both on top and on bottom. Be careful not to blend or smear the colors. Place over your circle guide to make sure the circle is even. 

3) Support: Flatten 5/8" dark gray ball slightly, and press firmly onto the center of the umbrella. This will be the underneath part of the umbrella. Turn the umbrella over, and cut 6 toothpicks to be just 1/4" shorter than the length of each seam. Press each toothpick into the dark gray ball on the underside of the umbrella, and press up against the umbrella to make it stable. Roll a small amount of dark gray clay into a strip. Find the center of each toothpick, and place the strip across each toothpick and press into the clay on each side of the toothpick to stabilize each segment. Once the frame is stable, you can form the umbrella to your desired shape. I draped the middle of each color down between each set of toothpicks. 

4) Handle: Flatten 1/4" gray ball and Press firmly onto the center top of the umbrella. Press the last toothpick up through the bottom just enough to be stable. Don't push it too far or it will pop up through the top of the umbrella. 

5) Hole: Press the handle of the umbrella into the hands of the boy, just to where you know it will be stable to be held after baking. Remove from his hands. 

6) Bake: Follow directions on Sculpey clay packaging. (275° F (130° C) 15 min per/ 1/4" (6mm))  Cover your baking sheet with parchment paper or use a silicon sheet. And be sure to place the umbrella upside down on top of some polyester batting (quilt batting) to prevent it from collapsing or having any flat spots after baking. 
(Word to the wise: Be sure to purchase a thermometer for your oven to make sure it is at the correct temperature. Let it heat up for at least 30 minutes or longer. To test your oven, take a plain piece of clay and form a disc 1/2" wide by 1/4" tall and bake in your oven. Always open windows and turn on ventilation. It's normal to smell slight fumes, but if you begin to smell a lot of fumes, or see smoke, your oven is toooo hot! Remove it from your oven, set your oven for 10° lower, and try again with a different disc of clay. 

Also, if you are using a lighter color of clay, it has a tendency to brown or burn, so before you bake it... cover the pan with tin foil, just like you would a turkey. :) Also, once your items are done baking, turn your oven off and crack the door with a wooden spoon, but allow your pieces to cool in the oven. This will also help prevent cracking because it will let the items cool off evenly and gradually.)
Have fun!
 
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