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 Series - Wishlist for Mommy





Wish list for Mommy:

If you want to breastfeed and/or pump:
  • Breast pump
  • 6-8 bottles, nipples, and a bottle brush
  • Breast milk bottles, and freezer bags
  • Disposable or washable Nursing pads (get 20 if you choose washable, you’ll go through them a lot in the first few months. If you soak through them in seconds, you might want to consider disposable, at least until your supply evens out)
  • Lanolin cream or Nipple cream (you might want to try a few different ones)
  • Buy a few different types of nipple shields (In case you have problems with latch or your nipples get sore, it’s nice to have a few to try. Some work better than others, and baby may favor one over the other)

If you want to bottle feed:
  • 3-4 different types of formula to try (if your baby is sensitive to formula, like my little guys, it’s reassuring to have a few on hand so you don’t have to rush to the store at an unearthly hour. You can get free samples from different suppliers, this is the best way to go!)
  • 6-8 bottles, nipples, and a bottle brush

Things to make your life easier:
  • Bellyband (It  helps make your jeans last longer as your belly grows. It’s great right after the baby is born. I mean, no one likes to have a floppy tummy after birth, right? And it helps you fit back into your jeans when your belly shrinks after a month or two.)
  • Nursing bras (3-4)
  • Nursing nightgown / sleepwear
  • 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)
  • Disposable underwear (If you have a Cesarean, you won’t need these. Just leave them in the package and return them if you don’t need them. I found them really useful for the first few days when flow is really heavy, especially at night.)
  • Maxi pads (for the first week).
  • Witch hazel (If you pour some onto a maxi pad and put it in the freezer, you can grab one when you're stitches get sore, or if you're just achy down there)
     
    Free Printable: Wishlist for Mommy

    Next in Series: Wishlist for 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!

Savory Glazed Carrots

Having a little one that is picky about vegetables can be tricky. I found a recipe off of the food network, changed it slightly, and they turned out beautifully. I fed these to my son, and he just gobbled them up! I hope you enjoy them as much as my son did. 



1/2 C. Water
1/2 C. Chicken broth
1 Tbsp. Butter
1 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt 
1 tsp. dried parsley
4-5 Large Carrots
Salt & Pepper to taste



In a small skillet, combine water, broth, butter, brown sugar, salt, and parsley. Turn on medium heat. While broth comes to a light boil, cut carrots into small circles. Add Carrots, cover and simmer over low heat, just until tender. Approximately 5-6 minutes. 

Uncover the pan, add salt and pepper to taste and reduce the liquid to a glaze, about another 3-5 minutes. Serve warm, and enjoy! 

Serves 3-4 people. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Easter Instructions are Done

Just giving you a little update on the Easter Bunny, Chick, and Basket. All instructions are finally up, and available for those of you who want to make it. You can visit the post here:

Easter Bunny, Chick, and Basket

I hope the instructions are helpful, and that you enjoy making this adorable Easter decoration.

Come back soon to see what's new!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

I'm Getting a Camera!

For all of you who have been waiting so patiently to find out what I'm working on, I have to tell you the main reason why you have not seen anything for quite some time .... I don't have a camera.

Gasp!

I know. You're wondering how I've been taking pictures, well, I've been using my computer's video cam, and my Husbands iPad, Haha! But not for much longer! My wonderful Husband has purchased a good DSLR, and we should be getting it soon. So bear with me while I get used to the new camera and get ready to see a lot more from me in the coming weeks.

Until then, keep being creative, and have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Easter Bunny, Chick, and Basket

Original design created by Amy Stevens 

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


You will need:
SculpeyIII polymer clay:
Gray                 White 
Pink                  Brown               
Green               Yellow               
Orange
any other colors you want for your eggs
4 black seed beads
Ball headed straight pin or stylus
Tin foil
Toothpicks
Clay extruder
Clay conditioner

Bunny
1) First, combine 1/2 gray and 1/2 white for the desired shade of gray. 
Head - 9/16" gray ball
Cheeks - two 1/8" white balls
Nose - 1/8" pink ball (or less)
Ears - two 3/8" gray balls and two 7/32" white balls 
Body - 13/16" gray ball
Tummy - 1/4" white ball (or less)
Feet - two 1/2" gray balls
Pads of feet - six 3/32" white balls and two 1/8" white balls
Arms - two 13/32" gray balls
Tail - 5/16" white ball
Egg - 5/32" ball (color(s) of choice)

2) Body: Roll 13/16" gray ball into a rounded, slightly teardrop shape. Flatten the bottom slightly. Roll 1/4" white ball into slightly tapered oval, flatten and press onto front of the body. Press a toothpick into the top for the head. 

3) Feet: Roll two 1/2" gray balls into rounded teardrop shapes. Slightly flatten and square out the sides and indent the bottom of each foot. Press firmly onto the body. Roll two 1/8" white balls into rounded teardrop shapes. Slightly flatten and press onto the center of each foot. Slightly flatten each 3/32" white ball and place three on each foot, just above the center. 

4) Arms: Roll two 13/32" gray balls into tapered logs. Press firmly onto body. 

5) Head: Roll 9/16" gray ball into an teardrop. Flatten slightly to create a very slight triangle shape. Press head onto toothpick and gently wiggle/pivot around the toothpick onto the body to create a bond between the two. Flatten the two 1/8" white balls and press onto the face to make the cheeks. Using the pin, press three indents not each cheek for the whiskers. Flatten 1/8" pink ball, and press the sides to make a rounded triangle shape. Press firmly onto the face, point down, just over the center of the cheeks.

6) Tail: Slightly flatten 5/16" white ball into a flat surface and press one side up gently, creating a slight uplift for the bottom of the tail. Press tail firmly onto body, and round out any edges. 

7) Ears: Roll two 3/8" gray balls into long rounded teardrops. Press lengthwise into a flat surface, and pinch slightly to create a slight triangle shape. Use stylus, or ball end of pin, to create an indent for hollow of ear. Roll 7/32" white balls into a log and press into the hollow. Once again, use the stylus, or ball end of pin to create a slight indent in the ear. Flatten edges along hollow of the ear for an even edge. For upright ear, press firmly on the head, and gently curve the ear (sideways) toward the top of the head. For floppy ear, create an indent or crease on the inside of the ear, gently fold the ear over, and press firmly on the the head.

9) Eyes: 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. For eyebrows make three slightly slanted indents just above  the eye. Repeat again for the second eye. 
Basket
1) First, take enough foil to make a cube 1/2" x 1/2" x 3/4". Press enough green clay around the cube so no foil is showing (approx. 1/16-1/8" thick.) Save block for inside of basket to support the weave. 
Basket Weave, Rim, & Braided Handle - 5/8" brown ball (or more)
Grass - 3/8" green ball (or less)
Assorted colors - 5/32" balls. Divide balls in half and mix two different colors together to the desired color or design. Make 15 - 20 depending on your preference.  

2) Basket Weave: Roll a brown ball into a log, and flatten just enough to help it through the clay conditioner. Continue to press the sheet through the clay conditioner to the desired thickness (mine was approx. 1/16" thick). Using a straight edge and a sharp knife or point of a stylus, cut strips about 4" long and 1/4" wide. Start with four strips, and begin weaving until you have four strips across, and three strips down. Place your green block on top of your weave, and begin weaving the strips up along the block until you reach the top (3 more strips). Press the weave onto the block, and cut the edges down to the edge. 

2) Rim: Roll a brown ball into a long log. Press firmly along the edge ore the basket, rounding the corners. Press the edges together along the back of the basket, and smooth so there are no seams. 
3) Braided Handle: Roll three brown balls into long thin strands. Press the three strands together and braid tightly, when done, pinch the ends so it doesn't unravel (it shouldn't but it could). Press braid onto a flat surface to the desired thickness (mine is approx. 1/8"). Cut of the ends to achieve your desired length (mine is approx. 2 1/4"). Attach ends of braid to the inside of the basket. Press firmly to ensure it doesn't pop off after baking. 

4) Grass & Eggs: Prepare the clay extruder for your grass. Pick an insert that has holes that are roughly 1/32" or slightly smaller. Make sure the extruder is clean from any prior use to prevent mixing of colors. Roll 1 1/2" gray ball into a log just thin enough to fit into the clay extruder. Press the clay through the clay extruder. Once you have your long strands, use a pin or straight edge to cut the strands to various sizes in groups of 2, 3, or 4, and press into the basket. Once the outside edges of the basket have your desired amount of grass, begin placing eggs into the basket. You can add more grass if needed as you put your eggs in, to fill in any spaces or add more character to the basket. Feel free to curl some of the strands of grass down and out of the basket, while leaving some up, or curled into the basket. 

Chick
1) Head/Body - 1/2" yellow ball
Wings - 1/4" yellow ball
Feet - two 7/32" orange balls
Beak - 3/32" orange ball

2) Head/Body: Roll 1/2" yellow ball into an oval, with a slight teardrop. Take the small end (tail) and press at an angle on a flat surface to push the tail out and away from the tummy. Press gently along the back to make a gentle curve. Taper the top (head) slightly to distinguish between the head and the body. 

3) Wings: Roll two 1/4" yellow balls into tapered teardrops. Press the teardrop onto a flat surface, lengthwise, and curve the small end up toward the large end sidewise. Make sure to curve each wing in different directions, otherwise, you will have two left or two right wings, instead of one of each. :) Press firmly onto the body. 

4) Feet: Roll two 7/32" orange balls into a rounded triangle. Flatten the triangle slightly. Cut two small triangles out from each foot, to create the toes, and smooth the edges gently. Press firmly onto body. 

5) Beak: Roll 3/32" orange ball into rounded triangle shape. Flatten the rounded edge onto a flat surface. Press firmly onto the head, and flatten the beak to the desired shape. 

9) Eyes: 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. For eyebrows make three slightly slanted indents just above  the eye. Repeat again for the second eye. 
10) Bake: Follow directions on Sculpey clay packaging. (275° F (130° C) 15 min per/ 1/4" (6mm))
(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!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Make-up Magnet Board

So, since I've been working on getting my home organized and beautified I haven't had much time to make projects. But I thought I'd mix it up and share a simple but pretty way to get your make-up off your counters and out of your draws with a simple magnet board.

All you need:
14x14" piece of fabric
12x12" piece of galvanized metal
String and/or Ribbon
Elmer's glue
Super glue
Strong Magnets
Make-up articles
(or whatever you want to put on the board)

Iron your fabric so there won't be wrinkles. Place your fabric right side down on a table, and place your metal in the middle. Generously spread 1/2" of Elmer's glue (super glue doesn't work on fabric) on one edge of the metal. Fold the fabric over the side and press on to the glue.

I spread the glue around after I pressed the fabric onto it to make sure it was even, and get rid of any bumps. I also used the magnets to keep the fabric from moving, just make sure if you do, that the magnet isn't touching any glue or wet fabric. Unless you want to make it a permanent fixture. :)

After that is dry, do the opposite side. Try to pull the fabric a little taught. (This is where the magnets come in handy.)

Once the second side is dry, move on to the next two sides. I just did both at the same time because I knew the fabric wasn't going to move.

If you have enough magnets you could probably do all sides at once, but it may make it hard when you pull the fabric tight.

Next, I carefully put super glue on the magnets and glued them to my make-up articles. I used super glue because my magnets are really strong & if the glue isn't strong enough the magnet will just pop right off and stick to board. (By the way, if you get super glue on you, just use fingernail polish remover with acetone and it will come right off.)

I have a bag that holds all of my brushes and small items. I didn't glue this one, I just placed the magnet on the inside of the bag.

When everything is ready to put on the wall, tie a loop on both ends of your string or ribbon. Loop it around opposite corners, and you're ready to put it on the wall.

This is a fun and easy way to keep your make-up out of the way, easily accessible, and organized.

Enjoy!


Monday, February 17, 2014

Sculpting Tips

As I'm getting back into the swing of things I figured I would mention a few tips and tricks for when you start making your own creations. I will continue updating this post as I find out new things and have pictures to illustrate what I mean.

1. Never bake polymer clay at a higher temperature than what is recommended on the package. If you  do you will burn the clay and it will emit a toxic gas. You might even get brown or blackened spots or even cracks on your piece. I suggest getting an oven thermometer and check your oven temperature before you bake each item. Sometimes even the weather can alter temperatures. Or you could just have an unreliable oven like I do. :)

2. If you want to have a larger sculpture, but are worried about cracks, or uneven baking, use tin foil!
Roll the tin foil tightly into a slightly smaller shape than you want it to be when you are finished. Cover the tin foil with 1/8-1/4" thickness all around it. This is a great way to cut back on the amount of product you use, make the piece lighter in weight, and prevent cracks in your clay after baking.

3. If your clay is hard for you to handle, you will want to condition it by running it through a conditioning roller, working it in your hands until it's supple, or microwaving it for 5 to 10 seconds. Personally, I don't like using the microwave. I like using the conditioning roller because it saves my hands, and it does the job nicely. Try them out yourself, and let me know what you think.

4. When joining two pieces of clay together always swivel the joint back and forth enough to make a really good seal. If you don't it will just pop either in the baking process or afterwards, and then you'll have to use a glue to replace the part. Just sayin', it's a pain. Try to avoid it if you can.

5. When trying to make a facial feature that is indented, instead of starting on the head itself, practice on a scrap piece of clay first until you are comfortable with what you are doing. It's much easier to do it once on the final piece than trying to smooth it out 3-4 times before you get it right, smudging what you'd done prior to that in the process. Trust me. :)

I hope these are as helpful to you as they are to me. I'd love to hear from you about your experiences, tips and tricks too. I'll keep you updated if I learn anything new. Have fun, and check back soon for my next creation.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

On the upturn!!

Hey everyone! After a very long haul, we have gone between North Carolina, Idaho, California, and are finally going to be settling in Georgia within two weeks. Yay!!! Once we get all of our things moved in, and start unpacking you should begin seeing more from me. I'm sorry it's been such a long time, but I'm getting excited to start sharing new things with all of you. Check back in two weeks to see my latest creation.
 
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