I have mentioned here before that I was inspired to start this blog after admiring the blog of a friend – Twinterest, the pinteresting adventures of two twins and a little lady. I loved the fact that these two motivated young women set themselves a goal and then went about sharing their adventure with the world in an entertaining and informative format. I am always suitably impressed with their clever creations and yummy looking baked treats. ‘How nice’ I think every time I see their beautiful mantle piece with their hand crafted seasonal decorations of paper leaves and gold painted spotty pumpkins in autumn, or Christmas trees made of old books and lovely felt tree ornaments or mobiles made from discarded jewelery or baby clothes from re-purposed t-shirts. What beautiful, stimulating and artistic lives these ladies are creating for themselves and their loved ones, like I said, it is inspiring.
I do not begrudge either of them their crafting prowess but being Kiwi girls by origin I am sure they can appreciate my envy that they are able to indulge in the traditional crafts the seasons bring without their efforts looking just slightly ludicrous. Having Halloween in spring makes pumpkin carving an expensive affair and christmas in summer makes holly wreaths and snow painted windows a bit ridiculous and chestnuts roasting on an open fire? Not unless you feel like sweating buckets or potentially burning down your neighbourhood in drought season. Sure we have Christmas traditions here too like Pohutakawa, Pavlova, bar-b-ques, lawn cricket and camping, and I guess I could carve pumpkins in our autumn but I can just see how the discussion with my husband would go…
Him: “what are you doing?”
Me: “carving pumpkins”
Me: “to celebrate”
Him: “celebrate what?”
Me: “Um, Autumn?”
Me: “I just wanted to ok?”
Him: “but you hate pumpkin”
Me: “leave me alone”
It’s not worth it. Sometimes I just think it would be nice to share in the traditions of the majority of the rest of the world at the same time as they are doing it. It’s not that we can’t, it just seems the timing is wrong.
Anyway when I started this blog I stated my intention to attempt to complete a craft project every month and so far, for the whole month and a bit that I have been doing this, I have managed it, even finishing more than one project. You have seen my present for my sister in Katie’s Gift and my card and cake for my Sunshine’s 1st birthday too. I must say I am a bit of a dab hand when it comes to gluing a few pieces of paper together! Here is the Mother’s Day card I made for my mum earlier this month:
as you can see I am not to shabby with a pen in my hand either, as not having the right shade of red paper for the chicken’s comb and beak, or brown for her eggs, I drew what I needed instead. I gave her 3 Pullets (baby chickens) for Mother’s Day if you were wondering about the odd choice of card.
Not all of my attempts however have been so successful. I had intended to hide these not-so-hot creations of mine but goaded on by a fun site by the name of Pinstrosity (if you haven’t yet you should check it out, it is good for a commiserative giggle when your own projects don’t go so well) I decided to share my own Pinteresting Misadventures and show that not all is hunky dory in my little corner of creation…
For Mother’s Day this year (I will post later on the fiasco that was my day) I was given a fun little gadget that I have been coveting for quite a while. I don’t know if you have ever used a cookie press but to me they seemed like a great little invention for creating uniformly gorgeous bite sized bikkies. Perfect when you have two small people wanting your attention, there is no time for rolling dough and using cookie cutters. Well so I thought anyway! Here is a bit of a photo journal of my attempt at pressing cookies.
First – my inspiration, direct from Pinterest and the recipe from the indomitable Martha Stewart’s own website
Martha Stewart Living, December/January 1999
Yield Makes 2 dozen to 3 dozen cookies
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
3 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Colored sanding sugar
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, flour, salt, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly.
2. Fill a cookie press with the dough, and turn out cookies 1 to 2 inches apart onto an unbuttered baking sheet. Sprinkle cookies with colored sanding sugars.
3. Bake until the cookies are lightly browned, 7 to 10 minutes. To ensure even baking, rotate sheet halfway through the baking process. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool.
Ok so here I am set up to be getting on with business
I would like to be able to say here that I followed the recipe to the letter but as I am incapable of leaving well-enough alone, true to form, I fiddled with the recipe just a bit. I swapped a tablespoon of the flour for a tablespoon of ground ginger, that shouldn’t make any difference should it? Well the mix didn’t look too promising
but I persevered, and after a bit of kneading the mix came together. I loaded some into the press and despite the fact that the end came off a few times and the press bit me I attempted to lay out the first batch.
hmm. Now I may be a traditionalist here and I know it was only a small cut but I don’t think bleeding should be a requirement of successful baking. It is already a long standing joke in our household that if I burn myself the dinner will taste good. I am not keen to add bleeding to the list of my regular cooking mishaps. Anyway wonky as they were I went ahead and baked them anyway.
Ok so they were pretty much as expected and as varied coming out of the oven as they had been going in. I made a reasonably educated guess that the mix was too dry/thick for the press and this was what caused the end to keep popping off. I added some milk to the remaining mix and with a few trials I managed to create these (considerably more impressive) before and afters
So this project wasn’t a complete disaster but it sure took some work to get it right. What was supposed to be a quick 20 minute baking session turned into 2 hours of frustration. At least they were yummy, so delicious in fact that despite putting a full cookie tin in the cupboard that night I woke to find only 6 left. Action Man got hungry in the night and just couldn’t help helping himself it seems. Oh well.
Want more? Well this is my activities of last night…
Inspired by the so-far successful albeit slow work I have been doing on my lanterns I decided to see what I could do with the jars I have left over. I am working on a matching set of 12 but have ordered 24 candles so I figured I would make another set of 12 in a different style. A bit of research on Pinterest yielded these gems
so following the instructions on this lovely blog, Small Life, Slow Life I set about colouring some of my left over jars. Now I only did a few to start as I only have the satin finish Mod Podge and the instructions called for the gloss finish so I wasn’t sure it would work. This time I did follow the instructions as written as this is a totally new craft for me and I was opening my precious jar of Mod Podge for the first time and boy that stuff is expensive here! Here are my first and second batches. The second was done with a heap more food colouring as I wasn’t completely happy with the first lot. I wanted them quite bright and although they were pretty the pale colours weren’t quite what I was after. They look quite nice at first glance though don’t they?
Keep in mind though this is a misadventures post and have a closer look…
not quite so pretty close up. Even worse though was my brainwave that maybe I could re-coat one of the pale ones to get a deeper colour. Ha ha, yeah, apparently not.
I imagine this result might look similar to the aftermath of a smurf spending the night partying on creme-de-menth.
Here is the clean up job too
of course none of this shows you the spectacular shade of blue I managed to stain two of my fingers nor the enormous dollop of green goop I slopped down my front as I was doing it. I do intend to use the jars anyway, the supplies I used for them are just too darn valuable to throw them away (it took me almost a year to collect those 24 jars) and I am hoping that once they are fully decorated their flaws won’t be so noticeable – or at least will make them delightfully individual, just like their creator, he he.