Monday, August 27, 2012

Testing the Pencil idea

When I went to the paper store to buy a light weight paper (printed cardstock is too stiff), the sales woman questioned the validity of my idea- “who would want to spend time covering pencils in paper?”
Previously I'd bought some pencils at Anthropologie but they lack erasers and if you have to use a pencil (homework anyone?)– why not have it be really pretty or funny or delightful to use? I explained to her. How hard could it be to make my own?
I wanted to know-being a glue fanatic and all. I nixed the idea of using my Xyron which could do the job so easily and instead decided to try a glue (so if my friend Jodi wants to try it, she won’t say she doesn’t have a Xyron- just not enough time).
I found origami paper to be the perfect weight paper for wrapping around the pencils.
Here is what I’ve figured out:
Glue stick alone doesn’t hold.

Glue stick and Mod Podge – gets wrinkly. 

Mod Podge is fine but is messy and – well it’s messy.

Crafters Pick glue (a favorite glue for attaching everything to everything) –applied to the paper and the pencil separately, allowed to dry and then paper added the pencil (it’s like a nontoxic rubber cement) works great.

But the best is double sided tape- fast, easy, inexpensive, clean!

Regardless-the paper on the sharpened point rips a little – even on the pencils from Anthropologie.
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Washi Tape Covered Tapered Candles

Incredibly easy.
Washi tape covered tapers.

Often when people ask me what I do exactly-I give them my elevator explanation: I design, develop and craft projects for children and their families, often taking the projects to “finish” for publication. It’s a fancy way of saying I make stuff. Sometimes I’m asked to reverse engineer things, add a spin or change a material or a process, make it “original and new”; what my husband calls – making a better mousetrap. He says the mousetrap is perfect-very hard to improve on its design. But still I try. Try to make a better design. New, different, original. 

So easy. Not.

In August I work on Christmas things and try think of-“gifts kids can make” and often I miss the mark (too hard, dangerous, adult, easy, childish etc.)- but in the meantime I get to make things that I really like – in concept.
My head is bulging with ideas of what to do with my pak-roll of washi tape that I bought for myself from Happy Tape
One of the things I wanted to try was covering candle tapers with the washi tape- I’ve seen cans, glass, - even candle pillars with washi tape but I haven’t seen any tapered candles. Maybe, I think - This is my new mouse trap!?

I tested the big question- does the tape burn?

Yes, while the tape burned- it was just a little - then- it stopped. While I would never leave a candle unattended and I don’t think you should either- the tape was a pretty addition and it burned itself out with the melting wax.

I think I might make more and bring them as a hostess present to a party this weekend. I bought a box of white tapers from IKEA so I'm ready to make bunch. 

I tried burning the tapers all the way down- the melted wax puddles in the paper tape until the paper burns, then the wax comes shooting out- all over the table. We've taken to putting ours on little plates.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Frozen Chocolate Banana Pops

Frozen Chocolate Banana Pops

We're addicted to frozen bananas right now. I've made frozen banana ice cream before for work and it was delicious (and healthy) but frozen bananas dipped in chocolate are a treat... and an activity and we pretend they're healthy.

Popsicle sticks
12 oz. (2 cups) Nestle chocolate chips
2 Tbs.vegetable oil
Granola, Cheerios, marshmallows, mini M&M's, white chocolate chips,caramel corn, sprinkles,crushed nuts and so on....

Leaving the banana peel on, cut the ends off the banana, then cut it in half.
Insert a popsicle stick into bottom of each banana half, then remove the peel!  (This helps to avoid banana splitting).

Set the bananas on a parchment or wax paper covered tray. 
Freeze the bananas 1 to 3 hours.


Place the toppings in small bowls and plates so they're ready to be rolled in.
Melt the chocolate chips and oil in a double boiler or in a glass microwave safe container in 30 then 10 seconds blasts in the microwave.
Stir until smooth then pour the chocolate into a slender container leaving enough room at the top for the displacement of the banana.

Working with one banana at a time, remove the banana pop from the freezer and dip it into the warm chocolate, then roll it in the toppings and return it to the freezer.

The chocolate will harden very quickly on the frozen banana.
Add more chocolate to the container as needed.

Some other things we tried- cutting the bananas smaller and spearing them sideways (major splitting).
Just cutting the bananas smaller-banana bites.

We also tried a whole banana but - as it thaws it droops and gets very messy - so stick to half a banana.