Monthly Archives: June 2012

Day 24: Buttermilk Lace Pancakes

This post has a recipe for delicious buttermilk pancakes from Noreen at Picture the Recipe.  You can make these in the traditional round pancake shape or follow the technique also shown on Picture the Recipe (and plenty of other sites) and make them into lace pancakes.  The technique would work with other pancake batter (including Bisquick) but this recipe makes such good pancakes, I recommend using it.

I made these in our new pan from Ikea but it would be easier making them on a griddle.  The edge of the pan made flipping them a little bit tricky.

Once you make up the pancake batter…

Pour it into a squeeze bottle.

Spoon the batter into a glass measuring cup and then pour it into the bottle.  It is thick batter so I ended up with some on the outside of the bottle but it was easy to scrape back into the bowl.  I cut off a little bit of the tip of my squeeze bottle so the hole would be larger for the batter to come out.  Other sites suggest putting the batter into a large Ziploc bag and, after squeezing out excess air and zipping the bag closed, snipping a small hole from one corner.  I haven’t done that and imagine it would be a little more difficult to control than a squeeze bottle, but I think it would work.

Set the temperature for your burner or griddle on medium-high heat.

Update: I read on Not Martha, on her great post about making Flower Pancakes, to turn the heat down a notch to allow time to draw the batter into a fancy shape.  Great tip!

Once your pan is hot, spray it with nonstick spray and squeeze your design out onto the pan or griddle.  Do the outline first and any dots or frills around the edge, than add loops, flowers, squiggles, lines or zigzags to fill in the rest of the space, making sure you have all the parts of a particular pancake connected with lines of batter for structural integrity.

Carefully flip your lace pancake and brown the other side. Serve with fresh fruit, syrup, powdered sugar or whatever toppings you like.

We had them for Sunday Lunch but they would be wonderful for a romantic Valentine’s Day breakfast or a pretty Mother’s Day treat.

Buttermilk Lace Pancakes

Adapted from Picture the Recipe

Combine dry ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

5 Tbsp. sugar

In a separate bowl combine wet ingredients:

2 eggs

2 cups buttermilk

5 Tbsp. melted butter

Pour the dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients and combine but don’t over mix.  There should be some lumps in the batter.   Cook on griddle over medium high heat.  Spray griddle with nonstick spray before pouring batter.  A 1/4 cup measuring cup is a good scoop if you are cooking traditional, round pancakes.  Cook until top has bubbled and bubbles have popped, flip the cakes and cook the other side until golden brown.  Serve and enjoy.

Fresh fruit from the Farmer’s Market made a delicious topping, dusted with powdered sugar.

I had a break for project #24 last year: Gnome made some cute file folders out of old calendar pages.

Thanks for the visit.

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Day 23: Crepe Paper Flower

This is another Pinterest find.  I had printed out these picture to use while making this over at my mom’s house today, but managed to cut it off without the last two photos in the little photo tutorial.  I didn’t realize that until just now when I went to add the link.  I see that I should have added two more petals: I’ll do that for one of the later pictures.

It isn’t hard and it doesn’t take that long, but I wasn’t sure if I’d bother to make this again to top a gift.  However, looking at the photos I see what captured my eye the first time I saw it on Pinterest.  The texture of the crepe paper and the ruffle-like quality really has a beautiful, flowery appeal. The one on Pinterest is in a pale pink with gold-edged petals but I like my deeper rose pink with diamond glitter almost as much. It also really takes a plain box from simple to special.

You need crepe paper, the same stuff used for party streamers. A small circle of card-stock as a base, scissors, glue such as Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue (Elmer’s White Glue would probably work just as well), glitter and an embellishment for the center. I used Tombo mono adhesive to stick the petals to the base but the tacky glue would work for that too, it just takes some time to dry so you’ll need a little patience if you go this route.

Cut out 10 petals. Each petal has two scallops on one edge.  Pieces of crepe paper 2 inches wide, folded in half with a curve cut into one end than unfolded make each petal.  You can cut several at one time.

Put a little tacky glue on some scrap paper and a little pile of glitter.  Dip the curved edges of the petals in the glue and then in the glitter.  Let dry.  I did the last two petals with a glue pen and that worked but it is more wet than the tacky glue and crepe paper starts to fall apart when it gets wet so I think the tacky glue is better for this.

Pinch each petal at the opposite end from the curved, glitter edge.  Adhere four petals to the base.

Do another row of four petals but offset them from the first row.  Finish with the last two petals opposite each other.  Add the center embellishment, in this case a large adhesive jewel.

One roll of crepe paper will make a bunch of flowers.

Last year was a very exciting day for me: my blog with the post I wrote for Day 23 (Sunprint-Paper & Packing Tape Transfers on Decoupage Boxes) was featured on Freshly Pressed, one of 10 or so blogs that WordPress features on their site every day to “entertain, enlighten or inspire”.   Thank you again to all of you who started reading my blog a year ago because of that.  It was a big thrill and I had my biggest day ever on the 24th.

Thank you to all my readers whether you started reading because you are a member of my family, or because you saw in on Freshly Pressed a year ago or maybe you just stumbled on it and it looked kind of interesting. However you found the blog, I appreciate your interest, dedication, support and feedback.

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Day 22: Water Marbled Nails

I don’t have long, beautiful nails.  I use and abuse my nails and they get beat up with crafting.  Today they got special attention when I tried out this water-marbled nail technique.

I saw some amazing versions of this on Pinterest and ended up looking at several tutorials.  This is a good one at Chloe’s Nails: Water Marble Picture Tutorial.

First I put on a coat of white polish as a base: White Out from Orly.

The other colors I used are Dreamer from Revlon, Austin-Tatious Turquoise from OPI, and Royal from Love & Beauty.

I didn’t use filtered water though I understand it is best to do so.  You put water in a cup and drop colored polish on the surface of the water.

Than use an orange stick to swirl the polish around a bit.

To protect the skin on your finger from getting covered in polish you can either put tape around the nail or rub some lip balm on the skin.  Both ways have their pros and cons.  Either way you’re still going to have polish to clean off.

This project involves lots of cleaning off of polish.  And lots of nail polish remover. Lots.

It is also a tricky project to photograph.  Water, nail polish, polish remover and fingers covered with lip balm and or tape limits the times when holding a camera is easy.  So use your imagination.

Once you protect your skin from polish, you dip your finger, nail down, into the water.  Then, with finger still underwater, you use the orange stick to skim the surface of the water and pull off the thin, floating layer of polish so you don’t pull your fingertip through the polish for a second time.

Once all ten fingernails are done and the extra polish is cleaned off, and the messed up nails have the polish removed, the white coat painted on and dried and the fingernail water marbled again… that’s when you wish you’d bought those q-tips with the little pointy ends.  Because you’ve got to get the polish off from around the nails.

In the picture, above, my index finger doesn’t have a base coat (because I redid it twice and wanted to finish up).  I kind of like the sheer effect.

Clear polish was the top coat.  Unfortunately the clear polish made streaks on two nails where the marble effect smeared.

Crazy.

Fabric Covered Notebooks was my creation for Day 22 last year.

Thanks for the visit.

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Day 21: Bleach Pen T-Shirt

As usual with these projects, there is a certain amount of learning curve.  I’m trying a whole bunch of different things that I’ve never done before.  On the one hand, I’m pretty creative and crafty and I’ve worked with different materials so I have an idea of how something will work (or not), on the other hand, when you are doing a different project every day for 30 days, it’s easy to become overwhelmed!

This is a t-shirt that has the lyrics of a favorite song written on it with a bleach pen.  I first wrote it out in chalk.  I was inspired by this. I actually did this whole project this morning before work.  The only problem is I was using an old bleach pen and I didn’t realize the bleach had evaporated.  It had a fairly mild smell and I should have realized it wasn’t bleachy enough. So after getting the whole thing written in chalk and written over in bleach pen it didn’t work.  I got a new pen after Jazzercise and started over.

I loved the way it came out the second time around anyway, so I guess it’s just as well I decided to redo it.

I lay some plastic shopping bags into the shirt so the bleach wouldn’t go through to the back of your shirt.  Smooth out the wrinkles as best you can.

I wrote out the lyrics of one of my favorite songs on the shirt using chalk.   It was recently sung at my father’s memorial service by the Threshold Choir.

To Dream Again

By Wendy DeMos

I bow to your magic.

I fall into your grace.

I move toward a prayer.

Your fields and rivers waiting.

For the dawn the shadows breaking.

To dream again.

To dream again.

To dream.

As lovely as the lyrics are, it is the music that is so incredible.

There are pictures online of other wonderful bleach pen projects but I wanted to try this song.  I might do a peacock feather next.  I can imagine a mendhi-like design being particularly effective.  (Mendhi is the temporary skin decoration made of henna and often seen in elaborate designs on hands and feet of brides in India).

I wrote on my cotton t-shirt with chalk.  I read that the bleach from a bleach pen can spread and the chalk helps to slow the spread.

I didn’t have that issue (I’m using a gel bleach pen) but wanted to write it out first before jumping in with the bleach.  The chalk is actually a little harder to write with than the bleach pen, but it was helpful to follow once I started with the bleach pen. I also wrote out the song on paper because I’ve found when you are working slowly on a craft project  and in this case focused on getting the chalk to write on the fabric, it is helpful to have something to look at to help stay on track.

You might consider using either an old t-shirt or picking one up from a thrift store (maybe one that already has a spot or two of bleach?) because this does have the potential for wrecking a shirt.

I kept some paper towel on hand to wipe the tip of the bleach pen.  Sometimes I would get bubbles but I just kept going.

Open a window for ventilation and shake the bleach pen well.  If it doesn’t smell very bleachy, you may find, as I did, that the active ingredient has evaporated.  I got a new pen and it was fine.

Start at the top and use a steady hand.  I tried to keep writing if I was on a roll than go back and add connecting lines, dots on the i’s, etc.  Wipe the tip of the pen with your paper towel every once in awhile.

Different fabric and dye will respond differently to the bleach pen.  I was concerned about damaging the shirt but actually found it was not as bleached -out as I expected.  The bleach gel medium is a little tricky because it looks very white and bleached-out on the shirt but when you run it under cold water you learn it is just the dried or drying gel  that is so white and the words underneath aren’t that light.

After running cold water on the shirt, rinse out all the bleach, than wash.  I used gentle liquid soap that I usually use for lingerie.  I wanted to see the results so after rolling it in a towel, I used a hot iron to press (and dry) my shirt.  I actually went back and wrote over some of the words near the bottom that hadn’t had the bleach on as long as the words at the top. I let the bleach sit for about 5 minutes than rinsed it out, washed it again, wrung it, rolled it in a towel and finally ironed it dry.  The hot iron seems to enhance the bleaching effect.  You could also  throw it in the wash once you’ve rinsed out the bleach.

I’m delighted with the results.  I just wish I’d achieved them earlier this morning before work.

Last year I created Cards with Charm on Day 21.

Thank you for checking out my latest creation.  Nine days left in the 30 Days of Creativity project!

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Day 20: Thick, Chewy Granola Bars

These thick, chewy granola bar are supposed to completely cool before cutting.  I had dinner with my mom tonight and baked over at her house.  Not only great company but a big, beautiful kitchen to bake in, what a treat!

I didn’t wait for them to cool completely because I wanted to leave some with her and bring the rest home.  Right now they seem pretty crumbly but very delicious.   They are also loaded with goodies and I think if I’d  chopped the dried fruit up a bit more that might help keep them together.

OK, I just reread the recipe and realized I made a mistake.  Oops.  I omitted 3 tablespoons of liquid (2 T corn syrup and 1 T water – yep, that would make a difference!)  Drat.

The recipe is from Smitten Kitchen, one of my favorite food blogs.  Chatting with mom while baking is what kept me from being more careful with the recipe, but in the grand scheme of things, that was just fine.  I will put the recipe here with ALL the ingredients in case you want to bake them as they are supposed to be.  We tasted some of the bits that broke off when I cut them and mom commented on the nice peanut butter flavor.  They really are good.

Thick, Chewy Granola Bars

barely adapted from Smitten Kitchen

This is billed as a flexible recipe and it is certainly simple: combine dry ingredients including nuts and dried fruit, combine liquid ingredients, mix the wet stuff into the dry stuff with the (optional) peanut butter.  Press into a pan and bake.  Pretty easy!

Ingredients:

1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats (if using regular oats, which I did, pulse a few times in blender to break up some)
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup oat flour (or 1/3 cup oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor or blender)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 cups dried fruits and nuts (10 to 15 ounces total) – I used 3 cups with a combination of shredded coconut, prunes, dried cherries, craisins, pecans and pine nuts
1/3 cup peanut butter (optional)
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup honey, maple syrup or corn syrup (I used a combination of honey and corn syrup)
2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1 tsp. vanilla
1 tablespoon water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8-inch baking pan in one direction with parchment paper, with overhang on opposite sides. Grease the parchment paper and the uncovered part of the pan, or spray with a non-stick spray.

Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts. In a separate bowl, combine, melted butter, liquid sweetener and corn syrup, the vanilla, and water. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry (and peanut butter, if you’re using it) until the mixture is well-combined. Dump into the prepared pan,  and press quite firmly into the  pan (plastic wrap or wax paper makes it easier to press the mixture down without getting sticky fingers).  This is an important step, so don’t rush here. Get your mixture really pressed into the pan.

Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges  and toasty looking.  Err on the side of more rather than less brown.

This is where you need to be patient: let the bars cool completely IN THE PAN.  This recipe has a tendency towards crumbling and warm bars will fall apart.  The original recipe in Smitten Kitchen even suggests 30 minutes in the fridge and cutting them cold.

After cooling, use parchment to lift out of pan; cut into squares with a serrated knife.   Since I left out some ingredients, I really don’t know how crumbly they’ll be.  When I make them again (after I complete the 30 Days of Creativity), I’ll  update the recipe.

May 5, 2013: Update: OK, I’ve made these bars a second time.  I got the liquids right but this time I was careless with other steps!  I’ve tried to clarify the importance of really pressing the mix into the pan before baking, and letting it cool (even to the point of a 30 minute chill in the fridge) before cutting. I was impatient and tried to take them out of the pan before they were completely cool.  I don’t think I pressed them firmly before baking.  I think I should have baked them longer. End result: still falling apart but also still delicious.  I guess I’ll have to give it another go!

I can imagine this crumbled into a bowl with milk (or vanilla ice cream), and will make a great breakfast with some yogurt and fresh fruit on the side.

Last year on Day 20 I made: Aluminum Tape Tags & Charms. Charming.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Day 19: Wrap Bracelet

Wearing this leather and ball chain bracelet made me feel cool.  I mean I know I’m Auntie Dianne and I wear glasses and have more grey than blonde in my hair.  I understand that “cool” is probably not even the cool way to indicate that something is cool!  Nonetheless, wearing a leather cord wrapped twice around my wrist made me feel like a more cool version of myself.

It has a kind of an edgy, hippy charm.  Maybe bohemian is the word I’m looking for.  It makes me think of my sister-in-law Victoria, who always wears an armload of bracelets.  She is cooler than I am but I’m craftier.  And even more cool than wearing the bracelet was the fact that I made it!

It is also the project I attempted the other day with the not-quite-right supplies.  Sometimes you can adapt things and make things work that aren’t exactly what is called for.  But it is usually a good idea to make it once the right way before you start adapting.

These supplies look a lot like the right supplies.  But in this instance I had leather cord that while trying to unbend some kinks, I broke.  So my leather had been glued and bound with some black thread.  It also still had bends in it.  The bead chain was ok but not as large as the hardware store version.  I will probably try a bracelet, now that I have two done, using the smaller bead chain, but I realized the small stuff was just making me cross-eyed.

Most importantly, I didn’t have any waxed linen thread.  The post I was following showed wrap bracelets using different colors of waxed linen thread.  When I was shopping for supplies I didn’t find any and didn’t have time for mail-order.  I thought the hemp cord I bought would do.  But I soon found it was too thin and just not grippy enough to work.  The wax helps to keep the thread in place when you wrap it around the ball chain and leather.

But I’m kind of stubborn and I tried making a bracelet anyway. The great pictures and steps on Honestly…WTF made it look pretty simple.  But I quickly realized that I didn’t have enough hands and my cord or thread wasn’t staying wrapped.

The other problem was my ball chain was twisting around and it didn’t look like anything on the tutorial I was trying to follow.

I scrapped the project for another and the next day got new supplies.  I went to Baubles and Beads in San Rafael and got waxed linen thread in brown, leather cord that wasn’t bent out of shape, and another cord  (C-lon, a 3-ply nylon bead cord) to try out in a pretty color plus a small lip-balm-sized tube of pure beeswax.  The helpful woman behind the counter suggested the cord could be rubbed across the beeswax to help the cord stay wrapped.

I picked up ball chain at the hardware store.  I’d seen this bracelet done with brass ball chain but the place I went only had the silver color and since I wear silver jewelry, I went with it.

Getting started was still kind of tricky.  I’m more of a visual learner, so I decided to look for wrap bracelet how-to tutorials.  There may be some great ones out there but came away with only one helpful piece of information: you can slip the loop of the bracelet over a door hinge to free both hands for wrapping.

Wrap Bracelet

Supplies:

45 to 55 inches 1.5 mm leather cord

15 inches ball chain

72 inches waxed linen thread (Etsy has vendors that sell waxed linen thread in many colors)

– or-

72 inches C-lon bead cord + beeswax (this is a little trickier but if you are impatient or stubborn like me, you may choose to go this route)

a large bead to fasten the bracelet or a 1/4″ hex nut to match your ball chain

scissors

large safety pin (optional)

Ailene’s Tacky Glue (optional)

Directions:

Fold the leather cord in half and make a loop at the fold large enough for the bead or hex nut to fit through.

Now the basic concept is you hold the two pieces of leather together, lay the ball chain on top and use the waxed linen cord to wrap the chain in place, wrapping once around between every little ball.

To start, place the end of the linen thread towards your fingers holding the loop.  Now tightly wrap the thread around 5 or 6 times.  I found I needed a third hand and my colleague suggested safety-pinning the bracelet to my pants leg so I could have both hands free!  This was even easier to do than when I used the door hinge.  It also gets easier as you go along.  If you are using C-lon and wax, coat a few inches of the bead cord at a time as you proceed.

Lay the end of the ball chain right up to that first wrapped thread and start wrapping the ball chain to the leather. I also found it easier to control the bead cord when I wrapped it around a little piece of folded card stock.

Erica on Honestly…WTF made very straight, flat, even bracelets.  They’re beautiful.  Mine have a more quirky charm.

Keep wrapping tightly.  When it gets close to the end of the project, check the length.  If you need to, trim off a piece of the ball chain if you’ve got a long enough bracelet to wrap twice and fasten.

When you reach the desired length, wrap the linen thread around the last part of the ball chain a few extra times.  Now tie a knot in the the leather and linen thread together, slide on the bead or hex nut and tie another knot.  Trim the end.

If desired, dab a little glue on the wrapped thread at the end by the loop for extra security.

Here are the two wrap bracelets I made today.

This is a project I will do again!

Last year on Day 19 I created a big platter of veggies with dip, including the recipe.

Thanks for checking out my latest project on 30DoC!

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Day 18: Secret Banana Message

After yesterday I needed a simple, straightforward project with a high possibility of success.  With a theme of “yellow” for the day, this was it.  I saw it on Stars & Sunshine.

This is a sweet and easy alternative to tucking a note into your child’s lunch bag or sweethearts backpack or briefcase.  In the morning you write your message on the banana peel.  I used a toothpick that had a flat end.  If you look closely, you can see the writing, but it could be easy to miss.

By the time your loved one (or yourself – you deserve a nice message) gets the banana out of the bag, the writing has darkened and your secret message is visible.

Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy!

Last year I made a Father’s Day Card & Ribbon on Day 18.  It is a great duo that works for a birthday or other celebration too.

Thanks for the visit.

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