Sunday, September 15, 2013

Craft - Popsicle lollies activity

Hihi dear friends of Hazelnutt House (",)

I was surfing for popsicle stick craft ideas and chanced upon Roots&Wings's idea.
So, I decided to make The Kid a set of this using the colourful felt that I have. 

My Kiddo has yet to start any formal schooling and has been homeschooled for some years.  
She will only enter kindie next year.  I thought this colour matching activity will help in a way when she enters school.

I traced one end of a popsicle stick onto thick paper and used it as a template to guide me when I machine stitch the outline onto the felt.  

After stitching, I shaped the outline with a scallop cutter.
Once this was done, I inserted the matching popsicle stick into the respective felt lollies.

Kiddo's phonics skills is relatively sound, so this activity is suitable for her.  She has to decode the name of the colours according to the initial sound of each colour.  

I keep these sticks in a baggie so that Kiddo and I can look for them easily when we want to colour match some lollies. 
Talk to you ladies soon!!!
I've some other popsicle stick crafts coming up soon!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Craft - Unicorn-dog-horse figurine

Tada!  Wonder what this triple hybrid of an animal is?  hehee... read on.

I had a doggie figurine which broke due to an unfortunate accident.  I bought a new one to replace it coz I really love this figurine of a Great Dane with glasses and a scarf, pretending to be an old lady. 

I fixed the broken leg and ear.  For the snout, I stuffed the gaping hole with cotton wool.

And muzzled it with several layers of newspaper using the papier mache method.

I broke the pair of wired glasses and glued semi wet tissue onto the forehead so that there is no gap between the head and the scarf.

When the reconstruction of the head was done, I added a long horn.  I wanted it way longer than that of a regular unicorn for a comic effect.  
Next, I restructured the face by elongating the snout and adding some eye sockets and nostrils using rolled up tissue.  I prefer tissue for these details rather than newspapers as it is easier to handle and gives a softer finish.

Yups, this hybrid is ready after a day of drying.  I used Reeves Gesso to prime the body coz its initial body was rather smooth and I wanted the papier mache to have a slightly textured surface to stick on.

I made use of lots of origami paper from Daiso and layered them over the figurine.  Once I was done, I applied a layer of Mod Podge over the surface to seal as well as to give it a shiny finish.

Here's a close up after the Mod Podge has dried.
I've put together some tips on papier mache... click here to read.

So, here's my completed project.  This hybrid of a UniCorn-dog-horse resides in my craftroom (",)

Till then, Talk to you ladies soon!

Papier Marche Tips

1) Half and Half Mod Podge + White glue 

I like this combo where I use a mixture of half Mod Podge and half white glue. 
White glue is 1/3 the price of Mod Podge and this method helps me to save a little. 
You can actually papier mache with just white glue or some like to brew their own starch concoction but the latter is way too much work for me.  I find that with this combi, my papier mache projects dry faster due to the Mod Podge content.  White glue alone, tends to take a longer time to dry.

2) Magazines as brushing surface

I like to brush glue onto the paper instead of soaking them into the gluey mixture.  So I need a surface to work on when I brush the bits of paper.  I do the brushing on pages of magazines.  When two pages are used up, I simply turn to a new page and continue.  This way, I will be able to keep the right side of my paper free from glue that may interfere with my final varnishing step.  When I am done with my papier marche project, I simply tear off the pages that I have used.

3) Varnish with a soft bristled brush & Mod Podge

If you want a nice smooth finish, for your papier mache projects, try using a soft bristled brush when you varnish.  I like to varnish with the Mod Podge that I use for papier mache-ing instead of purchasing a separate varnish.  Mod Podge dries very quickly which is such a bonus.  It gives a nice shine when dried.  

4) Sandpaper 

If you want your project to have a really smooth finish, other than using a soft bristled brush for varnishing, you can also try using a super fine sandpaper.  When the first layer of varnish has dried completely, run your sandpaper over the surface gently, blow off the dust and add another coat of varnish.

5) Pinky as smoothening tool

Some people like using a separate tool to smoothen out the layers for their papier mache projects.  I like to keep my pinky finger free from glue and use the length of it to smoothen and the tip to poke the paper into grooves or corners.  

5) Take you time

Very often, I am anxious to complete my projects and end up sabotaging the results due to my impatience.  Nowadays when I notice that my concentration level starts waning, I will stop, wash up and leave the craftroom.  So, give yourself a Time Out in order to achieve a better result (",)

6) Have dried gluey hands

When it is time to wash up, I like to let the glue dry completely on my hands.  It is more effective to peel off the dried glue.  Not to mention how fun it is (yes, I love peeling off dried glue from my fingers). Washing gluey hands is a pain.  I can never seem to get my hands completely glue-free and will have to wash several times before I am satisfied.

Talk to you ladies soon!!!!

Monday, September 9, 2013

iHerb Loot - Third batch!

Hihi friends of Hazelnutt House (",) 

Ah ha! My 3rd order from iHerb.  The package took less than a week to arrive. 

  • Annie's Homegrown Cheddar Classics Crackers - $3.30
  • Annie's Homegrown Macaroni & Cheese - $3.47

  • Barbara's Snackimals Animal Cookies in Snickerdoodle flavour! - $4.48
I added an exclamation for this item coz it tastes soooOOooo soooOOooo sooOOooo good!
Semi sweet with a cinnamoney taste (",)

  • Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera, alcohol-free toner - $8.60
  • Hugo Naturals Essential Mist in French Lavender - $2.16
  • Herbatint Rosemary Herbal Oil - $8.64
  • E.L.F. Studio powder brush - $2.99

  • Spectrum Essentials Chia Seed - $9.70
  • Bob's Red Mill Coarse Grind Cornmeal - $3.05

Here's how the coarse grind cornmeal looks in case you need some reference.  I intend to use this for corn muffins ala Kenny Rogers' style (",)

  • Just a Leaf Tea Infuser - $2.95 (original price $8.95)
The tea infuser comes with a lid, cup and a strainer.

Shall try out some of the items and make short reviews (",)
Talk to you ladies soon! 
And don't forget to make use of the code SRD618 when you make your first order on iHerb! 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Bakin' - Banana oatmeal muffins with chia seeds

Hihi friends of the Nutt House (",)

I've been baking quite a bit lately, much to the delight of Kiddo.  Usually I will surf for recipes online.  This time round, I decided to try out something of my own using a simple banana oatmeal muffin recipe as a skeleton, taking away some ingredients and adding extras.

This recipe makes 12 (",)

*Note: Sugar is optional as I added lots of mashed bananas.  The chia seeds are optional as well but it helps make this breakfast muffin a lot healthier.  Ok... my bad.... *oops*, a dollop of Nutella in each muffin also amps up the sweetness level.  So, sugar is really not needed.  If you have a sweet tooth, go ahead.  The muffin is semi sweet, the way I like it.  Coz I dislike ultra sweet and rich muffins.

As for the rolled oats, once I added a cup and another time, I added close to two cups. I like this recipe coz of the flexibility with the portions.  Both tries worked fine, with the latter being slightly less moist.

I added a layer of batter into each liner and spooned a dollop of Nutella into each muffin cup.  Try to avoid having Nutella on the sides as it will ooze out during the baking process. 

Last step, not shown in pic - I topped more batter above the Nutella.  Make sure to cover it well.  The idea is to have the Nutella spread in the middle of the muffin. 

The Kiddo approves.
Several of my friends tried the muffins and they gave the thumbs up.  Even a friend with fastidious tastebuds said it was good.

To sum it up, if you like a moist and healthy breakfast muffin, give this a try (",) 

Oh yes! I did not use any electric mixer for this...just your arm muscles and a spatula to mix everything up (",) 
A hassle free and quick baking project (",)

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