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1  CRAFTSTER CRAFT CHALLENGES / CHALLENGE 112 ENTRIES / Birthday Candy Bouquet on: May 06, 2016 06:00:52 AM
Birthday Candy Bouquet!

My dollar store splurge was to make a birthday candy bouquet for a gift.  Its great for anyone and I will probably make a bunch more for Fathers Day gifts.  Best part is its less than $10 and there was candy to spare for me to munch on while working!  A quick google search shows that these kind of bouquets cost $50 or more to buy direct.

The ingredients:

Coffee Cup $1
Balloon Stick: $1
Reeces: $1
Snickers: $1
Kit Kats: $1
(not used)  Air Heads
Wrapping Paper: $1
Flower Foam Block: $1
Curling Ribbon: $1
Popsicle Sticks: $1

= $9
If you wanted to get technical you could add $1 for tape and still be in budget.


Cut up the flower block to fit inside your mug.  If you get the same size as I did, youll need to shave off the points in a diagonal to fit down inside.

Choose a candy to start with.  I chose Kit Kats because it was the birthday guys favorite.  Tape the back of the candy to the popsicle stick and depending where you want it to be positioned in the mug, you may have to tape another popsicle stick together to lengthen.  Ill note that I wanted to use skewers, but my dollar store didnt carry skewers so I made due with popsicle sticks.  It added a step to tape two together, but the final product worked well anyway. 

Continue pushing in candy sticks until you feel it looks like a good arrangement with tall and short.  Think of a flower bouquet where you want to see all the flowers, so use different levels. Ill suggest using an odd number of candies as thats usually better to an artistic eye, but go with what you think looks great.  I dont have to tell craftsters how to have an artistic eye! And I had bought air heads for some more color, but in the end I felt I had plenty of chocolate candies to use and to nibble, so I didnt use them.

Once you are happy with the candy, cut the wrapping paper into squares.  Fold the pieces haphazardly and stick them between the candy to cover the popsicle sticks.  I then put some more pieces at the back with tape to frame around the candy.  I actually thought I was buying cellophane wrap, but the shiny wrapping paper was a happy surprise when the back side was a pretty silver.  Gave a nice two tone effect.

Curl some ribbon and stick in a few places around the candy for more interest.

Find a place to stuff in the balloon stick, trimming the stick in you feel necessary, and then give away. 

These are great for any celebration, just change out the balloon.  You could even tie a helium balloon to the handle.  I just like that it gives some height and makes the gift look more impressive than just the candy mug alone. 

Another thing you can do is paint pen the mug and make it personalized.  If you were willing to spend a few extra bucks grab a paint pen and decorate the mug.  This neon set was at Walmart for nine bucks. 

Thanks for looking!
2  COOKING / Dessert / Sorting Hat Cupcakes on: January 13, 2016 07:09:09 PM
What's a Harry Potter party without cupcakes?
Made little sorting hats out of caramel.

And if it's the sorting hat, he has to tell you which house you belong to.  To do that I filled with colored pudding for the different houses.

So when you take a bite, you can see where you belong!

Funny note, when my family all broke into our cupcakes by luck we all got the colored filling of the houses we claim! LOL

sorting hat tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kW767Kal68
chocolate cupcakes & vanilla buttercream were both basic no frills recipes that you could find anywhere.  Pudding, just instant vanilla from a box.
3  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Completed Projects / Face Paintings - Harry Potter & other characters on: January 13, 2016 06:56:57 PM
One of my hobbies has lasted more than six months!   Shocked  LOL
Face paintings, all using professional quality face paints.

I actually tied in a face painting contest with professional painters for this painting.  It then went to a tie breaker and the other person won by one vote.  Guess who I voted for.  Undecided  Owl theme

Anna Frozen Inspired
4  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 111 ENTRIES / Miniature Gingerbread Necklace on: January 07, 2016 11:28:18 AM
Miniature Gingerbread Necklace

My gingerbread challenge project is a Miniature Gingerbread Necklace.  The combination in the rules of "only non-edible parts allowed are a base" as well as "miniature to life-sized" somewhere in my twisted brain sparked an idea to make a miniature attached to a base that was attached to a necklace.  I don't know the exact order of events in my head but that was the inspiration LOL.

A whole tray of minis, no premade kit for me! Needed to make a few because I have kids that will steal my crafting supplies and I wanted some extras in case I wasn't happy with the outcome.

Decorating Fun! Front.  US Quarter for size.

Back, with necklace connector.

Close up of the edible glitter!  IRL it really shines.

In action.  Yes, it is a necklace!  Hangs by itself.

Thanks for looking!
5  Category Challenges / Cooking: Challenge Entries / Christmas Layered Finger Jello on: January 03, 2016 10:20:51 AM
My challenge favorite is layered finger jello.

This is something super fun for kids.  For Christmas I do mine with red and green, but you could do any combination of four colors.  Rainbows to other holiday colors.  Cut mine with a vegatable crinkle cutter.  I think it gives such a fun look.  Kids love these, and adults are oftened wow-ed too.

In all honesty, I am not really a fan of the taste of these, LOL.  They taste like a dumb jello jiggler, maybe one of these times I'll try fruit juice instead of water or something else to up the flavor over plain gelatin.  They aren't bad, just in my opinion boring. Buuut, kids are who you really make these for and they are definitely a kid pleaser.  I've never had a kid say they don't like the taste, and usually they are the first plate gone on a row of goodies.

Layered Finger Jello

For Each Colored Layer:  (Make Four Sets)
1 (3 oz) package of jello
1 pack of KNOX gelatin (or 1 TBSP unflavored gelatin)
1 cup boiling water

For The White Layers:
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
4 packs of KNOX gelatin (or 4 TBSP unflavored gelatin)
2 cups boiling water

Mix each colored layer separately in containers.  Let stand until room temperature, stirring occasionally.  (4 colored layers containers, 1 white layer container)  *If any colors begin to set at room temperature you can put the container in a warm water bath or even just microwave it to make it liquid again.  But be sure it isn't too hot before pouring it on another layer.

Pour first color into a 9X13 baking dish, and refrigerate until just barely firm.  It will probably only take about +/- 7 minutes.  

Keep an eye on your jello.  The timing of the firmness is crucial.  
--If the jello is not set up enough the colors will blend and not give a crisp color line.  (This also happens if one of your colors was too hot and melts the previous layer)
--Once it's just barely sticky to the touch, pour the next and the layers will stay together well.
--If the layers are completely firm, in the end jello you will be able to peel some layers apart.  This is FUN for kids, and they are fascinated by it... so not a big deal in my opinion.  I usually try to keep the layers a bit tacky but if one over sets I don't worry about it.  Just something to think about if you are serving these to your picky mother in law!

Pour out 1/3rd of the white mixture on top of your first colored layer.  Refrigerate until just barely firm.

Repeat with all colored and white layers.  Alternating the colors as you wish.

Once all layers are poured let the jello firmly set.  4-8 hours, or even overnight.

Cut into squares, or use long cookie cutters.  

Vegetable Crinkle Cutter.  

Recipe first found on kitchenscrapbook .com but layer jellos have been around for decades.
Thanks for looking!
6  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Life Sized Operation Game on: November 06, 2015 05:09:52 PM
I was in charge of the local elementary school's Halloween Carnival this year and wanted to have something to make it extra special.  Me and my husband saw an idea online about a life sized Operation and went with it.  It was all created from scratch.  Pattern and programming up.  Hubs created all the electrical and the wood, and I painted and created the pieces as well as all the cards that flip through in the computer.  There is a small raspberry pi, basically like an ipad, with a touch screen and hubs programmed all the workings and speakers with it as well.  Everytime you win or lose it is another sound.  And they are fun ones like pacman sounds, mario, price is right, etc.  

Kids adored the game and many came back so many times their parents had to buy more punches.  As for the carnival itself everyone who came had a blast and complimented everything, but it wasn't well attended at all.  doh.  We made a ton of other games but that will be a different post once I get all the pictures sorted.

So onto life sized Operation!  

inner components.

all the areas connected for the circut

testing out the thermometer lightbulb

video of being played a round:  http://vid114.photobucket.com/albums/n250/secretsmilesshop/operation_zps1tjpkyjq.mp4

Thanks for looking!  It was a fun build.
7  COOKING / Dessert / American Flag Jello Jigglers on: July 04, 2015 08:04:24 PM
Saw these on youtube and knew I had to make them.  It takes a bunch of jello, but the end was worth it.  Everyone at the block party I took them to kept chatting them up the entire night.  People were fascinated by them.  I was mean and wouldn't tell them the secret of the blue at the top, LOL.  But here's the secret.  You layer them upside down.  Start with the blue as a full base and when it is set cut it into strips, and then layer the red and white over it.

But here's where I found them at,  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=029MeniEifU  They are so fun!  Taste is like a dumb gelatin jiggler, but it's okay enough.  The novelty is good enough to make the taste.

8  COOKING / Dessert / Gluten Free "Donut" Cupcakes on: June 22, 2015 10:40:03 AM
For father's day I made cupcakes for the hubby.  I found cute donut cupcake toppers and liners so used that as my inspiration.  I've been gluten free so decided to make them gf so I could eat them too.  They turned out really good.  With the flour I used (Grandpa's Kitchen) it didn't have the sandy texture that many gf baked goods do, so I was impressed!

Soft and airy, good crumb and texture

GF chocolate cake/cupcakes

1 cup GF flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup cocoa

1 1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.  Pour in wet ingredients and beat 2 minutes.  Scoop into cupcake pan with liners, filling about 1/2 full.  Bake 30 mins until toothpick tests clean in center.  Cool and frost. 
9  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Party Planning / Little Mermaid Balloon Arch on: May 08, 2015 08:33:47 PM
I'm not big into concerts so when I saw this challenge I knew Broadway was where I was going.  And the first on my Broadway bucketlist is seeing the Little Mermaid.  I love watching youtubes of the show, but I know that can't get half the splendor of actually watching in person.  Some day!

Until then I'll tide myself over with this balloon arch and party set.  It would be for a children's party or a fun mermaid themed event.  I've been having fun learning how to do balloon twisting lately, so thought I'd craft a mermaid up!

Of course the day I want to take pictures it gets windy like crazy and Ariel wants to dive off the arch and the two seaweed columns take a run for it.  The seaweed was even anchored down with small weights and it still ran off over my yard! So into the garage we go.  Sorry for the picture quality, but I wanted to make sure Ariel stood tall!

And just in case this arch motivates you to buy your own Little Mermaid tickets, this QR code will take you to ticketmasters website.

Lots of pics. There's Scuttle and Ursula. Sebastian and Flounder and lots of fishy friends all as balloon sculptures too. I love the strings of balloon bubbles hiding in there as well.


Thanks for looking!  And thanks to ticketmaster for the fun challenge and great prizes!
10  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Anamorphic Rubik's Cube on: March 19, 2015 08:00:41 PM
Wanted to try my hand at 3D illusion drawing.  I believe it's called Anamorphic drawing, correct me if I'm wrong.  So made a rubiks as my first, thinking to start with easy block shapes.  Although it will probably be a while if I try anything else. 

Drawn with sharpie and prismacolor pencils.

flat view, straight on

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