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September 17, 2018 05:16:14 PM by rockingbearranch
Views: 1359 | Comments: 11
Use a plastic bag or plastic wrap.

Each feather is squished up in the plastic separate from the other feathers to keep the dyes from running too much. If you want a more even color or are using one color you can put many feathers together.

Carefully drop color sparsely! It is going to run on its own.

Spritz lightly with vinegar. I use my homemade window cleaner which is 1:1 vinegar water with a drop of blue dye so I remember what it is.

Loosely cover and leave for at least a day.

Dye again if you need more coverage.

Rinse with cold water. Blow dry to fluff and further set the color. I wouldn't consider these color fast for wear in the rain.

These are from my organic chickens. If someone wants to swap for them, or I'm already mailing you something let me know. I never have a project for them. I just think they are too beautiful to throw out.

March 31, 2018 09:03:06 AM by craftylittlemonkey
Views: 1733 | Comments: 12
I've seen some bunnies like this and thought I'd try my hand at making them from from felted sweater stash but craft felt would work just as well. Hand sewing would also work for this project. Those fabrics turn out a bit fuzzy so unwrapped treats should be in a small zipper baggie.

First trace 2 small circles on a piece of plastic with sharpie marker.

Place that on the wrong side of a piece of fabric and pin in place.

Machine sew along the inner circle then trim at the outer circle. *** notes on how to machine sew plastic below Smiley.

Turn the fabric over and very carefully trim away the fabric inside the sewn line to reveal the little window.

I used freezer paper for the shapes I wanted. Hold the fabric up the light to centre the shape and gently press in place with a hot, dry iron for only a second or 2. Take great care not to melt the plastic! Iron around the sides of the shape. You could also opt to draw directly onto the fabric and sew along that line, whatever works best for you.

The back will be 2 pieces that overlap about a half inch or so. Place front and back wrong sides together so the nice side of the fabric shows on both front and back.

Pin in place and sew around the edge of the freezer paper (or drawn line) taking care not to catch it under the needle.

Peel off the paper, trim very close to the stitched line and voila!
I'm afraid the egg ones are shaped more like avocados but considering what's inside I don't anticipate any complaints, ha ha.

I did a variety of shapes:

Loops could be attached to the tops of these to hang them up. They'd look cute on a tree or hidden in unexpected places for older kids to find on a treat hunt.

***I have a special slippy plastic presser foot for sewing vinyl but if you do not have such a thing a small piece of scotch tape on the bottom of a regular machine foot will work, the one labelled "magic" that's a bit hazy instead of completely clear. It will peel off if you remove it right after your project. I have found the tape gets a bit extra stuck when left for a long enough time. If the tape does not work for you, placing a small piece of tissue paper over the plastic will do it though you may find it difficult to see the traced circle. In that case draw the circle right on the tissue, sandwich everything and pin it in place and it should sew just fine.

June 11, 2018 01:49:54 PM by redheadedblonde
Views: 1550 | Comments: 12
I've been working on upping my cupcake game for a while.  Truthfully, I'm not a fan of most cupcakes because they are overly topped with super sweet, cloying American buttercream (but I'm a fan once I scrape most of it off!). Smiley  But man, they sure do look pretty with those swirls.  I've started using ermine buttercream in addition to my favorite swiss buttercream because one of my kiddos has a classmate with an egg allergy.  Cupcakes with those frostings are never overly frosted to me.  Grin (Both recipes below--though both cupcakes below used ermine.)

IMG_6077 by Donna Flores, on Flickr

To make super-saturated frosting without having to dye a ton of batches different colors for a rainbow effect, I turned to using dye directly on plastic as frosting "plugs" or "bullets."  Basically, you lay out a sheet of plastic wrap and paint a line of gel dye down the side.  Plop some frosting in the middle, wrap it up in the plastic sheet, and twist the edges shut.  Use the plug in your icing bag directly.  I have never had luck pulling the twisted edge through the piping tip and trimming it that way--I have to trim off the twisted edge before I put it in the bag, but ymmv.

IMG_6083 by Donna Flores, on Flickr

Here's an idea of the painted gel stripes and a softer rainbow stripe after the gel colorant begins to deplete as you frost.

IMG_6074 by Donna Flores, on Flickr

I also recently acquired the Wilton Color Swirl coupler--and I love it.  My boys and I tinted icing three different shades - packed up three different bags and then put them all in one bag with the coupler.  It made a perfect swirl with all three shades and was super simple.  

IMG_0091 by Donna Flores, on Flickr
closeup by Donna Flores, on Flickr
IMG_0098 by Donna Flores, on Flickr
IMG_0105 by Donna Flores, on Flickr

Adorable children in the background eating popsicles while I frost cupcakes because why not have 8 tons of sugar.....check.

My swiss buttercream recipe:
3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (slightly soft, but still cold)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a big pinch salt (if using salted butter, omit)

Whisk egg whites and sugar in double boiler until sugar is totally dissolved  (I just cook it in my mixer bowl for ease).  I cook mine to 160 F just to make sure it will be safe for those with compromised immune systems to eat. Let it cool off heat for a few minutes, whisking occasionally.  Then whisk with mixer until stiff peaks form.  Drop in the butter, a few tablespoons at a time, while still constantly whisking.  Allow the butter to mix in fully before adding another piece.  If you're lucky, an amazingly delicious buttercream will emerge.  If, like me, you never allow the meringue to cool enough, you'll end up with an amazingly delicious butter soup.  Don't worry.   Just pop the bowl in the fridge for 15 minutes and try to whisk again.  Keep up the chilling/whisking till it's a light-textured frosting.  Use as desired.  Makes enough to decently frost a 9x13/double layer 9 in cake/2 dozen cupcakes.  I'd say about 15 cupcakes with generous swirls.

My ermine frosting recipe is really the NY Times recipe Smiley
5  tablespoons/40 grams flour
1  cup/235 milliliters whole milk
1 cup granulated sugar
1  teaspoon/5 milliliters vanilla extract
 Pinch of salt
1  cup/ 230 grams unsalted butter, softened

Over medium heat, whisk flour and milk in a small saucepan and heat to a simmer, stirring frequently until it becomes very thick and almost puddinglike.
Remove from heat, whisk in vanilla and salt. Pour into a bowl to allow it to cool completely. Put plastic wrap on the surface to keep a skin from forming.
Use a mixer to cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium, add the cooled flour mixture a little bit at a time. Continue to beat until the mixture becomes light and fluffy and resembles whipped cream.

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