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1  COOKING / Dessert / Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake with Vegan Strawberry Buttercream Frosting on: November 22, 2018 10:42:39 PM
Sometimes, the little Slytherin requests baking days, and when she does, it's usually something incredibly specific. This time it was chocolate layer cake with strawberry frosting (she also wanted caramel drizzle, but by the time we were done with all the rest, I was too tired to make anything else haha).



I took a few other recipes from the around the internet, and tweeked and combined stuff to make it dairy-free (tiny Hufflepuff is very allergic to dairy). It was supposed to be a 3-layer cake, but we had a mishap with the bottom layer when I was taking it out of the pan, and it cracked completely in 2. I figured it wouldn't hold up the other 2 layers after that, so I turned it into two separate cakes instead.



Anyway, without further ado, here is the recipe!

Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake Recipe:
Ingredients:
1 cup almond milk
1 Tbsp white vinegar
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
cup unsweetened cocoa powder (make sure to check ingredients some include milk products!)
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 cup coconut oil (melted)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup water
Directions:
1.   Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
2.   Prep your pans. If you are using springform pans that are leak (if you arent sure, put some water in them, and see if they spring a leak. Mine do!), line your pans with two layers of tin foil.
3.   Start by adding your white vinegar to your almond milk. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
4.   In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients.
5.   Add the eggs, vinegar/milk mix, and coconut oil, and mix well.
6.   Add water and vanilla extract and combine.
7.   Pour into three 9 pans (or one 8, one 9, and one 10 pan). Alternatively, you could just split between two pans, and bake for a few extra minutes. In fact, I think I might try this next time!
8.   Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs on it.
9.   Let sit in springform pans on wire cooling rack for 10-15 minutes.
10.   Remove from springform pans, and place on the cooling rack upside down to finish cooling (this will help the cakes settle into a more level shape, and make stacking easier).
11.   While cakes are cooling, make the strawberry frosting.
Vegan Strawberry Buttercream Frosting:
Ingredients:
1 cup fresh strawberries
6 cups powdered sugar
1 cup vegan butter (4 sticks)
Directions:
1.   Start by pureeing 1 cup of fresh strawberries (I used about 7). This should make about cup of strawberry puree. Set aside.
2.   Cream together the powdered sugar and butter.
3.   Add cup of strawberry puree and mix well. If your frosting is too runny, add a little bit more powdered sugar. If it is a little too thick, add a little bit more puree (1 Tbsp at a time).
Finishing the cake:
1.   If you dont have a cake stand (mine wasnt big enough), place your plate on an appropriately sized bowl so that it is stable, and can be turned to frost.
2.   Place a dollop of frosting in the middle of the plate or cake stand, so the cake will stick and not slide during the frosting process.
3.   Place the largest tier of cake on the cake stand. Frost the top of the cake, making sure to cover the top of the cake until it goes JUST over the lip of the cake (this will make it easier to frost the sides).
4.   Frost the sides of the bottom tier, spinning the cake stand to get all sides even.
5.   Smooth the frosting on the top of the bottom cake layer, and around the sides.
6.   Add the second tier (be really careful to get it perfectly centered. Mine is a little crooked to one side!).
7.   Frost the top and sides of the second tier the same way you did the bottom layer.
8.   Add the third tier and frost the same as the first two.
9.   Cut the tops off of some strawberries, and slice them up and down. Gently but firmly press them onto the sides of the layers of the cake, all the way around.
10.   Top the cake with two more strawberries (uncut).
11.   Youre done!! Dont forget to take a picture, and then slice into that bad boy, and ENJOY!



2  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 125 ENTRIES / Hogwarts for the Whole Family on: November 08, 2018 08:34:10 PM
When my kids heard we'd been invited to a Hogwarts Halloween party this year, they insisted we had to dress up for it. I was more than willing to oblige, of course, and made robes for the whole family, plus a pinafore dress for my daughter's school uniform underneath.

Here's a picture of all four of us at the Halloween party:


The kids robes were based off of this pattern: https://mellysews.com/2013/10/sleepy-robe-free-robe-pattern.html but with some changes.

I sewed them in black flannel, with the bands in coordinating house colors (green for my little Slytherin and yellow for my little Hufflepuff). I did not add the belt loops or the belt, but instead added a clasp closure and a house patch.

Hufflepuff:


Slytherin:


Here is a picture of the school uniform under my daughter's robes (Hufflepuff just wore black pants and a white shirt):


I made the dress off of this pattern: https://belowthekowhai.nz/product/the-tui-pinafore/

The adult robes were based on these instructions: http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/features/crafts/sewing/simplecanonrobes but with some changes.

Ravenclaw:


For my robes, I had to add some length to the sleeves (the bolt of flannel I bought wasn't wide enough), and I also cut the sleeves so they weren't as drapey as in the instructions (they're super floppy). Then I cut a slit right up the middle of the front, and added the blue band (using the same instructions as how to add the band on the kids' robes), the clasp, and the patch. I styled a blonde wig, and added some glasses to turn into Luna Lovegood for the night.

Gryffindor:


Jeremy decided he wanted Quidditch robes instead of school robes, so I got to play with more color on his. Again, I had to add length to the sleeves, so I decided to add a yellow stripe on the sleeve. Then I did the same thing as I did on mine - slit up the middle of the front, added the band around the edge, and the clasp and patch. He wanted to be James Potter, not Harry Potter, so we added the glasses, but not the scar.
3  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Elf on the Shelf Circle Skirt Tutorial on: December 08, 2017 10:23:57 PM
Meet our family's Elf on the Shelf: Sprinkle!



There was just no way I was going to shell out $10 for a little skirt for her at the store, so I had to make her one. Well, actually, 2, because we have 1 that lives at our house, and 1 that stays at Grama's house because we always go over there on the weekends. Here is a tutorial showing how to make your own!

1. Start by cutting 2 circles: the red should be a 6" diameter circle, and the lace should be 8".



2. Cut a 1.5" circle in the middle of the red circle only. Pin layers together.



3. Sew the red and lace circles together around the 1.5" waist with a 1/4" seam allowance, and then around the edge of the skirt. Make sure to keep your start/end points on the same side of the skirt. (I forgot to line them up properly on the second skirt... oops).



4. Turn skirt over, and cut the waistband on the lace. Cut close to the seam so that the lace doesn't show above the waistband of the skirt.



5. Pin the ribbon around the waist of the skirt, starting at the back, and leaving a half inch opening right in the center of the back.



6. Sew the ribbon in place, making sure to leave that opening in the back. I had to hand sew mine, because I could not get my machine to cooperate with the scale of the piece mixed with the texture of the ribbon.



7. Shimmy the skirt up onto your elf (it should slide on easily, but not be too lose that it slides off). Tie the ribbon in the back to make a pretty bow, and cut the ribbon edges diagonally.



4  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Autumn Pumpkin Painting on: November 30, 2017 05:31:16 PM
I wanted a seasonal painting that I could swap out on my gallery wall each season. But I also wanted something that would match our decor (teal, white, gray, and beige), so it would look like it belongs.

I decided to paint my own, and was very inspired by a painting I saw on pinterest, but it doesn't have an active link, otherwise I would link to it for you.

Here is my version. It's a little too blue/less teal than I wanted, but that's ok. I'm still really happy with how it turned out. I even remembered to put a shadow under the pumpkin!

5  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Planner-Page-Per-Day Project on: January 06, 2016 10:36:09 AM
I know this project is sort of somewhere between arts, crafts, and design, so I'm not really sure where to put this.



Anyway, I'm designing my own planner pages for my planner, because all of the printable ones I've found are close, but not quite perfect for my needs. I've been enjoying making the planner pages so much, I've been making a new one every day and posting the downloadable PDF on my blog (if you're interested in printing them out for yourself, the link to my blog is down below).

Here are pictures of the ones I've made so far:

Yearly Spread:


Monthly Spread:


4-Section Weekly Spread:


Daily Page:


Goal Planner:


Weekly Meal Plan:


Yearly Habit Tracker:


30 Day Habit Tracker:


Project/Idea Planner:


Special Dates/Birthdays Planner:


Monthly Blog Planner:


Weekly Blog Overview:


Ongoing Craft Swap Organizer:


Big Craft Swap Organizer:


Wish List:


To Do List:


Notes Page:


Books to Read List:


Library Book Tracker:


Debt Tracker:


NEW!
Movies to Watch List:



Weekly Tot School Planner:


Kid's Party Planner (1 of 3):


Kid's Party Planner (2 of 3):


Kid's Party Planner (3 of 3):


NEW!
Monthly Date Night Planner:



NEW!
Weekly Date Night Planner:



NEW!
Wedding - Guest List Tracker:

6  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Harry Potter and the Felt Play Set on: August 11, 2015 09:50:37 PM
In the One Awesome Harry Potter Thing (Round 2) swap, I paired up with jillybeans, and created this felt play set for her daughter!

Original Swap Link: https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=439516
Original Swap Gallery: https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=439838

Here is the whole felt set:


Pardon the picture dump. Here are close ups of all the pieces.

I made a Hogwarts background:


The Hogwarts grounds, with the forest, the lake, and the Whomping Willow:


The Quidditch pitch:


Harry Potter:


Ron Weasley:


Hermione Granger:


Dumbledore:


Professor Snape:


Hagrid:


Dobby:


Voldemort:


Hedwig and the Sorting Hat:


Quidditch Props - Snitch and 2 Broomsticks:


Each of the characters took in the neighborhood of 2 hours. Dobby took about an hour. The rest of the props took about half an hour each. The backgrounds took 4-6 hours.

I had a lot of fun designing all the characters, and even drew up sketches for about a dozen more, but ran out of time and couldn't make them all. I hope you enjoy the felt play set!! Smiley
7  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / Quilted Hexie Coasters on: May 26, 2015 11:14:19 PM
With a 15-month-old running around the place, I didn't think tile coasters were a safe idea. I also think hexies are so cute, but didn't want to commit to a huge hexie project like a quilt until I knew whether I was going to like making them or not. Turns out, I LOVE THEM! They are so quick and easy to whip up, and perfect for carrying around to make when I'm out and about.

I hand-stitched the hexies, and hand-stitched them together. Then I whip stitched all the way around them (the backs are also hexies, and match the fronts). Last, I quilted the coasters with a sewing machine in matching thread.

Anyway, here are my quilted hexie coasters. This is my first time quilting anything, so I probably didn't do it "right," but I don't really care.



Closeups of the pairs.



8  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Mommy and Me Knotted Headbands on: May 18, 2015 01:35:42 PM
I've been seeing some super cute knotted headbands for little girls lately, but haven't had the money to spend on any for my toddler. I decided to whip up some of my own using this pattern: http://www.howdoesshe.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Headtie-Pattern.pdf

The original pattern size made a 13" headband - good for newborn sized heads, but too small for my toddler. I'll probably keep it fr now, and pass it on to someone having a baby girl.



I still wanted one for my girl and the headband is super easy to make larger. I added 2.5" to the "fold" side of the pattern to make an 18" headband for my daughter (because it's folded over, adding 2.5" actually makes it 5" longer).



After seeing how cute it was on my little girl, I wanted one for myself! I had enough of the same fabric, so I whipped one up for myself, too! For mine, I added 4.5" to the original template to make a 22" headband.



I made these out of plain cotton fabric, but next time I think I'm going to try to use a jersey knit so it has a little bit of stretch/give.
9  COOKING / Vegetarian / Vegan / Toddler Teething Cookies on: April 30, 2015 09:55:34 PM
I've been really disappointed with the ingredient lists in traditional toddler teething biscuits, particularly because so many of them have sugar! Who wants to feed their toddler sugar?! They've got enough energy as it is!

So then I started looking up recipes for healthy toddler teething biscuits, and once again all I could find were tons of recipes with up to a 1/4 CUP OF SUGAR!

Finally I decided to wing it, mash a couple of recipes together, and then put my own spin on it, since I have tons of baby cereal and baby food left over (my kiddo never wanted baby food. Ever.).

I've tried them, and they're a little bland (you know, no sugar...), but my toddler and her best friend absolutely love these! Here's what I came up with:



Apple-Blueberry Teething Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup wheat flour
1 cup baby cereal
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 container of Apple-Blueberry baby food
2-4 Tbsp of water

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven at 425 degrees. Line a cookie sheet.
2. Combine all ingredients (start with 2 Tbsp of water), and mix well. The dough should be soft but not super sticky. You may need to add more water or a little more cereal/flour to get the right consistency).
3. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4"-1/2" thick (younger babies need thicker cookies so they are less likely to chomp through them. Older babies that know how to chew can have thinner cookies).
4. Cut out fun shapes that are
 large enough that the baby can't fit the entire thing in their mouth (rule of thumb is it shouldn't be able to fit through a toilet paper tube).
5. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes (thicker cookies may need more time).
6. Allow to cool completely before giving to baby. These can be frozen for later, or stored in an air-tight container.

What I love about these cookies is that they are so easy to change up! I made a second batch and swapped the Apple-Blueberry baby food for Sweet Potato, and added 1/4 tsp of cinnamon to the mix for a fall taste. Other good flavors would be Banana with a dash of vanilla, Banana-Mixed Berry, Apple and cinnamon, etc. Have fun with it! And I would LOVE to hear any other flavors and combinations you try!!

Here's a picture of the Sweet Potato ones:

10  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Reusable Diaper Liners on: April 28, 2015 12:44:03 AM
This thread mentions diapers, poop, diaper rash, etc. If that's gunna bug you... you were warned.

We have been using cloth diapers on my 14 month old for over a year now. We've never really had any problems with diaper rash or anything until a couple of weeks ago. She got a rash from something she ate (we're still trying to figure out what she's allergic to), that triggered a rash so bad her poor bum was bleeding! We took her to the pediatrician who prescribed us some fancy medicated bum cream to help clear it up.

Problem! Bum cream + cloth diapers = BIG NO NO! (Unless it's a special cloth-diaper-safe cream, it causes the cloth diapers to repel water (pee) instead of absorb... No bueno). The normal solution is to put the baby in disposable diapers until the rash clears up. Well, after 3 hours in a disposable diaper, baby girl's butt was not only still bloody, but also chapped because the disposable diapers suck all of the moisture out of her skin... -sigh-

Solution! Fleece liners laid on top of the cloth will keep the cream from touching the diaper, wick pee away from the baby's skin (keeping her rashy area dry) without pulling out SO much moisture that her bum gets chapped.



It took me about 45 minutes to cut down some fleece I had into the right size liners for her diapers. I made enough to line every one of her (30) diapers, plus a couple of extras - I just went til I ran out of fabric.



They are roughly 6"x9" and so far they are working great!

Here is a picture of it sitting in the diaper. It actually goes a little bit lower than I placed it for the picture, but you get the idea. (And yes, we use the old-fashioned flats with a diaper cover. LOVE MY CLOTH DIAPERS!)

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