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1  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Hit the Spot Game -- Wizard style on: May 28, 2018 06:47:14 PM
Found an old hit the spot game at the second hand store and thought it needed to be a remake.  It's been in my re-purpose inventory for a few months when I thought I better make it a new game for the Harry Potter room.  
So introducing Wizard Hit the Spot!
"How much Wizard are you?"

Started with a basic Gravity Ball Game

Primed, and painted to be old parchment and added some Marauder's Map footprints to match my walls.  At this point I don't want to add the map front image because of how insanely long it took to paint on my wall.  Maybe I'll want to do it later.

It slants upwards, so you have to push the ball uphill!  Harder than it looks.

"Points" goes Muggle - Squib - Muggle Born - Half Blood - Pure Blood - Chosen One.... Ravenclaw Hubs asked me why I was perpetuating the belief that Pure Blood's are better than Muggle Borns.  oops lol

Start the ball at the top and open the rods trying to get the back to you as far as you can.

Will be fun to just keep on the Potter room coffee table.  
Thanks for looking!  Cheesy  
2  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Party Planning / Harry Potter Themed Teacher Appreciation Week on: May 21, 2018 11:07:27 AM
I got put in charge of our PTA's teacher appreciation week for our middle school.  I knew I wanted to make chocolate frogs for the teachers, so I suggested a book week theme with treats from different books.  But the president goes "chocolate frogs only one day?!  Why not a whole Harry Potter week??"  That was all the convincing I needed.  If anyone has seen me filling up this website with HP crafts you'll know the whole family of mine are quite HP fanatics, and with a complete basement of HP memorabilia. I figured a week would be a cinch.

Thus HP Teacher Appreciation Week was born.  Now because it was HP I went more into it than I think I would have but the teachers ab..so...lute...ly LOVED it.  I had soooo many comments about how exited the teachers were to come in to see the new products and get a treat.  I even had a few suggest this should be next years theme as well.  ....with all the praise I felt like I should have done more than just hang a few banners!  They really needed the pick me up.

Better view of the sign

Made them scratch off cards to see what house they were in.  Had a few teachers say they kept at it until they got a good house lol

Made about 100 chocolate frogs.  Thanks for making the year unfroggetable!


Made about 25ish wands for a fun decoration and not one came home with me.  I didn't exactly mean for them to go, but more for the reason I didn't want to make 100 vs I didn't want teachers to have any.  I gave a few people an okay to grab one and I'm guessing the empty holes caused a frenzy!  I'm happy that teachers thought my wands were that cool to want one.  Maybe next year I will try to make a hundred.

Door to faculty room.  The coolest paper I found at a second hand shop many months ago waiting for a perfect HP time to use it.

Honeydukes!!  Bottom was filled with regular sized candybars.  Those went fast.
Found an old kitchen unit on craigslist for $5.  Painted it and added all the jars I could find.  Even put bags through the printer with a honeydukes logo.

Guess I've got to get some new ideas if I have to do it again next year!
3  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Scratch Cards - Hogwarts Style on: April 29, 2018 09:04:07 PM
DIY Scratch Cards.  Use a penny/galleon and scratch the paint away to reveal a secret!
This one is Hogwarts style, but you could make any picture you wanted.  --chores for kids? a coupon code to your etsy? what to eat for dinner that night?

First print up your picture.  I drew a sorting hat cartoon style, then printed the words with photoshop.  Copied it to be the size of business cards, but sizing could be anything.
Then use packing tape and roll it right over where you want the paint button to be.

Eyeball 2/3 paint and 1/3 common dish soap.  Mix it well.

Paint big globs over your hidden spot.  Wait to dry and paint a second coat.  I needed three coats.

Paint and paint and paint.... I spent so much time painting buttons that day.  But it was nice to get a bunch done at once.

Then cut them up and package them how you want to!  Mine will go to a Potter Party for some local teachers.  

and don't worry if your feline Crookshanks drags her fluffly tail through the paint.  Just scratch away the messed up bits! Naughty kitty.

Thanks for looking!  Happy crafting.
4  CRAFTSTER CRAFT CHALLENGES / CHALLENGE 123 ENTRIES / Mammoth Sherbet Bath Bomb on: April 03, 2018 06:46:30 PM
Mammoth Sherbet Bath Bomb

"Mammoth?  Nah... that's exaggerating."
"You sure?  It's as big as my head!"

My springy color challenge comes to you in the form of a bath bomb.  And not just any bath bomb, but a giant mother of all bath bombs.  This one is FIVE pounds of bath bomb!  I love the colors, it looks just like a bowl of sweet sherbet or a pretty snow cone.  Beautifully scented, like a delicious vanilla cake!  This bomb is perfect to use in a relaxing long warm bath after working outside in your spring time garden.

Ack!  5 pounds!  A large sized bath bomb is 8 ounces.  If I'm researching right Lush bath bombs are about 6 ounces.

Next to a large sized bath bomb.  Makes it look like a marble!

This thing bubbled for over ten minutes.  Girl was too enthralled to actually end up in the tub with it, she just watched even after I left the room for her to bathe, lol.  One thing Ill note was in the end, after 5 times the coconut oil, it was an oily bath!  Now its amazing for dry skin, but be prepared to smell like coconut and vanilla for a while. 
She couldn't even hold it and the camera, lol

This recipe makes one batch, for a five pounder youll need to make this 5 times over.
1 cup baking soda
cup citric acid
cup cornstarch
cup Epsom salt
2 TBSP coconut oil
2 TBSP +/- water
Soap Coloring, not food coloring

Add dry ingredients, mixing until well blended.  Add melted coconut oil, scent, and water and quickly stir so not too much citric acid gets activated.  Divide into three bowls and add coloring as you like it.  Press into sides of bath bomb molds or if youre going big, cereal bowls or something that makes a round shape.  Overfill sides and then press two halves together until tight.  Leave in mold for 24 hours, then take the sides off and let rest another 24 hours to dry.  After that, package up or take with you to a nice warm fizzy bath.

note to add: This thing was a mother to get out of my metal mold.  I put it in the freezer.  I used a heat gun.  I finally just stabbed a knife down the side and pried it out.  So good luck if you try!
and I filled color on the outside and tried to get just plain white on the inside.  All colors together = Brown bath water.  Ew. So I just did outside color, but tried to make it pop.

Thanks for the challenge!

5  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Adventures in Natural Yeast on: April 03, 2018 11:08:32 AM
I got a packet of 200 year old Natural Yeast a few weeks ago and have been learning how to use sourdough.  It's been easier than I thought and I love the health benefits.  The natural yeasts eats out so much of the gluten, it's easier to digest.

I've tried a wheat natural yeast before and I wasn't successful.  While everything tasted alright it felt like so much work to keep wheat ground just for feeding and always trying to keep on top of what I needed to do for the start.  This one in particular I feed regular all purpose flour and only once a week for our bread or whenever I want to make something else.  Nice!

Basic White Bread

4 cups non-chlorinated water
4 tsp natural sea salt
1 Cup natural yeast start
3 eggs
1/4 cup honey
several cups of flour until the dough is no longer sticky.  ...start with wheat but when you get adventurous you can add spelt or kamut or any other kinds of grains in proportion with the wheat for more nutrition!

Mix together and let rise for 12 hours.  Form into 3 long rolls and place in 12 inch bread pan.  Let rise 2 hours.  Bake at 375* for 30-40 minutes or until center is 192*.  Let cool.

Cinnamon Rolls


2 1/2 cups non-chlorinated water
1 cup starter
4 cups flour
3 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1 tsp salt
3 TBSP sugar

about 1 cup milk
1 TBSP baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

Mix the starter, flour, eggs, oil, salt, and sugar together and let set covered overnight.  In the morning if it's too thick for a pancake batter add milk for a better consistency.  Sprinkle baking powder and soda over the top and mix until ingredients and blended.  Scoop onto griddle for pancakes or into waffle iron.  

...If you are interested in trying here is a great youtube that shows how to start and the benefits. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7h-imP9zaM

He's so strong, he's outgrown a few jars!
6  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Mayonnaise Jar hiding spot on: April 02, 2018 10:15:08 AM
For my girl's April Fool's day lunches I always try to do something funny.  This year april fools was not on a school day, but they got fool lunches anyway.  I sent all their lunch packed away in mayo jars!  Wiish I could see their reactions when they open up lunch and see mayo and a spoon.  At least it's a funny picture in my head.  I've given instructions for you to be able to make your own mayo jar hiding spot.  It could even be a safe!  Put all your money in it and then put it at the back of your pantry.  Or put all your favorite candy inside to hide from your roommates, lol.  Lots of fun ideas.

First start with cleaned and empty mayo jars.  I chose larger sizes.

With masking tape and plastic bags, wrap around outside of jars and place somewhere you can spray paint.  You'll need ivory toned spray paint specifically for plastics.

Paint a few light coats, until it is completely colored.  If you do it too thick at once the paint could run down the sides and leave color gaps.  Then let it dry open for a few good days.  If you are putting food in it, you want the paint smell to be gone.

Next line the inside with fun foam.  Can even be scrap pieces.  I wasn't too careful about sizing, you just want this as a barrier between your items and the paint, because the paint will scratch from the sides and then you ruin your mayo effect.

For my girl's lunches I filled with prepackaged foods, applesauces and granola bars etc.  But again, you fill with whatever you want.  If it's loose like M&M's or something, you might want to fill a plastic baggie just for another layer against the paint.

Put the whole jar in your lunch box. Yum yum!


Thanks for looking! 
7  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Unicorn balloon animal hat! on: April 01, 2018 02:07:28 PM
Unicorns forever!

Made a fun unicorn hat out of twisting balloons. Followed GT Balloons Unicorn Hat youtube tutorial but made the hair different because... rainbows of course.
Now you really can stab people with your super fancy horn Smiley

Happpy Unicorning!
8  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Thai Basil Beef on: March 22, 2018 07:13:28 PM
Made some Thai food with American flair.  It's not terribly traditional, but it was really great.  I made a beef stir fry with thai basil, sticky rice, and an Americanized peanut sauce.  If you can find sticky rice at an asian market, grab it.  You steam it instead of boil, so it sticks together and you can make a ball to dip in the peanut sauce.  It's something even my picky kid will eat.

Thai Basil Beef

1.5 pounds New York strip steak
2 TBSP avocado oil
2 tsp cornstarch
salt and pepper to taste
4 cloves minced garlic
1 thai chile thinly sliced OR 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 TBSP peanut butter
1 TBSP fish sauce
1 cup thai or regular basil
4 cups stir fry vegetables

Cut steak into strips against the grain.  Season with salt and pepper and coat with the cornstarch.
Heat skillet over high heat, add avocado oil and sear meat on both sides.  Set browned pieces aside on a plate.
In same skillet, reduce heat to medium, add vegetables, garlic, chiles and season with salt and pepper.  Saute until vegetables are tender.
Add beef back into skillet.
Add soy sauce, peanut butter, and fish sauce.  Let simmer until the sauce reduces and thickens.
Add basil.  Remove from heat and toss the basil into the hot stir fry until just wilted.
Serve immediately.  Great paired with Thai Sticky Rice.

Thai Basil Peanut Sauce

One 13.5 ounce can full-fat unsweetened coconut milk
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
2 TBSP fish sauce
1/2 cup water
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp thai basil

Put everything into a medium sized, heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, wisking constantly.
Let the mixture simmer for 3-5 minutes over low heat.  Be careful to not let the mixture scorch at the bottom.
Take the pot off the heat, let the sauce cool down and serve.
(To make it more traditional you can add about 1/4 cup Thai Massaman curry paste...I omit this as I don't like the flavor)
9  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Party Planning / Cake Walk Boards on: February 09, 2018 06:33:35 PM
I've been making lots of games for carnivals and parties lately and here is the latest.  I had a cupcake walk with laminated pictures that were taped to the floor, but in two carnivals they were toast.  So made a tough one.  12 inch square boards of 3/4 inch wood, painted and numbered in cute cupcakes!

Hand painted and tossed in some Harry Potter colors in there as well, because everything I do has to have a nod to HP.

Printed the cupcake images so those can be pieces to pick the winning number.

Goodbye tiny tape-y cupcakes!

Edit to add: a cake walk is a school carnival/fete game where kids walk around the steps to music. When the music quits, kids stop on a number tile. Adult host picks a number and whoever is standing on that number tile gets a whole cake (or we just did cupcakes).
10  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Valentine's Day / Chocolate Box "Wreath" on: February 08, 2018 08:43:54 PM
Saw this idea online and knew it had to be done!

Needs a standard Valentines heart box or you can make one out of cardboard.  I bought a bunch of boxes last year on clearance, put the chocolates in the freezer for later and kept the boxes for crafties. 

Chocolate Heart Box
Air dry clay
paint - chocolate browns and creamy white
3D puffy paint - white pink and/or black (I used black instead of brown because I didn't want to buy a new brown)
cupcake liners
hot glue
ribbons for hanging and edging

I cut styrofoam into chocolatey shapes and then painted them, as the idea I saw online, but I used a more open styrofoam and hated the way it looked.  Not realistic enough for me.  So I used those as a base and rolled air dry clay out super thin to cover. 

Smooth it as best you can, and then let it dry.  After it was dry, I even sanded them down a bit to smooth it out even more.
Arrange in your box to make sure you have enough and a layout you like.

Paint with your chocolatey colors.

Then use your puffy paint to make designs on the top.

Dry and then hot glue inside cupcake liners in your box.  Use your ribbon to ruffle some edges on if you'd like and make a hanger.

Mmmm.... yummy....ish.
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