Monday, March 29, 2010

easy art smock

I am sure that I am not the only mom who is a little hesitant when my little one asks to paint. I have been looking for some kind of water proof art cover up for my little girls (some way to contain the mess). Well I thought up this the other day so here it is.
I started with a vinyl tablecloth I had on hand for a painting drop cloth. You know the kind with the fuzzy back. This is perfect because it is water proof, can be wiped clean easily, and no need to sew because the edges will not fray. You could probably get a few out of one tablecloth depending on the size.

I measured my kiddos to get the width and the length and then cut out this shape. Mine measured about 40 in long and 16 in wide. I traced a small bowl for the neck hole.

As you can see I just added velcro to the back and sewed a ribbon on the front to tie in the back. You could also glue the ribbon on to make this a complete no sew art smock. Since I have made this I have seen some cute polka dot, flowers, and stripe tablecloths in the Easter decorations in many stores so now would be a great time to find one. These are good for not just painting but any messy projects like egg dying, anything with frosting or glue, you get the idea.

Hope this helps you enjoy time with your little ones with a little less mess.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

easy shamrock decor

As I finally got around to putting away all of the Valentine's decorations I realized that I didn't really have any St Patrick's Day decorations. I didn't really want to spend any money so this is what I came up with.
I just cut a shamrock out of a piece of paper and then traced it onto some scraps of fabric that I had. I cut two per shamrock and then sewed them wrong sides together leaving a little hole to stuff them. My girls stuffed them for me and then we sewed them up. I tied a little piece of gold ribbon to the stem and here they are. After a few I just cut them out without a pattern and I actually liked them better. With the raw edges and each a little different size and shape they have fun character.

You could put them in a basket like this, use them on a table, hang them in a window or on a door, or hang them from your dining room light. They were fast, very inexpensive, and kid friendly.

I think that they will make it in time. Here is what they look like today, 5 days later.

Friday, March 5, 2010

growing lucky clover

We thought it would be fun to grow a little luck this year. We started with some little terra-cotta pots and painted them gold with a little glitter paint for sparkle.

We found some clover seed at a local seed and garden store. This is usually sold in large amount with grass seed so a small amount is very inexpensive. We soaked the seeds in water for about 5 hours (we thought this might speed up the process a bit) and then planted them in some potting soil.

We placed them in our windowsill and we are hoping they will make it one time. We probably should have started them a little sooner but at least we can enjoy it the whole month of March right. We will keep you posted on how long it takes and then we can plan better for next year.

We hoping for something like this.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

focaccia bread

I discovered this recipe last week on the Studio 5 website (love this site), and have made it six times since then. It is so simple and easy but it makes a fabulous artisan like bread.
Check out the Kathleen Alder's recipe on the site and watch the video with her. She gives great tips and she also explains how to make it into pizza.
Here is the basic recipe and my tips to go along with hers.

3 cups flour
1 2/3 cups warm water
2 T. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. yeast

In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients together, until moistened. It will be a very soft dough. Cover tightly and let sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours. Then pour the bread onto a greased baking sheet and carefully spread it out, without disturbing it too much. Drizzle with olive oil and top with anything else you would like (my favorite toppings are basil, coarse salt, and fresh Parmesan). Let rise for 15 to 20 minutes and then bake at 450 for 20 minutes.

I found that:
-it is really done in about 18 minutes.
-the bread will stick unless the pan is sprayed really well. Coating the pan with cornmeal also helped.
-trying to do it quickly (in about an hour) makes a warm bread but nothing like the the really good bread that comes from sitting for 12-24 hours.
-it only takes a few minutes to mix it up the night before or in the morning and then it can just be forgotten about until it is ready to bake for dinner.
-when it is time to bake the bread, turn on the oven to preheat while putting the bread on the pan and letting it raise. By the time the oven is preheated the bread will be ready to bake.
-almost anyone can make this bread and everyone I know who has, loved it.

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