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cleaning (5) craft (26) DIY food (7) niftyman (4) nondairy (18) vegan (11)

Monday, October 31, 2011

1950s-Girl Costume

White shirt, gray poncho, and accessories from our closets

The poodle skirt is really a poncho. I traced a poodle onto a piece of felt and hand-stitched the felt onto the poncho. Here's a free poodle pattern: 

Saddle shoes: Target sneakers, black Crayola fabric marker

Cat-eye glasses from Diddams

Puss-in-Boots Costume

Tall boots, peasant blouse, gaucho pants, belt  from our closets

Pirate hat and yellow feather from Michaels

Embellish w/ red thread

Cat ears and tail from Claire's

Make up: Bare Escentuals pink blush for nose (moisten w/ a bit of water), Crayola washable marker for black whiskers

Jack-o-Lantern Two Ways

I got this small pumpkin from CVS for $1.69 and used it once for Phoebe's Halloween-themed birthday party:

And then to decorate for trick-or-treaters:

Got the fanged jack-o-lantern idea from Martha:


The fangs were only $0.49 from Diddams. Last night when we realized that we only had one night before Halloween to carve pumpkins, this easy idea came in handy.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

DIY Pizza Dough

If you have a standing mixer, you can make homemade pizza dough in about ten minutes. It needs an hour to rise though so plan accordingly. I adapted this recipe for a 14-inch pizza from the KitchenAid Stand Mixer instruction manual. 

1 c warm water
1/4 t active dry yeast
1/8 t salt
2 t olive oil
3 c flour, divided

Step 1. Dough recipes usually specify the temperature of the warm water. I just start with 1/2 c of boiling water and then add 1/2 c of cold water. Swirl boiling water into metal bowl of your mixer to warm up the bowl. Add cold water. Sprinkle in yeast. Swirl around to dissolve yeast. Add salt and olive oil. Stir with measuring spoon. Add 2-1/2 c of flour.

Step 2. Attach dough hook to mixer. Mix dough on speed 2 for 1 minute. Add remaining 1/2 c flour. Knead for 2 minutes on speed 2. Dough should cling to the hook. Knead on speed 2 for additional 2 minutes.

Step 3. Form dough into round shape and place into oiled glass bowl. Turn dough over to coat other side with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and a dish towel. Let dough rise in a warm corner of your kitchen for about an hour. Dough should double in size and feel sticky and elastic. If your dough does not stretch, let it rest longer.

This recipe comes in handy whenever Phoebe gets invited to a birthday party. As long as we have Daiya rice cheese (from Whole Foods) in the refrigerator, I can quickly whip up her dairy-free pizza.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Halloween Party Invitation

Because she's an October baby, as soon as Phoebe could toddle in her pumpkin costume, we had a Halloween-themed birthday party. By her sixth birthday, she wanted to try other themes: tea party, teddy-bear, spa, sleepover. To my delight, this year she wanted to resurrect the Halloween party!

Whether it's her current obsession with Harry Potter or her general love of all things old-fashioned, she chose a message-in-a-bottle invitation. We used Martha Stewart's apothecary-jar invitations as our inspiration.

Soak paper in tea for two hours.
Let paper dry.
Print invitation onto "aged" paper.
Use creepy font, such as Chiller.
No fancy apothecary jar? No problem. Use beer bottle.
Some tips: I squeezed two invitations onto one 8-1/2 x 11" paper. Under the Page Layout tab, click Orientation and select Landscape. Then click Columns and select Two. Then I fed the "aged" paper through the manual feeder. The half sheet fit just right in the bottle.

How to Remove Putty from a Stuffed Animal

Yesterday Phoebe decided to put homemade putty on Kate's face as a practical joke. Chloe was not amused.

I found advice online about removing commercial-brand Silly Putty, which involves freezing the putty off and then using WD-40 to remove the stain. I'm not sure what's in Silly Putty. The troublesome ingredients in homemade putty are white glue and food coloring. I wasn't too worried about the glue, because it just peels off when it's dry but I was nervous about the food coloring.

I've seen experts lift a wine stain off carpet with salt. I thought I would give it a try. No biggie if it didn't work, as we could just dust Kate off. After much picking and scraping at Kate's fur, it came off. Kate is twelve years old though and extremely well-loved so I had to pick gingerly at her threadbare fur. Also, she has a hole on her chest so I had to be careful about dropping salt into that. You may be able to go faster with a newer stuffed animal. Be patient: it took me three passes: once with course salt, once with fine salt, finally with anti-bacterial soap.

Phase 1: course salt.

Don't look Chloe!

Eat salt, Kate!

Phase 2: fine salt.

Phase 3: foamy anti-bacterial soap.

Whew! Crisis averted.
My kids think I'm a hero. I should seriously consider opening a stuffed animal hospital.

Wonder Woman Costume

As a kid I spent countless hours spinning on the playground with my best friend pretending to be Diana Prince transforming into Wonder Woman. I always wanted to dress up as her for Halloween but alas, no such luck. I tell myself that the '70s version would have involved an uncomfortable plastic face mask complete with condensation. When I saw electrical tape costumes featured in a craft magazine, I knew exactly which superhero I wanted to create.

Unroll the tape to measure how much you'll need, rather than cutting first. 

You may need to remove a piece that is too small.

And replace with a longer piece.

Go back and adjust the angles of your wing tips.

Trim the ends to create a curve.

Sketch in the head.