Sunday, January 29, 2012

Side trip: Sharpie tie dye

I've seen this tshirt tie dye technique all over the place on Pinterest.  After I showed it to Ben, we decided we had to give it a try.


It's a lot less involved than traditional tie dye, so that's a plus. Just use a Sharpie marker to draw a design on a cotton surface and add rubbing alcohol to bleed it out.  The instructions I've seen tell you to lay the drawing over a plastic cup and secure it with a rubber band before you add the rubbing alcohol with a dropper.  We didn't have a dropper, so I just used an old syringe we had from a round of antibiotics and it worked fine.


And after:

This works great, but the cup also makes a definite edge to the bleeding. We also tried a couple of spots with words.

And agreed that pictures work better.
Really easy, and we had fun discovering the results with different designs.  Instead of tshirts, we used cotton bandanas and plan to put a couple in simple frames for Ben to hang in his room. Once we were all done, I heat set the bandanas in the dryer.  I also washed one to see how the color would work on a t shirt in case we decide to try that route later on; the marker definitely loses some of the vibrancy that way.  Still fun, but very much like tie dying a tshirt with Rit dye. 

Ben also drew a giant heart on one of the bandanas, and since that wouldn't fit over any plastic cup we had around the house, we laid that out over waxed paper and added the rubbing alcohol along the lines. 

We had a great time and we'll definitely be trying this again. We've already gotten a couple more bandanas in solid colors to give it a whirl without the stark white background--I'm thinking that if we make smaller designs and cut them out with decorative edges, we can use them lots of different ways....little pictures to use in frames or stretch over embroidery hoops, maybe even a way to dress up the lids on jarcakes we send out for gifts.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Valentine surprise cookies

Real life has been a little rough lately.  Baking is a nice diversion, especially when it's with Ben.  So even though it's a little bit early for Valentine's Day baking we decided to give these cookies a test run.

I found this whoopie pie pan a while ago.  Initially I resisted it; I'm not much of a fan of the whole whoopie pie movement.  Maybe I just need to find the right recipe, but so far I haven' t been too impressed with the whoopies I've tried.  Anyway.  At some point I decided to get the pan because it would make awesome, thick cookies. 

Ben and I decided on peanut butter cookies and used my go-to recipe:

Peanut Butter Cookies
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
Mix the peanut butter, sugars, vanilla and butter until smooth, then add the egg.

Gradually mix in the dry ingredients.

Bake in a 375 degree preheated oven.  If you are making regular cookies, bake for about 9 minutes.  If you are making these in the whoopie pie pan, bake them a bit longer--I started checking them at 12 minutes but each batch probably baked more like 14 minutes.

Since this pan makes huge cookies, I decided there was room to add a chocolate center to each one--Ben said the chocolate would be a Valentine surprise, so we went with it, referring to them from that point forward as Valentine Surprise Cookies.

Put a scoop of the dough in each heart cavity, then flattened that down and added a chocolate piece.  (Next time, I will add two pieces of chocolate.  I was afraid there wouldn't really be enough room for that and the chocolate would be seeping out the top or sides of the cookies, but that wasn't the case!)

Add another scoop of dough on top and flatten that out to cover the chocolate. 

We decided to drizzle chocolate over the top of ours and have a little bit of ice cream with them--they were pretty awesome.

We loved them so much we did another batch with chocolate chip cookie dough...

We'll keep using this pan to make cookies like this--they were really good and stayed soft.  I froze a bunch of them and they were great a week later, so they will be a good option to make ahead for celebrations.  Now I just have to think about flavor combinations...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Initial rings

I'm not sure how many rings a person can have before it's too many, but I may be getting close to my lifetime limit.  I wanted to make stacking rings and since I needed to make a test set, I made these for me.

I used 16 gauge sterling wire for the shanks and added small sterling discs with initials stamped into them, then hammered them to add some texture.  I love how they turned out and I think they would be a nice, personal gift idea--maybe something for the Etsy shop.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Gingerbread house 2011

Every year for the past...I don't know, nine years?  We've made a gingerbread house over winter break to take with us to see our extended family.  We use the same gingerbread recipe every year because it works well for construction and it also tastes pretty good, thankyouverymuch.  I probably made the first six or seven houses without so much as trying the gingerbread part of the house because I pretty much hate gingerbread anything.  But my sweet little sister talked me into trying it one year and then I ate half of the house by myself in the span of a few hours.  Did I mention how sweet my little sister is for talking me into that so I could quadruple my calorie intake during the gingerbread house festivities?  Anyway.

This year we crushed up candy canes to use in the windows (we didn't have any opaque candy, so the windows came out sort of a bright red.  This was ok, but an ivory color works much better...lesson learned).  I found Wilton Holly Mix Sprinkles and totally cheated by using them on the wreath hanging over the window on the front of the house.

Here is the house pre-candified:

...and the finished product:


And my niece, giving us the best review we got for the house once we delivered it and demolition began--