And you thought arcade games were dead

google pac-man logo

If you need a break from surfing the web, I suggest you head on over to Google for a fun little distraction. Google’s logo is a playable pac-man game! And if you’re feeling inspired, how about celebrating pac-man’s 30th birthday by making your own Pac-man paper lantern?

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May 22, 2010 at 12:44 Leave a comment

Sew, Mama, Sew! Giveaway Day

Giveaway button

Today is Giveaway Day over at Sew, Mama, Sew! There are hundreds of blogs linked up for you to explore and some fun giveaways to enter. I spend the entire evening browsing blogs, adding my favorites to my Google reader and tossing my name in a few drawings. Go check out the fun! (And I shall go to bed now.)

May 17, 2010 at 23:59 Leave a comment

DIY: wire heart necklace

wire heart

Mother’s Day is fast approaching. Since there isn’t much time left until Sunday, I really had to get my stuff together. I wanted it to be something crafty, but it also had to be mailable – which ruled out lots of flowers art and elaborate baking creations. I’ve had this book on wire jewelry lying around for a few weeks now and decided to finally try my hand on it.

This is the first time I’ve ever worked with wire. It’s really rewarding and you only need very few supplies to get started, so it’s a great craft to try out. I already had a pair of wire cutter and straight-nosed pliers (though mine are rippled, which makes ugly dents in the wire so I’ll have to get a new pair), and a quick stop at the craft store left me with round-nose pliers and a bunch of different gauge wire. It cost me about five bucks.

wire heart necklaceI used gauge 18 silver-plated wire to make the base of the heart. Clip off a long piece of wire, and make a sharp bend in the middle – this will be the top crease of your heart. Then bend each wire end over a sharpie or other big, round pen. I didn’t even try to make my halves the same to give the heart an asymmetric look. Bend the wires towards each other and twist together to make the bottom of the heart. Clip off any excess wire. I wrapped it with some 22 gauge wire, crisscrossing the heart and securing the points by wrapping the wire around my heart frame whenever I changed directions. Easy as that!

wire heart detail

Attach a jump ring and thread onto a leather cord to make a pretty necklace. I whipped up a quick wire necklace by bending the 18 gauge wire into a big round shape and twisting together a quick hook and eye at the ends. This took me roughly an hour to put together. It’s my very first hand-made jewelry item and I think it’ll be a great gift for my Mom. Now I only have to get it in the mail!

What are you making for Mother’s Day?

P.S.: My mini windowsill garden is still waiting for some action. It’s day 6 and I’m trying to be patient, but I’ve really got a feeling my black thumb struck again. Nothing green to be seen yet. *sigh*

May 4, 2010 at 23:28 20 comments

Mini windowsill garden – day 1

GerberaFor Easter my Mom gave me this grow-yourself-a-Gerbera package. They were my favorite flowers when I was a kid. Apparently, Gerberas are the fifth most used cut flower in the world. Huh.

Since I possess a black thumb when it comes to gardening, I don’t really own any flowers or plants. There’s a tree right outside my window that makes it a little bit green. Tending my Mom’s flowers when she was away never really went to well. I just tend to forget them and most flowers don’t take too kindly to that. So getting this package is part of a challenge. Will I finally overcome my black thumb and actually grow something?

Gerbera kitThe kit comes with a small, adorable (albeit plastic) pot that has two holes in the bottom for drainage, a package of artificial soil and three small packets of seeds. So yesterday I went ahead and planted my first four Gerbera seeds. You just pour in most of the soil, add seeds (don’t drop them down the sink like I nearly did) and cover with the rest of the soil, then water until damp. Easy, right? Well, the hard part will be seeing if anything actually comes from it. The label says you should be able to see seeding after 10 days. Are you as curious as I am?

Here it is, sitting on my windowsill where it will hopefully get enough light. I’ll keep you posted how this progresses.
Gerbera Day 1

April 28, 2010 at 08:31 1 comment

Recipe: Candy Heart Cookies

candy heart cookies

Valentine’s Day may be over, but these cookies are sweet enough for any occasion. Oh, hey, Mother’s Day is next week. How about showing your love with a batch of these adorable cookies?

cookie stamps I got a set of letter cookie stamps for Easter that I was itching to try out. Along came Jelena’s dessert potluck party last weekend. Everybody had to bring something sweet. It was the perfect opportunity, so I decided to whip up these cookies. After spending all day in the kitchen making these, I actually arrived at the party with no desire whatsoever for sweets. Given that I have a giant sweet tooth, it was pretty ironic but probably saved me a few pounds on my hips!

red hearts closeup

candy heart mix

If you have some time on your hand, a letter stamping set and a heart-shaped cookie cutter, you’re basically ready to go! I used a sweetcrust recipe that came with my cookie stamps, but any recipe for cookies that don’t lose their shape while baking will do.

Candy Heart Cookies recipe
gather your ingredients
Ingredients:

  • 500g all purpose flour
  • 200g sugar
  • 250g butter
  • mix with dough hooks

  • 2 medium sized eggs
  • 1 pckg baking powder
  • 1 pckg vanilla sugar
  • food coloring of your choice

dough ready to be chilled
Cut the butter into small pieces, then beat together with the vanilla, sugar and egg in a large bowl. Sift in the flour and baking powder, mixing on low. Knead with your hands until you get a smooth dough. Now let’s add some color!

Divide your dough into equal pieces. I wanted to do four different colors, so I quartered my dough. Color each piece with your chosen food coloring. I used both liquid and powdered stuff, because it’s what I had. They both worked well, so choose whatever you have on hand.

color in your doughcolor in your dough

 
Start with a little and then gradually add more. Keep in mind when coloring dough that the baked result will be lighter, so make your color darker than you want your cookies to be later. Make sure all the color is spread evenly through the dough.

mix in the color
It will be messy, so make sure to protect yourself and your work area. Wash your hands thoroughly before handling a different color, you don’t want to spoil your result. Since the dough has a lot of fat in it, you don’t need to flour your hands before handling it.
colorful dough

When you’re done, cover your dough balls in saran wrap and place in fridge for at least an hour.

After the dough is thoroughly chilled, take it out one ball at a time. Lightly flower your work surface and rolling pin and roll out the dough. I found that I got better results rolling it out not too thin. It’s easier to stamp that way, too. Get your heart-shaped cookie cutter and start cutting lovely cookies.

cut and stamp the hearts

Ignore what the picture shows you. Place the cut hearts onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and then stamp your hearts. It’s easier than transferring the cookies after they have been stamped.

unbaked cookie hearts

Rolling the dough out once gave me enough for 20 hearts, exactly one baking sheet. Since I was running a bit short on time I scrapped the leftover pieces of dough together and put them back in the fridge to finish the next day. Place the cookie sheet in the oven at 200°C (392° F) for about 10 minutes. My first batch burned slightly, so watch them closely.

baked cookies

Here they are, fresh from the oven. As you can see, the color got a lot lighter after being baked. They’re just the right shade of light green. I actually liked the color of the red cookies the best.

baked cookie sheet

As you can see, sometimes the cookie stamps wouldn’t come out clearly, ripping holes in the messages. I was able to save the I heart U by simply leaving the heart as a negative space, but the other ones were unpresentable. I gave my boy the permission to eat those, so I don’t think he minded. Now delve in and bake yourself some sweet candy heart cookies. :)

candy heart cookies

April 24, 2010 at 22:30 7 comments

German breakfast

german breakfast

Happy Earth Day, everyone! Today I made myself an old childhood favorite without realizing it until it laid on my plate. “German breakfast”. It’s three slices of bread with honey, jam (I used wild berries, but any red jam qualifies) and chocolate spread. They give you the three colors of Germany’s flag: black, red and gold.

It’s a fun way to teach your children something about other countries (look around you to find stuff for different colors. how about plum butter for blue or marshmallow paste for white? be creative!) and at the same time make breakfast a bit more interesting.

April 22, 2010 at 09:13 Leave a comment

DIY: Stash Bust: Pacman Paper Lantern

pacman paper lantern

Today I decided to try out the Paper Lantern Ornament tutorial by The Creative Place. I suggest you follow the excellent tutorial to make them yourselves. They’re easy to make (if you don’t mind fiddling around a bit, that is) and make a wonderful decoration for a table and you can use stuff you have lying around at home, which makes it the perfect project for the April Stash Bust.

tools you need for the paper lantern

At first I went traditional and decided to cut up old, yellow pages from a book my Mom gave me. The paper is really thin, which made it rather fiddly to work with.

punch a hole into the stripscarefully shape the lantern
 
But I was quite pleased with the result:

paper latern ornament

The way it sat there, it almost reminded me of a pumpkin. They’d be cute to make in orange paper for Halloween. Use a green brad for the stem, paint on a face and you’d have the perfect decoration for a Halloween party. So this got me thinking about other shapes.

I grabbed some scraps of yellow paper. If you only have a regular hole punch like I do and can’t fit all of your strips into it at once, here’s a quick tip. Punch the first half of your strips, then gather all of them together and mark the center of the hole on the unpunched half. If you remove the bottom of your hole punch you can turn it upside down, insert the second half of the strips and position them with the mark you made to ensure the holes will match up.

mark the holewhole viewposition strips

I used only 13 strips for this lantern, but did the rest according to the tutorial. And what do you end up with?

pacman paper lantern
It’s a pacman! I colored and cut out some white paper to make the eyes. Attach them with glue dots and you’re done. If you want you can cut out some yellow dots for your little pacman to eat as well.

April 18, 2010 at 13:43 2 comments

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