Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Here a Ribbon, There a Ribbon...

I just love ribbons... and who doesn't love them? They make them in so many great colors, textures, patterns... geesh! A girl can get overwhelmed with so many ribbon choices. Not to mention, every craft store seems to have there own assortment, making choosing the perfect ribbon for a project even more difficult.

I recently added some new ribbons to my collection so my mother and I can make some hair bows for my baby girl. With the new ribbons added, my collection quickly outgrew the small shoe box I was storing them all in so I took a trip to the craft store to buy a ribbon holder... only to find out they were a whopping $39.99. There is no way on this green planet that I was going to spend that much on a ribbon holder.

Disclaimer: I am not saying there is anything wrong with others spending that much if they choose too... it just won't be coming out of my pocket.

So I looked at this $39.99 ribbon holder and upon closer inspection I saw it was pretty much a pretty frame with rods.

...and so my brain went to turning...

When I got home I searched every room of the house looking for something to use as a frame... with no luck. Just as I was about to sit down, a light bulb turned on! In my recycle bin was a USPS Priority Mail shipping box from gift my grandmother sent before she passed away early this month (blog coming soon). This was it!

I cut the front out of the box. I wrapped it with masking tape to make the edges smoother. After all, it may be made out of a cardboard box, but it doesn't have to look like it.

Next I used a ruler to make small holes on both sides of the box. These are for our rods we are going to add soon.

Measure your rods before you make you holes. you want them to fit in the tight... too loose and you may end up with more of a mess than what you start off with.

My son is going to be adding a mosaic tile design on the sides for me, but for the time being, I added a quick coat of white spray paint. I also wanted the inside to be white, instead of cardboard brown. Another idea for you crafty crafters... add scrapbook paper to the backing to give it a cute, personal touch.
To finish it I took some thin rods I had from another craft project and stuck a thumb tack in one side to hold the rod in place... added my ribbons... and *wallah*
I don't know if I am more excited that I have a ribbon holder now, or that it cost me less than $1 to make.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Yen can cook... and so can Isaac

My son is no stranger in the kitchen. If he is not cooking from a recipe, he is experimenting with created his own. This Isaac created one of his personal bests... Steamed dim summish, dumpling won-tons. Yes, I know, it makes no sense... but he really took a combination of all 3 and made an amazing dish.

These "Chinese trios" can be made with the traditional pork, beef, chicken or even the healthy choice, turkey. Add your seasoning to the meat... as explained to me, this is your only chance to add seasoning. He used salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic salt and soy sauce. I also shredded some cabbage which he added to the mix.
Next he took the (store bought) won ton wraps & added a small amount of the seasoned meat to the center of the wrapper. "Not too much or it might explode!" I did notice he overstuffed one... it was called, "his experiment." And no, it didn't explode.
While he was making the little Chinese trios, we started cooking the rice and a pot of cabbage for the sides. Timing is everything when cooking. We browned about a half a cup of the meat and added chopped onions & mushrooms to add to the steamed white rice.
After he stuffed the wrappers, he then dabbed the edges with a tad bit of water to help seal the wrapper as he pinched the top shut. He saw that technique on Iron Chef one night... it worked well.
After his first batch was ready, I added them to the steamer lined with cabbage. Notice I said I added them? The steam was extremely hot & this step should be done by an adult... he agrees.
They sat in the cabbage steam bath for about 15 minutes and then I used a tong to remove them. We added some steamed rice & cabbage to complete the dish.
The meal was amazing! I'm so proud of my little chef... speaking of "little chef." After dinner we cuddled & watched Ratatouille... Remy the rat is called, "little chef" by Linguine, the big chef.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Mommy-Made Baby Blocks

First comes love... then comes marriage... Then comes a baby in a baby carriage, playing with blocks!

It did not take me long to figure out that my baby daughter would much rather play with something hard, than soft. I guess when she hits her big brother with her chosen toy, she wants to make sure she hears a playful, "Ouch!"

Every baby needs a set of blocks to play with. They assist with hand / eye coordination, thinking and fine motor skills. After seeing the selection most stores had to offer with block, I decided to take a whirl at making my own.

I started off with several 1-1/2" wooden blocks from the craft store. They were $1 each BUT of course I purchased them when they went on sale for 50% off. *Most local craft stores run sales on a schedule. If the item(s) you want is not on sale this week, give it a week or two... chances are, it will go on sale within a month's time.

First thing I did was sand down the edges. We already know my baby daughter likes to hit her big brother with things, we do not
need him actually injured from sharp objects.

After I sanded the edges I painted them with a non-toxic craft paint. Be sure to check that all the materials you use are non-toxic, non-treated, etc. We want our children to be safe with their mommy-made toys.

After I finished painting, I cut small squares out of coordinating scrapbook paper. I used 5 different patterns, so each block used 1 pattern twice (no biggie).

Last but not least, I glued the scrapbook paper squares on to the blocks & finished it out with one of my good friends... Mod Podge.

And tada... mommy-made baby blocks.