Archive for the 'family' Category

Our Family Rules!

You could read that two ways:

A)  Our family RULES!  (As in, our family is totally rad- and it is)


B)  Our family rules (As in, here are our Family Rules).

You pick.

Up there in my header there’s a list of Things I’d Like to Make.  I need to add to it because I’ve seen some pretty awesome stuff in the last few days.  One thing this 31DBB Challenge is doing is getting me to click around incessantly on the internet.  Ridiculous.  Often it’s worth my while, and occasionally I have to smack myself upside the head and get crackin’ on something of my own.  In this case, it was the Family Rules.

I first saw this idea on one of my fa-fa-favorite blogs, The Pleated Poppy.  You can see Lindsey’s fabric version here, and her friend Nicole’s version here.  If you look at the comments on their blogs you will see that many others have made these and I am way late on this bandwagon.  But better late than never, I say.

What I like about these, other than the crafty part, is that it’s a great reason to sit and think about what you want for you family.  What are your core values?  Get ’em up on the wall where you can see them daily.  I collected ones I saw on the web and then altered and added to suit our tastes, and then showed them to Michael.  He added some more and off I went.  Actually, I didn’t have to get much- just the canvas and the orange paint.

Here is my finished Family Rules:

One thing I did differently is I totally copped out on the whole font thing.  Many of the other blogs I read did their fonts by hand.  For reals.  I’m toooo lazy, and I’m also lucky enough to own a Canon i9900, which will print on a 12×12 piece of paper.  Hindsight 20/20, I wouldn’t have done it quite the same if I were to do it again, but I am still pleased with the turnout.  (And I’d still be totally lazy and print those puppies rather than do them by hand.)

I learned, however, that white ink is not Mod Podge friendly, or at least the white ink I used is not.  See the one that says “Celebrate together”?  I wanted it to *pop* on the paper which, though it’s hard to tell in the photo, is a shimmery paper.  So I spent a ridiculous amount of time covering the blank ink from my printer with white ink, only to have it wipe off when I Mod Podged it.  (Can you use Mod Podge as a verb?  Not sure…)  For some reason the other one I did, “Say grace and clean up after yourself” did not have the same problem, so it must have something to do with the paper.  Oh well- it’s all shellacked now anyway.

Here are some close ups of the smaller ones- I had to get creative because I ran out of room, so this was my solution:

Here are all of our rules (they are not in this order on the finished product):

  1. Have fun, be silly
  2. dance, hug and snuggle often
  3. Celebrate together
  4. Say, “I love you” (lots and lots)
  5. Have an open mind
  6. Be kind and respectful
  7. Obey your parents
  8. tell the truth even if you might get in trouble
  9. share    listen    (these ended up as small ones so I separated them)
  10. Give your guest your best
  11. Mom & Dad:  remember your wedding day
  12. hands are for hugging not hitting
  13. encourage your siblings… share in their joy
  14. there’s no such thing as too much reading
  15. never give up
  16. act responsibly, choose wisely
  17. keep your promises
  18. Use your manners- say please and thank you
  19. Say grace and clean up after yourself
  20. Ask lots of questions
  21. Use your creativity
  22. Try another point of view
  23. Remember that God is Father of us all

If I get some requests I will be happy to post the names of the fonts I used- I am a total font junkie which is part of the reason I loved this project.  Such a nerd, I am.  I would do it now but I have consumed far too much BV Cab, and fear I would list them inaccurately.  🙂

I love this- it adds so much color to our kitchen, and is one of a bunch of things I’ve been doing this week to get organized and get homey before the school year starts.  I love coming home to a house with love and life, and I feel like I’m getting there.  Just wait until you see my other project from this week…. coming soon!


Anna’s Sticker Book

This is not rocket science, people, of this I am aware.  But I thought I’d share this because it will hopefully save me (and you?) some sticker angst.  Anna loves stickers, like most toddlers.  However, she loves to wear them.  She’d like them to last forever, and this is where the explaining was hitting a brick wall for a while- she would cry huge tears at the thought of a sticker losing it’s stickiness.  For reals.  So anytime we “lost” a sticker due to over-wearing, rips, or (heaven forbid) falling off, it was an ordeal.  Enter the sticker book.  It was super easy to make and she is slowly getting into it.

I used all cardstock.  I printed a simple title on the front.   I was momentarily tempted to find a super-cute font, but realized that would have been for me.  Then the teacher in me stepped in and decided to make it with letters she might actually be able to read, so I used the good ol’ standard:  Comic Sans.  I folded the cover and the inside pages in half, and then punched holes in them with an old school hole puncher.

I added a cute ribbon to hold it all together, slapped some daisy stickers on the front, and Voila!  Anna’s Sticker Book!  When I gave it to her (complete with some new stickers) she didn’t get it.  Ah, the anticlimactic world of parenting.  However, the other night she came across some princess stickers and wanted to put one on me (Belle, I believe).  I told her that Belle would be on my shirt for a little while but then she’d end up in the trash or the wash.  How about that sticker book?  There was almost an audible *click* as I said, “…because then you could keep it forever!”

Hat Cake! …A Tutorial?

This might be a tutorial.  I’m not sure.  You tell me.   And WARNING:  lots of pictures and looooong post ahead!

A few months ago Michael’s family started planning his grandmother’s (GG’s) 90th birthday celebration.  90!  I should be so lucky….  Anyway, we had just come off our birthday season with the kids and I felt like I had my cake-making chops back in order.  When I was in college and living in Dallas I really got into making fun, fancy cakes, and then one bad wedding experience turned me off of them for quite a looooong time.  But I kept all of my cake stuff knowing that someday I’d have kids and such.  Thank goodness for that- some cake stuff is not cheap!

I’ll throw in my tips that I’ve learned.  Much of what I have learned is through trial and error, and also the best Girl Scout Leader in the world, Mrs. Kelly.  She was awesome (no uniforms!) on many levels.  She got us all together with cake kits for a day of cake making and I was hooked.

I think the best thing to do when you want to make a cake that is anything other than 2 round layers and some frosting is to have a plan.  I was reminded of this when I started thinking about GG’s cake. I decided to make her a hat cake- she loves hats and has a bazillion of them.  I had a relative plan in my head, and I figured out the pan situation ahead of time, but that was where my plan ended, which came back to bite me in the rear later.

I went to Michael’s Craft Store to get a few things. I came back with this cake mix, which I wasn’t expecting to find:

If you aren’t aware, that’s Duff, the Ace of Cakes.  Apparently he has his own line of stuff- and boy is it expensive.  But the mix wasn’t too bad price-wise and I was too curious.   Let me just say:  YUM.  Delish.  So soft, so moist, and just like making a Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker cake (add eggs, oil & water and you’re good to go).  (Personally I don’t care for Pillsbury mixes- too light and crumbly when I make them.)  The cake was just dense enough to hold up to any kind of construction, and it was just plain yummy.   My philosophy with cakes is that the cake itself doesn’t *have* to be from scratch, but the frosting should.  I don’t have issues with using pre-mixed dry ingredients, but I do have issues with scooping frosting out of a can that’s been sitting on a shelf for Lord-knows-how-long.

Back to the tutorial…  I love parchment paper!  I use it as often as possible because it guarantees things will come out nice and clean.  For the base of the cake I used two 10-inch cake rounds.  I traced the pan on parchment and cut it out.  Then I spray the pan with baking spray, set the parchment paper on the bottom, and spray again.  One thing I like is that it comes out clean and there isn’t white gunk all over the bottom of the cake.

Top left:  this is the little dome I used to make the top of the hat.  It’s a Wilton pan used to make baseballs and such.  It comes with a ring to set it in so it bakes flat and doesn’t fall over.  Smart, eh?

*Trick!*  Top right:  After baking, I carefully invert the cakes onto the cooling rack after they’ve been out for 10 minutes or so.  Problem:  they are upside down.  To handle them now would be certain death to the cake, though- they’d fall apart.  So, I place another cooling rack on them upside down (bottom left), and gently flip them all over inside the rack .  Voila!  Cakes are uprighted and cooling their heels (bottom right).  I leave the parchment paper on the bottom- keeps the crumbs on the cake and my counter a bit less messy for the moment.

Another tip:  don’t try to do a cake all in one day.  Especially if you have a lot of decorating to do.  It’s not worth the stress.   To keep my cakes fresh I let them cool completely.  Then I lay out two long pieces of foil in a cross (left).  It’s hard to see in the photo, but then I do the same again with plastic wrap.  Then I place one layer on the cross.  Wrap it up in the plastic wrap, and then the foil, making sure you keep it totally air tight.  I like to fold the last piece over and make a little fold.  It makes me feel better (right).  Then you can make them a day or two ahead and they will not be stale by the time everyone bites into them.

Some of my favorite tools- a really long, serrated knife for leveling (it’s HUGE!) and a cute cake tester.  I never bake anything longer than 20 minutes before checking on it.  We don’t have a brand new oven, and it’s not reliable for temperature, so I check all things often.  Cake testers help when you’re not quite sure- chocolate cake is especially deceptive because it just smells good and is so dark.

Top left:  if you’re going to have any sort of tiers you might want to get cardboard rounds.  They don’t show because you cover them up with frosting, and they make slicing and serving the cake a lot easier.  I had a bunch of 10-inch rounds, so I just cut one down for the little dome for the top of the hat.  Top right:  Frosting!  I love this recipe– the whipping cream really makes a huge difference.  Bottom left:  I used this cake stand, and to just give myself peace of mind I put a dollop of frosting on the platform to assure myself the cake would not fall off if tipped.  Bottom right:  first layer up!

I have seen many cakes topple over because they were not leveled.  Most cakes, unless baked in special pans with special stuff, naturally dome at the top.  You have to flatten them  to make sure everything stays nice and level- enter… THE KNIFE!  What I love about leveling:  you get to TASTE …the …CAKE.  Yum and HOORAY!  Bottom right:  You can see the construction of the actual hat.  Notice the little piece of cardboard under there.

So here’s where things got dicey and the pictures sort of fade to black.  I also bought this stencil that Wilton makes.  I had visions of making her cake say “Happy Bday” without having to pipe the words out myself.  Given the shape of the cake, though, I realized I’d have to cut the words from the stencil.  No problem.  Then I realized I’d have to cut the letters apart so they could follow the curve of the cake.  No problem.  Then I tried using the letters with a pearl dust.  I followed directions- spraying the letters with cooking spray to prevent them from sticking.   Yeah…..not so much.

This is where my plan sort of fell apart.  The original letters didn’t work, and I had rose pearl dust everywhere.  I had to smear the whole top of the hat to sort of blend in the dust, but it ended up looking pretty.  I tried to write the message with little pearls that I also bought, but hated the way it looked.

Fast forward a few hours, and below is what I ended up with.  I had to break out the piping tips and write it myself- but it turned out great.  It was still missing something, though.  Good thing I bought flowers!

I decided to use the white and pink flowers, given that I ended up not using yellow on the cake at all.  Left:  flowers in the vase (see my little Jack watching- so cute!)  Center & Right: Thankfully the flowers came with straws to hold them up, so I just cut them a smidge longer than the stems so that I could stick them in the cake and not have too much flower touch the cake itself.

The finished product!  I think it turned out wonderful!  I wasn’t sure about it until I put the flowers in.

GG herself, just before we sang “Happy Birthday.”  Notice Anna eyeing the cake, too.
And no, I did not plan the color coordination- that was pure luck!  For some reason, though, she did not wear a hat.  Bummer!
Happy Birthday, GG!  We love you!

The Obligatory First Post

Welcome to Crafting Crazy!  I am so excited to start this blog and all the new energy it is giving my brain.

So here’s where I have to talk (I think) about why I’m starting Crafting Crazy.  I have lots of reasons, and many will probably seem irrelevant in a few years, but what the hey… here goes!

#1:  I want to separate my family blog from all of the stuff I’ll post here.  Mainly because when my kids are older and will (hopefully) take an interest in what they were like as wee ones, I don’t want them to have to sift through posts about crafts and baking stuff.

#2:  I have great hopes for the next 12 months.  I want to find a way to turn my crafts into something more.  A year from now I will (hopefully) have a new baby on my hands (no, I’m not pregnant yet), and I will be done teaching until I deem myself ready to return to the professional world in any capacity.  However, I need and want to find some way to contribute to my family’s income.  It may be that I teach early childhood music, but I don’t want to limit myself to one track.  I am my father’s child in this regard- I like having more than one iron in the fire. So I hope that by tracking what I do and make I can land on a few good tricks that may turn into something big.  We’ll see.

#3:  Perhaps it’s because I just started summer, but I am crazy right now in the creating department.  I am overjoyed at this new-found freedom to focus on my family, my house and my cooking.  It’s such a joy to me.  Why not keep track of it so that I can look back and remember?

#4:  I am a lifelong learner.  I think it’s more fun to learn with others in a community, and the internet provides that community in such an immediate, amazing way.  So in a sense, I’m hopping on the bandwagon a bit.

Some things you should know about me are listed here.  I hope you enjoy this blog.  I really like blogging and all that comes with it.  I hope that when summer turns to fall I can keep up with creating and posting.  Thanks for reading!

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