Saturday, March 21, 2015

Spangled Bangles

"Great Expectations" - not just the title of a Dickens novel! Sometimes they are what grandma entertains while assembling an afternoon of springtime crafting fun. Last year, I reason, we made an Easter basket for each member of the family. This year we'll employ the same method - paper mache - to make gifts of bangle bracelets for each of the ladies. The boys won't really be left out, either. They love painting and decorating and making things for mommy and their two year old twin sisters. Grandma will set the completed bangles aside and the kids will enjoy handing them out before Easter dinner. I smile in delight at that vision. Everybunny's gonna love this one!

So grandma lays out an inviting table of pretty pastel paint, yards and yards of coordinating ribbon, bunny stickers galore, fuzzy little chicks and a dozen or more unpainted bracelets, dry from the week before and ready to go.

Brielle makes her choice. A striking vivid blue sets the background tone and tiny twinkling jewels dance between a flutter of butterfly decals. She is delighted with it. Slaps it on her wrist and declares that she's wearing it home. That day. I sink in my chair and ask if she'd rather save it for Easter. "No, I'm taking it home. Today!" she insists.

I turn my attention to the boys. Sae is elbow deep in green and brown paint. "Camo!" he gleefully shouts, holding high his choice and basking deeply in brother's unabashed admiration. This time I'm the one who insists it goes home with him today!

Nothing prepares me for what I see next. Nick's engrossed in a bracelet covered solid black. Black. Pairs of peering wiggle eyes drip with glue and encircle the surface. "I'm wearing this one on Halloween!" he proclaims with gusto. Bree and Sae smile their heartfelt approval.

So. Great expectations. Sometimes that's as far as grandma's visions go! I realize then that it'll be me who does the painting, sticking and bejeweling if my basket-of-spangled-bangles-for-springtime is ever to be filled to brimming. But that's okay......

Would I really want grandsons who sit here like prissy princesses, painting pastel posies to perfection? (yes) Well, no! of course not!!!

Make a paper mache bangle by cutting a strip of thin cardboard (1" - 2.5" wide) to size, allowing an inch extra for overlap and padding. Tape ends together. Wrap bracelet in strips of paper towel to give shape. Tear strips of newspaper, dip in flour and water mixture the consistency of craft glue and wrap 3 layers around to cover. Allow bracelet to dry, then paint with gesso so pastel colors will show up brightly. Decorate with cute Easter goodies.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Bunnies 'n Buttons

I'm already hoppin' about for the next holiday. I'll have a houseful here for Easter and I'm hopin' to keep everybunny happy! For the first year ever we'll have an equal amount of adults and kids. Yikes! -  they're gaining on us! Even though the littlest guy won't be showing up in person until his early July due date, that still leaves seven seated at the kids' table. Those lil munchkins will be looking forward to what grandma has planned for them this year. And quite frankly, in terms of springtime bursts of color, sugary goodness and appealing presentation I don't think they'll be disappointed!

Footed and domed glass dessert dishes will nest a snacking selection for each child. A 4" crispy bunny accompanied by edible Easter grass and a handful of chirpy "sugar buttons" exceeded my expectations in terms of speed and ease of completion. Purchased sprinkles and icing flowers (both Wilton products) took care of the hand-piping that's usually required for results like this!

I call these "sugar buttons" because they're only 1.5" bite-size small. Any sugar cookie recipe will do. Divide a small batch of royal icing into spring tinted colors, then plop on the decor once frosting's been spread. Freeze them, too - a convenience you'll appreciate during the busy weeks ahead!

Baby bunny is my second hand sculpted Rice Krispie pet. With just a little tweaking, he is as easy to construct as the teddy bear pop I made a few weeks ago for Valentine's Day.

This lil guy's currently chillin' in the freezer too!

Here's what you'll need to make one 4" critter:

1 cup Rice Krispie cereal
1/2 tablespoon butter
1.5 oz. mini-marshmallows + a few extras for tail + "glue"
2 black candy Pearls
1 pink candy Pearl
Small amount of green royal icing
Flower shaped icing decorations

And here's what you'll do:

1. Melt butter in small pan. Add marshmallows and stir to melt together. Gradually add cereal, working quickly to incorporate all.
2. As soon as mixture is cool enough to handle, tightly compress a 2" oval for body. Flatten it on top and bottom. (Coat hands with cooking spray for easier handling.)

3. Compress a 2" oval for head and press it to body. Press Pearls in for eyes and nose.
4. Compress two 1" ears from cereal and attach to top of head.
5. Form 2 tubes, each 1.5" long for arms and press to body. Repeat for feet.
6. If you have difficulty attaching the parts, melt a few extra marshmallows for use as "glue." Use this "glue" to cluster a few reserved marshmallows for a tail.
7. Pipe green icing around bunny's neck and push icing flowers into it immediately.

Although I used Kellogg and Wilton products, this is not a sponsored post.
This original design, like all blog content, is intended for personal use only. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved. Thank you!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Bunny Bedtime Bankies

What's a grandma to do when she has four lively granddaughters, fluffy tails over heels in love with their perky pet stuffed bunnies? What is she to do when Easter's right around the corner and a scrap bag full of snips and snaps of springy colored fabric waits patiently beside her bunny slippered feet? What if she's a flop at applique, and binding makes her go bananas? What if she's decided that each great-grand-bunny needs its own little cozy bed quilt in its own little bedtime basket? What if she decides that those needs need meeting NOW? Quickly! Like a bunny!

Each of my Bunny Bedtime Bankies is 13" x 7.5" and requires very little sewing. Start with a 4" x 7.5" piece that will serve as a pillow. Stitch it to a 2" x 7.5" strip of blanket, followed by another contrasting 8" x 7.5" piece to complete the front. After that, it's time to make a sandwich of matching batting and backing and begin the fun of decorating!

These three little free hand snuggle sisters were traced to fabric prepped with iron on lightweight interfacing. So were the birds, basket and leaves. The flowers are hand made yo yos topped with buttons. Use an ultra-fine point marker for features. Cheeks are touches of pink craft paint. Tear muslin strips and sew them together for tails that pop up everywhere!

Lightly hand quilt - if you must! - around the basket and bunnies. Stitch a line along all four sides, too, to hold everything together when complete.

Don't really know why these bumbling bees decided to bother those bunnies, but there they are! If things get extra-lazy for you - like they did for me! - you can even "fake quilt" with a line of inked stitching around some squares.

This little guy is growing by leaps and bounds - like every good bunny should!

And that is all.

Lights Out!

"Good Night everybunny!"

This original design, like all blog content, is intended for personal use only. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved. Thank you!