April 17, 2014

Making Hot Cross Buns

Making Hot Cross Buns from Blue Bells and Cockle ShellsThis week, Sola and I have been singing Hot Cross Buns for her weekly song. She has been quite entranced with the song, so I thought we’d try to make some hot cross buns ourselves. With Good Friday being tomorrow, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect! I settled on using King Arthur’s Flour recipe for Easy Hot Cross Buns. I don’t believe that I have ever actually eaten hot cross buns before, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. When I saw that the recipe called for raisins, I wasn’t sure if anyone, but me would eat them, as my family doesn’t usually like raisins in their food. We did not have any rum in the house and the closest thing that I could find in our liquor cabinet was chocolate brandy, so that is what I soaked the raisins in. 

Making the buns took several hours, due to rising times, but overall was very easy and Sola was really able to do many parts of the recipe herself.  In fact, I let her be in charge of the frosting after I showed her how to make one cross. So I our hot cross buns were more of "hot squiggle buns".

They were actually a big hit, despite the raisins, with most of the family feeling that they taste a lot like cinnamon rolls.

Maureen

April 14, 2014

How to Make a Flower Fairy

How to Make a Flower Fairy from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

This week, Sola’s Girl Scout troop is having an Easter/Spring celebration and the troop leader asked us parents to try to come up with some crafts for the girls to do. The troop is an all-ages Girl Scout troop, which I really like, but it does make coming up with a craft that is appropriate and fun for all the girls to be a little more challenging. I decided last week that I would love to make flower fairies with the girls, but had to come up with a way that was portable and doable for the younger girls. So this weekend, Sola, Secunda, and I made some flower fairies and worked out some of the kinks in my plans. I thought I’d share the directions here as well, as these are so fun to make.

To make these fairies, you will need:

  • One 1” wooden bead with a hole on the top and bottom
  • One pipe cleaner
  • 3 strands of embroidery floss (one for the hair, one for a shirt, and one for leggings)
  • A variety of artificial flower petals
  • Colored pencils or paint pens
  • Glue

To get artificial flower petals, I bought artificial flowers from Michael’s that were on clearance. I seperated the flower from the stem with wire cutters.

How to Make a Flower Fairy from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

The flowers then came apart into several layers, except for a couple of flowers, which had the layers glued together. I discarded the plastic pieces, though those could be used to make hats or something.

How to Make a Flower Fairy from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

Now take your pipe cleaner and fold it in half. Insert the folded half into your bead like this:

How to Make a Flower Fairy from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

Then take the embroidery floss that you want to use for hair and wrap it around your hand several times, as shown in the picture below. Remove the floss and cut one or both ends of the circle that was formed by your hand, depending on how long you want your fairy’s hair to be (it should be twice as long as you want the hair as each piece will cover both side of the head). You should be left with a bunch of strands of floss of the same length.

How to Make a Flower Fairy from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

Thread the floss strands through the folded portion of your pipe cleaner that is sticking out of the top of the wooden bead, centering the strands so that the hair falls evenly on both sides of the pipe cleaner and bead. Now pull the pipe cleaner a bit such that it is fairly flush with the top of the bead.

How to Make a Flower Fairy from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

Feel free to experiment with the length of the hair. Secunda opted to make shorter hair. If you make even shorter hair than this and pull the pipe cleaner part way into the head bead, it will stick up, making “boy fairy” hair.

How to Make a Flower Fairy from Blue Bells and Cockle ShellsTwist the pipe cleaner a couple of times around the bottom of the bead for the neck. Bend each side of the pipe cleaner out and back in to make arms. Twist the pipe cleaner a couple of more times for the torso.

How to Make a Flower Fairy from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

At the bottom of the two sides of the pipe cleaner bend the ends backwards to make feet.

How to Make a Flower Fairy from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

Put a dab of glue on one “hand” and stick an end of the floss that you are going to use for the shirt on to the glue. How to Make a Flower Fairy from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

Begin wrapping the arm, starting at the hand, being sure to cover all the fluff. Finish wrapping the first arm, then wrap the torso. Finally, wrap the other arm. Glue the end of the floss down to the other hand.How to Make a Flower Fairy from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

Cut a small slit into the center of the flower petals you want to use to make the fairy’s skirt. Just make the hole big enough that you can slide both fairy legs through the hole (it will stretch some, so it does not need to be very big.

Flower Fairy 10

Now slide the fairy’s legs through the flower petal. If you are going to use multiple flower petals, first slide the petal you want on top of the skirt.Flower Fairy 11

Once you have the skirt on, flip the petals up, out of the way of the legs. Now wrap the legs, just like you did with the arms, starting at one foot and gluing the end down. Work your way up one leg and then down the other, securing the second end of the floss on to the second foot with glue. The legs will not be visible much.

How to Make a Flower Fairy from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

Use pencils or paint pens to draw a face on your fairy.

How to Make a Flower Fairy from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

To cover the end of the pipe cleaner on the top of the head and to fill out the hair more, wrap floss around your hand again and make some more hair. Glue this to the center of the head.

How to Make a Flower Fairy from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

You can glue two individual flower petals, cut from a large flower, to make wings for your fairy. Glue them to the fairy’s back.

How to Make a Flower Fairy from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

You can also glue flowers to the fairy’s head for a hat.How to Make a Flower Fairy from Blue Bells and Cockle ShellsNow let your fairy dry for a bit, then go have some fun with it!

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Maureen


April 10, 2014

Crystal Egg Geodes

Crystal Egg Geodes
This was a post from my previous blog that did not get transferred over when I switched to Blue Bells and Cockle Shells. We did this project two years ago and the results are so stunning, I think we may try to do it again before this Easter

We made these crystal egg geodes using egg shells, alum, glue, water, and food coloring. The directions are from Martha Stewart. I did not follow the directions very closely, as I did not want to take so long to finish the project, nor was I willing to spend the amount of money needed to buy enough alum to do six batches of these. So I doubled the growing solution recipe and then divided that evenly between six small mason jars. It worked just fine and we were very happy with the results. I would also like to mention that when we microwaved the solution to further melt the alum, it actually made more crystals form on the bottom of the container. So I recommend that you don’t microwave the solution.
Crystal Egg Geodes
Crystal Egg Geodes
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Maureen