Sunday, June 21, 2020

Fairy Garden - 3D Printing a Fairy and Creating a Homemade Garden

I've been working on making a Fairy Garden out in my yard. I made a couple little houses and set them outside. One was made from a broken plant pot.

 But I wanted a larger Fairy than I could find  in the store so I asked my son to 3D print me one and he did. 

This is what the Fairy looked like when it came off the printer.

I separated the parts then put them together.

I primed her with a spray paint then started to paint her. 

I kept painting...

And kept painting, until...this is how she came out

But I'm still thinking of a few more details I can add to make her more magical.

Let me know if you have a fairy garden too. I'd love to get some more ideas for mine. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Homemade Clay Craft - Penguin Project to do with Kids

I wanted to make some little penguins  so I bought some clay and started modeling the little guys.

Here's how to do it.

First buy some clay at your local craft or hobby shop.

Make sure you get the clay you can bake and not the remoldable clay - which doesn't harden and can always be squished back into a pile of clay.

Then make a pear shaped object out of your clay.

After you've made the pear shaped object, cut out some wings and stick them on the sides.

After you have the wings, you need eyes, feet and a beak.

Stick the beak, feet and eyes on to the pear shaped figure. Rub them into the figure at the connections. Then bake the little guy - per  directions on the clay package.

When he is finished baking, add a little paint or you can use markers.

Before you bake him, you can smooth him a bit. I accidently made indentations in his  body with my fingernails.

I think this little guy is cute but I want to practice a bit so I can make a little penguin pond in my garden ;D I think kids  walking past my little "pond" will think it's fun. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Fairy Gardens

I've always wanted a Fairy I decided to make one 

Or two...

Here's how I did it:

First I grabbed a broken ceramic pot that my dog knocked off the porch when she ran past it. And I began painting it using a gold acrylic paint. When I was done painting, I started gluing...

I glued some moss and little garden-like embellishments all over the pot. Next I  painted the chipped-off piece yellow. Then I took an old  button and sewed a bead on the  button and glued it to the chipped piece because I thought this would make a perfect doorknob. I glued the "door" back onto the pot using a strong epoxy glue.

Then I used my handy-dandy hot glue gun to make a wreath to hang over the door.

I hung the welcome wreath over the door but I still wasn't finished. 

I also painted some windows on the sides and glued more moss onto the "house". 

I thought it turned out really cute but I'm not finished yet.

I also made a birdcage fairy house to hang on a post.

Now all I have to do is find a nice spot in the garden for these tiny homes. 

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Cheap Garden Trellis You Can Make at Home

If you've ever wanted to make a beautiful but inexpensive trellis for your garden, here's how you to do it: 

Friday, May 1, 2020

Homemade Perfume from Flowers and Herbs from my Garden

Have you ever wanted to create your own perfumes or stylized scents?

 I have. And I've always loved the aromas of flowers cut fresh from my garden.  Hyacinths in the spring are hard to beat. With their sweet and spicy scents that are overpoweringly pungent - you'll have to love or hate them.

And the wild hyacinths grow like weeds around here. I just love the pretty blue bells. But lilacs are my favorite with their sweet floral notes and soft hints of vanilla. So of course, I have  them all in my garden. And, I thought why not make my own liquid floral scents?

Here's how to do it:

  1.  Picking blossoms for perfume is just like picking grapes for wine or berries for jam, pick them early in the morning when the oils, flavors and juices are at their peak of perfection. Blooms just getting ready to open hold  the richest most powerful fragrance. Blossoms that have already bloomed are already losing their aroma.
  2. Pick the petals from the flowers and put them in a zip-lock storage bag then lightly tamp the petals with a rubber mallet to stimulate the petals, which will make them release their oils.
  3.  Put the petals in a mason  jar and cover with oil. You can use any oil (including olive) but you might prefer the sweet nutty aroma of almond oil mixing with the floral scents. Shake the jar to mix the oil around.
  4.  Put the jar in a sunny spot to give the petals plenty of time to soak in the oil--24 hours is best. Then shake  the contents gently and strain the petals with cheesecloth. Toss the old petals, unless you want to let them dryout in a cool, dark location.
  5. Pick  new petals and follow the  procedures above--only cover the petals with the previously used oil. Repeat  this procedure for 3-5 days or until you've achieved the fragrance you enjoy.
  6. Keep your mason jar filled with  oil in a  cool, dry location. Feel free to use your freshly created fragrance as a perfume.

And, if you make  some perfume of your own, please tell me about it. I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading.  Kim

DIY Garden Trellis - Homemade Garden Accessories

If you've ever wanted to create your own custom Garden Trellis, here's the way to do it.

If you have any questions, please let us know. Lars would be happy to answer any questions.

Plus, if you make a garden trellis, please share your story below in the  comments.

Happy Gardening!

From Kim and Lars

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Do You Remember Door Dashing?

Kids used to knock on the doors of their neighbors and then dash away. It was called Door-Dashing or Ding Dong Ditch - do you remember it?

Well, our family did it, like most things, only differently - especially on May 1st.

We'd make May Baskets and hang them on the  neighbors' doors. Then we'd knock on the door and dash away. We'd  usually hide somewhere and watch what happened when they found a basket - or cone - filled with flowers hanging on their doorknobs. That was they way Mom taught us to celebrate the  beginning of spring. 

May Day has been celebrated for centuries as the time of festivals to herald the beginning of spring and what better way to celebrate spring than with a basket (or cone) of flowers?

Here's how I used to make these little gifts to give to friends and neighbors.

I hope you have a bloom-filled May Day!

And, if you make any of these May Day baskets,  or if you remember the tradition of  hanging them on the doorknobs or neighbors,  please share in the comments below.

Monday, April 27, 2020

DIY Victory Garden

Victory Gardens were a common sight during World War I and World War II. They were started to help supplement rations and keep up morale. 

And, gardening can be more than useful. It can be fun.  Plus, you can have your kids help you create this garden and even start it inside the house using old plastic pop bottles, as makeshift greenhouses.

Homemade Greenhouses
Seeing herbs, vegetables and fruits, you've planted from cuttings and seeds, sprout and bloom is thrilling to watch.

Victory Gardens were also called Food Gardens or War Gardens. And since this historical pandemic is a World Wide War against the Coronavirus or Covid-19,  I think it can’t hurt to have some extra food in our own yards. 

Most of us who live in a big city, have already experienced some shortages at local grocery stores,  such as flour, sugar, yeast, and  toilet paper. So, although we  might not be able to do much to stop the toilet paper shortages, we can try to limit some of our own food shortages—at least during the spring, summer and fall by being a little proactive and starting our own small Victory Gardens and by preparing our own jellies, jams, and preserves.

So, I thought I’d share some tricks, tips and ideas I’ve been using to create my own personal Victory Garden. I live in a big city, on a small city lot, but I've found ways to grow-up rather than to grow-across a wide area. And, if you live in an apartment, you can grow plants in pots and out on balconies, or in shared spaces. Some cities even have community gardens, where you can share a plot of land to garden on.

I’m hoping these ideas might help other people build their own Victory Gardens.

Here is a small list of

  •  Don't waste food.
  • When you have food that starts to spoil, such as potatoes, onions, beets, etc. think about whether or not you can take a cutting from the vegetable and plant it out in your garden. 
  • You can use old wood to make stakes, trellises and tomato cages to grow your plants up toward the sky.

This is the top of a  potato I cut off, while I was preparing a pot of potatoes for dinner. I simply stuck some bamboo skewers in the cutting and placed it in a cup of water. The raw edge of the potato barely touched the water (using a type of hydroponic gardening) or gardening without having the plant in soil. Usually people amend the water (or enrich it with nutrient mineral solutions), when they hydroponically garden. But, I simply placed my potato cutting in a little water inside a coffee mug. Then I watched it grow.

Some people have simply planted rotting potatoes and had a lot of success that way.

I'm hoping you'll try this because it's one way to help stretch your food budget and keep your food supply within reach.

And, if you try your hand at a Victory Garden, please let me know. I'd love to hear how you do.

I’m also planning to share some of my successes and failures growing my own sour dough starters. Sour Dough starters can help you always have access to bread, even if the store is out of yeast or bags of bread. :D

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Fears, Flops and Total Fails

Barely a Bear
I usually only post my best work. I mean who wants to post their worst failures--but, believe me, I've had my share of flops and failures. See, the little bear (above) who literally collapsed before I could even frost him? Or, the sad turkey below that shouldn't have been so afraid of Thanksgiving because he looked so sorry, no one would want to eat him.

Super Sad Turkey
 Or what about the time I'd seen one too many episodes of Cake Boss and Ace of Cakes , so I thought I could carve a cake into the shape of my brother-in-law Bo?
Bo Knows but this time Bo Blows
Or the time I decided to make cupcakes when it was about 100 degrees outside and my frosting kept melting?
Dragonfly Frosting Fail
Or the time my homemade marshmallow fondant was a complete flop?

Fondant Failure
I could go on and on, but the one thing I'm proud of is the fact that I haven't let my previous failures stop me. Instead, I push the fear of my next failure to the back of my brain and simply try to learn something from each of my (admittedly) horrible flops and failures and move on.

And, by letting go of my disasters, I've had some really happy moments. Such as:

Fatina's Graduation Barbie Cake - Because You're Never Too Old for Barbie
The graduation cake I made for my daughter-in-law, Fatina.

And, the Hello Kitty cake I made for a friend's daughter's birthday.

Hello Kitty
Or the wedding cake I made for my friend (with my daughter-in-law's help).

I Do Instead of iDud

My point is, sometimes we need to laugh at ourselves and pick up our wounded pride and simply strive to be the best we can be. And--of course don't be so silly as to compare yourself to the Cake Boss or the Ace of Cakes. Instead, simply have fun with your friends and family and learn to laugh with them when things go wrong because that's the best way to make it through to another day.

Family Laughing at my Flops

Monday, April 13, 2020

Bunny Cake

Easter 2020 Bunny Cake

I've always loved to bake but I've had more than my share of baking fails. In fact, I had a near disaster with this bunny at the very beginning - but more about that in a minute. 

First, I wanted to see if there might be other people out there that like to bake, make and create. If so,  please share links to your blogs in the comments so I can pop over there and see what you're making.

Anyway, I thought I'd share how I made this bunny cake.

First I baked the cakes (3 of them) in 6 inch baking tins. And, right away I had problems. I was trimming one of the tops of the cakes to make them all level and I got distracted because I was boiling eggs at the same time. I was checking on the eggs as I was leveling the cakes and...I trimmed the top off the cake horribly. 

You can see how it broke apart. But I just wedged it back together and used a little butter cream (I've added a link to my butter cream frosting recipe) to "glue" it together. My point is, don't give up because of one set back.

Then I crumb coated the cake in homemade butter cream (which is simply powdered sugar mixed with butter and maybe a tablespoon of milk or cream). I always crumb coat on a silpat so I can easily slip the cake off and onto a cutting board. (Crumb Coating - is simply covering the cake in a thin layer of frosting and then putting it in the fridge to set).

Then I rolled out my fondant on  a little cornstarch - to keep the fondant from sticking to the table. TIP: don't do this on a hot day because cooking is like picnicking. The weather plays a big part in your success. And I've had some fondant fails due to weather.

Then I put the fondant over the crumb-coated cakes and trimmed it around the edge. Adding a ribbon around the bottom makes it looked finished and almost professional.

Then I began decorating.

I used Fondant to make the facial features and "glued" them on using buttercream and  meringue paste. 

The finishing touch was the ears but I had another problem there. I thought I had gum paste but I didn't. So, I took some left over fondant and made ears. I stuck them on bamboo skewers and put the in the freezer to harden up until after dinner. Then I pulled them out off the freezer and stuck them in place. But even then, I'd forgotten about the whiskers until my son pointed it out. Luckily, I had some toothpicks in the kitchen. I sprinkled some jelly bean eggs around the edge and Voila the cake was finished.

The family said the cake tasted good … and I believed them but no one wanted to eat the poor bunny's face. And, probably because the fondant was pretty thick there, just look at the nose and cheeks ;D

So this cake was a fun family dessert that everyone enjoyed - including me ;D I had a piece too but I'm always a little biased so  I like to see what  the family thinks.

But, this wasn't my first bunny cake. Over the years I've made a few other Easter cakes.

These bunny cupcakes are a fun, easy project. This bunny is diving down into the hole. So, he was super simple to make

I was looking back  over the years and I guess I've made more than my share of cakes. If you've made some fun cakes too, please share a link to your blog or send a picture, I'd love to see them.

I hope you all stay well and enjoy some creative days, making, baking and creating :D

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The Milwaukee Monster - (Part 5 Ghosts, Gangsters and Ghouls)


Haunted Shaker's Cigar Bar in  Milwaukee, Wisconsin
I've been working on a  ghost story and doing some ghost research. So, I went to Shaker's Cigar Bar in Milwaukee, Wisconsin...notice the ghosts in the windows? Yep, it's haunted. And, if you're thinking about going to visit it or interested in reading more about it,  check out the Milwaukee's  Haunted Bar site.

Of course, I didn't just pack up and head off to Wisconsin. My daughter was working in Chicago for a couple of weeks, and I decided to go visit her for the weekend. While I was there, we decided to go on the Chicago Gangsters and Ghost Tour.  After that exciting adventure, I decided to go visit a lot of other haunted sites.

My daughter, Kara, and my daughter-in-law, Fatina, went with me on our road trip to check out some  of these strange and spooky sites.

Kara, Fatina and Me in Search of Ghosts
Plus my daughter-in-law Fatina and my daughter's best friend McKenzie, have a Stranger Danger podcast  so.  .  . where do you think we ended up going to visit...?

Yep, Jeffrey Dahmer. Or,  maybe I should say the ghost of Jeffrey Dahmer because serial killers are just a  little too creepy for me...typically. I can handle ghosts, ghouls, creeps and crypts but serial killers are super spooky to me.

But, this was a group road trip, so,  like I said, we went to visit the haunted sites associated with Jeffrey Dahmer.

You've probably heard of him before. Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer was also known as  the Milwaukee Monster. But, I'm not going to get into all the creepy things he did. I'm just going to show you some of the sites we went to see and I'll tell you about the one place where we experienced something that some might say was a paranormal experience.

Like the house next door to where he lived. It looks pretty haunted too and it's been abandoned. I bet it's because no one wants to live next door to where Jeffrey lived.

House next door to where Jeffrey Dahmer lived

This is the spot where Jeffrey lived. As you can see, it's been  completely obliterated.

What remains is an empty lot. And, it was a little creepy even standing next to the spot.

Just down the street from  this location was the Ambassador Hotel,  with the Deco Coffee Shop.

Ambassador Hotel and Deco Coffee Shop
So we went inside. It was so pretty, even the bathrooms had stained  glass  doors.

Beautiful Bathroom

And after we chatted  for a while with one of the employees and  got the inside scoop on the spirits there, we wanted to move on.

We had more sites to see and spirits to try to catch.

Another picture of the haunted Shaker's Bar

Shaker's  Bar - with some Dahmer merchandise you can buy
Now, all  these  sites were a little creepy but there was only one place where something seriously strange happened and that was in one of  the hotels we visited.

The Pfister Hotel
I saw a beautiful chandelier I wanted to show my husband, so I grabbed my phone and started to film. And, while I was filming, nothing strange happened. I didn't see anything out of the ordinary but when we got back home and I showed  the video to my husband...

The film flickered and faded in and out in a ghostly manner. So, you can believe me or not but I posted the video to my Facebook page. And, I do believe there are some pretty creepy places and spooky sites to see.

What do you you believe in spirits?