Showing posts with label Directions Neglections. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Directions Neglections. Show all posts

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Stuffed Cookies

Today, you get two Pinstrosities in one post! It's like we're taking an awesome submission and stuffing it inside another awesome submission to create a bigger and more awesome post. Hey...that sounds oddly like those cookies we've seen all over...

The Original Pin
http://picky-palate.com/2011/01/06/oreo-stuffed-chocolate-chip-cookies/
I remember seeing these on Facebook before I got on Pinterest, but they've been big for a while now. That recipe above is Jenny's original recipe and was one of the first stuffed Oreo recipes to go crazy online. Go check it out. 

Since then though, people have tried variations on the recipe and some have come out fine...some not so much. Here's one that didn't quite work:

The Pinstrosity
Stephanie sent in the above photo and this is what she said, " I used a different chocolate chip cookie recipe so that could have contributed to the failure, but also when I put the trays in they were tilted which caused the cookies to slide."

Different recipes sometimes work out great and other times it can bite you in the bum. We've seen a lot of pictures online with stuffed cookie results like Stephanie sent in. It's happening to a lot of people. What's the issue? The wrong kind of dough. If you remember back to our Cookie Bowl posts, sometimes you really have to have a specific dough for these to work. Some Chocolate Chip Cookie recipes will work, and others won't. Generally, chocolate chip cookies spread quite a bit while cooking. This works great when you're making Chocolate Chip Cookies. This doesn't work so great when you're trying to make a cookie bowl or a stuffed cookie. What can you do to combat that? Try out Jenny's recipe, she tweaked it so it won't run all over. If you want to try out a different recipe, do a test bake first. If it spreads too much, it probably won't work. DON'T use store bought Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. It will not give you happy results with stuffed cookies. 

One variation on the whole stuffed cookie idea, and one which helps the whole spreading problem, is this one:

The Original Pin
http://www.sugarloco.com/2012/09/stuffed-cookie-cups-recipe/
What's fun though...they didn't stop at just Oreos. Check this out:

http://www.sugarloco.com/2012/09/stuffed-cookie-cups-recipe/
Jenny @ Sugar Loco posted these cups online for all of us to drool over. I think there must be something about the name Jenny that makes you a cookie genius...or maybe it's just a coincidence. Either way...these two Jenny's are cookie geniuses. This Jenny has the problem of the spreading dough fixed by baking the cookies in muffin tins. 

Stephanie (a different Stephanie than the first Pinstrosity in this post...today is full of double names!) and Hannah found this recipe and decided to give it a try. Here's their story:
"One day my friend Stephanie and I decided to try and make the stuffed Chocolate Chip cookies that are supposed to be baked in a muffin tin. We instead tried to bake them on a cookie sheet, but made them in the exact same way as on the original pin. Not being a professional baker, I thought the cookies would keep the cup-like shape that they had before being baked.....WRONG!"

The Pinstrosity

"Instead we ended up with what I think look like chocolate chip pancakes, with a piece of a Reese's in the middle. Another thing that may have made a difference is that instead of using an entire candy bar we cut them into fourths. Because the candy bar pieces were so small, they rose to the top of the cookie. Although they didn't turn out as planned, they still tasted okay! Our cookies started off at half-dollar size but we ended up with 4-5 inch pancakes."

So when you're playing around with Chocolate Chip cookie dough and working on new creations, just remember that the dough will spread. You either need to contain it (as in the cookie cups), or tweak the recipe some. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Conversation Heart Cookies

It's getting that time of year, and I'm still not done with my Valentine project. I'm still hoping to be able to finish it up, but I may need to think of a backup plan. Well, I have a backup plan, but I may need to think of a backup plan for my backup plan. I don't think I'm going to get my backup plan done either. I wouldn't worry too much about it if it weren't my year to be in charge of Valentine's Day. Good thing we don't base how much we love each other off of Valentine's Day celebrations (I never really did understand couples that did that in high school...or now either really). 

Today's Pinstrosity comes from an email we were sent in our early days (I know...we're still in our early days, but the early days as of right now) that we have held on to for Valentine's Day. Check these out:

The Original Pin
http://kelseyskitchen.blogspot.com/2010/02/conversation-heart-sugar-cookies.html
Aren't those cute? Conversation heart cookies. I love it. They are made with a nifty little gadget like this one from Williams-Sonoma (no, we're not sponsored by them, nor are we advertising for them...this is just the type of gadget you need to make these so we're showing it to you):

Lexy tried to make these last year. Here's her story:
"T
his past Valentine's Day I had one of my worst Pinterest creations to date and I thought it would be fun to share!  I saw those adorable conversation heart cookies, and I thought they would make a great Valentines Day gift to my husband.  It is a good thing that its the thought that counts, because not much else worked out with these things!  A little bit of background info, about a year or so ago he decided to cut out all processed foods/chemicals/artificial dyes from his diet.  So, when trying to recreate this pin, I was unable to use the fake and toxic food coloring, which, lets face it, works WAY better.  I used the natural (and SUPER expensive!) food dyes, which work like crap.  Sometimes we need a few toxins in our diet, and when you're trying to make pretty cookies, that is one of those times!  I don't feel like I should be faulted for the dye, I was trying to make sure they were "all natural."  However, there were a few accidents that were my fault.  I did not read (of course!) the instructions on the cookie cutter box.  This resulted in me cutting out the cookies, but then lifting them onto the cookie sheet, which makes them those wonky shapes.  Instead, you're supposed to cut, and lift the cookie dough while it is still in the cookie cutter.  I followed the recipe exactly and the quality/taste of the cookie was totally fine (not sweet enough in my opinion, but that's neither here nor there)."

The Pinstrosity
"You think its just the lighting in the photo, but no, that's how the colors turned out!" -Lexy
She even did the tips and tricks portion:
"
So, for future bakers: 1) use toxic food coloring it makes all the difference if you want bright pretty colors, and 2) press cookie dough, and pop out on the cookie sheet, don't try to pick up the cookie and move it over to the sheet on your own."

I'm sure she didn't mean toxic food coloring...more like synthetic. 

Cookies can be tough. There should be a college lab science class called "Making the Perfect Cookie 101". It would count as a Chemistry course, an Art course, and a Math course (learning how to increase and decrease recipes...totally math). Everyone would want to take it, and it would get so many requirements out of the way. Seriously...that's genius. When I found Marquette University...oh wait, there's already one of those...I never found my name on those key chains or bicycle license plate things, but when I go to name my college my name is already taken? Life is weird. Okay...so when I found Marquette's Awesome University (who wouldn't want to go there with a name like that?) Making the Perfect Cookie 101 will definitely be on the course list. Anyone want to preregister? 

What are you putting together for Valentine's Day? 

Friday, January 25, 2013

I'm Not Laughing Taffy...

Does anyone love Laffy Taffy as much as I do?! I LOVE Laffy Taffy, it's one of those foods where I say "Oh i just want one...", and then I end up eating every single one, minus banana. Anyone want my leftover untouched banana Taffys?! Gross. 

Maribeth seems to like taffy as well and she decided to try a recipe she saw on Pinterest (Famous last words... "I saw this on Pinterest!"). 

Here is her Pinstrosity!

The Original
http://www.dvo.com/newsletter/monthly/2012/august/funtimes.html?CID=aug_news12

That looks sooooo good right now! Of course I don't have any on hand, so I will just have to salivate over virtual taffy instead. Bahumbug.

Here is Maribeth's version:

The Pinstrosity
Here is how it started, so far so good...

Then this...

Then this...

Here is her bleeding heart Taffy. :(
It really does kind of look like a heart! 

So no it didn't work...and why not? Let's break it down.

According to the directions, you are to use a candy thermometer, however Maribeth didn't have one, so she used a meat thermometer instead. This would definitely have something to do with her sad taffy. She also said because it was a meat thermometer, she feels that she was unable to read the temperature as accurately. 
She then explains that it also cooked too long, and ended up looking like glass.
as soon as she touched it it turned to gunk, (the second picture), and she was unable to pull it. 

Let's start at the thermometer. There is a difference between a meat thermometer and a candy thermometer. One intended for meat is metal, and will range from 0-220 degrees (Farenheit). Whereas a candy thermometer is glass and will range from 40-440 degrees, quite a difference huh?!
The boiling point of candies is usually higher than 220 degrees (Fahrenheit), therefore a meat thermometer really won't do the job, especially for this recipe where if you cook the Taffy too long it ruins it. 

There is always a chance also that even if you are using a candy thermometer it could be inaccurate. To test this follow the directions seen here. It might be good to test your candy thermometers every once in while so you don't ruin Grandmas famous divinity right before a big family event...yes let's avoid that please!

One thing to remember when making candies, or fudges caramels anything like that is that the temperature is key. Any deviation at all will almost always end in a mess, I think that is exactly what happened here. 

Based on the comments from the original site, it looks like this is a really hard one to get just right. A lot of people had trouble with this.
 Growing up on the side of a mountain had its drawbacks with candy making, where we lived we had an elevation of 7,300 feet. The elevation has some weird effects on candy making, like divinity or caramels. The weather can also play a part, which sounds strange but is true!
If the air is too dry, or too humid is can really take a toll on your foods, so that is another thing to consider in this Pinstrosity. 

Has anyone had success with this recipe?! Or have any ideas for Maribeth?! I think it was a valiant attempt  but I would suggest next time, watching that timer, and the candy thermometer closely for better results!
Happy Friday Pinstrosipeeps!




Friday, January 18, 2013

You Had Me At Hedgehog

Em here, so I am hoping by now you get the feel that I am a huge animal fan. I love them, all of them, and that is probably the reason I am in the Biology field. 
I am also hoping by now you get the gist that I have a hedgehog. Her name is Gypsy, and besides my sweet husband, she is my whole world. 
That girl is spoiled rotten...crazy hedgehog. 
For those of you saying "What the heck is a hedgehog?!" (much like my friends an family), here is a picture!


Sweet Gypsy, I never forgo an opportunity to show her off ;)
So there you have it, a hedgehog, these were taken a few days after she came to live with us, she was about 8 weeks old. She is much bigger now, and well very  moody, but that is a common hedgie trait so it is just one of those things you just have to take in stride.

When Melodie sent us this Pinstrosity I was instantly in love, and while she thinks it turned out awful I think it's adorable!Check it out!

The Original
http://maker-land.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/hedgehog-pincushion-tutorial.html

Adorable right?! I love the texture of the fabric she used, and I love that she made a cute little girl hedgehog with a bow :) Here is Melodies take on this Hedgehog pin cushion!

The Pinstrosity

I think that is super cute! I love all the multicolored pins that are the "quills", I think it is simply adorable! Here is what Melodie had to say about it though:

"...Honestly, 2/3rds into making [this], I couldn't stop laughing because I could see how much of a FAIL this was becoming.
And now I love my Pinstrosity because it's so ugly and ridiculous-looking! The original was so cute....

I absolutely wanted to make this really cute hedgehog pincushion to replace my old, boring square-shaped pincushion. How hard could it be, with the right instructions ? Well...
First, she advises to use faux fur or towelling. I used and old brown towel thinking "It's going to be fine and cute, no problem".
But I wanted a bigger pincushion than this one... and I didn't have a printer to print the pattern. You see where this is going ?
I put a sheet of paper onto my screen to trace the original pattern, then made it bigger using the well-known "that's probably about right" method. I could see I had already lost some of the shapes, but I still thought "it's going to be just fine".

For the rest... I think the picture speaks for itself. I think the worst (and funniest) part was choosing the eyes and nose that were the least creepy given the very limited choice of beads I had.
Yes, yes i know, it's still pretty creepy. It looks at me with its empty eyes while I sew, crying "I want to die now". But I still like it because it reminds me of all the terrible Pinstrosities I've seen on your website..."


I think that her creation is unique and very cute! Considering that she made this without a pattern on hand, and then adjusted it to the size she wanted I think she did awesome! 
There are a few things that I think would have perhaps helped her out besides the obvious printing out the pattern, and having it be the same size as the pattern.
-Eyes and Nose, I know the original used small beads but I think she could have gotten away with just using black thread to create eyes and a nose. 
-Ears, physically speaking, hedgehog ears are pretty small compared to their body (baby hedgehogs are the exception to this, they have to grow into their ears). Melodies ears are a little big considering the rest of the body size, but I think it just adds to the charm here.
-I know she didn't like the towelling she used, but I think that the pins being the quills is fun and quarky, in fact she has kind of created her own pin on this one, and I might just follow suite and make one based off her  alterations. I will keep you posted on that
Thanks Melodie!
I do have to say that this little guy reminds me of a cartoon character but I can't quite put my finger on who it is...anyone have any clue? First person to figure it out gets a metaphorical Shiny Nickle (A real honor in my family). 
So give it your best shot! Also, has anyone made some fun hedgehog crafts?! I am always up for hedgie crafts of ANY sort. I would love to hear/see them! 
Happy Friday Pinstrosipeeps!







Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Erupting Hot Cocoa

Those of you that know me know that peacocks, the color orange (yes I too love the color orange, yet another reason Marquette and I are best friends!), hedgehogs, and glitter are all on my list of favorite things on the planet earth. Anyone who compiled this list would also know that something is missing, well a lot of things actually, I say "Favorite thing on the planet earth" at least eight times a day, and always about something different, I am a very passionate person. 
That missing thing I am referring to today though is,  hot cocoa. 

The second the end of September hits I am on that train like nobody's business. I can't WAIT for hot cocoa time, which is ironic because I hate cold weather, but that is besides the point. On most days of "winter" I have hot cocoa twice a day. I pop cocoa like Tick-Taks people. I may or may not need a 12 Step Program. I am a serious addict. 
The Original
http://realmomkitchen.com/654/classic-hot-cocoa-and-a-hot-cocoa-bar/

The Pinstrosity


http://www.thekitchn.com/fact-or-fiction-exploding-wate-109388


However when it comes to making cocoa I have found the fastest way to do so is to boil the water in the microwave in my ceramic tea kettle. I have been doing this for years! Not until recently have I experienced the phenomenon that I had never even heard of happening before though. 
I was at my parents house over Christmas, making my hot cocoa per usual, and I put a ceramic mug into the microwave for 2.5 minutes (something I have done a million times before). When it was done I took the cup out, and poured the cocoa mix in.
I usually have a kettle to warm the water in but my parents don't so I improvised.
I poured the cocoa into the water, and it exploded! All over my hands, all over the kitchen counters, the floor and what was the last of the coca mix was gone forever.
Now I am one of the lucky ones in this instance because I didn't get hurt. The water didn't burn my hands and it didn't go up into my face, but what the heck had happened?!
 This had never happened before! 
Fast forward a month and I am at home, I wake up, go into the kitchen fill up the kettle, put it in the microwave for 3.5 minutes (it's bigger than a mug, and this is the amount of time I have always done), and when it is done I take it out.
I have a mug with cocoa powder mix already in it, all ready to go, and I pour the water in. 
It explodes again!!!! 
This time, all over the counter and the flour, but thankfully not my hands because it was much hotter this time,and probably would have burned me. 

What is going on here?!
 I went into research mode. 
Now perhaps I am one of the only people left on earth that didn't know about this. But in case I am not, I thought it might be wise to share the warning. Especially if there are children microwaving water who could potentially get hurt. 

I found this awesome video from an episode of Mythbusters. 
It explains some things, and then they have some exploding stuff, a must watch:


So what I can get  from here is that I was accidentally super heated the water. I was heating it past the boiling point, and as soon as something interferes with the water ( it could be anything from putting something into the water like above, to moving the cup I have read), it will explode if it has been super heated. 

So let this be a warning!
 Please be careful! I now only warm my water for about 2 minutes in the kettle and if I feel like I need it warmer I put back in the microwave for short periods at a time to make sure I don't over do it and cause an explosion. 

Another suggestion was to put a wooden stirring stick into the water to prevent it from boiling. If you usually use an open mug to heat your water, you might start using a kettle just in case. 

I also read that the exploding phenomenon is very rare, and the fact that it happened to me twice is beyond me ( does that mean I am at a larger risk of being struck by lightening ), did I mention I was using tap water in both instances?
As for all of you thinking "But the Mythbusters just said that tap water can't explode?". I did some more research and found that if the tap waters dissolved minerals aren't large enough to act as nucleation sites for the bubbles, it too can boil (Where I found that info)

I hope that this can prevent anyone from being hurt and maybe even you learned something today!
 I know I did! 
Has anyone ever had this happen to them?! Tell us about it! We love to hear your feedback!
Happy Wednesday Pinstrosipeeps!







Monday, January 14, 2013

Fuzzy Little Balls

*Before I start, my husband came up with the title to this one, it was much more clever than anything I could come up with.*
So a little known fact about me is that in high school, I was a member of the FFA (they used to be known as the Future Farmers of America, but now it s just FFA). While in the FFA I was on several judging teams, we went to other schools and competed against other students in different areas. 
The judging categories were everything from identifying bugs (Entomology), to identifying wildlife (which we call Wildlife, unique right haha, this was one of my categories), Meats, Crops, Livestock, Floral Design, I could go on and on, but then there was Wool . I ended up being the number one spot on my Wool team my senior year. While many people might find that super nerdy, I loved judging Wool. I love sheep, I think they are the coolest little critters. I hope to one day be able to learn to sheer sheep (A.K.A.  a sheep haircut), it can't be that different from people right? Right!? Maybe I will have an advantage since I have been cutting people hair for a while now?
 Anyway, this all leads up to today's Pinstrosity which had me down memory lane in the first place. 
Nicole decided to make DIY Dryer Balls out of wool yarn and a sweater, let's check it out:

The Original
http://www.crunchybetty.com/how-to-make-felted-wool-dryer-balls

Does anyone else see an ice cream cone here?!Maybe I am just hungry. 

Nicole decided for Christmas to make these as stocking stuffers for family. She said they wanted a dryer sheet alternative that is chemical free and a little more earth friendly. This was the perfect solution. Take an old wool sweater, a skein of pure wool yarn, and go to town. 
The original blogger used wool roving as opposed to yarn. The only difference is yarn is spun, and roving is not. Roving is a long( narrow) bundle of fiber. 
The original blogger then suggests that you put the balls into an old pair of pantyhose before putting them into the washer to felt, she feels strongly about this step because she reiterates it again.
The original blogger says... "In fact, this is not an optional step. Without this, you’ll just end up with a matted bunch of goop at the bottom of your washing machine."

 If you have done everything correctly your balls will look like the picture above. If you haven't they will look something like the picture below.

The Pinstrosity

Does anyone remember DIY Pastel Jean Pains?? That is what this makes me think of. 
Poor Nicole.

She got so excited about felting her balls (go ahead, giggle, I have been giggling this whole post I just can't help it!), that she forgot the vital non-optional step of putting all the balls into a pair of pantyhose.

(From the original blog)
http://www.crunchybetty.com/how-to-make-felted-wool-dryer-balls



She  then spent 20 minutes cutting them off of the towels she washed them with, and her original 15 dryer balls, only ended up being 8.

She attributes this Pinstrosity to trying to DIY from memory. When in doubt, write it down. 
We all know what DIY from memory can cause, as we saw in The Wise Owl Says... Just Go Buy A Cake
If you haven't read that one either, there is another good laugh. 

Has anyone had any luck with this project? Do you have any helper tips for Nicole, or any of us less experienced felters?! We love hearing your feedback!

Have a great Monday Pinstrosipeeps!






Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Happy To Help Husband Hazards-Birthday Party Edition


Men and Women think differently. We all know this (if you don't know that, you're in for an adventure). I think I first started to learn this in 1st grade when I was trying to build a pretty house in the sand box and my little guy friend just wanted to drive his rock car through it as he careened off the road as he swerved so he wouldn't hit the dinosaur. Both are imaginative, just in different ways. So when a guy and a girl work together on a project...it can be interesting. Even more...it can be interesting when one says "Here, would you put this together for me?" because they will both have different ideas of how it should be done and how it should look. For example...Emilee posted up a project we were sent around Halloween. 

On the left is the original pin that the wife saw and mentioned to her husband...the the right was the husband's interpretation of the description. 


Both are way fun...their visions just didn't quite match up. 

Well, we have another one of these for you today, courtesy of Lisa. It was her daughter's 7th Birthday and she was throwin' a party. We all look for ways to transform our ordinary rooms into cleverly disguised party areas of awesomeness, and this is what Lisa found and decided on:

The Original Pin:
http://www.cafemom.com/group/21665/forums/read/10070766/Rainbow_Unicorn_Party_Pic_Overload
Isn't that cute? I'd done this with streamers before but never thought about using those plastic tablecloths. 

Lisa told us, "I wanted to do this ceiling idea for my daughter's 7th birthday party. I went to the local Dollar Store bought 8 different colored plastic tablecloths then jetted over to Michael's for the Command Center Poster Adhesive so I thought I was set up to succeed. I couldn't have been more wrong.  When I got home my husband had a couple of his buddies over chatting over some yummy beer in the kitchen.  Since I also had to decorate the cake I thought it would be great to enlist their help. That was a BAD idea, let me tell you.  Men over-think things.  Instead of the simply elegant way it is illustrated they got fixated on having the bands overlap so you saw no ceiling.  What I thought would take less than an hour ended up taking them 3 and getting my husband pretty mad at me in the process. Here's what it ended up looking like:"

The Pinstrosity:

Lisa said, "I realize now that the tablecloths aren't as vibrant as the ones in the original pin.  And obviously I couldn't do the balloons in the middle because of the lighting fixture.  But the Command Center Poster Adhesive did hold well and was easy to remove.  They stapled the pieces together and that added to the extra weight and crumplyness."





So...it didn't quite turn out to match his or her ideas. I have a few ideas/thoughts on this:

  • First, for his idea of covering the entire ceiling:
    • You'll need way more tablecloths than you would in the original post. I don't know if what the pictures show is just where they stopped or if that was all the tablecloths they had. 
    • To cover the entire space so the ceiling doesn't show through here are my ideas:
      • First tape up the tablecloths around the perimeter of the room, or however far from the center post you want (taping up one short side to the roof or wall and let the rest hang down for now, we'll get to that), slightly overlapping the edges an inch or so. If you can get an even number of tablecloths up, that'd work best for the next step. Also, be sure you check your lengths...it'd be frustrating to get the tablecloths all taped up and the realize they aren't long enough to even reach the middle, let alone drape. If the tablecloths aren't long enough you'll either have to go find longer ones or bring in your radius a little bit. You could try taping to cloths together, but I'm guessing that will show through and add bulk that you don't really want. 
      • Once that tablecloths are all taped up around the center post, take two neighboring cloths and cross the two loose ends and tape them up at your center post. Repeat with all the table cloths around the room. You may have a few gaps here and there, but they shouldn't be too big. If you really really don't like the idea of gaps, have extra table cloths on hand. I'd then slit one down the middle to make two long and skinny cloths. Hang those under the main canopy where the gaps are. 
  • It can be so easy for tension to get high during something like this. Let me tell you a story from our first Christmas after we got married. It was our decorating night, so Cameron was putting the lights up outside our apartment and I was putting the lights on the tree inside. I just wound the lights around the tree like a garland, but when Cameron came in I found out that he liked the look better when the lights were wrapped around each individual branch. He wanted to take the lights off and redo it and I didn't want to. We got upset at each other and he went off to bed and I sat in the living room until well past midnight when I finally got tired and climbed into bed to sleep. In the morning we both woke up feeling a little sheepish for getting mad over something so simple as Christmas tree lights. We laugh about that every year now as we put up the lights. No two people think exactly the same, especially in a couple. Remember to breathe, to laugh, and to not let little things get in the way of building memories and happiness. 
Lisa sent us her Pinstrosity, but she sent a Pin Win along with it. Lisa said that while the ceiling decorations "may have been a Pinstrosity, the cake was a WIN.  I followed the recipe to a T and it was beautiful and DELICIOUS.  And most of all the girl was happy."

The Original Pin:
purple_ombre_sprinkle_cake-18
http://www.raspberricupcakes.com/2011/11/purple-ombre-sprinkle-cake.html




So remember to breathe, to have fun, to give each other some slack, and to just enjoy life. Wonderful job on the party Lisa and thanks for sending us your pictures and story!


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Bath Soap Crayon Flotation Devices


The best part of bath time as a kid was when mom let us pick a toy we could take in the bath with us. Anyone else have the awesome Fisher Price Marina? That was a favorite. 
http://www.flickr.com/photos/34254096@N05/7652386748/sizes/z/in/photostream/
But sometimes Mom just didn't want to deal with the inevitable mess that we made when we took toys in, so we just had to take a boring ol' bath (I don't blame her at all). So the bars of soap became boats and dolls and great objects to chuck at the siblings. We fought over who got the soap and who had to make a doll out of the wash cloth. I think one bath we ended up dissolving two entire bars of soap in the water. My poor mother, hahaha. 

Well, in an attempt to create a fun and clean "toy" for her kids bath time, Becky tried making soap crayons and sent us her story. Here it is, just as she sent it to us:

Becky's Story:
(Just so you know, this is my third attempt at sending this blasted pinstrosity. First I tried Pintrosity@gmail.com, then Pinstosity@gmail.com. Sending it has become a bit of a "pinstrosity" itself. Third time's the charm...) 
Hello PinStRosity!
I can't say I've always wanted to make a pinstrosity of my own to submit to your site, as I'm usually pretty optimistic that my pinterest ventures will, well, WORK!
Unfortunately I can't say it went so well with my latest attempt at these nifty DIY bath crayons made from glycerin soap.

The Original Pin 

Pinned Image
http://littlecrunchymama.blogspot.com/2011/12/getting-crafty.html
(Pretty ain't it?)

As the directions on the pin, as well as in the blog itself simply state, melt glycerin soap, add food coloring, pour into a mold (such as ice cube trays), let cool and pop out. And VOILA! Bright and shiny bath crayons any toddler would go crazy over. 
Here's the step by step of my failure...


1. I went to the store and picked up some glycerin soap. Not as easy as it sounds. Apparently the stuff is being phased out by all the super moisturizing shea buttery bars and the like. The only glycerin bar I found was Dove Cranberry Antioxident something or other.


2. I set one bar in a double boiler (I felt putting the bar over direct heat would probably not be a good idea.) But I found that the bar wasn't really melting so much as gumming up all over the bottom of the double boiler.


3.My sister suggested I try the crock pot. Slow gentle heat, but more direct heat than a double boiler. After about 2 hours in the crock pot, this is what came out...

The Pinstrosity

Total lumpy sticky mess. I was confused. I didn't know exactly what I was looking for, but I figured it should be a little more... liquidy and clear.


4. I decided to go back to the post and see what the blog said about how to heat the soap... MICROWAVE! Gotcha! So off the the microwave I went. Though the directions in the blog said nothing about how long or on what power level. I figured one minute at a time should do it. Well, it was a good thing I was watching because this is what happened after about 15 seconds... (Kinda hard to see, but if you look closely, you'll notice I gigantic soap explosion)

After removing from the microwave, I gave it a quick stir and it was still very much the same lumpy sticky mess as before.


5. At this point I decided to just get through it. I was all in. Pot committed. So I portioned the melted soap out into separate dishes, mixed in red, yellow, and blue food coloring to each portion, and then spooned the goop into an ice cube tray. Still holding onto the hope that they would be all clear and shiny after they solidify.

And not-so-voila. Here's the finished product...


They did NOT write on the bathtub or walls as expected, but fortunately my kid is easily entertained and thought it was fun just having them float around him in the tub while he tried to grab onto the slippery soapy cubes. So that's that. I hope you had as much fun reading this as I had creating this Pinstrosity. 

Our Take On It
First off, props to Becky for sticking with it and trying different techniques when the first didn't work. 

So now...where to find glycerin soap. It can be hard to find ready made glycerin soap bars in the beauty/soap aisle. It's just not that in right now. Where do you find it then? The craft aisle or craft stores. I've seen blocks of glycerin soap in Hobby Lobby, Michaels, and even Walmart. These are just the plain soap, no additives, which is exactly what you need for this project. You can find some that are already colored or that have fun scents already mixed in, but you can find plain soap as well. 

I'm thinking that maybe perhaps it was the soap itself that Becky used that made this not as big of a success as she had hoped...but I'm not positive as I don't know exactly what was in the soap she used. While you can find ready made glycerin soap bars in the soap aisle, some of them are not just pure glycerin soap...they can have additives (various creams or whatnot). It's possible that Becky's soap wasn't just pure glycerin soap and so it didn't melt and reset quite as the pin directed. 

The Microwave. I love it. I hate it. One day I can nuke my leftovers and they come out perfect...the next day I can nuke more leftovers for the same amount of time and either create new life or char it to pieces. Sometimes I think my microwave hates me (I learned not to put towels in there to warm them up for vicks vapor rub...burned a hole in them).  Often microwaves are set to automatically nuke at the highest temperature. For projects like this I suggest setting the heat lower and then only heating in 30 second intervals (stirring between each nuke). 

So if you try this out, definitely see if you can get your hands on the craft glycerin soap. Those packages will often have directions for melting it, but if not...go the slow microwave method. I know...none of us are patient, but sometimes it just works best to slow life down. 


If this seems like more work than you're wanting to do, here's another fun idea for you from a blog called "Playing to Learn". Super easy homemade Edible Finger Paints that they can use to draw on the tub and then you just wash it down the drain. 
 While it won't really accomplish the goal of your child getting clean in the bathtub...they sure enjoy it and it's less work than making the glycerin soap crayons. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Shoe Revamp Tips and Tricks

Not only does Pinterest have a slew of projects to start from scratch, recipes that you need to buy all new ingredients for, and projects that call for extremely precise material, but the projects I enjoy the most are the Revamps. The ones where you have this old table and you create a window seat out of, a shirt that becomes a hand bag, or nasty thrift store pair of shoes that become one of a kind party pumps!
I am all for a deal, and this project is just that.
 If I weren't hoarding new/used shoes that together make up the entirety of my heart and soul, which they do, I am a serious shoe whore, I give all of them a little lovin' I can never stick to just one, anyways if I weren't all of those things I would have (willingly) sacrificed an afternoon and a pair of shoes to test this out. But alas, the hubbs has our one working car at his work today, and I love all my size 7 babies too dearly to put one of them on the chopping block. If I did have the car today though, you could bet your lucky beans that I would be out thrifting for a new pair. 
I look forward to saving this one for another day though.

Here is Mandy's attempt at this shoe revamp:

The Original
Turning this...


Into this!
Both photos courtesy of : http://www.lovemaegan.com/2011/11/houndstooth-shoes-diy.html

Awesome right!!! Well Mandy's didn't turn out like she was hoping, and i think there are a few things that contributed to her $1 investements ultimate demise.

The Pinstrosity
The Before:
Can I just add that I love that she used old homework as her backdrop instead of newspaper? Stickin' it to the man!

The After:


So no, not awful, and I highly doubt anyone will be on floor level investigating your shoes for accuracy in the DIY department, however there are a few things to help this go a little smoother.

Fabric choice: The original (which I highly recommend you read through ALL of the directions if you are going to do this, Mandy did, and she still had some hiccups, the Love Maegan original tutorial is very good) blogger used cotton fabric. For any of our sewers out there,  you would recognize this glittery fabric that Mandy used as very difficult to work with because it is slick. It just performs different and can tend to bunch at seams and what not. So that is suggestion number one, use cotton. 

How much fabric: While the original blog doesn't give you an  actual total of amount of fabric that she used, but I would venture that she went ahead an got a good solid yard. That way if something catastrophic happens, you have more on hand right then. Also you aren't scrimpin' for extra if its 11pm, you are wearing the shoes in the morning too a wedding and you are out of fabric and JoAnn's is closed. Hey!Crazier things have happened, have you read this blog?!

Glue: The original calls for Modge Podge and fabric glue, but mostly Modge Podge. This is probably one of those projects where you just can't substitute unfortunately, seems that happens a lot doesn't it?  That may have been another problem that came up for Mandy, she used 50/50 glue and water, not such a good idea, next time hold out for the real stuff, it's easier to work with, it isn't too expensive, and you will know exactly how it will perform. 

I will say that this one looks like it is a bit time consuming (the original says that as well), but if you are really wanting to revamp those old 80's pumps, (which are back in style, so maybe hold out a few years lol) than I hope you have some patience.
Another thing to think about is pattern, if you do mess up on the shoe and need to squeak in a little extra piece here and there, you are going to have a heck of a time matching things up if you are working with say Hounds tooth,  Maegan is a brave and confident woman! So maybe practice before going all out!!! Especially if you REALLY love your one of a kind fabric and it is hard to find. 

Good luck Pinstrosipeeps! Has anyone had luck with this?! Any tips or tricks?!







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