Tag Archive | "tutorial"

Video: Use TweetDeck.com for Twitter Parties

tweetgrid.comfbRecently Tweetgrid.com stopped operation so the only option for Twitter parties left is Tweetdeck.com.  This web app is lacking a lot of the comforts of what Tweetgrid.com used to offer, such as allowing you to input a hashtag that would automatically be put into all of your tweets, and the easy option for a Party Grid to follow the hosts.

Inspired by the many, many confused people during this week’s #clothdiapers chat I decided a new video tutorial would be a great idea.  This video assumes that, for the most part, you are familiar with twitter and the concept of Twitter parties.

clothdiaperschat

You are also invited to join us on Monday nights at 9PM ET for the weekly #clothdiapers chat hosted by @Cottonbabies.  It isn’t a “party” and there aren’t prizes (although sometimes @CottonBabies gives away some cloth diapers) but it is a good place to chat with like-minded parents and ask your questions.

If you have any questions leave them in the comments and I will try to help.

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Easy+Cheap Custom Silhouette Tutorial

The little ol’ granny in me has always wanted one of those cameo style silhouettes in a beautiful oval frame.  It is something that has been on my “must craft” list for a long time but only recently came true over the weekend.  I’m glad I waited because the craft came AFTER finding the perfect vintage oval frames at my favorite thrift store for $2.00 each.  They are completely made of plastic that is painted to resemble wood.  I think they are convincing.  The date on the back?  1970!

With the frames in hand I set about making my silhouettes of my boys.  Here is how I did it.  It was all by hand (no fancy Silhouette Cameo machine, but I would take one if I was offered it!) with an exacto knife.  Check the supply list, read over the instructions, and in one day you could have your own granny style art for your home!  Total cost- about $3.38 in supplies plus $4.00 for the frames.

Supplies:

Exacto Knife (with a nice sharp blade)
Card stock/scrapbooking paper for the silhouette
Card stock/scrapbooking paper for the background
White craft glue or glue stick
Printed profile photo to use as template
Pencil
Scissors

Step 1: Take your profile photos 

Once you realize almost everything you need is already in your home you are probably like “Let’s get this craft started!”  The first thing you need to do is bribe your subjects into standing still long enough to take a profile photo.  I’ll include mine to show you what I started with.  Fletcher wouldn’t stand still for anything but Ev would, except he wouldn’t turn his body to the side so I had to fudge a little on his neck to pretend that he did.  Some people will include the bust area in the silhouette but I only wanted the neck.

Once that is over you are done with the hardest part!

Step 2: Make Your Template

After uploading the pictures to my computer I decided to make my templates using Photoshop Elements. You can skip this is you would rather simply print your images and cut around their faces with scissors, just keep in mind you might still need to re-size those photos to make them the exact dimensions you want.  In Photoshop I used the quick selection tool to select just his face and neck, then deleted the background around him.  Next I cleaned up the edges to make sure what printed would be exactly the shape I wanted.  Afterwards I set the image to grayscale and deleted everything from the insides.  This was just to save printer ink.

Step 3: Cut and Trace

After you have your templates printed and you decide they are the correct size you can start the cutting process. I should mention that you can also opt to print your template directly onto you chosen paper if it is a light enough color and the correct size paper- if you do this you want the silhouette printed backwards of the side you wish it to face on. If you choose to print on printer paper you will need to cut the template very carefully. You can use scissors for this cut but again, with very small cuts you will want to take it slow and easy. With your template in hand you can trace onto your nice paper- flip the template over so that you are tracing around it upside down. After cutting your final piece you will want any leftover marks on the back.

Step 3: Cut out your Silhouette

With the outline traced it is time to start cutting. Using a very sharp exacto knife you will want to slowly and carefully cut along your pencil lines. I would start with a half press and then retrace the same cut with full pressure to cut it completely. I wasn’t perfect by any means and the smallest cuts like the points of the cow licks and the eyelashes aren’t as smooth as the longer cuts. Just take it easy and remember that your guests won’t notice those tiny imperfections even if they are staring you in the face. After you have a tiny head in your hands flip it over. You might have raised edges from the pressure of the cuts in places, you can smooth them down. Trim any rough “hang nails” as well.

Step 4: Glue ‘er Down

When you are happy with your little silhouette it’s time to glue it down to your backing. I chose a nice black scrapbook paper with a slight sheen to add more interest than just plain black. I already had Elmer’s glue at home and wasn’t sure how it would work out but it did OK. I believe a glue stick would have been better though. I used a foam brush to very lightly paint the glue over the back to prevent the rippling of paper that is too wet with glue. You want to cover the entire surface area all the way to the edge, but again, as light as possible to prevent oozing and rippling.

Step 5: Frame!


I decided to hang a few framed pictures in the hallway, including my new silhouettes, to the three bedrooms on the east side of the house. Most guests would never see these unless they are staying with us so it is a hodge podge of pictures that mean something to us. I will add more to it as time goes on.

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Tutorial: Make a Furry Bunny Tail for your Cloth Diapers! Easter Photo Prop

DIY Bunny Tail Tutorial

A photo of a baby wearing a cloth diaper with a bunny tail attached caught my eye on Pinterest {original photo} and I knew I needed to recreate the shot for an Easter card.  I didn’t find a ready made bunny tail when I was shopping (though I did find 2 pairs of furry bunny ears at Michael’s for $4 each) so instead I decided to make my own out of yarn.  I couldn’t find the first tutorial I had planned to use so I asked my Mother-in-Law if she knew how to make them and she showed me the cardboard circle method!  I attached my tail using a badge holder which explained why it is high up on the bum.  To get it centered on the diaper you’ll have to find your own method.  Hint- tape does not work.

Time required: Less than 10 minutes.

Supplies: Boa Yarn in Desired Color.  Also called “eyelash yarn.”  I found it at Michaels.  it looks like a stuffed animal, not hard to find! ($3.99)

Spare cardboard (free)

Scissors (free)

Clip on Badge holder (OPTIONAL)

Instructions:

Step 1: Take your cardboard and cut two circles out.  You’ll need to visualize how “big” you want the tail.  The size of the pom pom will correlate to the size of your circles.  Take the two whole circles and cut a smaller hole in the center.  The hole needs to be big enough that you can pass the ball of yarn through it.  There is a direct relationship between the hole and the circle- cut a huge hole in the circle and you defeat the purpose of the large circle.  The space between the outside edge of the circle and the start of the hole inside represents the length of yarn.  Less=smaller ball.  More=larger ball.  I used thin cardboard but have also used currogated cardboard, both work fine.

 

Step 2:  Roll a ball of yarn up.  The fluffier and fuller you want the tail to be the more yarn you need to roll out.  I made a small but tight ball the first time.  This time I used two balls that were looser.  My first tail came out heavier out fluffier.   Second is on the thinner side but because the yarn is furry it is hard to tell unless you handle them.

Step 3:  Tie the yarn around the two cardboard circles and wrap around and around until you are satisfied with the amount.  You can always add more if you run out of yarn on your ball and still want more.

Step 4:  Cut a length of the same yarn about 6-8 inches.  Take a pair of scissors and find the space between your two cardboard circles.  Snip the yarn all the way around the circle.

Step 5: Thread the single strand in between the two circles and tie a knot tight.  This knot pulls the whole thing together to make it a ball.  Remove cardoboard circles after knot is tight and secure.  LEAVE THREAD LONG IF YOU WANT TO USE THEM TO TIE THE TAIL ONTO SOMETHING.

Tada!  DIY Bunny Tail using Yarn and the “pom pom” method.

Optional Step 6:  Use a badge clip to attach the tail to the back of a diaper or pants.  Make a loop with the yarn and tie it into the snappable loop.  Attach tail to cloth diaper or pants and Voila!  Fluffy Bunny Tail and Perfect Photo Prop for Easter!  (Tip: you’ll need your baby to be wearing a shirt to cover the top of the badge holder.  You can even make the loop longer for the tail to hang down further.)

Everett almost looks like a real bunny in his new outfit!

PS- do not leave your yarn unattended or this might happen…

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“Tie it Up” Pillowcase Lounger/Napper/Landing Pad Mat

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You’ve been warned- I suck at sewing.  My sewing skills consist of the oh so hard to master squiggly line. I might even be able to stitch in a circle if I concentrate hard enough.  I saw an adorable pillow case sleeping mat on Pinterest and decided that making it was far too hard.  Then I saw the tutorial meant for gals like me that just required stitching 4-5 pillow cases together.  ”I can do that” I thought. And I did. So I’m pretty sure you can do it too.

I kept an eye out for cute pillowcases and scored 2 sets of Standard/Queen DKNY pillow cases for 5$ per case ($20.00 total).

Then an even better tutorial popped up in my Pinterest feed the next day!  Woo-hoo!  I used this tutorial from Giggle, Laugh, and Tickle Me Too (weird name…. but good tutorial).

I decided to mix colors on my pillow cases and alternate Blue/Grey/Blue/Grey.  I also swapped so that the openings alternated so the pillows stuff on different sides.

To satisfy the part of me that likes throwing something in a closet I added long ribbons, 1 on each end, so you can tie your pillowcase lounger together when not in use.

Here is my own tutorial where I sprinkle in advice from a COMPLETE novice.  If you already know how to sew your way out of a paper bag then you might want to just skip the “Newbie” advice.

Supplies Needed: 4-5 Pillow Cases of whatever size pillow you want inside.  2 Spools of thread in the color you want.  3-5 Wound bobbins in matching thread.  Seam Ripper.  Spool of Ribbon.

Skill Level:  Can stitch a straight line, knows how to adjust stitch length and width on machine, can reload bobbins.  (Novice!)

Time Required: If you aren’t me I’m guessing less than 1 hour.  If you are me and have 2 kids then about 3 hours!

Cost:  Free (if you have 4-5 cases/pillows) up to $50 if you buy new.

Getting started- Lay our your cases beforehand to decide the order.  Pick two and line them up side by side so that they touch bu do not overlap.

Stitch Choice- Depending on your machine you need to set your stitch to a Zig Zag but make the width at 5.5 and the length of the stitch very tight (I went to 1.0 but the tutorial I used said as tight as possible, however on that setting my machine kept getting stuck and it would stitch all in one place without moving.)  This is basically a “satin stitch” if you are familiar with the terminology.

*** Newbie Caution- I tried starting from the very edge of the pillowcases.  Either it was me or my machine but this caused a giant mess.  By the third case I realized I needed to start with fabric behind my presser foot and started from that point, then turned it around and stitched down from that point to the end.

Stitch your two pillowcases together and keep them from overlapping.  Repeat until all Cases are together.

*** Newbie Caution- This stitch takes forever…  I’d guess it was 20 minutes of just stitching per case.   Keep notice of the movement.  I often found that my stitching would get stuck and it just kept restitching without moving the fabric on.  You might have to pull the fabric to get it moving when the thick stitching gets stuck under the presser foot.  Find a slow speed and stick with it, feel the fabric move, when it stops, act quickly before you have a mound of stitching in one place!

Next: Add ribbons to each end.

Find the middle point at the end of each case.  Rip open the seam to the size of the width of your ribbon.  Turn the case inside out and place the end of the ribbon inside.

Choose a regular zig zag stitch and sew as close as possible to the end of the pillowcase fabric.

Next, use a straight stitch and line it up with the pillowcase stitch so that when you turn it right side out it all lines up.

My husband reminded me to burn the tip of the ribbons to prevent fraying.

Insert your pillows and Ta-da!  Now you have a pretty cozy Lounge/Nap/Landing Pad Mat.  If you fold one pillow under it is perfect for laying on the floor and watching a movie.  Lay it next to a mattress and it becomes a soft landing spot for the kids!  When you are done, tie it up and store it.

Additional Notes:  I was picky about the pillows.  I originally intended to buy the cheapest possible but noticed they would be short and I’d have extra fabric on the sides.  I went with “Extra Firm” for ultra comfort!  This does make it “poofier” and stack higher than the thinner pillows.

Flat next to a Crib Mattress

It also occurred to me that this is going to be a lifesaver when we start transitioning Everett to his bed from co-sleeping with us.  I’ll be laying on it until he gets the hang of things!

I’m addicted to Pinterest- follow me and I’ll follow back!  I like as much inspiration in my feed as possible!

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How to Join a Twitter Party Using TweetGrid.com

Twitter parties are a fun way to learn more about a topic, win prizes, or just chat with other like minded people in a public forum.  I participate in Twitter Parties often, at least once a week.  Twitter parties have been around for a few years but it can still be confusing for a newbie.

The video above shows you exactly how to log in to Tweetgrid.com and get started.  There are a lot of other tutorials floating around so I will save you the text.  You’ll want to watch the video full screen in order to see the text and get the full effect.

I hope this will get you all initiated in order to join the #GivingHOPE party happening tonight at 9 PM EST.  See you there for fun, prizes, and to learn more about Giving Diapers, Giving Hope.

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Create a Unique Holiday Card: Family Portrait in Ornament Reflection that Hangs on the Tree!

You know… I wasn’t quite sure how to title this post!  Thanks to Pinterest I found a great idea for our Holiday card.  It was a photo of a family but reflected in a Christmas Ornament.  I wanted to make it a little more interesting so I thought up a way that the ornament could then become an ornament to hang on the tree!

Supplies and Skills needed: A shiny ornament, a little Photoshop Knowledge, a Tripod, and preferably a remote controlled Camera.  For the printed card and you will need a Sewing Machine.

First- Take your Family Photo!

Set your ornament up (you can either hold it or hang from something.  We chose our Charlie Brown Christmas Tree) and get your family together in front of it.  Do some practicing to decide what position will work best, and get your camera set up in the background.  The farther away- with a zoom lens- will work the best.  The smaller the camera in the background the easier it will be to photoshop out.  

We used a remote to snap photos which was immensely helpful.  If you don’t have one you could use a timer but I have a feeling you might get a different kind of picture than you hoped for!

After about 20-30 takes (I kept getting my head in the POV of the camera, which resulted in beautiful photos of the back of my hair!) and a lot of photos of the boys grabbing for the ornament, we had a decent shot.

Next Step: Photoshop out the Camera

My husband took the reigns on this one.  Although I can Clone Stamp with the best of them, he does most of our editing.  He used the clone stamp to remove the camera and the tripod out of the photo.  We used a photo umbrella and strobe light to help with lighting and that was visible in the photo as well, so he clone stamped out the umbrella lines to make it look more like a reflection of light.  He also lightened up the image from what you see below to the finished product, and added snowflakes with a PS Texture he downloaded.

Making The Card:

I cropped the photo to a post card size to upload to a photo printing site.  I am a big fan and user of Zazzle.com.  From past experience I have noticed that when I just photoshop a card that the text isn’t as crisp as I like, so I ended up relying on the text in Zazzle.  I spent DAYS agonizing over a little poem and just couldn’t get the darn thing to say what I wanted, stay in rythym, and ryhme.  I am NOT a poet.  So instead I settled on the epic phrase “Happy Holidays.”

I LOVE sending post cards in lieu of traditional cards or photo cards in an envelope.  It saves time, and trees when you realize you won’t have to use a seperate envelope!  I also think it is kinda cool that your address is on the back.  If they save it they will always have that little reminder of where you were when the card was sent, and a postage stamp date.  Zazzle does have the option and a preformatted back.  I chose to also pre-address each postcard each recipient’s address.  I have atrocious penmanship so this extra step was more for me than anyone else.  Tip: keep a Google Doc of Card Addresses so you can copy/paste them anytime you need them.  

Now you are ready to order your prints!  I also went ahead and used Zazzle to buy my postcard stamps (which are only .29 cents versus regular letter stamps at .44 cents) and had them customized with a special message from our family!

Optional: Make it a real ornament!

I decided to also make the ornament “punch” out to be hung from the Christmas Tree for our family and friends.  I thought this was a nice way to be present in their lives over the holiday season since we would be spending it away from them.

I practiced on a few extra postcards I had leftover from my wedding announcements almost 5 years ago!  I found out that you can use a sewing machine to perforate paper by leaving out the thread.  Brilliant!

With my machine, a 2.0 length stitch with the needle for heavy weight cloth worked best for a POST CARD.  If you would like to use this trick for anything else you will want a closer stitch, the punched out item will look smoother and be easier.  Since my cards will go unprotected in the mail I needed a wider perforation.  I tried the smallest stitch and it worked perfectly and punched out easily…. too easy to make it in one piece via USPS and no envelope.  Also, every machine is different so experiment, experiment, experiment!

Stitch around your ornament.  I chose only to stitch the circle and not the knobby top portion.  Easier, faster, and easier for punching out on the receiving end.

You might notice your needle getting dull after many post cards.  I was able to make it through 25+ before noticing.   I could have used a new needle but I only had 30 total so I kept trucking.  You will want a new needle before stitching your fabrics again.

Next, punch a hole at the top for your friends and family to insert an ornament hook or ribbon.  If you are sending this in an envelope consider including one.  If you have a tiny punch you can use that, or just use a sharp nail or anything that can make a hole.  We are being ghetto with the sewing machine, why stop now? (I actually rushed myself to finish these before the mail truck came so I completely forgot this step on the ones I sent… Oops!)

Add your stamp, put in the mailbox, and wait for your recipients to call and compliment you on such a cool idea! (Or write on your Facebook Wall)  Your ornament can go on the tree, or they can keep the card as is.

If I had to do it all over again I would use a different color ornament because the bronze really blended in with the background and made finding the edge when stitching difficult.  Plus a brighter color would POP more on the card.

I would also be more aware of the placement of the addresses on the back.  The stitching went over it but none were made unreadable by it.  Plus, the stamp went over the perforation.  I wish the stamp were smaller…

Happy Holidays!

I think there are a lot of fun ways you could improve on this card, let me know in the comments!

PS: The extra cool factor is that our card looks a lot like the album cover for Gish by the Smashing Pumpkins.  You all know I am a BIG fan right?

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Make Your “Elf on The Shelf” Bendable and Grippy-Tutorial

This is my first year doing Elf on the Shelf and I have been waiting for months to get started!  To those who aren’t familiar, Elf on the Shelf is a Christmas tradition where the Elf is hidden each night as the children sleep for them to find in the morning. He is always into something when the kids find him.  Thanks to Pinterest the ante has been officially upped.  Instead of plopping your Elf friend on your LazyBoy and calling it a day, moms and dads everywhere have been looking for the most adorable,creative, and disturbing places to hide Santa’s little Helper.  He is available at most stores or on Amazon.

To aid you in getting your Elf into more trouble than ever,  I have put together a tutorial for hacking the doll.  As much as we LOVE the story and the game, the Elf included is lacking a lot of features that would make him even cooler.  I have turned him into a bendable Elf with hands that stick together using velcro.  You can imagine how handy this will be when you need him to hang from the beams in your ceiling….  For those that don’t sew, just gluing velcro on the hands will enhance the Elf’s ability to wrap arms around objects and hold on.  For those that do sew, just adding wire will also do what the velcro is intended for as long as you bend his arms around objects.  This means you can skip adding velcro if you would like.

Make your Elf Bendable!

Update: there is a second hack available to let you add magnets to your elf to help him climb any metal surfaces and a tutorial for adding  festive elf-sized pom-pom to his hat.  Check it out after you have finished the first hack!

You will Need:

Cost- I already had everything but the wire, making the total cost 1.00.  Most of you will likely have most of these items, except wire and velcro, as well.
Time- I spent about 1 hour on this craft but this included finding my materials (in the basement), photographing, and multiple interruptions from children.  I think it can be done in less than 30 minutes without those.
Skill Level: Little to no Sewing Experience.  If you can boil water you can hack your Elf.

Supplies Needed

Step 1:

We will start with the arms. If you haven’t already, free his hands by snipping the stitch that keeps them together.  Then, rip out one stitch on the tip of the hand.

Remove one stitch in hand.

Step 2:

Unwind some wire and make a small loop at the end with your needlenose pliers (looping is good, otherwise the sharp straight end might work it’s way out and poke through the fabric).  Insert into the hand and push all the way to the top of the arm.  You don’t want to cut if from the spool yet.

Insert wire into arm

Step 3:

Once the wire is all the way up, leave room for what will be the loop at the end, then clip using your wire cutters and loop with the needlenose pliers.  I pushed the wire back out just a smidge, snipped, looped, then pushed back inside the hand.

Loop other end of wire.

Step 4:

After the wire is completely inside the hand, take white (or red if you prefer, like the original stitches) and close hand.

Close up the Hand

Repeat Steps 1-4 on other hand.

Step 5:

Time for the legs!  Unlike the hand, the legs have stitching at the knee.  Take your seam ripper and at the BACK of the leg, rip 2 of the stitches in the center.  Don’t pull out the threads, they can stay so it still looks stitched.

Rip two stitches at the back of the leg at the knee

Step 6:

Remove one stitch at the bottom of the leg/foot. Loop your wire as you did before, make it small enough to fit in the opening.  Insert in the foot and keep it centered as you push it through the stiches you ripped earlier.  Keep centered up through the padded top portion. Clip and loop as you did with the arms.

Open foot, insert wire.

Step 7:

Close up the foot using your red thread.  Doesn’t need to be fancy, any kid of stitch you know how to do will work.

Sew up the foot with red thread.

Repeat steps 5-7 on other leg.

Step 8:

Now we will work on the Hands.  Start heating your glue gun if you haven’t already.  Take your Velcro and cut a small enough strip to fit your hands.  I just eyeballed it. I also rounded the top.  Then, use the first as a template for the second and cut that as well.  Make sure you have one hook and one loop.

Cut 2 small pieces of velcro for the hands.

Step 9:

Pre-plan how you want these to stick. I put them on both backs, but if you don’t mind the looks you can put one on the back and one on the front so the hands cross.  When you are happy and 100% set with your positioning, apply hot glue to the back of the first hand, then attach your velcro.  Repeat for the other hand.

Glue velcro to backs of hands.

TADA!

Admire your handiwork and start playing with your new, Bendy, Grabby, Super Duper AWESOME Elf.  My elf is named Wyatt.  After his surgery, Wyatt explored his new superpowers.

Trapeze Artist, hanging by bent leg

Kickin’ it on some train tracks. Not a good idea…

Being an Elf on a Shelf, but much easier to balance and position

 

 

Go ahead, make mischief and new memories with your hacked Bendeable, Grippable Elf on the Shelf!

Check My Week 1 and Week 2 Elf on the Shelf Ideas.  You can also find 12 more ideas, like the Googly Eye-er Elf, on the 12 Elf on the Shelf Ideas post.  

 

UPDATE:  I added looped velcro to the other side of his hands to allow him to ability to clasp his hands in two ways- one as if in prayer and the other which is just adorable!

elfontheshelfhack-velcrohands

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Easy Cake Pop Tutorial

I’m in the mood to share a Tutorial for how to make those awesome Cake Pops like you find at Starbucks. My son is a HUGE fan.  I don’t allow him to have real lollipops because I hate sticky, but these can easily be eaten in the car without making a sticky or crumbly mess.  They are full of sugar so be warned.

These really make lovely additions to any birthday or shower event.  You can even get creative with shapes (and dare I say, naughty) for your next event.  Be warned-  I did include blurred photos of my scandalous Cake Pops as well.

This tutorial is for the lazy pressed for time chef.  Feel free to substitute actual handmade cakes and icing for the box variety.

Supplies to buy:

  • 1 Box of Cake Mix (any flavor)
  • 1 Container of Icing (any flavor)
  • Lollipop Sticks (50 count bag)
  • 2-3 bags Candy Melts (any flavor)

Supplies you own:

  • Large Mixing Bowl (or 2 in case you don’t want to wash the batter bowl and reuse)
  • Spatula
  • 9×13 Baking Pan (like for sheet cakes)
  • Cookie Sheet
  • Parchment/ Wax Paper
  • Screwdriver
  • Tape

Nice to have:

  • Cookie Dough Scoop
  • Sprinkles/ other decorations
  • Food Coloring (to tint the white chocolate)
  • Plastic Wrap or Lollipop Wraps/ Ties
  • Foam block (to stick Pops in after)

Before you start!

Very Important!
Make sure you have enough room in your freezer to place your cookie sheet inside with sticks pointing up.
You will also want to have an area for your chocolate covered Cake Pops to dry in an upright position.  I used the Cake Box with holes punched in the top.  Tape the box closed, punch holes on the top with enough room for pops to not touch.  They dry so quickly you really only need 5-6 holes.


Decide how much of the process you would like to do at one time.  You can do everything at once but there are waiting periods while you bake the cake, while the cake cools, and while the lollipop sticks set.  I found it easiest to bake the cake and let it cool, then make the balls and decorate when I knew I could dedicate an hour or so to the task.  Since you are working with melted chocolate you don’t want to stop and start in that phase.

Let’s Do This!

Step 1: Bake a cake. You could get all Martha Stewart and make one from scratch, or if you have preferences for Gluten Free or have other special dietary restrictions you might have to.  For me, a box is dandy and cuts down on the overall time of the project.  In 5 minutes I can have a cakes batter ready to pour in my 9×13 glass pan.

Follow the directions on the box- there are no alterations to the recipe for the pops.

Once your cake is done let it cool completely for 30-45 minutes.  Or go clean your house, forget you baked a cake, and magically you walk by the oven and a cool cake is sitting on top.  That works too.

Step 2: Crumble that cake. You can use your hands and grab pieces from the dish and crumble it into a large bowl.  Or, take a rubber or plastic spatula and break it up in the dish, then pour the crumbs into your bowl.  You want it to be very fine.

Step 3: Add icing. Start with about half of the container of icing and fold it in, then knead it.  Using hands is far more effective but I’ll admit to using a spatula.  It took longer.  You want the cake crumbs and icing to resemble dough in feel.  If you make a ball and it doesn’t stick together well, add more icing.  I used 3/4 of a container.

Step 4: Make naked pops. You’ll need your chocolate melts, lollipop sticks, parchment paper, cookie sheet, and optional scooper.

If you are going to form the pops and cover them in chocolate right after, go ahead and melt a full bowl of your chosen chocolates.  If you want to just use enough chocolate to put on the stick then melt a very small amount.

Melt Chocolate

If you are lazy pressed for time like I am, you want to buy the Candy Melts.  These can be found at Joanns or other craft store.  They melt in the microwave.  You can also use other chocolates and a double boiler if you’d like.

I used a half bag at a time.  Following the directions on the bag I set my microwave to half power (5) and cooked for 1 minute, then stirred.  Then another 30 seconds, stirred.  Repeat until smooth and liquidy.  For just sticks I used a few chips and it took 1.5 minutes total.  If you chocolate starts gumming up reheat for 30 secons on half power again or until smooth.  DO NOT set it and forget it.  Chocolate burns easily.

Now that you have the chocolate, start rolling balls.  My first batch came out huge once the chocolate was on so I really recommend a cookie dough scoop for size.  It doesn’t compact the balls enough though.  You still need to roll the balls in your hands until they are tight and round.

Cover the tip of your lollipop stick in chocolate and then insert into your ball.  Not too far, not too shallow.  Think of the depth of a regular lollipop and mimic that.  The reason you add chocolate to the tip is to prevent the ball from sliding off, so don’t skip that step.  Size does affect stability also- too big and they will fall of or break.

Scoop, roll, stick.  Scoop, roll, stick. Do this until you have a sheet of pops.  Stick those in the freezer for 5-10 minutes.

Step 5: Apply Chocolate and Decorate Pops. Think about what these Pops are for.  Special Occasion, Greedy Toddler, Just Because?  You can make them smooth, or not.  If you just want to make very nice, smooth Pops, find another tutorial.  Mine aren’t that “smooth” like the ones from Starbucks.  This probably has everything to do with the chocolate I used.  If you have a double boiler you can really get the chocolate nice and thin, very liquidy, and dip your Cake Pop in that.

With the Microwaved Chocolate it wasn’t super thin.  I dipped some but found it was best to cover the Pops with spooned on chocolate, then smooth it out.  Because we froze them they are relatively hard, but not solid.  But since they are cold the chocolate begins hardening almost instantly.  Keep that in mind.  My chocolate was tinted with fod coloring.

Decorate- Sprinkles, other colors of chocolate drizzled on, or adding cute little candies on top are all good ideas.  Or, get much more elaborate.

Bonus:

The cake dough can be molded or shaped also.  Craft stores sell candy molds (the fewer details the better considering what you are working with, basic shapes would work well) or you can hand form the shape you desire.

I decided to come up with a few shapes.  Some are NSFW so click the blurred image for the bigger, uncensored version.  I came up with the Boobs because after my first son was born I saw a Lactation Consultant until we had breastfeeding mastered.  In her honor I commissioned Booby Cookies.  I could have made these instead, I would be 40$ richer.

The Penis Pop would be an awesome Bachelorette party favor.

And the Preggo Belly Pop is good for the (hungry) mama to be for a Baby Shower!

These are by no means perfect but a more artistic person could do great things with these!  I actually used a knife to correct and smooth out the chocolate.  For the nipples, the points were made by just dripping the chocolate on after the initial round circle for the areola.  While half wet I pushed the end of each so they weren’t sharp, just a blunt point.

When your Pops are wet you will need to have them dry upright.  Use the ghetto cake pop stand I described in the post earlier.  Works like a charm.

Step 6: Wrap and Store. Want to know why I made these?  Because every frickin’ time I go to the Starbucks drive-thru my toddler demands a “Bali-Pop.”  In fact, he thinks all drive-thru’s are for lollipops.  The Cake Pops from Starbucks are 1.50 each.  This adds up quickly (please forget that I am also getting a Grande Soy Toffee Nut Latte.) From now on I will be grabbing a “Bali-Pop” from my freezer before heading the Starbucks so that I save some money.  I have about 25 in my freezer.  Forgetting the supplies to make them, that saves almost 40$!

I decided to put half in my fridge for a Playdate and I froze the other half of this batch.  For the fridge pops I stuck them in the foam brick I had laying around.  To freeze I wrapped each Pop in Saran Wrap then placed those inside of a TupperWare container.  Grab and let defrost as needed.

Step 7: Eat and Enjoy! These babies are RICH and super sweet.  You can experiment with different cake and icing flavors.  My first batch was yellow cake vanilla icing with milk chocolate and white chocolate on the outside.  My second batch were carrot cake pops with cream cheese icing and white chocolate shells.

Total Time (Including Baking and Waiting)- 2-3 hours.

Total Cost: 10.00$ for about 27-33 Pops (depending on Size)

Posted in Crafty StuffComments (7)

How to Fold a Flat Diaperbag Style- Video and Image Tutorial

After hearing the raves about the Diaperbag fold on Diaperswappers (thanks in part to Padded Tush Stats) I tried it, and fell in love.  I wanted to add a video tutorial of this fold to the others I have done.  I have used this for both boys at night already and it held up beautifully.

The one thing that I love the most about this fold is how easy it is to get a good fit on any size baby.  I’ve extended the life of one flat that is too small to be used with the Origami or Kite fold, and I can get larger flats to a very manageable size very easily.

The other wonderful thing about it is how I can actually use it on my changing table!!!  I pinch it closed after it has been folded into the finished product, then lay it under him and open it back.  If you keep it open and try to transport it it will come undone.  Other folds require more folding at the moment, and I find it easier to do those on a floor.  I hope you all love this fold as much as I do!  I also used Bamboo Terry flats for this video (per request).

Anyone can use this fold but it is especially great for boys because you can double it over in front which gives you lots of layers where little boys need it most!

 

Special thanks to the DS mama who posted this a few years ago.  Here is the original tutorial.

Posted in Cloth Diapers, Flats ChallengeComments (8)

The Cloth Diaper Finder- New Review System and Improvements

Dirty Diaper Laundry has recently improved the Cloth Diaper Finder to allow everyone to submit their own reviews.  And this just isn’t any review system!  With this tool you can rate a cloth diaper based on 5 categories on a 5 star system.  You can also use the sliding scales to represent your baby-this covers height, Skinny or chunky, light or heavy wetter, and even the span of time your baby has been using the diaper.  On top of that you can select the Pros and Cons from a handy list which will display along with your written review of 1,000 characters or less.  But wait, there’s more!  Reviewers can even add a photo of their baby/toddler in the diaper as a visual reference (or to show off that cute patootie).

Thumbnail of uploaded image. Can be clicked to enlarge.

Lastly, you get to say a simple “Yes, No, or Maybe I would buy this diaper again.”

A completed review ready for submitting!

Each diaper will have a review snapshot to give you the overall averages based on reviews submitted by users.  This snap shot will show the overall Star Rating averages, the top 3 Pros and Cons, and the percentage of people who would buy that diaper again or not.  This is a super simple way for cloth diaper users to find out if this diaper is for them or not.

And you can even sort the reviews by those voted “Most Helpful” by other users.

Example Review Summary

A view of a few submitted reviews.

It does sound complicated but it takes very little time to select the options.  The most time consuming portion is dependent on the reviewer and how much they want to write.

This system is all a part of the larger Cloth Diaper Finder- the ONLY all encompassing, searchable cloth diaper database.  With close to 200 cloth diapers the Cloth Diaper Finder lets users search for a diaper based on what they want to see.  Price Range, Diaper Type, Closure Type, Materials, even where the diaper was made.  There are infinite ways to search and the results are always fun!  It isn’t just for consumers- cloth diaper bloggers and retailers/manufacturers can easily get information on diapers by using this database.  Almost every tiny bit of information is included.

The details of one diaper

You can also sort your results by the Top Rated diapers.  If you decide you want to buy the diaper there is a Buy Me link to a retailer who carriers it or to the WAHM’s website.  I’ve also taken the liberty of including links to my video reviews for diapers who have been covered.  In addition, if you love my videos and are looking for videos for just Pocket Diapers, or just diapers with snaps, you can do that!  I don’t know if I could have crammed more into this thing if I tried!

After the initial launch I had a few changes made that were highly requested.  There is now a filterable option to select diapers with natural fibers (against the baby’s skin- this does not mean the entire diaper is made from Natural Fibers or that it is Organic), Side Snapping, and you can find which diapers are available in prints.  Another improvement is that you can select multiple Closure Types, Diaper Types, or Outer Material Types.

The results show up in list form and you can sort them by top rated as well.

Top 3 Results for "All-in-One"

I have filmed a guide to help you navigate the Cloth Diaper Finder and how to submit reviews.

A video walk through of how to get the most out of the Cloth Diaper Finder.

A video walk through of how to submit a review on the Cloth Diaper Finder.

Posted in Blog Life, Cloth DiapersComments (6)


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