Friday, March 29, 2013

Spring Chick Printables - FREE!


Remember our Hooded Towel Pattern Giveaway?
 We have some winners!!!

Congrats to Allyssa, Diana, and Jaclyn!
an email will be sent to you soon!
Enjoy your patterns!!

And now something that's free for ALL of you!!!


I wanted to create a fun printable for Spring and thought these chicks were perfect. 
Sweet and simple and great for any time in spring, not just Easter. 
(I think it might also be cute for a baby girl shower)

So here it is, just click the link and it's yours for free!


Enjoy!

p.s. not sure why this picture shows-up so neon in blogger. I promise the chicks are cute spring colors, not electric. Anyone know why this happens?




Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Successful Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe and Tips


Anyone out there love lemons as much as Emily and I do? 
We once dedicated a whole month here at Everyday Art on that delicious citrus beauty--that's just how much we love lemons. :)

Like any good lemon connoisseurs, we really enjoy a good Lemon Meringue Pie (almost as much as we love our Lemon Sour Cream Pie). That soft, creamy, lemony filling with a delicious, airy meringue on top--Mmmm! can't get enough. Literally.


Alas, I have also had some sub-par lemon meringue pie. Perhaps the filling is too gelatinous, perhaps the meringue actually breaks down and turns to mush. Or is separates from the filling and floats around like a plate in a sink of water. 

Well, say sayonara to sub-par pie. Adios! 


The real key that helped my lemon meringue pie be a success was to

1) make sure the lemon filling is hot when you put the meringue on top
and
2) make sure the meringue covers all of the filling and touches the crust.

 Now the meringue stays where it should (firmly attached to the lemon filling). :) 

Also, this recipe is just plain good, as all recipes from America's Test Kitchen tend to be. 

Enjoy!

Lemon Meringue Pie
From America’s Test Kitchen’s The New Best Recipe.


Crust
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 c. shortening
½ c. water

Filling
1 c. sugar
¼ c. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. salt
1 ½ c. cold water
6 large egg yolks
1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest
½ c. Fresh lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Meringue
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/3 . water
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
½ c. sugar
4 large egg whites
½ tsp. vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 375 degrees and adjust oven rack to the lower-middle position.

Prepare crust: Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Then, slowly add the water and stir until the dough starts to come together—until it is soft but not sticky. Do not overmix. Prepare 4 pieces of plastic wrap by placing two pieces side-by-side on the counter and two pieces ready to place on top. Put the crust dough on the plastic wrap and cover with the two top pieces.

Roll the dough out and place into the pie plate. Trim the dough edges and decorate as desired. Line the pie with foil and fold the edges of the foil over to shield the crust edges and prevent them from getting too brown. Place ceramic or metal pie weights over the foil. Bake until the crust looks dry, about 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and the weights and continue to bake for another 10-15 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Filling: Mix the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and water in a large nonreactive saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally in the beginning and more frequently as the mixture begins to thicken.  When the mixture starts to simmer and turns translucent, whisk thin the egg yolks, two at a time. Whisk in the zest, then the lemon juice, and finally the butter. Bring the mixture to a good simmer, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat; place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the filling to keep it hot and fervent a skin from forming.  

Meringue: Mix the cornstarch with the water in a small saucepan; bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally at the beginning and more frequently as the mixture thickens. When the mixtures starts to simmer and turns translucent, remove from the heat.

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Mix the cream of tartar and sugar together. Beat the egg whites and vanilla until frothy. Beat in the sugar mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the sugar is incorporated and the mixture forms soft peaks. Add the cornstarch mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time; continue to eat the meringue to stiff peaks.

Remove the plastic form the lemon filling and return to very low heat during the last minute or so of beating the meringue (to ensure the filling is hot).
Assemble: Pour the hot filling into the pie shell. Using a rubber spatula, immediately distribute the meringue evenly around the edge and then the center of the pie to keep it from sinking into the filling. Make sure the meringue attaches to the piecrust to prevent shrinking. Use the back of a spoon to create peaks all over the meringue. Bake the pie until the meringue is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Serve the same day.
 
Click here to print.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Easter Shelf and Interchangeable Burlap Banner

Easter is right around the corner!
I figured it was time to take down the St. Patrick's Day decor and decorate the shelf for Easter.

 

Look at all familiar? I just swapped out a few St. Patrick's Day items and converted it over for Easter. Here's the before:

As you can see, the wreath got to stay, but rather than the printable, yarn balls, apples and split peas, I decided to go sweet and simple and add a few Beatrix Potter-ish figurines and two pots of wheat grass I started growing 2 weeks ago.


Cute and sweet and simple. I like the uncluttered look of it. 
Want to grow some wheat grass? Here is our tutorial from a few years ago. It is so simple to do, and I love the look that some wheatgrass gives my house in the spring time--it just screams "hey, it's spring and things are starting to grow!"

And now, the real genius of the shelf is the burlap banner that you can easily change for the holidays.


The paper Easter eggs are stuck onto the burlap with double-sided tape,  just like the "lucky" St. Patrick's Day sign.


When it was time to change the banner into one more suitable for Easter, I simply pulled the letters off of the burlap, tossed them, and then cut out some Easter eggs, applied double-sided tape to them and voila! now the banner is ready for Easter. Super easy. 


Hope you are gearing up for a great pre-Easter week. :)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Hooded Towel Patterns - Giveaway!!!

Fist a little announcement...
Did you know we're now on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Etsy and Flickr?
Check us out! We'd love you to follow us :)
*buttons on the sidebar
....................................

I can't tell you how excited I am to FINALLY be posting these patterns!
The project ended up taking me a lot longer than anticipated and was a lot of work (probably because I got a bit carried away and kept making more and more patterns) BUT it was worth it. 


Are these not ADORABLE!
I love this little tiger, he might be my new favorites.


And who doesn't like a puppy?


Or what would be cuter in an Eater basket than a soft cuddly bunny towel?

There are sooo many hooded towels for sale out there. I love them. KIDS love them. But I feel like most are way over priced. So I did what I usually do when that happens and went to work making my own. 
I've been making these for a few years now and have been asked several times to help friends make there own, which got me thinking... maybe there are MORE of you out there that would like to make your own, but just need a little help. So I made a pattern, and another, and another, and just couldn't stop. 

I love making these towels because they're easy, affordable, and fast. I can usually complete a towel in about 2 hours. (Less without interruptions :).
 Sometimes I make a few at a time and save them for baby gifts. Then when the time comes I just pick one, tie on a ribbon, and I'm ready to go with a  cute, hand-made, one of a kind gift! 

Here are all the patterns! 
Each pdf pattern includes a detailed tutorial with photos and 
step-by-step instructions for not one, but THREE different 
hooded towel animals. I guess I was feeling generous :)

You can check them all out in our Etsy Shop.
Just click on the picture!

Backyard Animals


Farm Animals


Jungle Animals


Safari Animals


Spring Animals


Forest animals


And now for the giveaway! 
Enter our giveaway to win the pattern of your choice.
Three lucky winners will be chosen and may choose any 1 of the 6 hooded towel patterns, 
Backyard Animals, Farm Animals, Jungle Animals, Safari Animals, Spring Animals, or Forest Animals.


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Good luck!









Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Best Homemade Play-doh Recipe

 
They other day when my girls wanted to play Play-doh, we pulled out all the supplies only to realize that, oops, we didn't put all the lids on well. Two small containers of play-doh were clearly no where near enough to play with properly, so we took matters into our own hands and made ourselves some Play-doh!

And you know what? Making your own play dough is super easy, quick and fun! 
The kids thought it was a pretty stellar activity--two activities in one! 1) Make the Play-doh and 2) Play with said Play-doh. :)



We scoured the web for recipes and after reading a ton of them decided to go with the "cook" method. 
I worried that it would take longer, but it seemed the most people agreed that it made a better dough, so that's what we did. And I was pleasantly surprised how quick it was to make it--definetely not annoying to cook it for a few minutes. 

Here's the ingredients and recipe: 
COOKED PLAY-DOH
2 cups flour
2 cups water
1 cup salt
  2 Tablespoons cream of tartar
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Step 1: Mix together in a pan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. 



Step 2: You will notice after awhile that the dough will start to form a ball and hold together as you stir it around (as shown below). This is when you remove it from the heat.



 Step 3: I used my handy-dandy silcone non-stick mat to knead the dough for awhile.

 


Step 4: I broke my dough into 4 portions, added some food dye and continued to knead it. Now this is the tricky part--that food dye will stain your hands like crazy before it gets kneaded in, so I placed a sandwich bag around my hand to protect it for the first few "kneads."



And voila! You have yourself some homemade Play-doh. :)



Here is the recipe again all in one place so it is easy to read:
COOKED PLAY-DOH
2 cups flour
2 cups water
1 cup salt
2 Tablespoons cream of tartar
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1. Mix together in a pan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. 
2. You will notice after awhile that the dough will start to form a ball and hold together as you stir it around (as shown below). This is when you remove it from the heat.
3. I used my handy-dandy silcone non-stick mat to knead the dough for awhile. 
4.  I broke my dough into 4 portions, added some food dye and continued to knead it. Now this is the tricky part--that food dye will stain your hands like crazy before it gets kneaded in, so I placed a sandwich bag around my hand to protect it for the first few "kneads."

Have fun. You'll be amazed at how easy it is to make. :)

 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Knit Monster: Baby and Mama

Ah!
What a cute Mama Monster and Baby Monster! :) 

 

When my 2-year-old became a 3-year-old we threw her a monster birthday party--pink monsters. It was smashing success--such a fun party theme and she LOVED it. She loved her Monster Cake and Cupcakes and she loved her Monster-themed sign, invites, etc. Emily made these great Monster Printables for our party that very fun and fitting. (Many thanks Emily! Boy version too if you follow the link.)

Well, of course, I got a bug that I wanted to knit her these adorable monsters that I saw on Etsy. They are so cute!!! And so perfect for her personality--she loves her monsters but she loves pink and yellow and babies and what kid wouldn't love a pouch like that?


She's been playing with them ever since. 
Her older sister has taken to putting our fresh chicken eggs in the pouch--not sure how I feel about that one. I had to nix that fun unfortunately. 

Anyway, they are such a cute little pair. There are lots of fun different colors and striping patterns to see on her etsy shop. :)

  


 Hope you are having a super Monday and that at the very least this cute Monster baby and mama brought a little smile to your face! They sure do mine every.single.time.I.see.them!

Friday, March 15, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Dinner - Shamrock Soup



Not feeling like making the traditional corned beef and cabbage this year?
Maybe look for something a little lighter?
Or maybe just in a hurry?
 

 
I just made this fun GREEN soup for dinner last night.
(So green in fact that the first thing my husband said when he saw dinner was "Wow, that's green!" Don't know that it was a compliment, but he ate it and liked it :)
It was so fast and easy! Perfect for a St. Patrick's Day dinner.
And even better... my kids ate it!
They actually liked it and my 2 year old pulled the leftovers out of the fridge today at lunch time and told me "I have soup for lunch!"
And even better than that.... it soooo healthy!
It's loaded with peas and spinach and onion, a little garlic.
 I was surprized at how sweet it was, probably all the peas and onion.
Whatever it is, I'll take it. Kids eat it and its healthy. Score.
 

So, want to try this fun soup for your St. Patrick's Day dinner?
Here's how I made it -
 
Shamrock Soup
 
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 cups chicken broth
1 lb. peas (frozen or fresh)
8 cups spinach
1/3 cup milk
plain yogurt
 
Just heat the butter and olive oil in pot, add the onion and garlic and cook until soft. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add peas and boil about a minute. Add spinach and cook until tender. Puree soup. (I like to use a hand/pulse mixer and puree it right in the pot, but if you don't have one just blend it in batches in the blender.) Stir in milk. Put yogurt in a plastic bag with the tip cut off and squeeze a clover shap on top.
 
Hope you have a happy St. Patrick's Day!
 







Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Fabric and Bead Necklace and Bracelet



So I was dropping my son off at pre-school when I remembered... An odaorable little girl had invited him to her birthday party directly following school. And of course, I had forgotten to get a gift. No biggy, just run to the store right? But we live a ways out of town, I had just been shopping the day before, the roads were icy, and I really wasn't feeling it. What to do? Those stacks of fabric in the basement have to be good for something right? And why shouldn't I be able to come up with something fabulous in 2 hours before I picked him up?



Enter the easy fabric and bead necklace and bracelet!
I've made a variation of this before for my little girl, but this one is a bit longer. And with some extra scraps I made a simple little knotted bracelet.



What little girl doesn't need a new necklace or bracelet for spring. Or maybe YOU need one!
Maybe you don't want yours to be rainbow, but with a more appropriate fabric you'll be good to go.
 
Ready to make one?
Grab some fabric that's 45 inches wide. (you could use wider for a longer necklace).
- Cut a strip  2 3/4 inches wide.
- Fold in half lengthwise with right sides of fabric together(so it's still 45" long, just skinnier).
- sew 1/4 inch from raw edge.
- turn right-side-out.
- slide one bead inside the tube. Mine were 3/4 inch beads.
Push to the middle and tie a knot on either side.
- keep adding beads and knots to each side til you're done. (I used 7 beads total).
- tie the ends together and you're done!
(If the selvage looks nice don't wory about heming the ends, if not however, you may want to tuck the ends inside about 1/4 of an inch and sew across them.)
 


For the bracelet I made a fabric tube the same way, only it was 9 inches long. Just Tie a knot at the center. Fold the end of one tube in 1/4 of an inch to hide the raw edge. Push the other end inside that one creating a circle and sew right across.


You can use whatever size beads you like, just make sure your fabric tube is wide enought to fit the bead inside! And the bigger the beads and the more you add the shorter your necklace will be, so make sure it will still fit over your/your kid's head.
 

This project really is sooo quick! I was able to finish one for my daughter as well as one for the party all before preschool ended. And when we got the party EVERYTHING was rainbow! Apparently they're the birthday girl's favorite. How's that for a perfect gift? Sometimes these last second things pay off, although I think I'll try to plan a little bit ahead next time :)






Monday, March 11, 2013

Watercolor Illustration

Aren't little kids just so stinkin' adorable?
All that personality rolled into one pint-sized, chubby-cheeked little package. 


I had been thinking for a while that I needed a way to capture it.
A way to take their favorite things, their cute smiles, their whimsy and pack it all together and keep it forever.


Then Jaime mentioned a while ago that her mom had seen some cute illustrations someone had done of their kids. What a perfects idea! And I thought.... Why couldn't I do that?


I had been dying to paint again and just needed a little push, and since Jaime's idea inspired me I thought I'd illustrate her girls first. (That, and she had 3 adorable little girls. Could there be a cuter subject? Besides my own kids of course.)


First I took a look at some of the pictures of her girls she had up on her blog. Their so cute. Then I picked a setting that I thought they would like. Her girls LOVE the outdoors and go 'exploring' all the time, so I knew it had to be outside. Plus the striped quilts Jaime made for them have cute little bird and tree prints.  Then I tried to capture a little bit of their personalities. Big sister- soooo smart and just can't learn enough fast enough to satisfy. I think she's a little genious. Little sister- good luck keeping up! She's so adventurous and has no fear. Baby- well, she was only a couple weeks old at the time, but I figured just plain sweet would suffice.
 

Then I added some tiny little details and that was it! I love how it turned out!
I think the softness of the watercolor ended up being perfect for a childrens illustration.
So I popped this little 8x10 painting in the mail and sent Jaime and her girls a sweet little surprise.


I had so much fun painting this and have been dying to do it again. My own kids need one, right?
And I was also thinking, maybe your kids need one?
I you'd be interested in having me do an illustration of your adorable kids
 just let me know here. We can talk details and price.
Thanks again to Jaime for the great idea, a little push to get painting, and for taking these photos. You're great!


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