Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Crafting with Kids: Leaf Rubbings

We dodged a bullet and didn't loose power during hurricane Sandy! I hope all of you fellow east-coasters stayed dry and safe and get power restored soon! 

Moussia and Yosef love crafting and now that they no longer nap, the afternoons are really long! So, last Friday we made leaf rubbings with crayons, paper and leaves we gathered from the park.

Making these are easy: just lay the leaf face down on the table so the spine is facing up. Cover the leaf with a sheet of paper and rub it with a crayon that has the paper peeled off.

Moussia wanted to put them to good use so we cut napkin rings out of cardboard paper towel tubes and glued the paper leaves to the ring.

She was very excited to set the table for Shabbat with her creations!
I love this craft because:
1. there was nothing to buy
2. it got the kids outdoors collecting leaves 
3. they used them at the dinner table and showed off their handi-work to the guests!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Gluten-Free Breakfast Cookies

I bought the ingredients for these cookies a few weeks ago but I've just been too busy (and lazy) to make them. Now that Hurricane Sandy is headed our way I got moving in the kitchen since we might not have power for a while. (Last October we had a freak snowstorm and lost power for TEN days!)

These are perfect for a "power outage" breakfast since there's no need for a toaster!

Gluten-Free Breakfast Cookies
Makes 8 large cookies

1/2 of a mashed banana
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup gluten-free rolled oats (or regular if you're not gluten-free)
1/4 cup gluten-free King Arthur flour (regular or whole wheat if you're not gluten-free)
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup Spiru-tein powder
3 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 359 degrees. Lightly spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray, or cover with parchment paper.
2. In a bowl, stir together the banana, peanut butter, honey and vanilla.
3. Next add the oats, flour, ground flax seed, Spiru-tein, cinnamon and baking soda.
4. Stir in the dried cranberries or raisins.
5. Using a 1/4 measuring cup, drop mounds of dough on prepared sheet. Flatten each one to a 2 1/2 inch round.
6. Bake for about 15 minutes or until browned.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Scrapbook Paper Dreidels

I'm been working all week on the Chanukah feature I told you about and as part of the decor I am using beautiful decorative paper dreidels made out of scrapbook paper heaped in a basket. Actually, Chanukah is only five weeks away so it's really not too early to start a project like this!

I've been making these paper dreidels for years--what I love about them is how versatile they are. I've hung them from doorways, strung them in a garland from my mantel and used them as favor boxes at Chanukah dinners. 
I did not add the hebrew letters to these since they are only decorative and I wanted to emphasize the pretty papers.

 Here is a template if you'd like to make paper dreidels for your Chanukah celebration.

Linked to:
The Shabby Nest 
Serenity Now 
Centsational Girl
Southern Hospitality 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Plain into Fancy Glasses

Here's an easy way to turn ordinary plain drinking glasses into something much more festive for the holidays.
Mine will be used for Chanukah--I looked for tiny Star of David or dreidel stickers but since it's only October, I couldn't find any so I settled on dot stickers instead. Any shape of sticker can be used...snowflakes would be perfect for winter or leaves for Thanksgiving.
The process is simple. Place your stickers where you'd like the shapes to appear on the glass. (I painted only the bottom fourth of the glass). I found it helpful to wear a plastic bag on my hand when spraying. Not only did this keep my hand clean but it protected the rest of the glass from being sprayed. Carefully peel the stickers off the glass--an exacto knife worked well, just be careful not to scratch the paint. 

I like the look of gold but any color can be used. How about pink for a girl's birthday party, or black for a chic anniversary party with "letter" stickers spelling out the couple's names? 

Linked to:
Domestically Speaking

Monday, October 22, 2012

Embellishing Plain Napkins

I know it's only October but I'm working on a Chanukah table feature for a major website! More on that later. 

I wanted to transform these plain cotton napkins into something special for Chanukah. Taking the idea of the number of nights we light the menorah (eight nights) I embellished my napkins with the numbers one through eight.

It was an easy process...
I printed out the numbers from my computer (I love the numerals in the font "Engravers") and bought some Tulip brand dimensional fabric paint in gold. Using carbon paper, I traced the number onto the fabric and filled it in using the thin tip. A paint brush was handy for getting into little areas that needed smoothing.

This idea can be done with any sort of design. Using inexpensive napkins (I found mine at a discount store for 50 cents each) you can write your guest's name, add a flourish, or a simple graphic pattern--the possibilities are endless!
Linked to:

Friday, October 19, 2012

Canvas Drop Cloths: Not Just for Painting!

If you think paint drop cloth's are just for protecting floors from paint splatters, think again! This canvas fabric has the look of raw linen and is very inexpensive--a 9-by-12-foot cloth ranges from $15 for a 6-ounce canvas to about $30 for a 12-ounce canvas.

Here are just a few ways to use drop cloths in home decor...
I have a headboard project coming up and this drop cloth headboard from tenth avenue south looks like it came from Pottery Barn! I don't like fussy bed skirts and this clean lined bed skirt from Besotted Brand is perfect. Love the contrast of the plain canvas fabric with pretty ruffles on this pillow from Ink Blots and Polka Dots.

Yellow Brick Home painted stripes on a drop cloth to create a summery tablecloth for dining on the patio.

Think these roman blinds from Simple Vintage Charm are raw linen? Guess again--drop cloths! These outdoor curtains from Our Home Away from Home are a lot what I plan on doing for my new sukkah next year. This "after" slipped covered ottoman from Annabellea looks so much better with a custom drop cloth cover. 

 How cute is this tent from Lowe's Creative Ideas? They show you how to make it here.

Having a crowd for dinner? Whip up these elegant drop cloth place mats from sas interiors for pennies!

So, next time you're at the home improvement store pick up some drop cloths and see what you can do!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Autumn in Connecticut

This week was the height of autumn--my favorite season.

Moussia and Yosef were visiting for a few days so we took advantage of the beautiful crisp days and spent most of the afternoons outdoors.

Moussia practiced her scooter skills, we collected pine cones and leaves in a bucket...

 saw clusters of berries on trees during our walk and Yosef helped rake the yard. 

I wish this beautiful season wasn't so short!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cauliflower and Leek Soup

The weather in Connecticut turned cold and rainy last week--I think we had more wet days in the sukkah than dry ones! But the good thing about cold weather are wonderful soups. Here is a recipe I've made over and over--you can make it meat (using chicken broth), parve (I like to use the Imagine No-Chicken broth) or dairy by adding a touch of milk. Anyway you make it you'll get rave reviews.
Cauliflower and Leek Soup
Recipe from the Food Network   Serves 4

1 teaspoon canola oil
1 teaspoon unsalted butter or margarine
2 leeks, white parts only, well-washed and chopped
1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
1 medium all-purpose potato, cubed
6 cups chicken stock
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup milk (or soy milk)
4 leaves chopped parsley or chives

Combine the oil and butter in a large saucepan. Warm over medium-low heat. Add the leeks and stir frequently. Allow them to cook slowly for 10 minutes. Do not brown.

Stir in the cauliflower, potatoes and stock. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are very tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Transfer to a blender or a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process until smooth. Transfer to a clean saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, taste and adjust the seasoning. If the soup is too thick, thin with the milk.

Pour into warm bowls and sprinkle with parsley or chives.

Linked to:
Centsational Girl

Friday, October 12, 2012

Baby Book for Zelda

Baby Zelda is three months old and still does not have a baby book...until now. I decided to surprise the family and put together a book myself, instead of buying the pre-printed, off-the-shelf variety.

I started with this blank book made by Kolo. The quality is amazing and coincidentally they happen to be located right here in Connecticut.
I had help from two great sources: PicMonkey, a free on-line photo editing program, and Motophoto.

I used an image of a baby blanket for the background and typed the words over that using PicMonkey.
Scrap-book paper gives the page a bit more color and interest.

Next it was just a matter of creating a collage in PicMonkey and sending the photos to MotoPhoto.
It's fun that the program allows you to "write" on the photos.

You may remember Zelda's birth announcement that I blogged about back in August--had to include that in her book!

I left lots of pages blank so they can add more photos and keepsakes from her first year.
Like her big sister and brother, she'll love looking through her book when she's older!

Linked to:
Six Sister's Stuff

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Got Etrogs?

The high holidays are over and the Sukkah is taken down and stored for next year. Before you toss your beautiful etrog, (you probably paid at least $30 for it!) here are five great ideas how to reuse it.


1. Pomander
Pierce the skin of the etrog using a wood skewer, then stick a clove into each hole. Wrap in tulle fabric and tie with a ribbon for a beautiful besamin to use for Havdalah--like shown here from my book Jewish Holiday Style.

2. Etrog Jam
From Harvey Pearlman, The KITCHENer Rebbe
Soak the etrog for 1 week in water, changing the water daily.
Slice unpeeled etrog very thinly, and remove seeds.
Boil in water, change water, and repeat twice more.

4 cups quince apples peeled and cut up
1 lemon thinly sliced
2 lbs sugar
water just enough to cover fruit
optionally add 5 or 6 whole cloves

Cook for about 2 hours until it becomes a clear syrup.

Store in a covered jar for a few weeks.

As an added bonus, you can let it "jellify" (or age) until Tu B'shvat, where it becomes an unusual fruit marmalade to celebrate with.

3. Etrog Cake
Joy of Kosher gives this recipe for an Etrog Cake.

  • cooking spray
  • 1 etrog
  • 1 lime
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 3 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup plus 1 tbsp. orange juice
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
1 Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray and dust with flour.
 Zest the etrog peel into a bowl (optional), add the lime juice, lemon juice and juice from the etrog. Reserve 1 tbsp. of juice mix for glaze.
 Sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Cream the margarine and sugar until fluffy. Add the citrus mixture and blend.
 Add the eggs and beat well. Alternate adding half of the flour mixture with the cup of orange juice, beating well after each addition.
 Pour into bundt pan and bake for 45 minutes.
 Stir 1 tbsp. juice mixture with confectioners sugar, 1 tbsp. orange juice and vanilla. Drizzle glaze on top of cake or sprinkle with powdered sugar.

4. Etrog flavored Vodka
  • Up to 3 Etrogs (citrus)
  • 3 cups Vodka
  • 1.5 cups superfine sugar
Rinse the Etrogs well, and peel the thick yellow skin. Place the peels in a 4-cup container, and add 2 cups of vodka. Store for a minimum of 48 hours in a cool, dark place. Remove the peels from the vodka. Add all the sugar and stir until the liquid is clear. Add the remaining cup of vodka and stir until the mixture is clear. Seal the top and keep it in a cool place for about 6 weeks. 
The schnapps will have a distinctive citrus aroma, and a delicate and sweet flavor--a wonderful addition to any occasion.
5. Etrog Tree                                                                                                    PHOTO: THE GREEN PROPHET
Here's a fun idea you can do with the children--try growing your own etrog tree from seed. Remove the seeds from your etrog, wash them, and plant them in a well-drained potting mix. Keep the plants warm and moist, and re-pot when necessary. In about four or five  years you may have your own home-grown etrog to use on Sukkot!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

It's All in the Details:Ribbon Trim

Sometimes it's the details that really make the difference. Like this grosgrain ribbon I added to plain pillowcases--it makes it look so much more custom!

All it took was some ribbon and Heat and Bond...
and after ironing, I ran the ribbon through the sewing machine to be sure it will hold up in the washer and dryer.

For the rest of the bedroom, I ordered this striped duvet cover on sale from West Elm last spring (it's no longer available)...
and this bed frame from Cymax. I plan on making this beautiful headboard from West Elm myself. It retails for $499 but I hope I can make one for under $100. Wish me luck!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Bargain Shopping

I love to shop and I love a bargain. (It's in my genes!) Here are a few things that I came home with recently.

These Carden slippers from Target are so comfy and cute, I bought two pair--one for me and one for Ariel. As if the original price of $17.99 wasn't low enough they're now on sale for $12.00!

We had a quick trip to New York last month and I managed to squeeze in a visit to one of my favorite stores, Muji. I couldn't resist this cutlery for Moussia and Yosef because it's the perfect size for them...smaller than adult flatware but larger than their little baby spoons and forks.

I love stripes--they're everywhere this fall and for $7.00 on sale, you can't go wrong with a black and white cotton sweater from H&M.

Moussia's feet grew THREE sizes over the summer! I found these Polka Dot Mary Janes at Kohl's on sale for $17.99.

You may remember the post I did back in April on beautiful packaging.  When I saw that Trader Joe's recently redesigned their hand soap ($3.49) I was so happy--the new bottle looks so much better in the bathroom!

I always find great bargains at the Gap. They often have sales of 35% or even 40% off and their children's clothing is too cute to resist. I picked up these cotton long sleeve shirts for Yosef for only $12.95.
Shopping anyone?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Felt Torahs for Children

Simchat Torah is coming up next Monday--it will end the holiday of Sukkot and the month long high holiday season.  It's a joyous day with lots of singing and dancing and children especially love to join in the celebration. Here is how to make their very own toy Torah they can carry during the festive day.

I started with very simple materials. The cardboard tube inserts from paper towels make up the Torah scrolls. The rest are things I found at the craft store--colored felt, wood dowels and wood balls.

I found the crown clip art online. It can be printed and blown up to any size you wish.
I cut all my shapes out of felt using very sharp scissors and glued the "end caps" with a glue gun.

After gluing all the felt into place...
I painted the wood balls and dowels with acrylic paint. Then I stuffed plastic wrap inside the cardboard tubes to keep the dowels in place.
Chag Sameach!

Linked to:
creative jewish mom

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