Thursday, June 30, 2011

Coffee Filter Flowers

I'm in the middle of a great overhaul of reorganizing/redecorating every room in my house.  On a budget.  It started with moving baby girl out of our room and into her own that doubles as the guest room.  But then I couldn't get to my crafting/sewing supplies, because they were in her closet, which has extremely squeaky doors.  So I moved that stuff to the office.  (By which I mean it's in a pile on the office floor until I can get some more shelving and boxes.)  I'm rather overwhelmed by the immensity of the projects I'm taking on, so I decided to do a quick revamp of a tired (and dusty!) flower arrangement in our room.  Nothing like having a couple small accomplishments to give a boost to the ol' motivation.

The old arrangement - please do not look at the large version, the dust is embarrassing.

I came across these pretty poufy flowers made out of coffee filters by Aunt Peaches.  I was immediately intrigued.  I looked, and lo and behold, we had some filters left over from our old coffee maker.  I literally had everything on hand.  I had to try it.  Besides, I'd been looking for suitable teal flowers to put in that vase, and haven't found any.  Perfect solution!

You can make them too!  I used a lot of Aunt Peaches' techniques, but of course, I had to change some of it up.  The possibilities truly are endless with these.  Here's what to do:

  • Coffee filters - you want the round crinkly ones, not the cones
  • Colorant - I used watered down acrylic paint.  Not very happy with it - I think I'd rather use food coloring or easter egg dye.
  • Plastic straws
  • Masking tape
  • Scissors
  • Floral tape (optional - I ended up not using it)
supplies, and my huge assortment of colored filters.

First you need to dye the filters.  I'm sure I took pictures of me doing it, but I think I erased them, because I can't find them.  Sorry!  Mostly you wad up some filters in either watered down paint, or food coloring, or egg dye.  Then squeeze out the excess liquid, and hang them to dry.  This is messy - you should probably do it outside, or with a lot of drop cloths.  And maybe wear gloves.

Once your filters are dry, wahoo!  It's time to make some flowers!

For a spiky Spider Mum look-a-like:

Fold your filter in half, in half again, and in half again.  Cut down the rounded edge in skinny Vs to make a bunch of points (feels a little like making snowflakes!).  Cut a teeny tiny bit of the point off to make a hole in the center.  Do this to several - you'll need about four or so per flower.

Do yourself a favor and tear off a few strips of masking tape - about two inches each.  Take your first spiky filter and fold it up and twist the end, as shown.  This is the center of your flower.  Place it on a strip of masking tape, leaving an end to wrap around your straw, and wrap it around the straw, securing it in place.

Then thread your straw through the hole in the next filter, pinch it together at the base, and tape it to the straw.  Repeat until you feel your flower is full enough.

For something a little more rose-like:

Fold a filter in half and in half and in half again.  This time, cut a little scallop about halfway up.  Cut the ring open.

Try to keep pudgy little fingers off your filters.

Crinkle the small center, and twist the bottom, place on your masking tape.  Then take the cut outer edge, and finger pleat it along the tape.  This does not in any way need to be perfect, and in fact, is better if you don't think too hard about it.

Keep going until you run out, or your flower is poufy enough.

For an even smoother look:

No trimming!  These ones became my favorite to make, though I really like the look of the spider mums too.  Made similar to the spider mum, but without the cutting of spiky edges.  Fold one filter in half, in half, and in half again (get the idea yet?).  Then, you guessed it - crinkle it up and put it on your tape, then on your straw.  Cut a tiny hole in the middle of the next, and add it to the tape/straw party.  Keep going until you're done.

For a super simple bouquet, you can take the heads off a cheap dollar store silk flower bunch and slide the straws right on.  If they are visible, you can wrap the straws in floral tape to make them green.  Put them in a vase, and done!  Look at you go, you crafty flower-maker, you.

Now I have to go revamp all of my silk arrangements...

Hey, if you like it, leave a comment and let me know!  If you make some, tell me how it went.  And share with your friends.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

World's Greatest Roasted Salsa

try not to drool on your keyboard.
Not even kidding.  I wish like crazy that I had invented this recipe, but alas, I did not.  I found the recipe  here at One Particular Kitchen.  She (and apparently the cousin) are geniuses.  I have made two gigantic batches in the last two weeks, and it gets raves - and is promptly devoured.

 A few things:  

I make it with about half the recommended serrano chiles.  It is spicy, but not blow-your-head-off spicy.

I roast my garlic nearly whole - take a garlic head, cut off the pointy part so the cloves are exposed, wrap it in tinfoil, and roast with everything else.  Then just squeeze or spoon out the cloves. 

It would be fun to roast some red peppers to add too - next batch.

If you don't like cilantro, seriously reduce it.  I happen to freaking LOVE cilantro, so I add a ton.

Some people add lime juice.

Did I mention this is FAST?  Minimal cutting, then just wait about 40 minutes for everything to roast (go make a margarita!), then blend it up!  And by the way, it is most delicious while still hot.

This salsa is so good, I found myself actually considering eating only it for lunch - so I added chips and called it good.  And barely remembered to take pictures before it was gone..

Make it, and tell me what you do to change it up!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Yard Blanket

Summer is upon us, and finally some nice weather!  With that comes plenty of outside time, especially with the kids.  We love backyard picnics, but I'm hesitant to take those beautiful quilts my grandma made out onto the grass - especially park grass which seems to be perpetually wet.

The solution:  a quick-and-easy-to-make blanket that is waterproof on one side! 

I found a couple of vinyl tablecloths on clearance at Walmart recently (I paid $1.50 each).  You know those ones with the nasty flannel back that snags on everything and acts like the Halloween cobweb stuff?  Yeah, those ones.  Why not cover that nasty stuff with nice fabric?  I bought the 52x70 inch oblong size, figuring that should work, and would take no more than two yards of fabric.

You can make one too!  Pick your size of tablecloth - the square ones would be nice to.  Here's what you need:

one or two flannel back vinyl tablecloths (two if you just want to sew them together)
yardage of a coordinating fabric (or not, see above)
thread, sewing machine, scissors, etc.
about 20 minutes if you don't stop to take pictures

polka dot vinyl tablecloth, blue fern type print cotton quilter's fabric

I raided my fabric stash (JoAnn Fabrics was closing a couple of their stores a few years ago and I scored a ton of yardage) and came up with two yards of a semi-coordinating fabric for the blue polka dot tablecloth. 

Lay the vinyl tablecloth flannel side up, and lay your coordinating fabric on top, right side up.  You're making a fabric sandwich, and hiding all the insides.

yes, I know these are not wrong sides together.  This shot is the only one I took pre-sewing

Trim your fabrics.  I trimmed mine so that there was about 2 inches extra vinyl around my other fabric.

You can do your edges however you want, but I just folded my vinyl cloth in to meet the contrast fabric, and then again to hide the raw edges.  Sew.  I didn't bother to pin, as the flannel seemed to hold my other fabric in place - bonus!

You're done!  Take it outside and give it a test drive.

it helps to have cute models, even if I couldn't get the light adjustments right on the camera

Feel free to comment, question, and give feedback.  If you make one, I'd love to hear how it went, and to see a picture!