Friday, August 15, 2014

Is this pear ripe yet?



Did you know that pears ripen the best when are off the tree?  If they ripen on the tree they get mushy in the center by the time they are ripe enough to eat!  So that is why that pear you just bought is hard and doesn’t seem ready to eat at all!  That is because it isn’t. And it has nothing to do with keeping them unripe while they make their journey to your grocery store. 

So what do you do to ripen your pears perfectly?  First of all if your pick your pears right off your tree (Like I did) you must chill it in the refrigerator first.  For Bartlett a day or two will suffice.  Bosc and Anjou need longer periods of chilling. Grocery store pears have already had their chilling period.  After they chill out Bartlett pears will need 4-5 days to ripen at between 65-75 degrees and up to two weeks for Bosc and Anjou. I do it on my kitchen counter.  The ethylene gas they produce speeds up the ripening.  You can speed up this process even more by putting your pears in a paper bag with another ethylene producing fruit such as bananas or apples, which will concentrate this ripening hormone.

So how do you tell when your pears are ready?  You simply hold the pear in the palm of your hand and push slightly at the stem end of the fruit.  If it gives evenly, it’s ready to eat.  If you have to push harder than slightly, you must wait a bit longer to enjoy it’s juicy goodness.




Thursday, August 14, 2014

Fun foam flowerpot person



This project is a great kid's camp craft with some adult help when using the hot glue.  Just add a hanging flower or plant and you've given your flowerpot person some hair and he will never have a bad hair day! It’s quick, it’s easy and its super fun. Add a quick and easy Bowdabra bow to finish.  If you use a bigger pot you can make a bigger bow and glue it to the bottom for a bow tie.






You will need:

Fun foam red, peach or pink, black and white

1-inch diameter wiggle eyes

Pattern pieces traced on cardboard

Plastic flowerpot in desired size

Ruler

Scissors (pointed)

Pencil

Hot glue gun and glue sticks

Bamboo barbeque skewer or butter knife

Bowdabra mini bowmaker with ruler

Bowdabra bow wire

Small rhinestone

1.     Download full sized pattern.  Trace onto some thin cardboard to use as a guide. Trace and cut out two eyes from white fun foam, a mouth from red foam and a nose from peach or pink fun foam. (See photo)  Cut out the center area of the mouth with pointed scissors.  Fold the nose foam piece in half lengthwise  pressing with your fingers to make a small peak down the center.  Fold the nostrils inward on each side. (This is where you will glue the nose onto the pot and the fold line down the center will make it somewhat dimensional.






2.     Cut a 1 ½” x 1 ½” piece of black fun foam.  Make little cut lines across. (Eyelashes)


3.     Using the hot glue gun attach one nostril side to the center of the pot.  Push the opposite side towards the first one to make it dimensional and add another bit of hot glue to attach to the pot.


4.     Arch the cut eyelash pieces and make a guide line with a pencil on each side of the nose. Attach with some hot glue. (Be careful when working with hot glue. Sometimes it is helpful to use a barbecue skewer or butter knife to hold the piece down till the glue sets)



5.     Add some more hot glue on the bottom and under the eyelashes and attach the whites of the eyes. 


6.     Finish the face by adding some wiggle eyes in the center of the whites of the eyes and attaching the mouth under the nose.


7.     Make the bow.  Cut a 12-inch piece of Bowdabra bow wire.  Fold in half and insert in the mini Bowdabra bow maker with ruler.  You will have a loop on one end and two-pieces of wire on the other.


8.     Using a piece of ½” or 1” wide gingham ribbon, insert in the Bowmaker to the two inch line. 


9.     Make a loop to the one-inch line on the other side.


10.  Make a matching loop on the opposite side and end with a tail at the two-inch line.


11.  Use the Bowdabra wand to scrunch down the bow.  Insert the two wire ends through the loop end and pull tight.  Make a knot in the back.


12.  Fold the ribbon in half and cut with scissors to make two points on the tail ends.  Use the hot glue gun to attach rhinestone in the center and attach to the top of the pot.  Add a plant such as a spider plant or other falling leaf plant to the pot for the hair.





Friday, August 8, 2014

Porcupine ornament tutorial kid's craft



Summer is a good time to start crafting ornaments.  You can hang this little porcupine on the tree or eliminate the cord hanger and set him just about anywhere. Very few and inexpensive supplies make this little guy a great group project for churches, girl scouts and more.  Up next... Turtle of course


Porcupine ornament

You will need:

6 Inches gold wire (optional)

3-inch foam ball (76mm) You can use white but I chose the green ones because I had them on hand

6 ml wiggle eyes

large brown chenille stems

Twigs

Wire cutters

Brown pony bead

Brown fun foam

Scissors

Waxed paper to cover work surface while painting

Tacky craft glue

Brown acrylic paint

Small paintbrush

Ruler

Scrap of tan felt

Rubber band

Serrated steak knife

1.     Using the serrated knife carefully cut the foam ball in half.  Rub them together to sand off any rough places.


2.     Place the foam ball half on waxed paper and brush some brown acrylic paint over the entire surface and let dry.


3.     Download the foot pattern and trace onto lightweight cardboard.  Use it to cut out four feet from the fun foam.



4.     Bend a large chenille stem around the arch of the foam half, leaving about an inch or so overlap.  Cut it to fit. (See photo)  Repeat with a second piece of chenille stem so that you have two molded to the foam side by side.  Dab a bit of glue on the two overlapped ends and thread on a pony bead. (Nose) Add a generous amount of glue on the curve of the foam half and attach the two chenille stem pieces.  Secure with a rubber band till the glue sets. (See photo)


5.     Cut several one-inch pieces of tiny twigs with wire cutters.  Add a dot of glue on the ends and insert randomly in the foam back. (quills) Let dry. 




6.     Turn over and work on the bottom. Trace around the foam ball onto a piece of scrap tan felt and cut out.  Using the tacky glue attach fun foam feet around.  Add some more glue and attach a loop of gold cord (optional) Add a generous amount of glue and attach the tan felt circle to cover.  (See photo)  Let dry.





7.     Add wiggle eyes to the front above the nose with some tacky glue.



Note:  Use only tacky glue and brush on acrylic paint.  Some glues and spray paints will eat through the foam.  




Sunday, August 3, 2014

Honey badger ornament



Summer is best time to start crafting ornaments.  You can hang this little honey badger on the tree or eliminate the cord hanger and set him just about anywhere, honey badger don't care. (I couldn't resist) This is one of several woodland animal ornament tutorials that I will be posting in upcoming days.



You will need:

6 Inches gold wire (optional for hanging)

3-inch foam ball (76mm) You can use white but I chose the green ones because I had them on hand

6 ml wiggle eyes

White bump chenille stems

Black pony bead

Black fun foam

Scissors

Waxed paper to cover work surface while painting

Tacky craft glue

Black acrylic paint

Small paintbrush

Ruler

Black felt

Rubber band

Serrated steak knife

1.     Using the serrated knife carefully cut the foam ball in half.  Rub the two halves together to sand off any rough places.


2.     Place the foam ball half on waxed paper and brush some black acrylic paint over the entire surface and let dry.



3.     Download the foot pattern and trace onto lightweight cardboard.  Use it to cut out four feet from the fun foam.


4.     Cut three equal sections of the bump chenille stem.  (See photo)  Dab a bit of glue on three ends together and thread on a pony bead. (Nose) Add some more glue on the other ends and the foam ball. Insert all three ends into the foam on the other side up and over the back bending to fit the curve. Place a rubber band all around to hold till the glue sets. (See photo)








5.     Cut three more sections of bump chenille like you did before.  Twist three of these sections together. (Tail) Insert the three open ends meeting the ones you previously inserted adding glue on the back and bending to fit the curve around.  Bend the tail upward a bit. Wrap a rubber band around the entire piece to hold in place till the glue dries. Let the glue dry completely.




6.     Turn over and work on the bottom.  Trace around the foam ball onto a piece of scrap black felt and cut out.  Using the tacky glue attach fun foam feet all around.  Add some more glue and attach a loop of gold cord (optional) and the black felt circle to cover it all. (See photo)  Let dry.




7.     Add wiggle eyes to the front above the nose with some tacky glue.



Note:  It is important the you use only tacky glue and brush on acrylic paint for this project as some glues and spray paints will eat through the foam.