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Crayons

I made some crayons the other day for a birthday party. I used this silicon baking tray, which we won in a raffle and heated them at a low temperature (200ish) in the oven until they melted. The crayons turned out really well, especially the ones with bits of similarly colored crayon. I wish I had taken a picture of the finished gift but I was frantically running around trying to get out the door to the birthday party and it completely slipped my mind. We gave a little sketchbook and a rainbow selection (six crayons) tied up with a little piece of pretty paper and ribbon. I think it looked nice, but I should have included a more descriptive message in the card because the recipient’s mom was entirely sure what to do with them! Note taken.

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Shortly after posting about my love affair with rhubarb, I came across this recipe for rhubarb soda. Of course, I had to try it. It is fantastic for several reasons:
1) the blog intercultura y cocina (which is quite lovely) is written in Spanish — so I learned a few new words while trying out the recipe. For example, ruibarbo = rhubarb, a cognate for sure but probably not exactly what I would have guessed if I had tried to imagine the word on my own.

Rhubarb Syrup

2) the finished rhubarb syrup that the recipe creates, can be used for many different types of beverages (and probably other things too). I tried out the soda using 1 part syrup to 4 parts Perrier sparkling water. It was pretty good. I also tried rhubarb lemonade using approximately 5 parts lemonade (we have the frozen Minute Maid kind that you mix with water) to 1 part syrup. This was REALLY good. I added a few frozen strawberries and it made a wonderful pink lemonade.

Rhubarb Lemonade

3) it is another way to use rhubarb before we get out of season!

Rhubarb Lemonade

Anyway, I’ll post some non-rhubarb things soon — either that or I’ll just change this blog to rhubarb only blog.

I love rhubarb.  Some people put on weight during the holiday season, I put on weight during rhubarb season.  I just can help myself from buying bunches of it at the farmer’s market.  Once I have it, I can’t help but make pies.  The problem is, I am the only one in the house who really enjoys rhubarb + anything pies, and I always end up eating the entire thing in just a couple of sittings.  So, in an attempt to maintain control, I froze a bunch of chopped rhubarb so that I can space out the pies a bit.  However, I did make the mistake of trying some strawberry rhubarb preserves using this recipe with slightly less sugar.

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam and Fresh Bread

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam and Fresh Bread

Paired with butter and homemade bread (with this recipe, substituting honey for sugar) — I’m in trouble again.  And, I haven’t even attempted my mother-in-law’s amazing rhubarb custard dessert, because I know that would be too much for me to resist.

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam and Fresh Bread

New Sewing Machine

I just couldn’t resist this amazing sewing machine for the kids from Etsy seller Wood Clinic. Oh, it is beautiful and works really well on a chair next to my own sewing machine or on the table in the living room.  There is a little wheel on the side you can turn to make the “needle” go up and down.  Good fun, I tell you.  Eleanor has already “sewn” several dresses and, in the process, totally disassembled the spool and thread (yarn) with which it came. I can’t stop her though, she is creating!

Papier Mache

The kids tried papier mache for the first time — about two months ago now (!) — and they really enjoyed it.  Frankly, I was amazed at how good both of them were at understanding how to add layers of paper and also managing the glop.  We didn’t make anything specific, just practiced the technique of dipping newspaper strips, squeezing off the excess glue, and applying the paper to a base (in this case egg cartons).  

Papier Mache

We were practicing for a toddler/preschooler art group that we did with some friends (more to come on that once I get my act together) but I think the practice ended up working better than the actual class.  I added some purple liquid watercolor to the glue to see if it would show up as they added layers, but it didn’t really do much.  Maybe tempera would have been more effective — we’ll have to try it next time.  I can’t find the exact recipe I used for the project but there are plenty online if you search for papier mache (or paper mache).   We ripped the strips small so that their little hands could easily manage the process. I did cook the glue though, which isn’t entirely necessary but apparently makes the end product stronger.  I also read that a recipe with a bit of salt prevents the papier mache from molding — good hint for anyone living in a humid area. Good messy fun.

Papier Mache

I made this baby blanket ages ago for dear sweet Charlie but then forgot to photograph it before giving it to him.  I did manage to take a picture of the fabrics before putting it together though.

Fabric for Baby Blanket

Then, a few weeks back I had the opportunity to watch him for a few hours. He came with blanket in tow [big smile], so I took the opportunity to get a couple of shots of the blanket in action. It is similar to the blanket I made for another friend, but I didn’t know if Charlie was going to be a boy or a girl, so I tried to stay gender neutral. The front is pieced from long strips of the green flannels and attached to the flannel backing with no batting. It makes sort of a nice swaddling sheet, bigger than most blankies you get at the store and warm enough but not too hot as the weather turns summery.

Blanket

And, Charlie is such a cutie, I’m happy to see him enjoying the blankie.

Blanket