Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Crafts for Kids: Papier-Mache Bowls

I recently bought the book Handmade Home by Amanda Blake Soule. She has some great projects in the book but the one that caught my eye as something that the girls and I could do together was Calvin's Papier-Mache Bowl. We just finished our second set of bowls in two weeks. They are lots of fun to make and they have been keeping us busy. Since you have to wait until they dry between each step (making, priming and painting) we have been spending lots of evenings hanging out and creating together.

Here's what you need to make these bowls:
1. Newspaper cut into strips of about 1" by 6"
2. A bowl for a mold
3. Tin foil to cover the bowl
4. Papier-mache paste. We used Amanda's recipe for homemade paste. All you need to do is put 1/2 cup of flour, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 1/2 cups of water in a saucepan. Cook the mixture on medium heat for about 10 minutes until it thickens. Add one drop of clove oil at the end to prevent the glue from getting moldy. Let it cool and stir before using. Unused glue can be stored in a jar in the fridge for one week.
5. Paint brushes
6. Gesso
7. Acrylic paint

Here's how you make the bowls:
1. Cover the bowl that you are going to use with a piece of tinfoil. Make sure that it's smooth and turn it upside down before you begin.
2. Take some of the glue and spread it on a piece of the newspaper strips with a paint brush then apply it to the bowl.
3. Make sure that you do about 5 layers of paper or else the bowl will not have enough body. It will take anywhere from 12 to 24 hours to dry.
4. When the bowls are dry take the papier-mache bowls off the molds and then peel off the tin foil.

Here's how you paint the bowls:
1. Apply a thin layer of gesso as a base coat and let it dry.
2. Apply a thin layer of acrylic paint and let it dry
3. Apply another layer of acrylic paint and let it dry.

We painted our first set of bowl with washable paint because that was what we had in our house. T actually put some fall leaves on one of her bowls. All we did was Mod Podge them on the bowl and when it was dry added another layer of Mod Podge to it. I think it looks really cute.

Our second set of bowls definitely came out better. We bought acrylic paints at our new neighborhood Michaels (yeah!) and it really made a difference in how the bowls looked (although you can't really tell from these pictures). T ended up randomly applying her paint brush to her bowl after the purple she was applying to the inside of the bowl got on the outside by mistake. I think it came out great. It looks kid of tie dyed. I think that we had a better sense of how to actually apply the papier-mache the second time around so the bowls looked smoother. I am sure that the next time we do it they will come out even better.

Monday, October 19, 2009

My Princess

D is going through a very cute princess phase. Every day she goes to school dressed up. D told me that her scooter is her horse and that's why she likes riding it. I love the picture of her riding side saddle on the mechanical horse in front of a local drug store. Not to long after I took this picture D had a complete meltdown after I told her that I was not going to put anymore quarters in. Before I put the first two quarters in, I made it clear to her that there would not be any more rides after this one. Usually this works and we can peacefully walk away. This time it did not work. I can't even go into all the details of what happened during her meltdown but a few of the highlights were:

-15 minutes of her crying on the horse.

-D running away from me (but thankfully stopping as she rounded the corner).

-Her refusal to ride her scooter home.

-Her complete insistence on me carrying her and her scooter home.

-Me hoping that I would not loose it.

-The red wine I was carrying in my reusable whole foods bag breaking and the ensuing leak that left a giant stain on my skirt.

-People staring at me and my crying child, the dripping wine and the giant stain on my skirt.

-Me throwing my bag out and cutting my thumb on the broken bottle while I was fishing out the deodorant and toothpaste I had just bought.

I could have just put in 2 more quarters and I might have avoided the meltdown but I really felt like I had to stick to my guns. I know that it's important to be consistent (although I have to admit that I am not always). The meltdown was over by the time we got home. It ended as quickly as it begin and my sweet child thankfully reappeared. It's sometimes hard to remember that she will calm down in the middle of a meltdown but one of the best things about being a mother for over 13 years is that I've been through this a million times before and I know how it's going to end.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Crafts: Origami Metro Card Cube

I found this cube tutorial on Instructables when I was looking for decorations for our Sukkah. I must have looked a little crazy picking up used Metro cards in the subway station but I did not have the patience to wait until we had used up 6 of them! It was a lot of fun to make and would be great for a kid (or parent) who is into puzzles.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Apple Spice Cake Recipe (Parve/Dairy Free)

For the past few weeks I have been trying to figure out why I don't like spice cakes. I love cakes and I love spices so why don't I like them when they are together? Yesterday I finally figured out why. It's the cloves that are in almost all spice cake recipes that I don't like. I came up with this combination of spices based on Syrian Jewish cooking. They often use a combination of allspice and cinnamon. I also added some nutmeg and for the first time I found myself enjoying the "spice" in a spice cake.

Nonstick vegetable oil and flour spray (I like spectrum canola oil baking spray with flour because it's all natural)
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups Braeburn apples (I have also used macouns), peeled, cored, coarsely grated. You will need 4 or 5 apples.
1 1/2 cups walnut or canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325F. Spray 12-cup Bundt pan with nonstick spray. Sift flour and next 6 ingredients into medium bowl. Measure 2 cups grated apples.

Using electric mixer (or mix master), beat oil and sugars, in large bowl. Beat in eggs and keep beating for about 3 minutes. Mix in vanilla. Beat in flour mixture. Mix in grated apples. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake cake until tester inserted near center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool in pan for 20 minutes.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Another Mom Blog (Revised)

When I first started blogging on Upper West Side Mom over a year and a half ago, I thought of it as an attachment parenting blog. I assumed that I would write about things like breastfeeding, elimination communication, co-sleeping and other ideas that I believed in and practiced. I did write about these things but as I found my blog voice I began find that the blog was not only about attachment parenting. It was turning in to something different. It is still a parenting blog but it is more personal that I expected.

In a lot of ways my life seems to finally be moving forward. For the first time in ages I feel like I actually have some extra time. My 4 kids are now 13, 9.5, 7 and 4 and there's no one else on the way. Not having a baby means that I have been able to focus on more kid stuff (big and little). I have actually had time to cultivate new interests and friends for both me and the kids. One of the biggest changes is my life is a new found interest in crafts. There are tons of amazing craft blogs out there that have inspired me to learn about crafting. The girls and I have been doing some sewing, paper crafts and beading. I recently finished a 4 week sewing class at Purl Patchwork in Soho (who, by the way, have the most amazing fabric) and as soon as the holidays are over I am going to hopefully get myself a sewing machine. My girls are really excited to learn how to use it. I can't wait to see how this all develops.

I have also been cooking more than ever. Not having a baby or toddler has given me more time to experiment and find new recipes. I am actually surprised to find how many recipes I have posted recently. I have been doing a lot more baking now that I have a little extra time. My desert repertoire was pretty basic. My only requirements were that it was quick and of course tasted good. I am now delving into slightly more difficult recipes. Of course they still need to be somewhat quick and easy 'cause it's not like I have all day to just sit around and bake!

The thing that I am most surprised to have found is how much being Jewish has influenced what I blog about. It makes sense though, after all my husband and I send our kids to Jewish day school, are kosher and we are shomer Shabbat (Sabbath Observant). Through my blog I have discovered how much my Jewishness permeates my life in a mostly postive way!

I don't, however, want this blog to be a Jewish parenting blog that's only for Jews who send their kids to Jewish day school, are kosher and are shomer Shabbat. I am pretty certain that when I am blogging about parenting, cooking or crafting, what I write about is relevant to all kids of people. I am hoping that all kinds of people will read my blog and see how someone who is a little "different" than them lives. Then I want them to realize how much we all have in common.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Our Rainbow Sukkah

Here it is, our rainbow sukkah. We just used the Chinese staircase paper chains and these tissue paper flowers from Origami Mommy. All my girls and our neighbor E helped make the decorations. I essentially ignored my kids all day (Joy was here) but I'm ready for Sukkot. I just want to wish everyone a Chag Sameach (a happy holiday).


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