Monday, 14 April 2014

T-shirt doodles and disappointing snails

For Z1's birthday party, we decided on an art party since she pretty much draws all day long. This also helped to cut the invitation list as she invited only those who she felt would be interested in art. However, as it turns out, when you put 14 children in a room with t-shirts and markers, only about 6 of them want to draw on t-shirts. Those who did were delighted with it but the others mostly ran around noisily. Which was fine. Really.
hedgehog, snail, child's drawings, t-shirts, crafts, fabric markers
Lovely hedgehog, not-so-great snail
This left us with some plain white t-shirts and lots of fabric markers and I got it into my head I would draw a hedgehog on one for Z1. So I did. In my jim jams before getting up one Saturday morning. Sometimes inspiration just strikes. Z1 then added some detail. I am quite happy with the hedgehog t-shirt.
However, Z2 then requested a slug. I can draw quite amiable slugs, though I say so myself and so I started but, for some reason, persuaded Z2 that it should be a snail instead and changed it into a snail. I am not so pleased with him. I can do better. Sigh. We still do have a few spare t-shirts, though so perhaps another day.

See, I can draw nice, amiable snails

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Ladybird, ladybug, coccinelle

In all its glory with apologies for not fully wiping the plate for this picture
Well, I must say that I was quite pleased with the loveliness of this ladybird cake and it was pretty delicious too. I felt the licorice legs I had planned might contaminate too much cake for those who do not like it so I left them out. Six spots for my six-year-old Z1. Hurrah. I have also included a gratuitous shot of how happy Z2 was to bash the piñata. Enjoy!
The party spread (before arrival of pizza)
A VERY happy piñata bashing boy -he had been waiting DAYS for this moment

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Sneak preview of this year's cake with a purpose

Last year, Z1 had a beetle cake. It was quite a chocolatey and wondrous thing. This year will also be chocolatey and wondrous as I mostly believe that cakes should be chocolate. We have decided upon a ladybird and I have planned as you can see in the lovely picture below. The party is on Sunday. Baking shall take place on Saturday. I am quite excited. 
On a side note, I was speaking to a friend here who had a book that talked about a ladybird. She thought it was a rather amusing typo or weird mistake. In Ireland and in England, we call them ladybirds but I do accept that the North American version - ladybug - makes more sense.
cake, ladybug, ladybird, cake decorating


Monday, 10 March 2014

A Winter Tea Party

On discovering that the winter festivals in Quebec and Ottawa were finished and we couldn't go, Z1 was rather upset and I, on the spur of the moment, proposed that we have a winter tea party. I suggested she invite two friends and that we could have cupcakes with blue sprinkles. I sent the invitation emails to the parents before I could back out of it, what with her birthday party coming up and the house never being as organised as I'd like.

baking, cake decorating, sugar, blue
Blue sugar
Glazed, cracked, beautiful
Blue sprinkles seemed hard to come by in my usual range of shops (or at least not in reasonable quantities at a reasonable price) so I Googled and found you can just add blue food dye to sugar. Hurrah. I then went on over to Pinterest and found that you can apparently make "edible glitter" by putting dyed sugar in the oven for 10 minutes. Z1 didn't seem too excited about this but I was. However, it didn't really turn much sparklier than the simple sugar + food dye combination. It did change the colour a little to a more turquoise/greenish hue and it also produced a beautiful glazed, cracked mess on my baking tray.

I baked some cupcakes and the Zeds helped by licking the beaters after I had finished (I know about raw eggs and salmonella - we had a lucky escape this time - one of many, many lucky escapes from the perils of post-cake-mixing  bowl and spoon licking). Some were chocolate, some were vanilla. I wisely decided to start icing them just when the Zeds were due to go to bed. Husband got them up to brush their teeth while I squiggled and swirled. I lovingly took photos knowing that they were to be destroyed decorated by the Zeds in the morning. All in all, it was a success  - I got to try new things like the ribbony icing tip that came in a 4 pack of icing tips and also making blue sugar. Z1 had her friends over and got to run around screaming a bit. I got to have my friend over too (one of the mums stayed  - yay!) and there were even leftover cakes to bring into work on Monday. Maybe next year we'll go to Quebec or Ottawa for the winter festivals but our Winter Tea Party was fine for this year.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Snowy snowy snowy snowy snow

Snow excavation (possibly a dragon)
This has been a winter in which I feel I am earning my Canadian stripes with snow shovelling and lots of cold temperatures and so on. I was feeling guilty at the pristine blanket of snow in our back garden - it seemed terrible not to be making footprints and snowmen and forts in it. So, on Family Day, I insisted that we rectify this. Up - breakfast - snow gear on and out to enjoy the snow or be damned.
Trailing through snow

I had been organised enough to save some washing up liquid bottles to fill with food dye to do painting on the snow. Husband had even got some scientific grade blue stain which seemed potentially unwise but turned out to wash out easily.

The snow was not very sticky so we piled it up and excavated it rather than really building but am pleased to say we disrupted the blanket sufficiently. Ten centimetres of fresh snow are forecast for tonight, though so we may have to do the same again next weekend.
Eating snow
Painting snow

Friday, 14 February 2014

When you think you're ahead of the game but it turns out your're just about hanging in there

Last year, I had hearts of rage even though I generally have a reasonable affection for Valentine's day (but must admit to never having seen the relics of the venerable saint in my town of birth).

This year, I was all prepared with ideas in my head and a saved template on my computer. However, I had the wind taken from my sails by a post on Z1's class blog with the class list and an assurance that writing out each name would be a great writing exercise for the children. My schemes had mainly avoided Z1 having to write out much as I felt it would be tedious. Also, the bookmarks I had planned, glittery hearts with her name on them stuck to a lollipop stick - ta dah - a bookmark - were not conducive to having names written on them. We overcame the latter problem by putting the bookmarks in envelopes and, as for the tediousness, it turns out I had underestimated her tolerance for writing and she completed the task as well as decorating the envelopes with each classmate's favourite colour accompanied by frequent declarations about how awesome it all was.

Z2 helped a bit with glitter painting his hearts but I did most of the work. As for the beautiful bag you see in the righthand panel of the picture, Z1 decorated it but it was chiefly my effort as bedtime was nigh by the time we got 'round to it. Sadly, I was not paying attention to detail and the other side of the bag has an upside down heart. However, on a positive note, it did not fall apart when we were carrying it to school despite the fact that I ran out of sticky tape (Z1 gets through miles of the stuff for her various projects) and had to use a glue stick to put on the ribbon handles and seal up the bottom. Furthermore, it turns out there was a book fair at Z1's school this week making the bookmarks so very appropriate and on theme. I win after all.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Return of the icy marbles

I did these last year. I loved them. I loved them so much I got a canvas of them for the wall.  I was pretty excited to do them again this year so I am not sure why or how we managed to get over halfway through January before doing so. Between this year and last year, I heard of people who found that they didn't work. Perhaps this delayed me - fear of them failing me, disappointing me as I try to find joy in below freezing temperatures.

Last year, I said that I had learned a lesson about water splooshing out after filling the balloons and removing them from the spout of the tap (the faucet, if you wish). I must admit that it turns out it was a short-term lesson and I should have revised this year to avoid the same again. Having said that, I did not need paper towels at any point this year so I have made progress.

The Zeds needed some persuading to actually come with me and place them outside. This is why they are not wearing coats, a fact which was remarked on by Husband and a neighbour. In my defence, they were only out for a few moments and it was only about -5C or so and I thought it would encourage them to come back inside once they had placed them and I didn't want to hang about out there. Also, they didn't wear coats for this last year so let's call it tradition. (It was a positively balmy 13C when we did it last year.)

Instagram, ice, winter, balloonThe big reveal happened the very next day. There was snow falling so I wanted to get to them before they were buried. Also, I am impatient. One broke when I went to check on them the evening before. Still beautiful.

So, without further ado as there has been quite enough ado so far, here they are! Oh, and note how the purple dye, in particular, seems to become encapsulated rather than remaining diffused  - it did that last year too - this is art AND science.

ice, balloons, craft, winter, colour