PDP Exclusives by Rebecca

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wenchkin's Gingerbread House Decorating Tips.





Today I am simply going to go over decorating tips, not how to make your house or recipes, but more how to have your house not fall apart and cut the frustration in half. In many discussions I learned most people tried it once and had bad results so never went back. I am here to show you that I am not a cake decorator, my house is messy at best but all the stuff is stuck to it and it is standing.
I am starting with a cheap ten buck kit, the kind you can find at any grocery store, I got this one at the dollar store, a box of nilla wafers for the roof (not needed) some pseudo rope style licorice and some fruit stripe gum. Last two items also not needed but I stylistically like them building wise. Scissors and I also use tape and a board later not shown here.



Opening the kit it comes with walls, frosting and candy. Thankfully the tray has built in cups to dump the candy into. When I was a kid and we did this at home with my mom she always broke out a muffin pan for us to dump and sort candy into. I also start by laying down a towel since icing is sticky and later turns to glue.



So the first thing I am going to tell you is that for your own sanity the best way to decorate a gingerbread house is to do it backwards. I do not assemble mine until most of my decorating is finished.
Why? I learned awhile ago to quit fighting gravity, gravity will win. I have glued candy to things to watch it slide down the side of my house countless times so I build each panel laying flat first and let them dry way before I assemble the thing.
So I am starting with my cookie roof, bad of icing, cookie, repeat.



then I shift it half a space and continue to shingle it



done, now I set these way out of the way and allow them to fully set while I work on the rest



First I start by readying any candy I want to use, gum will be used for window shutters and doors, rips will be window molding, it all needs to be measured and cut up before I begin just to make the whole process go smoothly



Then I run a bead of icing where I want to stick candy



and stick on candy, I used a bit too much icing but oh well



doors will take two pieces of gum so I line up the fruit stripe pattern then fold off and cut away the excess



then I lined them with a bead if icing for fun and added icing dots for door knobs



Next I take a bunch of these green rips and cut them off at half inch pieces and cut a little fringe into it instead of ripping them all the way apart, I am using these for fake grass



fake grass and flowers, I think I am done playing with the sides so I set everything aside to set for awhile, at least 30 minutes.



I went and made a fresh pot of coffee, got a board and tape and set it all on a solid flat surface. I can leave the house on while it sets once I assemble it out of the range of a gingerbread loving dog.



Now this kit came with a base to assemble the house on to but it looked really flimsy to me hence why I went and got a board and some tape. My mom often would wrap the piece of wood in christmas paper just to jazz it up more but I do not have any so we are going without it. So I cut the base from the rest of the candy cups and tape it to my board base.



The rest of this I try to do as fast as possible, lay all the pieces flat, give them a good bead of icing on bottom and edges. I setup two walls at a time.



Then I tape the thing together but with the sticky side of the tape facing out so it does not pull all of my candy off when I take the tape off later. You might want an extra set of hands to do this. Then I also tension the walls on the inside with a piece of cardboard and set the house aside for another hour. Yes an hour. Why? My cookie roof is heavy, really heavy so the icing has to be fully set before I go anywhere near adding the roof.
Also icing is not like elmer's glue in the fact it does not change color, it will look the same glossy white dry as it does wet and just because the outside of your bead is set does not mean it is just hard coasted on the outside and still soft on the inside so just try not to touch it for at least 30 minutes.



ok roof time. And what you are about to see in the next frame may seem insane but it is actually the smartest thing ever and goes back to where I was in the beginning with the rule, Do Not Fight Gravity. So lay a good bead of icing on the sides of your roof where they are going to hit the walls, on this kit the roof only meets the front and back section.



Now because my house is fully dry I flip it over and position it on top of the section of roof where it needs to go and use the box to support the weight on the side holding it in the correct position.



Then while it is in this position I use an additional bead of icing to kind of caulk all of the edges on the inside. Then as usual in this project, go do something else for 30 minutes.



30 minutes later I run a bead all the way around the final roof panel then set the house down on top of it once again wedging an object under the side to make it lay flat on the roof panel, then once again you wait 30 more minutes



30 minutes later I finally flip it over and addon one last row of cookies to the very top



I then tried and failed at adding icicles to the eves and then called it done






Wenchkin is an amazing artist, specializing in muerto-inspired drawings, and thick black outlines. You can find her on Google+, on Facebook, or you can shop her ArtFire shop! She currently resides in Albuquerque with artist Scott Krichau, and their tripod Jack Russell "P."

Cherry Coke Jello Shots - PERFECT for Holiday Gatherings!

Tis the season to eat, drink, and be merry. This is best done among friends and family, and sometimes holiday gatherings call for special drinks. Today, Jen Ell shows us her special Cherry Coke Jello Shot recipe, which is easy to make, travels well, and will be the hit of any holiday gathering! 

Today I am going to show you how to make my famous Cherry Coke Jello Shots. Every time I make jello shots these babies are the first to go. They are ridiculously  easy. If you can make Jello then you can make these.

Ingredients and Stuff:
- 1 regular box of Cherry Jello 
- 1 cup of coke
- 1 cup of vodka
- Portion cups*
- Small pot
- Measuring cup
- Spoon
- Cookie sheet (optional)



*These are the correct kind: http://www.foodservicedirect.com/product.cfm/p/137975/Dixie-Plastic-Translucent-Souffle-Portion-Cup-5.5-Ounce.htm - You should be able to find them in a party supply store. A sleeve of 500 is generally around $5, but unfortunately my store was out, and the ones in the photo were all they had. They will work in a pinch, but the others are better.

Instructions:

1. Arrange your portion cups on a cookie sheet, or in a large container.


2. Measure and pour the coke into the pot and bring it to a boil. Mix in the Cherry Jello. Once all the powder is dissolved pour in the vodka and stir.

2. Pour part of the mixture into your mixing cup.



3. Pour mixture into portion cups.



**Tip...don't drop your cell phone into the shots like I did here...see all the red. I'm still finding Jello all over my phone 2 weeks later.



4. Put shots into the fridge overnight so the jello can set. I've tried doing them and only allowing about 4 hours for them to set, but I think the vodka slows down the process, so I have found overnight works best.

I have a nifty jello shot carrier, which is actually a Martha Stewart cupcake carrier. I like to think she appreciate the less than conventional use of her product. See...



5. After they've set take them out and enjoy!



Alternatives:
The process for making any other jello shot a basically the same. Simply replace the coke with water, and feel free experiment with other jello flavors and liquors!
Jen Ell is the owner and designer of the apparel and accessories company Jen Ell's Revenge, and also the mastermind behind all of the cute kid's clothing at Ankle Biter Apparel.  Jen Ell lives in Georgia with her new husband, and her fur babies!!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Megan No-Sew Poncho Tutorial

Today's post if a "sewing" tutorial, of sorts. Only it doesn't actually involve sewing. And it was created by our good friend Megan from Newly Wed Newly Bred, who is pretty much one of the funniest, most amazing people on the interwebs. Megan is sort of the Anti-mommy blogger.


A poncho for use in a car seat? Huh? Why, you ask? Well, I'll tell you why! The quickest and easiest explanation is to just watch the video below. 
So. Big coat = bad idea. Enter the car seat poncho! Now, there are plenty of sites that sell fleece ponchos for kids. However, most of them are $35.99 and up. That's not really in my budget right now. My awesome friend Kim found a no-sew tutorial on how to make one yourself, which I was alllll over. Because, I can't sew! Like, at all. So I needed something a monkey could do, and this is it. It's cheap, quick, and easy! I spent about $15 on everything. I'm sure you can get it cheaper, I didn't really shop around or look for coupons. The fleece was 30% off at Hobby Lobby, and that was good enough for me!

Supplies:

2 coordinating fleece fabrics. (I bought a yard of each. I then cut it down to a 36x36 square, so you could get less.)
*
Ribbon for neck. Or you can use a piece of the scrap fleece. I can't cut straight, so I went with a coordinating ribbon. Either works!
*
Sharp scissors.
*
Measuring tape.



I chose a fun robot print fleece, and then a coordinating solid for the back. This poncho is reversible! You could use just one piece of fleece, but two is much warmer.
I laid the fleece out and used my measuring tape to measure a 36" by 36" square. Before I cut the square I tried to match up the fleece pieces as well as I could, so I'd have less trimming later. I also trimmed off the remnant edge, since it was kind of curled up. I trimmed it up as best I could, but it was definitely not perfect. In the end, it doesn't matter though, since it will be fringed. 

Here is the finished square. 

After cutting the square, I folded one corner over to the opposite corner and matched up all the edges. This is when I did a bit more trimming. Again, it doesn't have to be perfect! 

I used my measuring tape to find the middle of the long edge of the triangle. I put a small snip with my scissors there, or you could mark it with a pen or pencil. The center is where the hole for the head will go. I chose to find something round and 3-4" in diameter to use for the cut out. The bowl to my Santa Scentsy warmer happened to fit the bill. I told you, this is a fly by night kind of operation. I won't judge you if the base of your bong happens to be the right size. 

Since the fabric was folded in half, I knew I only needed to trace half the circle. I put the bowl down on the fabric (just half of it!) and traced it with a pen. Because the blue is going to be the "inside" of this poncho, I wasn't too worried about a pen mark. If you have two fun fabrics and you do plan to use both sides, you might want to use chalk. Or, you know, just wash it. That is one step too many for yours truly, though. 

I then cut out where I had traced. Voila. Instant head hole. You want to cut neatly, but exact precision isn't totally necessary. You can't tell when it's being worn.
Now enters the more tedious work. Still easy, just takes a bit of patience! You want to fold the edge of the opening over about 1". I just eyeballed it. This is not exact science! This is no sew for bitches like me-- who can't thread a needle. AKA: ghetto crafting. :)

Once you have the opening folded over about an inch or so, you are going to put in small snips around the perimeter of the opening. At most 1/2". I did mine an inch-ish apart. This is where you are going to weave the ribbon or fleece strip, to keep the pieces of fleece together. Make sure not to cut all the way to the edge. Smaller is better here. I know. Goes against everything we know when it comes to men and things like diamonds. But, just trust me. 
This is how it looks after you have snipped, and woven the ribbon through the openings. As you can see, mine are not all exactly even. Ok, let's be honest. Mine aren't even at all. But you know what? It still works! Please note: You can absolutely take more time with this project and measure things out precisely. That is not at all my bag, and if I tried, I would lose interest 1/3 of the way through. I am an instant gratification girl, and I just want to get it done! Really, it's pretty incredible that I didn't just chuck a piece of fleece at the kid and tell him to cover up.
This is where I kind of forgot to keep taking pictures. However, there is really only one more step, so you aren't missing much. The fringe!!!

I laid out the square again, and began cutting fringe along each edge. I made my fringe about 2" in length. I didn't want to mess with trying to cut the fringe at angles in the corners, so I cut out a 2" square in each corner. It worked perfectly! 

After cutting the fringe (it takes a bit, but it's not too bad), I began tying the fringe together. You can do just a regular square knot. I actually just did a half knot. (For those of you not up on your knot lingo, the first half of tying a shoe lace) Mostly because I'm lazy. I figured I'll see if that works, and if they start coming undone, then I'll go back and do the square knot. Now the poncho is woven together at the neck, and tied together around the bottom edges! 

Something to note: The 3" opening for the head and neck looked really small. It is NOT small. In fact, I could have done it smaller. Fleece stretches quite a bit, so there is plenty of give. I actually tightened up the neck some when I tied the ribbon after putting it on. And Carson does not have a tiny head.

And there you have it! Cheap, simple and easy! From start to finish it took me an hour to an hour and a half. And as you can see from the pictures, exact measurements truly don't matter in the end. There is nothing wrong with doing them, but if you are like me and want it done quickly, you can wing it and still get a great result! I'm going to test this out in the car tomorrow!
Modeling his "yo-bit" (that's robot, for those who aren't fluent in Carson-ese) poncho! To use in the car, you can either put it on before getting in the car/car seat and lift up the poncho to buckle them, or buckle them in, and slip on the poncho after. 

PLEASE NOTE: The poncho should NOT go behind your child's back while in the car seat. Just drape it up on the back of the seat. Since their back is against the car seat, they will be plenty warm. 


 Megan resides in Omaha with her husband, and kiddo Carson. Her blog, Newly Wed, Newly Bred is a very popular mommy blog, which goes against the grain with lots of humor, and a little sprinkling of mommy madness. You can also find Megan over on Facebook.






Monday, November 28, 2011

The Drunken Protein Treatment



It's no secret. I process my hair... a lot (and boy do I love product)! This hair mask has been one of my "holy grails" when it comes to keeping my naturally coarse and overly-dyed hair soft, vibrant, shiny and breakage-free. It's super moisturizing and works wonders in the cold winter months when our tresses take a beating from the weather. Even if you don't "play" with your hair as much as I do, this mask is great to use once a month just to pop some life back into your damaged locks!

Avocado and banana are both full of nutrients and are great for reviving dry, damaged hair. Both are rich with proteins and vitamins which help hair regain its nutrition, elasticity, shine and body. Beer has amazing nourishing benefits. In addition to B vitamins, the proteins found in malt and hops repair damaged hair and boost overall body. Also, the maltose and sucrose sugars in beer tighten the hair's cuticles for enhanced shine. Coconut milk nourishes your hair, promoting growth. Since all of these ingredients are rich in protein, I suggest that you use this mask no more than once per month. Over using may in fact cause more breakage.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe Avocado
  • 1 ripe Banana
  • Coconut milk
  • Malt beer (& spray bottle)
  • 1/2 tsp. jojoba oil; lavender or almond oil may be substituted
  • 1/2 tsp. olive oil; vegetable oil may be substituted
Instructions:
  • Pour the malt beer in the spray bottle. Store in fridge.
  • Grate the banana and avocado; combine in mixing bowl; set aside.
  • Add the oils together and microwave until warm to touch (about 30 seconds).
  • Combine oil and banana/avocado mixture.
  • While mixing, slowly pour in coconut milk until desired consistency is reached. You want the mixture to be a tad bit thinner than conditioner. If it ends up to runny, add more fruit.
  • Apply mixture to hair, finger-combing to spread evenly.
  • Cover with shower cap or towel and let it process for 45 minutes.
  • Rinse, shampoo and condition with cool water.
  • After treatment is out, saturate your hair with the malt beer and let hair air dry (don't worry, the smell will go away as your hair dries).
Information:
  • This recipe is good for damaged hair; dry or oily.
  • Only use once every 4-6 weeks, preferably 1-2 weeks before you dye your hair.
  • Mix fresh batches as needed; do not store.
Mo is the beauty and brains behind Madd Style Cosmetics. You can shop with her on Artfire, or follow her on Facebook. Her page is ALWAYS full of makeup and beauty inspiration!!  

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Tree Biscuits by Ranon


Another festive recipe for you this Sunday!

Tree Biscuits! A centuries old tradition, that a lot of people already have their own recipe and technique for, but just in case you've never made Tree Biscuits for your tree, here is my version,

You can do much more complicated versions, such as 'Stained Glass Tree Biscuits' which invloves boiling up jams, and setting them hard within a biscuit frame. These look incredible with the lights from the tree shining through.

They will be good to eat for a long time, and don't need special storage. They just hang on the tree, like they're supposed to! They are not cookies, and will not go stale.

If you're part of the anti-germs brigade, you'll likely hate this idea as a whole, however please bear in mind that there has yet to have been a recorded case of a person taken ill, or died from eating Tree Biscuits. Step out of your 2011 cotton wool suit for the day, and embrace something fun!

You will need:

100g (4oz) Salted butter
100g (4oz) Brown sugar
300g (11oz Plain Flour
1 tsp Baking powder

2 Free Range Eggs
4 tsp Honey
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Ground ginger


1 Beat together the butter and sugar until creamy.

2 Beat the two eggs, and mix them with the honey, then add to the butter.

3 Sift in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and ginger, mix to make a dough.

4 Refridgerate the dough for at least half an hour.

5 Roll the dough out thinly, and use festive cookie cutters to make the shapes.

6 Use a clean pencil or something to make the holes for threading the ribbon through later.

7 Bake at 170ºC (338ºF) for 20 minutes.

The less decoration on these, the better. Just plain water icing thinly spread (too thick and it risks picking up humidity from your house and any decorations fixed to it will fall off)

Do not use buttercream, fondant, or chocolate. These will go off, or go moldy and ruin your biscuits!

ENJOY!

Ranon LaZombie is the owner and creator of Rocky the Zombie designs Cute character clothing and art for all ages!

Both images used in this are courtesy of a Google Image search for 'Christmas Tree Biscuits'

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Handmade Holidays The Pet Zombie Edition

This week's Handmade Holidays picks are from Destry, the creative force behind Pet Zombie Creations. A little quirky, and a whole lot of fun, Destry has some awesome picks that would be amazing for any young lady on your list that has a style a little left of normal, and totally unique!

Fawn Chihuahua Print from Outside Peg.


Dirty Dreaded Hippie Sugar Scrub from Wicked Soaps.

Alena Planter from ClayFlower22.

Dragon's Blood Candle from Soy Worthy Candles. (A personal favorite of Union Riveter Brooke's as well!!)
Destry is the owner of Pet Zombie Creations. She lives in Texas with her 4 little dogs and kick ass husband. You can checkout her shop here, and you can also find her on Facebook!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Occupy Handmade this Holiday Season

We have all seen it in the news, this "Occupy" movement. It is grassroots, has been making waves, is VERY political, and at times, violence has come of the protest. Here at Modern Rosies, we choose to take a neutral ground, and keep OUT of the politics of the situation. We love all of our readers, no matter WHAT side of the line they stand on. But at the end of the day, there is some truth to the thoughts of these protesters.



Buying handmade is an amazing way of supporting your fellow human being. It circulates money back into other people, other people that are making a living doing something that they love. An artisan, if you will, that makes something that you NEED, and then will in turn, circulate the money from the sale of their wares into another handmade business.
Today is Black Friday, the largest shopping day of the year. People have been up for hours, even days, scouting their local malls and large chain stores, looking for great deals on consumer items. A good majority of those items are not made here in the US, and support the economy of other countries, while the US economy is in so much trouble. So why not help stimulate us here in the US? UN-Occupy the malls this year, and give gifts from the heart!

You might not even need to spend ANY money! I know as a mom, I would LOVE if someone gave me a simple card with the promise of a free night of babysitting! I plan on giving my mom a card for a free day of me taking over elder care of my grandmother, so she can use the salon gift card I am giving her to get her hair done. The kids and I also plan on self-detailing my husband's car for him, something he desperately wants, but never has the time to do for himself.

I also plan on giving mostly handmade gifts to most everyone on my list this year. Gifts like these are amazing, not only because you are socking it to the large corporations by NOT giving them your money, but also because all of these gifts are unique, and most are one of a kind! Our friend Vilate over at Nifty Nappy recently posted about how she is un-occupying this Christmas, with some amazing shops to get goodies at! You can check that out here.

This weekend, being the largest shopping weekend of the year, lots of small businesses are offering amazing deals on some amazing items. If you surf Artfire, Hyena Cart, and Etsy, you can find a plethora of shops running amazing sales. In my searching, I have found deep discounts up to 50% off! That is HUGE in the handmade world!

So let's make a difference. Let's hit this economy where it NEEDS it the most, in the pocketbook. Let's stimulate something this holiday season. And let's start turning this around, and making this world a happier place.

Brooke is the owner and seamstress at Brooke Van Gory Designs. She lives in The Chicago suburbs with her two kiddos, and her rock star husband! You can shop BVG here, and follow her on Google+ here.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ranon's Extra Fruity Mulled Wine.

I simply HAVE to share my mulled wine recipe with you, because it's quite possibly the best I've ever tasted (can't say I'm not biased, because I totally am!) So here it is, 'Ranon's Extra Fruity Mulled Wine!'


One of the reasons I love this time of year is all of the warm scents from festive recipies, it's not completely Christmas in our house until something has been concocted with cinnamon and spice!

One of the best things to prepare if you have company coming over, is a big huge vat of hot and spicy mulled wine. Ideally you'd leave it on the warm plate of the Rayburn or Aga, but nowadays more people have electric or gas hobs, so it can't really be left to keep itself warm scenting the entire house, but it's still just as good!

You will need:



1 Bottle of Red Wine
60g/2oz Demerera Sugar
1 Cinnamon Stick
2 Oranges
1 Lemon
30 Cloves
3 Star Anise
1 Dried Bay Leaf
Grated Nutmeg
Grated Ginger





Pour the wine in to a large saucepan, glass or ceramic pans are always better as they distribute and hold heat a lot better and more evenly. Metal pans are fine to use, but obviously won't hold the heat quite as well when removed from the heat source.

Take one orange, and stick 20 cloves in to it. (This part is actually completely optional, and is I think more traditional than functional)

Cut up the other orange and the lemon in to slices, the thinner the slices, the more flavour you will get coming from them.

Throw everything in to the wine, and bring to a simmer very slowly so that the sugar can melt completely.


Once the sugar has melted, the spices will have infused nicely and it's ready to drink. You can either strain everything out and leave the wine in the pan and serve it straight up, or you can leave everything in to infuse further, straining each portion as you serve it throughout the day.


Ranon LaZombie is the owner and creator of Rocky the Zombie designs Cute character clothing and art for all ages!