Sunday, October 30, 2016

Elf Inspired Shirts with the New Cricut Explore Air 2



I haven't always loved the movie Elf, but it has grown on me a little each year. There is just something about Buddy the Elf that is so charming and fun. My kids love Elf and this year they have been requested Elf inspired t-shirts. We pulled each of our kids favorite quotes from the movie for a fun shirt! If you are a visual learner, you can watch a video of making shirts with heat transfer vinyl here.

You will need: 

  • A shirt
  • A Cricut Explore (I have the new Cricut Explore Air 2 and I LOVE it)
  • Black Heat Transfer
  • Green Heat Transfer
  • Yellow Heat Transfer
  • Red Heat Transfer 
  • an iron


To make these shirts, head over to the Explore site and select the great big blue, Create a New Project button. Save the image below to your computer and then hit the upload images button and upload the feet you found. Select whether the image is a simple image, moderately complex image or complex image. This image, especially since you are just tracing the feet would be considered a simple image. Simple images are the easiest to trace so look for an image with high contrast colors. Insert them into design space and move them around until you have them where you like them. 




Type the words into a text box on design space. I'm a Cotton Headed Ninny Muggins is in a font called Extreme and I Just Like To Smile, Smiling's My Favorite is in Open Sans for the green words and Zoo Day for SMILE.

If you don't want everything on your mat to be one color, make your images different colors and your Cricut will know that you plan on cutting them out of different colors and place them on different mats when you hit cut. I changed the color on on the word smile and the elf legs so my machine would know I was going to cut them in a different color from the rest of the design. When you have you design looking the way you want it. Hit Cut.




Make sure to check the mirror image box since we are cutting out heat transfer. If you don't mirror the image when you go to iron on your images, the words will be backwards. Heat Transfer goes onto your mat with the shiny side down. Set your machine to iron-on and then hit the go button. 


For this project you will need red, green, black and yellow heat transfer. Cut the entire Cotton Headed Ninny Muggins shirt out of the red, as well as the word smile. Cut the remaining words out of the green. You will cut the feet for the smile shirt twice, once in black and once in yellow.


Weed off the excess heat transfer by pulling a corner of the heat transfer. Take special care around the dots of I's and other small items.


Once your heat transfer is weeded, place it down on the shirt like you want it. You will iron the yellow feet down first for the smile shirt. Set your iron to the cotton setting on your iron (or about 305 degrees) Preheat the area of the shirt you want to place your vinyl for about 3 seconds then place the heat transfer on the blanket with the right side facing up. Using medium pressure, iron the entire image for about 30 seconds, directly onto the carrier sheet, without any steam. After you finish, I like to flip my  shirt inside out and iron for another 10 seconds from the back. Peel the carrier sheet off. If any parts of the image pull up when removing the carrier sheet, stop peeling and iron for a few more seconds in that spot.


 After the words and yellow feet are ironed down on your Smile shirt. cut the legs off of the black feet and place the shoes over top of the yellow shoes. Place a piece of parchment paper over top of the entire design and iron it again.


The Cotton Headed Ninny Muggins shirt doesn't require any layering, so it can all be ironed on at ones. Make sure as you put the separate pieces on that every piece of vinyl is actually touching the shirt and not the plastic of another piece of it will be ironed to the plastic and not the shirt.


After the shirts are ironed they are ready to wear immediately! When you wash them, flip them inside out and they will last a long time.


My girls love their cute new Elf shirts and they were so easy to make for them! This was one of the first projects I used my new Cricut Explore Air 2 for and I loved the ease of the machine. The precision cuts of the machine are absolutely fantastic. Everything I have made, even teeny tiny items have all weeded fantastic. The machine is so quite I have actually used it with my two year old sleeping in the same room without waking her up. That is HUGE for me since nap time is craft time. I am thrilled by all of the different material that this machine can be used to cut, from vellum to leather, the Cricut can cut more than 100+ materials. Cricut just came out with faux leather. Can't wait to see what people are going to do with that! The Cricut Explore Air 2 is up to two times faster than other machines,

The best part of this machine? It is super user friendly. It is easy to figure it out and it is incredibly easy to teach someone how to use. This is the machine I would recommend to anyone hands down. Cricut also has an iPad app and embedded bluetooth in the machine, so you can create on the go, no need to be sitting at your computer. This machine is my absolute favorite and the color is fabulous. If you want to see everything that is included in the box, you can watch my unboxing of the Cricut Explore Air 2 here. 

Who would you make these fun shirts for?


Cricut
Black Iron On
Red Iron On
Green Heat Transfer
Yellow Iron On
Cricut Tools


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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Easy Gluten-Free Chicken Pad Thai



Thai food is delicious. Seriously. If you're not familiar, you need to try it. Sure, some dishes may have hard-to-pronounce names, but the flavors are incredible! Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult to find a good Thai restaurant, depending on where you live. So why not make the food yourself?

Thai dishes are well known for complexity and depth of flavor, so it may seem at first glance that it would be difficult or expensive to make Thai food. To be fair, Thai food does take a fair amount of preparation, but it's not difficult and it's generally with ingredients you're familiar with.

Pad Thai is kind of like the beginner's dish when it comes to Thai food. And this homemade gluten-free chicken Pad Thai is easy and delicious! Perhaps the only thing you may not be super familiar with in this dish are the rice noodles, but they cook very similarly to traditional pasta and can be found at most grocery stores.

INGREDIENTS
Sauce Ingredients
6 Tbsp soy sauce*
6 Tbsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp sriracha sauce
2 tsp sweet chili sauce
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (add more if you like heat)
Juice from 1 lime



Entree Ingredients
1 pkg (10-12 oz) Thai Rice Noodles
1 lb. chicken breasts, thinly sliced into strips or chunks
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup bean sprouts
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 cup carrots, julienned
2 green onions, diced
3 cloves garlic
1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup peanuts, crushed

* If you're making this gluten free, be sure your soy sauce is gluten free.



DIRECTIONS
1. Cook rice noodles according to package instructions (very similar to traditional pasta, though usually not as long). Drain and set aside.
2. While the rice noodles are cooking, combine the sauce ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well until combined. Set aside.
3. In a large pan or wok, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and cook the chicken through at medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
4. Add the beaten eggs to the same pan used for the chicken, and scramble the eggs. Remove from the pan.
5. Add another tablespoon of olive oil and saute the red bell pepper for 2-3 minutes, then add the carrots, bean sprouts, garlic, and green onion. Continue to saute for another couple minutes. (Don't overcook to avoid the veggies becoming too mushy.)
6. Add the noodles, chicken and eggs back to the pan. Pour in the sauce and stir until combined. Heat through for a couple minutes.
7. Remove from the heat and top with chopped cilantro and crushed peanuts.

In a lot of ways, this dish is similar to many Italian dishes. But the flavor profile is amazing! The rice noodles have an incredible texture and flavor when complemented with the veggies. And the best part? Even picky kids will eat it. My picky eaters loved it!

So next time you're in the mood for something different, or craving some Thai food, but don't want to drive forever to get it, give this chicken Pad Thai a try.



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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Wizard Potion Bottles with Free Printable Labels


Harry Potter always seems to have a love-hate relationship with potions class. Snape despises him and makes his life miserable, but potion brewing can create some powerful and fantastic magic. Potions class is one of my favorite parts of Harry Potter. It is like chemistry with a little extra flair. 

One of the elements for our upcoming Harry Potter party is a potions class. We will be making sand filled potion bottles and probably a gak of some kind during the class, but before we have class, we have to set the mood. A well stocked potion supply is going to be key in making potions class feel like the real thing. 


My awesome graphic designer husband made these labels for our potions classroom and they are all at the bottom of the post so you can download them for your bottles too!

You will need:

  • the printables at the end of this post
  • jars of various sizes and shapes
  • Mod Podge
  • a foam brush
  • scissors
  • things to fill your jar with (water with food coloring, glitter, toy bugs) 



Find bottles of all different sizes, I found some at the thrift store, some in the dollar spot and some online. Wash and dry them, making sure to remove any labels.


Cut out each of the potion labels and coat the back of them with Mod Podge. Place the labels to the front of a bottle and then add a layer of Mod Podge over the top to secure it to the bottle.


Fill the bottles with whatever you want! Herbs and leaves would work great in some. Half marbles or marbles look fantastic. Water with a few drops of food coloring mixed in makes a creepy and fun bottle. Black fine glitter also looks like a fantastic magical substance when in a jar.


When we set up our full potions classroom I will use black dollar store tablecloths and boxes of different sizes (under the tablecloths) to create different levels for a potions class.


I think the potion class is going to be one of the kids favorite parts or maybe the Quidditch match!

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Wizard Potion Bottle Labels
 

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Monday, October 24, 2016

Harry Potter Sorting Hat Cookies


We are well into the preparations for my daughter's Harry Potter birthday party. One of our biggest concerns was how to sort the kids? We wanted it to be random and fun, so we came up with these cookies. Each cookie is filled with a different color of M&Ms. The kids each pick their cookie and then break it open to find out which house they are in!

Who doesn't love finding out what house they are in for the party, especially when it comes with a little sugar?


You will need:

  • Chocolate Cookies (I made cake mix cookies using a chocolate cake mix)
  • Sugar Cones
  • Chocolate Candy Rolls
  • Mutil-Colored Candy
  • Melting Chocolate or Chocolate Frosting



First separate your color candies into four different piles. Blue for Ravenclaw, green for Slytherin, yellow for Hufflepuff and red for Gryffindor.

Work the chocolate candy rolls with your hands until they are soft and you are able to mold them. Each Sorting Hat face took about three chocolate rolls. Two for the eyebrow line and one for the mouth line. You aren't working to an exact science, just working to give it a little bit of a face. You can find Sorting Hat pictures here, to get a better idea of what you are working towards.

Once your face is on your ice cream cone, fill your cone with one color of candy and then dip the bottom of your cone in either melted chocolate or frosting to secure it to the brim of the hat, or the chocolate cookie. I used just a little bit of melted chocolate, I felt like it was cleaner. After your Sorting Hat is secured, you are ready to be sorted. Have each person randomly grab a hat and discover what house they are in!


Which house do you hope you are sorted into?
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Friday, October 21, 2016

DIY Harry Potter Makeup Brushes

I am Harry Potter obsessed. If I could redo my house in a combination of Doctor Who and Hogwarts I would be a happy girl. When I saw the Harry Potter makeup brushes floating around the internet, I fell in love. Before jumping to buy new brushes, I wanted to try making them myself and they were so fun. 

If you have made your own homemade wand before, these are really similar in style. The longer and skinnier the brush is the more wand like it will be, although I couldn't resist making wands out of all the styles! 


You will need:

  • Makeup Brushes (Elf ones are $1 a piece) 
  • Hot Glue
  • Metallic Silver Spray Paint 
  • Metallic Aged Copper Spray Paint
  • Masking Tape 
  • Parchment Paper
  • Plastic wrap or a plastic bag



Wrap the top of your brush in plastic wrap or a place a plastic bag over top of the brush part. Use masking tape to secure it and protect any parts of the brush you don't want covered in paint.


Use hot glue to make designs on the handles of the brush. I found that the ones that look the most like wants are the ones that have stripes instead of squiggles.


One the hot glue is dry, spray the brushes with metallic paint. The Aged Copper paint has more of a wand feel but the chrome ones are gorgeous and fun too!


Peel the masking tape off and then cast a spell before you do your makeup!


Do you have a Harry Potter fan in your life that would love these?


Elf Makeup Brushes
Aged Copper Spray Paint
Chrome Spray Paint

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