Thursday, May 31, 2012

Luau DIY

My sister-in-law had always dreamed of a Hawaiian-themed bachelorette party, and that is exactly what she got! Her sister and a good friend organized the party and I chipped in as well. Hawaiian stuff are a bit of a novelty and quite expensive in our country (a single lei would cost around 5 euros) and we were on a budget so we ended up making most of the decorations and accessories ourselves.
The grass skirts were made by my sister-in-law out of crepe paper stapled on elastic band. The leis were made by a friend out of tissue or crepe paper and cut up straws. The tissue paper was cut into many flower shapes. They turned out really pretty.
I cut triangles out of a cereal box and painted them with acrylic paint-

I made 4 holes in each of the triangles with an office hole puncher.
I threaded a ribon through the wholes
I found this idea for cupcakes and the flip-flop cookies on another blog. The base is simple sponge cake, I colored half the frosting blue and kept the other half white and dipped it in brown sugar Ű(before adding the blue frosting to the other half. I used gum candy for the float belt.

I had searched for an oval shaped cookie cutter, but could not find one anywhere, so in the end I decided to look in the bathroom cupboard where I found the cap of a Nivea sunscreen bottle.
I used store bought decorative icing to make the flip flop straps. ( I used Schwartau colored icing pen thingies

I made these flowers for everyone's hair out of muslin and organza and beads. I cut out the flower shapes and then I melted the edges and I used transparent thread. I may make a tutorial.

Elderflower syrup

Fruit syrup or squash is a drink that was popular during my childhood and is experiencing a renaissance- at least in our family. I am more of a "let the kids drink water" type of parent myself, but my husband comes home with a bottle of syrup increasingly often- to a great delight to all of us, I might add...

photo from
 I decided to make our own syrup, but as we do not have any fruits growing in our garden, I decided to use elderflower blossoms. There are several elderflower bushes in our area (which are in bloom from May to June), but it is important to pick them from bushes located far away from traffic. My aunt picks them at a cemetery...
It is also important to pick the blossoms when they are in bloom and if possible after it had rained.
There are several recipes for making this syrup, but here is the one I used: (I ended up with 3 wine bottles worth of syrup)
25-30 elderflower blossoms (take the dried bits off)
2liters of water
2 kgs of sugar
75gs of lemon tablets/citric acid tablets (a combination of ascorbic acid and apple acid- possibly replaceable by actual lemons)
1. Let the blossoms sit in water for 24 hours with half of the tablets. Cover bowl but stir the liquid once or twice.
2. Remove blossoms from liquid
3. Add sugar and half of the lemon tablets and cook for 35 minutes. Stirring ocasionally and making sure the syrup does not caramelize.
4. Pour syrup into disinfected bottles.

I put the syrup into wine bottles for a rustic feel and decorated the bottles with vignettes.

I  used leftover scraps of wrapping paper, and letter stamps I recently bought. (So glad I got to use it for something :) )
After finishing with the letters, I rubbed a candle over the paper so that the ink from the stamp would not rub off later on hands or clothes:

The end result:

We delude this syrup with water ( I prefer sparkling water) and lemon/lime slices or with lemongrass or mint leaves. The vast amount of sugar used as well as the citric acid preserves the syrup, however it is best to store it in a cool, dry place. It makes a good present for foodies, families and families with children or with sweet teeth. Despite the sugar, it is probably much more healthy than coke, sprite ect...  Having said that, I plan to try a honey based recipe next year.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

"Put a bird on it" be-birded mirror and wooden flower pot

 Ikea Malma mirrors are ideal for crafts projects, especially painting. They are inexpensive, have a relatively large surface and have a useful function. This is my first completed mirror but I suspect there will be more to come!
 Clearly inspired by Portlandia's "Put a bird on in" sketch ( I did just that a couple of months ago, when deciding on the decor for this IKEA Malma mirror that I made for my cousin's birthday. I made a template for the birds' bodies (by cutting the shape from paper) to make them even. I used acrylic paints. The actual colors in the bottles of the pink and green were super bright, so I added a bit of tan paint as well as some of the bronze paint  and mixing them. These new colors matched very nicely and were much prettier. This is not rocket science, but I'd not understood mixing colors until I did this project... I also used an finish as the brown paint rubbed off on the wall.

As I had quite a bit of mixed paint left over I searched our home for other wooden surfaces in need of a bird... in the end I found this wood flower pot that we use to keep nick-knacks in.