Sunday, December 10, 2017

Mini Gingerbread Mug Houses DIY

   Traditions are a great thing! They can put you instantly in a right mood, especially if it's Christmas and it's approaching fast. This year I got brave and decided to put my non-existent baking skills in to work :) You have to start at some point, right?! After quick search on Pinterest, I fell in love with cute little mug gingerbread houses, they were so magical and put side by side looked like a perfect Christmas Village, ready to celebrate! The whole project was done from scratch and took couple hours to complete, again I am a novice and shaking hands were no much help, but the result and fun we had were so worthy!
   Stages: 1.Dough preparation 2. Cutting parts with cookie cutters 3.Baking 4. Royal Icing preparation (edible glue) 5. Assembly 6. Decorating with icing pens and fondant.

Supplies (tools): 
1. Cookie Cutters for Mini Gingerbread Houses. Originally I bought mine on Amazon but last time I checked they were sold out. These are same size and still available on Etsy. Click here.
2. Pastel Fondant pack can be bought at your local craft store or on Amazon. Click here.
    White for Snowflakes. Click here. 
3. Cutters and tools pack for fondant. Click here.  Since we didn't have any prior. I went with this large selection, they worked nicely and come with small rolling pin which was used by my daughter. 
4. Icing decorating pens. Click here. 
5. See {Dough Preparation} and {Royal Icing Preparation} below for recipes and ingredients.

{Part 1} Dough Preparation.
I strictly followed this recipe from Caketime (click for link). Its enough for about 8 houses and couple cookies.  But I believe the amount of ginger spice is way too much. I would use only 1/4 of that. Otherwise the instructions are clear and after the dough rested in a fridge for 10 minutes it was ready to be rolled out.
After we've cut all the parts (2fronts with door opening, 2 longer ones for roof, 2 shorter for walls), i put it all in the oven to bake at 350F for 10min, periodically checking, you don't want it to go too dark and hard, just a nice goldish color.

{Part 2} Royal Icing Preparation.
I made a mistake in the beginning and bought something called Cookie Icing. Royal Icing is different, it hardens and holds the parts all due to egg whites. I dont have a baking mixer (I told you I am a novice), so I searched if I could do it by hand. I followed this recipe (click here). The only thing I used probably twice as much sugar, than the recipe calls, to reach a good thick consistency, constantly mixing it by hand. You will see, if its too runny add sugar ! One egg white is enough for this project.

{Part3} Assembly
Voila! We now have our parts, we have edible glue (icing) , its time to assemble. Nothing was easier than just sticking it all together. It took about 40 min for icing to become hard.
{Part 4} Decorating. Favorite Part. 
Working with fondant is fun. You just roll it out to the 1.5mm thickness and make shapes pressing the cutters in it. We used small hearts, snowflakes, stars. All from the pack in supply list. We've put it on houses with royal icing and waited for it to harden. Especially loved making pink roof by putting fondant around it and making the stars. You can also cut piece of cookie on top to make a chimney. Glue it with icing.

And so the village was built! Nothing too hard and we enjoyed the creative process much :)
Use them as treats for your holiday party or Christmas pictures, they look adorable with marshmallows in the little hands.
 Thank you for stopping by! May you have any questions or comments, let me know below :) 
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thanksgiving DIY Leaf and Pumpkin shaped Crayons Cards

There is never a lack of broken crayons in this house :D We decided to put them to good use this season. This is easy project for little hands, and nothing is better than giving extra Thanks to the people around us. 
1. Fall-inspired cookie molds from local Michaels. Make sure they are silicone not plastic! 
{Oven safe}
2.Bunch of crayola crayons, color of your choice. We decided to do colorful pastel pumpkins and mix up some for leaves. 
3. Cards template can be found here{click} Only $2!
I have printed all the templates at my local Fedex on 110lb paper.
4.Glue or double-sided tape {whichever you have}
5. Excited little helper :)

{Part1} Take the paper off crayons. It can be a daunting task so here is a tip. Cut across with a sharp knife and let your little one to unwrap - much easier!

{Part2} Break them in to  pieces and sort out in to the molds. Place molds with crayons in to a baking dish {for easier removal} and bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 300 degrees.
{Part 3} Let them cool off for another 30 minutes before taking out of molds. 
Fix them on cards with the glue and enjoy the cuteness you've just made ! 
I also used some gold and silver leaf Rub&Buff for the pumpkin tops. 

Happy Thanksgiving ! 

Friday, November 3, 2017

Arizona {4Days and a Bump}

    It was rather a random decision to go to Arizona, the one we will never regret or forget :) At first we wanted to travel somewhere warm, Caribbean would be ideal. We even started with the resort search until... the dreaded zika virus and me being 28weeks along. Carribean-crossed out. Luckily I came across with the panoramic pictures of one of the resorts, it looked like pure heaven - the sky, the rocks and cactuses they were so tall ! "I want to go there, where is it ?!" - I asked. It appeared to be a beautiful land of Arizona, state we never been too, state that had so much to offer to those, willing to explore.  
    4.5 hours flight from New York and here we are in Phoenix. When we planned our trip, my first priority was major attractions but with moderate physical activity. At the end it all worked out, so if anyone wants to follow this route while expecting go ahead, it was smooth and exciting! 
    First day we stayed at The Boulders Resort&Spa. Very comfortable, upscale resort,amazing landscape and golf fields. We didn't encounter much of night life but we had to get up early next day anyways.  

*Things to be booked in advance: Photography tour to Antelope Canyon {See Day3 for more information}, Compass Arizona Grill Phoenix {360-degree views of the valley's mountains and cityscape in the only revolving restaurant in Arizona}

*In our camera bag: Canon 5DMark III,  Canon 135mm f/2,  Canon 24mm‑105mm ‑ f/4, tripod
I found this video useful for photography tips in particular {click here}
The main points that you need at least one wide/zoom lens, tripod and do not switch lenses in a canyon - super dusty. 

McDowell Sonoran Preserve
     Remember how I was lured to those tall cactuses at first. This was the place where I got to enjoy desert nature and Saguaro Cactuses to the fullest. Located in Sonoran Desert on 30.500 acres, short drive from Phoenix, every inch of this park screams - a scene from Clint Eastwood movie. Plenty of parking, water fountains, clean restrooms and free entrance. They are open from sunrise t sunset, 7 days a week. The staff will gladly help with all the questions about Preserve. Boards with information, available for self education. 
     There are many choices of trails, depending on your liking, just pick up the map. You can see some deers and birds on your way.  We took the shortest Bajada Loop Trail, which was less than a mile, our purpose of visit was rather photography than hiking so it worked perfectly. The sun was still high up, yet we managed to capture some beauty of this place.

On the way back we've met a family and a photographer who carried a trolley full of props. They must've had One year milestone session for the baby. And I thought, yes, if I was a photographer living here - that would be my hot spot ! So pretty and absolutely worth visiting! 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Apple Picking '17

Apples, apples, what a treat,
sweet and tart and good to eat.
Apples green and apples red,
hang from branches overhead,
and when they ripen, down they drop,
so we can taste our apple crop.
 {by Helen H. Moore}

Fall is absolutely beautiful season here in NY. As a tradition we make few visits to our favorite farm Harvest Moon Orchards this time of year. 
But it was actually our very first one for Apple Picking, so we wanted to record it :) 
First and foremost dilemma every time is - what to wear.
Had to be comfortable for sure, yet make it feel like Fall.

So we go:
1. Maternity dress - ASOS, hat - Macy's
2 and 3 -Pop Real Fashion 
4. Dad's green sweater-ASOS 

I found so many cute options in those stores, they are truly worth checking especially if you are usually skeptical about maternity section in bigger stores {why they want me to wear this potato sack} -thoughts every time :D

At the Farm they had areas where people were allowed to pick the apples and those gorgeous alleys where apple trees would stay untouched. I believe they pick them later for selling through the stores, oh my the most delicious and so crunchy!
We asked for the permission and were allowed to make some quick pictures. I have to tell you it was really hard for kids not to touch those apples. Struggle was real for little hands :)

The real fun started here! Oh they loved it, wish it was a little warmer and we could stay longer.  
Happy Fall !! Hope you make a lot of great memories this season !! :*
Love,Mila xxx

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Easter '17 {DIY Button Bouquet included}

It's almost mid of April and it just started to feel like spring. I've been thinking for another fun project with my kids, something associated with spring, Easter.  I love fresh flowers, most of them! They are a must in my grocery basket. 
   But how about button bouquet! It's very easy, fun project and the best thing you can paint the buttons whatever color you want. In our case it was spring pastel: robin's egg blue, soft yellow, light pink.

 =Scroll for the tutorial at the end=

 We got this Hop Hop garland from Home Goods.

 And of course she couldn't miss this giant bunny lollipop at Home Goods too :D The whole family was finishing it afterwards, sugar coma guaranteed haha

1.Assortment of buttons. We got ours from Michaels. We didn't care much for color since we were painting them anyways.
2. Acrylic Paint {Michaels}
3. Wire 20gauge {Michaels}
4. Bouquet holder {Amazon}
5. Beads {Michaels}
6. Hot glue, wire cutters
7. Tule - to decorate the stem. I also used some to make matching bow hairpins.

First we painted our buttons. After they were dry {takes couple hours for paint to cure completely} we stack them one on to another and put the wire through the button holes, twisted the wire at the end. Cut wire at about 2" to put in a holder. 
Arrange them any way you like in a holder just poking through {most fun!}.  You also can put beads on top of buttons with hot glue. 
Well done ! You got one pretty button bouquet :) 

Happy Easter!