Friday, September 14, 2012

"Travel Memories" Christmas Ornament + 2 life lessons

 I think this is my last little guy of the 4 pack of plastic ornaments I bought from Hobby Lobby weeks ago.  It's somewhat sad, I have enjoyed messing with these buggers.

I had this really cute DC scrapbook going, right? All these cute things from my trip and pictures and I was nowhere near done.

And then shutterfly sent me an offer for a free book.  Darn them.  So now my DC scrapbook is an 8x8 book that they are printing for me that I threw together in 2 hours.  Well, at least I won't feel so guilty about working on the other one slowly.

I am not sure how shutterfly affords to have me as a customer.  I cannot think of a single thing I have ordered from them that was not heavily discounted or free. 
 Oh yea...back to the ornament.  You need an ornament, obviously, Mod Podge, and papery bits from your trip.  You can also use photos, but I recommend keeping them EXTREMELY small so that you can make them form to the ornament.  And you will need puffy paint and polyflake.  Which as far as I am concerned are now staples of life. 

You will want to slather on some MP on the ornament in a small area and stick down whatever it is you want to start with.  You will be over and underlapping things so I would put too much stress on what you put down first.

Small things are better, thin paper is better, but whatever yo need to use just bend it and crumple it a bit so that you can make it lay down a little better when you mod it on there.  I usually use my nails to make creases in things as I stick them down in order to make everything sit nicely.
 So you want to stick things just around the circumference of the ornament.  You can also do this around the vertical circumference, if you will, and have the opening be in the front center, like those cute easter eggs made out of sugar that have scenes inside.

After you get everything just like you want it, you can either put another MP coat around the whole thing or you can save that for later.  I saved it for later, just because I was tired of being sticky.

Words cannot describe how bad I hate being sticky.

Anyway, get out your handy dandy puffy paint and put you a cute puffy border around what you have stuck down.  This is also a great way to keep some of the trickier pieces down, as you can basically pipe in puffy paint and it will cement them in as it dries.

I chose to put tickets in mine.  I had a couple I had not put in my scrapbook so I let them live in here.  In hindsight this will be problematic if I ever want to finish that scrapbook, but I honestly don't see that happening.

Polyflake the heck out of this little guy, and hang him somewhere to dry.

Originally I considered printing out tiny tiny pictures and making a film strip design across this ornament, but that is just going to have to wait until I buy ink. 

Things just don't always go like you plan...

Which brings me to my life lessons.

Today I really had every intention of this blog being about calzones.  I was going to make some homemade dough and have these yumtacular goodies for dinner.  Life lesson #1 is do your research.  I had a recipe for "no need to knead" bread.  This bread from what I read on the internet is actually really easy and "foolproof" and makes positively delicious bread. 

And it likely does...unless you get it out of the book my sister has.


The recipe calls for 1.5 c lukewarm water, 2 pks yeast, 1/2 c sugar, 1.5 tsp salt, 1/2 c shortening, and 6-7 cups of flour and an egg.  In hindsight, the dead giveaway that this was a terrible calzone idea should have been the sugar.

When you really start looking at this recipe, it definitely strikes me as a high sugar ratio to other ingredients.  But did I think about that beforehand? No.  It never occurred to me.  So I made the recipe, which I halved because I did not want that much bread dough, 6 cups seemed outrageous.  And it, of course, came out the consistency of really thick cake mix.  Which makes sense now that I think about it because I am pretty sure a box of cake mix is about 3 cups of flour and you mix it with eggs and water, and brownies you use like a third of a cup of oil in or something (I really can't recall all of this with no boxes to look at).  So all this is, in a way, is essentially doubling the flour and adding yeast.  Thick cake batter.

Now, after reading online a lot of the articles do say that real no need to knead bread is sticky.  They also say that you need to refrigerate it about 18 hours for the yeast action to go to work.  Did my recipe say to do that? No.  It said cover and refrigerate, with no time specifications. 

So I added a crap ton of more flour than what the halfsky should have "needed" in my mind.  And I mixed and I mixed and I added and I added and it would occasionally form into a ball and then instantly go back out of it.

I imagine because this dough had no time for gluten to build up.  Turns out that is what the 18 hours is in there for.  Or not in there, in the case of my recipe.  So I used my entire cannister of flour, still tried to make a calzone and low and behold it bakes up somewhat decently, albeit looking flat and I am super happy.  I go grinch mode and my heart swells 3 sizes. 


Ok seriously I had 1/4 c sugar in it and a crap ton of flour and I kid you not all I could taste was sugar.  I couldn't even taste the super delicious garlic topper I had put on it.

Life lesson learned.  Do your dang research on a recipe.  Had I seen that many of the other recipes out there called for no sugar, no butter, and no eggs, I would have thought something was highly suspicious about this recipe.  I am not saying that this stuff might not have worked if I had done the original, but I highly doubt it would have tasted anything other than sweet. 

It makes sense why we have never noticed it, because my mom only uses it for cinnamon rolls.  And they are super sweet.

Life lesson #2 is embrace your failures.  I learned more today about bread than I ever would have if this had been successful.  I think we prefer to only blog about how cute something is we made or only show off our successes, but you and I can both learn from each other's failures. 

My life is far from being the perfect blog where everything is delicious and the crafts are just darling and the page is covered in cute colors and dainty lace things.

I am a walking mess.  I am a hurricane.  And I meant it when I added "shenanigans" into my title.

Oh, and helpful advice.  If you want to pick the perfect cantaloupe you need the Melon Trifecta, or Melofecta, if you will:  1) Must have hint of orange in its skin, not predominantly green 2) must smell like cantaloupe.  Don't smell the sides, smell the navel (I don't know what it's really called but it reminds me of a navel orange). and most importantly 3) must be ever so slightly squishy.  And I do mean ever so slightly.   If you hit the trifecta you are going to need to cut him that night and eat him soon because chances are he is going to be dead on.  I have really only picked out one melon so I can't say I am pro cantalouper, but I find these qualities to be similar in many fruits.  I always pick pineapples by the smell.  And trust me, this one cantaloupe I chose could not have been more perfect.   

Onward, shenanigans await.

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