August 17, 2012

How To: Pineapple Flowers!

This weekend is the Air and Water show in Chicago and we have a front row view!  Well... sort of... our windows face the area they turn around instead of the show itself... but they are still flying a couple hundred feet outside of our windows!

To watch the show, we've invited some friends over so I, of course, had to bake!  I thought pina colada cupcakes would be a nice summery treat for everyone.  And for decoration I made pineapple flowers.

All you need for this is a pineapple!  Nice and simple!

Next, you'll cut off the outside.  The holes in the pineapple below are there to get the last bit out so we have lots of usable pineapple.  (Did you know that you can plant the top of a pineapple and grow a new one too!  Just plant that top part of the pineapple and take care of it like a plant.  I guess it takes about 2 years to grow a new pineapple... mine is about 2 months in so it just looks like the top of an old pineapple.)

Cut the pineapple into strips as thin as possible.  I got about 2 1/2 dozen slices out of my pineapple and all I had was a sharp knife.

You can skip this step if you want.  I put my pineapple slices into food coloring to make different colored flowers.  Just soak for a few minutes.

Pat the slices dry and lay out the pineapple slices on parchment paper.  Excess moisture will just make this whole process take longer.  Heat in the oven at about 225 degrees in 30 minute spans.  Flip them and cook for another 30 minutes.  You'll do this a couple times until they are mostly dried out (mine didn't completely dry out) and the edges are crispy and a bit curly.

You can dry them flat or you can put them into cupcake tins make more of a flower shape.  I used mini cupcake pans to get the shape I wanted.

And the end product on my pina colada cupcakes!  Some people may not like the texture of them, but they remind me of thick fruit roll up.  Kind of chewy with a good pineapple flavor.

August 13, 2012

Glass Etching!

Glass etching is one of my new favorite crafts!  It is super easy and looks fantastic!

I ventured into glass etching for the first time with a gift for a friend.  I bought a glassware set, a decanter, and a metal tray to put it all on.  Then I also bought some etching cream, which I had to buy online cause you can't buy it in Chicago... ugh.  Etching cream and spray paint.  I wonder what else you can't buy in Chicago.

It's easy to do the etching itself.  All you have to do is use contact paper or painters tape to make your design on the glass.  Then put on the etching cream and leave for about 15 minutes.

I used two different designs for the glasses.  The above shows the stripes, and the other design is in the top picture.  It is hard to tape on rounded surfaces, so I recommend trying to keep to flat ones when you start out.  The tape cannot have any bubbles in the edges or the etching cream will get under it.

The last step is to just wash off the etching cream and it's done!  My design for the decanter was to have a solid band at the smallest part of the glass then it becomes less as you move out.  It may be a bit hard to see in the photo though.

I highly recommend this project to anyone who wants to add a bit of interest to their glassware or a gift to someone else!