I first saw these little trees on Pinterest made in green polymer clay. Following the link I was taken to a blog that seemed to have gotten the image off Pinterest so I can’t tell where the original idea came from. I love these little trees so much but I wanted to make mine in white polymer to make them look snow laden. Imagine how cute they would be grouped as a forest in the centre of a dinner table? Here’s how I made mine:
Starting with white polymer, oven cured clay bought at the craft store, form a small cone. Using nail scissors, which are perfect because of the curve of the blades, snip from the top all around the cone flicking up slightly as you pull the scissors out. Make sure that you are snipping in an irregular way so that your branches aren’t lined up one on top of the other.
Follow the manufacturer’s directions for baking. (mine was about 20 minutes at 250 degrees) and you’re done! If you are going to make a number of trees make sure that your clay cones are different sizes for a more natural grouping.
I really love it when I can take a traditional craft and use it in a way that’s not stuffy. I’ve been admiring marbled papers a lot lately but they look so very traditional and staid in most uses. Then I stumbled upon a whole lot of tutorials on both Pinterest and Youtube for marbling with nail polish and had an aha moment. These mugs use the same basic method as paper marbling but the end result is anything but ordinary and I did them all using dollar store mugs and the cheapest nail polish I could find at the drug store. In about an hour I had some beautiful one-of-a-kind mugs in my favourite colours.
- Plain, smooth ceramic mugs (mine are from the dollar store)
- Whatever nail polishes appeal to you (two colours seem to work well, I chose the cheapest polish at the drugstore)
- A disposable container deep enough to dip the mug into or one that you will use for this purpose only.
- Fill container with warm water
- Carefully drop or pour first nail polish colour into the water. Try not to pour too quickly because the polish will settle on the bottom and you want it to remain floating on the surface of the water.
- Pour the second colour of polish into the first and swirl it with a toothpick. Note: You’ll have to work pretty quickly at this stage because the polish forms a film on the surface and becomes useless.
- Dip the mug straight down into the water and polish and lift straight back out.
- Repeat process for each mug. Clean away any stray blobs and film of polish with toothpick in between dippings.
- Dry on newspaper, clean and sip away!
Spring is a time for freshness and cleanliness. Time to cleanse the palate after the overload of chocolate on Easter weekend. In other words… time for lemons.
Light, delicate and fresh lemon flavouring is used equally as successfully in savoury and sweet dishes, in body products and in home care products.
How to choose the perfect lemon: Usually the adage is “don’t squeeze the fruit” but in the case of lemons ignore that. The best way to assess a lemon is to give it a slight squeeze (we’re not talking here about a death grip). If the lemon is rock hard it’s no good, probably over or under ripe and won’t give you much juice. Too soft or mushy is definitely overripe and not a good choice. A lemon that gives slightly to a gentle squeeze will be the best bet. Look for a smooth peel that will indicate a thinner skin and a juicier fruit, avoid bumpy fruit. Avoid tinges of green which indicate an under-ripe fruit or a pale colour which means an older fruit past its prime. In hindsight I think the samples that I chose the other day that are pictured above have quite bumpy skin and if you look at the cut fruit you can see that the skin is quite thick. Apparently thinner skinned lemons would have been juicier.
How to store lemons: I love the look of a bowl of lemons on the kitchen counter just as much as I like the look of a vase of flowers but apparently that’s about the worst way to store lemons if you are looking for longevity. According to Cooks Illustrated the best way to store lemons is in the refrigerator in a sturdy plastic bag not the flimsy one from the grocers veggie stand. CI did a test of different storage methods and the clear winner was the plastic bag in which the lemons lasted four times longer than if stored on the counter. Apparently loose in the fridge is better than room temperature but not nearly as good as the plastic bag.
Tomorrow I’m going to share an amazing lemon pudding recipe that is an old family favourite and Thursday I plan on sharing a recipe for a home-made lemon hand scrub. Here’s hoping that life hands you lemons this week!