Friday, 25 October 2013

Finger Buns

Once a week I buy finger buns for my kids to have in their lunchboxes.  I found a couple of recipes to make my own and I found one to try.

This Week's Pin:  Finger Buns
Who's This For:  My Kids
Price:  $3.20 for 5

The website, had a simple recipe with great photos to make these really appealing.  I followed the recipe but already noticed a few things that needing altering.

Here's my modified recipe:

475 g plain strong bread flour
75 g caster sugar
1 sachet of dried yeast
1 egg, lightly beaten
150 ml lukewarm milk
40g butter, cubed

So the technique is very simple.  Place the flour and the sugar in the mixer.  Don't forget to use a kneading attachment (shaped like a hook).

The original recipe was for 35g milk powder and 150ml lukewarm water.  I didn't have any milk powder so I used regular milk.   Bread recipes tend to be basic combinations of flour, water and yeast, but sweet breads and buns use milk instead of water.

Add the yeast to the lukewarm milk and stir.  Leave the milk a couple of minutes for the yeast to begin to activate.  This is usually left longer when you are making traditional dough however, I don't want the milk to get cold again.

Add milk to flour and egg and knead for 4 minutes.

Add the butter, spoonfuls at a time and continue to knead for a further 6 minutes.  The dough really struggled to incorporate the butter at this point.  Next time, I'd consider adding the butter with the milk as I think it would work better.

Nevertheless, I've got the dough ready.  As you can see, it's not as smooth as a bread dough but I'm hopeful the end product will be great.

I placed the dough in a greased pan and placed in my oven for an hour.  My oven has a defrost/rise dough function so I can leave it there and it'll do it's magic.

The dough didn't rise as well as it usually does.  Fresh out of the oven, they are brown, but dense and haven't risen.

OK, bin and try again.  This time, I can put my changes into action.

Place ingredients in bowl.  Add yeast to warm milk and rest.  Add butter with milk and eggs and mix.  Now that's a much better looking dough.

Out of the oven, and iced.  They look pretty good.  Taste?  Meh.  I'm looking for a bun that's super soft and fluffy.  Not like a cake but more like very light bread.  Sadly, I didn't get that.

So today's result is a 'Meh'.  Time for further research and try a different recipe next time.


“Try a thing you haven’t done three times. Once, to get over the fear of doing it. Twice, to learn how to do it. And a third time to figure out whether you like it or not.”
   Virgil Thomson

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Witch Shoe Buckles

Our school is performing 'The Wizard of Oz' next week.  I've volunteered to help with costumes.  So far I've made:

1. Kentucky Tie (like Colonel Sanders (KFC) wears)
2. 1 Cocktail Hat (to match the other 10 existing hats)
3. 11 Cummerband Sequin Sashes for the Poppy Dancers (you know, that part where Dorothy falls asleep in the flowers on her way to Emerald City).

The last thing I need to make is a pair of shoe buckles for that old Wicked Witch of the West.  I searched through Pinterest and couldn't find a Pin for making my own buckles.  There are plenty of costume companies that sell shoes with buckles, or buckles on their own but I've got 24 hours and need to make it myself.  Then I found this Pin.

This Week's Pin:  Witch Shoe Buckles
Who's This For:  The Witch in the School Musical
Price:  Zero - make it from what you have

The website, craftysisters-nc.blogspot explains the steps to create a fantastic with cake with shoes as the base with green buckles on the shoes.  

I'm only interested in the shoes but the variety of buckles shown was definitely food for thought.  The website doesn't have a template for me to use however, the shapes of the buckles below gave me ideas for my own.

I used an old colouring-in book and removed the cardboard cover.  I sketched a buckle shape and cut it using a craft knife.

When it was done, I traced it to make an identical buckle.

Using PVA (wood) glue, I covered the buckles and then sprinkled with green glitter.  Use whatever you have - silver, gold leftover from Christmas.  You could even spray paint them if you have that on hand.

When dry, I covered in Mod Podge because I realised that Mod Podge will seal and glue and stiffen all in the one go!  I gave it another sprinkle with more green glitter.

I painted the back with silver paint and once the mod podge dried clear, I painted a fine line of silver around the top side of the buckle.  The mod podge transformed the texture of the buckle from cardboard to a soft, supple, latex feel, it bends but can hold it's shape and won't tear.
To wear the buckle over your shoe, simply make a loop of black elastic and thread it through the buckle and stitch.   Then, it simply slips over the end of your shoe and the elastic holds it tightly.

Well, I hope Witchy likes them and I think they'll stand out on stage.  Just what I was looking for.  Would I do anything differently next time?  Yes, I think the holes are too large, I'll make them more narrow next time.  Preparing for Halloween?  Make some for yourself.

"The moral of Snow White is never eat apples."
   Lemony Snicket

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Halloween Makeup

My daughter received an invitation to a Halloween Party for the other night.
"But it's not Halloween yet," I puzzled.
"It's a few weeks early, I know, but won't it be fun?!" came the reply.

So, this week's Pin.

This Week's Pin:  Dia De Los Muertos Makeup
(Day of the Dead Makeup)
Who's This For:  My Un-dead Daughter
Price:  Under $10

In Australia, the majority of the population do not participate in Halloween, but my kids have always enjoyed it.  So, when the invitation came for a Halloween-themed party, we were all very excited at the thought of gruesome faces and tattered costumes.  My daughter decided to go as a 'Dead Fairy'.  I suggested we get inspiration from the Day of the Dead Pins.  The makeup has such ugly-pretty features that Tyra Banks would love.

I found this Pin, showing the 'map' of the details for the traditional Day of the Dead design. Dia de Los Muertos (day of the dead) is Nov 2 and is celebrated as All-Souls day by Catholics and originates in Latin America.

Fantastic! I can see the specific layout of the features I need to do.  But, my daughter doesn't want the bit at the top, the nose, the wiggles at the bottom, the swirls on the cheeks or the loveheart on the forehead.  Oh, so, um, it's not really Day of the Dead design is it?

Perhaps I can coax her for a little extra detail once we get started.

I bought white eyeshadow, silver eyeshadow and a cheap black kohl pencil from Priceline for under $10. I also had some black eyeshadow at home. 

I started with white eyeshadow all over her face.

Then I drew circles around her eyes and filled it in with black eyeshadow.  The black features of the Day of the Dead makeup is to replicate the hollows of a skull.  So you should have the point of the nose blackened, the eye sockets and the teeth accentuated in the jaw.

 She then asked for her eyes to 'dribble'.

 The lips were coloured with purple lipstick (you could do black) and outlined with black kohl pencil.

 I added the lines on the mouth to represent the skull teeth.

Her hair is long, so I tied it up in a bow.  Like to know how?  Take a look at the video here.

It turned out really well.  She wanted a very simplistic design and I couldn't convince her to add more detail, but I was liking it nonetheless.

The costume I made and she really loved it.  Everything was shredded and torn just the way my daughter imagined.  As for the fairy wings, I cut them out of cotton drill, sewed them together and then smothered them in mod podge (we all need a jar of that).  It gave the wings a leathery look with enough stiffness to stand up, but with a sag that a dead fairy would need.  

As Halloween is a few weeks away, we can replicate this and enjoy it again.  This time, I'm adding swirls and a big coloured flower just the way Dia de Los Muertos should be!


'Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out 
 Contagion to this world.'            ~William Shakespeare