Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Elmo & Cookie Monster Pom Pom

These pom poms make such cute gifts, especially for kids. You can even make Christmas tree ornaments out of it. I made these Sesame Street characters : Elmo and Cookie Monster pom poms as a birthday favor for my son's friends at daycare. I came across these pom poms on this site, and thought this was the most adorable pom poms ever. And as luck would have it, my son's 2nd Birthday party was Sesame Street themed, so these were just perfect.

As this was my first time making any pom poms, I used this tutorial to learn the basics. For these pom poms, I used 4 fingers to roll the yarn to get the appropriate diameter. 

The most difficult part was trimming it. Once I started cutting, it was hard to know when to stop, and most of the times, at the end of trimming, I did not have a round pom pom. So this technique of trimming will come very handy. 

For Elmo's eyes I used googly eyes which are available at any craft store. The nose is a readymade orange pom pom, as I was not very successful in making such a small pom pom out of wool. The mouth is cut out of felt. 

Initally, to paste eyes, nose and mouth, I used 'All purpose glue', but it did not work well on 'not so thick/even' pom poms. Even the ones on which I thought it stuck good, my son took less than a second to rip the eyes off. So I had to come up with another alternative which would survive toddlers hands: hot glue it was, and it worked like a charm. 

I attached a keychain to it which made it easy for kids' little hands to hold it. You can tie a ribbon to make an ornament out of it.

After 15 pom poms and stiff hands, I thought no more pom poms for a while. But other day, Kabir saw some orange yarn in my stash and asked if it was for 'Zoe' - an orange character from Sesame Street.  :-)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Reindeers : Chocolate Covered Marshmallows

Aren't these perfect for the holiday season. I made these Chocolate covered Marshmallow Reindeers for Holiday Potluck Dinner at my office today. My team was responsible for getting the Desserts which was just perfect for me. The idea of chocolate coated marshmallows has been going around in my head since last few days, and so I decided to put that thought to work. I had seen few Reindeer cake pops on the internet, but I had marshmallows on my brain. So after little search, I found this tutorial. 

So yesterday, fighting the ice storm and slick roads here, I decided to get the ingredients for the pops on my way back from office. After saving myself from two falls, I managed to reach home(with the ingredients) in one piece. Rohit was totally shocked over my pit stop in this weather. Schools and many offices were shut, and I was out shopping for reindeer pops. It sounded funny when he put it that way. 

Before I started making it, I thought using marshmallows would be easier than cake pops, as I would be skipping the big step of making cake and rolling it into balls. But I was so wrong. Marshmallows was way tougher to work with.

Anyway, Kabir and I started the project with much enthusiasm. Kabir sat with me through the whole process, watching intently at first, and then trying to eat all my ingredients. By  the time it was all done, Kabir had had his dinner of pretzels, marshmallows and cinnamon dots with ocassional licking of chocolate bowl. 

Few things to remember while working with Marshmallows: 
1) Marshmallows are not frozen before coating with chocolate(unlike cake pops), so it takes longer for it to dry. 
2) Marshmallows are soft, so getting any decorations to stick to it, is not very easy. In this case, putting in pretzel antlers took some practice. I tried all sorts of ways, but what worked the best for me was scoring the sides(not top) of the marshmallow beforehand. While dipping a marshmallow into the chocolate, keep an eye on where you had scored it. And once its half dry, insert the antlers into the scored parts. 

While I was happy with the end result, my brain was working hard thinking how to feed real dinner to Kabir who was all high on sugar.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Flower Hair bands

Making these Flower Hair Bands has been one of my favourite projects. I have realised I enjoy working with felt and hand sewing more than anything else. I made these hairbands for my nieces in India. The girls asked me for the felt flowers long back, and I decided it was high time I made it. So before my last trip to India two months back, I completed this project to take it back with me. While I was on it, I made one for my cousin and myself, as I could not stop making these flowers. I used eco-fi felt for most, but I could not get all the nice shades of pink in it. So I ordered semi wool felt from etsy, and it felt so nice to work with. I don't think I can go back to working with the other felt now. This felt looks and feels so much better. It also cuts nice, and my flowers lay flat. Long story short, I will be ordering many more bundles of this felt. Love it.

This one flower band is for my younger niece Jahnavi. I used a soft broad band for her but I still doubt she will keep it long on her head though.

This 3 flower band is for my older niece Ananya. In the picture below, one flower looks blue, but it was actually more lavender.

This one is for my dear cousin Mini(Didi).I made a similar one for myself too.I still have to make one for my sister Henna before she visits me this month(hopefully). I had thought of making bands for us with 3 flowers, but when I tried it on, Rohit called me 'champa', and I decided to keep it minimum for the adults. And I think all of us would be wearing the one flower band more often than the 3 flower band.  But my sis as usual wants 6 flower band too..lol. Love her. 

Here is a picture where I am wearing this band I made for myself.

I wish I could have met and given these bands to my sweetest nieces personally, but as it was not a planned visit, I could not meet them.  So Didi, you would have to tell me if the girls liked it once you visit home.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Kabir's 2nd Birthday Party

This post should have been created 2 months back in October, my favourite month of the year, when my dear son Kabir was born 2 years ago. As you all know, I had to go to India at the last minute and this party had to be postponed. The new date for party was set as Nov 20th, vs Oct 30th. I am glad most of the people could make it on this new date.

The theme we decided on was Sesame Street as Kabir loves all the characters in it. The invitations were also made on the same lines. I had so much fun designing this card. Got it printed on a white linen card stock, and added a pop up Elmo on top. Then I backed it with an orange card stock to create a border.

After adding the border, this card was no longer of standard size. So I had to come up with this half envelope instead, and decorated it with balloons popping out.

Birthday Boy

Thats the birthday boy, my darling son Kabir, wearing his favourite character Elmo's shirt. It was created by a very sweet seller on etsy and she even customised it to add the number '2' on the back. I loved the way it turned out.  Kabir's hat is also made by an etsy seller. She covered this hat in her blog here.

I have been wanting to make these tissue pom poms from a while now. I made 8 of these in all bright colors. This was the last piece to go up the wall/ceiling for the party, so I was dead tired and was thinking that maybe I took up more than I could handle. As I climbed the ladder with this thought, Kabir touched my feet and said 'Good job Mama'. That made it all worth it.

I wanted to make lots of bunting for the party. So I got patches of colorful fabric and rick rack trim. It was as simple as cutting the fabric into triangles and sewing it onto the lace. This was the easiest project I made for the party.

Birthday cake had to be a chocolate cake as Kabir loves it. I added tons of chocolate chips to it, just to make something special for the kids. For cake topper, I made an Elmo out of fondant. I thought it turned out ok, but when Kabir saw it, he said its 'Papa Elmo'.... lol .. I guess it was a little fat for an Elmo.

Cake Pops
Oooh.. I had so much fun making these Elmo and Big Bird cake pops. Got this idea from Bakerella. I wanted to make Oscar and Big Bird as well, but because of lack of time, had to stick to just these two, as this was the most time consuming. Its red velvet cake pops with yummy cheese frosting added to it.  It was big hit. Kids and adults all liked the pops.

I enjoyed making these hats in all the Sesame Street characters : Elmo, Cookie Monster, Abbey, Count, Bert, Ernie. I made these out of cardstock paper, and attached a ribbon instead of an elastic for each of these, as little kids were to wear it.

Other stuff on the cake table:
Chocolate Chip cookies from Cookie Monster

Elmo Juice Boxes
Candy and Ice Cream Buffet
The candy buffet had rock candy, big suckers, sixlets, cookies, M&Ms, swedish fish and alphabets and lots of ice cream. Kabir still asks for the leftovers from this buffet. He thinks that by merrily saying 'Trick or Treat',  he would be handed another candy.

Candy Buffet

These are all the birthday banners, signs and cake toppers I made for the party.

Cake Cutting
Kabir had waited for this moment for a very long time. He was so ready to blow the candles on his cake. But, he no longer wanted to keep his hat on, so Rohit and I wore one too, in desperate attempt to encourage him to keep his on.

Party Games
We played 'Pin the nose on Elmo', 'Oscars Trash Toss'(everyone's favourite), Big Bird's Journey to Ernie(with Easter eggs), Pass the 'Ernie' and Cookie Monster Pinata. Apart from this, there were kiddie tables and chairs where kids could color or play with playdough.

Goodie Bags
I decorated plain brown bags with Elmo/Cookie Monster on one side, and 'Thank You' note on tthe other side. These bags were filled with 'Bubbles from Ernie', Sesame Street drawing books along with some more goodies. I also made crayon rolls for all the kids at the party. For the kids at Kabir's daycare,  I made Elmo and Cookie monster pom poms from wool.

I loved putting this party together for my little cookie, and his reactions and "wow's" at each step made it worth it. 
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