On Etsy

Homemade fun Pretzels!

My guys LOVE soft pretzels! I use my breadmaker for a lot of fun things- it makes things so much simpler. I also use Pillsbury’s Hot Roll mix as the base for most of my homemade breads. Set your breadmaker to the dough setting, add the Hot Roll Mix, 1&1/4 cup hot water, the yeast packet, an egg (I like to use the Omega 3 eggs-but the egg is really optional), seasonings (I used italian seasoning for these), toss in about a tablespoonful of wheat germ and flaxseed meal. In 1&1/2 hour take the dough out, take a small piece at a time and roll into a long cylinder on a floured surface-here’s where the little guys love to help-then shape into a pretzel. Bake for apprx. 10 minutes (on a greased cookie sheet or pizza pan), take out and lightly brush top of pretzel with butter and sprinkle on Parmesan cheese. Bake for another 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Take out and serve with pizza sauce or plain. You can also substitute cinnamon sugar (omit the italian seasonings) instead of the parmesan for a special treat!

Reupholstering the mini couch!

This couch just about made it to the curb. I was about to toss it out, when my husband said “Can’t you just iron something on it?” “Hmmmm,” I thought, “I think I can!” I had already tried making a vinyl “slipcover” but couldn’t figure out how to keep it in place, so I bagged that idea. Using my husband’s brilliant idea, I made a new slipcover (one that could be ironed). Then, after I was finished I ironed on this heat bond stuff (basically a double sided fusible webbing) to the wrong side of the fabric. After it was in place and cooled off I peeled off the paper backing, positioned the slipcover as perfectly and snugly as possible (I used a staple gun to affix the material to the bottom of the couch) then I ironed it right onto the couch. The lady at the fabric store said she didn’t know if it would work or not-but it did! It’s holding up to three active boys (and a Daddy) and looks 100% better! Next, I’m going to tackle our kid sized chair-they just love the kid sized furniture. For more fun ideas keep checking back and for your own custom made children and babies items e-mail me at shannon@coffeycreationsforkids.com !

Some Green and Some New!

I refashioned this small women’s turtleneck (green!) for an adorable 4 year old and paired it with a sweet pair of pants with floral embroidery to coordinate (not green!). The pants are made with an elastic waistband for easy on and off and all seams are finished using a serger.  The flowers on the pants are worked using a lazy daisy stitch and french knot stamens, the viney pattern is made using a modified stem stitch.  The coordinating fun springy hat is also hand embroidered with a similar floral pattern using soft turquoise, sage green, coral and light tawny brown coordinating colors. For your own custom children’s and babies creations e-mail me at shannon@coffeycreationsforkids.com !

Capturing the moment!

I do have the cutest little boys in the whole world, you know. Okay, I might be a little bit biased, but they ARE mine! If you look very closely you will see that little Leonard has a messy face-but I know my little guy and if  had said-here let mommy clean your face, he would have hopped down off the chair and run away as fast as those little legs would carry him! The first photo shows my fun note card of my littlest guy. Who doesn’t love getting letters? And hand made personalized ones?!!

I have seriously dabbled in photography for many years and have always had trouble with red eye, lighting, and camera speed. Here are a few things that I’ve figured out through trial and error, and I must share for all you moms (or anyone out there taking photos of children!!) because nothing brings a bigger smile to my face than seeing photos of my little guys!

Red Eye: The red eye I finally figured out you could get rid of by using natural lighting or a flash that you can attach to your camera. The point and shoots or even the nicer cameras (SLR) with the attached flash almost always give you red eye-the flash is just too close to the camera lens. You don’t need a big fancy one, just one that is higher up than your attached one-Ritz makes a nice one for about 100$, it’s also small and easy to take on and off.

Camera speed: Unfortunately you just have to get a camera that actually takes the picture when you press the button-or you’ve lost the picture! You can take off the red eye setting and use natural lighting to lessen the delay somewhat, but then you’re limited to hoping for good lighting and not getting a blurry photo.

Lighting-This has been my latest major breakthrough! I’ve always preferred natural lighting and an attached flash (using the flash pointing up or to the side to bounce the light off of a wall or ceiling to diffuse the harsh flash light). The colors are just so much prettier- you don’t have the shadows and you can actually see the colors and things around your subject. But then I’ve been dependent on the weather-taking photos inside near a big window or door, or outside in cloudy conditions or overcast really make for the best shots (where you can actually see the color of your subjects eyes).

However, I’ve just recently discovered this Light Sphere thing- I can’t believe how well it works. It’s actually a flash diffuser-so the flash doesn’t give the harsh shadows and the colors are much more natural. Now I can take photos anywhere and not worry about the lighting at all-honestly it’s unbelievable to me. For years, I’ve struggled with this! Check it out at garyfong.com, this guy is a genius, I tell you! He even has tutorials on his site to tell you exactly how to use it, and photos to show you the difference with the flash, without, and with the Light Sphere. They also have a small one to use with point and shoots, but I haven’t tried that one out yet.

Anyway, that’s about it for now. Keep checking back to see what else I’ve discovered-I’ll be sure to share it! And e-mail me at shannon@coffeycreationsforkids.com for your own custom made children’s items!

Snowman PB&J’s

These snowmen are too cute in their jelly hats and scarves! Not to mention too easy to make. Cut out the bread with a snowman shaped cookie cutter-or even let your little guy or girl do it.  I used small chocolate chips for the eyes and buttons, a larger butterscotch chip for the nose, a smear of jelly (jam actually spreads more easily), a bit of powdered sugar for the snow falling, vanilla yogurt for the snow covered ground, and cut up brownies for the tree. This is great fun for a snowy day at home! Keep checking back for more fun stuff to do with your kids! E-mail me at shannon@coffeycreationsforkids.com for your own custom made children’s items!

Cooking with Kids-White Chocolate Pretzel Recipe

Okay, so they’re not making white chocolate pretzels in this photo-I know! But, I couldn’t help it! These photos just make me smile-I love the silly chef hats! I can hear the chatter now-“It’s MY turn to stir! Can I have a taste? Pleeeaase?”

But, seriously, this is one of my favorite things to make with my little guys! We make tons of these every year to give as gifts to family, friends, teachers, and ourselves, of course. They find it hard to wait till the pretzels are hardened and I find them sneaking in to get more when they think I’m not watching! This is SO easy to do you will be shocked! And, if they’re not perfect looking? Who cares? They taste amazing!

Shannon’s Secret (not really) White Chocolate Pretzel Recipe

Ingredients

White Vanilla Melts (can be purchased at grocery store -sometimes only during the holiday season-or Walmart  and JoAnn Fabric’s in their candy section).

Bag of Mini Pretzels.

Directions

Pour about 1&1/2 cups vanilla melts on a microwave safe plate or pie plate. Microwave on high 50 seconds, take out, do another 50 seconds, probably needs another 40 seconds (depends on microwave). Do in increments because if they get heated for too long it gets clumpy. Also, you know it’s ready when you can take a small spatula and stir it and it is mostly all melted. A few lumps (non melted pieces) is fine!

Take out of microwave. Stir with spatula and keep to one side of the plate. Put a handful of pretzels on the other size of the plate. Take your spatula and gently scoop some white vanilla melt on top of the pretzel, turn the pretzel over with a fork to make sure it is adequately covered then pick up with the fork and put on a sheet of wax paper.

Variations

1.To let your kids help you can let the vanilla melts sit for several minutes (even as long as 5-10 minutes) after they are melted and stirred. They will cool off but not harden.

2. You can let your child try to coat the pretzel or make it even a little more fun and let them make pretzel “haystacks”. Put the pretzels in a ziploc bag and let them crunch then up with a small rolling pin. Dump the pretzel pieces on the pie plate, mix with the vanilla melts, then scoop small stacks onto the wax paper.

3. Add nonpareils or small bits of candy to the top of the pretzels (before the white chocolate hardens).

4. Instead of pretzels used crunched up candy canes for “candy cane bark”!

*Pretzels will usually harden in 3-5 minutes. Have fun!

Micro-Mini Accordion albums/books

These micro-mini albums and books are a delight to all who view them! Not only is this a great way to utilize those index prints that you get when you order photos, but they make great gifts. Tie them on a gift box for an extra surprise! They’re small enough that you could put several in your purse (or Dad’s wallet) to show off your little sweeties wherever you go! My little guys love them and carry them around to show their friends. Simply cut out the little index prints, attach to card stock, bend accordion style to make the accordion album, or cut several mini “pages”, bend in the middle and secure with a staple. Decorate with ribbon, adhesive ribbon (to make the book have a “spine”), buttons -whatever you feel like! For your own custom paper products/art e-mail me at shannon@coffeycreationsforkids.com !

Baby Boy Bibs

These sweet baby boy bibs were made especially for new baby Jacob! Khaki and cream with a touch of pale blue are the colors in his nursery- what beautiful color combinations! One khaki bib has a baby Jaguar and “Jacob” on it, the other khaki bib has the baby’s monogram on it, and the light blue bib has the baby’s first name and first initial. The Jaguar is hand embroidered using a combination of straight stitches, back stitches, split stitches and french knots, “Jacob” on this bib is done in an ivory backstitch. The khaki bib with the baby’s monogram is done in white french knots, and the light blue bib has the baby’s first name and first initial in a wrapped backstitch of white and khaki for a stripey effect. For your own personalized baby items e-mail me at shannon@coffeycreationsforkids.com !

Lyla Rabbit and Book Set

The Tale of Lyla Rabbit was inspired by the real baby Lyla before she was even born! Lyla’s mother and father picked out fun bunny bedding and loved all Beatrix Potter things. I started by creating some original artwork to go with baby Lyla’s room (click here to see the canvas), and then the inspiration hit! Why not write a story about a girl bunny rabbit?!  Meet Lyla Rabbit and read her very own story! Lyla Rabbit just wants to collect enough flowers to make a ring for her head. However, she is sidetracked by a yellow cat and a stone rabbit. To view and read the Lyla Rabbit Book in its entirety click here. And then, of course, baby Lyla had to have her very own Lyla Rabbit! Lyla Rabbit  is hand made from a soft light brown furry material. Her eyes, nose and mouth are hand embroidered using a darker brown embroidery floss. Lyla Rabbit comes with a pink cape that has hand embroidered flower accents worked using silk ribbon embroidery and regular floss embroidery. An “L” is embroidered in french knots on the top right side of the cape. The cape also has a white satin ribbon tie to allow it to be taken on and off. A basket for picking up Jane Magnolia blossoms and for carrying strawberries also comes with Lyla Rabbit and has a pretty pink ribbon adorning it. The basket comes with pink flower petals with hand painted stamens and four “rather large”  hot pink strawberries with green accents and tops. Lyla Rabbit even has her own mini version of “The Tale of Lyla Rabbit” book. Click here to see the Lyla Rabbit mini blanket, too! Email me at shannon@coffeycreationsforkids.com for your own personalized coffey creations!

Happy New Year! Hats and Noise Makers

These fun New Year’s Hats were made of scraps of wool felt and fabric. The “Happy New Year” was written on in Elmer’s glue and then glitter was shaken on. The noisemakers are recycled cans spiced up with beads, scrapbooking paper, ribbon, chenille balls, small round mirrors, faux jewels, buttons, ribbon, and recycled thread spools, all put together with a hot glue gun. The key is to have the can opener that detaches the lid from the can completely-the lid and the can are also left dull (not razor sharp!) when using this type of can opener. Put beads, beans, rice or whatever you want inside the cans, then hot glue the top right back on! Or, hot glue another can inside the first one for a variety of fun looks! These noisemakers were a hit-I also used some elmers glue and glitter to put the child’s first initial on their very own noisemaker. Not the crafty type? Or you’d like a special gift for a new mom?  E-mail me about custom made children’s items at shannon@coffeycreationsforkids.com.