Friday, August 3, 2012

A Really Fun, Easy, & Cheap Craft

Matthew's back from Florida!  He's been back since Monday, and I've just been trying to get back into the swing of things.  I've barely been on Facebook, not at all on Twitter, and I don't think I've even checked my gmail yet.  I told myself I'd get started on Monday, but I know that's the lazy way out, and truthfully, this post should have been done last week!  So here goes!

Raising Bean
I love my subscription to Disney's Family Fun Magazine.  There's at least one thing I want to try in every issue, be it a recipe, a craft, or even clever mom solutions that readers submit.  I'm not much of a crafter or a chef, but I have tried many of their ideas, and have many more ripped out and stashed away because I really really want to try them!

In the latest issue there were a bunch of crafts that featured using sticks and stones.  The one that caught my attention was the Pebble Plaque (Family Fun Aug 2012, pg 63).  This looked so cool and easy that I couldn't *not* try it!  Basically it's a mosaic using simple dough for the base and pebbles for the design.

"This project starts with a trip outdoors to collect a basket of small, beautiful stones for an all-natural mosaic."  So, outdoors we headed.  Living so close to the Lehigh River has its advantages.  One of them being an endless supply of river rocks!  Lucas helped me pick out rocks he liked.  He also threw back the rocks I picked that he *didn't* like.  In the end, I had to give him the bucket to fill with whatever he chose, and I put the smallest, flattest stones I could find in a plastic zip bag.  I didn't bring home nearly as many as I wanted to, but it turned out I had plenty!
When we got home I rinsed all the dirt, mud, and grime off of the stones and gave them time to dry.  Then I tried to figure out what designs I would make with them in the dough.  Once I had my rocks set up the way I wanted them, I went off the grid... I painted them.
With nail polish.
I don't have any other paint in the house, ok?  Yeah, I could've left them unspoiled, but my creative side was waking up, and I couldn't leave them plain.  Except for little turtle-y over there.  I don't have green nail polish. ;)

The next step was to make the dough, so here's the recipe and instructions for that:

3 cups of flour
1 cup salt
1 1/4 cups water (plus up to an additional 1/4 cup as needed)

Heat the oven to 275.

Use an electric mixer on medium speed to beat the ingredients together until a ball forms.  If the mixture is still crumbly, add more water.

Knead the dough until it's smooth.  Divide the dough into three balls (I got a little creative again in this part.  After dividing the dough, I added food coloring, and kneaded it in.).  Place each ball on a piece of foil and flatten it into a disk.  Press pebbles into the dough to create a design.

Transfer the foil and dough onto a baking sheet.  Bake the plaques for two hours, then let them cool completely.  Check to see if any pebbles are loose; if so, remove them, add a drop of tacky glue, and replace them.

Here's our end result:

I think they came out great, and they were super easy and fun to make, not to mention free!  I would definitely recommend trying it yourself.