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Monday, August 26, 2013

{Craft: Wizard Wands}

My big Harry Potter birthday party is coming up in, um, 5 days. HOLY COW. I'd better get busy.

This year I've had a hard time transitioning from the 'planning and thinking' stage to the 'doing and finishing' stage. Oy.

That's why this post? Short. To the point. Amen.

Cause ready or not, it's coming up this Saturday.

You can see last year's party here. It is one of the most popular posts on this blog.

 Last year's party was for Harry's birthday. This year's party is a Back to Hogwarts party, since term starts Sept. 1, and also, MY birthday party. That's right folks, I just turned 40 and I'm throwing myself a Harry Potter birthday party. People think I'm weird and childish? I don't even care.

(Updated: See 2013 Harry Potter Party here!)

One of the most popular elements at the party last year were the handmade wands that my niece, Bean, and I made. They are easy and inexpensive. They also LOOK AWESOME.

My tutorial is based off this awesome tut by majann on DeviantArt.

Last year I followed her tutorial to the letter, this year, I changed it up a little.

First of all, we will start off with these

Bamboo Skewers. A pack of 100 will run you about $3. (she uses chopsticks).

I like the skewers because I clipped them at different lengths so the wands are different sizes. They are also easier to find in the stores, and unless you are nicking them from the Chinese restaurant, cheaper as well.

You will need a glue gun and hot glue. You CAN use low temp hot glue, but it doesn't work as well in my opinion. I recommend high temp hot glue. Therefore, this is NOT NOT NOT a project for kids. The high temp hot glue, if you don't know, is SEARINGLY, SKIN PEELINGLY HOT. USE EXTREME CAUTION.

Now that I've got the ALL CAPS warning out of the way...

Step 1:

snip your skewer to the length you wish

Step 2: 

Shape your wand

Apply hot glue

 just kind of daub it on there. Slowly turn your skewer to allow it to cool (DO NOT TOUCH). Move your skewer up and down and all around to let the glue drip.

Add more and more glue.

Soon, you will have what looks like a handle.

Keep adding glue, turning, allowing to dry until you get a shape you are happy with.

I also like to add a bit of glue to the bottom of the wand to give it texture. Also, either snip the sharp tip of the skewer off, or be sure to cover it in glue. They are quite pointy.

Once you are happy with your wand shape, allow the glue to dry fully.

I use 1-3 sticks of glue per wand.

You can also cut a skewer and add to the top to make the handle more substantial if you want.

Majann adds beads and such to her's to make more texture. You can do this too, of course!

Step 3:


Inexpensive craft paint works fine. You will find yourself having to add at least 2 coats. The glue is kind of hard to cover. Paint one side, allow to dry, paint the other side, repeat. I like to use the foam brushes like I have here. The glue leaves lots of little indentations that are very easy to get to with these brushes.

Allow to fully dry.

Step 4:

Spray on some clear coat.

Allow to dry.

Once finished, I add an Ollivander's tag with the wand's info. Length, wood type, core ingredient.

And... that's it. Step back and wait for the admiration. You think I'm kidding, but I'm not. Everyone LOVED their wand last year!

A little time consuming, but so simple, and so much fun... just BEWARE THE HOT GLUE (in case I haven't made that obvious enough already!).

Wands this awesome from skewers and hot glue?

Must be magic!


Monday, August 19, 2013

{Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies}

Well, the new school year is upon us. I know a lot of people are yet to start, but Bean started his Junior year last week.

And I'm not the least bit excited about it. Not only do I hate going to bed at a 'reasonable hour' and getting up early, I hate that he's so big. Seriously with the time? Where??? I don't even understand.

He used to eat Maple and Brown Sugar Oatmeal every day before school. Every. Day. For years and years. Probably 8 years straight, that's all the boy would eat. Oatmeal, oatmeal, oatmeal. He has, of course, since discovered the joys of Waffle Crisp (which I made into cupcakes here). He still loves the oatmeal, but perhaps not quite as much.

It seemed quite necessary to make it into a cookie though, right? Yes, I thought so.

This is a super simple recipe. It took less than 10 minutes to whip up and 10 minutes to bake. Quick, easy, and a wholesome lunch box snack. You know exactly what are in these puppies.

 It doesn't matter if we love it, or hate it, the fact is, the new school year is upon us. Even if I think it's totally dumb and that time is seriously mean, I just have to deal.

Cookies help.


Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies
recipes by Tina @ Sugar Bean Bakers
yield: 12-14 three inch cookies 
or 2 dozen two inch cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened 
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 egg
1 teaspoon maple extract*
1 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats

*I like the taste and texture of the maple syrup, but it isn't maple enough for me, so I also add the extract. You can taste after adding the syrup and decide how much, if any, extract you like. 

(I make my cookies rather large, you can make them smaller. If you make them smaller, watch the baking time, start with 8 minutes, but they generally take about the same amount of time as the larger cookies)

Preheat oven to 375.

Cream together the butter & the sugars. Beat in the egg. Add in the syrup & extract (see above). Then add dry ingredients except oats. Mix well. Then add oats. 

Drop onto parchment lined, silpat lined, or greased baking sheets.
Bake for 8-11 mins. Allow to cool 5 mins before moving to cooling racks.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

{Molly Weasley's Rock Cakes: Guest Post at Bakingdom}

I'm so excited to be guest blogging for my BBF today! That's Best Blogging Friend, if you didn't know.

Darla and I "met" through what I like to call 'the magic of Harry Potter & Cupcakes'. We are both food bloggers and we are both rabid Harry Potter fans. I'd been following Darla's blog, Facebook, and twitter for a round a year. Once I was finally able to get Instagram (thank you slow android market), I started following her there too.  It was when I started posting photos of my Harry Potter party (that I was planning last summer) that our friendship really blossomed. Now, we are inseparable. Well, as inseparable as two people can be who live about 4000 miles apart! We love so much of the same stuff that it's a little scary at times. She once referred to us as 'geek soul mates'. Ha. I love that.

So, really, it seemed only fitting that I make a Harry Potter recipe.

Now, you are just going to have to apparate over to Bakingdom to see what I think Molly would whip up to send off to Hogwarts!


Monday, August 5, 2013

{Back To School Trail Mix}

I just said a dirty word up there. It starts with 'S' and ends in 'chool'.

The Bean is NOT excited that it is starting soon. Soon, as in next week. Next week my baby will begin his Junior year.

That's dumb.

Time is dumb. Mean. Mean time, mean.

When school starts I am always in need of quick lunch and after school snacks. Yes, he's a junior and he still packs his lunch. Our cafeteria? Not great.

Or good.

I recently got my latest shipment of Walkers Shortbread.

In it were packages of mini cookies! I love all things mini. I don't know why, but they just taste better when they are widdo and tiny.

The first thing I thought of, seeing their size, was trail mix. While the cookies are delicious straight out of the bag, this is just something a little different.

You can make this in any size you like, but I made a small batch.

Like any other trail mix, of course, you can add in whatever you like! This is just a good place to start.

In my Walkers shipment, they sent one of their newest products, Mini Crunchy Oatmeal Cookies. Let me just tell you, these are SO delicious. My new favorite Walkers product. Bean loved them too. They were most excellent dipped in tea, or coffee, or alone... YUM.

As always, I love that Walkers products are guaranteed to contain no GMOs, preservatives, hydrogenated fats. Antibiotics and bovine growth hormones are never given to their grass fed cows.

The classic shortbread is made of only FOUR ingredients: Flour, Sugar, Butter, and a pinch of Salt.

Walkers Shortbread products are also 100% vegetarian and certified Kosher OUD.

Walkers has extended an offer to readers of Sugar Bean Bakers. Buy 2, get one free! The promo code for this offer is: SBBSCHOOL. The offer is good today (Aug 5, 2013) through Friday, August 9, 2013.

You should definitely take advantage of this offer. They are such an awesome, wholesome treat for your children's lunchboxes or after school! Or, ya know, for you.


Back to School Trail Mix

1 Cup Cheerios
3-4 Tablespoons M&Ms Candy
3-4 Tablespoons Raisins
12 Walkers Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies

Mix & serve 

As part of the Walkers Blogger Buzz Ambassador program, I was sent this product to review. However, opinions expressed are my own.


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