Cleaning Aluminum Patio Furniture

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I read a Pinterest link about using Turtle Wax to clean outdoor aluminum furniture: http://hip2save.stfi.re/2015/04/16/how-to-fix-faded-aluminum-patio-furniture-using-just-one-common-household-item/?sf=dbopznp#aa

Our pool furniture is a couple years old, so I wanted to give this cleaning tip a try.  But being the cheap crapsperson that I am, I decided to use Armor-All since I already had it in my garage.  The Armor-All was useful for cleaning off all the yellow spring pollen, but it didn’t renew the finish of the aluminum.  Not willing to give up my cheap habit of using what I already had, I switched to using some Johnson’s Paste Wax.  Here’s a before and after:

Did it make a difference?  Somewhat.  Was it worth the effort? Maybe.  Did it live up to the restore-your-aluminum-furniture-and-make-it-look-like-new promise of the original Pinterest post?  Nope.  I guess I’ll splurge on some Turtle Wax!

Bunny Bite Mini-Cupcakes

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I’m hosting a baby shower the day before Easter and am decorating with a pink bunny theme.  (It’s a girl!)  I thought mini-cupcakes would be an easy thing for people to eat as dessert, and when I saw a how-to on making these cute bunny ears, I just had to experiment.  For my trial run, I used a boxed white cake mix and canned frosting, but for the real thing, I’ll go to more trouble ;-)!  I first made the cupcakes in mini-cake pans.

Cupcake 1

While these were cooling, I put a few drops of green food coloring and about a cup of shredded coconut into a mason jar.  After numerous shakes and a little stirring to break up clumps, the coconut was grass green.

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The bunny ears were easy.  Since I was making two dozen cupcakes, I cut 24 mini-marshmallows in half, diagonally, using scissors.  I poured some pink sugar (I purchased this at Wal-Mart in the cake decorating section) on to a saucer and dipped the cut sticky side of each half-marshmallow into the sugar.  I set these parts aside.

Once the cupcakes were cool enough, I frosted them with chocolate frosting to represent dirt.  Icing these was not my strongest suit!

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Next, I spooned some green coconut onto each cupcake, gently pressing the coconut into the frosting with the back of the spoon.  Using a cooling rack for this step helped the extra coconut drop below the cupcakes and made clean-up easy.

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Finally, I put sets of bunny-ear marshmallows onto the top of each cupcake.  I gently pressed them down so they would adhere to the frosting.  Voila!  I think they’re the cutest thing ever!

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Easter Egg Crapsmanship

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My two attempts at trying a new egg-dying technique were a failure, but perhaps it wasn’t due to my crapsmanship.  This tutorial (http://www.coupons.com/thegoodstuff/dye-easter-eggs-with-shaving-cream/#) for coloring Easter eggs with shaving cream and food dye seemed easy enough.  But instead of hard-boiled eggs, I used these craft eggs I got on clearance last Easter:

Eggs 1

No spoiled eggs with this product!  I rummaged through my cabinets to find these supplies:

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I sprayed the shaving cream into the 12 compartments in the muffin tin, and then I swirled combinations of food coloring in each.  Below you’ll see Li’l Miss helping me out.

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I smushed an egg in each compartment, Eggs 6

and then covered each egg with some of the surrounding dye and shaving cream mixture.

Eggs 5

Though the original tutorial said to let the eggs sit for 15 minutes, I let mine go for over 30, just to be on the safe side.

Eggs 7

Next, I carried the muffin tin to the kitchen sink and spray-washed them all.  CRAP ALERT:  Much to my disappointment, only one egg was completely covered with dye, though it was still unimpressive.

Eggs 8

Thinking that my technique was at fault, I tried the experiment again.  This time, however, I used vivid hues of blue and red.

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Another failure!  I’ve decided that the fault in this craft was really not in the technique or in the crapsmanship.  Instead, I’m blaming it all on the eggs, and if I try this again, I’ll use the real hard-boiled one called for in the tutorial!

Best Chicken and Dumplings, With a Little Inspiration from Mom

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Several weeks ago, I shared the recipe for the best chicken and dumplings I’ve ever made (https://crapsmanship.com/2017/01/05/my-best-chicken-and-dumplings/). The recipe is definitely a keeper!  But, in a nostalgic mood for my mother’s dumplings, I made a slight revision to the dumplings ingredients.  Mom made her dumplings with a healthy dose of cornmeal.  They were light, delicious, and had an interesting and agreeable texture. So the last time I made dumplings, I substituted cornmeal for part of the flour.  I didn’t quite hit on my mom’s version, but I think this represents a good attempt.  Bon appetit! Read the rest of this entry

Roasted Okra? Yes, Please!

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I know the thought of okra causes shivers in the hearts of most northerners. And this southern girl doesn’t generally like the thought of it either!  Slimey, seedy, squishy, slippery. Yuck!  Unless you fry it, and then YUUUUMMMM!  But Dan the Man and I don’t fry anything, so fried okra has never graced our table. That is, until I tried oven-roasting it. The okra has all the crunch of the fried version but none of the grease and calories.  And it’s super simple too. Read the rest of this entry

Li’l Miss’s Reading Nook

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While Li’l Miss and her parents were on their way to her 4-year-old birthday party, Dan the  Man and I were back at her house installing this cute reading nook.  I got the inspiration from the tutorial linked at the end of this post, though I did my own measurements and sewing techniques.  All the sewing crapsmanship is hidden behind the books and dowels. Read the rest of this entry

Book Pocket Pillows

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My sweet granddaughter, Li’l Miss, is turning four this weekend. We share a love of books of all kinds, and I promised her parents I would make some book-themed decor for her bedroom. Being the girly girl that she is, Li’l Miss has a pink- and purple-themed room. How could I resist this groovy fabric?! Read the rest of this entry

Mom’s Roast Beast

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Last spring when Dan and I were in Boston for a conference, we had dinner with a friend who I hadn’t seen in years. She talked about using my mom’s brisket recipe, and my response was “Huh?” I didn’t remember a special recipe, but Dawn was kind enough to send me the original in my mom’s handwriting. Read the rest of this entry

My Best Chicken and Dumplings

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I love chicken and dumplings.  I adore it.  I crave it on a cold, wintry day.  I desire it even in the middle of a hot summer.  Chicken and dumplings makes me happy.  So when Dan the Man said that my latest version was the best I had ever made, I knew it was far from the crapsmanship I usually do. Read the rest of this entry