Thursday, February 10, 2011

Flops

Did you know that Jelly Belly beans that are less than perfect are called Belly Flops?  Isn't that cute?  They taste just as good and are less expensive than the Jelly Belly beans that do make the cut.  That just illustrates how sometimes mistakes can be a wonderful thing.

Based on your previous experience with my blog, you may have gotten the impression that all of our little projects always go exactly as expected and turn out perfectly--not so--we are full of mistakes over here, and we are definitely not afraid to fail!  I just thought I'd highlight two of our recent "flops."
For years I've heard about people melting their old, broken crayons down to make fun new crayons, and I've wanted to try making some, too.  But I've been reluctant, mostly because I was afraid the crayons would stick in my pan and/or ruin it.  A few weeks ago, my crafting hero, Valerie, posted about making Easy Crazy Crayon Party Favors over at her blog: Frugal Family Fun Blog.  She assured me that the crayons would pop right out of the pan once they were cool...and I believed her.  So we decided to make our own cute, multi-colored, heart-shaped crayons.

First we gathered up all of our broken crayons and took the paper off.  Next the girls sorted the crayons into color groups, and we broke the crayons into my heart-shaped mini-muffin tin.  We used different shades of 2 or 3 different colors per well.

Next, we placed the tin in the oven, which was pre-heated to 250, until the crayons were melty--about 10 minutes. I carefully took the muffin tin out of the oven and allowed it to cool.  And that's when things started to go terribly wrong. 

My crayons did not pop right out of the pan.  Well three of them did, but the others were stubbornly stuck.  I pounded.  I flexed.  A few more came out.  I ran hot water over the back of the pan...a few more came out, but, of course, they were melty so they stained the sink (Hubby thought it was a diabolical plot on my part to get him to install a new sink, since I'm unhappy with the way ours picks up stains without us even trying too hard)...and there were still a few stuck in my poor little pan.  I put it in the freezer, then repeated my pounding and flexing routine.  A few more popped out, and one broke.  Ugh! 

By this time, I was beyond frustrated, and I had three 3 year olds telling me "I'm hungry," over and over again, even though I calmly explained to them over and over again that I would make them lunch as soon as I got the darn crayons out of the darn pan.  I swear I tripped over one of those kids every time I turned around, and there was still one more crayon stubbornly stuck in the pan.  Back to the sink to run more hot water...even if I had to melt that whole crayon back down and send it down the garbage disposal into the septic tank, it was going to come out of that pan! 

Finally, success!  My heart-shaped mini-muffin pan appears to be permanently stained (I'm OK with this, because the muffins I made in it never came out looking very heart-shaped anyway), but the kids did have a great time coloring with their new crazy-heart crayons.


 In all fairness to my crafting hero Valerie, if I had had a pan like hers, I'm sure my crayons would have popped right out, too.  How can I be so sure?  Because we had some extra broken crayons, and I put them in my regular mini-muffin tin, which has a Teflon non-stick coating, to melt--those crayons really did pop right out, with no staining--I didn't even have to bang.  I barely had to turn the pan over.

Have you ever noticed that once your day starts to go downhill, it keeps going down faster and faster?  This is because of the law of gravity.  I know this because I've taken a lot of physics classes, and that's one of the things they teach you about in physics classes.
On that same day, I decided it would be fun to make these cute little string hearts that I found in my February issue of Family Fun magazine.  I even thought it would be fun to make a whole bunch of them to hang on the little pine tree that I shoved in a pot on our porch before Christmas, because I've wanted a "porch pine" for a few years now, but am too cheap to buy an actual porch pine.  Yes, it's still there (because it's frozen in place--it's been a little cold over here). 
I was wrong.  It was so far away from being fun.  Well, it started out OK.  I taped rulers to the table so the kids would know about how long to cut the yarn, and it was great fun for them to use the scissors.  I think they also got a kick out of the independence of being able to cut the strings to length all by themselves.  While they were cutting, I made the glue.  It did not go well.  It was liquid, liquid, liquid...and then all of a sudden it was this huge glop of glueyness.  This should have been my first clue. 

I added a bunch more water to the glue to make it less of a lump and more of a liquid, but the project was doomed from the start.  The girls were good sports--each of them did about half of their hearts before deciding the whole thing was just too sticky and messy for them--but Bubby flat out refused to even try his.

I finished the girls' hearts, then made one for Bubby, but by then even I was ready to admit that this had been not one of my best ideas ever.  I saved the extra cut yarn, thinking that maybe I would still make half a dozen small ones to hang on my tree, but I think that yarn is destined to become nesting material for my bird friends...and my poor little Christmas tree is destined to remain Christmasy, frozen in place on the front porch until it thaws (maybe we can dye some blown eggs for it in the spring).

So, as you can see, we're not perfect: in fact, I like to refer to myself as "imperfect on purpose."  But we do have a lot of fun, even so.


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