Marshmallow Playdough

OK not really. I recently found myself in need of some fondant. I don’t really like the taste of fondant and I didn’t like the idea of buy a bunch of it for the tiny little project I needed it for. I remembered reading about homemade marshmallow fondant on The Decorated Cookie and went back to check out what was involved. She had included several other links so I checked those out as well. I also googled “marshmallow fondant” and read some of the recipes that popped up.

Then I decided to wing it.

Here is what I did, it is in no way a perfect recipe for this stuff. I am sure I did several things wrong. I just used things I wanted to from some sources and didn’t do things I didn’t like from others. I will share what worked and what didn’t for me. I think this stuff is pretty forgiving so just play around with it until you get what you want.

First, I thought I would grease the bowl I was going to be working in. This stuff sounded sticky and lots of recipes recommended it so it sounded like a good idea.

This is a trick I learned from my mother. I take a sandwich bag and put my hand inside. I then use my fingers to scoop up vegetable shortening, aka Crisco (That’s what I am using here. If I am using this technique to prepare a cake pan I use butter). I like it because you have super control of where the shortening is going.

Then I poured in about 2 cups of marshmallows. One recipe said to make sure you use a good brand. I used the store brand. I honestly don’t know if it made a difference.

I sprinkled 2 tbsp water over the marshmallows and then did something none of the recipes mentioned. I used a wooden spoon to mix the marshmallows and water. I just felt like they needed to be coated. I don’t know why. I will say that after I microwaved them, the ones around the edges that didn’t have water on them didn’t seem as puffy and melted. It could be I was just wanting to think that my little technique worked, but I can definitely say it didn’t hurt anything. So if you want to stir your marshmallows and water, have at it.

Microwave time was something that no one seemed to agree on. One recipe said 30-40 seconds, another said 2 minutes. I did 45 seconds at first. When they didn’t seem melted enough I added about another 25 seconds. So my total was 1 minute 10 seconds. I probably could have done longer, but in the end I don’t think it mattered.

They come out of the microwave looking like this.

As soon as you start to stir them they lose their shape and become like marshmallow soup. I had a few chunks in mine, which made me think I could have used more time in the microwave, but I am stubborn and so I just mashed the pieces of marshmallow until they smoothed out a little. I think it is ok to have a few little pieces because soon you will be using your hands to knead the mixture and everything gets really smooth then.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: I forgot to mention, before you start to stir the melted mallows coat your wooded spoon in vegetable shortening. I did this and stuff still stuck to my spoon. Really slather it on there.

I measured out 1 lb (16 oz) powdered sugar.

I had read different amounts but since I wasn’t following a recipe I couldn’t remember which amount corresponded with the amount of marshmallows I was using. So I started adding it a little at a time. A few recipes told you to add this mixture to a stand mixer (bowl and blade coated in vegetable shortening of course), but I am not about to make more dishes for myself. One bowl worked fine for me.

About this point I wished I had gotten my mixer involved. It was getting very hard to mix with the spoon. Then I thought, since you have to get your hands in it later anyways, why not get started now.

I slicked up my hands with shortening (noticing a theme here?)

And kept adding powdered sugar until the dough wasn’t sticky anymore. I ended up using about 9 ounces. I think my dough was a little too dry, but since I don’t have much experience I wasn’t sure. 8 ounces might have worked better.

OH YEAH! I almost forgot! Quite a few recipes called for greasing up your counter top or cutting board to knead the dough. I did all of the kneading inside the bowl. I am all for having to clean the fewest surfaces possible. It worked perfectly fine and made this a one bowl/one spoon project. Perfect!

I did put down some wax paper to add my coloring. The skin tone and grey weren’t too bad, but while mixing the blue my hands were completely dyed!

The next morning I had to make some green and brown and I began to wonder if there was a way to do it without turning your hands into rainbows. I started with my ball of white fondant. I flattened it into a pancake and dropped food coloring in the middle. I folded the edges in and then wrapped the whole thing in plastic wrap and started kneading. The plastic wrap kept the dye off my hands, but was really difficult to work with. It also seemed at times that it was so thin it would bust and spill food coloring everywhere.

So then I made anther ball of white, flattened it and added color. This time after I folded the edges in I dropped the whole thing into a sandwich bag. Not perfect, but a lot easier to manipulate the dough. Also the extra dye stayed on the sides of the bag not my hands.

When I had mixed most of it in I took it out of the bag to finish evening out the color. What little green came off on my hands washed easily away with a little soap and water.

So I hope that helps. It is not a perfect recipe, but it worked for me. Again, I used:

  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 8-9 ounces powdered sugar
  • lots of shortening for coating things
  • food coloring
  • sandwich bags
  • and of course 1 bowl and 1 spoon

What did I use the fondant for? You’ll have to wait and see on Tuesday!

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Look!

Look!

It’s a swatch of stockinette stitch (usually made with knitting needles).

Look again!I used this crochet hook to make it! A while ago I had read about a technique called Knooking at PlanetJune  and had been considering experimenting with it. It uses a cord on the non-hook end of the crochet hook to take the place of the second knitting needle.

With the cord holding the place of the second needle, you use the crochet hook to work the stitches.

I had a rough start, apparently I was twisting my stitches. But once I figured out what I was doing wrong I was amazed at what I was creating. I hadn’t tried knitting in a long time, but my previous attempts had been terrible failures. I am hoping this means I will have more options with future projects.  It does feel pretty strange to me, the movements are different than what I am used to with crochet. I also don’t know if it is easier than knitting or just the same. I have been intrigued with knitting but haven’t wanted to give up the hook yet. This way I don’t feel too much like a traitor.

If anyone is interested the kits are made by Leisure Arts and can also be found at Wal Mart.

Snowflakes

Totally unrelated to this post. At this time one year ago I was at our wedding reception. Happy Anniversary Honey! I think I will have to do a post later about the crafting I did for our wedding. The header for this blog is a picture of my wedding bouquet. All of our flowers were made of origami. Except for the corsages for the mothers/other wedding part members who had crocheted flowers. I think it made for a very personal touch and it saved A LOT of money. So maybe if I can help some other bride save money it would be worth it. Sorry for all of the unrelated info, just something I was thinking about.

On to the real deal.

One of the first finds I made on Pinterest were these snowflakes made out of popsicle sticks. I didn’t get any pictures of the process because I was having to use crazy glue. I could not find my hot glue gun and I can guarantee you it would have made this project twice as fast. However, despite the difficulty with adhesives I really love the finished project.

All photography guides tell you to use natural light. So I tried to photograph them in the daylight. Here is the picture I got.

It is actually not terrible because the good news is that in the day the snowflakes make a beautiful silhouette in the window. Although the lighting isn’t ideal, here are the snowflakes tonight.

I switched it up from the tutorial since our couch is red and  our tree is red and gold. Too much red. I like the two different shades of green.

Here they are with our tree and stockings (since we don’t have a mantle) I know the lighting isn’t idea, but it gives you a pretty good idea.

I love having our decorations up! I really wasn’t feeling Christmas until our apartment started to look so festive! Thanks MGC for all your help. Now all I have to do is keep the kittens out of the tree. That is a story for  another day. . . .