Distractions: Easy Finger Paints

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It’s Christmas Eve.  If you have small children, I’m sure your nerves are frayed with their over-excitement.  We’re having enough trouble dealing with just Rusty today, and he’s over thirty.

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Why not whip up this quick distraction tool (from Easie Peasie, what a great name) for the young (and old) to keep them busy for a while.  It’s worth the mess, I think.

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In a small saucepan, combine 3 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup corn starch, and 2 cups water.

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Heat, whisking often, until the mixture starts to thicken.  It happens all at once, so make sure you’re paying attention.

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If you keep going it will turn into plastic, so make sure it’s still stir-able when you take it off the heat.

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Remove from the heat and pour it into individual containers.

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Use food colouring to create the desired colours.

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Stir those colours in well.  Make sure you scrape the bottom and sides to get it all mixed in.

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I went with the classic rainbow.

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Keep the paints sealed and out of direct sunlight.  Give them a bit of a stir before using, because there will be a bit of a dry skin on top.

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When I was young my dad refinished our back room, where the laundry machines were, and the door to the backyard.  While it was empty, my mother chucked in a huge roll of craft paper and a pile of finger paints and I would spend hours back there, making a mess.  I’m handing these (along with a roll of craft paper) over to the Incredibly Little Hulk and Il Principe when they get back from Kansas so I’m sure I will be soon seeing some very painty little boys.

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Rainbow-Dipped Wooden Spoons

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This is a great and quick gift for people who are just starting out in a new home.  When I saw it over at A Pretty Cool Life I knew I had to do it.  And maybe even jazz up my own wooden spoons while I was at it, though at present I only own two. You can never have too many spoons (especially when you’re entertaining and all is chaos), and these bright and shiny ones are a great accent for any kitchen.

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So you need some spoons, wooden ones. The Pie and I picked these up at Winners for a reasonable price. We did two sets, six spoons each. And you need some craft paint. We had six spoons, so we picked up six colours. We went with Martha Stewart Crafts™ Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Paint.  It had a nice finish, was easy to apply, and is guaranteed to be non-toxic and food safe.  And if you let it cure for 21 days, then you can pop these babies in the dishwasher with no worries.

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I gave the spoons a quick sand with some fine-grade sandpaper to get some of the splinters and rough edges off.  Then I measured to see where I wanted the paint to go.  These self-healing cutting mats also make great ruler-like work surfaces.

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Then I used masking tape along the line I measured and pressed it down securely to make sure the paint wouldn’t bleed under.

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These are my own wooden spoons here.  I originally wanted to do a set of stripes forming a rainbow on each handle, with them being the reverse of each other, so I blocked off 1″ increments for my stripes, figuring I could do a few colours at a time.  Conveniently, my masking tape is also 1″ thick.

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I wedged the spoons in plastic cups with some rocks in the bottom for stability.  This way they can dry properly without touching anything else.

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Then I set up my palette in an old pie pan.  Re-use, re-use, re-use!

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Then I painted.  It was easy.  Leave an hour between coats to make sure it dries properly.  I ended up doing three coats on the spoons I was giving away, though I only did one coat on my own spoons.

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When I took the tape off my own spoons in order to mask off the already painted sections, I decided I liked the stripes just as they were.

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And if you put the spoons together it forms a rainbow!

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And of course the other spoons are raring to go, just waiting for their requisite 21 days of curing.

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If you have a glass utensil holder, you can put them handle-side-down.

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Or if not, have them handle-side-up.

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Either way, they’re a cheery addition to my kitchen.  Can I keep them?

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