Thursday, April 26, 2012

3-minute prep Italian-style bread from your bread machine.

I had been wanting a bread maker for quite some time but couldn't bring myself to purchase one because I felt like I wouldn't use it frequently enough to justify the cost. About 3 years ago I was lucky enough to receive a gently used bread maker from a coworker who swore he never had luck with it. He told me that he was confident I could make great things with it. I immediately set out to prove him right.

I had read through many recipes and they all varied so much that I thought that it would be best to start simple to gauge my machines abilities and decided on a pre-prepared bread mix in a box to rule out any errors I might make with measurements. I have read in a lot of reviews that adding 1/4c of powdered milk will give your machine made bread a smoother texture and improve the overall flavor. I agree and always add it in to all of my bread recipes now.

My prep time was about 3 minutes from box to baking:
  • I added a cup of warm water to my bread machine pan per instructions on the mix box.
  • I added 1/4 c of powdered milk.
  • I emptied the contents of the dough ingredients pouch on top of that (most bread machine instructions have you add your wet ingredients first and then the flour and other inclusions).

But I couldn't stop there! We were having an Italian themed meal that night and I wanted something that could accompany the dinner so I added about a teaspoon each of the following dried seasonings and then added the yeast packet:
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Oregano
  • Crushed Red Pepper (increase or decrease to taste)

I placed my bread pan into the machine and started it on a 2 lb loaf with a light crust setting. As the machine started to mix the dough I realized the mixture appeared slightly dry and wasn't forming a ball.
I drizzled in a little bit of water until the dough formed into a ball. After that I closed the lid and walked away. The machine whirred and kneaded and then spent 2 hours filling my kitchen with the most amazing smell.


When the machine beeped to let me know the bread was ready I could barely contain my excitement. The top was perfectly domed and lightly browned. I tipped the loaf onto my oven rack to cool (but couldn't wait the entire recommended cooling time!) and sliced into it to reveal an herb speckled, creamy textured bread.  I was amazed. The flavor was strong enough not to overlook but mild enough not to overpower the meal.


The next morning I took what little remained of the loaf to work for my coworker to try. He was not easily convinced that I had used the same bread machine that he had given me.

With the success of my test bread I have gone on to experiment with other recipes from various websites and bread machine cookbooks. It is a wonderful medium that lends itself to a variety of uses above and beyond slicing and eating. This particular recipe makes amazing croutons and bread crumbs and tastes great when cubed warm from the machine and dipped in olive oil for snacking. A grilled cheese or turkey sandwich made with this bread may ruin you for life. Try it out for yourself and share your leftover (hah!) ideas for this recipe. Thanks!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Random Tips and Tricks 0.1

I have spent a lot of time throughout my life reading and talking to friends and family about random tips and tricks for things like gardening, cleaning, & minor repairs. I have built (and continue to build) a wealth of random information. I have spent so much time in fact, that I now get phone calls from friends (even those I haven't spoken to in weeks!) asking me about how to fix one thing or do another. When they stump me, I will readily admit it and then run to research for myself. I have even had complete strangers come up to me in stores and ask for my thoughts. Having an answer they like makes me happy. I guess that's why I do it.

This leads me to my new Random Tips and Tricks posts where I will share (in no particular order and with no clear plan!) some of the helpful bits and pieces of information that I have acquired along the way to hopefully help you have that "Ahh, so that's how to do it!" moment that makes me grin. I will say that I will try to avoid posting anything that I have not personally done/used so that I can give you an honestly helpful tip and avoid just re-printing some list I found in a book or website. All of the traditional “do it at your own risk” warnings will apply but I will try to provide any specific cautions I have found necessary, and, when pertinent, also provide a summary of any related expenses which, for me, can generally be summed up as cheaper=better.

So, without further adieu...

Random Tips and Tricks #1  - Who drew on my shirt?

You don't pay attention to where your wrists are when you're typing and look down to find an ink spot growing on your sleeve. I have worked in an office environment for a few years and this is the most common thing that catches my eye during meetings. Even the CEO has fallen victim to this sneaky writing implement. Don't stress, the fix is so simple and only takes a few minutes. When you purchase materials like these from the dollar store, your expenses are minimal, if you don’t already have the items on hand. We'll call this a $3 garment fix!

Materials :
1) Hair Spray or Rubbing (Isopropyl) Alcohol (make sure there isn't any glitter or coloring in the formula)
2) Bar soap (something like Ivory works great, no dyes or inclusions)
3) Clean Soft-bristled toothbrush

Saturate the ink spot and the toothbrush with the hairspray/alcohol. Scrub the surface of the bar soap with the hairspray/alcohol-wet toothbrush to generate a little bit of lather. Gently brush the ink stain with the toothbrush. Add more hairspray or bar soap if necessary. Once you are satisfied with the removal, send your garment through the wash on a cool cycle. Avoid hot water which has a tendency to set stains making them harder to remove later.

Why does it work? The hairspray/alcohol acts as a solvent. It breaks up the ink. The soap helps to lower the surface tension of the liquid and, I personally believe, it helps to keep the ink from re-binding to the fabric. Please note that, as with all forms of spot removal, it is best to test the fabric in a hidden spot so that your fix doesn't end up doing more harm than good.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Throwback to Instructables

I am secretly a gamer chick.

Back in 2008 I was obsessed with a big fan of playing Halo on Xbox and played way too much very often with a group of friends. We used the in-game chat to talk about our strategy (yes, there is a strategy to winning a Halo match) and to just chat in general about things going on with work, school, and friends.

The one thing I could not stand was the quality of the average Xbox headsets that you get at the stores at that time and I wasn't going to spend the money to get one of the expensive Turtle Beach ones when I already had a pretty costly PC headset (for other gamer-chick vices) that could do the same thing. Luckily I am married to someone who is pretty handy with electronics and so, our adapter was born!

Granted, it was a pretty awkward piece but it did the job. I like to think the idea originated with us since we  built it because we couldn't find any for sale anywhere. I originally posted this on the Instructables site in 2008 and since then, we have seen mass produced models of the connectors become available including  a product through a company called The Headset Buddy who started their website in 2009. Purchasing one is a good option for those of you who might not be so inclined as to solder one for yourself. I invite you to read through the comments left by Instructables users during the last 4 years for more tips and information.

Step 1: Gather Tools

First, you'll want to make sure that you have a few handy items to complete this project. Everything we're using can be picked up at your local Radio Shack or similar Electronics parts store. You'll need: solder, a soldering iron, wire cutters, a blade of some sort, and wire strippers (if you're not able to use a blade).

Note: you'll also need a very small piece of wire you can solder on as a bridge. But more on that in a later step.

You're also going to want a safe place to solder and you may like to use gloves if you're skin is sensitive to cutting or burning...

Step 2: Go Shopping!

Unless you have these just laying around, and believe me, I know some people who do, you're going to want to purchase the items listed below. As I said in the beginning, as long as you have all the materials listed in step 1, these parts cost less than $20.

You'll need:
(1) 1/8" to 3/32" Adapter
(1) 4" Stereo Headphone Cable Y-Adapter
(1) 2 pk Solder-Type Stereo In-Line 1/8" Phone Jack

Step 3: Preparation of the Y-Adapter

Cut the existing ends off only the top two arms of the "y" adapter. You want to get as close as possible to the jack to leave yourself plenty of wire to work with. Remember, only cut off the top two arms of the adapter, leave the bottom piece intact.

Step 4: Start Stripping!

1) Very carefully score about 1/2" of the black insulation off the arms of the newly cut "y" adapter.

2) Using your wire stripper or some pliers, Pull off the 1/2" of black insulation you just scored to expose a bundle of foil wrapped wires.

3) Using your Xacto blade, slit open the foil shielding to expose the Black (headset), Metal (ground), and Red (microphone) wires.

4) You'll see that we've also slipped the plastic housing from the 1/8" phone jack over the exposed wires so after we solder we can screw it all together.

Step 5: Start choosing Sides.

Determine which side, left or right you want to be your speaker. Don't stress too much about this as you can always flip it over and left is right and right is left!

1) On side A, strip half of the exposed Red wire.

2) On side B, strip half of the exposed Black wire.

3) {here's the tricky part} On BOTH sides, thread the ground (the silver metal wires exposed w/o stripping) through the small hole at the base of the metal jack and curl it around the base.

4) On side A, connect the Red wire to one of the terminals. You DO NOT want this to touch both terminals.

5) On side B, connect the Black wire to one of the terminals. Here, we'll be adding a bridge to connect the two terminals. A bridge can be any small piece of wire you have laying around. You only want the bridge to connect the terminals, not touch the rest of the jack. (see next step)

Step 6: Ready, Set, SOLDER!

1) On Side A (red), solder your ground wire from the back where it was threaded through, all the way around.

2) On Side A (red), solder the point where the red wire connects to the terminal and snip off the remaining black wire ensuring that none of the black wire will come in contact with any of the other wires or solder.

3) On Side B (black), solder your ground wire from the back where it was threaded through all the way around.

4) On Side B (black), solder the point where the black wire connects to the terminal and snip off the remaining red wire ensuring that none of the red wire will come in contact with any of the other wires or solder.

5) On Side B (black), create a bridge out of a small piece of wire and connect both terminals together. Note, this is only done on the BLACK side. This is going to cause you to have pseudo Stereo sound as you're really diverting the mono signal to go through both sides of your head phones.

Step 7: Finish

With both sides soldered as instructed, you should be able to slide up the plastic housing and screw the jack into it.

You may want to mark which side is Headphones (black) and which side is Microphone (red) so it will be easy to hook up. Attach the 1/8" to 3/32" adapter to the bottom of the newly modified "y" adapter and plug into your controller.

If you're having trouble with interference, try hot-gluing around your solder work to isolate the connections.

You can also use this set-up to connect your gaming headset with most cell phones too as they take the same jack.

Millefiori Clay on Papier-mâché

At a previous job, I was inspired to enter a piece into a company wide art competition that would include participants from around the world. I had to incorporate the 5 business values of the company into a piece that demonstrated something that I was passionate about. I chose to create a papier-mâché hot air balloon ornament that would be colored with the symbols that represented the values. My piece won the local competition, the regional competition, and made it into global semifinals.

I had not seen this type of project done before and so I wanted to share my idea and my processes with you!

Here's the final project:

I made the  papier-mâché form with a water balloon. The basket base was done over a small balloon over a plastic form. The polymer clay canes were made in the shape of my employers core values. For some tutorials on how to work with polymer clay watch a few videos on youtube. I’ve been working with clay for years but this is the first time I’ve made canes.

The following videos show the steps of the process in a little more detail:

Sculpture Part 1 - Creating a Polymer Clay Cane

Sculpture Part 2 - Rolling out the Polymer Clay Cane

Sculpture Part 3 - Slicing Polymer Clay Canes

Sculpture Part 4 - Creating a  Papier-mâché  Form

Sculpture Part 5- Tiling the Balloon Form with Polymer Clay Cane Slices

Comment below if you have any questions about the materials used, techniques, and results. I’m glad to answer any questions regarding my project but I’m not an expert and can only tell you about my research and personal experiences.
Enjoy and be inspired! I’d love to see your projects too!

Blue Wave Water Marble Nail Art

Water Marble nail art caught my attention while cruising through Youtube the other day. I was mesmerized by how the colors flowed over the surface of the water & spread out so thin.

Pushing my rational mind aside as it was trying to re-educate me on the science of it all, (like in paper marbling the dye, in this case the nail polish, sits on top of the water and after a design is created, an object is passed through the dye and into the water where the design stays on the object.) I instead gave into the little girl voice inside screaming "Ooo Pretty!" and decided I had to try it. It seemed like a quick way to get some dramatic results.

I hit up my local dollar store to track down some cheap nail polish to experiment with. After a little bit of trial and error and another hour or so of watching tutorials, here are the steps for what I did (please note, I took pictures through the whole process so I'm not always showing the same nail in the pictures):

1 ) Pick the colors you want to use for your design. For this design, I decided on with a medium blue and white.

2 ) Apply a base coat of clear polish to your nail. This keeps any colors from staining your nails and will give the next layer something to stick to.

3 ) Using 2 pieces of tape I masked off my finger so that the rest of the polish wouldn't coat it when I applied the marbling to my nail. Put one small piece of tape across the base of your cuticle and around your finger and take a longer piece and wrap it in a  "U"  shape around the tip of your finger and both sides of your nail so that it sticks to the first piece.

4 ) I didn't want my nail to show through into the design so I also applied one thin coat of the same white polish I was using for my design over the clear base coat.

5 ) You need a small cup of room temperature filtered water (I used distilled), your polishes, a long needle or orange stick, some paper towel, and some cotton swabs.

6 ) I filled my 3oz plastic cup almost to the top with the distilled water. Begin building your bulls eye pattern one drop at a time but work quickly. If your drops aren't spreading, gently tap the sides of the cup. This will help distribute the polish.

7 ) Begin your design by anchoring one of the sides of the design to the side of the cup by dragging the needle through and wiping it on the inside edge of the cup.

8 ) Continue dragging the needle through the design, sometimes from the center out, sometimes from the outside edge towards the center, draw circles, or whatever makes you happy, until you get a pattern that you like.

9 ) When you're ready, aim your nail so it will touch down directly onto the part of the pattern that you want and push your finger straight down through the pattern and into the water making sure you don't touch the edge of the cup or lift your finger out of the water.

10 ) Hold your finger in the water and blow across the top of the remaining polish, when it dries (about 4-8 seconds) use a cotton swab to wipe the polish off of the top of the water. This makes it safe for you to lift your finger without ruining the design.

11 ) Lift your nail out of the water and behold your success! Or utter failure, but hey, that's what practice is for.

12 ) Remove the tape and use a cotton swap dipped in acetone or nail polish remover to clean up the polish around the nail.

13 ) Finish with a clear coat to seal and protect.

14 ) Repeat 9 more times and you're done with your manicure!

I really enjoyed playing with this method. Watch a few tutorials, haul out your massive nail polish collection and try it for yourself! 

Make sure and share your experiences, I'd love to hear about them!


Sushi: First Try

This was my first attempt at making Sushi. Watch the video HERE

I used too much rice but over all, it still tasted great. My later attempts included raw tuna which looked beautiful and tasted great. It can be seen in the picture but the roll I'm making here in this video only contains cucumber, cream cheese, imitation crab, and mayonnaise mixed with a little wasabi. This is all wrapped together in the Sushi Nori.

I followed the directions for making sushi rice off of the website but adjusted the measurements to match one reviewers notes: 1 T rice vinegar, 1/2 T sugar, and 1/2 t salt per cup of sushi rice. I used a roasted garlic rice vinegar and heated it until just warm in the microwave. I mixed in the sugar and salt and set it aside to cool while my rice cooked.

I prepared my rice using a rice cooker. I rinsed and drained 3 cups of sushi rice (I used Calrose) and added it to 3 3/8 cups of water per my rice cookers instructions. After it finished cooking, I dumped it into a 9x13 glass casserole dish to cool. Instructions say to constantly fan the rice while folding in the vinegar mixture. I decided my trusty electric fan would do a more reliable job than my wimpy little arms ever could so I set it up and angled it to blow over the rice mixture as I mixed. It worked beautifully.

I set my prepared sushi rice aside to cool and got to work gathering my other ingredients. I used cucumber that I peeled and sliced into spears, cream cheese that I cut into long spears, mayonnaise mixed with wasabi, and imitation crab meat. I wrapped my sushi rolling mat in plastic wrap and opened my nori.

To create the roll, place the nori shiny side down on the rolling mat. Wet your hands to keep the rice from sticking and press a thin layer onto the nori sheet leaving about an inch exposed along the top edge.

Spread some of the wasabi mayonnaise in a line and top with your ingredients in a row along the edge opposite of your rice-free inch. Use the mat to roll the edge over the row of filling. Press firmly as you continue to roll.

Once you reach the exposed edge of the nori, wet your fingers again and moisten the nori so that it will stick to the rest of the roll and seal it.

Slice your roll in the center and then out towards the end in bite sized pieces. It helps to wipe and wet the knife between cuts.

Enjoy, and as always, I look forward to seeing your attempts!

Mommy's Belly Baby Shower Cake

I have a secret: I LOVE marshmallow fondant! 

From a design standpoint, it’s easy to work with, can be flavored to suit your cake and can be made for just a few dollars. Plus, it keeps at room temperature and playing with it takes me back to clay sculpting as a little girl.

The idea for this baby shower cake came from one that I saw while idea hunting using Google Images. Of the 4 or 5 designs I presented to the hostess, this one was the clear winner. This was my first cake made using marshmallow fondant (recipe here) and, all things considered, I was pleased with the results. It was a labor of love( started at 5pm, finished at 3am) and a fun experiment all at the same time. Lets walk through the steps:
    1. BAKE - Whenever possible, do all your baking the day before. This will allow your cakes to cool completely before decorating.
      • I use boxed cake mixes. My theory is, the recipe was good enough to market, it’s good enough to serve! I also substitute equal amounts of apple sauce for the oil in the recipe.
      • I spice up my mixes slightly depending on the flavor.
        • Lemon cake was used for chest. I used the cheapest most cost effective boxed lemon cake I could find and added the following while mixing:
          • 1 Tbs of Meringue powder (found in the cake decorating section of any craft or grocery store)
          • ½ a package of lemon instant pudding mix (just the mix, no extra liquid)
          • 1 tsp vanilla flavoring.
        • Chocolate was used for the belly. I picked the same brand as before, for obvious reasons. I look for the most chocolate flavored version I can find, either devils food or double chocolate. I added the following while mixing:
          • 1 Tbs of Meringue powder
          • ½ a package of instant chocolate pudding (even if your mix is the kind that already has pudding in the mix, add more!)
          • 1 tsp vanilla flavoring.
          • Brew a small cup of strong coffee(I used a Frangelico flavored coffee) and use 1 cool tablespoon in place of 1 tablespoon of water in the recipe.
      • I completed the first 2 Wilton cake decorating courses and love most of their products. I used their round pans and the cake strips to help my cakes rise evenly in pans that had a parchment circle in the bottom and were coated with plain old butter flavored Crisco.
      • I made a 10” round chocolate layer, an 8” round chocolate layer, and 2   6” round lemon layers. When they’re cool enough to touch, wrap them in cling wrap. This keeps in the moisture and keeps them fresh overnight.
    2. Buttercream:

      • I follow the basic Class Buttercream recipe from Wilton thinned out with extra milk or water to an icing consistency. It’s easy to make and produces pretty consistent results if you bring it together slowly. I use the butter flavored shortening and add Vanilla flavoring and a touch of almond to make it special. You can tint it if you want but the white will make the fondant colors pop.
    3. Board, Stack, & Sculpt:
      • You’ll need a strong base to support this cake. I used 3 layers of cardboard from some moving boxes taped together and covered in heavy duty aluminum foil.
      • Cover a 10” cake circle or round piece of cardboard in aluminum foil (instructions) and set your 10” cake on top. Spread a layer of buttercream over the top of the cake and place the 8” layer on top, centered.
      • Use a long serrated knife to carve the layered cake into a belly-shaped dome.
      • Set your belly on the cake board and carve and position the 6” cakes for the chest.
    4. Marshmallow Fondant (MMF):
      • I melted the mixture in the microwave but transferred it into my stand mixer after I had greased the bowl and the dough hook to be kneaded.
      • After adding enough powdered sugar for it to begin to form a dough, I added my flavoring, again, about a tsp of vanilla.
      • I greased a portion of a smooth countertop and pulled my fondant out onto it to continue kneading.
      • I portioned out my MMF for coloring. About half was going to be blue, ¼ white, and ¼ brown. To color, I used Wilton gel coloring and added it to a dip in the center of the MMF and kneaded it until the color was no longer streaky.
      • Grease your rolling pin if you don’t have a silicone rolling pin and roll out your blue MMF to about ¼” thick and large enough to cover the entire belly and part of the board.
      • Frost the belly with buttercream and lay your blue MMF over it just after it starts to firm up but before it crusts. Smooth, drape, and cut as desired.
      • Roll out a portion of the skin tone MMF in a long rectangular shape and frost and cover the chest after it’s positioned on the board the way you want it.
      • Roll out some more blue MMF and cut a shape for the top of your dress.
      • Roll out some white and, using a pizza cutter and piping tips or cookie cutters, cut the decorations for your dress.
        • I made my bow by cutting a long rectangle and cutting a triangle out of each end. I then cut another long rectangle and folded the ends together to meet in the middle and wound a small strip around the center to make it look like a knot. Attach the bow pieces to each other and to the dress with a tiny bit of water.
      • Ta-Da! You’re actually done with the decoration at this point.
    5. Transport – a necessary evil.

      • My cake had to get to a party that was happing 15 hours later and 30 minutes away so I wanted to keep it safe and dust-free.
      • The fondant can exist safely at room temperature and, when you’re icing correctly, even seal in the freshness of your buttercream and cake so I didn’t have to worry about finding a place for it.
      • I didn’t have a box large enough or tall enough to transport the cake so I decided on a brand new, clean contractors trash-bag. The dark color would keep the cake a secret until the shower, the plastic would keep out moisture so my MMF wouldn’t break down. The next little secret kept the plastic off of the design.
      • Now, this wasn’t as painful as it looks. I pushed bamboo skewers into the belly in the center of each of my white dots and cut them off about 4” above the cake surface. This kept the bag from touching my cake.
  1. Presentation & Serving:
    • To set the cake up for the shower, I removed and discarded the plastic bag and carefully removed the skewers.
    • I pushed small edible pearls into the holes left by the skewers and one into the center of all of the other dots on the dress and no-one was the wiser.
    • Slice the cake however you’d like and enjoy!

  Thanks For Reading, and please share your attempts and experiences, I look forward to seeing them!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Dinosaur Diaper Cake

In its basic form, a diaper cake is just what it sounds like. A cake made out of baby diapers. The fun comes in the unlimited number of ways that you can customize it. Play with different colors, themes, and sizes and find what works for you.

Needless to say, this useful gift will be a hit at any shower you attend and give you a chance to give the mother-to-be some well needed essentials that many generic gift baskets may not include. And, you can create your own for a fraction of what it would cost to purchase one this size.

"Recipe" (I spent just over $50 on this version):

~~Jo-Ann Fabric & Crafts ~~
(1) Roll 1 1/2" Robins Egg Blue Organdy Ribbon - $1.99
(1) Roll 5/8" Emerald Green Satin Ribbon - $2.49
(1) Roll 6" Wide Green Organza spool - $2.50*
(1) Plush dinosaur toy - $5.99
(1) Pair neon green baby booties - $0.50 (clearance!)

~~ Walmart ~~
(2) Pkgs Newborn Diapers - $5.99 each
(1) Pkg of #32 rubber bands - $0.46
(1) Pkg Powdered Pedialite Mix - $8.98
(1) Pkg Boudreaux's Baby Butt Paste - $4.98
(1) Bottle Johnson&Johnsons Baby Wash - $2.98
(1) Bottle J&J Cornstarch Baby Powder - $1.96
(4) 5/16" Wood Dowel - $0.37
(1) Bottle outdoor white craft paint - $1.97
(1) multi-roll of ribbon (blue & green) - $2.47

~~ Things I already had on hand (mostly cake decorating supplies) ~~
(1) Cardboard 12" cake circle(can be cut from regular cardboard)
(1) Cardboard 8" cake circle(can be cut from regular cardboard)
(1) roll of scotch tape
(1) pair scissors.
(1) 3oz. Cup out of a package of bathroom cups.
(1) roll of aluminum foil (only use a small piece)
(1) needle and dark green thread
(1) roll 1/4" Stitch witchery iron hemming tape*
(1) iron and ironing board*
(1) 10" Circular cake pan (wilton)**
(1) 8" Circular cake pan (wilton)**
(1) 6" Circular cake pan (wilton)**
* You can use doilies or some other decorative base for your cake.
** Ironing the ribbon is optional, i'm a perfectionist and wanted it smooth.
***Note, the cake pans weren't necessary, they weren't used in the final product, but it sure helped to get everything lined up.

== STEPS ==
Breath before reading, it's really not as much work as it looks like.
  1. Paint the 4 wooden dowels with the white paint. Cover about 3/4ths of the dowel. Let this first coat dry while you're rolling diapers.

  2.  My diapers had a colorful strip along the top that I didn't want to show. I left them folded in half as they came out of the package but rolled them so that the blue strip didn't show. I wrapped a rubber band twice around the center of each diaper roll and put them in a clean shopping bag until I had rolled all of them.

  3. I placed the bottle of baby wash in the center of the 6" cake pan and packed rolled diapers (12 total) in around it so that the seams faced the inside. I used 2 rubber bands to secure the top section together, binding the whole layer in the center.

  4. I placed 28 rolled diapers in the 8" pan, seam side in, and secured the whole layer with 2 rubber bands around the center of the layer.

  5. I placed all of the remaining rolled diapers in the 10" pan, seam side in, and secured the whole layer with 2 rubber bands around the center of the layer.

  6. Put another coat of white paint on the 4 wooden dowels.

  7. Measure lengths of the Blue ribbon to fit securely around each of the layers. This ribbon is transparent so you'll still be able to see the rubber bands on the diapers.

  8. Measure lengths of the Green ribbon slightly longer (by about 1/2") than the lengths of the blue ribbon.

  9. If you want to iron, this is the time to do it. I used the stitch witchery to adhere the green ribbon to the center of the blue ribbon.

  10. Lift the first layer (whichever you choose) out of the pan and wrap the ribbon around the center, green side out, using the green to hide the rubber bands.

  11. secure the ribbon with the needle and thread (it helps to hold it in place with two small sewing pins while you put a small stitch in.) and cut off the excess ribbon.

  12. Complete steps 10 and 11 for each of the other two layers.

  13. Stand back and admire your handy-work.

  14. Using the same needle and thread, you're going to put a simple over under stitch on one end of the 6" organza spool. You'll need a few feet. Once you're satisfied with your flower shape, tie the ends together to create a donut shaped green fan to go under your bottom later.

  15. Set the 6" top layer of "cake" on the 8" cake circle and lightly trace around the outside but don't cut it out.

  16. Lay out your 12" cake circle and place you're green donut flower on top followed by your 10" layer of "cake" and then your 8" layer being sure to line up all of your seams towards the back.

  17. Tape and rubber band your pedialite, baby powder, and butt paste together.

  18. Cut enough of the top of the 3oz cup away to create a small pedestal for the pedialite to sit on if you want to elevate it so it can be seen above the butt paste and the cornstarch.

  19. Wrap your blue and green ribbon around your bundled products and secure it with tape.

  20. Evenly space the 4 dowels and gently push the dowels through the second and third layers of your "cake" until you feel the bottom cake circle.

  21. Set your bundled products between the dowels on the second layer to help push the dowels apart to make them even and mark where they meet the bottom side of the 8" cake circle for you to punch holes through.

  22. Punch holes just big enough for the dowels to fit through in the 6" cake circle making sure that the holes fall inside the line you traced in step 15 and cut out the section so that you have a 6" circle instead of the original 8" circle.

  23. Wrap the new 6" circle in aluminum foil: cut a circle approximately 2" larger than your remaining 6" piece of cardboard. Lay your 6" piece down on the center of the foil. Cut slits in the aluminum from the outside edge towards the edge of the cake circle and fold each flap down and secure it with a piece of tape. Re-punch the holes through the aluminum.

  24. Push the foiled cake circle down on the dowels until it rests on top of your packaged products and set your top layer on top, pushing the dowels through the outer layers of ribbon and/or diapers.

  25. Mark the spot where the dowels show above the ribbon/diapers on the top layer, remove the top layer of "cake" and mark where the dowels should go back into the cakes.

  26. Remove the dowels and cut them at the point that you marked. Re-insert them in the cake at the points you marked.

  27. Place your bundled items on your middle layer, place your foiled cake circle on your dowels and your top layer back on the top.

  28. You can stop here if you want, or Decorate!

  29. I made trios of the curling ribbon and taped them to the top cake circle to make a border below the top layer.

  30. My dinosaur had a finger puppet hole in his tummy which lets him perch nicely on the top of the baby-wash.

My design was shared on this site which was one of sites I used to figure out how I would make mine. 
Please share your attempts, I'd love to see them!