Indestructable Duct Tape Piñata (Pokémon Style)

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In celebration of the latest Pokémon 2019 movie, Pokémon Pikachu Detective starring Ryan Reynolds as Pikachu, I thought it would be great to post a video and add this DIY here.  It looks like this franchise is a winner as the movie has already received over $103 millions world-wide .

Here is the Pokémon movie trailer.

This DIY originally appeared on instructables.com.

You can also check out this as a shorten YouTube video here.

Growing up, I loved Pokémon just as much as any other kid.  We would watch all the episodes religiously.  Of course Pikachu was the most popular because of Ash Ketchum.

What kid didn’t want to catch a Pokémon just like Ash?  Pokémon became so popular it has withstand the test of time.  And of course they had to make a real live version of Pokémon Go app that was so popular, everyone was getting active and playing it everywhere including parks and some even not so ideal places.

So curious, what is your favorite Pokémon character?  I like Pikachu but I love Charmander.  I also like Mewtwo.  I know he’s a bad guy but he’s got some brains and some bad-ass power.

For the last couple of years I have been doing fun birthday cakes for my 4 nephews who all happen to have their birthdays within 2 weeks of each other. With my nephews turning 19, 13, 12, and 7, I had to make something extra cool and absolutely memorable for them all. Having seen my friend, Beth do piñatas for her daughter’s birthday, I thought I could try my hand on my first piñata.

What I ended up with was an almost indestructible piñata made by one of the most awesome manmade thing on earth: duct tape. I know you must think that indestructible beats the purpose of a piñata right? Well, if you ever bought a store piñata, you might have realized how frustrating it is when the 1st or 2nd kid beats the piñata down and the long line of kids behind them are disappointed to never get a chance at the piñata. That was exactly what I absolutely did not want. I wanted every kid to have a chance to break the piñata. There turned out to be 16 people (1 adult which is my oldest nephew, lots of teens, and kids) who got a chance to beat on the piñata. And in it finally broke when we brought out the metal baseball bat. It was so much fun to watch the kids and I think the topping on the cake for me was when my sister-in-law texted that my 13 year old nephew didn’t want to throw away the battered Pokémon Charmander piñata when it was over.

To create this indestructible duct tape piñata allow yourself 2 weeks to build it. And I will give you tips so that you can vary just how destructible or indestructible of a piñata you want to make.

Materials:

Again, you need time to create this piñata so I highly recommend to start this about 2 weeks ahead to allow for dry time.

Materials for Skeleton:

Balloons

Newspaper or magazines

Tape

Materials for Piñata Glue:

Water

Flour

Salt

Bowl

Materials for Body Parts and Décor:

Empty toilet paper rolls

Empty paper toilet rolls

Duct tape

Tissue paper

Tools:

Scissors

X-Acto knife

For Filling:

Candy, toys, school supplies, etc.

Optional:

Paint, paintbrush, vase, paper bag

I didn’t have newspaper which is the more common material used to build piñatas. Since I did have a few magazines, I figured that would be worth trying since I actually had 3 weeks to build this. Magazine turned out to be a great option to strengthen the piñata.

Duct tape is the primary reason this piñata is almost indestructible. It comes in many colors and designs so chances are very good that you will find some in the color you need. If you don’t, you can still use the typical gray duct tape because the piñata will be covered in colored tissue paper.

Salt is optional but it helps to keep the piñata glue from molding. I didn’t want to chance mold even though the weather was warm so I used it.

The vase is optional but when I used it in a previous project similar to this piñata, I found it so much easier to use as a stand to allow the balloons to dry. The vase is worth using but if you don’t have one, you can always use whatever you have around the house. I am always about using what’s around the house. For example, you can use a 2 liter bottle with the top cut off. Just add some things to weigh and stabilize it.

Research and Skeleton Prep

The first thing you need to do is decide what kind of character or theme you want your piñata to be. My nephews decided on a Pokémon theme. When I was researching online, Pikachu is such a popular character and many people had already made piñatas of him. So I opted to do Charmander, because he was an old-school Pokémon character (yes, I used to watch the cartoon/ Anime when it when it first came out). Plus with 4 boys, I thought the fire themed character would be perfect.

Do some research online and print out (preferably in color) at least 3 pictures that you like of the character or theme you want for the piñata. I kept the printout as models to refer to when I was building Charmander.

The main basis for the piñata is the creation of what I like to call the skeleton, kind of like how crabs have their skeletons on the outside to protect their internal body. For this you will need balloons, piñata glue, and magazine.

I tore pages out of the magazines and cut them lengthwise into 4 strips for each page.

For the piñata glue you will need to mixed well in a bowl: 2 cups of flour, 2 cups of water, and 3 tablespoons of salt. I used a whisk and mixed until there were no more clumps.

Then I blew up 2 balloons, 1 for the head and 1 for the body. Charmander has a much smaller head but I wanted to create an even friendlier character so I increased his head size. I used tape to attach the balloons together and placed it on top of the vase. You will need at least 5-9 layers of body shell so when blowing the balloons, remember to calculate this eventual increase in thickness. The more layers, the harder it will be to break the piñata.

Days of Building the Skeleton

To start building the first outer shell, dip a single piece of paper strip all the way into the piñata glue. Use your fingers to slide down the excess glue before placing it on the balloon. Continue to drip more strips into the glue and layering it on the balloons. You want to overlap the strip just enough to cover all of the balloons. When you get to the bottom of the balloons, carefully flip the balloons so that you can cover the bottom in strips as well.
Allow the balloons to dry at least 24-48 hours. Remember to flip it so that the bottom can also dry. You can use save the extra glue for the next day by adding a little bit of water and wrapping it with saran wrap.Continue this process of building the skeleton layers for at least 5 layers. I did this for 6 layers since I knew I was going to use duct tape. If you want to use less duct tape, then use more layers.

Cutting and Filling the Piñata

Once the head and body is fully dry, it’s time to use the X-acto knife to cut out a part of the piñata to stuff the goodies into. I chose the back where the tail would be so that it can be covered over. I cut a U shape and pulled out the 2 attached together balloon pieces.

Then I drilled 2 holes with the X-acto knife into the head. I spaced the holes far enough that I could reinforce the top with lots of duct tape . The easiest reason why piñatas often fail to be exciting is when it breaks and falls from the point in which it hangs. So this area between the 2 holes should be reinforced as much as possible with lots of duct tape that run parallel and perpendicular. I didn’t use as much duct tape as I should have and the rope actually broke through. This was because the sword used to hit Charmander got entwined with the rope a few times. So I’d say if you think you should, you definitely should double or triple the amount of duct tape used to reinforce it.

For the rope to go through the holes easily, I taped a pen to the end of the rope and was easily able to push the pen in one hole and out the other with ease.

I lifted the back flap and filled the piñata with tons of sweet candies, school supplies, and toys. The piñata goodies on the candy alone was a 3.5 pound bag so this piñata was not only built tough but also was able to hold more goods.

Duct Tape Indestructible

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It’s time for the extra fun part of putting some major duct tape on the piñata. Depending on how much of an indestructible piñata you want, you can leave areas without duct tape. This allowed for a chance for the piñata to break. I used only 1 layer of duct tape. It’s still a piñata, and I just needed it to hold long enough so that all the kids and teens had an opportunity to hit the piñata.

Arms, Legs, and Tail

You can opt to paint the piñata and allow it to dry. This is not a necessary step but I did it because I figured that the magazine’s variety of color might show through after the tissue paper was applied. I found out that all I needed to do was add more layers of tissue which was what I did with the yellow belly of Charmander.

Charmander needs 2 arms, 2 legs, and a tail. To build these, I used toilet paper and paper hand towel rolls that I saved. These worked great. The flame of the tail I used and shaped a brown bag which I later covered in flaming color duct tape. Charmander’s hand was 1 roll each in which I shaped the finger

s and then used brown bag to shape the thumbs. I used duct tape to seal and shape. The legs required 2 rolls each. They were easy to shape by cutting them and shaping the toes as shown in the picture. I added the candies and toys to all of these parts then used duct tape to attach them to the main piñata. Adding goodies to these body parts helped teased the kids into wanting more goodies since these parts were going to fall off first.

Face

Charmander needed a face so I used duct tape to fashion him one. When doing details for the pieces to layer on the eyes, I used parchment paper. I cut out a piece of duct tape and put it on the parchment paper. Then I cut that shape I needed on the duct tape. When the shapes are done, I just pull off the back of the parchment papers and attach the colors to each other.

I used my printout to create the mouth with the tongue and teeth. 2 small black nostrils, and the eyes with 2 black wrinkled accent pieces. The facial features I taped on to Charmander’s face and instantly the piñata had character and personality. He’s so cute!

Tissue Paper Fur

Tissue paper really helped Charmander look more like a piñata. I folded and cut a sheet of tissue paper into strips. Then I folded the strip lengthwise and cut perpendicular 1/2 length cuts along the length of the tissue paper. Then I opened the tissue strip up slightly and readjust so that it shows 2 layers of fringed tissues paper. I glued the top layer down and this helped with saving time. Then I just cut the strip as needed to cover the piñata.

I started with the yellow which covered the bottom of the tail and the belly of Charmander. Then I moved on to the orange tissue paper which covered everything else except the toes and the hands.

For the face, I layered the tissue fringe slightly under the edges of the eyes and mouth. I readjusted the eye wrinkles and nostrils so that it was on top of the tissue paper.

Now this almost indestructible piñata is done! It’s time to hit the boys’ birthday party.

Piñata Time!!

We didn’t have a tree to hang the almost indestructible Charmander piñata but a high metal canopy structure worked just fine.

Kids lined up from youngest to oldest around the piñata.

The basic rules were that each kid had to hold on the stick (we used a Nerf sword the first round and then the metal baseball bat in the second round) and not let it go when it was his/her turn to try to hit the piñata. He or she also could not move their feet. Lastly, the kids could not run to grab candy until the kid who beat the goods out of the piñata stopped swinging the sword/ bat and actual got a chance to grab the first candy from his or her hit. These 3 rules helped to make the piñata party a bit safer.

I had a blast tying the scarf around the kids, spinning them 3 times and helping him or her touch the piñata before each kid went wild in his/ her swings. Charmander was very nibble at moving up and down and around. Some of the kids yelled directions (“up,” “down”) to help the blindfolded ninja strike as best as he or she could with the sword but Charmander was too strong to give much goods out. If anything, the Nerf sword got a beating as shown in one of the pictures.

It was super cute that at one point 1 of the tootsie rolls that refused to fall when his tail when fell. It stayed stuck to Charmander’s butt because of duct tape. Picture 6 shows a close up. Something I didn’t plan but might just do next time. The kids loved it. I overheard 1 of the kids saying, “So that’s how chocolate is made.” Absolutely hilarious and definitely one of my favorite moments. Oh and that chocolate held for around for a few rounds too.

Charmander wasn’t a completely indestructible piñata but he came close. In the end, he let go of all his goods and I made good on creating a piñata that would give all 16 kids a chance to hit the piñata.

Happy Mother’s Day!  Now I’m heading off to check out  the new Pokémon Detective Movie.

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Awesome 10 Rubber Bands Pencil Shooter/ Gun

This Easter Sunday weekend make sure you stay safe hunting for Easter eggs by bringing along  this awesome and easy to make 10 rubber bands pencil shooter. You  never know when an Easter bunny or a giant Peep might attack.   I’ll show you how to make a single and a double shooter as well.  Pow-pow!!

pencil shooter

The DIY YouTube video is below.  Make each rubber band bullet count!

Don’t forget to also follow me on YouTube, Facebook, and instructables.com.

If you need to buy some pencils, check out these bulk buys from Amazon.  I got mine from Dollar Tree. 16 pencils for only $1!  What a great buy.

According to pencils.com, the pencil came into popular use with a large graphite deposit found in 1564 in England.  I have personally been using pencils since forever.  And when it comes to computer or pencil, I prefer the good old-fashioned tool to write with.  I’m very visual and I like to see projects that I can hold onto.

 

If you like clothespin DIYS, check out my rocking chair.

If you like pencils or just have 1 too many hanging around the house, check out these 5 cool pencil links:

  1. 12 DIY pencils that inspire Joy
  2. 6 Pencil DIY Projects To Upgrade Your School Supplies Game Just In Time For Classes To Start
  3.  16 Pencil Projects for Back-to-School7 Impressive Pencil Tricks You Can Try Right Now
  4. 7 Impressive Pencil Tricks You can try Right Now
  5. Pencil Making Tool

Single Rubber Band Shooter

​You will need:

1 clothespin

1 pencil

3 rubber bands

1. Secure clothespin towards the eraser end of the pencil using 2 rubber bands.  When looping the rubber bands on, make sure to twist each time.

2. Open the mouth of the clothespin and secure 1 rubber band to the tip of the pencil.

3. Shoot!

Double Rubber Band Shooter

You will Need:

2 clothespins

1 pencil

3 rubber bands
1. Use 2 rubber bands to secure 2 clothespins on the pencil.  The clothespin should be opposite of each other on the pencil.

2. Attach rubber bands as bullet and shoot.  Remember to shoot the rubber band that you loaded last first.

10 plus Bonus Rubber Band Shooter/ Gun

You Need:

a bunch of pencils (29 plus 20)

a bunch of clothespin (10)

a bunch of rubber bands
1. Tie 27-29 pencils together using 2 rubber bands to secure.

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2. Make 10 single shooters with 2 pencils as the base (versus 1 in the single shooter).

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3. Use rubber bands to secure the single shooters onto the bunch of pencils. The rubber bands should be higher on the pencil bunch.  The pencil bunch is designed to be held when shooting off the clothespin.

4. Load your rubber band bullets and have fun shooting.

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*If you watch the video above, you’ll know that the bonus was an added clothespin which resulted in 11 total bullets!
Remember, play nice and don’t shoot people or real animals.  Rubber bands hurt!
Don’t forget: follow me on YouTube, Facebook, tofugami.com, and more!

Fold. Life. Beautiful.

I cooked UP Southern Gumbo with Fish Sauce!

Yesterday night, (my new bestie), Janee, invited me over for some southern gumbo.  She made it from scratch.  Regardless of what she will tell you, it was the perfect marriage of rice and seafood comfort.  And of course it has to be, because Janee is that cool chic who’s always busy hanging out with someone.

gumbo

Tonight, maybe driven by the awareness that I need to wake up by 5AM, I decided to make my own gumbo (shown above).  I used what I had, so hence the Asian flare.

According to Southern Food Ways, gumbo originated from the west African word for orka.  The more famous and common gumbo is the seafood combo that also encompasses chicken and sausages.

Janee felt her gumbo need a little more cooking time to blend the flavors together.  I cooked mine in a Tiger double-wall nonelectric slow cooker.  Of course, I didn’t pay $238 for mine.  I’m a bargain beast and I got it for under $10 and it’s worth every money saving penny!

The Asian Inspired Gumbo:

To Tomato or Not to Tomato:

There’s a hot debate about the use of tomato sauce.  Janee’s gumbo did not include tomato sauce.  The first and only recipe I looked at online was an authentic Good New Orelans recipe from Allreicpes.com made with tomato sauce and bacon fat that was passed down from grandmother to mother to granddaughter.  Since I was using what I had it in my kitchen, I used tomato sauce.

Seasonings:

After using a stepping stool, I discovered in the very top and back of my seasoning shelves,  an possibly ancient bottle of creole seasoning.  I poured some to taste.  Very salty and herbie.  Score!

gumbo creole seasoning.jpg

I also used some classic Italian seasoning.   For that Asian flare and my secret sauce for seafood dishes, I put in a healthy, long drizzle of fish sauce.  Janee used file powder, made from sassafras trees to thicken her sauce but since it was my first time learning about this new ingredient, I will have to try it another time.

The Roux:

In Asian dishes, cornstarch is a staple for thickening sauce.  My dad used to mix a spoonful with a little bit of water.  he would stire out the chunks to a creamy smooth paste before dumping in the wok.

Gumbo roux is a basic mix of flour and water cooked and stirred to a brown thickener for the gumbo base.  My roux came out terribly white.   I panic at the sight of my flour caking the bottom of my steel pan as I kept stirring it with a metal whisk.   I pulled it before it had the opportunity to brown.  My mistake as Janee would text to tell later that night.  It probably needed 5 more minutes.

The meats:

I had fishballs for my seafood.  My husband loves these in pho (rice noodle soup) but I usually eat around those big floating balls.   I cut them into thin slices.

I hopped at the opportunity to use the frozen frog legs from Ranch 99.  Sausages came my lunch leftovers.  Grilled chicken came premade and frozen.  I chopped it to mimic the shredded chicken breasts Janee had used her in gumbo.

The veggies:

When Janee was speaking about the holy trinity.  I smiled because superstar Emerald Lagasse from Food Network taught me that was the soul of southern comfort foods was the holy trinity: bell peppers, celery, and onions.  I’m embarrassed to say I had the celery but was missing onions and bell peppers.   A ton of powder made up for the coarse chopped onions.  I used carrots for the bell peppers.  Emerald has a version of gumbo here.

I also used a small open bag of frozen corn, carrots, and peas mix.  I typically use it for fried rice.

Since okra is not a stable in my household, I substituted shredded cabbage.  I was hoping it would somehow thicken the sauce.  I probably should have used more because it got cooked out.

The Last Ingredient:

I actually had some rice earlier that day,  which mind you is rare for our household as we don’t eat it old-school style (meaning I used to eat it 3 square meals 365 days a year).  We are  a mixed household and I can definitely tell you, my husband and my son could not survive on eating rice for more than 2 meals tops.

After I undercooked the roux, I dumped everything into my thermal cooker pot.  I waited for it to boil a sweat with the lid on top and transferred the pot into the outer pot shell.    I took a pic to send to Janee as I knew she would be proud. She called it stew! My patience pushed 30 minutes when my not hungry belly was won over by my hypnotically, hungry nose.

The gumbo was so divine over white rice!  Hot enough to tickle the root of my mouth and so salty. Yum!  I snapped a picture of it but, I realized it looked a lot like jambalaya.   Janee had explained the difference was that jambalaya held less liquid and didn’t have all the seafood goodness that gumbo did.

By morning, after several hours, it looked like below.   I could taste the fish sauce and the gumbo was definitely thick.  The frog legs was tender and falling off the bone.  I actually ate  the fishballs at all.

Final Thoughts:

I did miss the shrimp.  And maybe next time, I might add a little less tomato sauce and some bacon drippings.   (Janee has used vegetable oil.)  Plus the holy trinity must come into play.   I’ll let you know how the updated version out next time.

gumbo

So, what do you think?  Did this work as Asian gumbo with fish sauce?  Or was it as Janee puts it, just a stew?

 

DIY: Clothespin Rocking Chair

This project originally appeared at https://www.instructables.com/id/Clothespin-Rocking-Chair-So-Easy-to-Make/

This project has such an easy list of MATERIALS NEEDED: CLOTHESPINS AND STRONG WOOD GLUE.  I used Gorilla wood glue and it’s perfect.

I think the hardest part about this clothespin rocking chair is just waiting for the glue to dry. Remember to allow glue to dry between each step before continuing. I kept the glue on its side rather than standing throughout the project to make it easy to pour out. You can pretty much figure out how to make this by looking at the pictures but I’ll give you the steps anyways.
1. Disassemble the clothes pin by pulling out the metal piece. Be careful with your fingers as you could get caught.

2. Build the seat with 6 wooden pieces, glued side-by-side.

3. Turn the seat to the back and glue 2 supports down crosswise as shown.

4. Glue two wooden pieces flat against each other to make the legs. You need 4 of these.

5. Glue the legs to the seat. I found that gluing 2 fronts, then 2 back helped in in ensuring that the leg would be even. The legs are probably the hardest part to glue. I tried to hold them to keep them stable while they dry.

6. Glue an additional side supports to each 2 pair of legs (one front, one back).

7. Glue 2 wooden pieces to the back of the seat on the top.

8. Glue a wooden piece across the bottom of 4 pieces. This is going to be the back to the chair. Attach the back to the chair.

9. Add the armrest to the top of the chair legs.

10. Glue across a wooden piece to support the back top.

11. To make the chair rock create 2 pieces. 2 pieces are butted together and glued on top of the flat portion of a wooden piece. Connect the top pieces at the cut out groove of the bottom piece.

12. Attach the legs to the 2 rocking pieces and you got yourself a pretty cool mini rocking chair. I used a Beanie Baby on mine but it should fit Barbie size dolls too.

And I bet, like my mom, your mom would love it too.

DIY: Rubber Band Spider Bracelet

CLICK HERE FOR FULL LENGTH VIDEO EDITION.

(This is an update of my DIY from instructables.com.)

Happy Halloween!!  This would make a great accessary wear for your Halloween costume.

I don’t know about you but this rubber band bracelet is the only way I would get close to any spider. This Spider rubber band bracelet is so cool, it could literally make you start flinging web.

What I love is that while this bracelet uses Rainbow Loom rubber bands; you do not even need a loom/ hook or even clips. Make yourself stand out by wearing one of these. They are also perfect for Halloween and cosplay.

Materials:

For my spider I choose the following colors:

Purple (head and body) You will need the most of this color.

Pink (eyes) Only need 2.

Black (body base and legs)

White (web)

If you like another color combo, get creative and go for it. I know that next time I build this one, I’d want to try out the glow in the dark ones.

*A quick note, I am sensitive to latex and Rainbow Loom rubber bands are latex free. Also these rubber bands do not break like the cheap ones you find in bulk for a few dollars less.

Building the Skeleton:

The body and the head needs to be built first. I coined the term, “skeleton” for when rubber bands are attached together, end to end by tying them to each other.

1. For the body you will need a bit more rubber bands in the skeleton than the head. I just start rolling one end of the skeleton into a ball and the every last rubber band, I used to loop 2 times around the whole thing to secure it. I did the same for the purple head.

2. These bases are not perfect and as you can see, there are always lumps and loops. Don’t worry about these. The loops actually are useful because you will need to find 2 of them to pull out, 1 in the head and 1 in the body, to attach to each other.

3. Add more purple to stabilize and contour the head and body.

Legs:

Picture of Legs

Picture of Eyes

1. For the legs you will need to make 8 spider legs. Each leg create a small skeleton of 1 black tied to 1 white.

2. Loops the black pieces in alternating sides to the neck of the spider.

3. To create the thicker leg it’s time to “bead.” A bead is very easy to make. To bead grab a black rubber band and twist it several times around the black skeleton leg of the spider. I used 4 black rubber bands to create beads along each leg.

4. When all the legs are done, the spider will look almost right. You can fatten it up by adding more purple rubber bands throughout the head and body. Make sure when looping the bands to ensure that the legs are also included so that they will appear easy when spread out instead of in a cluster.

Note that in the last picture I use the loom only so I can show you spread out how the spider legs look. Again, no loom needed.

Eyes:

 

Picture of Eyes

1. Tie a skeleton of 3 purple rubber bands. Bead 2 pink onto the middle purple rubber band. Make sure to space the pink appropriately as eyes for your spider.

2. Secure the eyes by looping of the right and left of the middle rubber band to the top legs. Then loop the 2 other sides appropriately to the body.

3. Add more purple to the head and body to secure the eyes.

Yay, the spider is now complete and finishing the web is next.

Web:

Picture of Web

To make the web took a bit of figuring out. Thankfully long nails helped me in untying the mistakes I kept making as this bracelet was a learning process. The good news is I have figured out how many rubber bands you need to make a nice fitting web.

1. The web for under the head will be created first. Build 2 skeletons of 1 white with 1 purple. Use the purple to attach the white to the bottom side of the spider.

2. The top set of legs need another white each. There are a total of 3 whites to the second set of legs which was then tied with 1 white extra..

3. Next are the very bottom legs. They need 2 white rubber bands attached to each and then tied and spaced with 1 white. The attached white will need 1 white on each side.

4. Transition to the 3rd set of legs by making the web 2 whites long each. Each of the end white should meet with the end white of the 4th/ bottom legs and be tied together with another white rubber band. Add 2 more whites to each side and then tie them together in a double knot.

5. Secure the 2nd and 3rd legs together using a skeleton of 2 whites.

How to Wear:

This Spider Rubber Band Bracelet is easiest to wear by:

1. Place the spider on top of your hand, right side up.

2. Look for the double-knot loop and bring that bracelet piece under your wrist.

3. Look for the open single knot loop and bring that bracelet piece under your hand.

4. Place the 4 open white rubber bands appropriately on each finger. I like to do the ones that come under the eyes first.

As you can see, this bracelet can be worn left or right handed and even the spider can rest against your palm.

*For a better fit on the fingers, I think it would be best to use thin, white metal rings that are sized more appropriately for your fingers instead of the rubber bands. These Rainbow Loom bands can constrict the blood flow to your fingers if they are too tight. You can also switch the finger white webs with larger size rubber bands too.

Although it won’t look as cool, you can also opt to forgo the finger bands and tie the 2 webs pairs as loops with more white skeletons.  Just secure it between the fingers instead of on each one.

 

 

 

 

Stuffed Chicken Quarters

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This instructables first appeared here.

This Stuffed Chicken Quarters is a tribute to my grandmother. We were so lucky to have my grandmother in our household growing up because we got to eat good when we were kids. Too bad I was spoiled and didn’t learn how to cook from her. My grandmother’s fear that we might burn ourselves kept me away from the kitchen when I was growing up.

Anyways, I remember quite fondly of this particular chicken dish my grandmother made where she deboned the whole chicken and stuffed it. It was so delicious, the skin was crispy and the stuffing was melt-in-my-mouth good. Just heavenly, except that my grandmother only made this dish one time. But that one time was enough to make me still drool a little while I think about it some 20 years later.

This is my first attempt to recreate this  Stuffed Chicken Quarters and I can say I did my grandmother proud because my husband loved it. It is almost as good as how grandmother made it or as how I remembered how it tasted. If you have never debone chicken, I’ve got a video to demonstrate that as well as a bonus of an old school style of how to ground meat.

If you like this dish, please note that I am working on noodle dishes and this is the second one in this collection. Spring Rolls is my first noodles dish. Follow me as more noodle dishes will unfold into some pretty tasty instructables.

Ingredients:

3-4 chicken quarters or chicken breast

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

2-3 tablespoon cilantro, minced

2 celery sticks, chopped

1/3 onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1/2 package sweet potato noodles or vermicelli style rice noodles

salt

pepper

soy sauce

light cooking oil spray

optional: toothpicks

For those who don’t know chicken quarters are chicken pieces that have the thigh and the leg still connected together. I opted for this instead of a whole chicken since I wanted to make this as easy as possible to cook. Having done so, I would suggest that you can cut your prep time by using chicken breast instead of chicken quarters.

Yes, who knew that noodles also can be made from sweet potatoes. I certainly didn’t until I discovered these from a local Asian grocery store. I would say it’s a great alternative to the traditional rice noodles or even spaghetti noodles. The flavor tastes hearty and honestly I couldn’t tell that it was made of potatoes.

Prepping the Chicken and Noodles

1. Debone the chicken by carefully removing the skin and meat from the chicken bone. I have included a video that will make it easier for you if you have never done it before. Don’t worry, this was my first time too.

If you can’t watch the video, you will need to cut off the tail and fat to discard, take the skin off, take the meat off the bone. The video can also be found below or on my youtube channel by clicking here

Update:  I have also embedded it below.

2. Then you will have the fun of slicing the meat into smaller pieces and then chop away. I went old school! I used a Chinese/ Thai Chef knife found online on Amazon but you can use a butcher knife or any other large knife too. Just make sure to sharpen your knife for easier and faster prepping.

Of course if you have a food processor, by all means use that to grind the meat down into ground chicken. It will save you time and a tired hand. Even better if you can use ground turkey or if your local butcher shop sells ground chicken, buy it! I’m all about saving time.

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3. Boil hot water and cook the potato noodles in it until it is ready. Remember like spaghetti you need to stir it frequently to make sure it doesn’t stick. The potato noodles took longer to cook than traditional rice noodles.

4. When done, drain the noodles into a colander and wash noodles in cold water to stop it from overcooking.

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5. Using kitchen shears, cut the noodles into smaller pieces about 2-4 inches. To speed this up, I just pointed the shears straight down onto the noodles in the colander and cut, move, and cut.

Cooking the Stuffing

1. In a large sauté pan on medium high heat sauté garlic, onions, celery, and carrots until almost tender.

2. Add the ground chicken and cilantro to the pan.

3. Add 2-3 tablespoons of soy sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.

4. When chicken is almost cooked, add the noodles to the pan and mix well.

5. Turn off stove when chicken is done.

Baking

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Lightly spray a baking pan so that it will not stick.

3. Place chicken skin on pan and add the cooked stuffing.

4. Fold the skin so that the stuffing is held completely inside.

5. Continue with stuffing the other skins pieces.

6. Use toothpicks to pierce and support the skin from unrolling if necessary.

7. Drizzle a healthy dose of soy sauce over each of the stuffed chicken pieces. Add salt and pepper if desire.

8. Place pan into oven and cook until skin is nice and crisp. (App. 40-50 minutes.) About 20 minutes in I did double-check the stuffed chicken quarters by adding more soy sauce and also wiggling the pieces to ensure that it was not sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Enjoy!

As I said, these Asian Stuffed Chicken Quarters came out delicious. They even tasted great the next day which was actually when I had mine.

Comparison

Mine differ from the taste of my grandmother’s original because I used sweet potato noodles which is chewier than the white noodles I remember her using. My grandmother also finely chopped/ minced everything. My vegetables, chicken, and noodles were much larger. I think minimal seasoning was used by my grandmother. She didn’t cook much with soy sauce since that’s not a traditional seasoning to Hmong dishes. I cook with soy sauce because I cater to the taste of my husband and because I thought it would give the right amount of moisture to support the skin as it crisped. One thing is for sure, I am 100% positive you can vary the stuffing and it will still come out tasty.

Thank you to all the grandmothers that help to inspire the new generation of good eats.

3 Things I Learned from Creating My First YouTube Video Upload in Over 2 Years

I’m a little embarrassed to say that this is my first YouTube video upload in over 2 years for tofugami.  Instead of doing a DIY video, I decided to try something  different.

Xhaun LOVES to watch the kids play channel and mystery unboxing.  So I decided to give it a shot.  It was fun considering I LOVE playing with toys.  As you can see it’s Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation themed so it’s posting a lot later than the original goal date of 2 weeks ago since the movie has been in theater for over a week now.

It’s a total learning experience.  I can say it’s not as easy as it looks creating good quality and fun videos.  I want to say thanks to Shawn for helping to edit this one.

So here are the 3 things I learned from creating my first YouTube video upload in over 2 years.

  1. Learn to use the equipment, especially the camera.  We just bought 2 Canon EOS Rebel SL2 cameras per the recommendation of Shawn’s research which indicated that these were solid cameras for YouTube videos.  Either one of us have gotten around to learning how to use the camera so as you can see, the video I took, there’s a lot of over-focusing on one area which results in blurred areas throughout the video.  I definitely need to go back and learn to use the camera.  Where is that manual?

I also bought a camera kit with one of the cameras.  I have not placed my fingerprints on these peices either.  I’m sure some of these tools will help me in stabilizing the view.

I also bought a c-stand.  It allows you to shoot with a view from the top.  I actually shot from the top and the front view on the view and if you had looked at some of the clips, it’s actually impressive.  The top camera doesn’t have the same blurry video quality.  I think it’s because it was high enough I actually need to zoom in to shoot it.

Below is a sample of the video from the top in which this video didn’t make the cut.

2.   Timing is everything.   I grossly overestimated the time it took to create a video.  I bought the Hotel Transylvania toys in advance.  I figured I could post it at least by the Wednesday before the movie opened in theater.  I was so wrong!  It took time to get the c-stand in, prep my area, and video editing was just not my gig.  YouTube discontinued their built-in video editing program awhile back which is too bad because it was so easy to use.

I have to tell myself, to allow for more timing for my next video.  (Which will be a fun DIY.)

In addition, if I am looking for engagement with my audience, I definitely missed that window of opportunity.  Again, if Hotel Transylvania 3 is opening on a Friday and I post my video 2 weeks late, chances are that it’s not going to get as many views.  The buzz time has ended.  Thankfully, I am not being bitter about it as I look at this from the perspective of what can I learn from it.

3. Have fun.  So easy right?  Creating a video is hard work but it has to also be fun.  While we can crop out things that go wrong like the video portion clip below in which I realized that the shrink plastic around the toys does right by homeland security strength.  Frustration can show in each clip and ultimately I had to off-screen, use a pair of scissors to snip incisions into each plastic.  Frustration can show in how we edit as well.

And the music choices too.  Since we are not familiar with making music yet (yes, something to tackle on my to-do list), we opted for YouTube’s audio library of music.  It’s limited but worked for the time being on this one.  Shawn and I did have a disagreement on the music though.  I wanted to be able to do a voiceover for the playtime, Shawn did not.  In the interest of time, I will try that another time.  Especially when it relates back to lesson 1 here as I have purchased a microphone system that’s hidden in the dark depths of my closet.

What do you guys think of this newly uploaded tofugami video?  What do you think we could have done differently?