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Archive for the tag “accessories”

Pastry Bags: Disposable or Reusable?

Disposable plastic pastry bags

To be fair, there are really 2 kinds of disposable bags. Plastic bags and parchment cones. You can make parchment cones yourself out of parchment paper triangles. You can make them large or small and they can even be fitted with a pastry tip at the end and filled with small amounts of frosting (1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon). Parchment cones are perfect for when you have intricate designs and don’t need a lot of frosting.

Popular disposable plastic piping bag brands include: KEE-SEAL,  Wilton, CIA, and Fat Daddio’s.

Pros:

  • They’re disposable -woot! A definite convenience.
  • The ones I purchased were transparent so it was easy to tell at a glance what color was in there when I tinted several colors of icing at a time.
  • Clean up is certainly easy.
  • They’re inexpensive if you don’t use them often.
  • You get a clean one each time. No leftover greasy residue from frosting not being washed off properly.

Cons:

  • In my opinion, the biggest flaw about disposable piping bags is their inherent lack of strength due to the plastic that’s used to make them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pushed my finger right through the flimsy plastic while squeezing out frosting. Other times, the frosting would sneak it’s way between the coupler and the bag. Granted, I should have used a softer frosting or a larger tip so I wasn’t squeezing so hard, but I was still learning that disposable bags were not my friend.  Putting my finger through the bags or frosting squishing out from all the wrong places caused frustrating time delays. I had to scoop out the frosting from the bag into yet another disposable bag. Wilton claims their disposable decorating bags can handle the pressure. However, the disposable bags I purchased from Michael’s were made by Wilton…. Sorry Charlie Wilton. To be fair, I found numerous positive reviews about their plastic decorating bags.
  • Disposable bags are not environmentally friendly.
  • They aren’t as easy to use because disposable plastic bags are not flexible and have a very stiff feel when filled.
  • Disposable bags tend to run on the small side (8″, 10″, & 12″ generally, although I have seen 16″) This means you constantly have to stop and reload it with frosting, which is annoying and wastes time.
  • Disposable are expensive in the long run (if you use a lot of bags) because they are thrown away and have to be purchased again and again.
  • They can slip out of your hands.

Reusable pastry bags

They come in featherweight (white) bags, silicone and also plastic coated fabric bags (cotton & canvas).

Popular brands of reusable piping bags include: Ateco, Wilton, Fat Daddio’s,

Pros:

  • Some people wash them in the dishwasher, but I haven’t personally had success with doing this. However, I do prefer to wash them by hand and using Dawn dish washing liquid really cuts through the grease.
  • They are more flexible. Especially the Ateco Plastic coated fabric ones.
  • You can probably get about 100 uses out of each featherweight bag.
  • The plastic coated fabric bags last a really, really long time.

Cons:

  • Unless you have lots of these, you”ll have to wash out the bag after each use with hot soapy water, or when you want to change colors.
  • They are more expensive than disposable bags.
  • White featherweight bags can stain. Especially when filling them with red or black tinted frosting.
  • The plastic coated fabric bags can be a bit bulky to work with.

Results:

Reusable Wins!

With experience I can handle all of the bags equally well and I keep them all on hand for different reasons.  I think everyone should try both the disposable and reusable bags to get the feel of each one and try them again as their level of experience increases. Once you know your way around each kind of bag, use what suits you best! When I started, I purchased disposable piping bags. They didn’t cost a lot and I didn’t want an expensive learning experience. Then, I moved on to the featherweight bags, which are usually made out of spun polyester. I bought about 10 Magic Line 12″ bags from a restaurant supply store in town. They have a great, soft feel in my hand. I’ve heard of people lining their featherweight bags with a smaller plastic disposable bag. Not only does the featherweight feel better against your hand, but doubling the bags cuts down on hand heat transferring to the frosting and potentially melting it. Plus, clean up’s a snap! Once I got the feel of the featherweight bags, I purchased an 18″ plastic coated canvas bag from Ateco. I was so pleased with this bag. It was a larger bag so it hold more frosting and I didn’t feel like I was forever refilling it. If I had to choose one bag as my favorite, it would be my reusable plastic coated bag by Ateco.


Bling it on!

I’m tired of looking at the visual effects of a male-dominated world. Sure, I could go into war, politics, religion, etc, but I’m going to keep it simple: I like my world to LOOK PRETTY! Have no idea what I’m talking about? Take tools for example: they’re all metal; no colors or patterns and not pretty to look at. Why? Because guys make them and guys don’t care what they look like. They use them for function, not for looks. (this last observation was made by my husband after reading this post. Quite frankly, I’m surprised this all he had to say about it) If I’m going to use a tool, I want it to work AND look pretty – and it can! There’s no reason to surround yourself with the color of metal or feeling of drabness. And it’s not just metal. When I walk into an auto parts store, or a tool store (or other mechanical man-type stores) I’m just not inspired. Everything looks so cold and uninviting. Retailers could at least offer more stylish choices for the fashion conscience consumer. Women can build hot rods and fix things when they break (just to name a few) and we should have tools and accessories designed to be both functional and representational of our femininity.

Here’s a perfect example of a recent purchase of ear muffs from a local tool store. Generic, bland, boring. I was determined to take action to turn them into something I can feel good about wearing. 

Boring

I popped off both ear cups with a flathead screwdriver. Then I scuffed up the red plastic surface with 120 grit sand paper. I used masking tape to mask off the s quishy part that touches your face and ears. Then I mixed a ratio of 2/3 red glitter to 1/3 gold glitter in a shallow bowl. Once both of the cups were prepared, I used Mod Podge clear acrylic sealer spray (I was out of spray adhesive) to spray on a thin coat all over the red plastic part of cup. I sprinkled the glitter mix all over the cup. I sprayed on more clear sealer, and then more glitter. I did this a total of 3 times until the cup was evenly coated. Then I repeated the same spray/glitter sequence to the other prepared ear muff. I let the glittered ear muffs dry overnight. In the morning, I shook and dusted off all the extra glitter from each cup. Then I popped the cups back onto the fittings of the headband part of the ear muffs with pliers, being careful to press gently so as not to crack or break and plastic parts. Since glitter was involved, it got rather messy so make sure you lay down plenty of newspaper before you begin. This was a fun project and proof that there are other choices out there. Make your stuff your own!

Blinging!

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