Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Gettin' Crafty on hump day.......

Well folks, its time to party again. I wish I could say I have something to share this week...but I don't. My last 2 craft attempts have been COMPLETE failures. And with the 2nd trimester coming to a close, I have been to exhausted to even photograph said failures. But I ALWAYS have the energy to look at all the work you do :)

So, please no solicitations, and please please leave me some comment love if you link!!!!!!!!!!!

Other than that...let the party begin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The butcher, the baker...the cake decorator?

I spoke at a MOPS meeting once about cake decorating, and it was a real hit, so I decided to share some tips with my readers too! I know I post a lot of my baking on this blog, but I haven't gone into detail on some of the cakes I have done, and things you can do to make your next cake special! Here are some of my fav cakes I've made:

This cake, was super easy to make! Using Hostess sno-balls, and a suzy-q, I was able to make 3 dimensional balls for the top of the cake. I also learned 2 valuable lessons on this cake:
1) Don't dye whipped cream frosting and use it on the decorations...it runs...bad
2) Nobody gives a rip about the frosting running if the cake tastes AWESOME!

This cake was a total labor of love. It was not complicated by any means but was very time consuming. This cake is one where, if you have the right equipment, you can make any cake look amazing. For this one, I used Wilton's ball pans to make balls of yarn for a knitting fanatic friend :)

The lesson with this cake is LOOK ONLINE for ideas!!!!!! I got the idea for this one from the Wilton.com forums. I knew I wanted to make a Rubik cube cake, but I realllllllllly didn't want to make 8 different colors of icing and pipe it all on there! So, when I saw the suggestion for black licorice and m&ms, I was alllllllllllll over it!

For this one, I just made a simple sheet cake. Then, using some small glass bowls from the dollar store, I baked small cakes for the body. This worked out PERFECTLY because it was a 1st birthday cake, so rather than make her an individual cake to eat, we were able to give her the head to chow down on :)

These are just plain fun! These are devils food cupcakes dipped in chocolate ganache. When the ganache cooled, I used white/red/black frosting to pipe on the face. Then I used toothpicks to attach the oreo ears. As I'm sure you can imagine, these were a real hit!!!!

So if I had to give you 5 tips to making a great cake they would be:

1) Don't be afraid to try!!!!!!!!! You'll be amazed at what you can accomplish, especially if you have the right tools! And if you aren't confident enough, check into a class! Most craft stores offer classes at a fairly inexpensive rate, and you'll be amazed how much you learn! I've always had a passion for baking, but I learned SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much in the classes I took!

2) Get creative!!! Use candies, cookies, etc to embellish your cakes. And if you are making a children's cake and you don't want to tackle anything too technical, make a simple sheet cake and use toys on the top to create your theme. That's all most bakeries do anyway!!!!

3) Don't be too hard on yourself!!!!! You will always be your own worst critic, but as I said about my first cake...no one cares as much about the looks as they do the taste. So even if it isn't the most beautiful cake, once people eat it, they will remember how it tasted!!!

4) Get on line!!!!! There are so many places you can gather ideas from! I mentioned Wilton's forums, they are a great place to ask questions and get ideas for cakes. Also, use google! If you need ideas for a Barney cake, google "barney cake" and see what you find, you just might surprise yourself!

5) Most important, make sure you have the equipment you need, really plan it out! You don't want to get half way into a cake and realize you don't have the tip you need for the border, or you didn't make enough frosting, etc.

As I mentioned before, I know I usually combine the crafting/baking on this blog, but I have considered starting a separate blog for the baking. Do you like having them combined or would you prefer them to be separate? I need my reader's opinions!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And, if this post inspires you to try your hand at cake decorating, PLEASE email me a link, I would LOVE to see what you come up with!!!!!

Well, now I'm hungry for cake...lucky for me I made an Almond Joy cake yesterday so I'll be diving face first into that faster than I can click Publish ;)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Gettin' Crafty on hump day.......

Welcome back to another edition of Gettin' Crafty on Hump Day! Thank you all for sticking with me even though we now have a crappy text link party lol.

This week, I wanted to share a quick/easy/cheapo gift I whipped up for a friend for $2...

It called for 2 main ingredients:

#1- a beveled mirror candle plate from the $ tree
#2- black vinyl

Then, mix in some Cricut magic and a mini easel from the $ tree and here you have it:

A VERY inexpensive last minute gift that looks well thought out simply because its personalized :) There is a million and 1 possibilities of what you could put on the mirror plate, and I plan to have some fun exploring my options...

So what have you been up to? Please link up your projects (no solicitations) and leave me some comment love! Can't wait to see what all you've been working on!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Gettin' Crafty on hump day.......

Well folks, I'm rather sad that I wasn't able to find a linky tool with thumbnails that isn't attached to some sort of cost. So, for the time being, Gettin' Crafty on hump day will have to use a text linky.

I really hope y'all will continue to come visit me and link up even without the pictures!!!!!!!!!

Because I am so sad, I decided to make one of my FAVORITE comfort drinks...

Of course, it also had a little to do with the 2 feet of snow that got dropped on us last week.

In any event, I am SUPER excited to share a copycat recipe I made for Starbucks Hot Chocolate!!!!!! Seriously, it is SO close to the original you have GOT to taste it to believe it! And occasionally, I'll even add a dash of peppermint extract to copy their peppermint hot chocolate.

Now, for this amazing drink you'll need the following:

The only thing NOT featured here is HOT water :)

So, you'll pour a 3/4 full mug of milk into a coffee mug and stick it in the microwave for 2 minutes. A lot of times I prefer to use soy milk, which also works fantastic. While your milk is cooking, mix 2TB of cocoa, 2TB of sugar, and 1/4 cup of HOT water. Stir until you get a kind of chocolate syrup that looks like this:

Right around that time, your microwave should go off, and so now you take your syrup and pour it in to the milk. Its going to look like there isn't enough syrup for that big glass of milk but TRUST me, there is :)

Once you pour the syrup in, stir it all in and it'll end up this color:

Now is when you'll add any extracts you need (I do not recommend adding syrups to it, it will make it too sweet, in my opinion). Then, place a nice heaping dollop of whipped cream on top and sprinkle with some cocoa powder and then DIVE in!!!!!!!!!!!

Seriously, you won't BELIEVE how something that simple can taste THAT good!

Ok, time to link up your projects! Please no solicitations and please leave some comment love, link away...........

Friday, February 4, 2011

My $1 hunka hunka burnin' love Valentines sign...

Well that was a mouthful. Anyway, I have found my new FAVORITE item at the Dollar Store!!!!!! It's this:

And no, its not because I like to run the rake through the sand and it brings me a feeling like I'm in an asian garden somewhere relaxing. Its because the base of this garden can be used for a million different things and I snatched up a dozen of them to play with! First on my agenda was a Valentines sign. So, I took the base and poured a good amount of modge podge inside, and then I dumped in a heap load of sequins. This is how it looked while drying (I realize it looks white, but remember the magic of modge podge is that it dries clear!

After it was all dry and snazzy and blingy, I got out some white chipboard letters. I drew a fun little zebra pattern on them with a permanent marker and used some hot glue to attach them and just like that I had a sexy little sign that only cost me $1!

I also love the versatility of using the XOXO, because I can stand this sign horizontally or vertically and the letters read the same!!! So what do you think? A little bit of bling, a little bit of zebra, and a whole lotta cheap, I am in LOVEEEEEEEEEEE :)

One Month To Win It

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Gettin' Crafty on hump day.......

Well, hard to believe its already Wednesday again. I'm just thankful I have internet! We are currently undergoing the blizzard of the century here...expecting up to 7 foot drifts by tomorrow morning!!!!!! The good news with that is...I'm workin' on crafts!!!!!

I'm on kind of a Valentines kick lately, so I have another Valentines craft for ya :)

Start with these supplies:

Rose petals I picked up at 75% off after last Valentines day

Clear glass plate from the Dollar Tree.

Then, find yourself a fabulous vintage Valentines graphic from The Graphics Fairy, and you have the makings of magic! I sat down with my trusty hot glue gun and got busy on the edges of the plate with my petals. Then, I decoupaged my favorite Valentines graphic to the back and VOILA:

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out...of course, The Graphics Fairy has the best graphics so it makes my job a lot easier! ;)

On a sad note, this may be my last Linky party...there doesn't seem to be any free linky hosts anymore and as much as I love seeing all your projects, I can't justify paying a subscription to host this party. If anyone else knows of a free linky hosting site PLEASE let me know. I'll keep everyone posted next week, but if I don't find a free one, I'll have to visit other peoples blogs to see all your projects :(

Can't wait to see what you've got! Please no solicitations, and please comment if you link, or if you know of a free linky host! :)