Friday, August 27, 2010
So, I was determined to make a very cute, professional looking cake for my manager's birthday. She requested a white cake with white frosting and fresh strawberry filling.Unfortunately, I do not have a tried & true white frosting recipe yet, and I was playing around with possibilities. I considered myself lucky to find a wonderful recipe that has a beautiful marshmallowy texture and exists in the perfect state between sweet and too sweet. Unfortunately, this frosting also melts very fast (but tastes wonderful when used as a dip for strawberries!). So, I hurriedly crumb coated the cake, put it in the freezer, and came back to do the second coat only to realize that this wasn't going to go the way I originally planned.
You see, the night before when I baked the cakes I have to admit that I was in a bit of a rush. The day at work had been long and tedious, and I wanted to sit down and get some work done at the computer. Because of these events, I failed to coat two of the 9" pans with nonstick spray and ended up mutilating two cakes (yes, I know the word mutilating is dramatic).
So, I had to salvage what I could (and save the rest for a second run of cake balls!). In the end, the filling turned out wonderfully, but was also dripping down the sides and mixing in with my wonderful white frosting. It all tasted VERY delectable, though.
I realize that in order to make beautiful cakes, I must practice my cutting the cakes in layers...because that is what ultimately gets me in trouble. Ahhh! I need to invest in a cake leveler from Michaels!
Either way, I managed to kind of uphold a decent appearance with the simple elegance of strawberries.
After my second Failure Friday post, I now feel like I am on a mission to tell the amateur bakers of whereverland that mistakes happen ALL of the time...especially near Fridays, as it seems. So, keep on baking &hopefully all of my mistakes make you feel better about yours. :]
Monday, August 23, 2010
This Monday we're making a cute little giraffe to decorate any kind of handmade card. This theme is Christmas because I have so many cards to make still, and I think the giraffe looks extra cute as a present at the top of the tree.
You will need a circle puncher, a hole puncher, a glue stick, scissors, a sharpie, a pencil, brown, orange, and white card stock, decorative ribbon, and 3d glue spots which are for the card, so they're optional.
I use the circle hole puncher because it is incredibly efficient and helpful, but it's optional of course.
It's pretty simple to free hand this with the pencil. Just focus on the different shapes involved in the picture, and that makes drawing it a lot more attainable.
The flipping over bit is to help hide the pencil marks, of course.
Depending on the size of your giraffe, you can choose between using a mini hole puncher or a standard hole puncher like the one seen in the picture.
The five half circles are used for the hair at the end of the tail, two hooves, and two dots on the body that are next to the edge.
After this, punch out two white circles and glue them on the face as well. Then, use the sharpie to add the pupils in whatever direction you choose.
Depending on the width of your decorative ribbon, cut a small strip of it to make his bow easier to handle.
This just makes it easier to tie once it's around the giraffe's neck.
YAY! You're all finished making a super cute giraffe!
Sunday, August 22, 2010
I’m sure you can relate to me when I say that dessert makes me jump for joy. I started baking so that I could be jumping for joy constantly from all of the yummy treats coming out of my kitchen.
After wandering around blogger for a couple of weeks, I’ve compiled a list of recipes that I want to try because they’re unique, creative, and simply delicious.
&the tastiness begins…
1. Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes from Java Cupcake (click to find the recipe)
I love this recipe because it's perfect for the summer season & they look so cute.
2. Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars (click here for recipe)
3. Key Lime Mini Cheesecakes from Moogie & Pap (click here for deliciousness)
Also perfect for the summer season & perfectly portioned.
4. Hot Chocolate Cupcakes from 52 Cupcakes (click here if you want to smile big)
This recipe makes me excited for winter parties.
5. Peaches and Cream Cupcakes from Just a Taste (you know you want to click here)
Ahhhh, all of these great summer recipes are going to make me have to go to the gym. These look simple, sweet, and fruity. :]
6. Pie Pops from Bakerella ( yes, you want to participate in the cuteness too)
Anything on a lollipop stick and from Bakerella requires no explanation of why it is included on this list.
7. Best Chocolate Pie Yet from Cookie Madness (get your fork ready)
I've seen this picture more than twenty times,
and my jaw still drops.
8. Snickerdoodle Blondies from the Brown Eyed Baker (yes, they're quite lovely)
Amazing combination of two different desserts. I adore the crunchy part on top.
9. Turtle Ice Cream Pie from Bake at 350 (mhmm, I understand the need)
9. Turtle Ice Cream Pie from Bake at 350 (mhmm, I understand the need)
10. Homemade Ice Cream from Kevin and Amanda (it's so easy to make!)
This recipe had to be included because of the simplicity and the wide variety of combinations you can include in the ice cream. It really is a wondrous thing.
11. Vanilla Bean Cupcakes from Diana's Desserts (click.click.click.)
Moist, sweet, and perfect.
12. Ferrero Rocher Rich Fudge Brownies from the Brisbane Baker (click for amazingness)
13. Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes from Slow Like Honey (click to help them get to your kitchen)
Beautiful & tasty.
14. Cinnamon Toast Cupcakes from Nothing But Crumbs (cinnamon goodness found here)
I love these because they remind me of the Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. That cereal is delicious, and I can't wait to try these to discover how much better they are.
15. Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Brownies from Ice Cream Before Dinner (YUM.)
I have two friends that will faint when they see these.
16. Pancake Cupcakes by 52 Cupcakes (different & delectable)
Breakfast for dessert. Who could ask for more?
Friday, August 20, 2010
My absolute favorite thing about crafting, baking, or decorating is seeing the image in my head come to life.
In regards to card making, I love taking small parts of paper, shaping them, and then putting all of the pieces together like a puzzle.
The robots were so easy to make. I just used a couple of stamps for the square outlines, used a sharpie to draw the details on, and little circles for the hands and ears. The stars were cut out from the paper inside of the card, and the heart was cut out from a stencil.
I adore these little birthday cards because they're simple and literally sweet.
I think the bows added a nice extra touch to the card, and I'm thinking of adding little pockets inside of these designs for gift cards.
Any cute cards you'd like to share with me?
Thursday, August 19, 2010
On my list of skills, failing is somewhere in the top five. I'm sure many people have the same issue, and I can confidently say that I am particularly exceptional at doing things the wrong way 13,040 times before I can get it right. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that failing is a bad thing. The word definitely has a negative connotation & I have no intention of using it in that way. Failing, is just...well, annoying. As much as I would prefer to do everything right the first time, I am aware of the fact that I must fail in order to find my own way of doing things that satisfies me. That being said, I would like to present to you my failure of the day. (ha, maybe I should make this a weekly Friday post).
Once again, Bakerella has proved that she is magical in the kitchen. I attempted cake pops today & I not only ended up with smushed cake and white chocolate all over the place, but I also ended up with cake balls, deformed hexagons, and funny looking squares too. I suppose my first problem was not using ALL of the cake in the pan. I figured that the slightly hard bits wouldn't be a good idea to put in with the rest of the crumbs. Unfortunately, this threw off the ratio of cake to frosting, and I'm thinking that the frosting overwhelmed the cake and made it all sticky and harder to work with. I had to reshape the pops twice before I could put them in the white chocolate and then the lollipop sticks kept falling off & then everything was falling and smushing & it wasn't the cutest thing to see in a kitchen.
On the positive side, since I made SO many mistakes, I was privileged with eating all of them& OHMYGOODNESS, these cake balls/pop things are amazingfantasticdelicious. I used carrot cake for this batch, and I thought my tongue was going to jump for joy. I have never ever in my whole life eaten something so uniquely tasty. Okay, so I'm being dramatic, but it REALLY was so good.
I stopped after I did 20 cake balls because I was tired of seeing smushed cake & it was really sweet & I couldn't eat ALL of my mistakes.
Hope you have better luck!
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Today is one of those days where I feel like buying the WHOLE world. I want stamps, fabric, scrap booking paper, ingredients for new recipes, quilling supplies, stickers, cookie cutters, NEW HEELS; anything I can get my hands on.
This is obviously a conflicting interest with paying for school this semester. I have to keep reminding myself that school is MUCH MUCH more important than a day of shopping at Michaels, Amazon, eBay, and Pebbles in my Pocket.
Also, this conflicts with the fact that I am ALWAYS trying to save money. With all of these hobbies taking over my life, it's a tad difficult to be saving lotsa lotsa money. I just need more discipline.
So, if you're like me and you start feeling consumption madness coming on, I would like to give you this list of ways to curb it.
1. REALLY think about what you're going to do with this purchase when you get home. Will it go straight to the closet? Will it just lay on your desk for two weeks? Will you forget you even bought it? STRONGLY consider the practicality of your purchase.
2. When you're in the store getting ready to buy the object, walk around with it for a while. After a good ten to fifteen minutes, you'll start to realize that you don't really need it. I( don't know how this works, but it just does). TAKE THE THING THAT'S GOING TO TAKE MONEY OUT OF YOUR BANK ACCOUNT FOR A WALK FIRST.
3. When you actually do decide to buy it, use cash only. I've read on a lot of websites and budgeting articles that using cash gives the buyer a sense of WHAT THE HELL AM I SPENDING ALL OF THIS MONEY FOR!? Once you start taking out a couple of twenties and getting a dollar back in change, you're going to start to wonder if that was really worth it. USE CASH CONSTANTLY.
4. If you go shopping and you decide that you just fell in love with that beautiful sheer cover-up dress and those amazing stilletoes that are sure to make you feel confident, then go home first, relax a little bit, and see if you still think that those articles are going to make you feel powerful. If the answer is yes after a couple of days, THEN GO GET THEM! :] (LOL, you can only pass up something so fantastic so many times!) More than likely, you won't feel like going out again because you realize that purchase wasn't really worth it. Congratulate yourself when this happens because it means you saved money that you can now use for practical purposes. DETACH YOURSELF FROM THE SITUATION BEFORE YOU BRING OUT THE WALLET.
5. If you happen to have Google Chrome, then you should definitely get the Universal Amazon Wish List extension. Whenever you're online shopping anywhere and you see something you want, amazon wish list it, and then come back to it after a week. Most of the time you'll forget you even put it on your wish list, and you'll wonder why you ever wanted it in the first place. (I do this all of the time with my eBay watch list too). PUT ALL OF YOUR WANTED ITEMS IN ONE PLACE & THEN COME BACK TO THEM LATER.
6. Start saving regularly. Trust me, it's addicting. Put away 25$ a week, and you'll be amazed at the increase in your savings.
7. This may sound a little iffy, but you really have to watch out who you're hanging out with. If you have friends who shop as a hobby and go out for lavish lunches, you might want to give them a couple of rain checks. You don't have to say no all of the time, but you don't have to constantly say yes either. Stick with the people who are okay with staying in and watching a movie. You'll be amazed at how much money accumulates in your bank account after you do this. CATEGORIZE FRIENDS.
8. KEEP TRACK OF YOUR EXPENSES. This tip is literally in every book I read about finance. It is absolutely imperative to find a book that fits in your purse, your pocket, or one that you won't forget about at home to write down where every penny of your money is going. Once you start this, you'll think twice about buying that little item for one dollar to avoid writing it in the book. This type of tracking technique helps so much at the end of the month when you're adding up all of your expenses, and you realize that you've spent WAY too much money on food and clothes.
9. EMBRACE BEING A LIST JUNKIE. Lists are the only thing that can actually organize my thoughts in my life, and they do wonderful things to help you visualize what is REALLY important to you. I suggest making a priority list. For example,
3. Car Insurance
4. Car Payment
5. Other bills
6. Other grown-up responsibilities
9. Eating out
Once you start to see what is really necessary in your life to pay for first, you can have all of that accomplished, put money away, and still have money to play with.
Now, I'll end this post hoping you're a tad bit wiser with your money (I'm now convinced that I don't need to buy all of the craft-related things in the world), and I'll leave you with a couple of book recommendations. One is called 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget by the writers at Wise Bread. The other is called Live It, Love It, Earn it by Marianna Olszewski. GO TO THE LIBRARY AND GET THEM. :]
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
The second and third Christmas card designs are finished, and I am excessively proud of my little penguin Christmas tree topper. Instead of spending $3.99 at Michael's to purchase five penguins, I decided to use the scraps of paper that I have from other scrapping projects, and VOILA, a penguin was born.
I can't wait to send these out!
Sunday, August 15, 2010
I am beyond relieved to rid my life of this cake.
It took a lot of work & a lot of frustration, but the person who received the cake was REALLY excited about, and that made all of the work worth it (cliche, I know).
I did have some trouble covering the cakes with fondant and trimming off the edges, I can't seem to master the perfection of trimming the edges...and the chocolate frosting was delicious (http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/quick-chocolate-buttercream-frosting.html), but not really workable because I didn't exactly wait until room temperature. So, it definitely showed through the fondant, and I have to remember to do more than one coat.
Also, Bombman was a little top heavy, which is why in the picture he's being supported by a can of sanitizer wipes. Oh well. As they say, you live&you learn.
On a side note, my parents are constantly sending me to the store to buy something they forgot almost EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Obviously, I am annoyed.
The cashiers know me by name & they are updated with my life on a constant basis. I like the feeling of welcome, don't get me wrong, but I wouldn't mind if I saw them all a bit less. So, in an attempt to try and get organized with things we need as we realize they are out, I made a little shopping list for our refrigerator. It was super easy & makes the fridge look way more cute. :]
(&it's two-sided, so it's more environmentally friendly!)
Thursday, August 12, 2010
The life cupcakes for Amy are officially finished & I'm happy with the way they turned out.
Unfortunately, I didn't realize how quickly cream cheese frosting would melt, and that didn't help the situation at all. Toppers were falling left and right &words were becoming illegible. But, at least I know for next time! :]
This is definitely one of my favorite projects.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
This post actually has nothing to do with baking at Christmas, but about baking & making Christmas cards in August.
I made delectable, yummyful, make you smile pillow cookies today&they turned out wonderfully. Thanks to Bakerella [http://www.bakerella.com/pillow-cookies/], pillow cookies are now a part of my life. :]
(it's so big 'cause of the SUPER GOOD brownie filling :] )
Besides that, I've begun making all of my Christmas card designs for my grand plans of making money for Japan and also sending out handmade cards to all of my family and friends. Yes, I realize it is August...but I'm really busy. I figure I should manage my time effectively right now so that I won't be going crazy later. I think it's a pretty good plan. &AHHHH....with school starting, I don't know how I plan on managing all of the things that I do. I guess I'll just have to learn how to have zero social life & never see my boyfriend. (or I can just make him come over & talk to me while I'm doing all of the things that I do).
BUT. Here's the first Christmas card of the season. :]
Monday, August 2, 2010
This cake is INTENSE.
It has the most amount of detail I've done so far on any project, and I'm a little terrified about the outcome.
My trouble so far has been the faces of the teeny tiny characters. HELP! I can barely pick anything up &the eyes are sticking to my pinkies and the minutes run away from me and leave me frustrated and no closer to a finished project.
The good news from this cake though is that the mets & Eddie from the Megaman game look pretty darn cute.
The Mets still need their green cross on their helmets, and Eddie needs his frowny face, but those are pipe-able details.
Hope you like them! I sure do.