Wednesday, June 30, 2010

You Know You Want It!

A Silhouette craft cutter, that is! If you're like me and you love doing artsy/crafty things, this machine is to die for! Just a Girl is hosting a giveaway for one with a bunch of fun accessories! I would love to win this, and I'm sure you would too! If you want to know how to enter, see here.

Good luck! And remember what your mom taught you to do...SHARE! LOL!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Okay, so I know I'm a week late here...but better late than never, right?! Well, I did say to watch out for my Father's Day crafts and I think I'm done making you wait.

First off, I made a brag board for my dad. My girls are constantly making something for the grandparents and when I saw this idea I thought it would be perfect for him! Now he can just switch up his pictures/drawings from the kids and have something new to look at. I'd love to give credit here for the person that made this first, but I can't seem to remember where I saw it from! But thanks anyway for the inspiration!

Secondly, I was visiting a new-to-me blog and saw her project from last awesome Father's Day frame. As soon as I saw this, I knew what I'd be making for the hubs! I think it turned out amazing, and I'm a little jealous that my hubby gets to see it everyday at the office! Maybe when Mother's Day rolls around again I'll make one for myself! Hehehe!!

Both of these projects were easy and barely took any time (not that they weren't still made with tons of love)!

For the brag board, I just bought a wood plaque and two 2 packs of magnetic clips. I used paint and brushes I already had at home to paint the plaque. After it dried, the hubs screwed the clips on and added a picture frame wire to the back so dad could hang it up. Easy right?

The blog where I first saw the frame has instructions for photo shop users. But I, unfortunately, don't have photo shop. I do however have another photo editing program I use that I downloaded for FREE(!) from here. It may not be as fancy as photo shop, but I like the price much better! So, with this program I went into the editor button, picked my picture from the left sidebar, clicked on the filter button and picked region option. In this area, click on the grayscale and try to get the circle right around your letter. I had to go back a few times to make sure most of the photo was grayscale by reversing the area and filling in some colored spots. If you are going to try this and need more help or explanation, contact me and I'll try to help you get 'r done!

SO, there you go! You now have about 357 days to get this done in time for Father's Day 2011.

Good luck! And have fun!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Calorie-Free Cupcakes!

I went to my monthly cake club (SAGNFL) meeting last night and learned how to make the cutest little cupcakes! And guess what!? They are calorie-free, but they probably don't taste very good either. Wanna see?

Don't you just love it? We also learned how to make another kind, but I don't have a finished one to show you...yet! But there is a video if you want to see how these gorgeous things are made that show both cupcake styles (Yummy and Delicious-love these names)! If you want to make one yourself, you'll have to buy the template (which does include both cupcake styles)...but at $5.99, it's a pretty good deal considering you can use it as much as you want! It is also a fun and easy project that kids will have a ball with! Or you can use it to make as favors by including some hidden candy, chocolate, or other little goody inside! The possibilites are endless...and calorie-free!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wishful Thinking

I must be a little behind...I am just now learning of something called the Silhouette. It is like the cricut machines, used for cutting vinyl, paper, glass etching, etc. It looks amazing, but also has a nice big price tag like the cricut. So, if you don't have the money, but would like the chance to get one, check out the giveaway here.

Good luck to you all! Now, I'm off to bed and will be dreaming about all the projects I can do if I win this machine. Good night!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pop for Pop

My dad has always had a fondness for popcorn, whether it was stove top popped, microwave popped, store bought, etc. Thus leading to this year's Father's Day theme...a popcorn party. And of course, I had to make a cake for the party, popcorn and all! So I revved up Blue and made the german chocolate cake batter. I divided the batter between the bottom of the giant cupcake pan and a 12 cup cupcake/muffin pan.

As the cake and cupcakes were baking, I starting making the "popcorn". I cut an "x" into the top of marshmallows (using clean scissors), placing them on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. I also left some plain, uncut marshmallows. When I had the tray full, I sprayed them with the yellow Wilton Color Mist food color spray.

After that I mixed a little tequila with brown food color gel and used a paintbrush (only used for cakes) to dab some brown in the middle of various pieces. I iced my cupcakes and added some "popcorn".

I iced the cake then wrapped it with wax paper, then scrapbook paper and added a "Dad's Popcorn" sign. I cut and shaped wires and added them to a wax paper-wrapped board and put the board on top of the cake. For the finishing touch, I added the rest of the popcorn to the bucket. There you have it...delicious, buttery popcorn!

We all had a fun Father's Day! Hope you all did too! Check back soon for the Father's Day crafts I made for my dad and hubby!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Just posting real quick before I head out to visit my Dad!

More to come tomorrow! Hope all you dads out there have a wonderful day!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Ice, Ice, Baby!

I brought my new baby home yesterday. She is so beautiful! I named her Blue and was so excited to put her to work! Here she is in action...

That's right, I have now joined the league of Kitchenaid users!

When I woke up this morning, I thought I had dreamed that I got one last night. But when I walked into the kitchen, she was just sitting there, gleaming at me! She's so pretty, I just can't stop staring!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Oprah's Cake-Off

I was flipping through the channels last night and caught a glimpse of some famous cakers...and seeing as I don't have cable, and therefore don't get to ever watch the cake shows, I had to stop flipping! It turned out Oprah was having a Cake-Off. The contenders were (1)Marina Sousa, (2)Duff Goldman, and (3)The Cake Girls. And here are their cakes:

I was pretty excited about watching this until it was over shortly after it started. The contestants were basically announced, allowed to show and tell their cake, and then hear which cake the audience liked best. Then it was over. I hadn't heard O's show was about reality TV, and not just cakes. Booooo! A whole 10 minutes of cake reality TV. Better than nothing, I guess!

Onto the creators!

Marina Sousa created "an O cake", as Oprah stated. It was a multi-tiered masterpiece with thousands of handmade sugar beads, flowers, inspirational quotes from Oprah and lots of "O"s, including a large, sparkly, spinning one on top. It really was a sight to see!

Duff Goldman was the oddball out here, and created a non-Oprah cake. But, in my opinion, it was still awesome! His pie in the sky cake weighed an impressive 170 pounds, with ice cream and a cherry bomb to top it off!

The Cake Girls (Mary and Brenda Maher) created a huge Oprah mosaic made from about 5,000 fondant circles, which had faces drawn (or printed?) on them. Then they made other pieces which were important to Oprah and Chicago, like a book for her book club, a plaque for the Oprah Angel Network, and so much more!

And the winner was....The Cake Girls! Not my first choice, but nicely done anyhow.

Did you watch the show? Which cake is your favorite?

*Update* After searching the web, I found out this is a rerun from October. So, if you already saw/read about it, sorry! But it's new to me and I was excited!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Countdown to Summer

Since summer is only a week away, I thought I'd remind myself of the beautiful things spring has! Not the one's made by mother nature, but the sweet, sugary ones, made (excluding the Nicholas Lodge ones)! Now, these may not be as beautiful as the originals (in my defense, these were all made B.N. (Before Nic), but I had fun making them anyway!



And A Colorful Spring Combo

Hope you all enjoyed your spring, and have even more fun in the summer!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Go, Sharks!

WE'RE #1! Lately the hubs and I have been going to the AFL games here in Jacksonville. And right now, we're the best in the league! Since he's been getting into the games so much, I thought it would be a good idea to make a cake with a Sharks theme. If you know my husband, then you know he is an avid hat/cap wearer. And since I have the Confetti Cakes Cookbook, I already had the directions on hand for how to make a hat cake.

I started on Sunday to make the brim and let it dry but I had a little trouble with my fondant. After 3 days it was still not dry, so I had to prop it up and (thankfully) it stayed up the whole night. The rest of the fondant (to cover the cake) I microwaved for half the time, and it still came out too soft. After checking Cake Central, I was reassured it was not only me having that problem. But in the end, it covered rather well, and smoothed out awesomely! Check it out for yourself...

Now, there are some concave-y spots, but that was intentional to make it look like a real hat. The cake was chocolate, filled with hot fudge and chocolate sprinkles (or if you're from up north, jimmies), then covered with ganache and finally Duff's black fondant. The story behind the filling goes something like this: My husband and I met at Twistee Treat (an ice cream parlor) where I was working and he would always come and order the same thing, chocolate ice cream with hot fudge and chocolate sprinkles. I already know the hubs likes chocolate cake best. But as I was concocting the idea for a filling, this just popped into my head. And it tasted rather delicious, if I might add!

My husband's real Sharks hat has "Jacksonville SHARKS" written/sewed on it, but I opted for just the actual shark logo since I was doing this by hand. It came out okay, but boy do I wish I had the Cricut Cake when I make stuff like this!

Then I made some finishing touches with the lines, rivets and the button on top. I also made an AFL board (seen in the 1st pic) which took longer than expected after cutting out the lines and all those numbers! But it turned out great and looked awesome with the cake!

No one believed it was cake at first, but as soon as we cut into that bad boy, and the chocolate scent hit the air, we had ourselves some believers!

Happy Birthday, Honey! Hope it was as special as you are!

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Duff!

Okay, so I don't really know who he is. Nor have I ever seen his show (Ace of Cakes). *GASP* Or read his book. But I have seen his new line of products at Michaels. Does that count for anything?!

Well, for my hubby's upcoming birthday, I will need to cover the cake in black fondant. And if you've ever tried to make black fondant, you will understand why I gave up before even trying! Hehehe! Plus I heard Duff's fondant tasted pretty good. So I figured I'd give it a try, and off to Michaels I went (with coupon in hand). A little of a sticker shock with it's $10 per pound price tag ($20 for a 2 lb tub)...since I usually pay $20 for 5 lbs. of the Wilton fondant. Anyway, I got it home and read the directions. It says to microwave for 10 seconds on power 3. I did just that and it came out too soft. But I do have a super duper microwave that cooks everything faster than it should, so microwaving really does vary. Next time I will try for less time. And I will try not to follow directions so diligently (it's a bad(/good?) habit of mine).

Then I tasted it...and others were right. It did taste better than any other fondant I've tried (which has only been Wilton and Satin Ice). I will actually let guests eat this when I hand them their piece!

Now, I had to make the first part of the cake in advance to let dry and hold it's shape. So I mixed about a quarter of the Duff fondant with a tsp and a half of tylose. I tried picking it up right away, but it was still way too soft. So I let it sit for a couple hours and still too soft. So I decided maybe overnight will do the trick, but that didn't work either! I tried picking it up and it just stretched and tore. Eventually I started over by using my Wilton practice board with a ton of powdered sugar sprinkled on it so that I could just flip it over and let the fondant fall off. Well, it didn't fall off, but I finally got it to slowly peel away.

In the end, the piece came out pretty cool (pics later...can't let the hubs see yet)! It still hasn't hardened, but I've got a couple more days.

To review, the Duff fondant (which I've heard is the Fondarific brand) tasted great, looked good, would probably work just fine if you don't microwave it for too long, but costs a little more than I would like! But, if you're like me, the only way to get decent fondant (especially different colors) is to buy online, and who always has the time for that (not to mention the extra moula for shipping costs!)?

If you try it out, let me know what you think. Happy caking!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Ganache and Raspberries...Yummmeeeee!

My husband's birthday is next week (on Wednesday) and he's treating himself to a week of no work and lots of fun! So, I had made a cake for his work this week so no one would be left out of a piece of birthday sweetness. And sweet is definitely what it was...a white cake filled with red raspberry jam, then covered with whipped ganache and another layer of ganache for some extra chocolatey goodness! Top that all off with some whipped ganache rosettes and fresh red raspberries. You know you want a piece!

Well, I know I wanted a piece! I was patiently waiting all day to see if the hubs would bring me any that may have been left over. Not that I didn't get enough ganache last night while I was making the cake. Let's just say, I licked the bowl clean!

Okay, so I didn't really lick this bowl clean, but I did have my fair share of the leftovers with some strawberries I had purchased in anticipation of extra ganache! And at the end of the day, my dear hubby did bring me a piece of cake, albeit a very small piece of cake. But I still love him! As long as they enjoyed their cake!

BTW, Happy National Doughnut Day! Did you get your free doughnut today?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Thirties

With my husband's birthday fast approaching, I've been thinking about his party last year. Since my hubby and my bro-in-law's birthdays are pretty close (and since my sis and him were out of town on his actual birthday), we decided to celebrate with a joint party for the guys. They were both turning 30 and they are both interested in history. So, I came up with the idea to have a '30's in 1930's! It was a blast and most people turned up in their best '30's attire. It was awesome and I only wish I had some pics to show you. The only one I have is of their cake...

Nothing too fancy for the guys as I hadn't been decorating cakes long at that point. But their expressions are priceless! And the font matched all the decorations and games I had made. I hope everyone had as much fun as the hubs and I! And maybe I'll find and post some pics that someone else took soon! You can check out a special page for the party here, complete with 1930's slang (which translated the words I used on the invitation).

If you weren't there, you missed out on a hell of a wingding!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Par-Tee Fore Bobby

Did you get all those golf puns? Par, Tee, Fore. Hehehe!

Well then...My sister, brother-in-law and their friends were having a golf weekend get-away, so my sis decided Bobby should have a golf cake for his birthday on Saturday. I looked through 1,452,396 golf cake photos and found nothing spectacular (I don't mean well made, but how can you make something golf-related spectacular?). So I went the simple and traditional route. What do you think?

It was a vanilla cake filled with fresh strawberries and strawberry glaze, then iced with buttercream icing. When I filled between the layers, I knew I had put too much in there, but I was hoping it would be okay. But after the 3 hour car trip to an Orlando resort, the cake started bulging and the back had filling seeping out. But it still tasted amazing...which is really the most important factor! The flag was made of gumpaste (with a lollipop pole), while all the other decorations were made with fondant. As we were trying to rush out the door I never took a final look at my cake sketch to make sure I didn't forget anything. And oopsie! I forgot the hole around the base of the flag (please tell me you didn't notice!). Besides that blunder, I really had fun making this cake, especially the argyle pattern. Doesn't it look so cute?!

Hope you had a golf-tastic weekend, Bobby!