20% Cooler Than Your Average Skirt

Pony Fabric BoltI had been eyeballing this particular fabric by Springs Creative at JoAnn’s and Hancock’s online. Having your best friend on the look out for you helps too. The question was which place will have it available in-store first? JoAnn’s received it first. I wish it had been Hancock’s, because I love my local store. But, I kept them in mind when I used their 50% coupon at JoAnn’s. I love saving money!

I knew the first item I wanted to make with the fabric was a skirt for my daughter. I washed and ironed it and put it with my other fabrics. With the kids being home for summer break, I had to find a day to make the skirt. When we were at Target getting some last minute school supplies, we ran across an awesome Rainbow Dash shirt. My only wish is that it came in my size. Now that she had a shirt, I had to make a skirt to match.

My Little Pony SkirtBefore I started the skirt, I had to find out what color my daughter wanted for the pockets and which direction she wanted the fabric design. We both agreed to go with pink pockets to match “Pinkamena Diane Pie”. Since we were talking about Pinkie Pie, she decided that the bouncy Pinkie Pie would look better upside down, rather than Twilight Sparkle. With that decided, I inserted the pink pockets within the french seams. I made the skirt with an elastic waistband and inserted my tag inside the back, so she will know which direction to wear the skirt. I really love using a double needle on skirt hems. I thought it would be cool to use pink and purple, instead of just having both purple. I asked my daughter if she wanted the lines to be pink/purple or purple/pink, she went with the latter.

My daughter loves the skirt. I love that it only took 1/2 yard of material and was super easy. There are tons of wonderful tutorials on the internet, this is my favorite for making her skirts. Now, I am thinking about making a matching clutch. Enjoy.

Let’s Have A Luau.

Like I said last year, asking your kids what kind of birthday theme they want more than two weeks before their party is for the birds. My daughter and I were walking around Hobby Lobby and I spotted a row of luau party supplies. I “suggested” to her that she have a luau themed pool party. She saw the party supplies and her face lit up. She said that was a great idea…and so the planning began, finally.

Luau CupcakesThe cupcakes were easy. I had liners that matched the plates and napkins. I made rainbow colored cupcakes with white buttercream icing. They were topped with a cute umbrella like the kind you might put in a fruity drink.

Flip Flops and FlowersThe cookies were flip flops and flowers. I got the idea from one of my favorite cookie blogs. The flip flop cookie cutter is from Wilton. The hibiscus flower cutter I had to make myself because I did not have a flower cutter with five petals. My daughter wanted glitter or sparkles on the shoes. After the base coat dried, I piped on the strap and while the royal icing was wet, I added sprinkles. She said the cookies turned out awesome. Yippee!

The party went well and it didn’t rain.  When it was time for dessert, all the kids decided that they wanted a cookie AND a cupcake. The key to happy kids at a party is always making enough sweets for them to have one of each. Enjoy.

The Amazing Spider-Man…2

It is that time again. In my daughter’s class, each Friday a different student is responsible for providing a special snack.  When her turn came around again, I asked her what kinds of snacks the other kids had brought. She said fruit roll ups or store bought sugar cookies, usually. She and I both knew that store bought cookies just would not do. I started thinking of what kind of theme I wanted for the cookies I was going to make. It is almost the end of the school year and it is getting hotter outside. My first thought was suns/flowers. As I was sketching out ideas, I had a “that’s it” moment… Spider-Man! The movie had just come to the theaters. The timing was perfect and I have made Spider-Man cookies before.

Spidey Masks SideviewI have a custom cookie cutter that I made for doing faces, but I felt that it was too big. Recently, when I was walking through the Easter section at a store, I found a set of small cutters. One of the cutters was an egg, but when I saw it I knew it would be perfect for making faces. That’s why I bought it, and it turned out to be just the right size for Spidey. I asked my daughter, as I held up each of the cutters, “Would you rather have one of these (big custom cutter) or two cookies of these (small “egg” cutter)?” I reminded her of the Yoshi eggs that I made recently with the same cutter, and the decision was made.  All I needed to do was brush up on the how-to from my favorite cookie blog.

Spidey EyesI wanted all the faces to have uniform eyes, so I printed clipart of Spider-Man’s mask. Mainly, because I didn’t feel like getting out the Kopykake machine. Food markers and cut-out Spidey eyes can’t be that hard. Well…it wasn’t hard, just tedious. I will say the next time I trace with food markers, I will either put tape on both sides of the paper, or I will create a stencil. By the time I was finished, the piece of paper was soaked and torn. 70 cookies = a lot of eyeballs.

Every time I color icing, I learn something new. This time it was a lesson in red. I didn’t want to use too much red coloring, so decided to add brown to darken it.  I did darken it, but it looked muted. I was so upset at the results that I figured I was going to have to make another batch of icing. I made more icing and decided to go ahead and make the cookie dough, too. About 45 minutes had gone by and it was time to get back to coloring the icing. I decided to salvage the muted brown-red by turning it into black. I opened up the container of red icing and low and behold, it had turned to a perfect shade of red. I was happy and mad at the same time.  I just spent all that time making another batch of icing. Arrgh… The thing to remember about coloring royal icing is that the final color develops over time. When I make black, I stop adding coloring when it is a dark gray. The next day it will be black. So, with all of this said, I’ve learned to always make the icing the night before.

Spidey Masks TopdownI wanted to make these cookies special for boys and girls, so I made Spider-Girl cookies,too. They were pink with glitter (disco dust) eyes. (I am fully aware that the real Spider-Girl from the comics is not pink and sparkly.  Honestly, she looks more like Venom-Girl, but I am not ready to get into a lengthy discussion about it right now.) With this in mind, I asked my daughter’s teacher to let me know the number of boys and girls was in the class.  There were 20 students total.  Giving each student two cookies, I only needed 40 cookies for my daughter’s class.  From the dough I had made, I was able to cut out 70 cookies, so I was able to make some for my son’s class, too. I don’t know of any teacher that is going to turn away homemade decorated sugar cookies. Do you?

Now, because I made so many, meant that there was going to be a lot of piping. Finding the right tip for the spiderweb lines became a small problem. I am glad that I had a few extras. I started with a Wilton #1, but the lines were too big. Then, I tried my PME 00 and PME 0 tips, but they kept on clogging. Finally, I used a PME 1 and it worked. Yippee!

Spidey_Gwen_CarI wrapped pairs of cookies in treat bags and boxed them up for the kids. The next day, I walked each of my children to their classroom. I informed their teacher that I made the cookies without almond extract, for those in the class with nut allergies. Also, I assured them that the glitter on the pink cookies was edible. When I picked the kids up from school, they said that everyone loved the cookies. The girls especially liked the glitter, as I knew they would. Because, all girls love glitter! Enjoy.

The SWEET Smell of Roses.

Roses are pink.

This cake was great.

It’s almost a crime how much sugar we ate.

Pink Rose CakeSo, what do you give your mother-in-law for her birthday? You bake her a chocolate cake, of course! I asked my husband if his mother was going to have a cake and offered to make one. I had in mind to try my hand at another ombre cake, with layers of aqua or purple, and this time covered in roses, until a little birdie told me that she wanted a chocolate cake. I quickly had to change my mindset. What was I going to do now? I Googled chocolate cakes and roses and found this lovely cake. I have never done a cake like this… but have no fear, I had my 1M tip near…(corny, I know)

Let’s take a minute and talk about tips & tricks. I knew that I was going to need to use two different piping tips. The large Wilton 1M tip for the roses on top and Wilton’s #18 tip for the rosettes around the base of the cake. Because both of these tips were going to require different size couplers, I was going to have to use two different pastry bags. I was not going to move icing back and forth, so I used the saran wrap method. I learned it several years ago from this blog. Also, when I was watching some YouTube videos on making different types of flowers, I noticed everyone had their favorite way to put icing in a pastry bag. I am showing you what I use. A Pilsner beer glass. Who knew that drinking beer on a business trip would turn out to benefit me later in life…LOL. I like this glass because, as you can see, the tip does not hit the bottom when I am using the large coupler, nor does it tip over. Overall, this glass has been a win-win!

Chocolate ButtercreamCrumb coating a cake, in my opinion, is the part I hate the most. Nothing like having it nice and smoothed and then the icing decides that it likes the spatula more than sticking to the cake. Then you have to get it to smooth back down without completely tearing the cake apart. (Just think of it like that piece of hair that you can’t get to lay down, no matter how much gel/hairspray you use. No matter what you do! Finally, you just say forget it and decide that it is “say something hat day”.) So…enough about the crumb coat. Next is putting on the top layer of chocolate icing (see above pic). Easy peasy. Only takes smoothing and turning the cake and smoothing and turning while smoothing. You get the idea. After that, pipe on some roses and your done…until you look at the sink and surrounding area. Clean-up…Arrgh.

Pink Rose Cake InsideLater that day, I picked the kids up from school and telling them of the “fun” I had icing the cake. I told my daughter that the icing was made with 4 sticks of butter and 8 cups of powdered sugar. She asked, “Are you sure it’s safe to eat this cake?” Enjoy.

Hydrangea Cupcakes

Hydrangea_CupcakesMy husband got a lateral move at work and wanted me to make cupcakes for his office to celebrate. So, I decided to send him in with hydrangea cupcakes. And why not? I seriously doubt anyone cares what they looked like. I know the truth about his co-workers. They just want them because they are covered in homemade buttercream frosting.

I have been wanting to make these for a while now, I saw them done a couple of years ago on one of my favorite blogs.These were fun to make and I learned a couple of things. I made a batch of frosting, put a little bit in a small bowl and then separated the rest into my two Kitchenaid bowls. In the small bowl I put a tiny drop of Americolor Forest Green, which was the wrong color to use. It was way too dark. So, I added a tiny bit of Americolor Electric Green, which worked like a charm. For the other colors, I used Violet and Royal Blue. Now, the fun part. Trying to put both purple and blue into one piping bag without getting the colors all mixed together. I took the easy route and used plastic wrap, as demonstrated here.

Hydrangea_CupcakeNow, that the bags are made it was time to pipe out the wonderful frosting. I started piping the leaves with a #70 leaf tip. I put 3 to 4 leaves around the top. I wish I owned a #2D tip, but I only had a #1M. Improvising and imagination are definitely on the top of my “keys to success” list. So, when piping out the flowers, you have to remember to rotate the piping tip. If you don’t you will have the colors facing the same direction, unless that is what you are going for. I wanted the flower colors to look sporadical.

The cupcakes were a success, but I have been told that I have to make another batch soon. Because, if you want to make sure everyone is happy and not have your husband come home with any extras, don’t send baked goods on a Friday when most of the office decided to take a half-day. Enjoy.

Pink Ombre Cake and Flower Cupcakes

Flower CupcakesLayered Ombre CakePink Ombre CakeI was asked a couple of months ago to make cookies for a family baby shower. However, I knew that I would be unable to do cookies at that time. So, I suggested that I make a cake instead.

I have seen ombre cakes on several of the other blogs that I follow. I thought that I would give it a try.

I started the night before the shower because I knew that I was not going to have enough time the next day to bake, cool, and ice. I was going to make a french vanilla cake. However, the cake batter was yellow and when I added pink food coloring, it turned a shade of orange. More like a shade of coral. So, there I was, the night before, with my four bowls of weirdly colored cake mix. I was not a happy camper. I dumped all the batter back into my Kitchenaid bowl, mixed it up a little, and made 48 cupcakes. I wasn’t planning on making that many cupcakes, but I was not about to throw out all that batter just because of a lousy color. Actually, when I mixed all of the different shades together, it turned out to look pink. I was satisfied, for the moment. Now, I had to start all over again with white cake mix. This new batch of batter turned the desired shades of pink when I added the color, so I was back to being a happy camper, again.

It was the day of the shower and I was onto making homemade buttercream frosting. I learned that when making a petal ombre cake that you need to make extra frosting. I own two bowls for my Kitchenaid stand mixer, so I made a batch in each bowl. I pulled half of the frosting out of the first bowl, so I had the white. In the second bowl, I put one drop of Americolor Soft Pink. I took half of that frosting out and put in into a separate bowl. Into each of the two remaining half-filled mixing bowls I added 2 drops of Soft Pink, stirred, and voila! I had my 4 colors.

On to the fun part, icing the cake. I cut the top of each cake layer to make it flat, frosted in between each layer, and put on a crumb coating. Do not throw away the cut off pieces of cake. I will tell you later what to do with the pieces. Now, I did not own enough #12 tips to do this job. So, I just put a coupler in the pastry bag and piped the frosting straight out of the coupler. The coupler has a little slit on the side. I turned the slit facing the side that was going to be pressed flat by the spatula. It worked alright, but I am in the process of purchasing more tips.

After, I finished icing the cake, I iced the cupcakes. I used a #129 tip. This tip has a metal bar inside. So, when I squeezed out the icing, it separated it into ribbons. Also, the bar makes it very hard to squeeze out the icing. It was tiring, but it turned into a pretty flower design.

I said earlier that I would tell you what I did with the extra cake bits. I dumped them all in to one of my Kitchenaid bowls, added all the extra frosting, and mixed it all together. It made a lovely pink ball with a consistency similar to cookie dough.  I put it in a Tupperware bowl and stuck it in the fridge for my husband.  He said it tasted like cake and icing.

As you can see in the pictures, it all turned out really well for my first try. Everyone thought it was beautiful. I had some people say it was the best cake they had ever tasted. Others wanted me to let them know when I started going into business. Everyone was happy, especially the Mommy & Daddy-to-be. That’s all that matters to me! Enjoy.

Ombre Cake and Smash***Well, a year has passed. I was asked to make the baby’s first birthday cake and smash cake. Her parents thought that it would be fitting to have it look like the baby shower cake. So, that’s exactly what I did. Enjoy.***

Baby Girl “Nia”

Nia onesies_flowersNia wrapped with loveMy friend at work was having a baby shower. I was super excited to go, but of course I was scheduled to work that day. I felt so bad. I had to give her a super awesome gift. What could I give her? Adorable cookies, of course!

I found out what she was going to name her wee-little one and the wheels in my head started turning. I knew onesies were a must, but just not enough. Flowers…every girl loves flowers!

I had fun with these cookies. I learned more about cookie cutting, icing consistencies and such, which is always a plus. Anyway, I don’t want to bore you with all the details of my self-improvement. We are here to talk about baby shower cookies.

I decided to individually wrap the cookies for her, so she could give them out as party favors. I gave them to her when I saw her at work the day before the party. When she saw the cookies, she just about had the baby right then and there, because she was so excited. Which means a job well done for me and “score” on the gift! Yippie. Enjoy.

My Little Cookies – Friendship is Delicious!

My Little Pony CookiesCutie Mark CookiesMLP Cute Mark Cookies and ToysFor over a month now, I have been planning to make MLP (a.k.a. My Little Pony) “cutie mark” cookies.

Why you ask? Well, I was looking around the house and my daughter had pulled the box of pony stuff out from under her bed. She owns so many of them. There are too many to choose from. How can one decide on which ones to pick?

So, I decided to go with the new updated ones from My Little Pony Friendship is Magic. The lineup consists of Pinkie Pie, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Twilight Sparkle and Fluttershy. My daughter took a different cookie to school every day. Her friend at school loved them. I hope you do too. Enjoy.

 

 

 

(Originally posted on September 14, 2012)

Marbled Cupcakes for a Mermaid

Marbled Cupcake for a Mermaid Birthday PartyI made cupcakes for my daughter’s mermaid themed birthday party. I decided to make the cake in two shades of blue and top them off with buttercream icing, in purple of course. I didn’t have the right icing tip with me, so i piped out the icing with a smaller version #31 tip. Which worked out, because it looked like coral. Enjoy…we did.

Top-Down view of the marbled mermaid cupcakesHere is another picture of the scrumptious cupcakes. You can see the icing and cute parchment paper liners. Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

(Originally posted on July 7, 2012)