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1  COOKING / Dessert / Sarah and Duck 2nd Birthday Cake on: January 30, 2018 01:05:08 PM
My son turned two this October, and I am just now getting around to posting his cake.  He's a huge fan of Sarah and Duck (an adorable BBC cartoon that's on Netflix), and he loves bananas, so he received a S&D banana cake with vanilla frosting.

Sarah and Duck, the other ducks in the pond, and the flowers were all made with marshmallow fondant.  I struggled with Sarah, but it ended up ok.    The bench was a doll bench I painted with food coloring since it was down to the wire and would be sitting on the cake still a little wet.

I was a little worried that our kiddo would be too sad to eat the cake because he loves the characters so much.  Nope.  He grabbed the ducklings and the ducks and polished them off happily.  Ha!

Happy boy. <3
2  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Kid-friendly fruit snacks on: December 29, 2017 11:31:51 PM
Ive been thinking about getting a dehydrator for awhile, and my parents very sweetly got me one for Christmas. The first recipe I tried my hand at was modified fruit leather. Theyre more like fruit blobs. My almost four year old loves them (but hes easy to please) while my two year old hasnt tried them yet. (He eats nothing but crackers and bananas. Im hoping hell like them.) I think theyre dangerously easy to eat and pretty yummy. Im planning on trying other fruits soon using sweet potatoes as the base.

Recipe: blend together one baked sweet potato; two raw, peeled and diced apples (I used honey crisp); a big spoonful of coconut butter (optional); a dash of salt; a splash of vanilla; and a good sprinkling of cinnamon. Add a squeeze or two of honey if needed.

Pipe into blobs on parchment paper or leather sheets and dehydrate at 135 for 3-4 hours, turning a few hours in to dry bottoms. Allow to cool before storing.
3  COOKING / Dessert / Mirror cake on: June 18, 2017 05:12:24 PM
For Father's Day, my son and I made my husband a mirror cake. We kind of followed the recipe here: https://www.buzzfeed.com/alvinzhou/this-mirror-glaze-cake-is-literally-insane?utm_term=.tuvn2k3qB#.livMzNpOa    

We just used one chocolate 8 inch cake layer (didn't bother splitting it) and used a nine inch springform pan to mold it. We had to make the bottom the top. (And no jam in ours.)

It turned out pretty good! And the tons of leftover glaze was really fun for a three year old to marble. :-)
4  COOKING / Dessert / Paw Patrol Dog Bowl Cake on: March 09, 2017 07:50:48 AM
My kiddo saw this cake when we were looking at pictures online for ideas for his 3rd birthday months ago, and he has remained steadfast in his request for it.  It ended up pretty cute!  I followed the directions outlined on Cookies, Cupcakes and Cardio (I love her cakes---and she has such good directions on her YouTube videos for techniques). http://cookiescupcakesandcardio.com/?p=8300 I tried to do the hidden paw print like hers on the inside....but mine ended up a hot mess. Smiley  Oh well, it still tasted good!

I made the fondant using the marshmallow recipe from Wilton because I find packaged fondant really hard to work with.  I used cookie cutters from here https://www.jbcookiecutters.com/product/paw-patrol-logo-cookie-cutter-set/ to make the Paw Patrol symbol and a cheap paw cookie cutter from Daiso for the side decorations.  Good old Coco Puffs are the kibble, and now my son asks for dog food for a snack. Cheesy
He loved it! 

5  COOKING / Dessert / Kiddo's "Sophisticated" Bubble Guppy Cake on: June 14, 2016 02:41:02 PM
My son loved Bubble Guppies (for a hot minute before he moved on to something else). Whatever's popular with the other kiddos in daycare, I guess. Smiley

We celebrated his second birthday with a Bubble Guppy theme, but I wanted something a bit more "grownup" for his cake--since he and his little brother were the only kids in attendance.  (I'm not brave enough to have a bunch of two year olds over for a party.)

It's a tiny layered cake.  I used two doctored mixes for slightly taller layers, and I used this Wilton pan: http://www.wilton.com/wilton-2105-0472-perfect-performance-round-cake-pan-set/2105-0472.html#start=2

The starfish, etc. are pre-colored candy melts.  I used this mold, but the seaweed I just did freehand--squeezing it out haphazardly from a good old Ziploc bag.  http://www.wilton.com/sea-life-fondant-and-gum-paste-mold/409-2552.html#q=mold&prefn1=contentType&sz=30&start=102&prefv1=shop
6  COOKING / Dessert / Harry Potter Sorting Cake on: May 24, 2016 09:17:11 AM
A friend/coworker is having a baby, and she's decorating the nursery with all things Harry Potter (yay!).  We celebrated her at work with a shower that kept the theme.  I was in charge of the cake, and I used the House Unity cake on Bakingdom as my inspiration (I used her banners and the general idea of the cake - but I changed the inside for my purposes). 

The general idea of my version is that the cake is split into quarters - each quarter is comprised of the different houses' colors.  The cake is frosted white so that the inside is hidden.  My coworker and her husband chose and cut a slice of cake - and whatever house colors they got "sorted" their daughter into her future house. Smiley  I also wrote a little rhyming song for the sorting hat for the parents so they'd get what the cake was about. It was pretty cute!

She could be red and gold
and brave and bold.
Will she be bronze and blue,
wise, intelligent, too?
Or silver and green,
cunning, and keen.
Yellow and black
and kind to all back.

So choose a slice
(it all tastes nice),
and the piece will be your key.
The colors will show
just where she should go
because you can trust in me.

Final product:

I baked one color of each house color (8 total!) in an 8 inch round pan.  It took 4 doctored cake mixes (and would technically make two cakes or one reallllly tall cake).  I cut each color in quarters after freezing the layers to make leveling/quartering easier.

Here are the quarters matched up and starting to be put together. (You can tell I'm loyal to the book colors rather than the movie colors for my house, Ravenclaw).

Here's the cake once crumb coated - it kept it together really well once chilled.  I didn't put any frosting between the layers.

And the reveal slice!  Baby is in Gryffindor, like her momma.  (Daddy is a Hufflepuff, so he had to put his house flag on the cake to be represented.)

If you're interested in what I used to bake, I'm actually a fan of doctored mixes - I think they taste good and are easy to decorate.  I just follow the recipe on the box but use milk instead of water and add one or two extra egg yolks in addition to whatever the recipe calls for.  I used chocolate for the black cake so that I didn't have to add a ton of black food coloring.  And, I used gel colors so that I didn't have to use much.  I don't have the amounts/colors used for each layer - I just fiddled until it looked right in the bowl (remembering that it gets darker when baked).  For bronze I used orange, brown, and a bit of red.  It was the most unusual color to get right.

I'm not a fan of canned frosting or American buttercream, so I used Swiss buttercream to frost. I just used Martha Stewart's recipe, though it's actually not my favorite.  Next time I'd go with this recipe with a few tweaks: http://bakingamoment.com/simply-perfect-chocolate-swiss-meringue-buttercream/  I'd double it, omit the chocolate, and add a pinch of salt if using unsalted butter.  I always heat the egg white/sugar mixture to 160 to make sure that the frosting is safe--especially if serving pregnant/elderly/young people. 

That's it!  I loved it!
7  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Tobin's Spirit Guide with fun Ghostbusters goodies on: October 11, 2013 07:41:53 PM
My husband's birthday is this Monday.  He loves Ghostbusters (as do I), and he's always wanted a copy of Tobin's Spirit Guide.  As a surprise gift, I recovered one of those cardboard book boxes with leather-like paper and added some scrapbooking charms and some painted accents to make it look like somewhat like the book as it's represented in the cartoon The Real Ghostbusters.

Inside, I added some Ghostbustering goodies. Smiley

A polymer clay Slimer (who was easier to make/bake than I thought he would be - I also modeled him more after the cartoon Slimer than the one in the movies).

All four name tag badges and a logo patch that I found off the internet and a vial of pink slime from Ghostbusters 2 (it's just that noise making Gak-type goo you can buy in the toy section.)

A mini portrait of Vigo the Carpathian (I followed instructions from this blog: http://hookedondecorating.com/how-to-guide-transfer-photos-to-canvas/ to transfer a laser photo to canvas.)

I think he'll like it! Smiley

8  GLASS CRAFTS / Glass Crafts: Completed Projects / Pie plate for Star Trek fans (or FLAAAN!) on: October 09, 2013 09:42:01 PM
As part of a housewarming gift for a friend who just bought her first house (who happens to be a big fan of Star Trek), I dipped into glass etching for the first time.  I think she'll like it!  I just used an exacto knife on a big sheet of self-stick craft foam to cut out the letters, but I bet it would be way more polished and precise if you used a Cricut (or other fancy cutting machine that I don't have). Smiley

9  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Quick, cheap, and cute baby shower gifts on: June 24, 2013 09:46:03 PM
One of my best friends is about to have her first child.  Though she's also getting a gift off her registry, I love having something personal (and homemade) to toss in.  (They're always the most loved anyway, right?)

1.  Baby bib

I used a premade bib that I picked up for a few bucks at a craft store and stitched the pattern (purchased from http://www.subversivecrossstitch.com/).  It took only a couple of hours or so to finish up.

2. Pumpkin hat

This was made on a Knifty Knitter (the child sized loom) and a spool loom and by following Brenda Myer's pattern on Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/knifty-knitter-pumpkin-hat  I used leftover bulky weight yarn--and the whole thing knitted up in a hour.  Quick and cute! 
10  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Fat quarter fun on: January 23, 2013 07:56:57 PM
I've been buying discounted sets of fat quarters like they were going out of style, and I needed to do some stashbusting.  I've used up every scrap of fabric that I could from each quarter, and it's been great to see how many projects can come out of a relatively small piece of fabric!

Double sided napkins with rick rack trim (these became gifts for my momma). There are a lot of tutorials on the web, but I used this one:http://filminthefridge.com/2008/11/19/make-your-table-pretty-a-reversible-rick-rack-napkin-tutorial/

I had a big enough piece of leftover fabric after trimming the fat quarter for double sided reusable drink sleeves (these became Christmas gifts for coworkers).  I used this tutorial:http://craftystaci.com/2011/01/10/reversible-coffee-cup-sleeves/

One side

Other side (my bad topstitching really shows on this one, but oh well)

I wasn't quite as good about tacking down the elastic on some, so I ended up just sewing the elastic loops back on the finished product (on one side) and covering up the mistake with yo yos - which finished up the tiny bit of fabric I had left over from each fat quarter.

I don't know why the photo is posting with that weird blue and brown stripe - but this is the best closeup I have of the yo yo.

I'm a bad procrastinator and had to make these in one night--but they were super fast!

I still have a ton of fabric to go through, so I'm thinking of making a big bunch of napkins for myself and having a nice cache of gifts ready for the giving. Smiley 
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