Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wedding Cake and Monogram Cookies

I received an order to make cookies for a wedding shower this past July. The brides' color was plum and the request was for wedding cake shaped cookies and monogram cookies. It was a lot of work since I had made neither before but they were a lot of fun.

The flowers on the cake are made from fondant. Let me back up a bit first. I swore off fondant after making my triplet's 3rd birthday cake. The whole pirate themed cake was great in my head but not greatly executed. I haven't brave enough to post pictures of that. The fondant for their cake was difficult to work with and I realized it wasn't me! I had used some of Wilton's fondant and I hopefully won't use it again. It tastes awful!

I then picked up a tub of Fondarific to try and I am in love! It is so easy to work with and tastes yummy! I used this brand of fondant to make the flowers. AmeriColor gel was used to color it and I used Sugarbelle's color chart as a guide.

For the monogram cookies I pre-made the royal icing "B's" by using a template taped to the backside of a cookie sheet then taping wax paper over it. I let them dry for a day or two (it was a bit humid so it took longer). Once the cookies were flooded and just slightly set, I plopped on a "B" and let them dry overnight. 

Overall I am please with how they came out and would definitely attempt them again!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Autumn Wreath

Tomorrow is the first day of autumn, the official end of summer.  It's bittersweet  - saying goodbye to summer and all the running around we do - to saying hello to nature's beauty, cool, crisp mornings, and yummy crock pot meals.
I love this time of year and the decorating that goes with it.  What a perfect way to welcome fall than with a festive wreath to welcome your guests.

It's fairly easy to make your own wreath with some inexpensive supplies from your local craft store.  Or you can use what mother nature has but I chose silk supplies in order to keep the wreath long lasting from year to year.

For this project I started with grapevine wreath, silk fall leaves, silk wheat, some green leaves with berries and plastic gourds.  Don't forget your glue gun!

Start by separating the fall leaves into smaller bunches using wire snips if needed.  Then poke them into the grapevine wreath.  Some branches may need to be hot glued into place.  Space them evenly to give the wreath a nice form.
It should resemble something like this - minus the glass of wine:

Or else include the wine and let your creativity shine!
Keep adding in the various foliage evenly where you think it looks good.  Then grab the glue gun and start hot gluing the gourds onto the wreath being sure to secure them onto the grapevine wreath.

Ok - this was supposed to be my first tutorial and I just realized how lacking the pictures are.  But really, you just need to wing this one.  Making a wreath can be pretty effortless.

See - even I can do it!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Candy Corn "Mellow" Pops

Last year I was on a chocolate covered marshmallow kick and I can't wait to make these again this year!

The pictures should have been taken BEFORE they were wrapped but you get the idea.

To make them can't be easier.  All you need is a bag of marshmallows, white lollipop sticks (about 6 to 8 inches long), and any color of your choosing of candy melts (I used Wiltons).

I like to use a deep, narrow container to melt the candy in to allow the submersion of the marshmallow.  Add the candy melts and microwave on medium for 1 minute.  Stir and keep heating at 30 second intervals, stirring after each one.  The candy melts will still be quite thick and not very good for smooth dipping.
If you like it that way, that's ok, but I like to add some shortening to it after the first minute.  The shortening will thin out the candy enough to evenly coat the marshmallow.

To coat more than one color, let each marshmallow rest in between each color dipping for about 10 to 15 minutes, longer if needed. Then continue dipping as desired.

I dry them, I picked up a big slab of styrofoam at Michael's crafts and with a wooden dowel, poked evenly spaced holes in it.  The marshmallow pops (or Mellow Pops as my kids have dubbed them and it's now stuck) stand up on their own to dry.  Keep in mind if you thin your candy too much, the pops might get drippy.

Brimfield - A Local Treasure

Hello.  Hi there.  Remember me?  Well, I haven't forgotten you.  It's been a while and what a busy summer we had.  All the grand plans we had laid out like taking the kids to New Hampshire to Story Land didn't pan out.  They were able to go to the beach though - twice!

Some of my goals for the summer was to hone in on some baking to get ready for the upcoming fall and winter but my real life job made that a little difficult.  You see, I recently was promoted and that requires more attention and hours.  So any free time I do have I spend with the kids.  They will only be little for so long and I do enjoy them.

So anyway - I have A LOT of catching up to do. I squeezed in a little baking and will post pictures when I have time gradually as to not saturate you.

But getting to the real topic of this post now. One of my favorite past times is making the almost-one-hour trip over to the Brimfield Antiques Fair.  I try to go every September but didn't make it this year.  But I did make it last September and had a blast all by my lonesome self. But it wasn't lonesome you see.  I made friends... let me introduce you to them...

Ok. Yes. They. Are. Creepy.  The not-so-artsy side of me would never have thought to take orphaned doll heads and appendages and make coffee and oil can bodies for them.  Clever, but again, creepy.  I swore I thought I heard them call my name as I walked by.

Besides this though, I met a few nice people.  One of my favorite booths was Red Door Antiques.  You can visit their blog here too

I got some cool things to go with the Alphabet themed birthday party for the triplets last year and just remembered I picked up some little cardboard letter tiles to spell out B-O-O  as part of the Halloween decor this year.  Now I just need to find them....

I have had it in my head to make a custom Cupcake Display and found the perfect end table to do so.  It's all planned out except for the color.  Do I paint it bright white, cream, chocolate brown or black? I've even thought about using chalkboard paint but might nix that thought.   So this is one of the little projects I have planned for this winter. Pictures will be posted!

Have you seen those trays that have lots of little cubbies that used to store printing press stamps?  I picked one of those too and will end up using it as sort of a shadow box with all black and white pictures.  Each block is the same size, about 2 inches square, and should be perfect. Pictures too, will be posted on this project.

The reason I'm letting you in on my plans? To motivate me!  They have been sitting up in the garage loft since last year and I can't stop thinking about them! I've seen that Martha Stewart has a new line of craft paint out and I might just have to try it!

So I have a few posts to follow this just in time for the upcoming fall season.  We still have a few more days of summer and I think I might just miss it. Not sure I'm ready for it to leave yet.

Thanks for stopping in and remembering me! ;-)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

July 4th has always been one of my favorite holidays.  I saw the cookies on the July issue of Martha Stewart Living and immediately knew I had to make them.  This technique is one of the easiest to do and the end result looks as if you spent hours on them. Many people ask "how did you do this?" Jokingly I reply "with magic."

Here in Massachusetts we've had a bit of a rainy spring and introduction into summer.  It's been seasonably warm - actually perfect - but when I made these cookies this week we had a little humidity.  Historically I don't bake in the summer but with central air conditioning, I thought I'd give it a try.  Overall it wasn't that bad but the icing took FOREVER to even slightly dry.  The cookies still have a soft coating of icing so stacking them is out of the question.   My three layer cupcake holder has flat inserts for cookies so it was super handy when I brought 3 dozen into work on Friday. Happily, by noon they were gone.

So a few more dozen are ready to go to my parent's house tomorrow for some fun July 4th festivities with friends and family.  We are hoping the kids will be able to make it to see their first fireworks!

Wishing you all a safe, happy and patriotic Fourth of July!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Raspberry Lemon Cupcakes

For a neighborhood Memorial Day barbecue I made a batch of Lemon Cupcakes which turned out pretty good. It was a lemon cake topped with lemon frosting.  They were yummy but I think they were a tad too lemony.  I used fresh squeezed lemon juice for the frosting but may opt for a lemon extract next time.

I've been dying to try this new recipe - Raspberry Lemon Cupcakes. It used fresh raspberries and now that they are in season in our local supermarket, I could buy them without breaking the bank.  The recipe made 24 cupcakes and that's exactly what I got.  No taste test cupcake for Michael this time!

These cupcakes were incredible!!!  I brought them all to work and they received rave reviews. Many people said these were the best ones yet.

The recipe called for cake flour which I thought would make the cake dry but it was a perfect texture with a light, lemon taste.  But it was the frosting that did it.  Who would have thought that just a mere half cup of raspberries, pureed and seeds removed, would make such a delectable topping.

I picked up three more containers of raspberries tonight and to freeze some more puree so I'll be ready for a new batch.  Next time the cake will be injected with some lemon curd for an extra zing.

My dad's birthday is coming up in July and I think this will be just the thing - a dark chocolate cake with  raspberry frosting. Yum!