Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I've been straining at the reigns to post these pictures but had to wait until after the surprise baby shower that these were made for.  My coworker Stacy is expecting her second child, a little boy, and the idea for the sheep theme was suggested by my other coworker, Kim, author of these two really cool blogs Cute Fan Girl Goes Local and Road to Nowhere

This first picture is of my prototype cookies. I was pleased with my first attempt but thought they needed to be jazzed up a bit with more color.
These were a chocolate rolled cookie and the recipe adapted from Glorious Treats.  They were ok but I think I need to adjust the recipe somewhat or try a different icing. The icing used on these cookies was a royal icing, It dries rock hard and it not flavored, can be a bit bland.

 I wanted to go with a blue and brown theme to coordinate with the colors Stacy picked for the baby's room. The cookies were flooded with blue icing and I wanted to decorate the edges with brown dots but after adding the sheep, realized there wasn't enough room. 

For these cookies I went with sugar cookies but rather than royal icing, I tried a new recipe from The Decorated Cookie, called Royal Icing (sort of).  The taste was really good and complemented the cookie.  While the icing was wet, it resembled a royal icing in it's consistency for piping and even flooding.  The recipe does state that it will not dry rock hard like royal icing but firm enough for packing/stacking. 

I decorated the cookies and let them sit overnight to dry. The following day (about 12 hours later) I stacked the cookies in 3 layers in a container to protect them with parchment paper in between each layer. Several hours later I checked on them since I wanted to be sure they were ok,. Well, unlike royal icing, this one takes a lot longer to set up.  All of the sheeps's faces on the bottom later were smooshed! I was so deflated and didn't have enough time to make a new batch! A couple cookies in the middle layer smooshed too but many and the top layer were fine. They all went back onto cookie sheets to sit out for full drying time.

On the plus side, I've been told that my cookies are too pretty to eat. Now I won't have that problem! :-)
I put the smooshed cookies on the bottom of the tray with the good ones on top.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Today at work we had a St. Patrick's Day food fest. I usually bring something sweet since dessert is my specialty (and favorite meal of the day!).  I made some test batches of sugar cookies and chocolate rolled cookies with variations of flavors.

My favorite was the coconut sugar cookie with orange flavored royal icing. As part of the testing/experimenting of new recipes, the green icing was flavored orange and the pink flavored strawberry. Both got good reviews from the family. My husband, mom and I just polished off a bowl of "reject" cookies.

My decorating skills still need a lot of work to make it to the standards I have set for myself. I am my own worst critic by I am setting the bar high. 

Practice makes perfect and I'm in no shortage of test subjects!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Alphabet Birthday Party

Update:  It's been a while since I've been able to blog but I love following along various sites. So when I saw The CSI Project was requesting links for The Birthday Party Challenge - I had to jump at the change to enter in this Alphabet party!

Visit thecsiproject.com

In November 2010, my three children turned two years old, That's right I said three - they are triplets. Two girls (identical) and a boy. With so many creative themes out there in the blog world, how was I to decide which one would be right for my trio?  The party theme needed to be gender neutral and I wanted something that I haven't seen too many up. So after weeks of deliberation and months of planning, the Alphabet Party came to life. Some might think that at two years old, they might be a bit young to an Alphabet Party.  The children LOVE to read books and will look at them for hours so I thought it was a good fit.

It was my first real attempt at throwing a party with a lot of details and as a perfectionist, there will always be room for improvement.  Yes, there would be many things I would have done differently and now chalk it up to a learning experience.

I found my inspiration from a pad of scrapbook paper at Michael's Crafts. The colors were great and chose 8 colors to coordinate with everything.  Looking back it was A LOT of colors but it made it fun.

I'm a last-minute-Lucy - always have been - always will. Thus the price I pay for this is wrinkled tablecloths.  Every time I look at those pictures I cringe. Lesson learned for next time!

For the party favors, I made about 16 sets of alphabet magnets I saw the idea from Nice Girl Notes (you really need to check her site - so funny!). In total I had ordered 500 of the wooden discs and primed half in white and the other half in gray. Next time I would skip the gray and just use white - even for the darker colors. Then spray painted about 60 discs in each of the 8 colors.  I wanted to put my own spin on the magnets and made the first set with chipboard letters. Since I wanted them to hold up and be fairly kid-safe, I wasn't thrilled with them since the letters could be pulled off. So the rub-on transfer letters won hands down.

Another item in the goodie bag was a set of homemade Alphabet Crayons. In total there were about 296 of them made. Time consuming but way cool!

Guests were treated to little bags of Alphabet Hershey Kisses. I recruited my niece Danielle (thank you!) to help adhere the alphabet stickers to 600 kisses. 

The goodie bags were arranged on the dining room hutch and to dress it up, I lined the inside of the glass doors with colored construction paper.  On my last trip the Brimfield Antiques show in September, I snatched up an old Milton Bradley Anagrams game that had the coolest plastic letter tiles. I tacked them up on the glass using reusable poster gum.

To keep in the theme we served up Scrabble Cheez-it's, Alphabet Tater-tots and Alphabet Spaghettios. 

The dessert table!
Since the party was at the end of November and here in New England we are not typically blessed with warm weather this time of year, I wanted a big pop of color in the house.  I used chair sashes (60 of them) and looped them over the curtain rods (curtains removed). I went with 7 colors and put them in the dining room, living room and the kitchen.  I found them and the table cloths from Tableclothsfactory and they have unbelievable pricing and selection! (But make sure you iron them before using!) 

Marshmallow Pops

My first attempt with using fondant. Much easier then expected but I despised using the miniature alphabet fondant cutters. There must be an easier way!

Billy's Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes with vanilla buttercream. Yum!  I made the cupcake toppers using scrapbook  letter circles adhered to scallop-punched card stock and glued to craft sticks.

I think I'm ready to start thinking about their next birthday theme. :-)

Michelle's Baby Shower

My cousin Michelle was expecting her first child, a girl, last summer. The shower colors were chocolate brown and pink and I created the picks in a onesie theme to top the cupcakes.  Each guest got to take a cupcake home in an individual box.  

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ella's Snowflake Cupcakes

Baby Ella is one of the newer additions to our family. Her first birthday was approaching and her mom, Amy, she was planning a Winter Wonderland birthday party.  With all the snow we've had here in New England this winter, it was a perfect theme!

I was honored to make her birthday cupcakes in keeping with the theme and went with vanilla and chocolate cupcakes. For the vanilla, I used Billy's Vanilla Vanilla Cupcakes again but reduced the cake flour and increased the all purpose flour. A definite improvement with the texture and the cake was more sponge-like and moister. 

For the chocolate cupcakes, I used Martha Stewart's One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes recipe.  It is super easy and so full of flavor. 

 The frosting was a simple buttercream but I added a little shortening to help stabilize it. I tinted it a light blue and although the hue was exactly what I envisioned, it worked.
Each cupcake was topped with a white chocolate snowflake covered in white sparkling sanding sugar.

I made the cupcakes the night before the party and was so thankful I completed them that night. The morning of the party I woke up with the worst headache and couldn't get out of bed until late morning. My wonderful husband delivered the 5 dozen cupcakes and was able to stay for the party. I was feeling better but stayed home with the kids to rest.  I was so sad to have missed Ella's big day but had great reviews on the cupcakes.

The birthday girl deserved her own special cupcake.

Monogram Cupcakes

First I'd like to thank Denise for the opportunity to make these cupcakes for her daughter Amanda's 18th birthday.  She requested a vanilla cupcake (I used Billy's Vanilla Vanilla Cupcake recipe) with Martha Stewart's Dark Chocolate Frosting.  The frosting is to die for taste-wise but I find that it thicken's up once set and becomes fairly firm. The cake is yummy but tends to have a dense but dry texture.  The recipe calls for 2 cups of sugar which sweetens the cake and gives it almost a crusty top.
Overall it's a good cupcake but needs a little improvement.

For the monogrammed "A's" I melted some Wilton white chocolate candy melts and piped them onto parchment paper.  While still wet, half of them were sprinkled with white sanding sugar for a little "bling".


Welcome!  The Nesting Bee blog is my creative outlet that has been months in the planning. Although it is still not "ready" (nor I'm not sure when it will be), I've decided to bite the bullet and just start posting.

My love for baking started as a young girl and these days my time isn't as plentiful. I'm slowly getting in some baking time in since that is my current passion. Testing recipes - tweaking recipes, and testing them again is all par for the course. My urge to become more venturous is growing and I seek perfection in what I create.

I love crafting but keeping a full time job and tending to the family does not leave much time to fit it all in. Over time I'm sure hoping it will come but until then, I can be inspired and dream.

This blog is just in it's infancy so be patient with me and enjoy the ride!