Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Musings #12


So my many weeks of Hunger Games themed blogging comes to an end... or does it?? But really - I think I've exhausted that area of craftiness for a while. Next up - Kim's bridal shower tomorrow and then Easter next week. I need to look through the Martha Stewart magazine for some ideas. I want to do fun egg dying this year. There were so many cute Easter crafts I saw on pinterest too - a peep wreath!! But I think its a little late for that. I'll have to push it to the "to-craft" list for next year! I really need to get knitting too.....

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Let Those Hungry Kids Eat Cake!


Here it is! The COOLEST cake I've ever made!! Get ready for A LOT of pictures. I took them at almost every step of the way - so here we go:

I baked a yellow cake and frosted it with store bought 
frosting - not enough time to make my own! Also, still delicious. 

I used black Fondarific butter cream fondant for my base - it is actually delicious. I had never liked fondant before, but I can definitely eat this stuff. Dying anything black is a feat in itself so I'm happy I could by pre-dyed fondant. 

Time to roll it out! It was a bit of a pain because I have the WORST 
kitchen table known to man for baking. There are 5 leaves 
in it so you get lines in EVERYTHING.

Transferred the fondant to the cake.

Smoothed it out and cut off the excess. Time for decorating!! 

I got my fondant tools all ready. I bought 
Wilton's white fondant to mold into the mocking jay.

Using the lid to the fondant and the slightly smaller lid to 
the frosting can, I cut out this circle and then painted it gold.

Next I shaped the head and used one of my decorating tools to 
texture the head to make it look like it has feathers.

I started assembling the mockingjay on the cake. I made the body 
and the tail out of one piece of fondant and cut lines into the tail.

I used a leaf cookie cutter for the feathers because that was all I had.

I filled in the wings with my feather/leaves and then made an arrow to lay across the bottom. I pulled the mockingjay's beak down a bit so it looks like its biting the arrow. 

Then I gave it the Midas touch.

Woot!

Cutting out letters!

I had to work a little with the kerningI put way too much space 
between "be" and "ever" at first and had to move it all around.

Then I used the leaf cutter to *gasp* actually cut out leaves for the border. 

I rolled purple balls, rolled them in disco dust
then indented them to look like berries. 
Nightlock berries. 

And there you have it! My finished Hunger Games Mockingjay cake!! 

I have to give credit to Pikko's step by step instructions on how she made her Hunger Games cake. I followed it to make the wings and then eyeballed the rest. Ahhh - November 22, 2013 can't get here soon enough!! 

Wednesday Review: Sweetopia.net


Mixing it up a bit this week and reviewing another crafting blog!! Sweetopia.net is a website that features the baking creations of a woman named Marian. This woman is seriously talented - also, I'm pretty sure she's Canadian, thus furthering my love for the great country to the north.

What I like: 
·         AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME cookies. And wonderful pictures of them as well.
·         She uses a Kopykake projector to trace images onto cookies. I WANT ONE.
·         There are video tutorials and step by step instructions for many of her cookies.
·         Contests!
·         She highlights mostly cookies, but does cakes, cake pops, cupcakes, and more!
·         There are a lot of recipes included on her site - there are even gluten free options.

What I don't like:
·         Again, just from my own experience - where does one find the time/patience to do this much decorating!?!? I guess she may only do a few cookies at a time, which is a little more do-able, but still - this woman must have the patience of a saint! 

This is such a fun website to look through. Many of her cookies were featured in a book that I reviewed earlier - 1,000 Ideas for Decorating Cupcakes, Cookies & Cakes. Someday… I'll get to this level of expertise! 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hunger Games Party: Nobody's Hungry Here!

I looked through the Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook for recipes to make for the party. I picked 3 different ones - Lamb Stew, Prim's Goat Cheese Truffles, and Cheese Buns.


For the Lamb stew I pre-chopped everything 2 days before and then threw it all in the Crockpot the morning of the party.  It cooked well but there are definitely things I will change next time I make this recipe.
1.)    I'm going to buy pre-cut lamb or use beef instead. Lamb is a pain in the butt to cut up and its pretty expensive to boot. 
2.)    I'm leaving out the sugar. The recipe has 5 cups of plums plus granulated and brown sugar - so it was pretty sweet. I think it'd taste better minus the sugar.
3.)    Cut the recipe in half. Nobody LOVED the stew. It didn't taste bad, it just wasn't fantastic. So I have A LOT left over. The recipe says 8-9 servings, but it made way more than that. I've been eating the leftovers all week, and probably have enough to eat it all next week too. 


The goat cheese truffles were my favorite - a little bit of a pain because it calls for all fresh herbs. But they were delicious and ALL of them got eaten


The cheese buns were yummy too - kinda tasted a bit like red lobster rolls. Shout out to my friend Amanda who actually made these while I ran around like a crazy person decorating and getting my costume together.



I also made croissants (because how can you have a Hunger Games party without them?) I sprinkled sesame seeds on top to give them more of a "District 11" feel. 

I decorated with toy parachutes to look 
like the capitol sent the bread to us.

This one just makes me laugh.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Effie Trinket

Effie Trinket!

I began buying pieces for my costume back in December with the purchase of these:


Paper eyelashes!! They were on sale at Sephora. I cut off the deer head portion and just used the other half. I went a little crazy with blue eye shadow as well. To really get the Effie look, I should have bought white face makeup - but I ran out of time, so I just went with the fact that I am very pale and that would have to do.


I also wanted "Capitol" nails so I bought some glue-ons at CVS.

Me and Kim uber excited to watch HG!!

The hat I bought at Cracker Barrel during Halloween last year and the wig I bought online (It's a Frenchie wig from Grease.) The dress was just a God-send. I went to Goodwill and was looking for 80's prom dresses (big puffed sleeves!), but they had none. Luckily this beauty caught my eye! The pink lining was perfect and while it didn't have puffed sleeves, it did have some pretty sweet shoulder pads. 

 Me and my brother - who dressed up as Cinna, 
but nobody seemed to realize that.

I was one of VERY FEW people to dress up (I think the other 2 were 12 year olds) but I don't even care - I loved my outfit! One girl at the theater even asked to take a picture with me! 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Musings #11

How much fun would it have been to be in this cast?

OH. MY. GOSH.
EPIC. Seriously - loved every minute of it. The pre-HG party was a blast and the movie was just fantastic. Effie and Caesar = hilarity. We listened to the soundtrack during the party and I really enjoyed it. I think because there is a lot of Appalachian music and I do love me some Appalachia. We got to the theater an hour ahead of time and didn't get home till 3. I've had 2 cups of coffee and a DDP - so not too bad considering I only got 3 hours of sleep! 

It was totally worth feeling like this all day. 

Next week I'll post about my costume, the cake, and the other fun themed party stuff that I had.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

HUNGER GAMES TONIGHT!!!


This has me laughing non-stop. As I said before, this week has been crazy - I was up till 1am last night making THE COOLEST CAKE OF MY LIFE. Get excited for that post next week. I have my Effie hair, my Effie nails, and my Effie eyelashes. Hopefully the dress and shoes will fit in well with the rest. OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS - in 7.5 hours I WILL BE WATCHING THE HUNGER GAMES. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Wednesday Review: The Unofficial Hunger Game Cookbook


If you haven't noticed, I've been way behind on my posts this week. I blame the Hunger Games and taxes. I've been going crazy all week preparing for my pre-midnight-showing party and work has gotten pretty busy with April 15th just around the corner. Since I'm making a few items from this cookbook, I thought I'd do a review. It's not super crafty, but it is super themey - which I lump in with crafty.

What I Like:
·         It’s the HUNGER GAMES. What's not to like??
·         It has food broken up into fun sections like Breaking Bread, "Sink or Swim - Seafood", and "Put Some Meat on Your Bones - Beef, Lamb, and Pork"
·         Each recipe has a corresponding passage from one of the 3 books in the trilogy explaining how the recipe relates back.
·         Each recipe has a "Tips from Your Sponsor" section that has suggestions for different ways of cooking or explanations/history behind some of the ingredients. There's some pretty interesting stuff.

What I don't Like:
·         The cookbook is organized by type of food for the most part (seafood, poultry, beef etc).  When I was planning out my menu, I wanted something from the Capitol and I had to do some searching to find appropriate recipes. It'd be easier if there was just a "Capitol" section.
·         Some of the recipes aren't written that well. Granted, I've only thoroughly read through the 3 recipes I'm making for tonight's PARTAY - but for the Lamb Stew, onion is listed on the ingredients list twice. I assume it's because you use onions 2 different times - in the beginning you saut√© some in a pan, then later you add more to the stew. But why not just lump it together and say how much you need to use in the instructions? I'm also making mine in the Crockpot to which the book's instructions were basically "If you want to make it in a Crockpot, just throw all ingredients in a Crockpot." I have a feeling that it's a little more complicated than that. Hopefully it turns out okay!

Jury's still out on how things will taste. Come back next week where I'm sure all of my posts will be Hunger Games themed summaries of what I made for the party tonight. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

No Monkeying Around Here


Happy Spring!! This is another item from Kim's baby shower - a jungle themed diaper cake! I used bottles for the core and used a rubber band to hold rolled newborn diapers to the bottle. It's like a bonus present inside a ton of diapers!

I went a little crazy in the ribbon section of Michael's. Back then they didn't have any jungle themed stuff so I printed out baby jungle animals and taped them to the ribbon. (Now they have EVERYTHING jungle themed).

Then I topped it with a big stuffed animal monkey! Who doesn't love monkeys?

Monday, March 19, 2012

I Ran and I Planned


Woohoo! I finished the half in 2:22! My goal was under 2:30 so I'm happy with my time. Not nearly as happy as I was with my outfit though. I don't even remember where I got the vest from - maybe Wal-Mart? I bought it right after last St. Patrick's Day when it was on clearance. BEST PURCHASE EVER. The skirt is from Team Sparkle. I want one in EVERY COLOR. 

Today I planned out the menu for my Hunger Games party - OMG - 3 DAYS!!!!!!!!!!! I'm going to make 3 recipes from the Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook and attempt a fondant cake. I also made these invitations:


There's a free template online courtesy of Living Locurto. The website also has a few other printouts that I may make use of on Thursday. Gotta head to Goodwill today after work and start working on my costume!! (PS - if you're in the DC area and want to come to the party and/or midnight showing, just let me know!)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Friday Musings #10


This is going to be me tomorrow. Except a LOT more green. I'm running my first ever 1/2 marathon (of the Rock n' Roll variety.) I've actually trained for it so hopefully it wont be too bad, but I'm still a little nervous thinking I have to run 13.1 miles 18 hours from now.


If you haven't seen Run Fatboy Run - you should go rent it immediately. Not only does it have a SUPERB cast (I LOVE YOU SIMON PEGG) it is hilarious and heart warming all at the same time. It's about a man who tries to run the London Marathon to win back his ex.Whenever I run I just think of this movie and it makes me laugh and forget how I'm dying slowly. At least I have this to look forward to afterwards:

Happy St. Patrick's Day!! 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Somebody's Stolen Me Lucky Charms!


Two years ago St. Patrick's Day was on a Wednesday, the night I have bible study. The girls in my study decided we should all bring green desserts in honor of the day. We had green éclair cake (our study's signature dessert!), green jello jigglers (in the shape of the great state of Virginia!), green lemon bars, and I made cupcakes (of course).


I put a lucky charm on the top of each one. Nothing too fancy, but cute for St. Patty's when you're in a time crunch. And then you have a whole box of Lucky Charms left over to eat! WIN.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesday Review: Sweet and Simple Party Cakes


I WANT TO MAKE ALL THE CAKES. Seriously - they're all beautiful in this book. Sweet and Simple Party Cakes by May Clee-Cadman is fantastic.

What I Like:
·         It's well laid out. There's a small introduction and then it dives into recipes and techniques. It lists the equipment essentials, discusses different icings and fillings, and how to assemble your cake. The design sections are divided between pastels, whites, and brights. (I may like this because the last 2 rhyme.)
·         Mini cakes. This book has a lot of ideas on how to decorate mini cakes. You can either cut out rounds from a normal cake or use mini cake trays. MUST FIND THESE IMMEDIATELY.
·         Polka-dots. I'm a HUGE fan of polka-dots and a few of their cakes are decorated with different color polka-dots - easy and awesome. (also they're RAINBOW!!)
·         Everything looks really easy to do. I'm not sure if it actually is, but this book just makes it seem so simple. Maybe because each decorated cake doesn't have a ton of different things on it. It's the KISS principle.
·         They show you how to trace designs directly onto your cake using a pin/toothpick and tracing paper. Then you can trace icing over the indents for an easy way to get fancy uniform designs.
·         It pairs mini cakes or cupcake designs with a big cake. So you could make both to fit all into one theme, or just one of them depending on what you have time for.
·         There's a whole section on how you can use items like ribbons, silk flowers, jewels, and feathers to decorate your cakes.NEAT!

What I don't Like:
·         I don't have time to do all the baking I want.. or all the running I'd need to do if I could do all the baking I want.

This is a great book - wonderful pictures and ideas. There is really something about the simplicity of the designs that keep all the cakes looking beautiful. There's not one in here I wouldn't want to make! 

*Top Secret* Project REVEALED!!


The top secret project can finally be revealed as I gifted it this weekend. It was a birth sampler cross stitch for my friend Kim's son.

It's a little wrinkly before I ironed and framed it.

I have a love/hate relationship with cross stitch. It takes such a long time (especially when you're a procrastinator like me - that’s why he got it for his second birthday) but it is so fun to see the progress you've made.

Frog-in-progress
Happily Hopping Frog!

My Aunt who cross-stitches all the time told me to back it on sticky board - which I bought and cut out, but it was too thick and didn't fit in the frame. Must find thinner sticky board for next time. Instead I just stretched it the best I could and taped it to the cardboard that came with the frame. Even that was almost too thick to fit.


If I start now, maybe I can have one ready by the time she has another child.