Monday, June 25, 2012

Vacation All I Ever Wanted

Okay, so not really yet, and not quite so glamorous - but I am leaving Thursday evening for California for the weekend, then flying straight to Myrtle Beach to get my tan on. Then I'll be flying BACK to California for Comic-con and then later in the month to Maine. So posting will be a little sporadic this month because when I'm on vacay, so is my blog. Tonight I am donning some hot pink metallic pants (BE JEALOUS) and party rocking until I can no longer breathe. That's right - I'm seeing LMFAO in concert. ITS GOING TO BE LEGENDARY.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Wednesday Review: Cross Stitch Keepsakes

I've only done a few cross stitch projects in my time. I've always really enjoyed them. They're pretty time consuming, but there's a certain satisfaction you get when you complete a certain design or color in a project. It's really fun to watch the progress of it. A while back I thought I'd really get into cross stitching so I bought a few books and a ton of thread. Cross Stitch Keepsakes by Helen Philipps has a ton of cute ideas for gifts.

What I like:
·         The book is organized into different occasions - baby, wedding, anniversary, friends, family etc. which makes it easy to find a gift for a specific occasion.
·         It's not all samplers. There are small keepsakes such as ornaments, cards, luggage and bottle labels. A lot of things that should be quick, cute, and something I would never have thought of.
·         I feel like a lot of cross stitches are old fashioned. The kind of stuff you find in yard-sales because nobody actually wants to display it anywhere. Most of the designs in this book are display-worthy. And since a lot of the projects aren't just framed samplers, you don't have to worry about people not wanting to have a house full of cross-stitched art.
·         There is a Materials and Techniques section which  discusses fabrics that are good for cross stitching, different needles and threads to use and how to best frame or display your cross stitch

What I don't like:
·         The patterns include others not pictured. I like that there are so many options, so you can pick which works best for you, but it'd be nice to see what they all look like when completed. 

Maybe I'll try and make a few of the smaller items for wedding/baby showers coming up! 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Costumes and Nerd Heaven

As you all know, I love to dress up - whether it's for Halloween, themed parties, or Comic-con. Last year my brother and I dressed up as characters from Galaxy Quest. I'm still trying to get our costumes together for Comic-con this year. It's hard to choose what to go as - you want something that people will recognize, but not something that 100 other people are going to be dressed up as too. (ABSOLUTELY NO SLAVE PRINCESS LEIA'S) Also, as you will be running around all day, you want a costume that is semi-practical. is running a contest for a chance to win a $1,000 shopping spree and $500 cash to spend at Comic-con. This year my brother, sister, and my friend Christina are all attending the Con together. Our plan is to go as Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. If I win I'm definitely buying my brother this outfit. It is a lot harder than I thought to find a regency costume for men. They have a costume that would work for women too so I won't have to force my sister to sew together costumes for us the day before we leave like I did last year (LOVE YOU SIS!). Winning $1,000 would also mean we could dress up MORE THAN ONE DAY because now we have MONAYZ. There is a Super-hero bar crawl on Friday and Saturday that sounds like a lot of fun and I am kinda digging this woman's spider-man costume. I'm pretty sure my sister would find a way to go as Lady Gaga because she is obsessed with her and is convinced that she is a super-hero in her own right.

$500 cash would mean we could also do the ZOMBIE OBSTACLE COURSE. I read about it a few weeks ago and immediately put it on our "to-do" list, however tickets are 80 bucks a pop and when you're already spending money on a flight and hotel plus fronting the money for your broke brother and sister, that's just a little out of my price range. But it does sound AWESOME.

Only 3 more weeks until NERD HEAVEN!!!

Never give up! Never Surrender!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

This weekend I went home and spent time with my family for Father's Day. I love my dad - he is such a goofball.

He also likes to wear the same clothes over and over again.

My dad is one of the most giving people I know. He will holds all of our coats while we go dance with Disney Princesses, keeps all of our POS cars running, fix appliances and electronics for us, "help" with our school projects (aka he does most of the work - he's the reason I won 1st place at the science fair)

So here's to you Dad!! I love you!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

3 Ring Circus

I went over to my friend Megan's house this week to help her make cookies for a circus themed brunch. She bought adorable cookie cutters from Fancy Flours. The elephant cookie cutters worked the best so we decided to just use those and the circus tent.

At first I had grand ideas of outlining the elephants in dark gray and then filling it with light gray. However the first few attempts at that were disastrous. We decided it looked good enough with just the outline then we filled the hat and saddle (afghan?? not sure what that is actually called) area. Megan topped it off with some nutter butters. CUTEST IDEA EVER!

Wednesday Review: What's New, Cupcake?

Karen Tack & Alan Richardson's follow up to their first book, Hello, Cupcake! is fantastic. What's New, Cupcake? has everything I loved about the first book plus new and quirky cupcake designs. Let's jump into the review!

What I like:
·         Just like their last book, this one begins with very helpful design tips. They show how different candies can be used, what tools you will need (all of which are simple things you most likely already own), the best way to fill a cupcake liner and frost cupcakes, and "cupcaking with custom cookie shapes" You definitely don't need to own Hello, Cupcake! to get the full effect of their second book.
·         They have some new delightful themes. A whole section is dedicated to cupcakes that look like other foods - french fries & ketchup, hoagies, and chinese food to name a few. There's another section that shows you how to make a handful of different animals.
·         There is a new "EZ Cupcake" indicator for cupcake designs that only require a few ingredients and simple techniques. There is a least one EZ cupcake in each chapter - so even the most unskilled person will be able to make over a dozen amazing looking cupcakes.
·         One that I really want to try this coming Christmas is a stained-glass ornament made out of cookie and melted down hard candies.
·         Recipes!! There are  10 recipes for different cakes, all of them starting with a basic cake mix and then adding different ingredients to improve the structure and flavor.  There are also 9 different frosting recipes (Espresso Buttercream?! YES PLEASE) and 2 cookie recipes.

What I don't like:
·         There are some odd ingredients used for decorating. One is gum - it looks cool on the cupcake, but I know I personally wouldn't really want to eat gum with my cupcake, and it seems such a waste to throw it away.

Obviously I can't find too many things I don't like about this book. It's just as amazing as their first - I highly recommend both!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Lost: Looking Back At One of the Best TV Shows of All Time

Words cannot describe how much I miss this show. For an hour every week I was transported to a magical island where I never knew what the heck was going on. First Ben is evil, then he's kinda good? Maybe just misunderstood. Kate's with Jack, no, she's with Sawyer, back with Jack. They're in the past, they're in the future, they're.... sideways? You had the Others, the Dharma Initiative, the Boaties (I love you Faraday!), the back of the plane (which I guess audiences decided was too many characters to keep track of so they literally killed all but one of them off - RIP Echo.) I sobbed like a baby during The Constant which I'm sure we can all agree was the best episode of any show ever. AMIRIGHT!?

For the series finale we had themed party. *shocker!* I dressed up as one of my favorite bad-ass characters - Juliet. I let my hair dry wavy, used a good amount of bronzer to get that "I've been living in the jungle for the past 10 years" look, even bought a toy gun to show how bad-ass I am.

No Lost party would be complete without a healthy supply of Dharma food. I found this amazing website that has labels for TONS of products. Then during lunch one day I did the whole press-the-print-button-then-sprint-to-the-copy-room-so-nobody-sees-you-printing-weird-pringles-like-labels thing at work.

Mmmmm.... This Dharma stuff tastes just like Hersey's!

And of course it wouldn't be a true Lost party without Sawyers beverage of choice. I can't believe its been a little over 2 years since we've had to say good-bye to the passengers of Oceanic flight 815. You will never be forgotten.

Monday, June 11, 2012

My Teams Are Better Than Yours

Well it was a good weekend for my teams! Germany beat Portugal 1-0 and Russia CRUSHED Czech Republic 4-1. I've been trying to think of what sort of baked good/craft I can do in support of my teams. Iced sugar cookies seems to be the easiest, but cupcakes of some sort could be fun too. I love the Euro Cup design. I wish I had a KopyKake projector so I could trace it onto desserts. Maybe I'll try free-ballin' it. Get it? It's funny because I said ballin' - as in soccer ballin'. Man I'm hilarious.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Musings #19

Euro cup starts today! Yeahhhhh buddy! I am so excited. My main team is Germany and their first game is tomorrow vs. Portugal. It will be a good game. Last Euro cup I really liked Russia, so we'll see if they're good again this round. I'll also be rooting for England, Ireland, and Croatia. The Spaniards aren't bad to look at either, but they've won a lot the past few years, so I think its time for somebody else to step up. *Germany*.

Sorry about the slack in postings recently. I'll try to be more regular about them starting next week!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Memorial Day Treats Part 2: Patriotic Cake!

In this second installment of Memorial Day treats, I will show you the fun cupcakes/cake I made. First: THE CUPCAKES!

I found these fun patriotic cupcake papers in the recesses of my cupboard. I think I bought them at Walmart a few years ago for the 4th of July. WIN!

Next I divided the batter into 3 bowls and dyed one red and one blue. Then similar to the tie-dye cupcakes I made, I spooned each color into the papers - started with blue on the bottom, then white, then red.

I used a 1 tablespoon scoop to evenly add the batter. Though I did run into the problem of not having enough of each color. I need to learn how to divide the batter more evenly. Unlike the tie-dye cupcakes, I didn't mix the colors around once in the papers.

I used white frosting and topped with red, white, and blue star-shaped sprinkles.

Next I moved on to the Flag Cake. I saw this cake on a website a few years ago and have never had the chance to make it. I learned a lot making this cake.

Lesson #1: Evenly divide batter. I made white cake batter, poured what I thought was half into one 9in pan then dyed the other half red. Unfortunately I ended up with more of a 1/3 white, 2/3 red ratio.

Not sure if you can really tell from this picture, but the red cake is WAY taller than the white cake. I then repeated the process but left half white and dyed the other half blue. I did better with the second batch evening out the batter, but still not perfect.

Lesson #2: Use a cake leveler. I just used a knife to cut my cakes in half horizontally. They were all kinds of uneven. It looks like Betsy Ross may have been drinking a little when she made this flag.

You create the flag effect by placing half a white layer, then half a red. Next you take the whole blue cake and another half red/white combo and cut a circle out of the middle. You use the outer blue circle and the inner red/white circle when you're putting the cake together. BONUS: lots of scrap cake - Cook's Treat!

Here is a view from the top. I used copious amounts of white frosting to make up for how uneven the cake was. Then I decorated them the same way as I had the cupcakes.

Lesson #3: MORE ICING! I didn't ice between the top red and white layer and they didn't adhere as well as I would have liked.

Lesson #4: Add a crap ton of dye. Not only did Betsy Ross drink too much and sew this flag all crooked. She also passed out and left it in the sun. I hope she's proud of her pastel flag.

Mmmmmm. Tastes like freedom.