Friday, June 28, 2013

A Cake Fit for a Chief

I love making cakes for my friend, Rose.  She gives me a few just a few details to go on and then lets me have free artistic reign.

This time she asked me to make a birthday cake for her husband.  Naval chief, patriotic guy, July birthday.  Those were the specs she gave to get my creative juices flowing. 

It's even patriotic on the inside!  I found a handy tutorial for making the flag layers at Celebrations at Home.

By the way, Rose has her own photography business (RAW Graphics).  You probably noticed the difference in quality and awesomeness between her pictures and mine, which is another reason I love making cakes for her - I get some pretty sweet photos of my creations!

Some close ups of the royal icing details.  This was also my first time using lustre dust, which gave the anchor and rope a nice golden glow.

Happy 4th of July, Everyone!

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Father's Day-Worthy Man Cakes

For the mechanic man.  Specifically, Volkswagen mechanic man:

[Side story:  I used to drive a VW.  A '79 Rabbit.  I'd like to think I'd still have that car if my sister hadn't totalled it.  The accident wasn't her fault but she was driving it without my permission.  In anticipation of being gone for ten months, I was keeping it parked at my Mom's house.  I should have taken the keys with me to South Cackalacky to ensure that it stayed put in my absence.  Alas, my little sister commandeered my beloved vehicle (for a trip to WalMart of all places!) and that was her last voyage - the car, not my sister.  My sister was fine - which made it really easy to be mad at her.]

For the man who is more than meets the eye:
(Alternate title:  For the man who has transformed your a good way.)

This was actually a birthday cake for a little boy, hence the cupcake toppers, but it would work for any Transformers fan - young or old.  Nothing says "manly" like fondant flames and Decepticons, am I right?

[Credits: free Transformer font from Fontspace.]

For the sophisticated Scrabble man:

This was actually made for my husband's birthday so I put his first initial and his age on the tile.

[Credits: I got the idea for this cake from Flickr.]

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Friday, May 31, 2013

An Outdoor Pedal Party!

All seven of Susannah's birthday parties have been held outdoors at local parks.  We like to invite family, extended family and friends of all ages to her birthdays and our house really can't accommodate that many guests.  Plus, in the midst of party planning and preparation, who has time to clean the house?  Not this girl! 

September in Washington is kind of an Indian summer affair, so rain hasn't been a problem.  Just in case, though, we rent some type of covered shelter.  Usually, wind is the only concern - and that's fairly minor. 

Parks offer plenty of room to play games, too, and for this party we utilized all the wide open space with bike riding!  This was the summer that Susannah got really confident riding a bike with no training wheels.  She was outgrowing her little kid bike and we knew we'd be getting her a new one for her birthday - so we incorporated that into the theme!  The colors have significance, too.  Her first bike was a yellowish-gold color and her new bike was blue. 

All the kids brought their bikes and we supplied the decorations: balloons, streamers, ribbon, pipe cleaners, fake flowers, etc.  (We used blue painter's tape to prevent any damage to their paint jobs.)

I think the food tags are too small to read in this photo, so I'll decipher them for you because I would hate for the creativity to go unnoticed.  In the first column (top to bottom) we have "wheelie pasta salad" and "traffic lights."  In the second column we have "mud puddles" and "helmets and spokes."  (I know I got the traffic light fruit kabob idea from some party blog, but when I followed my pin to find out where so I could give them credit, the page is no longer available.)

I was thrilled to find a set of bicycle-themed stamps at the craft store and you can see that I relied pretty heavily on them.  The invitations, the streamers/banners, the food tags and the cupcake toppers all feature those cute's so much cheaper to go that route instead of purchasing decorations!

In closing, I'll leave you with one of Susannah's favorite jokes. 

Why couldn't the bicycle stand up?
Because it was two-tired!

(Get it?)

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Perfect Swarm

Bee-lieve me, you guys, this is the cutest bumble bee cake you'll ever see!  Hive gotta tell ya, I truly earned my stripes on this one.  Shaping those tiny little stingers and getting the delicate wings to stay in position is no joke, folks.   The end result was pure cuteness, though! 

Is it in poor taste to recycle bumblebee puns?  My gut says nope.  Besides, it has been almost three years since I posted about the Bumblebee Girl costume.  That's enough time for the corny puns to be funny again, right?

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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Pencils and Puns for Teachers

It's Teacher Appreciation Week!

Show the teachers and staff at your school that you think they have the write stuff when it comes to teaching your children!  

I'd like to point out that teachers have one of the most important jobs in the world!  The marks they leave on the minds of their students can never be erased.

It is at the hands of a teacher that our students can be lead in the write direction, sharpening their minds along the way.

So, say it loud and proud!  "Our teachers are No. 1!" 

I pretty much copied Sweet Sugar Belle's teacher appreciation cookies when making these pencil cookies.  Her whole blog is definitely worth a looksie if you're into decorated sugar cookies!

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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Thumb Print Teacher Appreciation Cards

I think it's important to get the students involved in teacher appreciation week.  Getting all 24+ students to make cards for their teacher, though, would be a logistical nightmare and just having the kids sign one card seems too impersonal.  

The solution?  THUMB PRINTS!  No two are alike and after they are decorated each child's personality really shines through!  

If your school's PTO/PTA is interested in doing this, here's what you'll need:
  • some cute sayings or poems that little thumb/finger prints can be incorporated into. - the more puns, the better! (You're welcome to borrow mine.)
  • a 12"x12" piece of scrap book paper for the main part of the card and coordinating cardstock for the words.
  • a 1" paper punch to cut out a bunch of blank circles.
  • ink pads in light colors
  • wet wipes
  • fine point, felt tip markers
  • glue stick
  • some time with the students
  • Ed Emberly has some books with great ideas for thumb print critters
The trickiest part is finding time with the students without the teacher present.  Luckily for me, our school librarian is a wonderful lady who let me invade her library time.  I showed up with some stamp pads, blank circles, markers, and a few examples and had groups of 5 or 6 kids rotate through.  I gave them a simple explanation of what we were making and why and they went to town.  Even the kindergartners did a great job! 

Some kids even wanted to do more than one, which was great since I wanted to make cards for the support staff as well.  By the way, make sure you have them write their names on the front of their circle when they're done.

Assembling the cards was a snap!  Just print out the poem and glue everything into place! 

On the first day of Teacher Appreciation Week, we displayed all the cards on the wall in the teacher's lounge.  All the teachers and staff got to see every style of card and then take theirs back to the classroom at the end of the week. 

It's been a year since we did this project and I still see many of these cards proudly displayed in classrooms and offices! 

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Start This NOW! It's Almost May Day!

Okay, so this is last year's May Day project and I swore I'd post about it far enough in advance so folks would be able to use it for this year.  Then I promptly forgot all about it.  Rather than wait another year (and miss just the right posting time again) I'll put it out there now and let you do with it what you will. 

Perhaps those of you with a greener thumb than I know of some fast-germinating seeds that will be sprouting by May first.  Leave your ideas in the comments if you want to share!  Sunflowers?  Those seem to yield quick results.

Before I begin, inspirational credit must be given to a blog called The Magnifying Glass.  I just took their idea of using egg shells for planters one step further by incorporating it into a May Day basket.

I used a steak knife to puncture a ring around the top 1/4 of the egg, tossed the little cap in the trash (or fed it to the worms), used the egg for baking, rinsed out the shell and it was good to go!

After I collected a dozen or so shells I experimented with some leftover egg dye tablets.  (Just like dying hard boiled eggs for Easter, only more delicate.)

The pictures say it all.  They were very lovely at first.  So bright and cheery!  Not so lovely after a few weeks of sitting in the sun and holding damp soil.  Anyone know of a more permanent type of dye that could withstand the rigors of being a planter?

Get your daughter to help fill the egg shells with soil, insert a few seeds and spritz the soil with water until it's damp.  Make sure you fill it to the tippy top with soil because it will become compacted after watering.

Egg cartons are a perfect holder your planters and they fit nicely on the windowsill.  Spritz the seeds as often as needed to keep the soil moist.  If you're planting a variety of seeds, be sure to mark what's what.

We thought petunias would be perfect for May Day, but they took too long to germinate AND they were tiny and uber delicate - too delicate for the jostling around that comes with delivering May Day baskets. 

Luckily, we planted basil and cucumbers - which looked perfect sprouting in their shells!  Don't the brown shells look nice, too?  Au naturel.

Now, to May Day basket-ify our egg shell planters:  cut some egg cartons into thirds (three squares of four).  In the center peak of each square, cut a slit.  (I just jammed my trusty steak knife through there and it did the trick.)  One piece of an upended clothespin should fit snugly in the slit.  The pinchy end of the clothespin can grasp your label/tag.

This is the best detailed shot I have and I hope it clarifies how to assemble this simple contraption.  I would have liked to include four egg shell planters in each May Day basket, but alas, my petunia seeds did not turn out so we had a limited supply to work with.  Boo! for stingy May Day baskets.

The labels/tags that we used last year were more hastily created than these handsome devils that I made last night with Picmonkey.  You're welcome to use them if you can figure out how to resize and print them...not my strong suit. 

Isn't that a nice poem?  Apparently Ruth Stout was an author in the gardening genre who was best known for minimalist approach in that area.  I bet I'd like her.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Totally Fruity Mommy and Me Aprons

It's time for aprons from the archives because my posts of late have been too cake-y.  That's right.  I said cake-y.

First up, a set of mother/daughter aprons that I made for last year's (we're talking November 2011 here) fundraiser auction at my daughter's elementary school.  Lemon squeezy, no?

Another mother/daughter set.  This time for a silent auction at a local Beer for a Cure (American Cancer Society) fundraiser.

Another (you guessed it!) mother/daughter set for another (you guessed it!) fundraiser.  Making these back in October was the last time I sat in front of my sewing machine. 

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Girly Bug Valentines

May I introduce you to the perfect valentine - according to my standards, at least?

  • They're home made (so they've got that extra-special vibe).
  • They contain no sugar (there's enough of that already on Valentine's Day).
  • They're practical (holding those wispy hairs in place is a very important job).
  • They reflect the giver (in this case, a girl who loves all creepy crawlies and fluttery bugs).
  • They embrace the mason jar trend (of which I am a big fan).

These are actually last year's Valentines.  Bless your heart if you think I've got my ducks in such a perfect row that I'm able to assemble, photograph, and blog about them before Valentine's Day - even with the help of my then-Kindergartner.  It's already February 13th and I'm just now getting around to posting valentines from a year ago!  Apparently I've got a turn around time of about 12 months... 

Regardless of what year these are from, let me give you a few of the specifics.  The original idea came from a a post on Dandee about Love Bug Valentines.  She actually used plastic bugs instead of hair clips (more boy-appropriate) and she's got a mason jar .pdf that you can download and print!

I'm pretty sure I found instructions for making the bug hair clips (as well as the supplies) at Hip Girl Boutique.  We attached them to the valentines by cutting a small slit in the paper and clipping them in place. 

I love how they turned out and I think the lady bug is my favorite! 

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