Search This Blog

Thursday, December 29, 2011

"Felt" like surrounding myself with flowers.

These little cutie-pie pins are my newest craze.
My mom is my craft supplier.  We "go shopping" on Etsy together, since we can't actually, and she is always supporting whatever my latest interest is.  Right now it's felt.  I've always loved felt.  It makes me think of warm and cozy things, and it's easy to sew (which is a bonus for me!).  
So, my mom got me these beautiful felt squares from Three Sheep Studio  They have amazing colors, and the texture is so rich!  My mom wanted my room to be yellow and blue, but I insisted on pink.  So, in today's craft, I decided to make both camps happy.  I am making a yellow and pink flower pin, with a pink bud.  I like making pins, because they are a great way to make an outfit pop, and with a little bit of maneuvering, they can be added to hair bands, bracelets, bags, hats... they're perfect!

So, I started off with a yellow and blue square of felt, a pink felt ball, which I had left over from my "Hungarian craft stash".  However, you can easily find these on Etsy, or craft stores.  I also have matching pink thread and safety pins.

This is the pattern that I used.  They are purposefully not even, or perfect.  I like them to look just a little more "accidental".  Of course, you could use any pattern and size you want.

First, I cut out the larger flower.

Then the smaller one.

I laid them out, to see how I liked the color combination, and to see which way the flowers layered best.

Firstly, I sewed the felt ball to the smaller flower.  I tried to sew down a pretty large area, because I didn't want the ball to really move around.

Secondly, I stitched the smaller flower to the larger one.

Next, I sewed the pin to the back of the flower.  The back of this pin isn't too pretty, which my mom probably would notice, but trust me - no one else will! :)  I stitch along the pin as close as possible, and as many time, because I'm always afraid it'll com undone.

So, this is what your flower should look like.

Finally, I did a blanket stitch along the large flower, to give it a "finished" look.

Add to outfit, and done!

So, these flowers are the perfect little "maybe-more-shabby-than-chic" accessory I'm trying out right now.  My dog loves them so much, he put one in his mouth, but was sorely disappointed when it didn't taste like the last thing I made that he stole... a cupcake!  :)

Please let me know if these craft ideas are helpful to you, I would love to get some feedback!

Friday, December 23, 2011

I have OCD: Obsessive Cupcake Disorder

So, this Christmas we will be going to my brother-in-law's for Christmas.  I was really touched when he asked me to bring cupcakes.  So, I kinda wanted them to look special.  My mom had bought me some cupcake toppers in early December, and I had been itching to use them.  Then I found some very cute Christmas cupcake cups, and Wilton sprinkles on sale.  This was coming together great!
Now, I tend to use box mixes, because I simply don't trust that they will turn out perfectly if I try making my own batter.  So, I won't go through the actual baking of the cupcakes here.  I used a Betty Crocker Dark Chocolate cake mix.  I also bought 2 jars of frosting, because 1 is never quite enough.  I went with Cream Cheese frosting (my niece only really appreciates simple flavors).  Color-wise it turned out great!
So, this is just a quick overview of my latest baking adventure.  Hope you enjoy!

My Christmas Cupcake
The festive cupcake cups

The cute cupcake toppers my mom got me from Etsy, from the seller "Seasonal Heart".
Gingerbread men/reindeer.  

My awesome Christmas gift from my Aunt and Uncle.

I start frosting the cupcakes in the middle.  It gives it a more even look.

I used Wilton Red Sugar Sprinkles.

I tend to use my fingers to sprinkle.  It gets your fingers pretty red, but I like how even they come out.

The finished product.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The cake obsession continues... Cake Pops!

The original Cake Pops were created by "Bakerella".  She used cake and frosting together, to create the balls for her cake pops.  While I fell absolutely in love with them, the frosting combined with the cake, and then the candy covering, and then the sprinkles, was just a little too much for me.  So I never really tried making them myself.
Then, my husband and I came across a cake pop maker at Bed Bath and Beyond by "babycakes" - while we were shopping for our friends, who were getting married - and decided, both the bride and myself had to have one!
Now, I'm pretty used to things going pretty well the first time I try them, so I was frustrated the first time I tried to use this machine.  However, with a little perseverance, trial and error and google-ing, I've learned to have great fun with it!
I explain this awesome machine as a waffle maker, that makes balls.  That's basically the concept that it uses.  "Babycakes" sells their their own cake mixes, which make 1-2 dozen cake pops.  However, I use regular cake mixes, and so far have had no problems.  Oh, and I can make up to 5 dozen of them.  I read someone say that they used one less egg, for a slightly denser ball, which I have been doing, with great success.
Today I am making "Truffle and Cinnabon Candy Cane Cake Pops".

Please let me know what you think, and if this post helped you in any way.

The Cake Pop maker

The cake mix used

Almond Bark for covering the cake pops, cocoa powder for the truffle ones, and Cinnabon candy canes for the other one.

First, I tried breaking up the candy canes myself, which didn't go too well (as you can see in the picture).  Not photographed, is when I finally used my food processor.  It worked much better.  You can use any size "sprinkles" you want.  Just remember, the larger, the harder it will be for the chocolate to hold it up.

The machine calls for 1 tbsp of batter for each compartment.  The first time I tried it, it took so long, that the compartments I filled first overflowed before I could fill the others.  So, while googling, I found that people recommended using a condiment dispenser, which works like a charm! (I cut the tip, to be a little larger)

Next, you fill up every compartment, to a point where the bottom half is full.

The cake pops are baked somewhere between 3 and 4 minutes.  The bottom half will be smoother and darker than the top half.

With the metal prong given with the machine, carefully take out the balls of cake.

Part of my frustration the first time, was that the balls kept sliding down the sticks.  To avoid that, I dip the sticks in melted chocolate...

Then stick them in the cake balls...

And place them in the freezer.  I use a colander to prop them up.

Next, I roll them in the melted chocolate.

Sprinkle them with the chopped up candy cane.


For the truffle one, I roll it in the cocoa powder, instead of the candy cane sprinkles.

One they're covered, I place them in the freezer again.  It helps the chocolate to harder quickly, and not let drip.

And here they are!

I used the extra chocolate and candy cane sprinkles to make Cinnabon candy cane bark.

I hope this helps anyone, who looks at those cake pops at parties, and thinks they're too hard to make.  They are time consumptive, but they're adorable, and always a hit!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Directions for making cupcake ornament

I decided to write out some directions for making the cupcake ornament in my last post, because everyone is at different levels of "crafting", so some one may enjoy the help.  Here I'll be making a red velvet cupcake, with cream cheese frosting.

First, you cut out the pattern given in the earlier post. Then, you pin in to the felt of your choosing. Then you cut out the bottom shape. You will do this twice. You will do the same thing for the "frosting". (Tip: If you're using felt that has two different sides - like maybe sparkles on one - make sure you flip the pattern to the other side.)

Then you do a blanket stitch on the two sides and the bottom, leaving the top open (for stuffing, later).

Like so.

Next, you add your sprinkles.  You can use longer brown ones, for chocolate sprinkles, or you can use sequins.  Remember, if you use sequins, you have to use a bead to secure it.  So, once you have the bead on the string, you put your needle back through the hole in the sequin.  Put as many, or as little "sprinkles" on top.

Once the sprinkles are all on, sew the frosting on to the bottom.  Try to center it as well as you can.  Next, do the same to the other side.  Make sure the two sides of frosting match up.

Next, using a blanket stitch, sew the frosting sides until the middle.

If you will be using this as an ornament, find a ribbon you like, loop it, place it between the two sides, and sew it.  Make sure you sew through both layers of felt, and the ribbon.

Stuff the cupcake to whatever puffiness you desire.  Then, using a blanket stitch, sew up the last half of the frosting, tying it off at the end.

There you have it!  The perfect handmade cupcake ornament!