Thursday, September 30, 2010


This week I was lucky enough to do cupcakes for a little boy named MarShaun. He turned 3 and is a big fan of the Disney movie, Cars.

This is the collection I made for him.
I'm so mad though, none of the other pictures I took turned out!! I took a bunch of close ups, and detail shots, but for some reason, when I uploaded them all, they were all out of focus. I don't know what happened. But at least there was this one.
Thanks for letting me contribute to your son's birthday Becky!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Shortbread Mushrooms

Mushroom: is the fleshy, spore bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground on soil or on its food source.
Mmm...doesn't that sound appealing?
How about I change the definition....

Mushroom: melt in your mouth buttery cookie-like food that finishes with a hit of cocoa.

Now that's my kind of mushroom!!
I made these babies from shortbread. It kills me how realistic they look! I also learned that these are amazing to dip in coffee. Imagine the look on my co-workers face when she saw me dipping "mushrooms" in my coffee!! However, I had her try one, and she too was hooked!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bad to the Bone

No, they aren't doggie treats. These bad bones are just for people!

I thought it would be a fun play on words.

Bad to the Bone baby!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Dora, Diego and Boots!

This week, one of my favorite clients had me create cupcakes for her daughter's second birthday. I did cupcakes for Chloe's first birthday last year (check them out here.) So when Vanessa contacted me about her daughter again, I was thrilled!
Chloe is a year older and has much more specific interests now. That interest is Boots. She loves Boots from Dora the Explorer. Check out the cupcakes I made for her...

Each topper was hand cut.



And of course Dora!

26 cupcakes in all.
Happy 2nd Birthday Chloe! Vanessa...THANK YOU so much! It was an honor to do cupcakes for your daughter again!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Chica the Chicken & The Wiggles

Recently my friend Carrie's adorable daughter Carly turned 1 year old. She is a big fan of Chica the Chicken from the Sunnyside Up show and of course, The Wiggles.

The photo quality isn't the best, but what can I say, it was late at night!

Chica the Chicken!

The Wiggles!
These were fun to do! Thanks Carrie! Happy First Birthday Carly!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

DIY: Recycled Paper Palm Tree

Thanks to my new blogger friend Veronica, over at Life In the Thrifty Lane (how cute is that name?) reminded me that I failed at posting a how-to on my recycled palm tree! *gasp!*
Sorry to anyone who was interested in how to do this! Its so easy, so lets get to the basics....
Paper grocery bags
Hot glue gun and glue sticks
Styrofoam ball
Spray Paint

Step 1: Take you grocery bags and begin cutting leaf shapes. No need for a template, you don't want them all uniform. Make plenty of different sizes. To make my two palm trees I cut up four grocery bags, and ended up with a lot left over.

Step 2: Crumple each leaf and then unfold again. You want lots of creases in them.

Step 3: Spray paint the leaves. Don't worry about full coverage. Its OK to have some of the paper show through. It kind of makes a worn effect, which feels more natural to me.

Step 4: Fire up that hot glue gun and beginning at what will be the base, start gluing the largest leaves to your styrofoam ball. No need to fully cover the bottom of the ball. Your leaves will cover it, and besides you have to have somewhere for the stick base to go in.

Step 5: Continue to cover the ball until its at a fullness you like. Allow to dry.

Step 6: Push stick into the base of styrofoam ball. For added security you can use hot glue on the end of the stick when pushing it in.

Step 7: Viola! Your masterpiece is complete!

Total cost (for me) to make 2 palm trees:
Sticks: 4 feet bamboo poles at Dollar Tree, $2
Styro Balls: 2 balls at Michaels, used 40% off coupon, $7
Spray Paint: Already had, but I did buy it on sale at Menards for a different project.
Hot Glue: Yep, already had that too.
Grocery Bags: you guessed it, already had those as well.

Total: $9 for TWO palm trees!

The party I made these for was a brown and mint green jungle theme. But you could make these in all kinds of colors. Maybe hot pink or yellow for a funky luau, or try white for a more elegant affair! Try adding glitter to your leaves, or to the tips of the leaves! The possibilities are endless! Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Spaghetti & Roasted Tomatoes

I am reading the book Eat, Pray, Love. Recently I was really involved in my book, loving the chapters about her time in Italy. Then I realized, hey, its dinner time! I decided on an Italian meal. Spaghetti and Roasted Tomatoes....perfect!
Here is how you can make it too.
3 ounces diced pancetta
Olive Oil
2 anchovy fillets
1 cup bread crumbs
4 tomatoes, tops sliced off
2 cloves garlic
Small handful of fresh herbs, such as basil
8 ounces spaghetti

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Brown pancetta until the edges are crispy. Remove from pan and set aside.

Take out anchovy fillets. I have to admit, I've never purchased anchovies before. They were pretty creepy looking!

Using a wooden spoon, mash them in the pan until they start to dissolve.

Add bread crumbs, cook until browned.

Place tomatoes, cut side up, in baking dish. Push sliced garlic into the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.

Push the bread crumb mixture into the tomatoes, and mound the rest on top. Sprinkle with fresh herbs. Drizzle olive oil over the top.

Roast tomatoes until browned and interior is soft. About 1 hour.
Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to directions, reserving a little water.

Remove tomatoes from the oven, and scrape the crumbs and juices from the bottom of the pan. Mix in with the pasta.

Transfer pasta to a serving dish, top with tomatoes. If you're like me, sprinkle your favorite cheese on top, along with the browned pancetta.

Pretend you're in Italy and enjoy your meal!

Spaghetti with Roasted Tomatoes
(adapted from The Italian Dish)
3 ounces diced pancetta
Olive Oil
2 anchovy fillets
1 cup bread crumbs
4 tomatoes, tops sliced off
2 cloves garlic
Small handful of fresh herbs, such as basil
8 ounces spaghetti

1. Preheat oven to 350. Fry pancetta until crispy around the edges. Remove pancetta from skillet.
2. Using same skillet add some olive oil. Throw in anchovies. Mash anchovies with wooden spoon until they begin to dissolve.
3. Add bread crumbs and cook until golden
4. Put tomatoes, cut side up, in a baking dish. Cut up garlic and put some in each tomato.
5. Season with salt and pepper. Then begin to fill with bread crumb mixture. Push some into the tomato and mound onto tomatoes. Sprinkle on fresh herbs.
6. Drizzle olive oil over tomatoes. Place in oven.
7. Roast until browned a bit and insides are soft. The tomatoes should not have collapsed yet. This takes about 1 hour.
8. Cook spaghetti as directed on the package. Reserve some of the pasta water.
9. Remove tomatoes from oven. Spoon mixture from the bottom of the pan onto the spaghetti.
10. Add some olive oil and a little splash of the pasta water.
11. Place pasta in a serving bowl, top with tomatoes. Sprinkle pancetta over the top.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Get to Know Your Blogger

Today is a different kind of post. Instead of baked goods or crafty creations, I invite you to get to know me a little better.
This weekend I had an opportunity to create a different "persona" if you will. I was invited on an annual pub crawl that my friend hosts. For this event we were asked to go "Incognito....Come As You Are Not" The plan was to dress in all black, wear wigs, sunglasses and any other fun accessory to make yourself different from your everyday self.
I had a blast with this! It has also inspired me to share a few things with my readers, an opportunity to "Get to Know Your Blogger". First up....a photo of what I look like....

Ten Things to Know About Me...
1) Yes, I am a natural red head (and yes, its all true what they say about us)
2) I've been decorating cakes/cookies for just over a year and a half. Not very long eh? I started by taking a class at Michael's, found a new love, and well, here we are.
3) I have a Bachelor's degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management as well as a certificate in Meeting & Event Planning.
4) I photograph everything...without shame. For a long time I was afraid of "looking like a tourist" when I traveled. Or "looking like a dork" for photographing everything. Then I realized, hey, these are my memories and something I could pass on someday. To hell with what anyone else thinks. Tourist. Dork. Fine by me.
5) I love my dogs. Who knew I could feel this much love for a pet. My heart bursts thinking about them. And I admit, they aren't the best behaved...but we are working on that.
6) I cannot keep cream cheese in my fridge. It wont survive. Throw in a bag of pretzels and that's it. I have lost all self control.
7) I have actually grown to love winter. No, I am not giving up my right to whine and complain about it, but I do have this appreciation for living in an area that has all four seasons. I never thought I'd be that way, but somehow, it happened.
8) I am easily excited about everything. If I find a good idea, I get really excited. Must. Try. It. Now. Its hard to fight the urge to jump up and run to the store every day when I get my "Craft of the Day" emails from Martha Stewart. Reading blogs, are dangerous for this reason as well.
9) I love 80's music. I really should have been 21 during the 80s. My hair would have been amazing.
10) I asked my boyfriend to describe me for my last one, of course, he listed pretty much everything I have already written, but then says "You're like a Cadbury Cream Egg....kind of hard on the outside, but soft and sweet on the inside." Cadbury Cream Eggs are one of my most favorite candies. Maybe he is on to something....

Lastly, here is what I looked like this weekend, donning my alter-ego "The Black Widow"

Not bad eh? I don't think I'll be dying my hair black in real life, but who knew wigs could be so fun?!
That's all for this edition of "Get to Know Your Blogger". I'd love to get to know my readers! Post one great thing about yourself! Come on! Do it!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Goldfish On A Stick

I've had this fish cookie idea in my head for awhile, and while doing the Walker Art Center event I had the opportunity to try it out.
Don't you just love these little guys?

The fishes were a big hit with a few little girls at the Walker.

These will be available in my Etsy shop soon. Be sure to check it out!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

DIY: Mason Jar Lanterns

Let's face it, this season Mason became one popular guy. Mason jars are everywhere. They have that down home appeal that you just cant resist. Yes, I gave into the mason jar love.
For my recent Anniversary Picnic, I made a few mason jar lanterns to hang from the tree branches overhead. They turned out great, I have to admit, I fell in love with Mason.
Go ahead, give in to the Mason attraction....

All you need is a tape measure, some light gauge wire (I just found some around the house. The label was worn, I don't even know what gauge it was), wire cutter, a pliers (you can do it without the pliers though), and mason jars.

Cut yourself 24 inches of wire and wrap around the jar, just below the lip. Twist the two ends together.

I twisted the two pieces of wire together to the end of the pieces to create almost a braided effect. Bend the wires back over the top of the jar, and loop under the existing wire ring.

Twist the tails closed and Taaa Daaa! Mason jar lantern.

Aren't they cute hanging from my tree?

Throw in a candle and you have perfect lighting for any outdoor (or indoor if you'd like) occasion! Come on....Mason is calling your name!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Strawberry Heart Pie

I often get asked if my boyfriend David gets to eat all the goodies I bake. No. No he doesn't. Its not that he can't, its that he isn't much into sweets. He loves what I do, but doesn't need to taste every thing I make. One thing he does love is pie. Pie is not something I make often. When planning our anniversary picnic I chose to make him strawberry pie. I happen to have a couple of heart shaped pans so it worked perfectly.
I am not really a pie person. Wait, scratch that...French Silk...yes, cherry pie? Eh, pass. I love my chocolate, what can I say?
However, this strawberry pie, it was something. I don't know if its the spices or what, but it was the kind of pie that made you go Hmmm.... (yes, go ahead, sing it now "Things that make you hmmm!" Sorry, flashback to the early 90s....moving on....)
To make this pie, you will need:
2 pie crusts
1 9 inch pie plate (unless you want to experiment like me with two small pie plates)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
4 cups chopped fresh strawberries
2 Tbsp butter

Begin by preheating the oven to 425 degrees. Lay your pie crust over the pie plate(s).

In a bowl mix sugars, flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and almond.

Add in your strawberries.

Pour strawberry mixture into prepared pie plate.

Using second pie crust, cut strips to create lattice top crust. Make sure to press the edges down firmly.
Add a dot of butter in all of the open squares.
Brush lattice with milk and sprinkle with sugar for a sweet golden brown finish.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.
Sing the song "Thing that make you hmmmm..." as you eat. Trust me, you wont be able to help yourself.

Strawberry Heart Pie
2 pie crusts
1 9 inch pie plate
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
4 cups chopped fresh strawberries
2 Tbsp butter
Milk (optional)

Begin by preheating the oven to 425 degrees.
Lay your pie crust over the pie plate(s).
In a bowl mix sugars, flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and almond.
Add in strawberries.
Using second pie crust, cut strips to create lattice top crust. Make sure to press the edges down firmly.
Add a dot of butter in all of the open squares.
Brush lattice with milk and sprinkle with sugar for a sweet golden brown finish.
Bake 35-40 minutes.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Strawberry Anniversary Picnic

August was a busy month! I had a hard time trying to squeeze in my monthly event challenge. I tried to get friends together for a cookout, but it seems August was one of those months that it was impossible to plan anything. However, I did have one date that I could plan a celebration for, no matter how busy things got....our anniversary. David and I have been dating for 4 years on August 28th. I decided to make celebrating that special day, my August event!
I looked around my house for a theme that I could do strictly with things I already owned. Since I've been on a strawberry kick, our strawberry picnic blanket served as the base of my inspiration. Check it out....

I laid the strawberry blanket out, and used some taffeta curtains I had to create a more luxurious and romantic feel.

I added flowers and photos of us.

Everything was of course, strawberry themed. I actually have a set of strawberry serveware, so I took full advantage of that. The strawberry wine is from my favorite winery.

The desserts were of course all strawberry. In the top left is chocolate covered strawberries, which I added a heart design to. Upper right is strawberry pie. Lower left cupcakes with fondant strawberry toppers. Lower right, cake balls made to look like strawberries.

I also made some mason jar lanterns. They are a bit hard to see in this photo, but they created some great ambiance at dusk.

Our picnic was meant to be a romantic evening for two, but we ended up letting the "kids" join us. Here we are, one big happy family. Here's to another four years!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Swirled Butterflies

A cookie post? *gasp!* That's so unexpected!
Yes, I still have designs to share from the Walker Artist Mart! No, this is not the last post about it!
Check out my cool hue butterflies....

I chose cool hues for something a little unexpected.

This blue and purple one is my favorite.

I love using this marbling technique. So simple, yet the end result is so elegant.


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