Monday, October 31, 2011

Easy Gumpaste Flowers to Decorate Anything

Happy Halloween!  This post isn't a Halloween post, but hope you enjoy it anyway.

I love putting little gumpaste flowers on desserts to dresses it up a little and make it super girly. These gumpaste flowers are easy to make, all you need is gumpaste (I bought Witon Gumpaste from Michaels), a little flower cutter (also from Michaels) and food coloring (I like the gel kind). The bag of gumpaste was about 4 dollars (with 40%off coupon), and you can probably make over 200 little flowers. 

To make these gumpaste flowers, take white gumpaste and using a toothpick add a little food coloring.  Kneed until color is consistent.  Roll out until about 1/8 inch thick and cut into flower shapes. Using a spoon flatten out the petals to give it more range in depth.  Place flower on a soft surface (I used a towel with a oven mitt underneath) and using a chopstick push the center of the flower to make the flower curl up.  Roll a small ball from another colored gumpaste (I used yellow) for the center of the flower.  Wet the center of the flower with a small drop of water (you can use the chopstick and dip it in water then dip it on the center of the flower) and place the small ball on top.  Press down gently to ensure contact.

Gumpaste dries fairly quickly and you can store these for a year or longer.
Finished gumpaste flowers.

Roll, cut, press petals with spoon.

Chopstick to push down center and give flowers depth.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Marshmallows With My Name Written All Over Them

Ok, my name isn't Avery, that's my daughter's name and this is her sweet simple treat. Simply cut out letters printed on regular printer paper, slice marshmallows in half, place the cut out letters on the sticky side of the marshmallow and push marshmallow into a tub of colored sugar. Peel off the paper cut-out letter and viola, custom marshmallows.  I'm think of making these as baby shower favors for an up coming baby shower.
Custom marshmallows

Oh, I wish I owned a Silhouette, but I don't.  It's actually not that hard to cut out the letters.  Only took 10 minutes.
I printed a couple of different font sizes because I wasn't sure how big it needed to be. Arial Black 72 font worked perfectly.

Cut marshmallows, stick letter on cut side (sticky side), then dip in sugar.

Dipped on left, then remove cut-out letter.

Treats for my sweet.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Boo! Chocolate Covered Gummy Bears Halloween Edition

I did a previous tutorial on how to make chocolate covered gummy bears. In the spirit of Halloween, I used white chocolate for the body and dark chocolate for the eyes to make ghostly chocolate covered gummy bears.

I'm actually not a fan of white chocolate, but my sister loves it. I decided to make her a batch of these ghostly gummy bears. Trader Joe's carries a white chocolate bar  that claims to me more chocolaty than regular white chocolate. I decided to give it a try. While it is not as good as dark chocolate, it actually tastes more like chocolate than other white chocolates.

White chocolate is harder to work with because it melts at a lower temperature so you can burn it if you are not careful.  When heating any chocolate for melting/dipping, over heating will destroy your chocolate. I usually melt chocolate in a mug (so that it retains the heat) in the microwave (easier clean up). For white chocolate, set the power to 5 and melt in 10 to 15 second intervals. If the chocolate comes out melted, it is probably already burnt. You want to heat it just to the point where when you start stirring, it comes together. It took me only 30 seconds of heating to melt this white chocolate. You do not need to add butter or shortening to this recipe, just straight chocolate, because white chocolate seems to be runnier.

White Chocolate from Trader Joe's.  It is better than most white chocolates out there.

Cut chocolate into equal sized chunks for even melting.  Pop in microwave for 15 seconds at power of 5.
Take out and stir.  If chocolate seems too hard then pop back in for 10 seconds at power of 5.

Melted white chocolate after a lot of stirring.  Skewer gummy bears for dipping with toothpicks.

Dip gummy bears into chocolate. Wait for them to dry.
Then melt a little dark chocolate and using a toothpick, paint the eyes.
 You could also use those edible ink pens to draw eyes.

Packaged for my sister.

Double Duty Apothecary Jar

I love things that have dual function. While our house isn't small nor is it big either, I hate decorative items that have form and no function. This is why I love this Apothecary Jar, which is actually a water dispenser. I just hide the spout when I display it on the mantel.
Our mantel

Apothecary Jar filled with corks.

When I have a party I take it down and rinse and put in beverage.  Yay, for double duty.
I've seen these jars everywhere, such as ZGallerie and Costco.  I purchased mine at Cost Plus.  During the holidays, it usually goes on sale for 20 dollars.  If you are part of their rewards program they email 10 off 30 coupons, which makes it even a better deal.

Monday, October 24, 2011

What Does the Inside of a One Year Old Pumpkin Look Like?

We found out this weekend. Last year we bought a pumpkin and never got around to carving it. I read online that pumpkins are pretty hardy and will last up to one year. So I stowed it away in the pantry (call it a little science experiment). I got a lot of funny(more like grossed out) faces when I told my friends I would attempt to carve it. See below for what the inside looks like.
Picture on the left is one year ago, Oct 2010.  Picture on the right is today Oct 2011.
Avery has grown, pumpkin pretty much the same, but had more wrinkles (kinda like me).

This is what a one year old pumpkin looks like from the inside.
It looks like cobwebs, but its just all dried up pumpkin guts.

Elmo pattern found on internet.

I read that those silica packets help with the pumpkins not molding.

Our pumpkin carved.

The verdict: Carving a one year old pumpkin was so much easier because it was drier. The shell was easier to carve, although a bit more brittle. The insides of the pumpkin weren't as slimy.  And the pumpkin seeds that came out of the pumpkin? They were plumper. Gonna run out and buy a pumpkin this year, and save it for next!... maybe.

Free Elmo pumpkin pattern found here

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Toasted Roasted Pumpkin Seed Recipe

We carved our one year old pumpkin today (more on the one year old pumpkin in a future post).  The best part for me about pumpkin carving are the pumpkin seeds.  If you are looking for iron rich foods, pumpkin seeds are a great source of iron.  I was iron deficient when I was pregnant so tried to eat pumpkin seeds often instead of constantly taking Slow Fe (an iron supplement).

Seeds from our carved pumpkin.

Rinse seeds and drain.  I spun the seeds in a salad spinner to remove excess water.

Sprinkle olive oil, kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin (or whatever spices you like).
I eyeballed all the measurements, you can't really go wrong.   

Place in oven for 25 minutes at 325 degrees or until golden brown.

Friday, October 21, 2011

I Walk the Line

Have a happy weekend!

I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep my eyes wide open all the time
I keep the ends out for the tie that binds
Because you're mine, I walk the line

Thursday, October 20, 2011

This Little Light of Mine

Our house came with all recessed lights, even in the dining room.  While I do love the convenience, I don't love the look of all recessed lights.  We wanted something to define our dining room area, and break up the openness a little.  I loved the look and price of these Eden Pendant Lights from CB2.  The only problem was I needed to figure out a way to convert a recessed(canned) light to a pendant without hiring an electrician.  We experimented with a few ideas, one being just cutting the line our self and doing a hard wire (too risky, as we are not electricians), we also tried the Can Converter which was the biggest flop in the world.  We finally found a 15 dollar recessed to pendant converter from Lowes.  This worked beautifully and only took five minutes to install.  The  Can Converter took over an hour to install each, was overly complicated, with a bunch of parts.  We also almost shorted a something and electrocuted ourselves.  Plus the can converter is 50 dollars each, the same cost as the pendant light!

One negative about the Lowes pendant converter is that it only takes candelabra lights, which are lower wattage, so if you really need to brighten up a room this is not for you.

One other thing to note is that the Eden Pendant comes with its own wire, but it plugs into an electrical outlet, so you would see the wires.  If you hire an electrician they can easily cut the wires and rewire for you.   You would have to buy a medallion to cover the hole.

From recessed lights to drop pendants for around 65 dollars each.

Converter from Lowes

Easy to install, just screw into the light bulb fixture.

Both lights installed

Candelabra light bulb, its blue because its one of the full spectrum light bulbs.  I did have to do some funky screwing in of the drum shade.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

There Are Places I Remember

Remember my earlier post, about photobooks and how they are great. I mentioned in there that I have a box of photos that never got organized or put into albums. I decided to dig them up and display them. Displaying a large amount of photos can be tricky.  It is always a chalenge for me to tastefully display pictures.  On one hand I want to show all my memories, on the other you don't my wall/desk/mantle to look cluttered.

I took some of my favorite pictures and cut them into 3.5 inch squares and placed them in a frame.   Included are some of my favorite quotes to break up the colors.  The quotes were printed on a brown paper bag and then cut to 3.5 inch squares also.

The frame a cheap Ikea frame that was 2 dollars in the "as is" section.  I like it because it is plexiglass instead of glass so I can display it in my daughters room without worrying.

Monday, October 17, 2011

One of a Bazillion Tutu Tutorials Out There

There are tons of tutu tutorials out there. This is yet another one. Some people knot it, some do something like a slip knot (best way I could describe it). Here is my tutorial. I did buy 3 yards to tulle instead of the rolls because the tulle in the yards is softer.
Completed tutu tutorial below.

Buy 3 yards of tulle, this was for a semi full tutu for a 2 year old.

Loop tulle through ribbon that 1.5 times the waist length.
I tied the ribbon on two legs of a chair so I could work with both hands.

Tightened knot.  To get the knots neat, twist the tulle a little on the top.  Continue to desired length.

Next tutu I'll probably use a brighter color so it pops more.

My little ballerina.

Friday, October 14, 2011


Have a happy weekend.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cream and Sugar

If you like Crate and Barrels Embossed Cream and Sugar set, then run to your Michaels.  I picked up this set for 2 dollars, yes one dollar each (in their dollar section).  The quality is decent, probably not as great at Crate and Barrel, (the one at Michaels is not diswasher safe), but I only use this when guests are here.  It's super cute!  Note, its sold instore only.  I could not find it on Micheals website.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Photo Magnets Tutorial

A while back my mom gave me a bunch of those flat refrigerator magnets that have some advertisements on them. I'm sure you guys get a bunch in the mail too that advertise the local pizza place or real estate agent. This is how I re-purposed them.

Print out image that you want to make into magnet mosaic.

Line up the magnets and make sure that the image you want will be cropped nicely.

Cut the image into strips then to correct size.

Glue image onto magnet using glue stick or modge podge.  Be sure to get corners.
I used other smaller images to mix up the picture a little.

Another one I made for my office.

Our fridge (I know it needs cleaning!)

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