Monday, July 29, 2013

Birth Announcement

I have always loved making cross-stiched birth announcements for little babies (remember this one?)  The problem is that I am usually really behind on finishing them.  For example, the one I made for my daughter.  She turns 4 next month.

I had initially bought this pattern several years ago for a nephew being born.  In the catalog's tiny picture it seemed perfectly masculine but as it arrived and I started working on it I realized this would be more appropriate for a little girl.  So I put it away and kind of forgot about it.

Then when I was cleaning up my upstairs craft room to move to my new one in the basement, I found it and decided it would be perfect to finish for my daughter.

I got it framed at this place.  They are amazing!  It costs a little more to get things professionally framed but it is well worth it, especially when it comes to fabric.  And these guys do the best job of anyone I've found.

My daughter knew just where to put it.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Monster Cake for a First Birthday

I found an idea similar to this one on Pinterest and I thought it would be perfect for my one-year-old's first birthday party.

Again, being short on time, I made the cake layers the week before the party.  I made 9-, 8- and 6-inch rounds out of boxed funfetti cake mixes (it took 2 to make these 3 layers.)  Once they had cooled I wrapped each layer in a sheet of waxed paper and then a sheet of aluminum foil.  This time I took the layers out the morning that I frosted the cake (I figured they might be easier to handle if they were still partially frozen.)  I used a can of vanilla frosting to do the crumb coating.  This is the beginning of the monster cake:

The frosting I used for decorating is a Meringue Buttercream recipe from Martha Stewart.  It's yummy, but it is much more time consuming than regular ol' powdered sugar based frosting.  I chose this recipe because it stated in the recipe that it was good for decorating--which it completely was!  I frosted the day before the party and the frosting held it's shape perfectly.

I used Americolor gel paste to color the frosting again (they really are the best!!!)  The bottom layer was made using a large star tip (I forget which size.)

The middle layer I used a grass tip.  It totally blew my daughters mind away when she saw that the frosting really was starting to look like monster fur!

The top layer was made using a smaller star tip.  I loved how the colors turned out!

After I was done dipping my monster eyeball cakepops, I used the leftover white chocolate and milk chocolate pieces to make extra eyeball candies.  (Also my daughter is in a major playing-dressup-phase which includes all of her old dance costumes.  Adorable.)

I used 6 of the large eyeball candies for the cake.  Here is the final product again!  With advance planning, this cake really wasn't hard at all to make!!

The man of the hour.  He got to demolish the top layer while the rest of us enjoyed slices of the bottom layer.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Monster Eyeball Cakepops!

I decided on a monster theme for my one-year old's birthday party (which was last week.)  For the next several weeks I will be posting about some of the things I did for the party.

I've always, always wanted to try making cakepops but for some reason they have always intimidated me.  I've heard several people say how easy they are but I've also read several accounts of how time-consuming they are and that they ended up with disastrous results in the end. 

I did a lot of research and ended up finding this web tutorial.  It worked perfectly!  I'm linking up here so that, not only can I give credit to my source, but that I can easily find it again to make more in the future!

I found all of my monstrous ideas on pinterest, including one for these cakepop eyeballs.  I thought they were so adorable!

I was a little short on time the week leading up to the party so I made the cakeballs and attached the sticks a few weeks before the party.

I found a lot of tips on freezing and thawing cakepops but ultimately I decided to take them out of the freezer the night before I would decorate them and then let them sit at air temp while I prepped the dipping chocolate.  I had no problems whatsoever so, according to my limited knowledge, my technique worked just fine.

After I dipped them in white chocolate, they took a long time to dry so it was several hours before I was able to put the blue 'eyelids' on.  I melted down chocolate candy melts a few weeks prior to make they eye centers and stuck them on while the white chocolate was still wet.  I felt like they needed something a little extra so I made washi tape banners for the sticks (I also needed an excuse to go buy more washi tape.)

Here's the final product!

If I were to do anything differently, I would have opted for white candy melts instead of white chocolate.  Like I said, the white chocolate took forever to dry whereas I feel like the candy melts dry a lot quicker.  I also would have bought 2 styrafoam blocks to use as cakepop stands.