Friday, September 17, 2010

Sweet 16 Party Plans

My cousin will be 16 this month and had turned to me for some party theme ideas.  First thing I did was ask her what she liked, what colors, what stuff she enjoyed.  After getting some feedback, I went online and started doing some searching.  I came across a few ideas but the one my cousin seemed to really like was the following.  Oh, I should also mention that it ended up being the same theme design as her bedroom --without my knowing!  (I haven't been to their place yet, so no idea!)

I also went ahead and designed her invitation:

She is totally going with this theme and I can't wait to see how it turns out!!!   I love party planning, don't you? :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cakeballs With a Twist

Cakeballs are all the rage.  Traditionally you bake a cake, crumble it up, add a frosting to it, roll into balls and refrigerate (or freeze if you're as impatient as I) and voila!  YUMMY!

Before I even knew what a cakeball was, I had a recipe that was passed down to me from my mother who got it from her mother...  it was a recipe to simply not waste leftover cakes and cookies. 

My mother would gather leftover cakes from after the holiday hoopla and would mash it all up, she'd also add teabiscuits or cookies she had lying around and crumble them, too, and add it to the mishmash in her big bowl.  She'd stir it all up and then go prepare the chocolate.  She'd get some baking chocolate, some butter, sugar, coffee, add a little chocolate liquor, or irish creme` liquor or somesuch to the mix and stir it in a double boiler until it was all melted.  Then she'd pour the hot mixture over the crumbly mishmash in her big bowl, mix it all up and add a wee bit of water if there was any need.  She'd roll some into balls and sometimes make long logs.  She'd top it off with coconut shaving and refrigerate.  Delish!!

It has a  vastly different taste than the traditional cakeballs we see everywhere.  I used to make it for the holidays but didn't know what to call it lol  my mother had no name it for it, either.  It was simply a recipe that was used to not waste food!  How ingenious, huh? 

I'll give you the recipe but honestly, I eyeball it and add a wee bit more of this or that...  here's a rough idea of what is added:
  • About 1/2 a bar of baking chocolate (I break off about 4 pieces usually)
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 3/4 cup of instant coffee
Stir the chocolate, sugar and butter on a double boiler.  Stir stir stir till it's all melted... add the coffee, and you can add some liquor if you wish.  I've even added a capful of butter rum.  When rolling it into balls and you notice it's still a bit dry, you can add more coffee or water to it. 

And there ya go!  Easy peasy!  I've called it rum balls, irish creme` balls lol   Honestly never thought to call it cakeballs, but I guess technically that is what they are -cakeballs with a twist!

If you repost this recipe please give credit where credit is due and link to my blog, please.  Thank ye kindly! :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Birds of a feather..

I love birds.

I love vintage birds.

Soo combine the two and I give you:

I needed a piece for my living room redo that I could use as inspiration.  Granted, I'm a long way from actually redoing my living room, but this will be a treasured piece that will help with it when I am ready.

I had lots of fun doing this and it was easy peasy to do!  I used an 8x8 piece of wood that I had lying around from a previous project.  I then asked my daughter if I could rip out two pages from her coloring book that she didn't like.  She kindly obliged.  I glued the coloring pages, overlapping them and tucking them in the back neatly.  I then used my good friend, Gesso, to prime the piece for my acrylic paints. 

I used so many colors..  a tannish color as the base, let it dry, then a white, let it dry, then sanded it lightly, then a mix of blues and greens, sanded it again..  used some Crackle to give it a worn aged look, then sanded again..  and then just to throw in a bit of fun, I painted on some Sparkle Glaze (by Delta Ceramcoat) to give it a soft iridescent look.  And voila!  That's how I got the piece to look perfect for me!

Now I needed my finishing touch, the vintage bird.  I found so many AMAZING vintage pieces here.  LOVE that site!   I printed my lovely bird and adhered it to the center of my piece and voila!  I give you my work of art.  :)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Honey bars

Absolutely DELISH!  Found this recipe online some time ago and I love making it in the Autumn.  Something about Autumn and gooey honey bars, or honey cake...  YUM!

Here's the recipe:

Honey bars:
3/4 c. oil 2 c. flour
1/4 c. honey 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 c. sugar 1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg 1 tsp. cinnamon

1 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
A few drops of milk

Mix the oil, honey, sugar and eggs together. Set aside, and mix the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon separately. Add dry ingredients to the first mixture. Mix well (it will be thick). Spread into a greased pan (I use a half-cookie sheet), and bake at 325 degrees for 15-18 minutes. Mix icing ingredients together; the consistency shouldn't be too thick, but not too runny either. I add the milk 1/4 tsp. at a time while stirring until I get it right. Ice while warm. Cut into squares after it has cooled.

Easy peasy and absolutely delish! 

Found the post with the original recipe!  Credit for recipe here.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Pettiskirts (and a slight mention of Halloween)

Halloween is around the corner.  And although it isn't one of my favorite holidays and I do not decorate for this ghoulish time of year, my daughter really enjoys it and so we do participate in the whole costume and trick or treating bit.

This year my daughter has decided she wants to be a princess fairy kitty cat.  Uhmmm not having very much luck finding such a costume.  Sooo we've decided to make one with what we've got!  She's got a gorgeous pettiskirt that I got for uber cheap (more on this in a bit) and I figured I could probably make this work somehow.  I am thinking marabou would work well for a tail and I can figure out the rest.  So, wish me luck on this endeavor!!  I've never actually made a Halloween costume.  We usually take the easy route and just buy whatever.

Now, in regards to this pettiskirt.  I just have to get on my soapbox for a moment and say the following:  DO YOUR RESEARCH, BE A SMART BUYER!  I cannot stress this enough.  Here's my story:

A few months back I was checking out Etsy to buy pettiskirts for my girls.  I thought it'd make such a cute photoshoot!  I was in utter shock at the prices...  anywhere from 50 to 60 bucks PER pettiskirt.  Yowsa!  There was absolutely no way I would shell out THAT much for three pettis. 

I finally did come across an Etsy buyer who said she'd make a 'good' deal for me and I ended up purchasing her handmade pettis for about 65.  I figured three for what seemed to be the going rate for one, that's gotta be a GREAT deal, right?   W R O N G !

Took about a week for her to "sew" my pettis and then I get a box in the mail from a totally different state than where the seller resided in.   Apparently she had drop-shipped the item and it came directly from a wholesaler.  The company had blackened out their info but it could still be made out.  And the pettiskirts had a label saying "Made in China."

Boy was I furious!  She claimed to be sewing my pettis and you cannot sell non-handmade items (unless it's supplies) on Etsy.  I had been had.  Sigh.

So I confront this seller... she denies, denies, denies...  she says she had a lot of work orders and had given my order to her 'seamstress' to complete.  She said she would investigate the issue.  She never investigated, she never did nothing.  I did get a full refund for my purchase and she got banned from Etsy.  And yes, I did send back the pettis.  I didn't want any part of her business or anything.  She promised to get back to me with what she found out, but I never heard from her again.  Go figger.  She never came out and admitted what she had done, but it was obvious and I had tons of proof against her.

BUT, on the bright side of all this?  I had found an AMAZING wholesaler that sells to peeps like you and me and for VERY good prices!

The reason I had decided to mention what had happened to me is because recently I hopped on over to a blog I visit daily and I saw a sponsor on there carrying the EXACT SAME petti that I spent 20some bucks on (60some for three) and this seller is selling it for about the same (give or take a few dollars).  And this exact same petti can be purchased at the wholesaler I came across for SO much cheaper (nine bucks, last I checked!). 

Now let me just say, I have ZERO issue with resellers.  If you can make money as a reseller, good for you!!!  If you are being upfront and honest with your customers that you aren't the one actually sewing the pettis and are stating that you are indeed a reseller, totally OKAY!  What I am saying is, as a buyer, we must do our research and see if we are getting our items at a good deal.  Because trust me, if you do the leg-work and look around, you can and will find most of these items for far cheaper when purchased directly from the wholesaler.

So here is where I share with you this AMAZING wholesaler.  They get tons of large shipments directly from China, so yes, you do have to accept that itty bitty bit.  BUT, they do have all certificates available stating that they follow CPSIA testing, etc.  so at least you are assured that the item is OK.  All certificates are available right on their site so you can check every single one out and be assured of this.  Oh, and they have more than just pettiskirts and tutus and sets.  They have flower clips, and headbands and so many more awesome and cool items!  And you don't have to have a minimum order or buy in bulk, which is VERY nice.  These items are neat ideas for birthday parties and such!  I got a bunch of cute clips for my daughters for mere dollars!   Soooo if you want to check them out, click here.  :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Strawberry Cake

My daughter was getting tired of the same'ol same, I guess, so she asked that I make her a stawberry cake for her birthday.  Suuure honey, I said!   And off I went searching high and low for a cake like that.

I came across one I really liked and it has over 200 positive reviews.  Must be good then, right?  Right.  So here is the recipe, however, some changes were made so here is the recipe I followed:


• 2 cups white sugar
• 1 (3 ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin
• 1 cup butter, softened
• 4 eggs (room temperature)
• 2 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
• 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup strawberry jelly (we used smuckers brand)


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and dry strawberry gelatin until light and fluffy. SEPARATE the whites and yolks… add only the yolks, mix well.

3. Whipped the whites into soft peaks and folded them in at the end.

4. Combine the flour and baking powder; stir into the batter alternately with the milk. Blend in vanilla and strawberry jelly. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.

5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a small knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool in their pans over a wire rack for at least 10 minutes, before tapping out to cool completely.

I love how you can put chocolate frosting, or serve with vanilla ice cream.  So versatile!  And it really truly tasted very strawberry-tastic!

Original recipe can be found here. Photo taken from where the original recipe is found.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Autumn is in the air

Yep, I'd have to say so!

Finally feeling cool here... what a lovely breath of --ACHOOO!  Fresh air and allergies.  Snifflesniffle.

Allergies aside, managed to get some of our Autumn decor` out!!

My wonderful hubby made a very late night run to WalMart last year at the end of the season.  We ran out of formula and needed more diapers...  he came back home with BAGS of Autumn decor for me!  But WAIT!  Guess how much he paid for it all??  Everything was a dollar or less!  The lady saw him going to check out and told him that everything in the front bin is being reduced to a buck or less and he could have first dibs before they made the announcement to all.  This was like 11pm at night and no one was there, so he managed to score some pretty neat stuff for me! 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010