Friday, September 14, 2018

CAKE-N-BAKE - THEY'RE FUN TO MAKE

Everyone who knows me, knows I love to make fun characters and the easiest way to do that is to bake...

I've made so many different types of cakes, cookies and cupcakes
I even love to make "Finger" food
But my latest cake was so much fun to make

My son loves to play the guitar...so you guessed it, for his birthday I had to make a guitar or like a friend told me, "It's a bass" but I never claimed to be musical. I just love to bake.

It really was simple. All I did was cut out the shape of a guitar on a piece of paper and lay it on top of a sheet cake. I cut it out and then laid the fondant over the shape. I was in a hurry because I had a bunch of people coming for dinner so I didn't have much time to throw the cake together. Plus, I suddenly had to frost a cake for my daughter too. (My 34 year old son and my 30 year old daughter share a birthday). I thought we had someone else bringing my daughter's cake but they had a "cake disaster" in the car. Luckily, I had a couple extra layers of cake in the fridge and simply had to frost them.

And look at that candle on top...it was sparktacular!

Look at the differences in the flames from the candles on Jake's cake and Kara's cake.

But no matter the flame on the food, it looks like someone liked the flavor

Because that food was finished in no time.

(Are there any other bakers out there in blogland? I'd  love to hear what you're making, baking or creating.)








Thursday, September 6, 2018

HALLOWEEN CANDY CORN CUSHIONS - a DIY Project

HAPPY FALL Y'ALL!

AND FALL MEANS DECORATING FOR THE SEASONS


It's no secret, I love to decorate for every season, holiday and/or event and I wanted to share my latest homemade "make" with you. My latest sewing adventure was to make some new cushion covers for our benches out in the front yard. I had a vision in my head of candy corn and "sew" I went to work to create my vision. And this is what I came up with: an assortment of Halloween Candy Corn Cushion covers and pillows. 
But on top of  loving to decorate, I also love to save money. So I went to Joann Fabric and Craft Store during the Labor Day Sale and bought some orange and white striped fabric and some yellow fabric. I simply had to piece the fabrics together to make my little candy corn pillow. I sewed the fabric with the right sides together (which just means the sides you want showing have to be laid face-to-face).

Then to make this square into a pillow, I cut it into a triangle and sewed it up the sides. I stuffed the triangle with fluffy batting material and then hand-stitched the edge of one corner.


After I had the pillow put together, I went to work on the cushion covers. I needed to fit the material right to the foam cushions because I didn't have a pattern. It was easy to do. All I did was simply drape the fabric over the cushion to get the proper measurements for cutting the fabric. I left an extra inch around the edges (as my seam allowance). You really only need a quarter inch for a seam allowance, but I always prefer to have a little extra (just in case). I used my pressure foot on my sewing machine as the guide to keep the lines straight as I sewed. And it was really easy.



I also wanted to be able to use the cushion covers for more than one month so on the backside I used a solid orange color, which I think is more versatile. That way, I can simply switch out the pillows and use this solid orange colored side all the way through the Thanksgiving holiday. All I have to do is have an assortment of pillowcases for every season and/or holiday...So, I'd better get back to my sewing!


Anyway, my decorating has only just begun ;D But I wanted to wish you all a Happy Fall!

And if you are making any homemade decorations for the upcoming holidays, please let me know about them so I can visit your blog and/or website. I love to get inspiration from other crafty people.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

My first annual L.A. SCBWI conference

If you've ever gone to an SCBWI event, then you already know how jam-packed with keynotes, various speakers,  workshops, classes, parties and more these conferences can offer. BUT the annual summer conference is the no-holds barred, throw-down event of the year. And I'm going to show you... with just a few pictures that a NON-photographer person (me), sitting in the audience took.

The days began with keynote speakers like Libba Bray (can I just say WOW! - because she was funny, poignant and just plain filled with heartfelt moments (okay I'm girl crushing for a moment))
And then after the keynote, we would head off to our workshops, which had such great speakers as the Mavin of Social Media: Debbie Ohi. who taught us tricks, hints and tips of how to get out into the world...without ever leaving our seat. Really.  

And, if awe-mazing keynotes and wonderful workshops weren't enough to whet your appetite, we also had some tempting treats..
And, yes, I do mean REAL treats that were served during our lunch with . . .

Lois Lowry

LOIS LOWRY. . . Yes, can you believe it? Lois - because after this session - I felt that we could have been on a first-name basis ;D and she entertained us while we ate...SERIOUSLY.

She told us all about her inspirations, process and just some of the things about her life.

And if that wasn't enough to make your jaw drop and your head hit the table... they threw parties you wouldn't believe. There was a street party with prizes for the best book costumes. Just look:

And we literally danced in the street

And to top it off, I made some wonderful friends that I'm sure I'll be connecting with again in the future:
All in all, it was a trip I'll never forget and if you get the chance and can make your way to L.A. one day, you should definitely do it.


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

DIY Fingernail design with Words

So I was going to an SCBWI Writing Conference in Oregon and wanted to do something fun and artsy with my fingernails 'cuz that's something I can do at home...usually with some help from my daughter-in-law ;D...so we decorated my nails--or maybe I should say Fatina decorated my nails ;D

Anyway, I didn't want to spend a fortune on a manicure so this was an EZ, inexpensive way to have some fun at my fingertips.

First you paint your fingernails white, then you cut out some newspaper clippings and soak them in alcohol. Place the newspaper clipping on your nails, rub them with a blunt object so that they transfer without ripping the paper and then pull the clipping away. Voile' you will have words on your fingernails.

(I did a youtube video of this process but it isn't working right now...sorry)



If you have any questions, let me know. And if you try this out, please send me a picture and share it in the comments below. And Happy Writing!



Tuesday, April 3, 2018

PENGUIN POPS


If you want to make these fun Penguin Pops, just follow the EZ steps below. 

Of course you need penguin pop molds, which you can get at candy making supply shops like Blake's Decorette Shop in Portland, Oregon

Then you need some white chocolate and some food coloring: Orange and black will do. You also need a food quality paintbrush...or two. All you do is paint the food coloring onto the mold.

Then spoon in your melted white chocolate.
Put your molds in the refrigerator to chill for a couple hours and voilÃ.

Penguin Pops


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Sunday, April 1, 2018

Cake Fail for Easter

Everything doesn't always turn out.  We all have failures in life and this can apply to writing, working or even baking. And sometimes I have absolute fails and I've had my share when it comes to making cakes. I like to think it's just because I tried to do too many things in a day. But that's just an excuse because after putting in the time to bake a cake and  attempting to decorate it...well,  let's just say it's not fun to have a fail. But it happens.

The last two cake fails I had were because I tried to add something to the recipe and obviously it didn't work out. The one above was because I cored out a portion of the inside to add a pudding filling for that fun-family surprise. But the hole damaged the "structural integrity" (yeah who even says that when they are talking about cake...I guess just cake nerds--like me) and the cake started to implode. Of course my son said,  "didn't you learn from the last time you did this?"

I guess not.

He is right. There was another cake fail where I added pumpkin to the batter...and not just a little but a LOT. That extra-added pumpkin damaged the structural integrity of my bear cake...(see below).

Not so pretty but he tasted just fine.

Still I had to remake him because he was for a birthday party.

But that's not the only cake fail I've had. There was also the sad turkey cake for Thanksgiving.
He sure didn't look happy for our festive family feast. So I had to take another do-over. This time with cupcakes because they sure cook a whole lot faster than an entire cake.

Luckily, those little guys turned out pretty cute, at least in my mind. 

But there are still more fails in my past. Like the time I saw something on the Food Channel and  thought, "hey I can do that". 

"Not!"

Sculpting a person out of rice krispies sounds EZ Smeazy but, take it from me, those people on the Food Channel are there for a reason. They have talent. Something I must be lacking because look at this sculpted figure of my brother-in-law Bo.

Yeah,  it doesn't look anything like him. At least I had the Bee and the Hive cake as backups and they turned out ... sort of. . . so we still had a party-with cake--for his birthday. 
Plus he was interested in the Beekeeping book, so that took his mind off the horrible fail...I hope.

I'm not saying all my cakes have been horrible fails. Some have actually turned  out. 




But it's always the fails that keep me striving to get better. Like this cake fail, where I tried to make my fondant out of marshmallows...yeah marshmallows - what was I  thinking?

Okay maybe it doesn't look so bad from  far  away but let's  get a  close up shot so you can really see.
Okay,  so maybe this one should be called a "fondant fail" because at least the cake  tasted good. And that cake in the background really did turn out...so 1 out of 2 isn't so bad...I'm hoping.

So, what is the point of this post? I just wanted all the homebakers out there to know that you aren't alone in your burnt, botched or under-baked disasters. We all have them...at  least I hope so. Otherwise, I'm the only one who has those disasterous moments in the kitchen. But just to prove that the motto "If at first you don't succeed,  try-try again," is a good one to keep in the back of your brain anytime you're testing new recipes at home, I wanted to show you that I took another do-over to make my little Easter penguin (yep, Easter penguin) cake and he actually turned out--at least  I like  to think so. (Okay the nose is a little large, but so is mine, nothing wrong with having a BIG nose... right?


And, if you want to see  how I  made him,  just keep on reading.

First I baked the cake in a pan shaped like a sphere

Then I cut off all the excess and used it to cut out little feet and wings ... and that BIG penguin nose. I used some frosting to glue the two halves together then I started frosting the ball.
And I kept frosting...
And frosting. . . until:


Plus it doesn't hurt (at least that's what I think) to throw those white chocolate penguin pops on the table,  to prove sometimes things turn out for me...even if the penguin cake does have a BIG nose.

(And, if you want to see how I made the penguin pops...come back later this week to see how EZ those little guys are... and, if you like to bake, or write,  or read you might want to think about subscribing to my blog so you will get notified when I have a new post ;D )

Thanks for taking the time to read about my Easter Fail. I hope it gave you a smile.