Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Throwing an (Eclectic) Virtual Baby Shower...

My sister-in-law and her hubby are expecting a baby soon but had to move far away from many friends and a good chunk of family recently. Thus, as we could not be there to throw a real shower for them - I decided to throw a virtual one instead!

There are many ways to do this, but for the sake of time I will just focus in on what I did in hopes that it will inspire and encourage others out there who might find themselves in the same boat! I will be posting the details in a week or so - check back often! :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

SNACK: Munch Your Lunch!

This was actually more of a snack than a lunch, but the words "MUNCH YOUR LUNCH" just seemed to fit.  :) 
Snack Details:

*Alligator:  Cucumber with skin on (yes, we eat our cucumbers that way sometimes!  Just wash well!) and a chocolate chip eye.  Blueberries for water.

*Sun:  American cheese.

*Muffin Cup Flowers:  Carrots.  Stems are made from cucumbers.  Leaves are snow peas.

*Muffin Cup Sky/Cloud #1:  Mayo for dipping.

*Muffin Cup Sky/Cloud #2:  String cheese circles.

*Words:  Melted chocolate.

NOTE:  The link below will take you to a site where you can purchase red, blue, or other colored muffin cups.  I would have posted a direct link to blue ones as well but could not find a direct link showing the blue color.

For more neat snack ideas, visit Jill Dubien's blog and the muffin tin mom blog!

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abc buttonTip Junkie handmade projects

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Snapshot Cookie Favors

So, this is one of those instances when you should do as I say and not as I do. The photo you see above was a picture of the survivors of a venture:  my snapshot cookie idea venture, that is. 

What is a "snapshot cookie" you may ask? Well, the IDEA of it was to make a design (or more than one design - I made two different ones) from color flow icing to look like a snapshot photo of the happy couple (stick figure-like) on a sugar cookie. I believe my designs were 3 x 5 or 4 x 6 (photo size). You then wrap them up and place a little sign nearby that says something to the effect of "Please take a snapshot cookie of the happy couple by which to remember this joyous occasion (at least until you eat it)."

I made these for a wedding shower, but I think the concept could easily work for birthdays, baby showers, etc. Using stick figures makes it cute, simple and a little different than the norm. You can even make them extra special by including something unique about the people or person you are honoring (example: stick figure cycling or camping for outdoor lovers, couple with baby in their arms or pregnant stick figure for baby shower with baby's first initial on the tummy, etc.).

So what went wrong with my first attempt? Well, never having used color flow icing before was a start. Making the pattern too big for a first try didn't help either. But it was such a fun idea, and had I known a bit more about color flow consistency (or what it was supposed to look like) and drying times, it might have all turned out "swell".

For those of you out there who ARE experienced with color flow icing and sugar cookie making, this should be a pretty easy and cute party favor.  For those who have not worked with color flow icing before, I HIGHLY recommend experimenting once or twice with it before giving these a shot. AND wait several hours in between switching colors so the colors don't bleed together (as they did a bit on my cookies - sigh).

Simple directions:
(Tip:  make extras because if it is your first time trying to remove the design from wax paper, you might not be used to the technique and find many of your designs breaking until you get the hang of it.)

1.  Draw your design on paper.

2.  Tape wax paper over your design.

3.  Pipe first color icing outline onto wax paper, following the design taped underneath.  Let outline dry for a few hours.

4.  If you are switching colors to fill in the outline - MAKE SURE YOUR OUTLINE IS DRY, otherwise your colors might bleed.

5.  Fill in outlines, working quickly because color flow seems to set rapidly.

6.  Let completed design dry for at least a couple of days (in my opinion). 

7.  CAREFULLY remove your design from the paper.  I believe I placed mine on the edge of the table and carefully held it as I peeled the paper back at the same time as I was sliding it gently off the table and onto a very large metal plate/spatula.  Use royal icing to "glue" your design to your sugar cookie. 

8.  Breathe a sigh of relief and smile.  :)

Remember, if your attempts fail and you find all your designs cracking or bleeding - just turn your "lemons into lemonade" as I did.  I eventually cut the broken ones into pieces and packaged them up individually as cookie puzzle favors for the kids.  They enjoyed putting the cookies back together and eating them at the shower!  :)  Once again, remember, "lemons into lemonade"....  :)

Linking up to:
Somewhat Simple

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Decorate Your Own Wedding "Cake" (a.k.a. english muffin) Snack!

With all the wedding shower craziness still on my mind, I remembered how much my daughter had wanted to help with the shower cakes - so I decided to make her a little "cake" of her own which she could decorate for her snack.  The "cake" was three layers of english muffin and her decorating bag was filled with strawberry cream cheese.  I should have taken a picture of the final masterpiece because she really did do a lovely job!  :)

Snack Details:

Wedding Cake:  english muffins (top two circles I made using circle cookie cutters).

Muffin Cup #1 (top):  cucumber flowers

Muffin Cup #2 (3 o'clock):  raspberry jam/preserves

Muffin Cup #3 (bottom):  kiwi flowers

Muffin Cup #4 (9 o'clock):  apple flowers

Garnishes:  blueberries and strawberry cream cheese swirls/flowers

Not Shown but part of snack:

Muffin Cup #5:  string cheese bows

Disposable decorating bag with tip cut off and filled with strawberry cream cheese.  (Could also do something similar with jam or peanut butter.)

For more amazing snack ideas - check out the muffin tin mom website or Jill Dubien's blog!  :)

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

From Wedding Shower Invitation to Girl's Room Decoration - Part 2

Yesterday I showed you how I had made a reminder/invitation card holder from a frame and some crepe paper roses.  Well, I thought it turned out so lovely that I hated to just throw it all out after the wedding shower.  So instead, I turned it into a framed monogram for my daughter's room since it matched the decor and colors.  To make this from scratch:

Materials needed:  frame, paper, crepe paper, hot glue, scissors


1.  Re-finish a frame in the color of your choice (optional step).

2.  Remove the glass from the frame.

3.  Measure and cut a piece of paper the size of the inside of your frame.

4.  Make a bunch of crepe paper roses (easy tutorial here: and glue to the paper.

5.  Insert paper into the frame making sure it fits (trim paper and roses as necessary) and put the frame backing into place behind the paper (this should hold it in the frame).

6.  Choose the size of letter, font, and paper you wish to print your monogram on OR stencil a letter onto decorative/colored paper.  (This might be a good time to have your child help with choosing what she would like, and she could even help with the stenciling or cutting part).

7.  If printing:  when you are ready to print, place your paper in the printer so your letter will print on the BACK of the paper and under your print options, make sure you tell it to flip the image.  This will make it so when you cut out your letter - it shows up the right way on the decorative side of the paper.  (If this sounds a bit confusing - you might want to experiment on a scrap piece of paper first).

8.  Cut out stencil or printed letter and glue to the roses in the frame. 

9.  Let the glue dry.  Then hang up your wall art and admire! 
(Side note:  This would be cute to hang on the door of a little girl's room as well.)

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

From Wedding Shower Invitation to Girl's Room Decoration - Part 1

In addition to making wedding shower cakes, I also made the general invitation for the wedding shower our church hosted.  Because we were inviting the entire congregation, I made one large invitation for posting in the Fellowship Room of the church.  I then made many small square reminders (time, place, etc.) for people to take home with them.  AND to display these small squares, I made a crepe paper rose invitation holder.

Basically, I removed the glass from a frame.  Cut some paper to fit the size of the frame.  Made some crepe roses (see the wonderful tutorial here: and adhered them to the paper.  I then put the frame backing and the paper with roses back into the frame.  Voila - a very easy, very inexpensive, but very classy invitation holder. 

In the picture you see a couple of the reminder cards on top of the roses but you can also stand the cards up in between the roses (as I did at the church).  Who knows why I didn't take a picture of that.  Shame on me.  :(

Anyways - I think the method of standing cards up between the roses could also be done with placecards, favor tags, etc.  I also think this would make a beautiful entrance piece in place of a wreath for a party or for a shower (think monogram on top of the roses and entire frame hung on a door).

Tomorrow I hope to post how I changed the invitation holder into a simple decor idea for a little girl's bedroom. 
Stay tuned...

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Wedding Shower Cakes

Well, I did not get around to making any "special" snack this past week because I was helping out with a church wedding shower for a wonderful couple!  So I was too busy making this...

 AND this...
(There were actually three cakes but the third was just another rose cake so I did not include it in the pictures.)
The rose cakes are SOOOOOOOOooo easy to make and just require one type of decorating tip - yep, you read that right - just one tip:  1M.  I have been wanting to try it ever since I saw the pictures and read the tutorial here: . 

This gal is just such an amazing, creative, fun blogger - and did I mention inspiring?  She just makes the most wonderful things that look so complex but CAN be made by those of us who don't have a cake decorating class under our belts yet.  So head over there sometime this week and take a peek - I think you will be pleased you did!!  :)

As for the other cake, I decorated that with some additional tips I had.  My dear hubby bought me a huge cake decorating kit for my birthday (I have added a few tips since then), and it was way more than what I expected and came with a lot of tools that I have been learning to use and love!  I posted a link to the one caddy kit I believe is the same as the one he bought for me in a local craft store (check your local craft store and if they offer 40% off a regular price item coupon, use that for a substantial discount!).  I also posted a link to a smaller decorating kit and to a tool that makes a huge difference if you are interested in getting that really even surface for cakes - a cake leveler!  :)  The larger caddy includes a leveler I believe, but you would have to double check on that!  :)  Happy cake decorating!!  :)

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cranberry Marvel: three ingredients = wow factor!!! :)

Okay, so it is a little late for the Fourth of July, but this was so good, I figured it shouldn't have to wait til next year.  Let's call it a culinary marvel.  In fact, I practically named it just that, "Cranberry Marvel"- marvel because it is amazing what you can do at the last minute with what you have lying around in the cupboards, freezer, or fridge.  :) 

So as the story goes, it was Fourth of July, and while I was busily making wedding shower cakes (more on that later on possibly), I was thinking - hmm, I should come up with some sort of red, white, and blue dessert for today (nothing like the last minute, right?).

Vanilla ice cream and blueberries were readily available in our kitchen, but I needed something red.  Uh oh - out of strawberries!  But then I remembered we still had some frozen cranberries in the deep freezer.  Sooo - I took those out and threw them together with brown sugar and a little brandy and cooked them.  Voila!  Cranberry Marvel!  A delicious blend of tart and sweet - especially yummy served warm over vanilla ice cream! But I bet it would taste awesome over a dense white chocolate cake as well. :)  In fact, why not throw caution to the wind and try it both ways - or just eat it straight out of the pan (yep, I think it is that good)!

Here is the rough version of what I did and used (a.k.a. recipe):

1 1/2 to 2/4 cup of frozen cranberries
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 Tablespoon of brandy

1.  Combine cranberries and sugar in small saucepan over medium low heat and let cook uncovered for about 10-12 minutes (you should probably hear the cranberries popping by then).  Make sure you stir it occasionally during that time.

2.  Add the brandy and stir to combine.  Cook mixture for another few minutes (maybe 4 or 5?). 

3.  Take mixture off heat (don't forget to turn off the burner) and let sit until you are ready to use it. 

4.  Pour over ice cream (top with fresh blueberries if you like) and ENJOY!!!  :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Stars and Stripes Snack - Happy Fourth of July!


Stars and Stripes Snack Details:

**Star in the middle is a star cookie cutter with blueberries inside and star strawberry on top (you should be able to find star cookie cutters in different sizes at your local craft/kitchen store or find some online - see links below for an idea of what is out there).
** Muffin cup #1 (12 o'clock) - cottage cheese
**Muffin cups #2 and 4 (3 o'clock and 9 o'clock) - strawberry pieces
**Muffin cup #3 (6 o'clock) - slices of string cheese (the stripes of the snack)
**Garnishes:  star strawberries and string cheese circles with blue stars drawn on top with a food marker.

For more fun snack/lunch ideas check out these creative mommas!

By the way:  I could not find a direct link to the blue muffin cups that I have, but the link for the red below should take you to a place where you can switch colors if you wanted the blue.  :)

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