Category Archives: Crafts and other messes I make

Birthdays, Cake pops, and how to make a square cake look round without even trying

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Tomorrow we are celebrating both my husband’s and my dad’s birthdays (they are just one day apart).  My husband is a cake lover extraodinaire.   Kiki and I share this love, although certainly not to the same extent!

My extended family doesn’t like cake.  Freaks.  So… they can eat flowers out of the garden – just leaves more cake for us, eh? I think my sis is bringing a pie or something… whatev.

So I made German Chocolate Cake, which is the cake lover’s #1 Cake of choice.  My mom had this recipe for “Upside Down German Chocolate Cake”, and it sounded easy as well as yummy.  Okay, it sounded wierd, because all I could think of was that upside down pineapple cake thingie which I think is hideous but this is nothing like that….  I thought Alan wouldn’t go for it since he’s all about the gooey coconut/pecan frosting, but he said it sounded good so Yay!  Because it was pretty easy, and none of that whole cooking the frosting bit, and the cake layers sliding off… yeah, except I am kinda brain-dead today, so when it was time to turn the cake upside down I forgot to  loosen the edges, so the entire outer edge of the cake stayed behind in the pan.  Juh-eeeeze, right?

Yeah.  So, I “fixed” it.  Uh-huh.  That’s what I did.  I stuck all those outside edges on it and glued it together with some icing glaze.  My husband, ever so gracious (okay, usually not, but I guess since I was making him cake he was feeling nicer than usual) and he said it looked amazing – like an old-fashioned donut, lol!  Also, he got to eat some of the scraps and he said it tastes fantastic, so there.  The weirdest thing is that the cake was baked in a 9in. square, and now it’s round.  Go figure.

Then there’s the cake pops.  He’s been jonesing for some of these ever since my sister made them for my nephew’s graduation party… so I made him some of these as well.  I only used half the frosting it called for because the ones I’ve tasted before are almost too sweet and too gooey.  They came out really good… at least he says so!  I made them with Red Velvet cake, ’cause that’s his next favorite.

I just used a cake mix, because really, you’re gonna mush it up so what the heck, right?  So you crumble it all into a bowl…

…stir in some icing….

melt some of those candy coating things…

And there ya go!  Yummy!!

I hope tomorrow will be a good birthday!

Arts and crafts ~ handpainted Narnia purse, Reepicheep the mouse

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This is a canvas bag I handpainted for my daughter, the Narnia fan.  The cute little guy (although he’d be quite offended if he knew I was calling him that!) is Reepicheep, leader of the Talking Mice of Narnia.  Noble, brave, and maybe a little full of himself!  I painted this with fabric paints, then added some glitter, as my girl and I are all about the sparkle, lol.  On the back of the purse I wrote with permanent marker a quote from C.S. Lewis’s book The Last Battle, which is the final book from the ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ series.  Reepicheep is calling the others to come into “Aslan’s Country”, which is Heaven.  Reepicheep entered Aslan’s Country without experiencing death at the end of Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Monday Munchies ~ In honor of Valentines Day, even if I think it’s a dumb holiday

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I think Valentines Day is dumb.  Mostly because it’s a slap-in-the-face holiday to anyone who is… well, not in a relationship, or in a bad relationship, or in any other way shortchanged in the gooey love department.  Seriously, I think the merchandisers came up with this one simply to make money.   I didn’t mind it as a kid – being the crafty sort, I enjoyed taking construction paper and doilies and making pretty hearts out of them… but since that point, I haven’t enjoyed it much.  Even as a married woman, well, some of my most painful memories are V-Day related.. so I would just as soon skip this dumb day.  Yet, it keeps on coming, in all it’s flowery, chocolatey glory. 

I have tried to at least do a little ‘cutesy’ decorating for the sake of my daughter, because, as I mentioned, I don’t mind the kid-part of the holiday.  Funny, though… she just turned 13, and she is a very introspective kind of child – she says to me the other day “you know, mama, I think Valentines Day is kind of mean… because if you don’t have someone who loves you, it’s just a day to remind you that you don’t.”  Yeah.  That about sums it up. 

I made her day, though, because my gift to her today was a huge poster of the actor she has a crush on (and no, it’s not a Bieber or a vampire of any kind!)

All that being said, I still wanted to honor the day in some way so my family would know I love them, so I made pink, heart-shaped pancakes.  It would have been waaay easier if I could have made normal, real pancakes…. instead I had to use coconut oil, coconut flour and xylitol… and they bake up kind of strange… but they were enjoyed and apprecitated by my husband and my daughter. 

The dogs, however, were miffed at me.  Pancake lovers that they are, they could not believe I threw the 2 extras away rather than let them eat ’em…. but I’ve heard xylitol is poisonous to dogs, so I couldn’t risk it.  Try explaining that to the sad brown-eyes looking up at you! 

Pink pancake batter:

I swear I’ve had better luck at shaped pancakes before –

Oh!  The perfect heart!

Kiki sliced some strawberries –

I stacked mine up with butter, berries and xylitol –

Kiki added a touch of sour cream

more repurposed cigar boxes

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Okay, here are the other boxes I did for Christmas gifts.  I realized I didn’t get very good ‘after’ pictures… in fact, they weren’t even totally finished when I last photographed them!  More details were added after these pictures.  Shoot.  But it gives you an idea what I did, if only a vague idea!

Oh, and no laughing at the Chinese Dragon, thank you very much!  I know, I know…. his face looks more ‘terrier’ than ‘dragon’….. ah, well.  He has lots of metallic paint, so it looks better than in this photo – didn’t have it lighted correctly I guess.

Well, gotta go find some other mess to make…..

More Crafty Christmas gifts…. Cigar Box UpCycle (repurpose)

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I have this love affair with cigar boxes.  My grandpa smoked them (and pipes), my dad smokes them (and pipes), my husband smokes them.  (I’ve even smoked a few, but let’s keep that our little secret, okay?) Actually, I have a love affair with boxes in general.  I have this feeling that if only I had enough boxes – for, let’s say, everything – then my life would be organized.  No more of the clutter and chaos that seems to define my life.  I’ve never gotten to totally test this, as Alan isn’t buying this theory, so I’ve never, ever had enough boxes.  But, I still cling to the hope!

Again with the fact that we were next to broke this Christmas, I came up with the idea of painting cigar boxes for my daughter and each of my younger nieces and my nephew.  Since everyone needs a box.  Today I posted pics just of the one I made my daughter.  I painted and repainted and repainted (I can’t paint a straight line to save my soul) so finally I just had to yell “STOP” and call it good.  One really cool thing is that I had this great necklace to give her that was a silver key – that nearly perfectly matched the funny little decorative key I put out with the box!  I added a whole lot of bling to it, you know, lovin’ the shiny and all… and it came out pretty.  And she likes it.  So that’s good enough.

Narnia picture blocks… a Christmas gift

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(I haven’t really figured out how to do the pics on here the way I want them… to see them better, you can clik on the first one then run thru them all…. thanks!  I’ll figure it out eventually…)

I decided I would quit griping about people and post a couple pictures of some gifts I made this Christmas.  My daughter is a HUGE Chronicles of Narnia fan, current movie included.  (We’ve seen it twice; once was a party of 6 girls we took to the midnight premier!)  Most of her Christmas gift wishes were “Voyage of the Dawn Treader” merchandise…. which, aparently, doesn’t exist in any large numbers!  We found a few things, but only a few.  Not to mention we have no jobs and no money, so this caused me to be a little more creative in my gift giving.

My daughter doesn’t really have a room of her own right now.  She has her own bed and wardrobe in a room full of other furniture that belongs to my parents.  I don’t expect them to put their furniture into storage so Kiki can have her own space, and yet I feel bad that she can’t really arrange or decorate a space of her own.  We’ve gone with posters (easy to put up, easy to take down)  and she has 6 Narnia posters up.  I thought it might be cool to make her some Narnia inspired artwork that she could set on top of her wardrobe or in the windowsill, but still use later when she finally gets her own room again.

Opa cut out the blocks from a 4×4, my husband stained them, then I decopauged pictures on them from a color-illustrated paperback copy of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.  (That was the hard part; cutting up a book.  I adore books and I found this hard to do.)   After I did that, Alan decided I should also put some words on them… so I put words and more pics on the backside of each block.  The front sides I carefully tore the paper; the backsides are just cut  (because my hubby cut out the pages and didn’t leave me enough room… non-crafter!)  Last of all I varnished them with a glitter-varnish… ’cause I loves the sparkle!!