Saturday, April 7, 2012

Project 13: Happy Easter cake!

Looking for a festive dessert for an Easter gathering? This cake is simple, fun, and delicious! Just grab your favorite boxed cake mix or cake recipe, some whipped vanilla icing (I like Betty Crocker's), a Peeps Bunny, some jelly beans, and green food coloring, and you're set!

Step 1: Prepare the batter as directed. Divide between two 8" pans. I always use the springform pans (or cheesecake pans) because the cake releases a little more easily from the sides. Bake according to recipe instructions and cool.

Step 2: Level both round cakes. This will make the assembly easier.

Step 3: Add approximately 24 drops of green food coloring to make the "grass" color. You can try to make more to make it a darker shade. Mix.

Step 4: Apply a thick layer of icing over the bottom later of the cake (once the bottom layer has been placed on the plate of your choice!)

Step 5: Using a wide flipper, wax paper, or your hands, transfer the other round cake to the iced layer you already have. To ensure the top layer won't break, build up any extra space around the edges of the bottom layer with additional icing for support. Ice entire cake: top and sides.

Step 6: With some jelly beans (the Starburst Jelly Beans are good!), create a ring around the bottom of the cake. It can be continuous or it can be broken up, since not everyone will eat them. Add a few on top for an "egg hunt theme."

Step 7: The finishing touch. Take a toothpick, drinking straw, or bamboo skewer, and stab your Peep Bunny's bottom, up as far as you'd like, though I'd try to get up to his neck. Leave at least 2 inches sticking out the bottom, and insert that end into the center of the cake.
Ta da! Easter cake! Super quick and easy!
If you can find little accessories, like miniature baskets (from a dollhouse maybe?)
to put on there, even better!


Friday, April 6, 2012

Project #12: Spring Bouquet

In preparation of our upcoming craft show gig, I'm trying to make a variety of items that will hopefully draw a large crowd to our table! I figure a little tray full of earrings doesn't really scream for attention.

I decided to try my hand at floral arrangements, and am pretty pleased with the prototype!

This is a VERY simple project. I used a pair of scissors, some craft/tacky glue, a ceramic vase, ribbon, a small cube of styrofoam, and some floral stems and bunches.
Total cost was $7.50 (not including the glue, scissors, and ribbon, which I already had from other projects.)

Allow me to add this comment: someone recently said to me, "Don't take this the wrong way, but I really hate people like you. I am not crafty at all!" I really wish people wouldn't say things like that! There are so many simple projects out there that are fun and easy and look WONDERFUL. This is one of those projects, so if you are looking forward to diving into your first crafty endeavor, this would be a great one to start with!

3x3 cube of styrofoam (this size will change based on the shape and size of the vase you're using.)

Vase. I selected one that is about 8"x4" so that the flowers wouldn't overpower it. I was afraid anything smaller would have been a) overwhelmed by flowers and b) harder to work with.

Flowers! I love pink with aqua, and these were perfect for my taste! (Plus, daisies are kind of "my" flower.)

Filler flowers are important, too! I have coordinating smaller flowers and some baby stems of leaves.
The leaves were just for backup, in case the styrofoam showed. I ended up not having to use them, but I can always save them for the next time! (Spanish Moss would be great too!)

STEP 1: Style your flowers as you would like. I chose to spread mine out for more dimension and to alternate the colors a little bit more. After the bunch is styled, press it into your foam as far as possible without poking through the other side.

Step 2: Layer the bottom of your vace with tacky glue.
(Hot glue can melt the styrofoam, so I don't recommend using it or anyting like E6000. Tacky glue will work just fine!)
Insert the foam cube while glue is still wet. By inserting the cube now, you'll be able to see where to put the other, smaller stems.

Step 3: Separate smaller pieces from your filler bunch. You can use wire cutter to trim them at their individual bases. If you don't have wire cutters, like I don't, you can bed the stem back and forth until the wire breaks itself, then use your scissors to cut through the coating. Then you can fluff/style the smaller bushels as well.

Step 4: One by one, insert the smaller bushels into the foam core in the vase.
Be sure to fill in any holes or gaps, especially those where the styrofoam might be visible through the petals.
Since the stems are wire, they should go easily into the foam.

Ta-Da! Take a moment to pat yourself on the back and admire your project!
You can certainly end here, if your vase or flower pot is colorful, or if you like the single color.
However, that's not my style. I like LOUD and bright!

My vase needed something more.
Step 5: Feel free to use the tacky glue again to add a ribon trim at the top, the bottom, or anywhere in between.
Hot glue SHOULD also work here, but since it has a more extreme texture, I prefer to use the tacky glue.
 It's completely your choice!

Finally, Step 6: Add any other trim you'd like to the project! I chose an accent trim, since the first ribbon was so wide. You can add buttons, twine, whatever you'd like! Just make it unique and special to you!

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and are able to create something you love! This is such a great, simple, quick project that you can do for each season (or, if you'd like, each holiday!)

I hope to do another soon with a black vase and a peacock feather, with some other teal and plum colored flowers, though I worry it will be a little too dark. I'll be sure to post though, if I end up doing it!

I'd love for you to share your finished products with me so I can see them!