Friday, February 15, 2013

Bake me a Cake: Advice Welcomed

One of my goals for this year is to be able to bake a cake, and I mean really bake a cake. I want this cake to be awesome and something I am proud to share. It needs to not only be delicious, it also has to be pretty. Oh, and somewhat easy to "whip up" would be nice too.

As background, I love cake. Wait, that wasn't a strong enough statement. I LOVE cake! And since I'm not good at baking cakes, I will just buy them or make cupcakes. Cupcakes are a great alternative to making cake, as they require so much less work, there is no stacking involved, and they come out of their little wrappers pretty easily.  Cakes require different skills, like the basic one of being able to get all the layers out of the pan without them falling apart so you can construct a cake. This is where I begin to fail.

STEP 1. Figure out how to consistently get layers out of their pans. To do this, I'm going the easy route and using boxed mix, since I'm guessing I will need a few more attempts to master this part.

My first attempt, was edible and looked fine with frosting on top (see picture), however, it was a mess underneath! It totally stuck to my greased and floured pan.

I was still able to salvage the layers and with a little finesse, I got them stacked with a filling of my homemade Chocolate Strawberry Jelly. I totally considered that part to be what made the cake special and not just cake from a box!

The sprinkles around the edge were also a new one for me, but so very easy!!! You just tilt the cake a little but and sprinkle over the sink.

My mom suggested using parchment paper and lining the bottom of the pan. I'm going to try that next.

Anyone else have suggestions?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Spray Paint Strikes, Again!

I have been working on my list of "Things to Spray Paint." It's mostly a mental list, but it's long. My husband laughs every time I add something else to the list of "things to be painted white." He's such a good guy that I think laughing is his way of accepting that he can't just throw the item away!

The red chandelier hanging from the Magnolia tree looks so wonderful, especially when the cardinals oblige by hanging out on the tree branches. Their splashes of red accents really spruce up the backyard!

While I was painting the chandelier, I was also working on this mirror.  Alternating between the white and red paint let one color dry while I painted the other object. Time management!

The mirror is one we had purchased for our old house. It hadn't found it's place at the new house, at least not in it's golden glory! Painting it white was really the only way to save it for our new space.

Here is what I did:

1. Rubbed the frame down with some steel wool, just to rough it up a bit and help the paint stick.
2. Wiped down the old mirror frame with a damp cloth to remove dust.

3. Taped paper over the mirror part. (My four-year old helped with this part, as you can tell. We couldn't find newspaper, and working with the 8.5" x 11" pieces of paper was easier than working with a garbage bag.)
4. Paint. I didn't try to get the paint on very thick with each coat. It was more of a light coat each time I sprayed it to help not have any drips.
5. Hung it on the wall.

What I learned:

1. Light coats of spray paint really are so much better to prevent drips.

2. If you see a drip, gently touch it quickly before it dries. It will kindof "heal" itself if you get it fast enough.

3. When going from a dark frame to a light color, consider applying caulk or filler to the joints before you paint. The corner joints of the mirror are much more noticeable now that it is painted white. This will eventually drive me crazy and I will take the mirror down and fill in the gaps, then repaint it.

4. Diligent taping= no scraping. Be sure you tape all the paper seams over the mirror, or you will have to scrape some paint off later.

5. Paint from different angles to get better coverage. If you start from the right on the first coat, start from the left on the second. You will see things you missed the first time.

Happy Creating!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Our Week in Pics

CAUTION: These are real pics of our world. All messes are real. We are still unpacking some boxes, and are finally starting to hang some things on the wall. Please excuse our dust. :) 

Our daughter acquired a new princess dress, that I think she wore for about 36 hours last weekend. Her brother couldn't let her have a pic alone. 
Treasure found in one of those boxes. That's the "Right Stuff," baby! One of my new year's goals is to be able to get these types of things (the ones we can't even use anymore because we no longer own a tape deck) out of our house, but probably won't get rid of this one!
Painted the baby's room and put the crib together. EEK!!!

Had some work done on the new yard, removing some unhealthy trees. This was quite entertaining and even a little sad at times. 

Refreshed some old pillows marking my reunion with my sewing machines. 

Went to my son's Teddy Bear Picnic at school! He opted to bring his favorite cuddle- Mickey!

Our daughter celebrated her 100th day of school! Such a big deal!
After years of being stuck in storage, this old chandelier got a new lease on life
I started a new project- valences. I still need to tweak them and make about five more, but this was something I hadn't really made before. Cutting nice fabrics can be stressful to me, so I'm happy that I got this started. Now I just need to figure out how to make the results be something I'm proud to share.  I'll post more pics and tips when I finish these. 

Happy Friday to you and your people! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!