Monday, May 30, 2011

How to Make a Gumpaste Bow

Yesterday, I shared these graduation cakes with you.  As promised, today I am going to show you how to make a beautiful gumpaste bow.

Gumpaste is an edible food product, but I don't actually recommend eating it.  You can buy gumpaste or make it (although I haven't had any success in making my own).  When you buy gumpaste, it comes in the form of a stiff dough.  You form gumpaste into whatever shape you want, then let it dry.  Gumpaste hardens completely when dry; however, when you eat gumpaste, it turns to a slimy texture in your mouth--YUCK!  It is nice to use because it does harden completely and is completely food-safe.

Supplies
  • Gumpaste
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Parchment paper
  • Plastic wrap (or bag)
  • Large pot (or other stand)
  • Crisco
  • Pizza cutter
  • Candy melts (you can use stiff frosting)
  • Piping bag
  • Rolling pin
Directions
  1. Color your gumpaste whatever color bow you want.  If it sticks to you hands, grease your hands with a little Crisco.  You will need a ball that fits into your hand (this should leave you a little extra)
  2. Tear off about 1/4 of the gumpaste and roll onto the parchment.  Cut into strips.  Your strip width will change with the size of your bow.  My strips were about 3/4 of an inch wide for this bow.  I used the Wilton ribbon cutter, but I have used a pizza cutter and a ruler in the past.
  3. Cut strips into various lengths.  I cut: 8-7.5" strips, 8-6" strips, 4-4.5" strips, and 4-3" strips.
  4. Roll a piece of parchment paper into a long tube.  As you cut your strips, wrap them around the parchment.  Then squish the ends together using a little Crisco as glue.
  5. Hang the roll of parchment (lined with your gumpaste loops) over your large pan.  Let dry overnight (I don't let it dry completely, but mostly.  This lets me tear off the long squished ends if I need to, without breaking the loops).
  6. When you pull them off the parchment, your loops should hold their shape.
  7. Melt some candy melts in a piping bag.  This will be used as glue for your bow.  Make a silver dollar sized blob of candy melt on the flat parchment paper.
  8. Place the largest loops in a circular pattern into the blob of candy melts.  You can place some of them on their side for a more natural look.  Then place more candy melts and the next largest loops.  Continue in this pattern until it looks like a bow.  Add candy melts where needed to secure bow.  You can also tear the ends off the bow to make it fit better.  Play around until it looks right, which sometimes takes some time.
  9. After the candy melts cool and harden, you can move the bow to your cake.  Secure in place with a little more of the melted candy melts.
 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Graduation Cakes & a Winner!

I hope everyone is enjoying their Memorial Day weekend!  As with most of the country, we had our graduation ceremony in the past couple weeks--which means graduation cakes.  Today I am not going to focus on baking cakes,  frosting cakes, food coloring, or covering with fondant (click to see previous posts).  Today I am just sharing a little eye candy with you, but tomorrow I will share how to make a gumpaste bow!

The first cake was for Jerry.  He had a hard time deciding what he wanted and ultimately landed on a Colts cake.  I made the decision to add the middle tier with his name and graduating year, so it had something to do with graduation.



The second cake was for Hailee.  She came in with a vision.  She knew just what she wanted and I don't think I could have matched her idea better.

Come back tomorrow for a tutorial on how to make this gumpaste bow! 




The winner of 1 hour free design time from Sugar Ink Design is:

My Photo
OurAzFamily  who said...

Their work is awesome! Absolutely beautiful! I "liked" them on my personal facebook account under the name, Marsa McCool-Solis. I would love to be entered in the giveaway :) Thanks so much!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sugar Ink Design Sponsor Love & a GIVEAWAY!!!

Did you notice my new header?  The amazing ladies, Teri and Kris, at Sugar Ink Design created this custom header for Snips & Spice.  When Teri emailed me the design I practically squealed with delight!  She was able to capture my personality as well as portray what the blog is about in one design.

Teri and Kris create custom designs for all of life's occasions.  They were voted by Denver 7's A-List as Top 5 Best Invitations in Denver for 2009-2010.  If you explore their site, you can see examples of their work including wedding invitations, save the dates, business logos and cards, announcements, party invitations, holiday cards, posters, etc.

They designed my wedding invitations and thank you cards.

They also designed our Christmas card this past winter.



Here are just a few of my favorite designs:







I sometimes spend hours just looking through their portfolio.  Now the part you have all been waiting for: these two talented artists are offering two special savings to Snips & Spice followers!  They are offering 15% off any order made through Saturday May 28, 2011 (just tell them you came from Snips & Spice).  They are also offering one lucky winner an hour of free design time!  That is a $45 value and can be used toward any of their services.

Here's how to enter:
  1. Go to Sugar Ink Design and check out their awesome work.
  2. "Like" Sugar Ink Design on Facebook.
  3. Come back and leave a comment telling what you would do if you won the free design time.
Good Luck!!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mmmmmm...Peanut Butter Frosting

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you probably already know that Adam does NOT like sweets/treats (yes I think this is practically criminal).  Last week we had a retirement party for a co-worker of mine.  I was asked to bring the cupcakes.  I wanted to make something new for my department, and I thought about the favorite treats we have at lunch.  Anything chocolate, caramel, or peanut butter is a big hit.  After I made this recipe, Adam ate a cupcake and told me it was the best cupcake I had ever made.  He has even eaten five in the last week!

I also was to give a shout out and thanks to Manni from I Bake Cakes.  I was the winner of a giveaway on her blog where I got this cute cupcake stand.  She makes the most beautiful cupcakes I have ever seen.  You should hop over if you have a moment and take a peek.

Ingredients
  • 1 stick (4 oz) softened butter
  • 1/2 Cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 bag peanut butter chips
  • 3 Cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 - 1/2 Cup milk
Directions
  1. Cream together the butter and peanut butter.
  2. Melt the peanut butter chips in the microwave.  Set the power level to 7, and microwave at 30 second intervals stirring between each interval.  (It took me about 1.5 minutes)
  3. Add the melted peanut butter chips to the mixer and cream together.
  4. Add one cup of powdered sugar to the mixture.  It will appear very dry. 
  5. Drizzle a small amount of milk until it reaches a creamy texture. 
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until all the sugar is incorporated.  When you are finished, your frosting should be creamy, but stiff enough to hold its shape.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Relationship DIY

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of TwoOfUs for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

 

As many of you know (at least I think many of you know--if you have been reading my blog for a while, or have read the "about me" page) I have been married for about one and a half years now.  I thought marriage would be so easy because Adam and I dated more than 10 years before getting married.  I know some of you are doing the math now...

When Adam and I got married, I was surprised by how much was not automatic.  We were living together for the first time which brought its own challenges.  I would like to say that we are blissfully happy 100% of the time, but that would be false.  We are blissfully happy most of the time, but that doesn't change the fact that relationships take work.

I was recently invited to explore Two of Us.Org.  The first thing that caught my attention was the tabs at the top of the page where you can pick which stage of a relationship you are in for tailored articles and advice. 

tips on keeping your relationship fresh

One of the first articles that caught my attention was about the pressure to have children after you get married.  I spent years being asked "when are you two getting married?"  Almost immediately after getting married, we were getting asked "so when are you going to have kids?"

We do want to have kids, but have a lot to think about and many decisions to make before we do so.  I enjoyed the perspective from the article, and the three other articles I clicked on (you know the endless tunnel of clicking where one thing leads to another?).  One of the most lasting impressions I had was that it is up to us when we have children because we are the ones raising the children.

I also watched a video by Hill Harper about "Conversation Parties."  Well if you know me at all, you know I like to talk, and this just lends more structure to the conversations about life and relationships.

You can even like them on Facebook to get updates and advice. 

I'm curious what the next question will be after we have children.  What questions do you have about relationships?

Visit Sponsor's Site

Friday, May 13, 2011

Baby Pixie Hat

Do any of you watch glee?  Not too long ago, Quinn wore a pixie hat that went viral.  I saw this cute hat here, and I thought it would make a great baby hat and gift.  Knitted hats for baby are one of my favorite gifts because they are soft, comfy, cute, and quick.  I made this one to donate to Warm Hearts Warm Babies, so it is fit for a premie, but the pattern should fit most newborn heads.



Supplies
  • One skein Baby's First Lion Brand yarn (you can make several hats out of one skein).  This is a bulky weight yarn, which knits up more quickly than a sport or worsted weight.
  • 12 inch size 6 circular needle (this is my favorite needle for knitting baby hats).
  • Size 6 double-pointed needles
  • Stitch marker
  • Tapestry/yarn needle
  • Button or other embellishment
  • Scissors
To work the rib in this pattern, knit into the back of one stitch, then purl one stitch, repeat.  Remember to move your working yarn to the back when knitting, and the front when purling.

To work the decrease, you will knit two together by knitting in the back of both stitches.

Directions (after step 3, every time the pattern instructs you to knit, knit into the back of the stitch)
  1. With circular needles, cast on 76 stitches.
  2. Knit rows 1-6 (do not join).  This will create a garter stitch and the base of the hat.
  3. Row 7: k2, bind off first stitch, k1, bind off second stitch, k1, bind off third stitch, k1, bind off fourth stitch, k1, bind off fifth stitch, k1, bind off sixth stitch, work rib pattern to end of row. (70 stitches left on needle)
  4. Row 8: place stitch marker and join both sides to create a loop so you are knitting in a circle.  You will have the six-stitch flap hanging down.  Begin with the knit stitch and work in rib around.
  5. Continue working in rib stitch until your hat measures about 5 inches tall.
  6. Begin decrease rows:
    1. Decrease row 1: k2tog, work rib for 12 stitches, repeat to the end of the row. (65 stitches)
    2. Decrease row 2: k1, work rib for 12 stitches, repeat to the end of the row. (65 stitches)
    3. Decrease row 3: k2tog, begin with a purl stitch to work rib for 11 stitches, repeat to the end of the row. (60 stitches)
    4. Decrease row 4: k1, begin with a purl stitch to work rib for 11 stitches, repeat to the end of the row. (60 stitches)
    5. Decrease row 5: k2tog, work rib for 10 stitches, repeat to the end of the row. (55 stitches)
    6. Decrease row 6: k2tog, begin with a purl stitch to work rib for 9 stitches, repeat to the end of the row. (50 stitches)
    7. Decrease row 7: k2tog, work rib for 8 stitches, repeat to the end of the row. (45 stitches)
    8. Decrease row 8: k2tog, begin with a purl stitch to work rib for 7 stitches, repeat to the end of the row. (40 stitches)
    9. Decrease row 9: k2tog, work rib for 6 stitches, repeat to the end of the row. (35 stitches)
    10. Decrease row 10: k2tog, begin with a purl stitch to work rib for 5 stitches, repeat to the end of the row. (30 stitches)
    11. Decrease row 11: k2tog, work rib for 4 stitches, repeat to the end of the row. (25 stitches)
    12. Decrease row 12: k2tog, begin with a purl stitch to work rib for 3 stitches, repeat to the end of the row. (20 stitches)
    13. Decrease row 13: k2tog, work rib for 2 stitches, repeat to the end of the row. (15 stitches)
    14. Decrease row 14: k2tog, p1, repeat to the end of the row. (10 stitches)
    15. Decrease row 15: k2tog, repeat to the end of the row. (5 stitches)
  7. Last 2 rows: k5. (5 stitches)
  8. Cut yarn ends, and pull tail through stitches.  Weave tail into top of hat.
  9. Weave in the tail at the base of the hat, and stitch flap to base.
  10. Add embellisment over flap.

If you don't already know how to knit, I have knitting tutorials with pictures and video:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lori's Lemon Bars

I don't think words can adequately describe my love for lemon bars.  When I went to Utah in March my aunt made the most delicious lemon bars I have had in recent memory.  Adam (who you might remember doesn't like sweets) nearly ate an entire pan himself.  Of course I asked for her recipe, and it was one of the desserts we had for mother's day.

Ingredients
  • 1 stick butter (4 oz) softened
  • dash salt
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 1 C flour
  • 3 T lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 1 C sugar
  • 3 T flour
  • Powdered sugar (for sprinkling)
Supplies
  • Baker's spray
  • 8x8 pan
  • Measuring cups/spoons
  • Mixer
  • Spatula
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray pan with baker's spray.
  3. Mix first four ingredients together, then press into pan.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes.
  5. Mix together remaining ingredients.
  6. Pour over baked crust.
  7. Bake another 25 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Wait until they cool completely before cutting.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Soldered Pin

You may have seen this posted at Tatertots and Jello, but for those of you who haven't here is a neat Mother's Day gift.  For Mother's Day, I wanted to create a cute pin for my sister-in-law.  She has the two cutest kids!  George (curious George) also made the cut because he goes everywhere the kids do.  I placed a cute picture on one side of each pendant, then a colorful background on the other.  There are lots of fancy alphabets and backgrounds on Etsy that you can purchase if you want something already done, or you could use drawings of your own.

To make a this soldered pendant pin, you will need the following items:
1.       Soldering iron
2.       Metal tray & sponge with water (I found the tray at the dollar store)
3.       Small clamp
4.       Solder
5.       Foiling tape
6.       Memory glass (I used 1 inch squares)
7.       Tinning flux
8.       Printout of whatever you want in your necklace (not pictured)
9.       Q-tips (not pictured)
10.    Tweezers (not pictured)
11.    Pin (not pictured)
12.    Jewelry rings (not pictured)

You should be able to find all of these at your local craft store.  Don't worry, this is actually much easier than it looks.  Are you ready?  Plu gin the soldering iron to heat, and let's go!

Cut your paper/photos to fit your glass pieces.  You want the paper slightly smaller than the glass.  Place your two images back to back and sandwich between the glass pieces. 

Cut a piece of foiling tape about 4 and 1/4 inches.  Tape around the edge of the glass.  Flatten the foil all around the edge, and wrap on each side.  You may want to use the back of a spoon, or a popsicle stick to make sure the foil is stuck down.

Rub a q-tip in the flux, and rub a thin layer of flux over all of the foil.  This is what makes the solder stick to the foil.

Unroll some solder from the coil.  Melt solder onto the tip of the iron, then rub a thin layer of solder onto the foil.  Cover the foil completely.  (If the tip of your soldering iron is not shiny, melt solder on it, then wipe on the wet sponge)

Rub a little more flux where you want to connect your ring.  Hold the ring with your tweezers, and solder to your pendant.

Now you can add your pendant to your pin.  Repeat with the rest of your pendants, then wear or give as a gift!

Some tips:
  • don’t touch anything with your fingers—it’s hot!
  • don’t mess too much with the solder once it’s on the pendant
  • if you have any sharp bumps, file with a nail file
  • if you have any gunk on your glass, clean with rubbing alcohol
  • if you have black spots on your solder, rub with steel wool
  • have fun with this—it’s not a perfect craft

Monday, May 9, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Every year (well the last two) for Mother's Day, I make a brunch for my mother.  One of the features is chocolate dipped strawberries.  They are so easy and quick to make you will want to make them every weekend!  In fact, they are so easy, I am not providing much of a recipe, more just general instructions.

Begin by washing the strawberries and drying them on paper towels.

You will need to make a double-boiler (see this post for instructions on how to make a double boiler).  Melt one package of chocolate chips (I use the mini semi-sweet chocolate chips) with a dollop (very technical term - hee hee) of Crisco.  Then dip the strawberries in the chocolate.

Set the strawberries on a pan lined with parchment paper.

Let cool in fridge; impress your friends (or mom).