Sunday, April 29, 2012

School carnival cakes

Ben and I spent several hours making cake yesterday for the school carnival.  He entered his in the cake walk contest, so I did the baking but he took the lead on all of the frosting and decorating.  He recreated our April Fool's Day nachos.

Go ahead.  Try to act like that isn't the most awesome shirt you've ever seen. 

He won the title of "Most Creative" and had a fabulous time at the carnival.

My cake went to the silent auction:

When we got home, I had one more cake to make...but I'll have to get to that in another post. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Everyday Bangles

I've been meaning to make these for at least a couple of years. 

I finally got a round bracelet mandrel and made a bunch of them with a variety of sterling wire gauges. But when I finished them and they were nice and shiny, I had a flash of what happens to my wide sterling cuff bracelet every time I wear it. Maybe it's just a user error, but somehow I manage to scuff it all up along the bottom. So I have to do a light sand and polish on it often. Sometimes I will get it out of my jewelry drawer to put it on and remember that I need to do that before I can wear it again. And the whole point of these bangles was to have a set of fun, loud bracelets that were low maintenance and could be worn all the time.

So I used a chasing tool on them and added random lines here and there, then added a hammered texture around each of them. Much, much better. 

Need a set of these? They are listed in my Etsy shop here:

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter eggs with a twist

I saw these on the Martha Stewart website. They look like regular Easter eggs, but they are more like tiny pinatas...maybe. The kind you don't hang up and beat with a stick.  And who doesn't like pinatas?

The biggest issue we had with this project was finding an egg topper (Martha used a dremel tool, but mine is dedicated to jewelry so that wasn't an option for us). I live and work in different cities, and I visited every big box and kitchen store in both places that I thought might have egg toppers with no luck.  I finally resorted to ordering one from Amazon and then checked the shipping status every 40 seconds, worrying that it wouldn't arrive in time to use before Easter.  But it arrived this week, so Ben and I were able to make our little egg pinatas after all.

The online reviews for this little contraption were sort of sketchy, but Ben and I had a great time using it.  We even had a brief struggle over who would get to run it before I remembered that I was supposed to be the adult and that I could use it all I wanted after he went to bed.  So I stabilized the eggs and Ben ran the topper.  If you've never used one, here's the trick: apply some pressure to the egg, pushing it into the topper so it doesn't slide around and the little teeth can catch.  It does exactly what it says it will: cuts the top off.  It's like giving eggs lobotomies.

Once the lobotomies were done, I rinsed the shells out and boiled them for 20 minutes to sterilize them.  Then we colored them and hung them to dry overnight (we used these little coffee stirrers shoved into the egg carton). 

We had a serious discussion about whether or not it would be disgusting to put unwrapped candy inside of them, but in the end it really just came down to logistics; there are very few wrapped candies that would fit into our egg pinatas without taking up all the space inside.  And I did boil the shells and clean them out, so we went with a mix of jellybeans, m&ms, and mini Reese's eggs.

We added the candy and attached mini cupcake wrappers to the bottom of them with the edible sugar glue I use for caking...just in case it came into contact with the candy.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Fool's Day Nachos

Ben and I went with nachos for our annual looks-savory-but-is-sweet April Fool's Day item.  These were far less time consuming than the treats we made in the past, but I might also argue they are not as successful as the others.  Still fun, though--

I made white cupcakes and we added buttercream frosting tinted a cheesy yellow to the top of them.  We added in a bunch of "chips" that we made by baking tortillas we cut up and sprinkled with a cinnamon/sugar mixture. I had planned on trying to use a puree mixed with frosting to look like salsa, but that just looked...utterly unlike salsa. So we went with raspberry jam instead.  The "sour cream" is just a thin white buttercream frosting, and Ben sprinkled pieces of green apple Sour Punch Straws on as the final touch.

We had enough for two plates of faux nachos,  so Ben took one over to the neighbors for an April Fool's joke.  The good kind, not the kind where someone gives you an Oreo cookie that has had the filling removed and replaced with toothpaste.  That's just cruel.