December 21, 2011

A Christmas Centerpiece

I found this picture searching on pinterest and since I had some empty wine bottles around, I decided to recreate my own version of it.
Here's the original-

the picture and idea came from the blog, cleverly inspired. Click on the link to access the original and the how-to instructions!

Here's my version-

December 17, 2011


Pinterest is my newest favorite thing. I admit, when I first joined up, I was skeptical and confused for a while. However, once I figured out what it all was and how to navigate...oh my goodness...I am on there all the time!
Remember back years ago, how when you planned a wedding or decorated a house, you might cut up a bunch of pictures from magazines from things you liked and then put them in a big binder?
Yeah, well this is like the ultimate electronic version of that. And it goes Way beyond wedding or house pics.

For those of you who are intrigued but also confused by the whole process-here is my pinterest tutorial...

First, you go to the site and request an invite (i got mine in about 5 minutes,but that was several months ago and I've heard it can take a week or so now). Once you get the invite, sign up. When you sign up, there will be instructions on adding a "pin it" button to your favorites drop down menu-this is important, so do it!
From there, they will give you a couple people to "follow" and they will also use your facebook to connect you to people you know. As you start to maneuver the site, other people can and will also choose to "follow" you.

Once in and set up, you can create different boards for things like baking, food, home, wedding, flowers, rings, shoes, kids stuff, etc.
You can browse the pinterest site and any picture you like, you can "pin" to one of your boards. SO, say you are looking for ideas for a wreaths to make, you can make a board for it, and then every pic you find, you can pin to that board.
You can also "pin" any picture you find on the Internet (cooking site, a blog, wikipedia, etc) you can also pin to one of your boards.

The best part...whenever you click on a picture that has been pinned on pinterest, it will take you back to the original site where the picture was found! From there you can read the original recipe, or the DIY how to, or just know that credit goes to the originator of the picture.

It's like a big, virtual bulletin board for everything you are interested in.

So there you go, for those of you who have been wondering what on earth this pinterest thing is (and for those of you who haven't, but or whatever crazy reason actually read this post), now you have it!

December 6, 2011

The road to success certainly must include some failure...

A while back, I discovered this thing called royal icing. It's basically an icing you can use to make flowers and other decor details, then let it harden completely and store the details until you are ready to use on a cake. Remember the little packets of letters and flowers you can buy in the grocery store to put on cakes? It basically looks, tastes, and feels like that.

I tried it out myself a month ago or so and made some very simple flowers and was excited by the prospect of what this icing meant. I ha visions in my head of making elaborate and not so elaborate flowers that I would have stored nearby ready to pull out for any and all appropriate occasions. It sounds like a great idea, right? decoration pieces that you could make weeks or months ahead of time and then just place on a cake or cupcake?

And then...reality [and a bit of failure] hit.

I made a batch of this icing the other day and had instructions that I had printed off on how to make about 6 different types of flowers using this icing. I actually remembered this time to split the batch into 3 bowls so I could work with different colors. First off, this icing is a bit tricky and dries really quickly, so if you aren't using it, you have to keep it covered with a damp cloth. second, the only liquid in the icing is water and the littlest amount can change the consistency very quickly.
Well...with my first batch,  I made some purple icing. I didn't put enough water in. I was afraid I hadn't, but didn't REALLY know I hadn't until it was already in the icing bag and by that point I wasn't about to take it back OUT of the bag. So, I learned what happens when the icing is too dry. Not only is it impossible to work with, but you get a result like this-
See those purple ones and how crackly they look? ugh.
Being stubborn, I attempted to work with the purple for a while before I finally just gave up. For my next batch, I chose a teal/blue. I made sure to add a little more water and this was much easier to work with. However, then I came to the realization that I Could NOT make the flowers. Seriously, I had simple instructions on making flowers apple blossoms, violets, daisies and another I forget. they were all labeled "easy" or "somewhat easy" and it was impossible. I spent 45 minutes trying to get something decent and this is all I ended up with....

yeah...not quite the pretty flowers I was hoping for. I had also printed out the instructions of making roses, which was in the "medium" category for difficulty and seemed difficult. I figured though, I've already royally screwed up all the other flowers, why not screw up the rose too?
Imagine my surprise when I started these and they were actually looking decent-even good! what? It doesn't make sense at all. But hey, I'll take it.

I actually still have the 3rd batch of frosting set aside in a Tupperware. After the several hours of working with all the stuff previously, I just didn't have the energy to try any more. Maybe one day I'll give those other flowers 1 more shot and If I can't make them decent, then I'm giving up royal icing flowers!
Here's my roses-