Saturday, January 30, 2010

Chocolate Truffles

My friend and coworker, Valerie, celebrated her big 3-0 birthday this past Thursday.  She and her husband have invited Patrick and I over for dinner tonight, and I wanted to bring a little gift for her.  She's a full-fledged chocoholic, and I'd been wanting to try out Pioneer Woman's Chocolate Truffles with Sea Salt for months, so this seemed like a good combination!

The truffles are pretty tasty, if I do say so myself, although I'm waiting for Patrick to get home from work today to submit his official opinion as well.  This recipe gave me the chance to use up some Ghirardelli chocolate bars that have seen more apartments (and more states) than they probably should have.  About 1/3 of the truffles are coated in white chocolate with sprinkles, another 1/3 are milk chocolate with sprinkles, and the last 1/3 are milk chocolate with sea salt.  Interesting combination - I'm a fan - although I'm sure Patrick won't like those.  I picked up the cello bag at a card store earlier today, and turned one of our (many) leftover  #10 backings from Paper Source (trimmed down) to make a gift tag.  I attached the paisley paper using sticky zots, and decorated it with my Happy Birthday stamp.

Happy Birthday Valerie!!  :o)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

New Project - Golden Anniversary Party Invitations

This coming June, my parents will be married for 50 years!!  Quite an accomplishment, and we'll be having a party in May to celebrate.

Originally, I thought I would "take it easy on myself" and order invitations (I really like the ones at Wedding Paper Divas), but after giving it some more thought I decided I would do them myself!

I spent some time aimlessly wandering around Paper Source yesterday (the ladies that work there are starting to recognize me as a regular), and after perusing the sale items, I noticed that all the shimmery gold paper products were on sale!  Bonus!  Here's what all I came home with:

- one 10-pack of  paper in Shimmer Gold
- one 10-pack of paper in Luxe Fino Cream
- two packs of 25 - 4.25" x 5.5" (size A2) cards in Gold (sale!)
- two packs of 25 - 5" x 7" (size A7) cards in Gold (sale!)
- one pack of 25 - 5.5" x 8.5" (size A9) cards in Gold (sale!)
- one pack of 10 - size A2 envelopes in Luxe Fino Cream
- one bracket stamp
- one "love note" stamp
- stamp pad in pearlescent chocolate

I had some ideas on what to do with all of it by the time I left the store, but my ideas solidified this morning when I had a chance to sit down and put my paws on all of it.  I came up with two versions that I really like - which one do you prefer?  The version with the ivory paper on top, or the one with the shimmery gold paper on top?

(click on the image to see a larger photo)

I'm planning on printing the wording myself. I like the bracket towards the top of the page, and I'll print a big 50 to go right in the middle of it.  Underneath that we'll have details -- golden anniversary party for A&E, and the facility, on the date, at the time, and no gifts please.  

I'm so excited and honored to be able to plan this party for my parents, and to do the invitations!  Thanks Mom & Dad!

Onesie Cookies

As a party favor for Carol's baby shower, I made cookies in the shape of onesies.  I purchased a cookie cutter in the shape of a onesie.  I baked basic sugar cookies, and decorated them using royal icing which I had tinted pink.  My mom was impressed with my steady hand and how quickly I was able to get all 25 cookies decorated.  Granted, I did some online research and decided to go with the simplest design I could find.

I made tags using leftovers from the hot pink paper I had from the invitations, put the cookies in bags, stapled it shut and was on my way.

I may have let some curse words slip as part of the "put the cookies in bags" part of the day.  I had planned on using 4"x6" cello bags left over from the wedding (since I have approximately 915 of them left), but since the cookies are 4"x4", the baggies were a tiny bit too small.  My mom and I stopped our party preparations and ran over to Michael's (thankfully, it's only a few minutes from their house), and picked up new bags, which said they were something like 5"x8".  Perfect!  Well, not-so-perfect.  Instead of being rectangular in shape, they were round, then narrowed towards the top (kind of like a flower vase), and the cookies still didn't fit!  I wasn't about to take another trip to Michael's no matter how close by it was, so I cut slits in one side of the bag and managed to get the cookies inside. I don't think anyone noticed, which is all that really mattered, but next time I'll double -- or even triple -- check to make sure that I have the right size bags!!

Baby Shower

One of my best friends, Carol, is expecting a baby girl in a few short days.  With my mom's help, I threw Carol a baby shower at my mom's house back in November.  We had about 20 ladies at the house for the shower, and it was a nice, relaxed time.

Earlier that morning, I sent my dad on an errand to pick up balloons to tie to the mailbox outside, and to liven things up inside.

We ordered a mixed bunch of hot pink flowers from, which my mom rearranged into a few smaller arrangements for the living room, dining room, porch, and kitchen.  My mom knows her stuff when it comes to arranging flowers!

Michelle, another one of my best friends (all three of us went to pre-school together, and we're still good friends today!), suggested that we string a clothesline and hang baby clothes to it as another decoration which doubles as a gift for the mom-to-be.  I think it looked great and the onesies tied in with the onesie theme for the party!

 We set up drinks (sodas, tea, coffee, and limeade) on the kitchen counter, and spread out the food around the dining room table.

After we ate, we migrated to the living room, and played a game that Michelle organized.  She dug up 12 songs that all contained the word baby, played short snippets of them, and we had to guess the name of the song and the artist.  It was surprisingly tough, and Carol showed us how it was done and got the highest score!

I baked a yellow cake, and decorated it to look like a onesie.  There were some curse words uttered during the making of that cake - I think I forgot to add the ingredients in the correct order (I forgot that you first mix the "dry team" and the "wet team" separately, THEN mix them together).  And then when I was taking the cake out of the pan it ended up in two pieces -- a middle piece and an O-shaped outer piece.  Slapped it back together and decided that my sins would be hidden by the cream cheese frosting.  I baked the cake in a rectangular 9x13 pan, then cut out the sections for the legs.  Those cut-out sections became the sleeves of the onesie.  This was my first official decorated cake, and I have to admit that I was very happy with my final result.  To serve the cake, I took one of my mom's cookie sheets (the kind that has a rim on only one side) and covered it in aluminum foil.  One other trick for ya - before frosting the cake I put pieces of wax paper beneath the cake.  Then I decorated, then chilled the cake, and before serving I carefully pulled the wax paper out.  This kept the foil beneath perfectly clean.  It is becoming increasingly clear to me that I spend too much of my life watching The Food Network, since I now know random tidbits like that.

The invitations for the party were my biggest craft project to date, and the onesie cookies were also a lot of fun to make.  Those two will have posts all to themselves.

Carol, I'm so excited to meet Babynayshus!!!  Miss you!!

(Carol, me, Rachel, Michelle - the four of us went to pre-school together, and the three of us were Carol's bridesmaids at her wedding in 2005!)

Baby's First Ice Cream

One of my coworkers had a baby in October and I made these ice cream sundaes for her.

For each sundae, I rightly rolled up three wash cloths and stuck them inside a sippy cup.  There was about an inch of space left at the bottom of the sippy cup so I added in some Hershey Kisses as a treat for the mom.  I tied a spoon to the outside, and voila!  I'm passing my love of ice cream on to the next generation.


Over the course of the past year or two, I've found myself enjoying "crafting" more and more.  It started with jewelery making five years ago under Yasmine's direction, and I realized the extent of my interests while planning our wedding last year.  I have lots of past projects I'm looking forward to sharing with you, and some new ones on the horizon for the year ahead.  Can't wait!

From time to time, I encounter issues when in the middle of a craft, and some curse words come flying out of my mouth.  You are forewarned!