Wednesday, June 30, 2010

More Tasty Treats - Fruit Pebble Cupcakes!!

Today the fabulous Ashley of Simply Designing is going to share an easy-to-make & ultra tasty treat with us.  Ashley's blog is full of all kinds of gorgeous projects and many of them are downright delicious.  Let's give Ashley a warm welcome!

Hello Sew Can Do readers!  I am Ashley, the face and voice behind Simply Designing and I am so excited to be here today guest posting for CraftShare!

I am fairly new to blogland but am loving every minute of it!  I am an interior designer and a floral designer.  I own my own business.  I also love to dabble in crafts, baby / child items, very occasional sewing, lots of baking, cake decorating and a variety of other things. 

I love finding ways to make my life more SIMPLE! 

I enjoy keeping busy and I have a list a mile long of "projects" I want to do.  And I love posting about my projects on my blog!  I also LOVE new visitors, comments and new followers!  (hint hint! :-)

In addition, I am a wife to a wonderful husband for 9 years, and a mom of a 3.5 year old spunky little girl and a sweet cuddly 4 month old little boy!  So much fun!

Oh.  And in my spare time (ha ha!) I am opening an Etsy shop.  It is a slow process for me, but I am enjoying that too.  (Go check it out if you don't mind!)  I'll wait...

Ok.  Now.  On to the GOOD stuff! 

I am so excited to be guest posting here today.  I am actually going to show off a yummy treat that is so SIMPLE, your kids will even enjoy helping you make these!

Fruity Pebbles Cupcakes!

Don't these look yummy?!?

They are super easy to make but look quite impressive!  (And they taste yummy too!)

Fruity Pebble Cupcake Treats

  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 package mini-marshmallows (about 10.5 oz)
  • 8 1/2 cups fruity pebbles (about 13 oz)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
  • 1 can vanilla / white frosting
  • Powdered sugar (optional) 
Directions for the "Cupcakes":
  1. Melt the butter in a microwave safe dish.
  2. Add marshmallows and continue microwaving until melted.
  3. Stir melted butter, melted marshmallows and vanilla (optional) together.
  4. Add the fruity pebbles cereal and mix until the cereal is evenly coated in the marshmallow mixture.
  5. Press the mixture into greased mini-muffin tins until firmly packed.
  6. When completely cooled, remove the fruity pebble cupcakes from the tins.
Directions for Icing:
  1. For the icing, I typically like to make my own icing.  However, I really do like to keep things simple, and these were being made for a group of 3 year olds who really wouldn't have known the difference!  So I used premade, store bought icing.  Mine was a little "soft" to pipe, so I mixed a bit of powdered sugar into the icing to give it a stiffer consistancy. 
  2. Add any food coloring you like to the icing (I preferWilton't gel food coloring as you can get vibrant colors without using an entire bottle of food coloring and without changing the consistancy of the icing.)
  3. Place any tip you like in a disposable piping bag, put the icing in the bag and ice the cupcakes!
So simple and they were a HUGE hit at my daughter's preschool class (even with the teachers!)

And they look really cute, don't you think?

Thank you so much for letting me come and share my treat tutorial with you.

Be sure to stop by my blog Simply Designing to poke around and check out some of my other posts and tutorials. Stop by, stay a while, leave a fun comment, become a follower...I love it all!

Happy Designing!


Thanks for the tasty treat idea Ashley!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

CraftShare Week 5: Tasty Treats Cutie Cupcakes

Last week we focused on fun cake decorating and this week we're going to keep with our dessert theme and cover Tasty Treats.  And what's the most basic tasty treat? Cupcakes!!  Since I started fooling around with modeling chocolate, I've been trying it out on cupcakes and I've got to say it's a lot of fun.  Like these sunny flower ones for starters.

What You'll Need:

- Silicone cupcake pots (made by Mary Engelbreit, found at Michael's)
- Devil's food cake mix
- Batch of modeling chocolate (recipe & my instructions are here)
- Royal icing
- Paper lollipop sticks
- Rolling pin
- Fondant or cookie cutters in flowery shapes & circles and/or knife and small glass
- Food coloring gel
- Cornstarch (to keep the modeling chocolate from sticking)

How To Make Them:

Make your batter according to the directions & then bake according to the silicone mold directions.  Separate your modeling chocolate into smaller batches and color them with your food coloring gel by kneading a few drops in.  Sprinkle a little cornstarch on your smooth work surface and get ready to roll out your chocolate.

To make the stems, measure the length of your lollipop stick and roll out your green so that you have it at least that long and cut a big rectangle.  Cut rectangle into 1.5 inch strips and carefully roll each strip around your stick, pressing it at the seam and ends to hold it closed.

To make your flowers, use a small glass like a cutter to make the outer circles.  Use your knife to cut in to separate into petals (like I did on the yellow ones).  Use your flower shapes cutters to make the middle layer and a small circle cutter for the centers.

Now using a small amount of royal icing stick all the layers of the flowers together and let the icing harden.  Once hard, add icing to the end of one stem, about 1 inch long and then center each flower stack on each stem and allow to harden (give a couple of hours or even overnight for best results).  Then carefully stick each flower stem into the center of the cupcake pot and press down several inches to steady it.  Presto - You have a tasty garden of flowers!

For even less work, try cupcakes like these, which I made for my lil' sister's birthday:

Using a glass the same size as the top of the cupcakes, make chocolate "covers" and attach them using a thin layer of buttercream frosting.  Use your little cutters & some decorative candies to make pretty flowers:

Or maybe some delicate butterflies:

The possibilities are endless and all are guaranteed to be tasty!  Have you made some cute cupcakes?  Share your pics in the CraftShare Flickr pool or tell me about your techniques in the comments.

Sharing this with my fave link parties too so check them out here!

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Midsummer Craftastic Monday!

Happy Monday Everyone!  I don't know about you, but for me, this summer is already flying by!  With the weekly CraftShare topics, tackling the gardens, working on "necessary" projects & all the activities of summer, it has been pretty busy around here.  On the plus side, I am very close to having some new reversible patterns in my Etsy shop, more giveaways, some new tutorials & a few fun ideas for the kids ready to share with you, so don't think that CraftShare over if you see something else here & there.  I just don't want to wait to show you this stuff!!  

I am also still looking for some talented people to guest during our Die Cutting Project Week (the last week of July).  I'm a newbie with my Cuttlebug, so I'd LOVE to have a bit of help from some experienced crafters.  So if you've got a Cricut, Silhouette, Cuttlebug or another kind of cutter and you've made some cool stuff with it, let me know and you can be a featured crafter that week.   

Ok, so now it's Craftastic party time people.  I swear there is no shortage of clever, crafty ideas in this party.  Every week I am wowed.  Here are a few fab items from last week:

I love the sweet simplicity of these little wooden dolls made by Amy of  Serving Pink Lemonade.  How cute would a little doll version of your own family be using this idea:

How about this for a healthy and tasty summer treat: Singing With The Birds shows us how to make some yummy Fruit Yogurt Pops - she's even got a strawberry margarita one.  I cannot wait to make both for the big 4th of July weekend.

And for a little summertime decor, check out A Sign Of The Times tutorial on making this sea glass candleholder that can make any place feel beachy:

If you've created something fun (sewing, baking, decorating, papercraft or anything else crafty), link on up! The rules are simple:
  • As long as it's crafty and made by you it's Craftastic. Just add the link to your specific post (not the main page of your blog).
  • Include the name of your Craftastic creation, your blog name & a pic of your project.
  • Grab my party button & put it on your post or blog to share the party with everyone.
  • Check out some of the other great links and share some crafty comment love.
This party is for sharing your own fun craft ideas & homemade projects (not promoting products), so please no giveaways, linking up another party, Etsy shops or online stores.

I leave the party open until 12pm EST Thursday. As usual, at the end of the week I'll be featuring some of my favorite links, so please remember to add the Craftastic party button to your post or blog so I can consider featuring your project.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Topsy Turvy Shows Us: A Fondant Rose Tutorial

On Tuesday Ashlee from TopsyTurvy taught us how to make a Topsy Turvy cake.  Now she's back to show us how to make these gorgeous, realistic roses for decorating it.  Take it away Ashlee!

I'm Ashlee from Topsy Turvy again, this time to show you how to make Fondant Roses like on this cake here!
fondant roses cake

This is easier to show in person, or maybe I'll do a video soon, but for now this will be a long post, don't let it intimidate you.  Once you get the hang of them it get's easier.  When I'm making a ton of roses I like to watch a movie at night with my husband while I work on each stage.

fondant rose tutorial supplies

Before you start make sure you have the following:
- Fondant (I prefer Satin Ice, but whatever you do stay away from Wilton.  This is NOT the time to work with Marshmallow fondant either, it's great for covering a cake, but not working with this thin detailed work)
- Gumpaste
- Gel color of choice
- A plastic mat
- Shortening (to rub the mat so the fondant won't stick)
- A rolling pin
- Flower fondant cutter set
- Ball tool
- Art brush
- Vanilla
- Toothpicks
- Thin and Thick Foam pads

Fondant is sufficient for making a rose, Gum-paste is great (you can get it REALLY thin), but a fondant Gum-paste mix is my preference.  Fondant alone is too thin, Gum-paste is sometimes more difficult to use.  So a mix between the too is great.  You can make them in one day, but it's easier to work with them if you do each stage at different times. The secret to making them look as realistic as you can is to get the petal layers as THIN as possible.

First you want to mix the gum-paste and fondant at a 1 to 1 or 2 to 1 ratio. It totally is up to you what you like working with best. If you don't want to buy a package of gumpaste you can also use Gum Tex. It's a powder and will last longer, although it's not quite as good as using gum-paste. But since Gum-paste dries out pretty fast you'll only want to go that way if you'll be using it before it gets dry. Don't forget to also mix in whatever color you want your roses to be.

When working with Fondant and gum-paste you don't want it to stick to your hand, so you have two choices. Use lots of Crisco or dust everything with a cornstarch/powdered sugar mixture. I like using Crisco on my hands, mat and rolling pin, and the cornstarch/powdered sugar mixture on tools.

fondant rose tutorial crisco hands

Step 1:
Roll the fondant to be a 1/4 inch thick. Using smallest flower cutter. Each cutout will be the amount used to create the fondant centers. If your making a larger rose use a larger cut out, we just want to make sure all the centers are the same size.

fondant rose tutorial center

Step 2:
Roll fondant cutout into a ball.

fondant rose tutorial center round

Step 3:
roll it with fingertips to form a teardrop shape as show below:

fondant rose tutorial center shaping
fondant rose tutorial center raindrop

Step 4:
Put your tear drop shape onto a toothpick.  Then make sure this cone center is as long as the width of one petal from large flower cutter.  Again, if your making a larger rose with a larger cutter this rule still applies.

fondant rose tutorial center size

Now this is where I like to make ALL my centers at the same time.  Then when I move onto the next stage it will be dry enough to handle without worrying about it getting destroyed.  But you CAN move directly on to the next part, just be careful.

fondant rose tutorial centers

Step 1:
Grease up your hands and mat...

fondant rose tutorial crisco map
Step 2:
Roll the fondant from center to the edge to stretch into a very thin layer. I know it is thin enough when I cannot roll it any thinner and I can read the mat printed font through it.  Then use your medium sized flower cutter and cut as many flowers as you can.  Don't work with too much of the fondant at one time.

fondant rose tutorial petals thin

Step 3:
Take one cut out.  Cover the rest with plastic wrap to prevent drying.  Make short straight incisions in between each petal as shown on the picture below. This will make the more individual petals.  (The other option at this point is to completely cut the petals and put each petal on one at a time.  But I find this way pretty easy.)

fondant rose tutorial petal cutting

Step 4:
In order to create a more realistic effect, we have to thin the edges of each petal with the ball tool. Place the petal layer on the thin foam mat (Note that I covered the foam with the cornstarch/powdered sugar mixture to prevent sticking.)  Place the one side of the ball tool at its middle (i.e., half of the ball is touching the fondant and the second half the thin mat). Roll your ball at the edge on each petal by pressing a softly. You will see the petals "rippling".

fondant rose tutorial petal layer ruffling

You don't want to over ruffle, so just softly and you can go over it.  This is where the gumpaste part comes in handy.  If it's just the fondant it tends to rip.

fondant rose tutorial petals ruffling

Step 5:
Place your thinned petal layer on top of the thick foam pad. Note that I covered the foam with the cornstarch/powdered sugar mixture to prevent sticking. With the ball, we're going to shape the first layer petals.  Think of the 5 petals like a man, "head" (top), "arms" (sides) and "legs" (bottom 2).  Press the circle into the "head", "legs" and center.  Flip it over and press the circle into the "arms".

fondant rose tutorial petals shaping

Step 6:
Now flip it back over into your hand and it will look like this:

fondant rose tutorial petal layer 1

Step 7:
Apply vanilla to the inside half's of each petal, the center and one full "foot" petal.

fondant rose tutorial petal layer 1 vanilla

Step 8:
Now place one of the tear drop shaped center into the center of the petal layer (I keep the toothpick in the center and poke through the petal layer with it.)

fondant rose tutorial petal layer 1 attaching

Step 9:
Now take the "foot" petal that has the full vanilla on it and wrap it around the tear drop center.  (I flipped the petal layer around so my "foot" is on top).

fondant rose tutorial petal layer 1 center

It will look like this:

fondant rose tutorial petal layer one center

Step 10:
Now take the "head", and wrap it up, then the other "foot" around the center.  Once I "glue" it in place I like to take my fingers and lightly pull back on the top edges of each petal to give it a more natural shape (you know how real rose petals curl back a bit.)

fondant rose tutorial petal layer 1 attaching

Step 11:
Now wrap around and "glue" the "arms" up.  At this point I like to go through and do ALL the first layer on all the centers, so they can dry a bit and can be handled easier before moving onto the next layer.  But of course you CAN just go straight on, just be careful because it's still soft.

fondant rose tutorial petal layer 1 done

Step 1:
Repeat steps 1-4 from the first layer.  Then move it over to the thick foam and press the circle into the "arms" and center, then flip over to press into the "head" and "legs".  So just opposite from the last layer and add the vanilla!

fondant rose tutorial petal layer 2 vanilla
Step 2:
Put the finished first layer bud into the center of this petal layer.
fondant rose tutorial petal layer 2 attaching

Step 3:
"glue" the "arms" up around the bud now. (you can see why I like the previous layer dry before moving on, holding a fresh layer like this would ruin it)

fondant rose tutorial petal layer 2 attaching

Step 4:
Now bring up and "glue" the "legs" and the "head".  And remember to go back and curl the edges back just a bit. And you done with the second layer!  Finish them all and let them dry OR... move on to the third layer!

fondant rose tutorial petal layer 2 done

Step 1:
Repeat steps 1-4 from the first layer.  Then move it over to the thick foam and press the circle into the "arms",  "head" and "legs", then flip it over and press the circle into the center.  And add Vanilla to the center halves of the petals

fondant rose tutorial petal layer 3 vanilla

Step 2:
Place the 2 layer buds into the center of this final layer!

fondant rose tutorial petal layer 3 attaching

Step 3:
Now like drawing a star you'll bring up each of the 5 petal's one at a time "gluing" them on.  Like this: "leg", "head", "leg", "arm" and "arm"...  Once you have them glued on remember to curl back the edges of the petals to create a more realistic look!

fondant rose tutorial petal layer 3 shaping

And there you go!

fondant rose tutorial petal layer 3 done

You can also add a Calyx if you want, but since my roses are usually in a cake I don't bother!  It just depends on how much of the back of the rose you'll be seeing.  If I stop at layer 1 or 2 for some buds I might add one.

fondant rose tutorial done

Thanks again to Ashlee for sharing some gorgeous cake decorating secrets!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Star Wars: The Cookie, The Cake & ...The Hair?!

Star Wars is a big deal around here (there are 3 guys in my house).  Literally two seconds after I told my husband that Star Wars cookie cutters existed, he'd ordered them.  I was more excited because the press & stamp design meant they'd be ideal for my new modeling chocolate fixation.  These were the cookies I made using the cutters for both the dough & the chocolate.  I added a little sparkly piping gel for flair:

 Now I could be a complete moron when it comes to cookie making, but I was kind of disappointed in how the details & basic shape of the cutter totally disappeared once baked.  You can see what I mean because the modeling chocolate overlay is the exact size the cookie underneath it was before put in the oven.

And the package made the cookies look amazing because of the colorful & phenomenal icing job, but let's get real - a mom with 3 kids underfoot, a mountain of laundry and a to-do list a mile long doesn't have 5 hours to carefully ice a bunch of cookies to perfection.  Especially when they are going to be inhaled 2 seconds after she's done.  Enter my new love, modeling chocolate.  Roll it out, stamp it with the cutter and slap it on top.  You have all the detail & perfection, but a lot less work.  And if it doesn't look right, squash it and re-roll it.  Try that with an icing pen!  In case you missed yesterday's post, you can find my modeling chocolate tutorial here.

But what about cakes, isn't this cake week, you say?  Well my nephew is also a Star Wars fan, so I surprised him with this cake:

This time I went a bit modeling chocolate crazy & covered the cake with some spacey gray (the starry flecks were thanks to not melting the chocolate quite enough when I made it, but totally worked with my theme!).  I wrapped the sides with a layer of black and added our cutouts.

But what does Princess Leia think of all this deliciousness?

She's all about it.  This was my latest Hairdo Hat: The Space Princess.  It was a bit more time consuming to make, but I totally love the effect.

I'm pretty sure she'll be rockin' this as a Halloween costume this year.  Here she's practicing her "Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope."

UPDATE: Got to have your own Space Princess Hairdo Hat?  By popular demand, custom Space Princess Hairdo Hats & the pattern to make your own are now available in my Etsy shop: The Green Hedgehog.

Have you made themed cakes & cookies?  Throw your pics up in the CraftShare Flickr pool.  We've got some Star Wars & an Indiana Jones there already, so come on & show what you've got!

Sharing this with my fave link parties too so check them out here!


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