Tuesday, April 24, 2012

{Pinterest Success} Fabric Peony Flowers

My grandmother has hedge of peonies that surround her garage.  Every spring, the plants are bursting with giant pink and fuchsia blooms.  She cuts a few to put on the table and the whole house benefits from their fragrance.

So when I saw this peony craft on Pinterest, I had to give it a try.

To read the instructions and view the original post, visit the Creature Comforts Blog by clicking here.

I dug through my stash of fabric scraps and also the remnant bin at JoAnn Fabrics, and found two different fabrics to use for this craft.  One of them worked better than the other.

The flower on the left was made with plain fabric, and the flower on the right was made with fabric that had little circles of bling on it.  You can't really see the bling in the picture.  But the blingy fabric was thinner and the flame seemed to eat it right up.  The plain fabric was a little bit thicker and held up better.  But I don't think either of my fabrics curled up as much as the ones in the tutorial.  Mine seemed to shrink instead.

But I think they both turned out kinda cute!  The tutorial was easy to follow with well-written directions, and there was even a video.

Now what to do with these beauties?  I think the bigger one will end up as part of Grandma's Mother's Day gift. (Good thing she doesn't read my blog!)  And the smaller, bling one will most likely end up as some sort of hair accessory for me.  Fun!

Now it's your turn to try something you've pinned to Pinterest!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Spring Flower Cookies

In a house with all boys, I end up making a lot of masculine things.  So when my mother-in-law asked me to make some cookies for her book club, I jumped at the chance.  Flower shapes!  PINK frosting!

I tried something new with theses cookies.  Usually, I outline a shape with royal icing, then use flood icing to fill it in.  (I learned how to do that from reading the Bake at 350 blog which started my cookie obsession.)  But for the yellow flower centers here, I used "20-second icing" which is a consistency somewhere between outline and flood.  (I learned how to do that from reading The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle.)

Aren't they pretty?  And springy?  Plus they're loaded with frosting, so they're delicious, too.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pickle Cupcakes

We celebrated my father-in-law's birthday at the same time as my nephew's.  My nephew had requested a special cake (see yesterday's post) so it just felt right to make a special cake for my father-in-law, too.

Problem was, I had no idea what to put on his cake that would make it "his".  So I asked my kids, "What does your papa like that I could put on his cake?"  They answered "pickles".  Ummmm...

But then one day I was thinking about how my father-in-law always says, "It's no big deal."  It's one of his most favorite phrases.  I put that phrase together with the pickle idea and got "No big dill."

And thus was born the pickle cupcakes.

To get that 2-toned frosting look, you draw stripes of gel food coloring with a toothpick inside your decorating bag before filling the bag with frosting.  I drew 4 vertical green stripes and then used white frosting.  (You have to use the gel food coloring - not the liquid.)  I added green sprinkles to mimic the seeds that float around in pickle jars.  The candy on top is a green sour apple flavored candy straw that was somewhat pickle shaped.

I made one larger cupcake pick that says "Another birthday? It's no big dill" and then little pickle cupcake picks in case someone missed the pickle reference.

Happy birthday to my father-in-law!  And many more!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Precursor Orb (Jak and Daxter) Birthday Cake

I had never heard of the Jak and Daxter video game, so when my nephew asked me to bake his birthday cake in the shape of the precursor orb, I had no idea what he was talking about.  He described it as "an orange easter egg with weird writing on it."  Okay?  So I googled it and here's what I found:

Sure! I can make a cake that looks like that!  No problem!

I don't have an egg-shaped baking pan, so I decided to modify my round pans.  (I could have just baked the round cakes and then cut them into an egg shape, but I always have serious crumb-in-the-frosting issues when I try that method.  Not to mention the cake scraps that get wasted.)  So get ready for some serious "make do" action.

I fashioned some aluminum foil into an egg shape and inserted it in the pans.

Then I added more foil to fill up the empty areas.

Finally I covered it with parchment paper so that, when I poured in the batter, it didn't seep under the foil.

It's not pretty, but it worked OK.  And out came two (sort of) egg-shaped cakes!

I tinted the buttercream icing orange and frosted the cake with a shell border at the bottom.  Then I added some brown food coloring to the orange frosting to make a slightly darker shade for the writing.  I drew on the writing with a toothpick and then went over it with the frosting in a bag with a #2 tip.

And here we have a precursor orb birthday cake!

The birthday boy was over-the-moon.  Even though he was the only one who knew what the cake was supposed to be.
Happy 12th birthday, Dawson!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Armor of God Lessons with my Kids

I have to plan things for my kids to do when they have a break from school, or I hear "I'm BORED" over and over.  So this Spring Break, we talked about the armor of God.

The armor of God passage is found in Ephesians 6:10-17.  (You can look it up on YouVersion.)  Each day we talked about a different piece of armor, what it means, what Satan's strategy to defeat it is, and what we can do to "put on" that piece of armor.

Belt of Truth:
We talked about how Jesus IS truth and God's Word is where we can find absolute truth.  Satan's strategy is to use lies to confuse and deceive us.  The way we put on the belt of truth is to know God's word so we can tell if what we are hearing is the truth or a lie.  We have to renew our minds so we can think like God does.  The verse we memorized was Romans 12:2a "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."

For an activity, each kid found a belt and hung some "supplies" on it that a soldier (or secret agent) might use.

Breastplate of Righteousness:
We talked about how the breastplate guards the heart and how we desire to have a righteous heart instead of a sinful heart.  Satan's strategy is to make us apathetic to sin.  So to put this armor on, we need to take sin seriously and see it as God does.  We memorized Psalm 51:10 "Create in me a pure heart, o God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."

For an activity, I dared them to put on the plastic toy breastplate we have and put a water balloon behind the breastplate.  The water balloon symbolized their heart.  Would the plastic breastplate protect that heart if they were punched?  Both boys were eager to take the dare, but it was cold and rainy, so we'll have to do it another day.  (I had a different idea for an activity, to make t-shirts, either tie dye or freezer paper stencil, or iron-ons or something, but we went to the zoo the day we learned about the breastplate, so we didn't have time to make t-shirts.)

Shoes of the Gospel of Peace:
The peace of God comes from the gospel - our salvation and identity are secure - so we can be ready for what life throws at us.  Satan's strategy is to use worry, doubt, and fear to paralyze us.  To put on this armor is to reaffirm our identity in Christ and remember that we are adopted children of the King.  We read Philippians 4:6-7 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

For an activity, I bought them cheap pairs of canvas shoes and allowed them to decorate them with Sharpies or fabric markers.  (Another idea would be to make stilts out of coffee cans as seen in Family Fun.)

Shield of Faith:
We talked about how walking in faith and obedience go hand in hand. (Phil Joel has a great song for kids called "When I Obey" that talks about faith and obedience.)  Satan's strategy is to make us disobey God which makes us even more vulnerable to his attacks.  To put on the shield of faith, we need to live according to God's rules and He empowers us to do it.  We memorized Hebrews 11:6a "Without faith it is impossible to please God."

We didn't do an activity for this one, but I planned to let them make and decorate their own shields out of cardboard.

Helmet of Salvation:
We talked about how our salvation is secure; you can't lose it.  Satan's strategy is to make us doubt our salvation or argue about the doctrine of salvation.  To put on the helmet of salvation is to know how to be saved and to share that with others.  We read Isaiah 12:2 "Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the Lord God is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation."

For an activity, I gave each kid a white baseball hat from the craft store to decorate with fabric markers.

Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God:
Jesus resisted the devil's temptations by quoting scripture.  We also need to be ready to face temptations or questions and know what we believe by studying the Word of God.  We read 1 Peter 3:15a "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."

They liked this activity.  We cut a pool noodle in half and they wrapped duct tape around one end to make a handle, and it became a sword.

This particular passage in the Bible really appeals to boys and I think they might have even learned something over Spring Break!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Cookies

I enjoyed making cookies for Easter!

I outlined and flooded the crosses in white.  Once it dried, I added white swirls and pink hearts.

I used the same technique for the little lambs.

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Spring and Easter Mantel

I have a relatively deep mantel over my fireplace and I find it difficult to put stuff on there without it looking too empty or too cluttered.  Suggestions are welcome!

Here is my spring mantel.  I just got the egg wreath at HomeGoods and I love it!

I changed it a little for Easter.  Many people have nativity scenes.  I also have a Resurrection scene!

I downloaded the Easter word art from OneDogWoof.