Archives for December 2013

Craft numero uno: cake pops

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I don’t know how many of you celebrate Christmas at least 3 times with different sides of your family, but we sure do. Amid the hubbub, I managed to squeak out craft #1: cake pops. I know, I know. There’s no element of real danger minus the Gorilla Glue, but I had to start somewhere.

A reason I’m happy with these, aside from them coming out looking quite pretty and appealing, is that this mommy of three (two of which were “helping” wearing huge smiles and little aprons, grabbing at the ingredients with little helper-elf fingers) is because I figured out a short cut way to get them done, bypassing some of the more complicated recipes. (Ain’t nobody got time for that.)

Have a few small kiddos begging to help, and don’t want to bust out half of your baking ingredients? You’re nodding. You get it. We’re on the same page.

You’ll need:

  • A box of any type of cake mix and all ingredients for that mix (consult the box) – I normally stay away from anything with artificial coloring in it, but this time, I used red velvet, cause after all, ’tis the season.
  • 1 cup of flour
  • A cake pop maker
  • Melting chocolate of your choice
  • Decorative flair of your choice (sprinkles, syrup, etc.)
  • Treat bags
  • Lollipop sticks
  • A colander

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How to:

Step 1: Prepare the cake batter as per the box directions, and add 1 cup of flour to stiffen it up. You want it to be just a little thick, but not so thick that you can’t stir it easily.

Step 2: Blob a teaspoon full or so cake batter into your cake pop maker, pop it shut, and wait for the ready light. If you’re like me, you will be asked “Are they ready yet?” at least 17 times by your eager, smiley assistants as you wait while you reminisce about how this act reminds you of your mornings at college making amazing, giant waffles with perfect square craters for syrup in the cafeteria’s breakfast bar. Moving on…

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Step 3: Remove the cake pop balls, and set them aside. Warning to your baking assistants: they are HOT. H-O-T, hot.

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Step 4: Heat and melt the chocolate according to the package directions. Be super careful NOT to overheat the chocolate. There’s no going back if you seize it.

Step 5: Take the cake pop stick and dip the end of it in the melted chocolate, then place the cake pop on it. I’ve found that the chocolate acts as a cement of sorts. A delicious one.

Step 6: Spoon your chocolate over the cake pop, and decorate them with whatever sprinkles or syrup you’d like. If you feel like your chocolate is too thick, add a little (very little at a time) bit of milk and stir until it’s to your liking.

Step 7: I bet you were wondering what the colander was for. Turn your colander upside down, and insert the cake pops into the holes. Voila. No lopsided cake pops when they’re dried! If you want to speed things up, let these babies dry and harden in the fridge before you package them up.

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Craft #1: success! Next up is this candle holder. If you see me foraging for twigs in the snow, you’ll know why.

The blog is UP…and my DIY resolution!

glue

Behold THE glue of all glues…OH, and don’t get it on your skin!

This blog has been a long time coming. It’s time! I’ll be ranting and reflecting on just about anything that comes to mind! So, upfront – thanks for reading Ruffles and Trains!

What has also been a long time coming is me being able to create a DIY craft *without* gluing my fingers together. No joke – that really happened, and it was 100% un-fun. And it wasn’t with Elmer’s glue, no, no. Hardcore “avoid contact with your skin” could-glue-a-chair-to-the-ceiling Gorilla Glue. This was the end result of trying to make some adorable hair bows for my girls late last winter: FAIL.

The first thing that came to mind when I realized that I couldn’t move my thumb away from my pointer finger on my left hand because, well, I had applied glue in the wrong spot on the “easy to make” hair bow (pppphhsst) was the kid in the Christmas Story movie who sticks his tongue to the flag pole in subzero weather, and it freezes onto the metal. Exactly at the same time, I pictured what a shining star of brilliance I’d look like explaining to the ER staff that my fingers were glued together in a botched attempted at craftiness, and how they’d be all professional and help me out, take my giant co-pay then laugh about it in the staff room later. Then, I panicked.

After jumping up and down in the middle of the kitchen around 11:45 pm (as if that would loosen the glue), and after numerous applications of soapy, warm water and several bouts of muffled shrieking, I was free.

Why this DIY interest? (You’d think I had learned my lesson, right?) I’m surrounded by crafty people. Aunts, my mother, cousins, my sister – they are all DIY divas. So inspiring! I’ve often been labeled as“artsy,” and I’m definitely a visual person. Crafty? Not so much. What I’ve come to realize is that being “crafty” requires persistence and patience, the latter of which is a virtue that I reserve for my three kids and not much else. It’s also something that I’m not too fabulous at (you don’t say?), and because I’m that person who somehow finds a way make things a little harder for herself, here I go!

One recent example of the insanely amazing craftiness I’m surrounded by.

This is Dana Van Decker’s Thanksgiving table!

People, 2014 will be my year of DIY crafts. I’ll be picking a craft and giving myself 2 weeks to complete it, and then moving on to the next one. I’ll post the final product (along with the gorgeous Pinterest picture that lured me in, if that’s the case,) side by side, after each endeavor.

Wish me luck! (Cause I’m gonna need it!)

 

Spiritex

Spiritex Butterfly Dress

Looking for a unique, 100% green option to add to your daughter’s wardrobe? ML Marsh, owner and creative director of Spiritex, based in Asheville, NC, brings more gorgeous design to her children’s line with her monarch butterfly dress. Made of recycled PET blend from recycled plastic bottles and locally grown and in the US, Marsh took inspiration from the beauty of nature and vibrant monarch butterfly wings.

spiritex8

I’m loving the bold oranges contrasting with the strong blacks and whites in this dress that stand out as original compared to the usual pinks, purples and pastels that most girls’ clothing lines carry. Feminine and whimsical with soft lines from the petal-shaped cut on the dress hem, Spiritex’s butterfly dress can also roll down and be worn as a skirt when your daughter outgrows it!

You can find this imaginative piece here , and it’s available in sizes 2T, 3T, 4T, and girls 6 and 8 for $75. Allow 2 weeks for delivery due to the unique nature of this item.

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