Cupcake Project

I have recently had some really exciting opportunities.
One of them was being asked to make some cupcakes.  This is what I ended up with!
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I made my best cupcake recipe, best frosting and toped it with a white chocolate snowflake.
I made the snowflakes the same way I made my turkey feet and chocolate hearts, on parchment.
cupcake

Then I put them in these cutest little stands.  They are kind of a combination of an apothecary jar and a mini cake stand.  I'm in love with them.  They would work with any food, but afterward, you can put any adorable decor in it and put it on your shelf.  A simple Christmas ornament would be perfect.
stands

To top it off, I added some cute ribbon, tied in a simple bow.
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And there you have more than a simple cupcake.
You have something to get really excited about taking home.
stands 2

I also needed to find a way to deliver 18 cupcakes.  Carrying in 18 stands to one person might be cumbersome, so I found these adorable blue cupcake boxes online.
boxes 2

Chocolate cupcakes on the bottom.
chocolate in box

Vanilla cupcakes on the top.
cupcakes in box

And the deal is sealed with some more cute peppermint ribbon.
boxes

Doing this project has confirmed that:
I love blue and red together.
I love making and decorating cupcakes.
I can't get enough of cute glass jars.
stands 4

Cookie Party

First off, did you notice our makeover?
I had been playing around with our blog design and it still wasn't right.
Then I found the fabulous Lindsay Nicole Design Studio.  I fell in love with her clean, simple and beautiful designs.  We used one of her templates and made some personalized changes and.... tadaaaaa!  I love it.  It's not too different, but much better!

Now for some more cookies...
I made these for my daughter's class!  I have given kids real gingerbread cookies before and found that many of the kids didn't actually like the taste of gingerbread.  (Silly kids).  Sticking with a sugar cookie version of a gingerbread man is usually a hit with all kids.
gingerbread men

I also wanted to share with you this version... made by a fun group of kids.
kid made

We had a little cookie party with some friends and I think it was a success.
I do things a little differently when kids are decorating.  They have a hard time with the outlining and filling process.  The royal icing usually ends up sliding right off the sides of the cookie.  Plus, there is no time for it to dry when they want to eat it right after you make it.  I find it works well to use a spreadable buttercream, or in this case, dyed store-bought frosting.
girls

Then I also made some royal icing and put it in squeezie bottles for them to decorate with.  The royal icing flows really easily from the bottles and is easy for kids to use.
Don't you love the moment I captured in this picture on the left!
Z kids

Of course they can get really fancy with mom's help!
The Ts

Miss A

I just wanted to share what I found works well after doing many cookie sessions in kids' classrooms and at home.  Good luck with your cookie parties!

I also want to thank a few sites who have recently featured our work.  I was really excited to discover these great sites!  Take a look at:
Crazy Domestic
Boy oh boy Crafts
Crafts Unleashed

Christmas Ornament Traditions

Apparently, I'm one of "those moms" that's a bit too much of a control freak and has to have two Christmas trees. One for me to make pretty and the other for everyone else.

I always like to encourage individual expression, just not when it messes with my mojo :)

So this is the kids' tree. They decorate it from start to finish, I do not rearrange anything after they go upstairs, promise.

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They love to put the ornaments up because one of our traditions is that they choose an ornament each year. I write their name and year with Sharpie on the bottom so they love to remember some of their more....uh.... interesting choices over the years.

Like when Jared wanted to collect very large owl ornaments.

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We have a very large assortment of homemade ornaments from every preschool and primary class. And here, size really doesn't matter.

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And a trip down memory lane from when Corinne made this in preschool and since then has grown up to choose cell phone, iPod and fancy shoe ornaments. (Shedding a tear here).

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And, we have some real treasures like our beloved scantily clad Princess Leia from a white elephant ornament exchange.

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I actually laugh out loud almost everytime I pass this tree in our family room. It's our family in a nutshell. For better and mostly worse.

And, I have my tree, that faces the front of the house.

The one that the neighbors see.

So they think we are normal.

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I collect angel ornaments for my tree because they remind me of my mom. When she was ill, this scripture gave her strength and comfort.

"I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up."

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So, everytime I find an angel ornament, I think of her and the example she was to me.

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Especially when I see a crazy angel, cause she loved to have fun.

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My Christmas trees aren't perfect and I'm not submitting them to any blogs to be featured but I just thought I'd share with you why they make me happy.

Happy tree trimming. :)

Present Cookies

These gifts come wrapped.
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I had fun making cookies for this little cutie who is staring as "Clara" in the Nutcracker.
She gave out these cookies (wrapped with ribbon and an ornament attached) to the whole cast.  But her "Clara gift" wasn't the best part.  It was for sure, her dancing.  She was adorable!  Her real life brother played her brother Fritz and her little sister was a mouse.  They are a good friend's darling kids and I think they're headed for big things!
Clara

I wanted the polka dots to meld into the frosting, so I did them while the green frosting was still wet.  I wanted the ribbon to stand on top of the present, so I let the bottom dry completely before I did the red.  Using a #44 tip made with a thick consistency of royal icing made the ribbon look kind of realistic.
presents

Believe it or not, I'm not done yet.  She just ordered another batch.
Yep, I believe it is a success since they're coming back for more! YAY!

Holiday canvas art

So Ashleigh and I started our Black Friday madness on Thanksgiving night when we went to Michaels, only we didn't realize they closed in 30 minutes.

What's a girl to do with a great coupon and only 30 minutes?

We made some kinda rash decisions.

Like when we both bought huge canvases with only a vague idea of what we would do with them.

Since I couldn't really hide the evidence of my hasty purchase (there's just nowhere to hide that beast), I decided I'd better put it to use.

I saw this card at Tiny Prints and was inspired by the way the writing looked.

tiny prints

So, I found a font I liked, and projected it onto my canvas with my hubbys work projector, traced with pencil and then painted. Yeah!

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I painted the colors first and then the words in silver acryllic paint. I couldn't figure out what to fill the centers of letters and finally decided on some bling, also known as pink glitter.

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It's still a work in progress but I think my new canvas added a little something different to my mantle this year.

Anybody wanna come to Michaels with me? You never know what last minute decisions I will inspire you to make.

And, I have a coupon!

Peppermint Brownies

This is what failure looks like:
peppermint brownies 3

Don't get me wrong.  Mint Brownies are a tried and true hit.  You can't go wrong with them.
But I had something fabulous planned for my neighbor gifts.

And it was a flop.  Failure.  Didn't work.

It was one of those things that was fabulous in my mind, but didn't turn out even close to that when I tried it.  Then I had idea #2.  It didn't work.  I think everyone has experienced this and hopefully you can sympathize.  In our creative endeavors, some things just don't work.  I'm just so glad that some things DO work out as well as they did in my head.  Like this.  And this.

And I'm glad I have a few standards (like mint brownies) that are always there for me in times of need.
peppermint brownies

So with some nice candy boxes from my local cake store and some ribbon to top it off...
I came up with this for the neighbors.  I dyed the mint frosting pink, instead of green and sprinkled my favorite peppermints (Bob's) on top.  I didn't even have a cute saying to go with it.  Just a plain old tag that says "Merry Christmas."  And I feel good about it.  :)
peppermint brownies 2

I also like a simple satin ribbon.  It reminds me of Martha.
peppermint brownies 1

Do you think Martha ever has flops?
Probably not.
But maybe she has.  And maybe she turns to her "mint brownie" recipe for comfort too!

I'm linking to Today's Creative Blog!

Soccer Madness Cookies

I love watching my kids play soccer.
I love warm breezy afternoons, breathing in fresh air, sitting on the sidelines cheering on my little cherubs.
I love seeing my kids progress from being scared of the ball to charging in for the goal.
I do not love lugging lawn chairs, snacks, cameras, and small children from a parking spot in the next state to the field.
I do not love that the kids seem to always need to use the nastiest park bathroom on the planet or 8:00 am games.
But, the fun always outweighs the bad, and I'm a sucker every year when it comes to sign ups.
Alas, the end has come of a somewhat painful season. Camille's team won every game, Will's team won about half, and Jared's team...well...there's always next year. Or not.
So in honor of the end of the year party, I used Ashleigh's copy cake to assist me in making some soccer cookies.

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I guess they were a hit because every 5 minutes one mom kept taking 3 cookies and putting them in her purse. I don't know if she forgot she was bringing snack to the soccer game or selling them on ebay, but she sure liked them. That's when I knew I had a winner on my hands.

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So whether you are doing a happy dance that soccer season is over or in a state of depression, a soccer cookie makes everything a little better.
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