Yummy Recommendations

I just wanted to share a link with you today.  Have you been to My Baking Addiction?

Well, I highly recommend it.  Everything I try from that site has been great!  There are so many recipes out there on the web.  Sometimes I have high hopes and end up disappointed.  But sometimes I try new recipes and they are fabulous and end up in my recipe box.  Yes, I'm old school and I still have a box.
So here are two recipes that have ended up in my box:

I love the snickers cupcakes.  I've made them with a couple versions of chocolate cake, including the one that it says to use.  But what really kills me is the caramel buttercream and chunks of snickers on top.  Seriously yummy!
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I was inspired by this site to make chocolate covered strawberry cupcakes.  I didn't use their frosting recipe, I used the sprinkles recipe, and I also added a chocolate syrup drizzles.
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I've often thought that I have a baking addiction, so the site is aptly named for people like me who are always on a quest to find the best and newest recipes.  Go check it out!

Ginormous Napkins Make Good Drapes

Before you judge this room, please consider this the before picture.

Okay, you can judge me.  Because I'm not a decorator, or a seamstress.  I'm just a DIY kind of girl who believes that where there's a will there's a way!  I know I still have to incorporate some color and accessorize in this living room, but I'm pretty excited about my start... because of the gray.

Yes, I have fallen madly in love with gray, along with a large portion of America.
I'm all about neutrals and I've always love black and white anything.  So gray is like the best of both worlds, right?  I love that the main focus of the room is the piano.  So, I have to stay with a little bit of black, but I wanted a lot of gray.  The wall color is "bedford gray" (Martha Stewart at Home Depot) and I love it so much, I painted my son's room the same color.  The chairs are from World Market and the little table from Pier One.  But I wanted to share how easy my faker drapes were to make.

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I didn't need functional drapes because of the shutters, so I skipped the whole lining thing.  I just needed some pretty fabric to frame out these windows.  I used regular 44" fabric and measured the length I needed to make the drapes reach the ground.  Then I hemmed the sides and mitered the corners.  I used this napkin tutorial to make napkins recently, so I basically treated this piece of fabric like a huge napkin.  Is that allowed?  I'm not sure, but it's good enough for me!
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My fave drape rods are allen + roth from Lowe's.  They're chunky and easy to use.  The rings come with loops that you could put pre-made drape hooks in, and they also come with little clips you can use!
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You can clip these right on top of the fabric like you see here.
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Then it will look like this.  Which I wasn't that impressed with.  I love the function of the clips, but I didn't really want to see them.  So I did some experimenting.
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What I ended up liking was when I did it this way:  I measured my ginormous napkin and divided it evenly to see where I would put my 7 clips.  Then I ironed a pleat  in each increment to mark where I would place the clip.  I placed the clip about 2.5" lower than the top.
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So then when I hung the rod, the top of the fabric covered the clips.  This is the look I was going for.
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See the difference?  They are both fine, but I think hiding the clips looks a little more formal.
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I have fun experimenting as an amateur designer in my home.  I've already picked out some pillows and I'm on the hunt for fabulous accessories.  I can't wait for the finished product.  The best part will be sitting in this room, listening to my kids play piano, as I look at the drapes and think to myself, "those are some cool and really large napkins."

He is a Shark, I am a Soccer Mom

I'm the mom of a soccer player.  I'm still not quite sure of all of the underlying meanings and stereotypes that the term, "soccer mom" entails, but I'm pretty excited to be one.


After years of ballet and music lessons with the girls, we are dabbling in sports with our little guy.
I'm new to the scene and I'm not quite sure of all the ins and outs of the soccer world, but I'll tell you that I love it so far.  I love that he is coached by two great friends who are patient and fun!  I love that he asks me everyday, "Is it soccer today?"  And I LOVE how stinking CUTE he is in his baggy, over-sized uniform.

He loves running around with his friends at practice.  He loves the attention he gets from his older sisters who are so proud of his every move.  He loves spray-painting a blue stripe on his hair as his "shark fin."  He loves the chant they do in the huddle.  And he REALLY loves the snacks!
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He is pretty excited to be a "shark," which is what they chose for their team name.
So of course I jumped at the chance to do a shark cookie.  And yes I wrapped it up with cellophane and a tag.  I know there will come a day when he will ask me not to do cute things to his food (for fear of embarrassment), but until that day comes...  I'm livin' it up!
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And he and his little friends were pretty excited about their shark cookies!
That shark didn't even make it off the field before it was eaten.
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Ahhh yes...  These are the little things that just warm my heart.
A happy little boy, and an excuse to make a cookie.

Monsters and Eyeballs- Guest Post

It's time to stock up on your monster eyeballs.  Halloween is a comin.'


Go see my guest post over at somewhat simple to see the monsters that I made with these little eyeballs!

Keep Calm Cookies

Love em or hate em, they're all over pinterest.
Yes, I'm sure you have seen this little poster, or some version of it if you are on pinterest!
Who knows where these originated, but people can't stop creating new versions.
Just check out what a search of "keep calm" will give you on pinterest!
So I HAD to include these on our series of "pinterest inspired cookies."
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These are pretty simple to create.  Just make a rectangle cookie, frost a solid color and then write!
I used my projector for this, but free hand would work too!

I don't have a rectangular cutter because I figure I can just cut it with a knife.  Well, that is good in theory, but the problem with sugar cookies sometimes is spreading.  I find that with my recipe, the more flour I put in, the less spreading is a problem.  However, they are softer if I don't add that extra flour.  I know there are some recipes out there without leavening ingredients in them, but I tend to prefer the taste of this recipe.  Another trick that I find works is to cut out the dough, then put it in the freezer for about 20 minutes, then put it straight into the oven to bake.  The colder the dough, the better it will hold it's shape, and not spread.

BUT....  If I want the cookies extra soft and I don't have time to chill the dough and I want clean straight edges, I use this trick:  As soon as you remove the cookies from the oven, you can cut/trim them straight.  While they are still warm and soft, they can be cut without breaking.
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The downside is that the side where you cut will be a little less clean.  But the upside, is that from the top of the cookie, it looks like a pretty sharp rectangle.
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Here is the bottom edge, that was not cut after baking, if you want to compare.
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It's pretty hard to get a lot of rectangles the same size without a cutter, so I'm thinking about investing in a set.  But can you tell which one of these I did not trim after baking?  And most of the time, no one would notice the rough edge on the side.
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Of all the versions of keep calm, this one has to be my favorite.  Because sometimes when I see a new, fabulous idea on pinterest, I am having a small freak out and I need to be reminded...
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And get ready to FLIP OUT when you go see how cool Callye's 
Ombre Cookies turned out.

A Chalkboard... Just Because.

I made myself a chalkboard.  Just because I felt like it.

Chalkboards are all the rage right now.  I hesitated to enter the craze right now, because the thought of chalk dust everywhere makes me nervous.  But alas, I just couldn't resist the cuteness.

Remember when I made these shelves?  Well, they aren't totally done being decorated for Fall, but my chalkboard is giving it a good little start.
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In order to get it the right size and shape, I grabbed some butcher paper, folded it in half twice then cut some snazzy curves.  I opened it to see if it fit where I wanted it.  Then I folded it back up to fine tune and trim my curves.
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I just traced my shape onto a scrap piece of 3/4" mdf.  Then I cut it out with the jigsaw, sanded and primed.  I used several coats of a krylon brand spray chalkboard paint.
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Then I nailed in some picture hanging things to attach it on the wall behind my shelves.
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Or, it can go on a picture stand.  And I'm pretty sure I'm going to want to use it vertically as well.  I'm thinking this sort of thing would be fun for Thanksgiving.
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While I was at it, I made one for my sis, so I can't wait to see how she uses it.  As soon as she gets her camera fixed, I'm sure she'll be sharing that with all of you too!  Hint hint!  Wink wink!

And I'm sure she'll thank me for the chalk dust everywhere.  :)

Guest Post at Eighteen25

I'm guest posting today over at eighteen25!  If there is anyone out there that isn't already in love with this blog, then you are about to be.... Go check it out!  They have a way of making crafting look sophisticated and classy.  They have wonderful ideas and printables to share!
I'm really excited to be a part of their September Spooktacular and I'm sharing my project/gift idea for 
You might guess what my inspiration is...

POST EDIT:  It just ocurred to me that I saved the tag file and I can share it!  If you'd like to print out this simple tag, go to this link here...Jack-o-lantern in a jar tag.

Cupcake Topper Cookies

....And we're back!

Callye and I just can't get enough of pinterest inspired cookies, so we decided to keep it going and post more whenever the mood strikes, or whenever pinterest strikes our interest!

So, I'm sure you've seen plenty of darling parties with darling cupcakes!  And lots of the darling cupcakes out there in blogworld have a cupcake topper in them!  I know there are lots of fun shops that sell printable versions, one of my favorites being TomKat Studio.  But my job here was to take that inspiration and translate it into a cookie!

These were my back to school cupcakes with cookie toppers!
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So I simply made the topper out of a cookie, instead of paper.  I used a 1 3/4 inch scalloped circle cutter.  I make sure to roll the dough a little thicker when I'm going to put a stick in.  Also, make sure the dough is nice and cold.  This way it won't get all warped as you push the stick in.
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I bake them on silpats (nonstick pan liners) with the stick right in!  I also remember to bake for less time than usual.  These small little cookies cook pretty fast and we still want them to be soft.
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After they've cooled, you can frost a circle and let dry.  I did the inner circles and outer edge with "10 second icing."  See this post if you need an explanation on that.
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I did the border by first piping a circle so I have a clean inner edge.
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Then I essentially make dots on the little scallops and blend with a toothpick.
{Can you please pretend I didn't forget to pop the bubbles in this white icing?  Thanks!}
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So, just as the possibilities for paper toppers are endless, so are the cookie possibilities.
These were so easy.  After I did the base and border, I took my edible ink pen and made red laces to turn them into baseballs.
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A simple monogram would be fabulous for a birthday or shower!
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Cupcake toppers can be very girly, but also very cute for boy parties.
I was thinking of a pirate party when I made these!
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This time of year you might be inspired to make some Halloween toppers.  I had a little disaster with my Halloween set.  I had a candy corn, witch hat and a bat but water ruined them.  {Lesson learned: Move the cookies far away from the sink when you do dishes.  You might splash!}
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This little treat may be the best of both worlds.  A small bite of cake and cookie!  No one's going to complain about the extra treat!

Pinterest Inspired Cookies

Callye has some fun pinterest inspired cookies today too!
Go check out her Subway Art Cookies on Sweet Sugar Belle!

Vintage/Modern Wedding

Wait, is that allowed? Can you pull off not thrift store, not your grandmothers, not get out the moth ball vintage? But fresh, awesome, modern, makes me hate my wedding vintage?

Can you DIY it and still have it look elegant and romantic?

If you are my sister-in-law and nieces, yes you can!!

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This is my darling niece, Kristen, and her hubby Keith. If you can't tell they are cute as buttons from just their torsos, here' s the rest of them. I kind of wanna put them in my pocket, they are so darn cute!

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Kristen MADE all of these bouquets and she never found a tutorial so she just jumped right in and made it the way she wanted to.

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And the boutonnieres. Seriously, stop it.

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And don't even get me started on the endless photography talents of my niece, Shandi (Kristen's sister) of Shandi Marie Photography. All of the beautiful pictures in this post are thanks to her and she designs the most extraordinary invitations with her photography.

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And if you haven't fainted from awesome overload yet, you might want to sit down. Ashleigh and Michiko catered the wedding! I can brag about them because I tasted everything (more than once) and I couldn't even pick a favorite. It was mouth-watering amazingness! Savory meatballs, Creamy pesto ravioli, Lemon Garlic Shrimp, Bacon-wrapped Smokies, and Tri-tip skewers with Chimichurri sauce which I might want to marry, no offense dear husband :)

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And did I mention too pretty to eat? Cake pops with disco dust, Chocolate covered strawberries, Mini cheesecakes with three different toppings, and you are all well aware of the beautiful cookies Miss Ashleigh comes up with.

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And, do you see those signs on stands to label the food? Made. By. Ashleigh. She needs to do a post and tutorial immediately if not sooner on those cuties!

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Cake? Gorg! We can't take credit for it but it succeeded in vintage modern so it was invited to the blog post.

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The girls gathered all sorts of vintage treasure for the centerpieces. Half the tables had vases with branches and half had vases with fresh flowers mixed in to the treasures.

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Everywhere you looked there were little details like these chandeliers just hanging from trees. (And a life sized cardboard cut out of their brother who is on a mission in the Dominican Republic. Hilarious! ) I loved the bridesmaids dresses which they happened to find at the mall. Since those two cute nieces on the left are only 17 and 15 they wanted a bit more coverage for the strapless dresses. They used the lining of the bottom of the dress to make a shrug that exactly matched the dress! Very clever girls!

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Thanks for letting me brag a bit about some of my favorite people and their talents. I loved every bit of this wedding and I have a feeling there is a very happily ever after in store for these two.

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