Thursday, April 28, 2011

Upcylced Bottle & Jar Frames

How cool (and yet ridiculously simple) is this idea from Photojojo for picture frames made using glass bottles and jars? I am slowly amassing a collection that, until now, I had no idea what to do with. This is such a great idea!

Via Photojojo
Via Photojojo

You can click over to Photojojo for instructions but it's really as simple as sliding a picture into a jar. I can't wait to create my own display!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Party Perfect - Wills & Kate Viewing Party

While I can't profess to love the concept of monarchies I can confess that I do find the royals quite fascinating and I am looking forward to this Friday's Royal Wedding. Where I live, the ceremony begins at 6am so I will be getting up and ready for work super early so I can watch before I have to leave for the office. Sadly, I'll be watching alone because my husband thinks I'm crazy but if I was having a viewing party I'd be stealing a few of these ideas...

Betty Crocker has a whole page devoted to the event including invites to download and creative ideas for food like this Union Jack Fruit Pizza.

Design Editor is offering some awesome free printables that you can use to decorate on the cheap. (these are all over blogland so I apologize if you've already seen them a thousand times!)

Via Design Editor

If you're willing to part with a little cash then Bird's Party has an adorable set of printables available for $7. The picture below only shows a fraction of what's included. I love the little corgi!

via Bird's Party

Last, no viewing party would be complete without a toast to the happy couple. I think Jamie Oliver's Champagne and Strawberry Cocktail sounds absolutely delicious. And the fruit makes it ok for morning consumption. Right? ;)

via Jamie Oliver

Will you be watching the wedding on Friday?

Monday, April 25, 2011

By the Batch - Easter Cupcakes

I know Easter has now passed but I wanted to show you the cake I made for dessert. I used a giant cupcake pan from Wilton to make this oversized cupcake.

The instructions say you need to use a pound cake so I used this recipe from Duncan Hines to turn boxed cake mix into pound cake. I will definitely be hanging on to this recipe because the cake turned out really moist and delicious!

I iced the cupcake with french vanilla frosting starting with purple at the bottom and working my way to yellowy-green at the top using a big star tip. My inspiration was a flower with the green as the centre.

For a little extra I added some coordinating sprinkles in purple and yellow. I wish I would have taken a picture with something in it to show scale so you could see just how big this cupcake is but to give you an idea, that first picture is the cupcake on a dinner sized pasta bowl.

With the leftover batter I made some cupcakes and iced them with the leftover green frosting, just one big star on the top of each.

Hope you had a wonderful Easter full of sweet treats :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Easter!

We don't really do Easter presents around here but I couldn't resist these fillable eggs and chicks that I came across yesterday so this year everyone in the family is getting a little chocolate from me and Chris.
I hope the Easter Bunny brings you a little something sweet of your own and that you get to enjoy a long Easter weekend full of family and fun :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

DIY Easter Cards

Just a really quick post tonight to show you the Easter cards that I've been working on today. I still have a couple more to make but I'm really happy with the ones I've completed so far - each one is as unique as its intended recipient :)

Are you working on any last minute Easter projects before the weekend begins?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

DIY Dyed Easter Eggs

No set of Easter decorations is complete without some pretty eggs. And while you can buy all sorts of plastic versions, I decided this year to try my hand at dying my own. I used regular food colouring to achieve some pretty pastel colours and finishes and it was really easy!

First you have to decide whether to blow out your eggs or just use hard boiled. I tried blowing them out but I'm really bad at it and broke three before I gave up. This close to Easter it's no problem to dye hard boiled eggs - the only drawback is you won't be able to keep them for next year. To make the dye just add a teaspoon of vinegar and 10 drops of food colouring to a cup of warm water. For more vibrant colours you can use more vinegar but I wanted mine to be softer. You can vary the shades by leaving them in the water for less or more time or by double dipping in different colours. I did these eggs using four bowls of dye - red, blue, green and purple (which was red and blue food colouring combined).

To make spotty eggs dip an egg once and let it sit for 3-4 minutes in the dye. Remove it and let it dry. Once it's dry, scribble all over it with a crayon - it doesn't matter what colour because you'll be wiping it off - and put it back in the original dye for another minute or so. Remove and use a paper towel to wipe away your crayon marks and smudge the second coat of dye. Each one will look different.

To make a spotty egg just add some cooking oil to your dye. You can dip a plain egg in oil and dye or you can colour in plain dye, let dry, and then dip in a different colour with oil. This one was done with green dye first and then purple dye with oil. This effect looks a lot better in person than it does in my pictures!

You can draw pictures or write messages on an egg with a crayon and then dip it in dye. Again, it doesn't matter colour the crayon is because you'll be wiping it off once it comes out of the dye.

To display my eggs I decided to keep it really simple by cutting the top off of a regular egg carton. I added some bits of raffia, ribbon, chipboard letters and some paper embellishments.

I had so much fun making these eggs and they look really pretty as the centrepiece on our kitchen table. I'm going to have a hard time throwing them out next week!

P.S. Linking up to

Party Perfect - Free Easter Cupcake Toppers

After a long day at the office yesterday I found myself with no energy for a Tuesday post. However, I've used some vacation time to lengthen the Easter long weekend so I'll be back again later today with a second post to make up for it! But for right now, let's get to this week's Party Perfect post.

I love cupcakes for a party. They have a lot of benefits - you eat them with your hands so you don't need to provide plates and cutlery, they are super easy to make and there are tons of ways to customize them. If, like me, you aren't able to work magic with an icing bag, then printable cupcake toppers are always a safe bet. I've rounded up some options for you to use this weekend!

The first comes from Skip to My Lou. You can grab her Bunny toppers here or her Happy Easter toppers here.

The second set of toppers is available on The Printable Party Shop by OMG. Click here to visit and see what other uses this set has.

I love these cute bunny and chick toppers from Bubbly Nature Creations. She also shows you how to make your own cupcake wrappers with scrapbook paper.

Last, but certainly not least, are these super cute Bunny Ear toppers that you can use to make your cupcakes into little rabbits. Thirty Handmade Days gives you the printable and shows you how to make feet and tails here.

These are my favourites but a Google search will definitely yield tons more. Adorable and easy Easter dessert? Check!

Monday, April 18, 2011

By The Batch - White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

This weekend, after a little hiatus, I went back to my Martha Stewart Cookies book and decided to try White Chocolate Chunk Cookies.

According to Martha:
A glass of milk is the ideal accompaniment to these drop cookies. Besides white chocolate, the cookies are also chockablock with oats, coconut, golden raisins, and walnuts.

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups good-quality white chocolate chunks
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

I didn't have access to chocolate chunks so I just used white chocolate chips. I also omitted raisins since I'd have to buy a giant bag and knew they'd probably go to waste.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Mix in eggs one at a time until combined. Stir in vanilla.

Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. Gradually stir into butter mixture until combined. Stir in oats, chocolate, coconut, raisins, and walnuts.

Drop batter by heaping tablespoons onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing about 2 inches apart. Flatten slightly. Bake cookies until golden, 16 to 18 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks for 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks to cool completely.

According to Sarah:
These are a pretty basic drop cookie and very simple to make. Once you've added all the oats and nuts the batter gets incredibly thick so you'll need to mix it by hand instead of using the mixer. The batter was so thick that I broke my cookie scoop! As for taste, I have to admit that I don't really like these cookies all that much. The flavour is pretty bland and the texture is like you're munching on a mouthful of oats. Chris likes them though so maybe they're just not for me. If you're a regular reader you know it pains me to pan something made by Martha but I guess there's a first time for everything. These will not be added to my repertoire.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Easy Easter Lamp Redo

I don't normally post on the weekend but I had some major computer problems yesterday (as in my laptop completely died) and I didn't get to post. So today I'm using my crappy backup computer and figuring that my Friday post is better late than never! Today I'm sharing a really easy idea for adding a little Easter to a room by adding paper to a lamp.

Those with Silhouettes will know that ever week they give away a free shape. This week's is a rhinestone template and, even though rhinestones are really not my thing, I was sure I could think of a way to use it.

Via Silhouette

I have a lamp from Ikea in my living room that I've had for years. I'm not sure if it's exactly the same but it's similar to the GRÖNÖ they have for sale now. I decided to apply the egg shape to it.

Via Ikea

I cut the egg template twice onto double-sided Amy Butler paper so I had one egg in each design. Then I backed them with corresponding origami paper in plain colours so that the pattern would really show up. The last step was to use tape to stick the paper to the lamp so that it'll be easy to remove when Easter is over. Since I decided to only cover two sides I made the shape wide enough that it hangs over the edges.

With the lamp off it mostly just looks like pretty paper but when you switch the light on the egg shape really glows. If you try this yourself be sure you use a lamp that stays cool to the touch when it's switched on. Even then, you should keep a close eye on it.

This was a quick and easy way to add a little Easter to the living room and I love how pretty it turned out.