Birthday Cake (decorating)

One of my family’s birthday traditions is decorating a cake for the birthday person. Growing up mom would let us pick out the shape and design we wanted for our cake and then she would decorate it for us. As we got older we helped her make and decorate our birthday cake. Everything I know about cake decorating I learned from my mom. This year I made my cake by myself.

Starting out, I frosted the sides and top edges of the cake with homemade white buttercream frosting.

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Then I colored a portion of the frosting that I’d put aside sky blue. I dropped the blue frosting on top of the cake and blended it into the white frosting with a knife.

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I decided to do the writing next (usually my mom and I put the writing on last when we make cakes together, but I decided to put it on at this point so I’d know how much space I needed/had left over for the rest of the cake design). Piping in writing is challenging! Before I piped the writing in on the cake I practiced on a piece of parchment paper so I had an idea of how large to make the writing and what sort of letter spacing I would need.

cake_creativelyus_3 I forgot to take a picture of just the tree structure… so here ya go, two steps in one… I mixed some coco powder in to a portion of the buttercream frosting to make a rich brown frosting then used a star tip to create bark for my tree. Next I put two different buttercream icing greens (one a bit more yellow-green, the other more blue-green) together in the icing bag with a leaf tip so I’d get variegated leaves. I piped on leaves wherever I thought the tree needed some leaves. I could have stopped there, but mom gave me a few new tips for my birthday so I decided to use more of them and add some flowers to the tree.

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Orange is my favorite color… so, orangey-peach flowers! Next I added yellow centers to the flowers.

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cake_creativelyus_6 cake_creativelyus_7And here’s a picture of the finished cake! I am very happy with how it looks. It tasted good too!

 

Christmas Tree Topper

The first Christmas after we were married we got all done decorating the tree and discovered we didn’t have a topper. A quick run to the corner drug store fixed that with a $1 gold glitter snowflake/star/thing. It wasn’t amazing, but it worked.
This year I decided we needed to actually have a respectable tree topper, so I sewed an angel tree topper. My mom gave me the pattern for the angel they have on top of their tree. It took a lot longer and was a lot harder to make than I was anticipating! Part of that was the fact that I tried to cut a few corners to “speed things up” and, ya know, the way the pattern said to do it might have been right…
So many ruffles! So much gathering! All this took forever!
Princess Leia hair!
I’m probably most proud of the wings. I didn’t like the quilting design on the original pattern so I created a design of my own. For inspiration I looked at quilting patterns online, Maori designs, and butterfly wings. From those, I drew a pattern (freehand!) for one wing and then just mirror imaged it for the other wing.
I decided not to sew a face on the angel because if faces go wrong, they look horrible, and at best they’re staring down at you from atop the tree, which is kinda creepy in my opinion.
I think it looks pretty awesome on top of our Christmas tree! It’s definitely a huge improvement over our $1 tree topper.

Time Lapse Christmas Tree Decorating

Today we picked and cut down our Christmas tree for the year. We were a little more conservative than in previous years and got a 9ft tree. (We have gone up to 14ft in the past.) We thought a fun creative project would be to shoot a time-lapse video of our time decorating the tree. You get to enjoy four hours worth of work in less than a minute – lucky you.

(You may have noticed that our tree does not have a topper yet… we’re looking forward to showing you the one Kristine is making in our next post!)

Oreo Turkey Truffles

One of Sean’s friends gave him a recipe for these really simple Oreo Truffles years ago and now everyone asks for them whenever we go to pitch-ins or parties. For one of our Thanksgiving get-togethers this year, we decided to make the truffles look a little more festive. If you need a last-minute recipe for a Thanksgiving-themed desert, we’ve got the perfect one for you right after the photos!

This makes about 30 truffles, which will serve at least 15 people. (They are so rich, very few people will eat more than one or two.)

Ingredients:
1 Package of Oreos
1 8oz Package of Cream Cheese
1 12oz Bag of Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Yellow and Red Icing

  • Crush the Oreos in a large bowl and knead the cream cheese into the Oreos until it is all a consistent mixture.
  • Roll the mixture into 1″ balls and place on a cookie sheet. Chill these in fridge for 1hr.
  • Melt semi-sweet chocolate chips and dip Oreo balls into melted chocolate to coat them.
  • Pour some of the melted chocolate into an icing bag and pipe the tail feather design onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. (Another option, which we thought of later, would be to use chocolate covered pretzels instead. – If you try this, let us know how it turns out.)
  • Place the chocolate-covered Oreo truffles onto the base of the tail feather designs.
  • Use the yellow and red icing to make a beak and wattle on the top of the truffle.
  • Place back in the fridge to chill.
  • To serve, set the turkeys upright on a tray. (Some may need the bases shaved down a bit to stand upright.)

Also, if you’d like a great recipe for cranberry sauce, check out our friends’ post at www.thestricklins.com.

Literary Pumpkin

I carved my pumpkin this week! I don’t really get into the whole Halloween thing, but I do love carving pumpkins. I also love children’s books (especially artistic ones) so I decided to combine the two. Suzy Lee is my favorite wordless book author/illustrator and so I decided to use the cover for Shadow on my pumpkin. My grandpa gave me a woodcarving set way back when and the tools work great for carving pumpkins!