Happy New Years

Happy New Years!! So I’m not much of a New Years resolution maker, but since my husband just showed up with a guitar for me for my New Years present I guess my New Years resolution is to learn to play guitar. Ok so here’s the deal I’m an interior designer and I really haven’t put up many interior design posts. So basically we have a music room in my house, well the floor plan calls it a living room, but it’s actually more of a sitting room since it’s small. Anyways I figured it would be a good place to put a piano and my husbands bass guitars. So my plan is to hang the bass guitars around the room, put up a picture rail wainscoting and make it a fun, “rock-n-roll” room. So that will be a blog post with lots of fun pictures… stay tuned. Just thought I’d share this since I’m kinda excited about my guitar.

Ok so back to what I was planning on posting… my champagne cupcake recipe.

Here’s your shopping list:
1/2 cup butter softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup champagne, I used Sofia Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I used a kitchen aid mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix together the softened butter and sugar until it’s well incorporated and beat until light and fluffy. Then add eggs one at a time and beat the mixture well after each egg. Then add vanilla and beat the mixture some more to make sure all the ingredients are well mixed and light and airy. This is a dense cupcake batter so I like to try to make it as airy as possible. Next in a separate bowl shift flour, baking soda, baking power and salt. Then in another separate bowl (yes you will have 3 bowls going on at one time) whisk together champagne and sour cream. Careful of the bubbles. Now add flour mixture and champagne mixture alternately to the butter mixture. Make sure to start and stop with the flour mixture. Then be sure to mix everything together really well. Spoon batter into cupcake pan with cupcake wrappers, fill the molds about 1/2 full. Bake 17-22 min… just until the cakes are starting to turn light brown on top and a toothpick comes out clean. Don’t over bake or you’ll be left with dry cupcakes.

I found that since the champagne crystalizes as you bake you will be left with little sugary crystals in your cakes… yummy.

For the champagne buttercream frosting:

3 tbsp. champagne or sparking wine (I used Sofia again it’s my favorite sparking wine)
2 sticks of butter softened
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
yellow food coloring

In your electric mixer, beat together soften butter and powdered sugar. Once your have nice thick and fluffy frosting slowly add the 3 tbsp. of champagne to the mixture mixing well. You can add more or less to taste just be sure if you add more to adjust the amount of powered sugar you add so you don’t end up with watery frosting. I added about 2 drops of food coloring to the frosting to give it a light yellow champagne color.

Put frosting in a pastry bag and just cut off the tip and frost cooled cupcakes (yes important be sure your cakes are cool this is a buttercream frosting and will melt on warm cakes) Then I topped with pastel yellow pearlized sprinkles to look like bubbles. (you can get this sprinkles from Michael’s if you can’t find in grocery store, I think Party City carries them too.) Make sure to keep your completed cakes in the refrigerator and serve and enjoy!

I also made some champagne jello shots:

Shopping list:
2 packages Mixcheif by Jello, add your own juice… .25oz packages
pineapple juice (pasteurized, this is important or it won’t set up)
champagne or sparking wine (again I used Sofia)
peach schnapps and/or St. Germain (this is an elderflower liquor it’s super yummy)
sliced straberries

This is what the jello package looks like:

So here’s what I did:
Combine 1/2 pineapple juice and 1/2 water and bring to a boil. Slowly mix in the 2 packages of jello and let boil while mixing for 3 minutes to be sure jello mixture is dissolved. Then take off heat. I added 1 1/2 cups champagne (with a little peach schnapps and St. Germain in the champagne mixture to sweeten it up) to the hot jello mixture, poor into cups, throw in a sliced strawberry and chill for at least 4 hours. Then ta-da, New Years Eve jello shots.

Just a note, you can’t use fresh pineapple or the jello won’t set due to the enzymes. Pineapple juice is pasteurized and the enzymes are killed during this process, and boiling the pineapple juice also breaks down the enzymes so it will gel.


Simple Christmas Decorations

So it might be weird to make two posts in one day, but I just figured it would be easier to keep my craft tutorials separate from my inspirations photos. That way if you need to reference a projects you don’t have to scroll though other pictures… etc.

Anyways, since it’s been Christmas for me sense August, (I worked on HGTV’s Secret From a Holiday Stylist staring Emily Henderson) I really didn’t feel like digging out all my Christmas decorations. So I went simple this year and honestly, I enjoyed it a lot more. So I got this cute tree… it was tiny, cheap, real, and would fit on my sofa table and look adorable in my living room. Who says you need a big Christmas tree?? See how excited I am!!

I then made my own garland by finger weaving yarn like you learned as a kid. If you don’t remember how to finger weave you can refresh your memory here Then I made some garland for my staircase using a birdhouse, felt pinecone I made, string and bright green tinsel.

Last I made some cute sockman, snowman made out of socks and rice and I found the tutorial here

And of course my felt ball wreath, and I posted the instructions here. I also made some Christmas trees by just covering styrofoam with yarn and topping with a felt ball.

Hope everyone had a crafty Christmas!!


Crazy Christmas Crafts

Alrighty, so I have to say this blog stuff takes more time than I thought… or I could be just slow at it since it’s so new to me. Anyways I said I would post how to make a wool felt ball wreath and here it is. You will need to get wool felt balls, you can order them from etsy or I ordered a whole bunch of them here. You will need a couple hundred depending on the size of your wreath. You will also need a strong sewing needle and upholstery or heavy duty thread. Regular sewing will break so be sure to purchase heavy duty thread and a needle that can accommodate the thread. Last you need to get a wire wreath frame. I found mine at Michaels for about $3.

So start off by tying your thread and stab 3 balls, then wrap and weave your thread around the frame and stab 3 or 4 balls and repeat. Basically you want to weave your thread around the frame while adding more balls until your wreath is complete. Don’t be afraid to adjust how many balls you stab at a time so they fit the frame nicely. Then when you are all finished, get really excited, hang and enjoy!


Sweater Reindeer


OK so you know those animal heads that keep popping up everywhere. They are sometimes made of cardboard or papier-mâché, anyways I’m a fan and I wanted one to go above my fireplace for the holidays. However I wanted to spice things up a bit and make mine out of a sweater. Originally I was going to make a sweater moose, however I decided on reindeer and just proceed to still call him my sweater moose. The good news is that I am going to share with you how you can make your own sweater creature.

Ok lets start with what you will need. First you will need a pattern. You could go out and buy a cardboard head to cover but my husband said if I am going to make one then I need to make it from scratch. Plus it’s cheaper. I got my pattern here and just took the PDF and enlarged it at Office Max on their large format black and white printer. Total cost about $6. So now that you have your pattern time for your shopping list.

enlarged pattern
sissors
foam core boards (I used 2)
rubber band
xacto knife
glue stick
hot glue gun
ployfill
yarn for antlers
sweater (I got mine from goodwill for $6)

So the first thing you do is cut out and glue your pattern to the foam core. Then cut your pattern out of foam core with your xacto knife. Make sure to use a sharp blade and have some sort of cutting mat under your board. Once all your pattern pieces are cut out proceed to assemble your reindeer.

He will look look like the picture to the right give or take depending on what size you enlarged him too and how good your cutting skills are. The next step is to glue the start of your yarn to the base of the antler and proceed to wrap your antlers until they are covered. Don’t worry about being precise when you are wrapping, just wrap until they are covered. I used 1 piece for each antler just changed direction to get each extension of the antler and when you get to the tops put a dab of hot glue to hold the yarn on the tip. When it’s dry proceed to wrap back down until all the antlers are covered.

Once your antlers are done you have made it to the fun part. So get your thrift store sweater ready. To cover the face of your deer you will need to cut one of the sleeves of at the arm hole. Next turn your arm inside out and pull over deers face. The shoulder should be at the base of the ears, then use a rubber band (I used a hair tie) Tie off the where the nose of your deer is going to be and cut off extra fabric. Turn your sleeve right side out and pull it over your deers head and poof you are 1/2 way covered.

Feel free to use any polyfil where you feel you need to stuff your deer head along they way so you can’t see his foam core skeleton. I didn’t find I needed a lot of stuffing if you just pull the sweater tight as you go. Next I used the cuffs of the sweater to give my deer different textures for his ears. I just cut out two for each ear, glued them together to make an “ear sock” and pulled them over the ears to cover them. I liked the look of the raw edges so I didn’t bother to turn those inside out and get all fancy.

Now all you have to do is cover the neck and your done. This is a bit tricky but the good news is the sweater will stretch so you have a lot of forgiveness. Cut your sweater and use just the front or the back of the body. Next drape the sweater fabric over the neck inside out and form a seam at the front of your deers neck pulling the fabric so it makes a snug tube and reaches all the way up to meet the sleeve to used to cover his face. Either glue or sew this front seam so you have a tube.


Turn the fabric right side out and pull the tube back over your deer and hot glue the neck edge to the edge of the face sweater and leave those edges raw just like the ears. Last pull the sweater snug around the back and hot glue to the back of the neck and trim off excess. Tie a scarf around his nice and thats it’s your own sweater reindeer. Total cost about $20 not including the scarf. Feel free to share this tutorial with your friends or on your blogs, just be sure to link back to my blog for credit.


Pumpkin Cheesecake White Chocolate Bites

So here’s my other Thanksgiving recipe. These were quite a hit, kinda like an adult version of a cake pop without the stick. If you really love cake pops you could just stick a stick in these and poof instant pumpkin cheesecake cake pop.

All right lets get started with what you need to make these yummy little treats:

1 box yellow cake mix
ingredients the yellow cake mix calls for.. eggs, oil etc
1 can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (you can find these in the spice section)
I tub pre-made cheesecake mix
1 bag white chocolate
optional crumbled nuts to garnish

Mix up yellow cake mix according to instructions EXCEPT substitute pumpkin puree for the water and add pumpkin pie spice. If your mixture seems too dry to can add in a little water but I don’t usually find it necessary. Transfer your batter to any cake pan and cook according to cake mix directions. After removing from the oven, let the cake cool completely. Once the cake is cool crumple into a bowl

Next mix 2/3 of your pre-made cheesecake mixture into the bowl with cake crumbles. This is where it gets messy, you can use a spoon but I find it easier to combine the mixture with my hands since you will have to roll it into balls anyways. Once the cake crumbs and cheesecake are combined into a dough, roll into balls and place in the refrigerator for 4 hours to set… or you can set them up faster in the freezer if you choose.

Once the balls are set up melt your white chocolate in a double boiler. Be careful and heat slowly since white chocolate is harder to melt than dark chocolate. Keep the temp. low because the chocolate can seize up if heated too quickly.

Once the chocolate is melted dip the cold pumpkin bites into the chocolate until they are covered and transfer to wax paper to cool. If you choose to make cake pops put the stick into the ball before you dip into melted chocolate. I choose just to dip the top of the ball in white chocolate but your can cover the entire ball if you so choose. Sprinkle with nuts and serve. These balls are better served once the white chocolate is set. Just note, since the cheesecake filling will need to be refrigerated, be careful the refrigerator can cause the white chocolate to weep a little so it’s better these are made and served the same day, but they still taste good after a few days in the refrigerator.

 

Oh and here I posted a picture of what pre-made cheesecake filling looks like in case you haven’t seen it before, it’s found right next to the cream cheese.


Cranberry Orange Crepe Cake

Ok, so I know I said I would post up my Thanksgiving recipes but I had someone working on my site… so I’m a bit late but save these for next year… or the crepe cake is good for Christmas too.

Ok so Cranberry Orange Mascarpone Crepe Cake:

first thing you need to do is create a cranberry orange puree, I got the recipe for the puree here but I’ll list it below

2 bags fresh cranberries
2 cup sugar
1 cup fresh orange juice (from about 1/2 of a large orange)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients except vanilla in heavy large saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens and the cranberries start to pop. Allow to cool slightly and transfer to a food processor to (carefully!) puree, or use a hand blender to puree in the pot. Stir in the vanilla extract. Transfer to a bowl, covering with plastic wrap, pressed down on the surface to avoid forming a skin on top of the puree. Refrigerate to cool completely, at least 4 hours. It’s very important you let this completely cool and “gel” as you can see from my pictures the filling is darker on top because I mixed the Mascarpone with the unset cranberry puree for the last few layers because I ran out… and it didn’t mix very well. So I suggest making the cranberry puree the night before and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.

Next you will need mascarpone, I used 5 tubs. Yes, you will need a lot. Combine the cooled and set cranberry orange puree with the mascarpone until you get a pretty creamy pink colored mixture. Leave a little extra cranberry orange puree left over so you can use it to spread on top of the completed cake. Once your mascarpone and cranberry puree are combined, mix in the powered sugar to taste. You want to be left with a even color spreadable mixture. Sweeten to taste with powered sugar, as some like it sweeter than others. Mascarpone has a natural sweetness so I probably used only 1/2 to 3/4 cup powered sugar for the entire mixture. Now you need to get your crepes ready… so you have the option to make your own crepes.. OR cheat like me and buy the prepackaged kind. You find the packaged kind in your produce section near the strawberries in a speciality grocery store. They have no preservatives and are quite tasty and will save you tons of time.

The last part is the assembly of your cake. Start with a little powered sugar under your first crepe so it doesn’t stick to your plate. Then place a crepe, and spread a thin even layer of mascarpone cranberry orange mixture. Stack on another crepe… and repeat… and repeat… and repeat… I used about 25 crepes in my crepe cake but you can change that number to whatever suits you. Hence why I bought the prepackaged crepes, I didn’t want to make 25 crepes that would have taken me FOREVER! To finish off the cake spread the cranberry orange puree you saved on top and I choose to garnish with a orange peel flower. Let the cake chill for a few hours so the layers set and ENJOY!!

Feel free to share my recipe just please credit or link to my blog.


Well here goes nothing…

So, I am brand new to this whole blogging adventure. I used to consider myself an internet socially awkward person. I was resistant to social networking, maybe because I felt like the internet would reject me, like a date who never calls… but I have over come that fear with the attitude, “Blog like no ones listening.” Well frankly no one is listening yet… but I hope I can get some interest & feedback and conquer the blogging world.

This will be a space to share my projects, ideas, thoughts and inspiration, and obsessions with all things design. I also hope that this will be a place for my followers (I will find a few of you out there, hopefully) to comment and ask questions. So many people have design related questions but feel as though they cannot afford a designer. And some designers don’t want to answer simple design questions without getting paid. Well HERE please ask away.