Saturday, August 30, 2014

Show and Tell Lego Cake

Today's Show and Tell Saturday comes to you out of the submission archives! Take it away Cindy!

I have a pseudo win for you, from the Lego Cake you posted today. It's not nearly as pretty as the original pin, but I thought it turned out pretty great for an amateur! 

I didn't take process shots, but here's what I did and learned:

What went right:

  • First, I did use mini cupcakes for the Lego studs, and they worked out great! Much tastier than marshmallows, I'm sure. I trimmed them to make them round, and made sure I baked them big so they'd be tall enough.
  • I used gel frosting coloring, and a ton of it to get the color right. I think I used an entire jar of red.
  • The pin as it is doesn't make cakes thick enough to really look like Lego bricks - I did two layers to get that look.
  • Stacking the Legos of different colors was tricky (see leveling below), but paid off big time in the overall effect. Highly recommended!
  • I used my own most reliable non-crumbly cake recipe - I knew I would be stacking these up, and didn't want to risk a cake-tastrophe.

What went wrong, and what you should do different:
  • I'm picky about frosting which backfired on me - it's a cream cheese buttercream so it's hard to get really smooth and never really firms up well. I'd stick with something sturdier.
  • This took WAY longer than I had allotted, so by the time I pulled the cake out to add the second layer of frosting after the crumb coat, the party was in full swing. Make this sucker the day before!
  • I cheated on my leveling - when I sliced the layers in half, I tried just flipping it so the flat part was on top. This backfired, and you can see that the cakes still tip to the side and aren't really flat on top, plus the layers are visible where there were huge gaps between cakes. Definitely take your time leveling!

And of course, the verdict? 
My son, who was turning four took one look, and said, "it's not a REAL Lego cake" and left the room. I about cried after all that work! But after adding a Lego border and a few Lego 'candles' and minifigures for decoration, he declared it a success. 

Best part? Delicious!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Throwback Thursday- Wax On Wax Off

Hello! As Fall quickly approaches, (I'm ready!!! Hurry Up!!!) I think about how it's candle season! Yummy cranberry candles, spice, cinnamon, and for all you pumpkin lovers out there, pumpkin spice too I suppose (never been much of a pumpkin fan). Well, to prepare for this glorious season I have a pin for you to keep in mind when you start pulling out all that fall décor. I would think it might be too hot in many places during the summer for candles, so fall just seems to fit here and it just happens to be right around the corner. Here is a pin Marquette wrote back in 2012, Happy Thursday and Enjoy!!
Wax On Wax Off
This whole Upcylce and Reuse movement that's going on has led to some pretty fun ideas and crafts. Sometimes it reminds me of the Depression verse "Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, or Do without" (can you imagine how much money everyone would save if we all lived by that). I have a box of things that normally would have gone in the trash but now they're waiting to be used for some grand new idea (I really do make things from that box...the proof is here). This Pinstrosity submission gave me more ideas of Upcycle projects to do...only I have to finish burning the candles I have.

The Original Pin
The cold temperature will cause the wax to shrink and loosen from the sides of the jar. Get a dull knife and carefully stab the wax to break it apart.
How many of us have burned a candle down to the bottom and have a lovely little jar with a small layer of wax at the bottom (and on the sides-not because fingers have been dipped in the melted wax of course)? Okay, I currently don't but that's because I was given quite a few candles all at once and I haven't gotten to the bottom of any of them. But I will before too long. Lizzy had  a few lying around and saw a pin on how to get the residue wax out and decided to give it a try. 

"I'm not really into manual labor, so I very rarely DIY. But i saw this pin and thought it was a no-brainer, plus I have several candle jars with like 2 mm of wax left, and it felt like a waste not to try this one out. Directions were easy: pop into the freezer, pull out, scrape, peel label, voila! I planned on turning my jar into a mini flower vase." 

"So I put mine in the freezer, I take a dull knife out, and as I begin to scrape out the wax, I see that it's frozen solid and ready to slide out. Easiest. Pin. Ever. "

The Pinstrosity

"But apparently, I squeezed the glass a little too hard, and the glass shattered in my hands. Something so simple, a toddler could have done it, and I end up almost slicing my hand open."

"The problem: Perhaps it was too frozen? The directions said to leave the jar in for an hour and than jokingly, the author notes that s/he left in for days by accident. So did I because I totally forgot about it for about 4 days."

The glass being really cold could definitely have been the cause of it's breaking. As things get colder their particles contract and pull closer together causing a high level of brittleness in some cases (like with glass). I don't think it's terribly common to be able to squeeze a cold glass and have a break, but if there was already some structural damage (a chip, a small fracture, or sometimes even an air bubble) the glass can be weakened enough where it will shatter easy. 

The idea of the pin sounds plausible and easy enough. It's a new method to me, but I know chipping away at a frozen glass would make me a little nervous (I'm a little clumsy sometimes). Let me share a few other ways to get rid of the candle remains from those pretty little jars. At the end I'll tell you how to get the thin residue layer of wax off the sides. 

1. Microwave Method: Put the jar in the microwave and nuke it for about 30 seconds. The wax should melt enough that it can be popped out with a butter knife. I've nuked a jar longer than that so the wax is melted all the way and then I pull the jar out (with hot pads of course...DON'T just grab it with your bare hand) and I stuff napkins in to absorb the melted wax. 

2. Place the jar in a pot of boiling water (make sure the jar is room temp) or in an oven at 200F. Let the wax melt either to wear it is easy to pry out or allow to melt completely and then remove the jar with hot pads. Either pour out the wax (in a paper cup or the trash, NOT the drain as it will make instant clogs) or soak/wipe it out.  

3. Wikihow suggests to "Pour boiling water into the jar. The wax will melt and float to the top. Leave the jar for a few hours, and when you come back the water will have cooled and the solid wax will be floating on top."

After removing the main chunk(s) of wax, there will likely still be a residual sheen of wax on the jar. This can be removed with hot soap water, baby oil, or olive oil. If there is still a strong smell leftover from the candle that you want to get rid of pour baking soda OR vinegar (NOT both) in the jar and let it sit overnight and wash it well in the morning. 

And one final method I recently discovered to rid the jar of the extra wax: leave a candle up-side-down in your car on a hot summer day and the wax will melt out of the jar. Yeah...don't try that one actually.

Mozzarella Sticks: When Captions Attack

One of the pins that took Pinterest by storm was the one for making your own baked mozzarella bites. Basically bite sized baked mozzarella sticks. For so many it turned out so wrong.  Today I have for your viewing pleasure a similar pin, only this time it's making the full cheese stick, not just a bite. 

The Original Pin
Mozzarella sticks. MMMMmmmm! I can hardly make it past Sonic without ordering me some of these. Georgeann found this on Pinterest and saved if for their family pizza night. "I was so looking forward to this. My family (my six kids, my husband and I) planned a pizza night in. I bought all the fixins for DIY pizzas and planned to make these DIY mozzarella sticks. I followed the instructions exactly and this is what I got."

The Pinstrosity

Looks like our previous entries for the mozzarella bites, but I thought I'd go to the original site and see if I could figure out where Georgeann went wrong. I was a little confused once I got there. Georgeann stated she followed the directions, but the original site friend their mozzarella sticks rather than baked them. And then I knew what happened. Immediately I went back to the pin she had found on Pinterest. Here was the caption: "Just dipped them in milk then Italian bread crumbs. Baked for 10 mins at 425. So simple!!!!!" So she did follow the directions exactly, just the wrong directions! This happens quite frequently with Pinstrosity submissions. BEWARE OF CAPTIONS! Sometimes captions are right on and offer some extra awesome insights and ideas. Sometimes they are beyond Pluto in outer space. Read the captions, and then ALSO read the original instructions on the website. If they differ, I'd start with the original instructions first unless the Pinterest caption has a really really great added tip about what can or can't be added or substituted. 

Now, am I calling for only ever following exact instructions and never using Pinterest as a place for inspiration for experiments? Nope. And I know that bothers some of you, and I'm sorry. Yes, there are times when the instructions should be followed. If you want something to turn out exactly like the original, you should follow instructions. But, sometimes there is a pin that triggers an idea. Try that idea! The world can always use fun ideas and new twists. This would be a boring world if no one had ever deviated from the known. I for one and glad for whoever had the idea to mix Root Beer and Ice Cream. And Peanut Butter and Chocolate. So, don't get to upset at people for flexing their inquisitive and creative muscles. We need those people in the world just as much as we need those who will and can follow instructions rigidly. I love a creative and inquisitive mind in the kitchen, but I'm sure grateful for those that can follow instructions when building a house. Not that people who build houses aren't creative or inquisitive; I'm just glad they don't think "Hey, I should build this section of the wall with Playdough and see if it works!". You get my drift. 

So...check the captions, check the original instructions, and carry on! You're awesome. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Pinterest Inspired New-To-Me Eclectic Jewelry Armoire

While I don't have a fail for you, I do have a success story for you, and it's from me!
About a year ago Chip came home with a surprise for me. He works for a furniture store here in town and they deliver, fix, put together and move all sorts of furniture. On one of his service calls a customer asked them to take away a few pieces of old furniture she didn't want anymore. In that pile of furniture was this jewelry armoire:

It's not the best picture (lighting!!!) but this is what Chip brought home ( he asked her first if she would mind if he snatched it up for his wife, she said "Go for it!"). I was IN.LOVE. However, it had some transformations to go through. I had seen a few things on Pinterest that I liked that had a vibe I was going for:
I love the idea of mismatched styles, eras, colors and sizes in the chairs in this pin. This gave me an idea for the knobs.
I originally saw this backsplash at a friends house and was hooked and then totally forgot about it, until I saw it on Pinterest again! Bonus, I found this "metal" (mines plastic) backsplash at Home Depot for cheap!!
You know that disgusting baby poop green/yellow (chartreuse) that everyone hates??? It is my FAVORITE THING EVER!!!! I had to do this chest in my icky chartreuse because it wouldn't have screamed Emilee any other way. AND I LOVE IT SO MUCH!!! :D
So there are my Pinterest inspirations, here is the work in progress:
Bonus: there is a cat in this picture can you find her?? Curious little critter.

We had to take out all the drawers and pull out the original drawer pulls which was a pain! And then we had to take the tops of each drawer and drill new holes, put everything back together (which was also an adventure). I was contemplating using a primer, but the original really wasn't too bad, so I tested different numbers of coats on a little section on the bottom just to see what it would do. It was determined that we would be ok without primer and with two coats of paint. By the way, my mom came with me when I picked the paint and she couldn't hold in the giggles the whole time we were at Home Depot because she thought my color choice was just hideous, "Why would anyone like that color?? hehehe It's just so icky!" Oh I love her.
This project sat in my parents work shop for the last year or so getting picked at and dusty, and then picked at some more, but mostly dusty until this summer. We house sat for my parents for two weeks and I made a $20 bet with my dad that it would be done when they got back. He knowing my lack of finishing skills took that bet and I am glad to say, he had to pay up!!!
One year later, five trips to the hardware store and lots of work later, here is my new-to-me finished jewelry armoire!!! *Drum roll please*

I am SO happy with how it turned out! Originally I was just going to do the green, but it needed a little somethin' somethin', so I added the teal. The knobs are from all over, Hobby Lobby, Anthropologie, Home Depot, and World Market to name a few. I was slowly collecting a few here and there and my mom gave me a few as gifts a while back.
This is about 2 AM on a work night...I HAD TO FINISH IT!!! (I didn't have the knobs with me, but really it was done at this point).
It always feels great to finish a big project. What have you finished lately??
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Mix It Up Monday: Do Good Anyway

Do you ever have times in life when you feel like you are getting the same message from so many directions at once? This has been happening to me these past two weeks. When this happens in my life, I've come to find that it is often the exact message I've needed. That has definitely been the case this time around. Often the message isn't a new concept, just something I needed to remember. I thought that for today's Mix It Up Monday I would share with you some of the quotes and ideas that have helped to motivate me lately in hopes that they might help at least one of you as well.

The first quote that stuck out to me is this first one, attributed to Mother Teresa (I saw a comment on a Facebook page where someone said Mother Teresa had it hanging on her wall, but it was not penned by her. I haven't been able to verify an author yet.).
 Isn't that fantastic?! It's struck a chord deep in my soul. We get so wrapped up in the "What's in it for me?" and the "But they don't care." attitudes, that we forget how important it is to Do Good Anyway. Yes, it will get taken for granted sometimes (sometimes more often than we'd like), but that doesn't make it any less important. Do good. It makes others happy. It makes the world a better place. And, it uplifts and enlightens your soul.

Go out there and share goodness. Be goodness. Enlighten and uplift your corner of the world, and together we can make a difference.


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