Saturday, March 30, 2013

Bloated Bunny Buns

I want you all to know that you're the only reason I'm not still holed up in bed being lazy and avoiding responsibility. It's a good thing y'all are here. No but really, I'm glad you are. I hope your Good Friday was great. Mine was a Not-So-Good Friday, but hey...I survived. Now I'm ready to take today by the horns and get something good done. 

So let's get on to today's Pinstrosity. Pinterest is great for spreading around fabulous ideas, recipes, and more. But Pinterest is also a big springboard for misleading pins...which often seem to go viral. Like the miscaptioned "Fill a Balloon without Helium!" pin that everyone pinned (but didn't go to the original site to read the directions and see that the gas you create does not make the balloon float as it is just CO2). Or the whole glowing Mt. Dew hoax that went around. This seasons misleading pin? This one:

The Pin
This photo has gone viral...the first I can find that it showed up online was here: with the photo on the left being from here: More on this in a minute. 
So many people have pinned this as "Adorable bunny rolls!" or "Must make these cute rabbit rolls for Easter!" or something along those lines. Looking further into things...these aren't actually rolls. As far as I can find the bunnies on the left are a seasonal treat made in cookie molds for the moon festival by Minamoto Kitchoan, a Japanese Wagashi company (there isn't a photo of the bunnies on their site, but people keep linking to them saying this is where they originated). They are a cookie with a grapefruit filling (sounds heavenly to me). 

The photo on the left seems to have come from a facebook account with a link to make similar cookies. So the two photos in the pin didn't come from the same source...they're a mash up. 

But the idea is really cute, for rolls or cookies. Make your dough ball. Cut ears with kitchen shears. Poke eyes in the dough. Bake. What can go wrong there? 

The Pinstrosity

Well...that. That's what can go wrong. Poor Andrea tried making cute little "bunny buns" and ended up with guinea pig rolls instead. She followed the technique right for cutting the ears and making the eye holes, so what went wrong? 

The dough. bread/roll/bun dough rises and expands. She didn't say if she put the buns in the oven right after she cut the ears or if she let them rise again (it could go either way by that photo I'm thinking), but either way the dough continued to rise and expand after the ears were cut and the eyes were shaped. We don't know what kind of dough she used, but we do know she said it was for buns. 

If you want to make bunny rolls or buns, you want to form your dough balls and let the rise to the desired size, then cut the ears and immediately put them in the oven. Don't let the rolls rise again between cutting the ears and baking. You also want to make sure you cut good sized ears so that as the rolls puff while baking the ears aren't completely swallowed into the rising dough. If you have a roll/bun recipe that doesn't puff much while baking, that would be an excellent choice for trying to make bunny buns/rolls. 

We also found a link to a video showing how to shape the bunny cookie/rolls:

I was able to find this recipe off of the facebook posting, but I'm not sure if it's for rolls or a cookie (don't think cookie like a sugar cookie, more like an "old fashioned" cookie):

2-1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar

1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
1 egg

Put the butter, the sour cream and water in a small saucepan and heat, but do not cook. Cool to tepid then add the remaining ingredients. Put in a kneader. If thick add more water.
Let it rise double and cut into 16 equal parts.
Baking tray lined with baking paper and cut the ears with scissors.
Then, the eyes can be put, such as pepper grains.

Bake at 375° for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.

She also gives this post as reference for how to help form the right shapes:

So there you have our investigation into the bunny rolls that popped up all over. I know some have had success with these, but some have had trouble. What recipes did you find successful for making these?

I hope all of your final preparations for Easter are going well! Have a most wonderful Easter Sunday tomorrow.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Ever Elusive Perfect Cupcake

Why is it that we as humans are generally more interested in food if it's colorful?! Look at little kids for instance, they LOVE cupcakes, but if you brought out plain white, plain chocolate, and then this bad boy,
...the kids will ALWAYS choose the rainbow ones. Quite frankly I would pick the rainbow one too! Look at it! It's awesome!!!!
Well after what happened to our reader Carrie I think she will be sticking with plain cupcakes for a while. Check it out:
No bueno. When I first saw this picture I thought I was looking at fruity pebbles...not the case.
So what happened? From what Carries tells us this was a case of the overly full cupcake liner :( We have ALL been don't want the cupcakes to sit below the top of the liner, but you also don't want over flow. How do you get the perfect amount in your liner?!
According to TLC Cupcake Wars "How to Make the Perfect Cupcake" which you can find here you shouldn't eyeball it when pouring in the batter. They suggest filling the liner between 1/2 and 1/3 full. Another idea is to do a test cupcake to make sure your whole batch doesn't turn out overly full, or not full enough.
As for rainbow cupcakes, I would suggest doing a spoonful (like your everyday average spoon) of each, ROY G. BP ( I had to accommodate for the recipe) that is 6 spoonfuls, which I think should get you just about between the 1/3 and 1/2 full point in your cupcake liner. Seeing as I don't have any cupcake mix around the house, I can't test it out...darn. :( You might even try a spoon and half for each. TLC did mention that depending on the recipe you are using your batter will expand differently. As a precaution I would stick with a trial cupcake and go from there.
Did I mention how much I love these?! These should definitely be at my next birthday bash...but they are almost to pretty to eat! Almost ;)
Happy Friday Pinstrosipeeps!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Chunky Chocolate "Carrots"

Easter just happens to be on my Mother's (and my brother's) birthday this year, so I've been trying to decide what fun treat to bring over that is both fun for Easter and Birthdays. I also have to keep it Gluten free so I've been trying to find the perfect thing without having to go too fancy. Luckily we had a great submission come in and I think I've got a great idea now. Here it is:

The Original Pin
Carrot Strawberries! Aren't those fun? I think they're pretty cute. Our submitter, Cathy, says, "I came across a buy one package of strawberries, get one free at the store and thought I could make those chocolate covered strawberries that look like carrots from Pinterest - perfect timing for Easter.  Well it turns out, I can't." 

The Pinstrosity

 "I must say that I did not follow any instructions as I have melted chocolate in the past for chocolate dipped pretzels.  Anyway, I tried melting my first bag of white chocolate in my brand new double boiler.  It got way too hot way too fast and I ended up over-cooking the chocolate.  At this point I was determined to get it to the store for some more white chocolate.  So I decided with the second bag of chocolate I would keep the temp down quite a bit.  The chocolate started to clump and I thought "what do I have to lose now?"  So I dipped the strawberry but the chocolate just wasn't smooth enough so this [above] is how it turned out. On the GCT Fail Scale, I give it a 3...because it looks bad but didn't actually taste that bad (according to my husband)!  Lesson learned: buy more Han one bag of chocolate so I don't have to make several trips to the store!  Oh, and read the instructions!"

I have a few theories on this. Here we go. 

  1. The heat. Chocolate is finicky. It has to be melted just right or it is no longer smooth and creamy. If you don't have one of those awesome chocolate tempering machines (and alas, most of us do not), then you have to watch the chocolate to make sure you're not frying it. If you are using a double boiler, you want the heat on low. I know it seems like it would take forever, and it may, but you won't scorch your chocolate that way. You don't want the water in the lower portion to boil...that's way too hot. Many packages now give microwave instructions. I've had relative success with that. Just follow the instructions. I've sometimes even just used a pan on the stove and had the burner on as low as it would go. Stir your chocolate as it melts. 
  2. If chocolate gets water in it, it will seize (clump and get grainy). Always make sure all the utensils and bowls you are using are completely dry, and avoid wooden spoons. If you do end up with seized up chocolate, don't throw it away. says that even though it's not good for dipping anymore, save it for baking! 
  3. Cathy mentioned going and buying white chocolate, but she didn't say how she went about coloring her chocolate. With chocolate you have to use chocolate or candy coloring. DO NOT use just the normal generic food coloring. It will seize up your chocolate. Many places now carry the colored chocolate chips, so if you don't want to deal with coloring your chocolate on your own, see if you can find the pre-colored chips. They make things way easier for those of us who want fewer steps. 
So there are my thoughts and tips for this. Dipping chocolate can be tough, but it's so fun and exciting when it works out! Give it a try!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Get Your Mojo Back

Em here, so school is in full on panic mode. The semester is already half over and it's going to be crunch time soon. This last one has been one for the books! When I have a lot going on at school I tend to not feel very creative when it comes to writing for blog land and get discouraged when I feel writers block.
I suspect that this feeling comes to many of us when we are in the midst of something we usually love but feel less than creative about currently.
This is me right now.
About the blog.
I am sure you have noticed that I haven't been writing as much, and how much of a Super Woman Marquette is. I really don't know how she does it all.
 When I am writing and reading for assignments at school all the time it can be hard to find the motivation to write for fun here on the blog. School can take the pleasure out of it and I usually have someone telling me what to write about which is hard to not have here on the blog. Lately my brain has had NO idea what to write about because I have literally zero requirements given to me by someone! What a novel idea! Writing whatever you want?! It doesn't have to be on APA style?! No literary sources needed?! Shouldn't I be jumping on this opportunity?
I should!
But my brain hurts! And I am tired and want to do literally ANYTHING but write.
How do I get back my creative mojo?!
I am sure we have all been here. This can happen with anything really, cooking, crafting, doing our hair/makeup, gardening, workouts, or even blog writing.
So how do we get our Mojo back?!
How do we get out of the rut?!
One thing that can be hard is having TOO many resources. It's hard to focus on one thing, one topic, one specific task. Case in point: Pinterest.
Pinterest is a seemingly endless supply of creative ideas. But for some of us (myself included) it can be a little daunting. When I do a search on Pinterest for something in particular I tend to not find exactly what I am looking for, or I end up finding WAY too much and then I tend to get discouraged, bombarded, and overwhelmed. All of the sudden I feel the need to cook a homegrown, organic, home cooked, eight course meal that is both  pleasing to the eye, the waste line and nutritious in under thirty minutes. Anyone been there with me? It sucks.
How to fix this:
-Make your searches more refined.
Say you are looking for a garden bench. Try searching for garden bench and then try something more specific, like purple garden bench, or DIY garden furniture, or barn wood garden benches. That way you aren't overwhelmed with every garden bench under the sun staring you in the face, you just see the ones that suite your purpose.
-Be realistic.
For this I would just be more picky about how you organize your pins. Are you really going to paint your living room 15 different colors? Probably not. Does it inspire you and make you smile? Yes! Is there anything wrong with pinning things like this? No.
I would pins things like this to a Smiles board, or Creative Inspiration board, that way you have it when you need it. But for your boards with actual projects pin things to this board that you can actually see having in your home. I have the problem that when I look at my unorganized boards I  get sidetracked from what I would actually use and switch to "Man I wish didn't live in an apartment so I could all this cool stuff." This negativity dampens my creative mood and things tend to just go down from there. Perhaps I am the only one who sees things like this but I am hoping this can be helpful to someone.
For whatever it is that you are stuck on, go back to the beginning. In my case I should go back to the first few months of Pinstrosity when I would write ALL the time. I couldn't get enough! I was so excited and enthusiastic! I wanted to write about it all! This may help you see how far you have come and help you to appreciate your own work and gain some confidence.
Going back to where it all began often gives me the fresh eyes I once had that enables me to do my work now.
Often playing hooky makes me miss it. If I am having a day where I can tell I am just NOT going to get a post in that day, it makes me crave it! You always want what you can't have.
Having a hard time getting into your workouts?
Take a day or two off. You aren't going to get fat I promise. When I skip a workout lately I feel icky and sluggish. It is just that much more of a push to get my butt off the couch the next day. You don't even have to break the routine all together, go for a walk instead of weight training, go swimming instead of running. Break the routine and you may see why it's been such a drag lately.
Sometimes all we need to get out of a rut is a small change, change your music, change your color scheme your working with, instead of baking try cooking or go vegetarian for a few days, challenge yourself. I feel that quite often we get bored with things that were once our favorite activities if we aren't being challenged in someway. Find a way to take it up a notch.
Take time for yourself.
I think this is the most important. We as people are generally WAY too busy all of the time. Take a chill day, or a chill 15 minutes. Read a book, take a bath, heck take a nap! It's good for your health, it's good for your sanity and it may be just what you need to break a rut.
I know this post wasn't a Pinstrosity but maybe it can help prevent some Pinstrosities and get your creative juices flowing.
Thinking of ways to get my mojo back was a fun break from the usual for me and should do the trick in getting me back on track.
Happy Wednesday Pinstrosipeeps!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Carrot Cake Crumble Pop

So I didn't really realize until this past Sunday that Easter is this Sunday! I can't believe how fast it has sneaked up on me. Sneaked...that just sounds so weird. Snuck sounds better, but that's not grammatically correct. : | Anyway. I guess I'm just used to Easter being in April. Oh well. I thought it was high time we get something Easter related up on the blog. don't you agree? I've got a Pinstrosity that we've been saving since July (I can't believe I almost missed the chance to post it). Behold...the Carrot Cake Pops: 

The Original Pin
Not only are they shaped like carrots, but they are made with carrot cake. MMMMmmmm. I love carrot cake. Kacie said that "everything was off to a good start, but when I shaped the carrot cake, it seemed really squishy - it fell apart when I tried to put it on the stick, so I stuck them in the fridge for a while to see if that would help. Later, following the directions of then dipping the cake on the stick into the coating, they totally fell apart. I made a huge mess and the ones that did "turn out" didn't really look too appetizing."
The Pinstrosity

We've actually seen a number of Cake Pop submissions. These things aren't as easy to make as they'd seem. 

It sounds like the main problem here was maybe the cake to frosting ratio. That can be tricky, especially as different cakes have different textures (oohhh....I wonder if you could get an angel food cake to work for these...that sounds good). A comment we received on an earlier post gives a great explanation for how she makes her cake pops work:
  • GirlNamedCorrie says, "There is definitely a fine line between too much frosting for cake pops. When I make mine, I use a box of cake mix to a half of a can of premade icing (Betty Crocker or Dunkin Hines...whichever is cheaper that week). It doesn't seem like enough icing at first, but keep mixing and suddenly you have playdough made of cake! Too much and they will slide no matter what kind of sticks you use."

    "Also, putting chocolate on the sticks before you stick them into the cake ball is a must! I use the chocolate bakers chocolate from the craft store (no need to color the chocolate myself!) and have never had issues with it. If you leave the pops in the freezer for too long, then as they heat up with the chocolate on them, you'll have a huge mess. The condensation will go right through the chocolate and make a very sad, sweaty-looking cake pops". 
One great thing about these though...they can look like poop and still taste awesome. So they may not make your party more beautiful, but they'll still make your taste buds happy.

I'm excited to go through and see what other Easter submissions we have hidden away in the archives...I know we have some more awesome Easter Pinstrosities to share with you all! Check back each day to see what we find. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Monday Laugh

Okay, this really has nothing to do with Pinstrosity, but I just saw this and I laughed so hard. I had to share it with you all. Hope it puts a smile on your face. 

How I Used Pinterest to Plan Our Road Trip

My little sister married my husband's younger brother. Our family tree is an aspen stand...a bunch of trunks all with one large shared root system. It makes life fun and interesting. They live in Mississippi and so we decided it was high time that we go out and visit them. We started looking up places we wanted to see on our drive out there and came up with food ideas, but we had a hard time remembering them all. Enter Pinterest. I don't know why I didn't think of Pinterest from the beginning. We made a "Road Trip" board to pin all the ideas we were finding. We pinned places we wanted to see, in the car food ideas, pins to help me not pack my entire closet, and warm camping tips. After we had our big page of ideas we went through and were able to plan a route that got us to our siblings house in good time while still allowing us to see as many of the things on our Pinterest board as we could. As we narrowed the list down to what we'd actually be able to do we deleted pins from the board so that it would be easy to browse through and find what we were looking for. This made our trip planning so much easier and more efficient! We ended up being able to see a lot of what we had on our board, plus all the fun little things that you just happen on along the way. You really can use Pinterest for so much more than crafts and food! 

And because a post just isn't the same without are some shots from our trip:

Our mini-mes headed out on the road at sunrise. 

See the mini-mes? 

Sunrise in central TX

Somewhere in the middle of TX. 

Arriving in Louisiana...we don't take "normal" photos. 

Tulips in Natchitoches, LA

That's my name on a sign! I never see my name anywhere! (it's in the caption below the says "Depiction of Father Marquette bringing faith to the Indians."

Any Duck Dynasty Fans out there?

Vicksburg, MS

The U.S.S. Cairo. Civil War Ironclad 

My beautiful sister and her adorable boy (in his awesome Big Bad Wolf sweater she made him for Halloween...the eyes used to have pupils, but they came off in the wash). 

Waverly Antebellum Mansion

Some random house in Columbus, MS

Exploring the Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge

The Mini-mes at Elvis' birthplace...sitting on 13 year old Elvis' shoulders.

The Mississippi River in Memphis, TN

White Sands, NM

Us at White Sands, NM

Our trooper car. We love this little gem. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Barbie Box Photobooth

Photo booths have been all the rage for a while now. It is so fun to see all the creative booths that everyone has come up with! I've seen them at weddings, birthday parties, Halloween parties, school dances, etc. They just add some fun to the party, no matter what's going on. There's even this adorable one that was made for a little girl's 5th Birthday party:

The Original Pin
Isn't that fun? I love it. Bowen found this on Pinterest and decided to put one together for a carnival where she lives. She "tried to use a refrigerator box with pink wrapping paper." That seems like it would work...but she had some troubles. 

The Pinstrosity

"The kids still enjoyed it but compared to what I was going for....It was a total fail. Also it was pretty short so lots of the kids had to duck to get in it."

I'd say E for effort! I know it's not what Bowen dreamed of when she set to work on it, but if the kids enjoyed it, then I call it a win. 

Obviously a big key to this is finding a box big enough (not even sure what would come in a box that big), or taping (and taping and taping and taping) a few boxes together to get the size/height that you're going for. As for the paper job in the original pin...that lady is a wrapping paper genius. I can never get it that smooth, which is maybe why I started wrapping things as goofy as I could. Oh well. One thing that could help with a "wrapping" project this big is to use some spray on adhesive. That would help the paper stick to the box so you don't have to cover the thing in clear tape and it might help it to last a little longer too. There's always pink spray paint...but spray paint and I aren't really on speaking terms right now. We just don't get along. Besides, paper would cover up any creases or seams in the cardboard. I'd stick with the paper route. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pop Bottle Paint Problems

You know that art project that looks so simple that even a Kindergartner can make it look good? In fact, you know that art project tutorial that was done by a Kindergartner that looks phenomenal and super easy? Well, it's not. We've all discovered these. One that we've seen once before on this blog (and you'll see it once again today) is this one:

The Original Pin

Do remember how the previous Pinstrosity turned out? No?! Let me remind you:

Gravity and a disappointing shape...not so great. And how about the other project you ask? I'll show you that to (since that's kinda what we are all about here):

The Pinstrosity:
Abby said, "I had a feeling this one was too good to be true.  You could just tell from the original picture that those perfect flowers did not really come from that paint-soaked bottle.  But I had to try it out anyway. I did everything the tutorial said to the T."

"So, for this gem, you dip the bottom of a liter bottle of soda into paint, and proceed to make cherry blossom stamps. Since canvases were $2 a pop at Michaels, I decided to get real fancy with this project."

"Now, I was expecting a huge mess. What I got instead were little circles. No matter what I tried, or how much paint I used."

"I even tried it on a harder surface than the canvas to see if that was the variable that was screwing everything else. And still -- little circles."

"However, this is one failed project that I was able to save pretty easily. Using those little circles as a base, I simply painted in the rest of the "flower" -- probably what the original poster did, to be honest."

"Even though it's not an authentic "soda bottle bottom cherry blossom", it's still quite pretty. I added "cherry blossom" in Japanese Nanji because -- hey, why not? A little something to make it mine."

Finding a soda bottle with just the right shape is key here. Some of them just have the 5 little points, while some actually have that little flower shaped bottom. You may just have to go down the soda aisle checking the bottoms of the bottles for just the right look. When people ask what you are doing tell them you're looking for the prize on the bottom of the bottle, and then leave the aisle. Peek through a crack in the shelves and then watch them try to surreptitiously check for prizes on the bottoms of their bottles. Then if you don't end up finding the right shape of bottle, you'll at least get some good entertainment. 

So that seems like overly simple advise...because it is. I like that Abby didn't let the lack of shape perfection deter her from her goals. If nothing else, that provided a nice little guide to get the spacing for the petals all even. It seems like this would work well on a squishy canvas that you could press the bottle down into...but I've never seen a squishy canvas...someone should make that. Anyone? 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Em here, so is anyone else into the funny cat pictures on the internet trend? I have to admit, I totally am. They. Are. Adorable.
If I am having a bad day, there is literally nothing that a little funny cat video can't fix.
My husband thinks it's weird, and I have to admit I kind of do to sometimes too. I think "Why look at virtual cats when we could just get one? Oh yeah, we live in an apartment...that's supposed to be pet free (we still have our little hedgehog Gypsy though)". Anyways, I think that sometimes when you want a pet sooooo badly you forget what a nuisance they can be. Fun! They are fun, but they can be a nuisance. If you don't believe me look up "dog shaming", or the slightly more attitude driven "cat shaming".
And then watch this video. 
 I laughed for days.
Michelle sent us this pin, which her cat loving claimed for herself.
The Original
I think everyone has seen this pin in one form or another. I actually have this in my bathroom with all my brushes in it just like the picture ( I have those fake colored gems in the vase though, I'm not much of a coffee person).
Michelle liked the idea of having this for organizational purposes and here is what she had to say about it:

"This isn't so much a Pinstrosity as it is a cautionary tale for people with pets who like to try ideas from Pinterest, but I have to share anyways.

...Yesterday, I found a container at Target that I liked and filled it with my favorite makeup brushes, eyeliners, and shadow sticks.  It looked great and I went on with my day.

That afternoon, I was cleaning my makeup brushes and our youngest cat, Abby, jumped up onto the counter.  She began smelling the brushes, picked up one of my eye shadow brushes, and took off with it.  I retrieved it and put it back.  She began meowing constantly, then jumped back onto the counter and took off with it again.  After repeating this several times I began spritzing her with water and finally got her to leave them alone.  I even left the spray bottle in front of the container to scare her off.

Before I went to bed, I found one shadow brush in the master bedroom, DOA. (attached picture)  Again, when I took it away from her she cried so much that my boyfriend came and asked what I had done to her.

This morning two more makeup brushes and a lip gloss were on the floor.

This evening those 2 brushes are MIA.  I give up.  At least they were cheap..."
The CATrosity
Now I really can't think of any way to keep your kitty out of this, but it comes as a cautionary tale for all you animal people! Critters love new and oh so available items, so try to keep them out of reach! I think we forget how resourceful they can be in the wee hours of the night and when they desperately want something.
I don't see myself having any issues with Gypsy on this topic, unless she is Superhog and specifically learned to open her cage, was tall enough to climb out, then shimmied her way up the bathroom counter and proceeded to lick all my brushes, that girl loves to lick.
Anyone have any good solutions for this?
Let us know! We love getting your help/feedback!
Happy Wednesday Pinstrosipeeps!