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, most often 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.).

Update: You guys never fail me! We received an email from Sarah clearing up the author of this poem. "I just wanted to drop a line to let you know that that poem so often attributed to Mother Theresa was actually written by Dr. Keith.  There is more about it on his website:"
 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.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Flashback Friday: Redneck Waterbed

Why is today Flashback Friday? I'll tell you. It's because I have a Pinstrosity to share with you today, inspired from a pin that "fathered" two previous Pinstrosity posts. 

Behold, Pinstrosity #1:

Rachael found that if your land isn't completely flat, you run into trouble.  Rolling blog anyone?

Pinstrosity #2:

Magdelyn found out that ironing plastic isn't very fun, and that plastic is prone to holes when jumped upon by young yahoos. 

And then finally today I give you Pinstrosity #3:

Rowan followed the instructions at this site, but learned that this was a lot of work for only 10 minutes of playtime. "This photo is taken after only ten minutes of play. My nephews loved it but It quickly got bunched up and sprung leaks. Thankfully I did not add the food-colouring that the post suggests because otherwise I would have ended up with coloured children. In the end we just ended up with a wet tarp.... Really not as fun as advertised."

So, three ladies have found this isn't as easy or as satisfying as it looks at first. But for those 10 minutes it does work, is sounds like fun! Visit the previous two redneck waterbed posts (click on the names of the two previous submitters) for the various tips submitted with these Pinstrosities! 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Throwback Thursday- Back to School Supply Cake

This Throwback Thursday post is by Marquette from the end of last summer. I think it applies as school is just starting and what is more school-ish than school supplies?? Check it out! Happy Thursday!

Welp. We're nearing the end. It's been a good run, but all things must come to and end sometime unfortunately. The clouds here today reminded me of winter clouds and I had a mini panic attack. I'm just not ready for summer to be winding down, but sadly it is. School is just around the corner (a few school districts start up next week! I think that's insane!). Luckily we still have another month before school starts back up here, unless you're taking summer courses...poor unfortunate souls (please tell me at least a few of you thought of Ursula). A while back we were sent in  a great idea for a supply "cake" that you can give as a gift. Know a recent high school graduate heading off to college? A teacher you just really love? A new teacher jumping into the pool of public education? This could be a really fun idea to do for them to help them jump start their semester. Or...give this project a pin spin, as our submitter did, and adapt it to any occasion. I have a friend who will be leaving with the Peace Corps and this may be really fun to do for her!

The Original Pin:
"Pack up a shower caddy with tools and essentials for surviving freshman year in college – all the little things they might forget. A small sewing kit, shower flip flops, laundry instructions, ear plugs, and a screwdriver."

Fun stuff, no? I love it. Bri took this idea and morphed it into what worked for her and her sister. Here's her story:

"My name is Bri and I have a story for you!! I am LDS and my sister last week got called to serve an LDS trial mission. She lives in Salt Lake City and had 5 days to get ready for the first 3 months of her mission where she will stay in Salt Lake for the time being. I currently live in Oregon so I hopped on a plane the day after we found out what was happening so I could help out. So I had ZERO crafting supplies with me. My mom decided to throw a party together and I knew that she would need "supplies" Like paper and pens and notepads etc. So I headed off to Wal-Mart. My first "failure" was going while my sister was with me... I would come back to the cart with all the things and she would be like "Your doing that Pinterest thing, aren't you!?" And she would wink her eye. However there was no way to go to Wal-mart without her. So I just brushed it off and said "Heck No! I have not crafting supplies and would I really buy stuff for a Pinterest project for you while you are here, these are for the poor people mom drives by everyday." She of course knew this was the worst excuse in the world and came back with "why would homeless people need pens and paper!?" By this point I was out of comebacks so I smiled and walked away. And every time I saw her she would ask how the homeless people would use the various thing I would find. I just went with it and I sure the people around us were laughing at my crazy stories.  Her party was on Sunday and I got the stuff Friday night. But I knew looking at the picture and not being able to find any instructions I would have to have help with it. So my friend came over and brought even MORE pens and pencils. And we got to work. I had gotten 2 beach towels to use as the center. I tried stacking them on top of one another and taping the crap out of it. But it kept toppling over. So we stood the towels next to each other on the big notebook. We then took wider items and placed them around the "bottom". I was dead set on having this thing look like the picture, but newsflash 3*5 cards when stacked together do not bend. My mom even told me to unwrap each pack and "layer" the cards into a circle! I about died. Cards would have flown everywhere. This would have been ten times worse than 52 card pickup. So I finally had to give in and make it "square", If you can call it that. So we took the next items and made a second layer. Luckily we had some smaller items that could be put in the corners and it made that layer "roundish". The top layer had a pen holder and going to Wal-Mart at 11 at night made me forget that's what I needed. So the pens, pencils, and highlighters I bought we used for the cake part. And the loose pens, pencils, and highlighters my friend brought we used as fillers. My friend also made a cute jar with thoughts and quotes to help my sister out so it was decided that would be top. However when we placed it right on top of the towels it looked sooooo stupid. Luckily my friend brought my sister some snacks. So we taped the boxes together and put those boxes on the towels and then the jar on the snacks. Now if you look very carefully you can see scotch tape around each layer. We call this our insurance plan. We tried to get the ribbon to hold onto everything (which I only bought one spool. I thought it had to be enough! Wrong I was!) So we dug through my moms black hole of a craft room and found sequins and thin green ribbon. We tied the ribbon on and decided the tape had to stay or the whole thing would collapse. When it was all done we were turning it and the jar toppled over. So ribbon went up and down it as well, as the secondary insurance plan. Over all it turned out okay."

The Pin Spin: 

"Was it what was in my head? Heck no! But she liked it. There is a picture of her holding it and after she held it the whole thing fell apart. And we hadn't even got to the party yet. So we did a quick fix. A lot of people were confused and asked if it was a tower. After a while of having to explain that it was a cake I gave up and said "sure is! I was trying to make the tower of babel!" I guess only the crafty women get it! On the GTC scale I would give it a 3. I think if I had instructions maybe it would have turned out more cake-ish!" -Bri

I've never made a supply cake, only one diaper cake and one diaper tricycle (I know...some of you think those things are hideous, just bear with us). It's easier to get a round cake with diapers because you can fold and mold them. I imagine making a bunch of square items into a round cake would be hard. I love that they just went with the and made a square tiered cake (aka, tower of Babel). Sometimes you just have to do what works! Thanks for the great idea Bri!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Brownie Bowl Blunder

The only thing better than a bowl of ice cream is a bowl of ice cream in an edible bowl. How fun would these be at a party (or by yourself at home curled up on the couch)?!

The Original Pin
If I hadn't run out of sugar last night making pancake syrup to go with our pancakes (breakfast for thing ever!) I'd be making this right now. Looks simple. Mattie learned though that if you don't have muffin tins, this isn't the dessert to try to make last minute to impress the future in-laws. Mattie related her story like this:

The recipe is called “Dreyer’s Super Sundae Brownie Bowl” and the pictures looked awesome and easy! Chocolate and ice cream = WIN. Unfortunately, when I first clicked the pin, I was told it led to a “suspicious link” by pinterest so I didn’t read the full directions beforehand. (The link seems to be working now.) Even if I had, I’m not sure it would have helped—it just says to use your favorite brownie batter.

Anyways, here is what happened: my fiancé and I decided to invite his parents over for dinner. When I asked if we should do a special dessert, he suggested the brownie-bowl recipe he had seen me pin the other day while looking over my shoulder. So, I picked up Ghirardelli dark chocolate brownie mix from the store, mixed it up, and put it in the oven to be ready by dinner. As you can guess, a number of things went wrong.

1)      No cupcake pans! This happens when you’ve recently graduated and moved. I decided to improvise using two glass nesting bowls.
2)      High Altitude! My fiancé and I live at a really high altitude and didn’t have any flour on hand to follow the high altitude directions…so…with the dinner clock ticking, I just went with it.
3)      The brownies stuck! Despite a decent amount of oil on both the bowls, the brownies sort of stuck and then lost their shape once removed from the bowls.

Upon further reflection, the Pinstrosity might be due to the supplies I used, but it was such a fail that I thought others should be warned.
The Pinstrosity

Mattie continues, "On the bright side, anything looks better (aka edible) when it is topped with ice cream. If I were to try it again, I would definitely use cupcake tins and aim to make more of an “impression” than smashing them into a bowl shape. Follow the directions and bake them with another greased cupcake tin on top. I would also aim to make sure they are baked until firm, not fudgy…but again, that might have been due to altitude and/or heat. I bet they would also hold their shape better if cooled in the refrigerator or freezer. Anywho, it gave us a laugh as we tried really hard to turn those brownies into sundae bowls."

This is one of those Pinterest recipes that works better with the right pan. If you are going off the original directions, the muffin tins only get filled 2/3 of the way full of batter, and then the 2nd tin is placed over the top. This is going to give less batter to cook for each bowl, so it will be easier to get a more "crispy" bowl rather than a gooey one. 

Another help with this pin is to use a less gooey brownie. I know, it says to use your favorite, and my favorite ones are the gooey ones that only get hard when they are over cooked by a long shot, but gooey won't hold a bowl shape very well. 

If you get into a predicament like this still though, just crumble up the brownies and use them as a topping and pretend that's what you were going for in the first place. If you are confident, no one will doubt you! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Messy Mess-Free Painting for Littles

Hello all! We are back from our big trips as Marquette mentioned yesterday and we are ready to get in full swing. By ready I mean that I slept till 10:30 this morning and am only now getting to blogging. That's ready right?! I started school yesterday (my last semester of college!!!!) and so I am still trying to get a new routine down. We'll get there soon enough. For today's Pinstrosity I have a sensory play goof for you!

Laura has a 2.5 year old who loves to paint and color, and Laura found this pin of a mess free painting method and thought it would be perfect for her little! Check it out!

The Original
Let your little ones play with paint without making a giant mess, and you can make some fun shapes when the paint is in the taped down plastic bag! The little artists can also erase what they made, make something new without using lots of paper, and they won't paint themselves!
 The Pinstrosity

Here is what Laura had to say about it:
"This pin looked great! T could have some great sensory play without painting our carpet. I used a quart-sized bag and some (non toxic) acrylic paints I had lying around the house. I taped it down using duct tape, removed T's shirt (you can never be too careful), and let her play. Only, I forgot that T has another love: pulling tape off of things. Instead of playing with the paint, she immediately pulled off all the tape. Which ripped a hole in the corner of the bag, and the paint started oozing out. So much for mess free."

This Pinstrosity is more of a heads up to other moms, but I had a few thoughts about how to help a situation like this. Maybe try two times to the tape?? Perhaps pulling tape off of other tape would satisfy her, (maybe not, kids are funny). The other thought I had (which may be the better option anyways) was to double bag your paint. Put your paint in one quart sized bag, fold the ziploc edge over and put it inside another bag. This way if the little pulls the tape off she isn't ripping the paint bag. Just a thought. Seeing as I haven't seen this one in action it might not be as easy as all that, however this is a good heads up to those of you who do this on the regular!

Hope everyone is having a good week!! Have any Pinstrosities from over the summer?! Send them our way!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

We're Back!

We're Back!
Loved that show as a kid! But anyway, we are back; we both made it home from our trips safe! The funeral was lovely. Thank you for the kind words many of you sent. I wish the trip had been for different reasons, but it was fun to go up to Idaho with my sister (and our 3 kids-a 6 month old, a 9 month old, and a 3 year old...we were insane).

Now that I'm back, I'm feeling ready to jump into life and projects! Cameron cleaned the house up while I was gone (best welcome home surprise!), so I actually have a place to do projects. Now I just have to figure out what I want to do first. That's the hardest part. So I turned to Pinterest. While I haven't found the perfect project yet, I did find some funnies I'll share with you this morning!