This week was brought to you by: Stitching

I’ve been spending a lot of time these past weeks stitching. I can’t show you much of what I’ve been working on… but I promise, awesomeness is on the way! Speaking of awesome, if you don’t already follow me on Instagram, you missed out on this awesome set of predictions by my preschooler…

I have managed to get some work done around here between all the stitching…

I put together over 25 ideas for last minute Mother’s Day Gifts, which included a quick mother’s day handprint canvas that I made with the kids.

I haven’t played with plastic canvas in a long time, so making these quick plastic canvas earrings was super fun. I was able to join in on a blog hop for Plasic Canvas Tutorials with Diane of CraftyPod – one day I hope to meet her in person, I’ve been inspired by her work in blogging (and plastic canvas) for years.

Hopefully you had a chance to watch the Washi tape in a live hangout on air that I did with some bloggy friends of mine. You can watch me make washi tape flowers there, or read the step by step washi tape flower tutorial. I had so much fun playing with washi tape that I made a washi tape necklace tutorial as well.

In the next few days, I’ll be sharing more of Baby B’s big first birthday party celebration. Yesterday I showed you how to make a dinosaur shaped cake.

And I checked a big to-do off of my list by finishing up my cross stitch necklace pendants. I mailed them off, and they should have arrived in mailboxes today.

In between we had a lot of our regular day-to-day around here as well. But we did manage to take a morning off to go out to breakfast and hit the pool. Baby B had fun running around the restaurant making new friends. Funny how a baby toddling around can bring a smile to just about anyone’s face.

Dinosaur Smash Cake

For Little Moore’s first birthday, three and a half years ago, I made a small car cake for him to smash into. He doesn’t remember, but he has seen pictures. Quite a few times he has requested that I make him a car cake again. I’m sure I will… but before then I had Baby B’s first birthday cake to make. For Baby B, we were throwing a Dinosaur Birthday Party. I had all kinds of fun ideas planned (I’ll share more with you soon – I promise!), but the cake really had me stumped. Dinosaur cake. How was I going to make this happen?

Sure, I could make a traditional cake and slap some dinosaur toys on it. But I really went all-out for his brother’s birthday… and being a second child myself (and my mother was a second child too), I’m very conscious of second-child syndrome. Yes, some things are going to be different for Baby B than for his big brother… but I’d like to have some things the same, too. So I got baking.

I used one boxed cake mix to make 2 round cakes in 6″ cake pans. I’ve had these cake pans forever, and love them. I used them for Little Moore’s first birthday as well. I got them my last semester in college when I lived in a tiny apartment with no oven. When we were first dating, I used them to bake a birthday cake for my husband in a toaster oven!

I covered a small cutting board to use as the base. I then cut a slice off the bottom of the first round to make the bottom of his legs, and cut off each side to make the front and back of the body. I cut a notch in the middle to make the legs.

From the second cake I cut an arch to make the head, and a pointy bit for the tail, and then put them by the body piece like so:

Yup! Already starting to look like a dinosaur! I then cut the top so the cake was level. Now he looks like this:

I used canned frosting, and gave him a thin layer of frosting. This is called a “crumb coat”. I didn’t worry about crumbs everywhere, because this is getting covered up later. I just wanted to seal everything in. At this stage, he looks pretty ugly.

I tinted frosting green until I got it the right color, and then put it in a piping bag. I grabbed the largest tip I had, which happened to be a star tip. I then piped the green all over every inch of the cake.

With a knife, I smoothed out the frosting.

I added a couple touches later with a contrasting color, for fun… but that’s optional. This is really a simple cake to make – I promise! And, he had his shining moment in the sun… before he was reduced to this…

I hope that in four years, Baby B will look back at photos of this cake and ask for a repeat as well!

Sugar Cookie House Decorating Party

When I was a child, we got cookie cutters for making gingerbread houses. And every year, I’d bake gingerbread, cut out the pieces, and we’d make entire villages of cookie houses. It was one of my favorite Christmas memories.

After I moved out on my own, I found my own set of gingerbread house cookie cutters, but I started substituting a firm sugar cookie dough for the gingerbread. Because although I love the smell of gingerbread, I find that most people prefer the taste of sugar cookie. Myself included.

I want my sons to grow up with the tradition of making cookie houses. Last year we built them with cousins. This year, we invited friends over to come build with us.

I sent out e-vites to the parents, inviting them to come over. They were asked to each bring a bag of candy, and I’d provide the houses.

I headed out to Smart & Final to pick up what I would need: plates to use as the house bases, ingredients for the sugar cookies, ingredients for the icing, and some candies to get the party started (and add variety). You’ll find each recipe I used for the party at the end of the post. I also used plastic tablecloth on the roll from Smart & Final on the table – makes clean up so much easier! Smart & Final is a great place to shop when hosting a party – they have everything from plates to chafing dishes to to-go boxes so that your guests can take home their leftovers!

The day before, I made the cookie parts, let them set, and that night I used Royal Icing to put them together, and secure them to the plate.

The next morning I made Buttercream frosting for the kids to use. I find that Royal Icing is too tough for most kids to squeeze out, so I used Buttercream for the kids instead. Royal Icing is great to keep candy on securely, since it dries candy-hard, but the sugar cookie houses for the kids didn’t need to get that hard, so Buttercream frosting worked just fine. I put a couple tablespoons into each zip-top bag, and snipped off a corner of the bag to make multiple icing bags without multiple couplers and fancy cake tips… and also with less mess! The sipper side of the bag prevents the frosting from accidentally coming out the back.

All the candy was put in bowls in the middle of the table. This way kids could easily get what they needed.

The kids had a blast creating their houses!

Firm Sugar Cookie Dough
2 1/3 c flour
1/2tsp baking powder
1/4tsp salt
1/2c butter
1c granulated sugar
1 egg
Mix egg butter, and sugar. Beat until well mixed. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Put in fridge for at least 20 minutes. Roll out onto a floured work surface with a floured rolling pin, and cut to size. Bake for 7-10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Royal Icing
3tbsp Meringue Powder (find in the baking section of your craft store)
4c sifted powdered sugar
6 tablespoons water (a little more or less as needed)
Put all ingredients in bowl and mix well. BE CAREFUL, if the icing gets too thick, it can and will break your mixer… it is like food cement. If the mix is still to heavy, SLOWLY add water 1tsp at a time and keep mixing until done.

Buttercream Frosting
1/2c shortening
1/2c softened butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
4c powdered sugar
2 tbs milk

Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix with a mixer until fully incorporated and creamy.

Get more great holiday ideas below or at the Smart and Final Social Circular. You can also check out Smart & Final on Twitter and on Facebook.


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