Sunday, October 26, 2008


Caramel has got to be one of my most favorite treats in the whole wide world! I love making caramel during the holidays, Halloween it is good to dip apples and caramel corn and then again at Christmas time when we dip it in chocolate and give it away.... YUMMY Caramel.

Here is my recipe for caramel...

1 cup Butter
2 1/4 c. Brown Sugar, packed (1 lb)
Dash of Salt
1 cup Corn Syrup
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Melt butter in a saucepan. Add sugar and salt, then stir thoroughly. Slowly stir in corn syrup and then sweetened condensed milk. Cook over medium heat until a firm ball forms, approximately 12-15 minutes. Pull off of heat and add vanilla. Pour into a buttered dish, either 8x8 for a thicker caramel, or 8x13 for a thinner caramel. Variation: Chocolate caramel, add 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate during the sweetened condensed milk stage.

After making my caramel I split it in half, first the kids and I made some caramel apples. I let the kids decorate their own apples with crushed up oreo cookies, mini M&M's, nuts, candy, whatever, and they had a lot of fun....

Then I made a few as well. I packaged up this one and gave it away as a gift with the cute little fall card to go with it.

Next we took the other half of caramel and made some fabulous caramel corn. Just had to pop up some popcorn and then drenched it in caramel. I was going to drizzle melted chocolate over the top of the corn while it cooled, but decided to save that treat for another day. The caramel corn was divine.

As another gift for someone else, I took the popcorn, and put it inside of a cake decorating bag. The popcorn wouldn't fit all the way down at the bottom of the cone shaped bag, so I decided to add some color with some mini M&M's. Then filled it with caramel corn and topped it with a ribbon and tag (not shown). Mmmmmm... looks good enough to eat.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Card Holder

I wanted to make a birthday gift for a dear friend of mine and decided to make her a box of cards. Once I had all of the cards made, I took a pop tart box (I know... not a normal box, but why not use something simple- a great idea I got from the Stampin' Up Convention back in July) and covered it in Stampin' Up's Designer Paper, striped ribbon, and cardstock.

I made file place holders for each set of cards. Punched out the flowers and circles and glued them together and VOILA! Instant birthday present.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Birthday favors...

For Jared's pre-school class he took a birthday favor to share with all of his friends there at school to help celebrate his own birthday. It was fun. He helped me make them and loved sharing them with all of his new friends there.

I used my new handy dandy Sizzix Big Shot and made the little holders out of a variety of yellow and orange papers. Then we added a small tub of play dough, pumpkin shaped container of bubbles, a sheet of Halloween stickers, and M&M's. Jared helped put all of the goodies into the container and then I cut up black, yellow and white ribbon and tied on a tag that said Happy Birthday Jared. The tag was cut out of the same sizzix die. Then we added a Halloween sticker to the front and Voila! Birthday favors for school. Thanks to the Big Shot it was quick and easy.

Mat Board

I learned how to make my own mat boards.

We have had mat board and the cutter so I ventured in to figure it out. With a short tutorial from David (my husband), I was able to figure it out and even make a bit of a fancy one.

Since we had the red mat board I decided to make a small one for the picture of Katie and I that I had on my shelf.

As a family activity, our family made our own painting. It is our very own Pollock painting. Each of us had a different color and we had fun throwing paint around. With a 6 and 4 year old, you can imagine that paint did spread out a bit. It was a lot of fun throwing the paint around. Samantha thinks we need to do a family painting every year.

Here is another double mat that I made (just the red and black, the blue is just to contrast on the desk). It is a picture that my 6-year old daughter took and entered into the Reflections contest at school. It is a picture of a sunrise and her elementary school at the bottom. We were on our way to school one morning and we were commenting on how beautiful the sunrise was. Samantha commented that she wanted to take a picture, and since I almost always have my camera with me, I pulled it out and she set up her shot. She is my budding photographer. I love the way the sun rays shine down on the school.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Decorative Balls

I have this cute little red bowl sitting on top of my shelf here in my work area and I was going to buy some cute decorative balls to put inside of it. Then I thought it would be better to make some myself. I made 8 different balls with a few different techniques. I wasn't sure how well they were going to turn out, but I think they look good.

One was made wrapping hemp around the styrofoam ball, just like you would wind up yarn into a ball. Quick and easy.

Three were made with Stampin' Up's ribbon and I carefully wrapped the ribbon around and around in a very neat pattern. There is one made from a double-stitched grosgrain ribbon, a plain blue grosgrain at 1/4 inch and then the green is grosgrain ribbon at 5/8 inch thick. The thicker ribbon went on more evenly and didn't create a dome shape at the top and bottom of the ball.

I used a Stampin' Up twill tape on another ball and used this same technique of carefully wrapping it, so it turned out good.

Then I used a 3/4 inch gray organza ribbon. I tried to wrap the ball carefully, but it didn't look right since the organza is see through. So I decided to wrap it like a ball of yarn and I twisted up the organza. Turned out different than the rest and that is what I wanted, a variety of different decorative balls.

Finally there are two made from discontinued Stampin' Up fancy fibers. I used a variety of the colors from the Soft Subtles selection and the Earth Elements. You can see the different layers when you look at it up close.

Bat Man Cake

This is a picture of a LadyBug cake that I made 5 years ago for Samantha's first birthday. It was decorated with rolled fondant and I love the way it looks, but it just doesn't taste very good. Most people peel off the fondant and eat the frosting and cake that is underneath... so.....

For Jared's 4th birthday he requested a Bat Man cake. I wasn't sure how I wanted to accomplish this request. I decided that I wanted to make a rectangle cake with the Dark Knight bat symbol on the cake. Instead of making black frosting, I wanted to use fondant, but I wanted to find an alternative to store bought fondant. I found a recipe for a homemade marshmallow fondant that tastes good. It rolled out and worked just like a normal fondant, but it tasted great. No need to peel off the fondant... it all tastes good!

I am anxious to make a larger batch of it so I can decorate an entire cake with the fondant. I think there is another recipe out there for a fondant that is cooked and maybe I will give that one a try.... experiment a little bit.

Here's the recipe that I used:

Marshmallow fondant
1 cup mini marshmallows
1 tbsp water
1 1/2- 1 3/4 cup powdered sugar

Place marshmallows in a standard 1 cup measuring cup and push down and pack them in. Place in a microwave safe bowl and add the water. Put in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Just long enough for them to soften and puff up. Take out and stir with a spoon until it is combined well. At this point it looks kind of soupy. Then add the sugar and mix and fold until all is incorporated and it is no longer sticky. Take it out of the bowl when it gets to the point where most of the sugar is incorporated and knead it in your hands. This takes roughly about 5-7 minutes. Take a fondant roller or a regular rolling pin and roll out just as you would Wilton's fondant. You can get this fondant almost paper thin and it also repairs well. It's cheap, easy to work with, and tastes great too.

You can make a large batch of this fondant as well by doing this:

Large batch of Marshmallow fondant
1- 16 oz bag of mini marshmallows
2 tbsps water
2 lbs powdered sugar (8 cups)

Do the same procedure as above.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


These were some yummy rolls. A friend of mine told me about this recipe and so I had to try them. It uses Rhodes frozen rolls which are .... the best thing ever!

I used a 1/4 cup of butter softened, almost melted then mixed in 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese. You take a frozen roll and coat it in the butter/cheese mixture and then you let them rise as normal. When they are ready to bake, you sprinkle the top with salad seasoning. I didn't have that on hand, but since we were having Italian for dinner, I sprinkled the tops with Italian seasoned bread crumbs and then baked them. I am sure you could sprinkle the tops with almost anything to change it up a bit.

They were yummy! Quick, easy and a nice twist on the normal Rhodes bread roll

Monday, October 13, 2008

Car Bank

This cute little bank is something that I painted for my son for his 4th birthday. Jared needed a new "piggy" bank and when I saw this cute car, I figured it would be perfect for his room. His room has not yet been painted and decorated, but it is next on the list of projects. When we get his room fully decorated the theme is going to be planes, trains and automobiles.

I bought the car at Michael's and it was all white when I bought it. It can be painted with any permanent marker or permanent paint. I already had some Delta permanent paint, so I used those to paint it. I think it turned out pretty cute. I decided to put his age of 4 on the back of the car with the "license plate" showing the year of 2008. Then I put the letter J on the doors. Hopefully it will be with him for a long time.

Chocolate Cream Pie

Here is a pie that I made. Chocolate Cream Pie... Yummy!
Lots of things posted here so far have been sweet stuff... Tis the season!

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Another skill to start developing... photography and photoshop. Here is a picture that I took and then altered a bit...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Let the Holidays Begin...

I am so excited that the holidays are starting... Fall is here and it is one of my favorite times of year! The weather is cooling down with crisp fall air that necessitates lots of warm sweaters and jackets. I love the warm colors of fall, and of course the fun new set of projects that we can do at this time of year.

Here is a yummy treat that I found and made. I adjusted it a little bit, but I think it turned out good.

8 oz white chocolate baking bars, coarsely chopped
4 cups Corn Chex or Rice Chex cereal
2 cups bite-size pretzel twists (I substituted small bite size honey wheat pretzels from Trader Joes)
1/2 cup raisins (I substituted Craisins)
1 cup candy corn
1/4 cup Betty Crocker orange and black candy decors

1. In large microwavable bowl, microwave chopped baking bars uncovered on High 1 minute 30 seconds to 2 minutes 30 seconds, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth.
2. Gently stir in cereal, pretzels and raisins until evenly coated. Stir in candy corn and decors.
3. Spread on waxed paper or foil until cool and chocolate is set, about 30 minutes. Break into chunks. Store loosely covered.

Here is a Halloween card that I made for a card swap with other Stampin' Up people.

I used the Haunting Halloween stamp set. Cardstock Colors are Night of Navy, Pumpkin Pie, Elegant Eggplant, Going Gray, and Whisper White. I stamped the flowers with the VersaMark pad and then used black embossing powder. After they were embossed I used bleach to give the stars their glow. The cat witch was stamped in black and painted using the aqua painter and my markers. Then my favorite part was changing the spider on the "...a haunting Halloween" stamp to a spider made from a black brad and then used a white gel pen to put the eyes on eyes. I love the holidays!

Finally, here is a Cute and Creepy Cookie spider that we made for a class activity at Sam's school.
I used a double stuff oreo cookie as the body of the spider (mine have the white frosting but the holiday orange would work too). I wanted to use black rope licorice for the legs but could only find red, and I think it still turned out cute with red legs. The legs are stuck into the frosting. (When the kids were making them, they had trouble getting the legs inside the frosting without breaking the cookie, so we opened up the cookie, they set the legs down and then we used some frosting to help "glue" the top of the body back on top.) Finally we used red and yellow Tic Tac's for the spooky eyes and attached them with some chocolate frosting. (Mini M&M's would also work).

Anyways... let the holidays begin. I love this time of year and it is going to be a great Holiday Season.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I love you CAKE

One of the other talents that I want to develop is my cake decorating skills. My mom always made us the coolest cakes for our birthdays and she can make roses out of frosting so well, behind her back, with her eyes shut and probably even with her hands tied up. It is amazing to me how quickly and easily she can make flowers. Anyways... I didn't attempt flowers this time (a future endeavor to perfect my rose and flower skills), but I did play with some piping techniques and smoothed the frosting out on the cake and then shaved some chocolate on to the top of this cake. The inside of the cake was a French Vanilla cake with a raspberry filling. The frosting was chocolate cream cheese frosting (except for the red/pink which was just cream cheese frosting). It was really yummy. I made it for my hubby to let him know that he is loved.


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