Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Year in Cake {my favorites of 2011}

As 2011 is winding down, it's time to reflect back...2011 was the year that I made the official leap from cake hobbyist to legitimate cake business! Like all new life ventures, it was at time terrifying, but always exhilarating! 

I'm so thankful to all the friends, family and customers who allowed me to be a part of their special celebrations!! While I honestly love all the cakes I make, there are a few that stand out as my favorites from this year. 

My daughter's Puppy Cake...
when I fell in love with making fondant figures!

My pirate cake...
my first cake for Icing Smiles, a non-profit organization that provides custom cakes for critically ill children.

My Wonder Woman cake...
I loved her as a child and I love her still!

2011 was definitely a year of the Rainbow...
and I was happy to get in on the fun!

2011 was also the year of Ruffles...
this cake is one of my all time favorites!

The Rock Star cake...
girly & cool...and I loved making that tutu skirt!

My final cake of 2011...
my first 3 tier cake and I just loved the fun modern design!

It's been a wonderful year and I look forward to all the fun & beautiful cakes I will get to make next year!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Snowman Playdate

I had one of those last minute whims to host a Christmas playdate for my girls! I wasn't sure I could put anything cute together in a day's time, but I was inspired by Piggy Bank Parties! Do of Piggy Bank Parties recently put together a super cute Mrs Claus Cookie Party in 24 hours and shared lots of great tips on how to do it (be sure to check it out). So I decided to GO FOR IT!

I made ONE shopping trip to Walmart and then used items from around the house for everything else. I had recently won a wonderful gift certificate to Shindig Parties to Go, so I ordered Amanda's super fun Snowman printable set! The colors are one of my favorite combos...pink, blue & green! 

I was fortunate that I had many things left over from my daughter's birthday party this summer, which featured pink & blue polka dots. Everything matched the printables perfectly! The snowflakes and bells were left over from other projects.

I printed out one of the larger signs & framed it!

The table was set using more items left over from my daughter's birthday party. I threw some fake snow on the table, a few snowman printables, some more snowflakes and put all our craft supplies in the center of the table. And yeah...that's the same burlap runner I used at Thanksgiving!

I bought all pre-made snacks for the party since I knew I would have no time to bake! 

The girls loved their hot cocoa with festive marshmallows! They come in so many fun flavors...peppermint, chocolate & gingerbread!

I love cake pops, but there was definitely no time for that! Amanda of Shindig shared this AWESOME idea of using Lindt Truffles to make the pops! I added some fondant scarves to mine! 

I completely forgot to take pictures of lunch, but I promise I fed the kids actual food! I made cream cheese & jelly sandwiches cut out with a snowman cookie cutter...snowman noses (baby carrots)...crackers & juice!

For a fun activity, we created Snow Sock Dudes...a super cute project from The Purple Pug. The only supplies I had to buy were the socks...I had everything else at home already!

We all just LOVED our adorable snow dudes. Although my sister-in-law dubbed them "snow dudettes" ;)

For a party favor, I made little packets of Snowman Soup! This cute idea was pinned about a million times on Pinterest. I used one of my snowman printables and then typed up the cute little saying. 

So I threw this fun little get together in less than 24 hours...and the cost?? Well I'm going to break it down for you

Food & drink: $23.60
Decorations: $0 (if you were to purchase the printable set it would be $9.00)
Paper cups: $1.00
Craft supplies & goody bags $9.47

I used sooooo many things I already had on hand which kept the cost way down! Although it was just my daughters and Goddaughter, there was enough supplies and food for 7 children. I could have saved a few more dollars and bought less treats, but there would have been no leftovers and well...where's the fun in that?

Speaking of leftover treats...they are calling my name so I'm outta here ;) Wishing you a beautiful holiday!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Nutcracker Fondant Toppers

The Nutcracker Ballet is one of my favorite Christmas traditions! I loved watching the show as a little girl and still love it today. So when I learned that my sweet baby girl's kindergarten class was going to put on a production of it, I was beyond thrilled! 

Of course I had to make the class some special treats for their after-show celebration!! I decided to make cookies decorated with Nutcracker fondant toppers!

Nutcracker soldiers for the boys...

And Sugarplum Fairies for the girls...

You can't tell from the picture, but the fairies all have a shimmery finish to them...

I'm not even close to being an expert cookie maker...which is probably pretty evident in this next picture. But hopefully the cute toppers (& sugary frosting) will make up for my lack of cookie skills!

My little army of fairies and soldiers ready for packaging...

I placed each cookie into a bag and tied it up with some colorful twine (from The Twinery).

My daughter is bouncing off the walls with excitement over the show today!! She gets to perform once during the day for the school and then at night for all the parents. I can't wait to see my sweet baby in her first school production. My cookies & I will be there to cheer her & her classmates on!

Visions of Sugarplums are definitely
 dancing in my head...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

1st Birthday Cake {Butterflies, Chevron & Flowers}

I recently made a cake for a sweet baby girl's 1st birthday! The  design was inspired by the beautiful invitation and fabrics used for the party tables. 
I really loved making this cake!

The cakes are frosted in buttercream and decorated with fondant pieces. The tiers are vanilla, strawberry & chocolate chip...something to please almost every taste!

I also made a smash cake for the little miss!

The mom did a fantastic job putting together this party and it featured so many beautiful details.! You will see lots more of this fabulous party in the future. 
But I'll leave you with this shot of the dessert table...gorgeous!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holiday Bark Round Up!

I love all the festive fun of the holidays...parties, wrapping presents, celebrating with family...but it should be no surprise that one of my absolute favorite parts is the sweets! I love planning on what I'm going to make for others and of course I love eating them!

One of my favorite things to make & give is bark. It is so easy, so yummy and so versatile! Here's a few recipes I've found that I wanted to share with you. The hard part is deciding which ones to make!

Christmas is the only time of the year I enjoy peppermint and this Peppermint Bark is the quintessential holiday treat! Brought to you by the queen bee Martha Stewart...so you know it's going to be good!

I'm all about salted caramel these days, so this one is sure to be on my "to make" list...Salted Caramel Cashew Bark! This delicious treat is from one of my favorite baking sites, The Brown Eyed Baker!

For all you Oreo fans...here's a Cookies n' Cream Bark that you are going to love!

I remember making Christmas cookies with red & green MnMs as a child, so I just love this fun Christmas Crunch Bark from Mommy! I'm Hungry!

You can't go wrong with the combination of chocolate and caramel! Add in some pretzels and this Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Candy Bark is a winner! Featured on I {heart} naptime this looks as easy as it is yummy!

I am a huge fan of Bakers Royale where you can always find the most mouthwatering recipes! They have been featuring many incredible bark recipes for the holidays, so I'm sharing a few of my favorites! The link to each recipe is listed below.

With all these delicious recipes, there's sure to be one or two...or three...or more that will be the perfect addition to your holiday baking list!
Happy Baking!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My Christmas Village

I've always loved looking at Christmas villages. Those cute little houses just seemed so adorable! Despite how pretty I think they are, I never got into collecting them. But this year I was inspired by something in the craft store and I knew I was going to make a winter village!

The houses are little birdhouses that I discovered in the $1.00 bins at Michaels. I bought them during the after Thanksgiving sale and ended up paying 50 cents for each of them!

The birdhouses and the snowflakes were the only items I purchased for this project. Everything else was made from materials I already owned, making for one budget friendly little village!

I covered a box in wrapping paper and draped a piece of snow blanket over it. This is actually a twice-recycled box as it's the same one I used to hold our turkey pops on Thanksgiving.

I removed the rope from the top, painted each little house and added a pretty bow.

I was originally going to make a mini banner to string across the top, but I found these adorable tiny snowflakes at the craft store and had to use them. How cute are they?
To create the space to hang the snowflakes, I wrapped 2 wooden dowels in yarn. I love how fun this rainbow yarn looks! I hot glued each dowel onto the sides of the box and ran another string of yarn between them.

I loved how bright & cheery my little village looked, but I couldn't help but feel that it seemed empty. A few winter residents were needed.

I made these cute little birdies from scrapbook paper and added a ribbon for a scarf!

Now my holiday winter village is complete!