Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mmmmm, cake....

For whatever reason, I was struck with a major chocolate cake craving earlier this week, and found a nice little recipe to help me out. I actually had every ingredient I needed in my kitchen, in the right quantity, so miracle of miracles, I got cake with icing too!

The recipe calls for 1 cup of cold coffee, which I might bump up to instant espresso powder, since the flavor didn't stand out too strongly. It was still delicious, none the less.

And here's a really simple chocolate icing recipe that I luuuv:

1.5 cups confectioners sugar

3 TB cocoa powder

3 TB milk

3 TB oil (canola or vegetable oil)

Mix it together - maybe add a little more cocoa powder, or coffee or vanilla if you want, and you're ready to ice it up. Deelicious. T and I actually managed to eat this whole cake ourselves, so it must of been pretty good.

Itty Bitty Lamp Shade

Another fun project I tested out this weekend was a wine glass candle lamp shade. I've been cruising around so many crafty, wedding type blogs and sites, I can't remember where I picked this one up. Here are the directions I linked, from

Again, another simple idea that has great possiblities of making reception tables look charming. The shade it made of vellum, cut out with a decorative edged scissor (on sale at Joann's - sweet!). After it's cut out, all you have to do is glue up the straight sides, and you have a wine glass sized lamp shade. Pop in a votive - or safer yet - an LED votive, and you've got a little sparkle on your table.

I'm hoping to find wine glasses on the cheap at Old Time Pottery, thrift stores, or Big Lots. Also, check out this website, if you haven't already - Save On Crafts. They have pretty decent prices, no? I think I may snag additional vellum, here, as that stuff is crazy expensive!

What do you think? Maybe 3 per (round) table, surrounding a simple jar with flowers?

Big, White and Fluffy

Well, I think I'm finally getting to the fun part of planning my upcoming nuptials. Yesterday I finalized my homemade Save the Dates, played around with tissue paper and vellum. Weee! Not that buying the dress wasn't fun, but there's an element of stress involved with it that just doesn't come with tissue paper.

I think I stumbled upon this idea while looking at Martha Stewart wedding stuff, online, and noticed that she sold a kit for giant tissue paper pom poms. They looked adorable, but let's face it - I'm not going to shell out $15 for something I could make for a buck fifty. So, I found several sets of instructions online - including Ms. Stewarts, and saved myself a few pennies and had a great time, too.

The idea is pretty simple:
- Layer 8-10 pieces of tissue paper - size isn't totally key, but I think rectangular is the important part.
- Make accordion folds every 1.5 - 2".
- Once it's all folded up, take your white fabric covered wire, and secure the paper with it, twisty style.
- Now you get to hack your way through all that tissue paper! On each end, cut a curve, a point, a curvy-point - whatever you want - to create the scalloped, fluffy edges to your pom pom. So, sharp scissors are pretty key here. Don't worry if it looks like a five year old hacked at it with their safety scissors, just even it up as much as you can. The fluffing out disguises all the uneveness, anyway, so don't sweat it.
- Once you've made your cuts, just gently - VERY gently - pull apart the layers and fluff them out into a big ball. Ta da! Super cute, super cheap decoration for any occasion.

All together they take maybe 15-20 minutes to make, and are ever so gratifying. I'm having to restrain myself from make a bunch more, since the event isn't until August, and just where would I store all those lovely pom poms? I think I'll stick to white, but wouldn't these just be the perfect thing for a child's party, in bright colors? I may even have to decorate the children's area in the branch with these come spring!

Now, just try to restrain yourself from making one of these right now - you know you want to!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Before Things Melted

While I was in New Jersey, two weeks ago, one humdinger of a storm came through Ohio. I got to have an extra day with my sister and her family, and everyone back home got snow and ice! Once I did get home, I just had to take some pictures of what all that pain-in-the-ass ice did to everything outside. It was a beautiful sunny day, but colder than cold. The next day it warmed up enough to melt all the delicate ice on plants and such, so I'm glad I braved the temperatures to get some pictures.

And now this weekend we've warmed up to the 50's on some days, so we're finally seeing the ground again for the first time in what feels like months. I never thought I'd be so happy to see the asphalt on my street. I know it's a nature fake out, but you could easily be tricked into thinking spring is here. I worry for the spring birds I keep hearing out there! I'm sure we'll get more winter, but the respite has been nice. I'm definitely in the mood to get going on garden planning now, too. Warm weather will be here before we know it, and I can just smell the dirt already!