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Minecraft Birthday Party March 30, 2016

Posted by craftyjada in Nora, Uncategorized.
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I realize I’ve been largely absent from this blog for some time, but I just haven’t had as much time to be crafty since James was born and especially since moving back to Michigan during this whirlwind year of job hunting, substitute teaching, and being without 70% of my belongings!  However, Nora’s 7th birthday is coming up, and she desperately wants a Minecraft themed birthday party, so I set out upon the internet to find as many ideas for fairly simple to make items as possible, and came across some great ideas.  Here is what we have going so far:

Food.  Minecraft lends itself well to creating a sort of serve-yourself bar of foods based on the game, and here are some foods I found to recreate items found in Minecraft:

We are using red chocolate candies for redstone, chocolate covered caramels with black foil for coal, blue jelly beans for diamond, crunchy cheese puffs for carrots, Rollos for gold, pretzel sticks for sticks and watermelon candy for melon.  I even found some green rock candy to give in the favor bags to represent emerald.  We’re putting everything out in bowls for the kids to “mine” and add to small treat bags that they can take home with them from the party.

Decorations:  I have brown/green/black plates, bowls, and napkins to fit the theme, and Nora helped me to color in stenciled Creeper faces on both cups and gift bags.  We even have plans to create Minecraft Mob themed balloon arrangements based on some prototypes I made with balloons and duct tape.

For favor bags I am giving away all the candy pictured above plus whole candy bars wrapped in a sticker as well as “creeper juice” (Sprite or water bottles) with sticker covers that I found and printed from a Free Minecraft Printables website.  I bought some sticker paper off Amazon and these turned out GREAT! I also found some printable bookmarks that we made with the sticker paper to give away as well, and will include glow stick “torches” to top it all off.

Nora wanted a Minecraft “cake” style birthday cake, and that is coming soon, but we DID just finish her treat for school on her birthday: Creeper rice krispie treats.  Some of these turned out a lot better than others (apparently there is a learning curve for these such things), but with how busy everything has been this week, I am cutting myself some slack.  Here’s how they turned out:

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I will have to update once the cake is complete and with pictures from the actual party (if I can even convince myself to take pictures in all the excitement).  I can’t wait to see how it all comes together!

 

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Teacher Appreciation Week May 7, 2014

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I’m a teacher.  Middle school teachers don’t get all the full on hullabaloo that I think elementary teachers get when it comes to teacher appreciation week, but I still know how hard teachers work, so I wanted to do something special for my childrens’ teachers this year.  I decided to try out some different flower style cupcakes I’ve found online, and this was the result.  Sorry, no tutorial this time.  Things are crazy busy around here, and I’m lucky these even got made, let alone photographed when they were DONE.  Send me an email if you’re super interested in knowing how any one of them is done, but you can find web tutorials for them all over the place!  I just found them on Google/Pinterest as pictures and worked it out from there.

My 5-year-old daughter helped make many of these, so kudos to her for being my little helper and learning her craftiness at such an early age.

Pretty girl showing off her hard work!

Pretty girl showing off her hard work!

 

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Hiatus August 8, 2013

Posted by craftyjada in Uncategorized.
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I realize it’s been a while (a WHILE) since I posted here, and for the most part, it’s because I was not feeling well enough to do anything there for a while except sit around in a chair with my feet up.  Found out in February that I would be embarking on my second time biggest craft project-another human being!

imakepeople

Morning sickness this time around being exactly as bad as it was the first pregnancy, I spent February through about early/mid July out of my mind with nausea and unable to do even basic cooking or household chores, so crafting and baking were pretty much out of the picture.  I’ve been off the wagon now for so long I’m not sure when or how I’m going to really get back in to it.  I do have another friend who is pregnant currently, due the same week as I am, and having a baby shower in a couple weeks, so I decided to take on a baby-themed craft project.  I found this tutorial on pinterest on how to make a diaper motorcycle, and decided to give it a go.  My friend is having a monster-themed nursery for her upcoming baby boy, so I ran around and tried to find as many monster themed things as possible to make the motorcycle.  I figure it’s not too bad for a first try!

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Halloween pumpkin carving October 24, 2012

Posted by craftyjada in Uncategorized.
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From the time I was a small child, I have always loved carving pumpkins at Halloween time.  My dad was the King-of-all-Pumpkin-Carving…at least in my eyes, and he taught me all the tricks of the trade that he knew.  Every year he would help me select the perfect orange canvas and dutifully scoop out the guts from the inside, scraping the middle until it was the perfect width for carving-thin enough to easily cut the shapes out but thick enough that the light didn’t show too much through the sides.  As I got older, I learned how to transfer a pattern onto the pumpkin and really started to take off with my carving skills.  It was around this time that I also had to learn how to re-affix a piece that fell off using a toothpick.  This skill was practiced frequently as I would often accidentally cut into an unwanted section of the pumpkin.  I realized tonight that the last time I think I carved pumpkins was in 2003, when I got some patterns off of http://www.homestarrunner.com of many of it’s characters: Strong Mad, Homestar Runner, the Cheat, and Strong Bad.

This was back when my camera was not what I would call “HD”…

 

This year, because we have Tania in the house (and she has a pumpkin carving contest for an exchange program party this weekend), I decided to try and stretch my skills.  I was proud to find that carving pumpkins is a little like riding a bike- it may have been 9 years since I last carved a pumpkin, but I jumped back in with both feet and tackled one of the most difficult patterns I’ve ever seen- Rick Grimes from “The Walking Dead”.  I love me some zombie shows/movies, and this was a great homage.  The best part?  I didn’t even have to “toothpick fix” a single part.  You can find this pattern and a TON of awesome others at http://www.zombiepumpkins.com/

Rick back when he still had his sanity….

Tania’s pumpkin turned out pretty good, too! Definitely awesome for a first pumpkin carving ever! I’m so proud of her…

Kinda makes me want to go out and get some more pumpkins… I have a Sweedish Chef and an Audrey II stencil I’m itching to try now that I mastered this piece of work!

 

Mummy cupcakes October 21, 2012

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I had seen a bunch of these cute cupcakes that looked like mummies on some different sites, and felt like giving them a try.  Tania had a Halloween/friend’s birthday party this weekend, and we had a box of chocolate cupcake mix (with creme center) that was getting close to expiring, so I thought I’d give them a try.  Used the box mix, a baggie of candy eyes I had from back when I did the monster cake, some red gel coloring for the “mouth” and made my own icing with a touch of raspberry extract to go with the chocolate.  They turned out pretty adorable, and Nora even helped put the eyes on some of them.  Tasty and cute.  I’d call this one a success!

Box of 12 cupcakes I sent along to the Halloween party.

 

Mummy close-up. Not sure how to pipe the icing so it won’t have all those little air bubbles. Any suggestions? I guess it doesn’t take away from the overall effect, but my OCD tendencies twitch when I see them…

I almost can’t wait for Christmas now, with all the exciting cake/cupcake making opportunities!

 

Duct tape trick-or-treat bags! October 11, 2012

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I decided that my daughter and her friends needed new Halloween trick-or-treat candy bags, and since they’ve released some awesome new fall duct tape patterns, it naturally followed that I should make some smaller duct tape bags for them to use Halloween night!  I started with a yellow/orange with candy corn trim bag for my friend’s daughter Madi, and then moved on to a black/white with glow-in-the-dark ghost trim for her son Nate.  Now I’m going to be working on Nora’s black/white with glow-in-the-dark spider trim bag.  I can crank one of these out in just about an hour-much faster than the larger bags!  It has been a lot of fun so far!

I can almost taste the candy now…

 

Inside of bag.

Spooky ghost bag- Nora’s will be just the same, but with a black trim that has glow in the dark white spiders/webs on it.

Can’t wait to see when the Christmas tape comes out!  I’ve now agreed to donate bags to two different auctions.  I guess maybe my new “business” might start taking off!!!

 

 

Kitty Fishbones Cupcakes October 6, 2012

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Got invited by my friend Sarah to enter a cupcake contest with her at her church.  It was for a fish fry, so she had an idea to do something fish themed with a lemonade cupcake recipe (lemons and fish, right?).  I found a cute cat with a fishbone idea in my Hello, Cupcake book (http://www.hellocupcakebook.com/), and gathered up the supplies to decorate.  Sarah is the expert at making cake from scratch and frosting that can actually hold up to decoration and will stay where you put it, and I am the “expert” (ha!) at decorating with candy and such (you know, what with my whole, maybe 4 practice tries so far).  So she baked and made frosting and I decorated (she helped decorate, too!).  Here is what we came up with, after some trial and error.  Decided that candy melts definitely hold up better to piping in a pattern than chocolate does (the last time I did chocolate, it fell apart in my hands, but the fish bones held up really well!

Finished tray of kitties.

Closeup on “looking up” kitty.

Cross-eyed kitty.

Closeup on fishbone body.

It was a really great experience.  Now I just have to wait and find out whether or not we won!

 

EDIT:  We did not win.  Apparently, we lost to a “fish and chips” theme cupcake?  Anyway, it was a ton of fun to do, and I would definitely enter a contest with Sarah again!  It was a blast!

Monster Cake October 6, 2012

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I am WAY behind on updating this thing, but I guess that will happen when you’re suddenly catapulted into being a mom of two with a whole new boss at work and all the changes that entails.  In August, I was asked to do a monster cake for a friend’s son’s birthday.  We were going for something looking kinda like this:

She wanted this, but in blue, with more cake pops.

I made a few changes, and fought the summer humidity (who knew it could make SUCH a difference when trying to melt candy melt chips to make them easy for cake pop dipping?), and ended up with this:

Without the cake pops…

WITH the cake pops.

Cake pop close-up.

The inside of the cake was vanilla and chocolate checkerboard pattern.  It was a lot of fun to make, and I think turned out pretty good, considering it was my first try!  Also, I made my first successful marshmallow fondant from scratch for the irises in the eyeballs as well as the mouth, so I’m proud of myself for that, too!  This cake making thing is really working out pretty well, considering I never got around to the class this summer!

Red/White/Blue roses cake August 19, 2012

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We are hosting an exchange student from Ukraine this year, so I decided to try out a cake idea I saw on Pinterest, but with red, white, and blue roses for a welcome cake.  It was also my very first cake made from scratch and buttercream frosting made from scratch as well.  Things I learned this time around:
1.  You need to have a LOT of butter on hand.  Seriously.  Just buy a few boxes, because by the time you’re done, you will probably use most of it.

2.  After you sift your flower, do NOT immediately rinse the sifter out and think that it will be dry in time to sift your powdered sugar.

2.5.  If you need to sift powdered sugar and you have nothing to do it with, use a small spaghetti colander and a wire whisk and whisk the sugar in the colander over a bowl.  It’ll do.

3.  You need a LOT of frosting to put between three layers and as a crumb coat for a cake.  Like 1.5 batches for the crumb coat and then another 1-2 batches to decorate.  See #1.

Anyway, here is the picture of what I was trying to accomplish:

This is from the LOVELY http://iambaker.net/neapolitan-rose-cake-rosette-cake/
who has much more skill than I do, obviously!

 

Here is how MY creation turned out.  Not terrible for a first try, but I think I have some practice to do!

Welcome to America, Tania!

Top view

 

Side view

 

Next up- monster birthday cake for Nora’s friend Carter’s birthday!

 

 

 

Duct tape purses! June 17, 2012

Posted by craftyjada in Uncategorized.
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This is my (obviously very formal) blueprint. Basically, the purse has a bottom that is 7 x 14 inches wide, and the sides are 12 inches high. If you fold a piece of duct tape in half, it is pretty much exactly an inch wide, so that helped me figure out I needed 7 strips of 38 inch long tape of one color (C1) and 14 strips of 31 inch long duct tape of the other color (C2) for weaving. Then I need 24 strips of 14 inch long tape (C1) to weave the sides on top and bottom, and 24 strips of 7 inch long tape (C2) to weave the sides on the left and right.

 

In this picture I have already weaved together C1 (black) and C2 (black/white zebra print). The 7 x 14 inch middle was then taped down with black tape (that will end up being the lining of the bottom of the purse), and then I weaved the 24 strips of 7 inch zebra print on the sides and taped them down as well to line the inside of the sides of the purse. Then I trimmed the outside of the sides with pink/black zebra print. The black/white zebra print strips on top and bottom are still loose.

Next I wove in the 24 strips of 14 inch long black onto the loose strips of black/white zebra and taped down all but the top section of the sides (this is where I insert the handles).

 

I then braid three strips of tape together, tuck them in behind the squares that aren’t taped down, finish taping down the inside, and fold up the sides, taping them together with the trim color (pink/black zebra print in this case). The inside of the bag is lines, the handles are super snug, and the trim around the outside keeps the bag together!

Inside view.

Side view.

Different colors, same bag.

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