Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Simple & Elegant Rose Cake

Cakes in China are not like the cakes we enjoy in the US.  They look pretty, and can be decorated quite elaborately, but they don't taste the same.  They are very spongy, not as sweet... just not the same.  Somehow my name was shared with one of the local western restaurants in our city as someone that "makes cakes".  I had to laugh.  Yes, I make MY children's birthday cakes, but I am by no means a "cake-maker"!  

However, I accepted the challenge of making a cake to feed 35 adults and 25 kids...
Chocolate cake, chocolate frosting, covered in chocolate shavings.  Mmmmm!
You can find my favorite chocolate frosting recipe HERE.

Yes... I was very nervous!
It didn't help matters that I knew who this cake would be delivered to... One of my expat friends!
I thought, even if I was successful at making this cake and having it all turn out, I was bound to dump it on delivery!  However, I am happy to say all went well, and the cake arrived at the party fully in tact and perfectly edible!

THEN I received a request for a second cake due the next day.
Relax Rachel... You can do it!

I have to say, I LOVE how this one turned out!

See the sticks holding up the little banner?  Chop sticks!  haha...
I do wish I hadn't added the purple border along the bottom.  It looked perfectly beautiful without it, but I thought I would add a little color to tie in the banner on top.  Afterwards I thought it was probably nicer without.  Oh well... my sister always did tell me that I tend to over-do things.

It was very simple to do.  I am not going to recreate the tutorial for you here, because I found THIS great tutorial to create a Rose Cake at I am Baker.  Well worth a visit!

I like how her frosting looks much smoother than mine.  However, I believe that mine would have looked the same had I added a little more cream to my frosting recipe.  It was a little tough to squeeze from my piping bag.

I also think that the star-tip I have might not have notches cut as deeply as the one used in the tutorial.  However, same effect, and I think it is a stunning finished product either way.

And in case you are curious, THIS is the buttercream frosting recipe I use and love!
I use at least half unsalted butter rather than all shortening.

Check out this beautiful wedding cake made at Sister's Baking Co. using the same technique!

I will definitely be using this technique again!
I hope you try it out too!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

For the Kids Friday Features

Happy Halloween!
I had a super crazy week last week!  Sorry I didn't have time to share these awesome features with this week's link party.  Thanks so much for all of you that stop by and link up with us each week.  There are so many great ideas to chose from, this becomes a difficult task!  But here are some of my favorites from  For the Kids Friday #85.

These posts have been pinned to the SunScholars THE BEST OF... For the Kids Fridays on Pinterest!  If you've been featured below grab my A++ and brag about it to your friends :)

15 Musical Instrument Crafts for Kids
at Red Ted Art

Kid Activities for LONG Car Trips
at My Joy-Filled Life

Lion Lunch
at Creative Kid Snacks

Halloween S'mores Kits
at Cup of Delight

Plastic Bottle Apples
DIY Apple Treat Cups
at Mrs. Happy Homemaker

Trick-or-Treat Push Up Pops
at Hoopla Palooza

E Activities & Feed the Elephant Game
at Living Life Intentionally

SIlhouette Trick or Treat Bag
Silhouette Trick-or-Treat Bag Tutorial
at Uncommon Designs

Halloween Little Monster Cake Balls - Close-Up View 1
Little Monster Cake Balls
at My Cake Corner

I hope you and the kiddos enjoy your Halloween!!!  I'm already gearing up for the next holiday... Ooooh, I absolutely LOVE this time of year!

See you at For the Kids Friday!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

For the Kids Friday #86

Welcome to the party!!!

Holy cow!  Let me say, I have been ONE BUSY MAMA!  I am sure looking forward to a slower pace next week.  I'm looking forward to lots of Halloween fun this weekend.  I am loving all of the awesome Halloween link-ups!!  So many fabulous ideas!  Thank you all for sharing with us!  I will be back in a few days with some features from last week's party.

Halloween is DAYS away!  Don't miss all of the Halloween Fun at SunScholars!
I've got all you need to make this Halloween a fun and festive one for your family.  Check out these links full of fabulous ideas, and don't forget to join our Homemade Costume Blog Parade!

Have a Happy Halloween!

Now, on to this week's party!
For the Kids Friday

1)  I would LOVE for you to first be a follower of my blog.  (And why wouldn't you want to be?!)

2)  Grab my For the Kids Fridays Button and place it somewhere on your blog.  Be sure to link back to me!

3)  Link up as many KID-RELATED activities, games, recipes, parties, gifts, clothing you've created, crafts, traditions, lessons, and so on... that you would like to share.  Please add a different link each week.  They can be old or new... this is just a place to share ideas for our kids to enjoy.  Bonus points to those that serve some educational purpose too!  Link must be to the specific post, and not your general blog page.  Please don't link to your store.

4)  Share the love and comment on at least one other link.  Everyone loves to get feedback.

That's it!  Have fun, and thanks so much for participating!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Native American Indian Costume {Easy Sew} Tutorial

Easy Sew Costume Tutorial

Another costume finished!  This year, Charlotte wanted to be a Native American Indain this year for Halloween.  I couldn't be more thrilled with how this costume turned out.  The best part is, it was SO EASY to whip up.  I promise... you do not need to be a whiz at the sewing machine to make this... no fancy sewing skills required!

Materials Needed
- 1-1/2 yards Cotton Knit Fabric, brown
- 1 yard Trim (for boot covers and bracelet)
- 2 yards Trim (for dress and headband)
- 1/4 yard Leather or Faux Leather (for belt and ties)
- 1/4 yard Elastic (1/2" wide suggested - for boot covers)
- Feathers (for headband)
- Hot Glue Gun & Glue optional

1. Make the Dress!
To create the dress, I used one that fits my daughter as a template.  I folded my fabric so that I could cut two pieces at once.  Make sure that you are folding your fabric along the grain (along the line the fabric is woven).  Once I had the dress in place, I used a pen to trace my lines, adding about an inch around the dress make room for the appropriate seam allowance.

Cutting the Neck:  I wanted the dress to come over one shoulder rather than over each.  To do this, I drew a line (again, make sure you are giving some extra fabric for the seam allowance) from the neck of one arm to the under-arm of the other side of the dress.  See the picture A below.

Cutting the Bottom:  I wanted the bottom line of the dress to fall into a 'V'.  To do this, I was sure to cut this part of the dress out last.  I folded the dress in half, lining up the left to the right side of the dress, and cut from the sides of the dress down to a point.  See the picture B below.

A.   B.

Time to Sew!  With right-sides together (if there is a wrong side), sew up the right and left sides and the top shoulder using a 5/8" seam allowance.

Finish the neck and the arm hole by rolling the fabric under twice and stitching it in place.  See the pictures below.

Add some Fringe!  I cut a strip of the dress fabric at 2-1/2" for the neck and the bottom of the dress for the fringe. In the first photo, you see the strip I attached by sewing along the neck.  This wraps all the way around the neck.  Once this is sewn into place, cut the extra fringe in about 1/4" strips up to the seam.  See picture A below.

I used a washable marker to mark a line 2-1/2" from the bottom on the dress.  See picture B below.  Then I pinned the front and back of the dress so they matched up properly, and cut 1/4" strips for the fringe up to the line I had drawn.    See picture C below.

Pin a 2-1/2" long strip of fabric to form a second layer of fringe along the bottom of your dress, front and back.  I lined the strip up with the line I had drawn.  See picture D below.  Sew this strip in place by sewing along the top of the strip.  Cut 1/4" strips up to the seam to form the fringe.

A.       B.                             
C.                  D.

 And here it is, full of fringe!

To finish the dress, add some trim along the top of the fringe.  Pin in place and decide if you can sew it by machine, or if it is best to hand sew.

2.  Make the Accessories!
Next we will make the headband, boot covers, a bracelet and belt.

To create these things, you need to need to cut the following: 

Headband: Cut a strip of the dress fabric approximately 4" x 24"

Boot Covers: You need to be a bit crafty here.  I created these to go over a pair of boots my daughter owns.  If you have a pair of boots, I'd suggest laying them down onto a folded piece of the dress fabric and tracing an outline (allowing for some seam allowance), and adding about 2-1/2" to the height to be cut into fringe.  I cut my boot covers so that the back of the boot was on the fold of the fabric.

Belt: Cut a strip of the leather or faux leather to make the belt, 3" wide by as many inches you will need to fit around the waist of the person wearing the costume.

Ties: Cut several strips of the leather or faux leather at about 1/4" to 5/12".  I used these for hair ties, a lace for the belt, a strap for the bracelet, and ties to wrap around the boot covers.

The Headband
Sew your headband fabric into a loop so that it comfortably fits around the head.  I was using stretchy fabric with a NON-stretchy trim... so I didn't want to allow for the band to stretch to fit or it would be too tight once I added the trim.

Once I had my loop, I turned the raw edges in and pinned them into place.  I then pinned my trim around to cover the raw edges, and sewed it in place along the top and bottom.  Add some feathers to the back (I secured them using a hot glue gun) and you're headband is finished!


Boot Covers
Sew the boot covers together as seen in the photo below.  Add your 1/4" fringe cuts to the top, as well as cut some notches in the sections that have curves.  See the photo below.

I sewed around the toe a bit so that it would hold tightly to the boot, but this will likely get torn up pretty quickly... so it is up to you if you want to even bother.  I also added a small strip of elastic (about 3" or so) to the bottom of each boot cover to prevent it from slipping off of the shoe.

Turn your boot covers right-side out, and fold the fringe down.  I pinned the fringe in place, then added some trim to the top of each.  Sew the trim to your boot cover.

Pull the boot covers over your boots.  Add a strip of your leather, wrapping it around a couple of times, and tying it in the back.  Your boots are complete!

I took an extra piece of the trim used on the boots to make a bracelet.  Cut a length slightly smaller than the wrist.  Either sew or hot glue the trim to a strip of leather to tie it around the wrist.

The Belt
I used small strips of the leather to create loops for the lace-up belt.  I chose to use hot glue, but you could sew this if you preferred.  First, I glued under each side.  Next I added the little loops.  When each side is finished you can thread through one of your leather strips, and it is finished!

 You are finished!  Time to put it all together!


Happy Costume Making!

Great places for Homemade Costume Ideas...

Check out the beautiful costume Astrid at Connecting the Dots made using my tutorial!  I LOVE how it turned out.  It is always so fun to see what others have done with your tutorials.... so THANK YOU Astrid for sharing!!  Click HERE to see this costume as well as another amazing costume made by Astrid!