Thursday, November 21, 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

Over the last week I started work on my Christmas crafting.  This year, more than before, I am making a lot of gifts in addition to the ornaments and decorations I usually make.  I am hoping to remember to take pictures of the things I am making.

My first project was Melted Snowman Ornaments.  I found this cute, simple craft on Pinterest (where else, right?).  It takes just a few inexpensive supplies and they come out absolutely adorable.

Here's what you'll need:



Clear glass ornaments, these are everywhere right now
Kosher Salt
Peppercorns, 6 for each ornament: 2 for the eyes and 4 for the mouth

Optional supplies:
Funnel for the salt, I just used the spout on the box of salt
Carrot noses, I made these from polymer clay (super simple, I'll try do a tutorial on these another time)
Ribbon for Snowman's scarf
White glitter, to give the "snow" a little sparkle


How To:

Carefully remove the metal top piece from the ornament.  It is a little flimsy so you want to take care with it.

Pour a few tablespoons of salt into the ornament.  This is an eyeball it kinda thing, whatever amount looks good to you.  If you are using the glitter add it to the salt and mix it up.  I just put my thumb over the opening and gave it a few good shakes. 


Drop in the peppercorns, carrot nose and the scarf.

Here is now I made the scarf:

I have a (seemingly, never ending) roll of red velvet(ish) ribbon that I cut into three inch sections.



Then I cut each of the three inch pieces in half and put small cuts across each end to create "fringe".



To get these into the ornament I rolled them up and dropped them in and they unrolled nicely inside the ornament.


If any of the items inside get covered with salt just give them a little shake and they should go right to the top again. You'll see what I mean when you try it, it's not very easy to explain.

Replace the top of the ornament and tie on a pretty ribbon to hang it from.


So simple and very cute!  And best of all, they didn't cost much to make.

Stay tuned for some more crafting and even more baking.  Tis the season!

Talk with you soon.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Adventuring....

About 2 weeks ago Mr. Lucky, Mike and I went on another adventure.  This time we decided to take a ride out to the Bonneville Salt Flats.  You can go here to check out Bonneville and all the other amazing things to do and see in Utah. 

This trip was a ton of fun!  It looks like a whole lot of nothing until you get there.  Then you can drive out right out on to the flats and it seems to go on forever! I can't wait to go back and do some serious driving!  Mr. Lucky wouldn't let me drive this time, probably for good reason.  I am a bit of a lead foot.

Here are some pictures from the day. 









Talk with you soon!  I have some Christmas crafting that I can't wait to show you.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A request....

Just before Halloween one of Mr. Lucky's co-workers made a request.  His wife was having a party at work and wanted me to make some treats for her to bring in.  I was honored!  It also threw me into tizzy trying to decide on the perfect thing to make.  You'd think, with all the recipes I have, that it wouldn't take long.  It took me three days.  I kept flip-flopping, I was overwhelmed with choice.  I eventually decided to make cut out sugar cookies with a glacĂ© icing.

I have made these cookies before and they were a huge hit.  They are a little labor intensive but in the end they are most definitely worth it.

I got the "No Fail Sugar Cookie Recipe" from Cake Central.  You can find the original recipe here.  I, of course, put my own spin on the recipe.  Here is my version:

5 cups All purpose flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
2 cups Butter (I use salted and cut the salt in half but you can use unsalted and keep the salt as is)
2 cups Sugar
2 Eggs (I always use large eggs in all my recipes)
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
1 tsp. Princess Cake & Cookie Bakery Emulsion (It's a secret weapon! Go get some here.  You can use 2 tsp. of Vanilla Extract if you don't have this flavoring.)



Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and flavorings and mix well.  Mix together the dry ingredients and add them a little at a time to the butter mixture.  Divide the dough into 4-6 equal parts, this makes it easier to roll out, and chill for 1-2 hours.  Roll the dough between two pieces of parchment paper to desired thickness and chill again for about 10 minutes.  Once chilled cut the dough into desired shapes and place on parchment or silpat lined baking sheets.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until the edges just start to brown. I was able to make about 5 dozen cookies with this cutter.  The number will always depend on the size of the cutter you use.

The recipe and method for the icing came from here.  She uses almond extract but I used vanilla in mine.  I am not a fan of almond extract, I feel that it can easily become overpowering.  Feel free to play with flavorings in this icing and in your cookies too.  Here is the icing recipe:

1 lb Powdered Sugar (about 3 3/4 C)
6 Tbsp. Milk 
6 Tbsp. Light Corn Syrup (6T is equal to 1/4 C plus another 2 T)
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
With a whisk, combine sugar and milk until smooth (no lumps!) Then stir in corn syrup and extract.
You will use this same recipe for both glazing and piping. Thickened, you can pipe outlines, and as you thin it, you can use it for “flooding” cookies.  Make sure to let them dry overnight to fully harden for stacking.

For these cookies I flooded the body of the pumpkin by spooning about a teaspoon of the icing, that I tinted orange, over the cookie and spreading it evenly over the cookie.  I think I made my icing a little thin because some did flow over the sides of the cookies.  I made a small batch of thicker icing and tinted it green for the stems of the pumpkins.


I was very happy with how these came out and so was the woman I made them for.  Apparently, they were a big hit at her work party.  I did keep a few for Mr. Lucky, Mehgan and myself.  So yummy!  I am planning to make them again for Thanksgiving.

Talk with you soon!