Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Getting Little Things Done - No. 1

I have a lot pending.

Things to do.

Little things

Very little things.

Things that if I would just do them my life would be better.

Better because there is a reason these things need to be done.

Most of these pending things are just minor adjustments.

But for some reason I don't do them.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

28 Things - Being MIA

Well hello!

Why yes, I have been gone for 2 weeks.

And I'm having a hard time getting interested in writing on the blog.

I thought a dose of 28 Things might get me in the mood.

1. I went to Haven. The blog conference.

2. I had a great time.

3. I acted all extroverted and everything.

4. That just sucks the life right out of this little ol' introvert.

5. Then my 12 hour drive home, which takes just about every last drop of energy I've got, turned into 14.25 hours because of traffic.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Great Balls of Moss!

Am I the only person in the world who had never heard of Marimo Balls?

Perhaps you haven't heard of them either?

My friend Jennifer is a frequent flyer at the Lou's Pet Shop in Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan.

She goes to buy cat food.

She goes to see Frankie the Sulcata Tortoise wandering around the store.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

How to Frost a Cake - In Ombre

This is the make-shift layman's guide.

The one for those of us who don't usually put too much effort into frosting a cake.

And one for those of us who don't have fancy turning cakestands.

And any of the other stuff designed for frosting a cake.

First find a friend that wants you to help them ice a cake in ombre.

After she has picked out the recipes, baked the cake, and made the frosting,

Drive over to her house to do a little cake frosting.

So, I said there were no special tools, but she had recently purchased one of those flexible frosting spatulas at an estate sale for $1. 

That would be Step 1.

Buy one of those flexible frosting spatulas at an estate sale for $1. Or $2. Or $3. It is worth it.

Step 2. 

Make sure you have enough frosting. We did not. So we made up a small batch to use in the center of the cake. That way if it didn't taste the same it wouldn't matter.

Step 3.

Get out your makeshift supplies that will make this whole process much easier.

This tip may not matter if you aren't a blogger. I like to use cake stands for my cakes. But most cake stands won't fit in the fridge with a cake cover. The cake cover also doesn't seal air tight. So I like to be able to move my cake into my Rubbermaid cake carrier so it will do both of these things.

To make my cake moveable I place it on top of the bottom of my springform pan. I think bakeries use those gold cardboard things for this.

To make the cake spinnable we used this turn-table that is usually used for vinegar storage.

To keep the cake plate from moving on the turn-table, use that shelf lining/padding stuff. It is no skid.

We eventually cut the corners from this and used them under the turntable because it was moving on the cake stand.

I know what you're thinking. You're asking, "why on earth can I not just turn a regular cake stand without all this spinny stuff?"

My answer is this "because it is mysteriously easier to do it this way. I believe it is because when you spin a regular cake stand it moves enough that the pressure underneath the spatula varies. When the cake spins every single step of frosting a cake becomes easier." That's my "oh my goodness, this really is easier!" response.

Step 4.

Put a blob of icing in the center the cake stand and lay the cake top side down on the plate.
Gently rub the cake to get all the crumbs off of it. If you're smart you do this before you put the cake on the plate. We didn't do this, not because we aren't smart, but because one of us had trouble getting the cake out of the pan, because one of us didn't use wax or parchment paper in the bottom of the pan when they baked the cake, and that made the cake kind of break...

Step 5.

Put the frosting on the first layer. Something that I learned when using the flexible spatula for the first time - when I used the spatula with the tip in the center, I tended to press the tip into the icing and end up with concave frosting. I started using the spatula with the tip at the edge of the cake and it was a lot easier to get an even layer of frosting that way. I believe the pros do it with the handle on the edge and the tip in the center. I am not a pro.

Step 6.

Put your second layer on. I believe you are supposed to put this on top side down, but we did it top side up. 

Put a crumb coat - a VERY thin coat of frosting - over the entire cake. Put the cake in the fridge for 30 minutes. TIP: a crumb coat is much easier with very soft frosting.

Move the turntable and non-skid stuff to the counter and put the cake stand on top of it. You still need some non-skid between the cake bottom plate and the cake stand. It may be that this positioning would have worked for the whole process. Since I didn't figure it out until this step, I'm not sure.

Step 7.

Find a good tutorial to teach you how to ombre frosting.  We used this one.

Mix 3 colors of frosting. Leave enough white for the top of the cake. If you are using gel coloring - which I recommend - it takes VERY LITTLE to get a lot of color. Like the tip of a toothpick little. Did I mention VERY LITTLE?

Step 8.
Start at the bottom. Use the darkest frosting. Apply to the bottom third of the cake.

Step 9.

Use the next shade up.  Then the next. 

Step 10.

Frost the top. 

You don't have to worry too much about making anything perfect because I'm going to show you how to do that circle thing around the top and edges.

Step 11.

Start at the top of the side - place tip of your spatula lightly against the cake and start spinning the cake stand around. Make one continuous swipe around the edges of the cake until you have reached the bottom.

Step 12.

Do the same thing to the top. Place the tip of the spatula in the center of the cake and spin the cake, moving the spatula outward as you spin.

This was a LOT easier than doing the side. Which wasn't particularly hard. So what's my point? This is the easy part.

Then you're done.

Did I forget anything?

Have I inspired you to ice an ombre cake?

OK. So I know this post is really long. But I have one more tip for you.

Are you a knife/spatula licker? Is it hard for you to keep from double dipping your frosting spatula?
I am. And since we were making this cake for company, we needed to avoid this whole licking the spatula thing.

The solution? 

The licking bowl.

So when you have icing on the spatula and you need to get the icing off, scrape it on the edge of the licking bowl. Then anytime that you feel the need to taste the frosting you just taste the icing in the bowl. This worked for me. Now all guests in my home, and eaters of my cakes, can rest assured that I have not licked the spatula.  


Sunday, July 5, 2015

Red, White and Blue Food

I have a little crush on red, white, and blue food.

Easy Flag Fruit Dessert - Family Fresh Meals 

 You know, the 4th of July celebration kind.

Red, White and Blueberry Trifle – a delicious, light dessert, perfect for the summer!

Blue food is not really my thing.

But blueberries - that's entirely different.

I could eat blueberries all day.

Incorporate a flag motif if you're artistic like that.

Along with strawberries and raspberries. 

And who wouldn't be proud to bring one of these to a July 4 celebration?

 Fruity Brownie Dessert Pizza

But the people I hang out with on July 4 don't even like blueberries,

and raspberries,

and only one of them likes strawberries.

So in short...

They are creeps.



No. Fun,

So in the spirit of bringing food that someone will actually eat - so I don't eat the whole thing myself - I brought these for July 4.

Lets celebrate America with these yummy, patriotic sugar cookie bars!  The best sugar cookie recipe made into a bar, frosted with lots of delicious buttercream, and decorated with simple store-bought gel frosting, these cookie bars will be the hit of your July 4th picnic this summer!

They may now be my favorite food with blue in it that isn't blueberries.

Everyone loved this red, white, and blue food.

And actually, so did I.

If you want to make any of these red, white, and blue foods you can click on the picture.

I'm just going to be spending this day after July 4 watching old movies and eating left-over Sugar Cookie Bars. 

They are soooooooooo good.

They are worth checking out.

And if you aren't using them for July 5 you don't even have to put colors on them!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Just Smile :)

So, just the other day I was thinking I would write a Words of Wednesday about smiling.

I think smiling is important.

Very important.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Headboard to Remember

So Duck Egg Dressers client also has a headboard.

Actually a whole bed.

But for now just a headboard.

It's big.

And was once brown - as in some sort of wood finish - I think.

Somewhere along the line it got painted like this.


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