"Anyone that doesn't agree with leggings as pants can physically fight me.
And I'm going to win because I have a full range of motion due to the fact that I am wearing leggings as pants."

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Chocolate Decorations

Yesterday was Miranda's 16th birthday, an event which made me feel crazy old, especially since she's the youngest of my 3 stepkids.

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And even though I haven't been around for her *entire* life, I have been helping to raise her since she was like 3.

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Consider my mind blown, especially since she's grown into a gorgeous young lady who can do this.

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(just about to catch a sword after dropping into the splits, something, though I've never actually attempted, I'm pretty sure would land me in the emergency room, one way or another.)

Anyway, for her birthday her daddy thought she needed a homemade Boston cream pie (one of his birthday specialties). I thought she needed pretty little decorations (as opposed to yet another birthday portrait).

Here's what we came up with.

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These look somewhat like fondant, but since I think fondant is a bit yick, I stuck with chocolate.

To do this, I first created a page with circles and letters and other designs on the computer. Then stuck that underneath a piece of parchment paper, just like we did for Jeff's birthday. Though this was much easier and didn't require a light box.

Basically, you'll want to make sure that you end with a contrasting color to the frosting (white in this case), so start with the other color.

The trickiest part of all this is getting the chocolates to the right temperature. I just heated them individually in the microwave, 10 or 15 seconds at a time, stirring in between.

I found that dark chocolate worked best at about 85 degrees, while white chocolate needed to be up near 105. Basically, you'll want it to flow out pretty easily, but not so much that it spreads too much after you make the design.

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Once you've done the first color, move them to the fridge, otherwise it takes way too long to set, especially in the summer. Then fill in the rest of the design with the contrasting color. That's it.

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And don't worry that this side is ugly. It will be facing the cake. The side that's facing up will be all pretty and smooth like in the first picture.

Which brings me to, Yay, another Don't Do What Donnie Don't Does. Don't forget to horizontally flip the letters so they appear backwards.

Which I did.

Forget, that is.

Otherwise you'll end up with this.

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And will need to start all over.

These also make fun individual toppers for cupcakes.

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(I did these freehand last week for my grandpa, which is exactly the reason that I decided to create a pattern on the computer for Randa's birthday cake.)

I actually started to create a general pattern for those of you without Photoshop. Though I'm sure some of you might have some mad freehand piping skills.

Would anyone be interested in downloadable patterns?

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Related Posts
Chocolate Portrait
Face Cake

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Kenzie

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Being me is all I know.
-Jeff Kinney

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Platte River

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In an age when man has forgotten his origins and is blind even to his most essential needs for survival, water along with other resources has become the victim of his indifference.
-Rachel Carson

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Stop Animation with Painted Rocks

Inspired by Martha's painted rocks, Joey set out to not only create a stone menagerie, but to use them as characters in a stop motion video as well. She did it for her cousin Jaden's birthday, wrapping up all of the characters along with a cd of the video.

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Personally, I think this was one of the sweetest presents ever. Especially since I saw how much work went into it.

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Making the animals took much longer than we'd anticipated (even with me and Joey's best friend helping out). And the glue was still drying on the panda bear and turtle as we headed out to June's First Friday Art Walk the night before the party. We returned home at about 9 o'clock that night and Joey, undaunted and possibly inspired by all the art galleries we'd just visited, locked herself into my sewing room to put together the following video.



This one was well over 500 pictures and I had to confiscate the laptop around midnight in order for her to get some sleep. She put the finishing touches on it the next morning and still had plenty of time to get all glammed up for Jaden's celebrity themed party.

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Which was just a whole bunch of awesomeness in and of itself.

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Related Post
Whiteboard Stop Animation

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Searching for Easter Eggs

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Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.
-Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Chia Drink

I recently discovered a really fun and super nutritious new ingredient.

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Chia seeds!

You know, as in "cha-cha-cha-chia pets!"

Personally, I think they're totally worth the ear worm I give myself every time I make up a batch.

They're a great source of complete protein (meaning they have a range of amino acids). And they also have a crazy amount of both fiber and omega fatty acids. (To give you an idea of how much Omega 3's these have, one serving of my flax seed pills- which I take specifically for the fatty acids- has 1,240 mg of omega-3 fatty acids... one serving of chia seeds has 4,915 mg. Source)

The original recipe that I'd read was basically a spoonful of sugar (I used honey instead) and a spoonful of chia seeds in a glass of water with a squeeze of lime juice. But, as you can see in that first picture, it's much prettier, as well as tastier and healthier, with a bit of pomegranate juice added in. The kids drink it despite, or possibly because of, the fact that when soaked, chia seeds start to resemble gelatinous little fish eggs.

This morning I also tried mixing a spoonful with some freshly made almond milk and a bit of honey and the kids loved it that way too. Too me, it seems a bit like thin tapioca.

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I'm not sure if everyone out there will like it, but we're going through the stuff like it's candy.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Polar Plunge

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Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature.

-Tom Robbins

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Polar Plunge at Frozen Dead Guy Days