Handmade Cake Decor and Lettering - Edible DIY



A note from Ashley: this post originally appeared on GHTR as a guest post by me.

A fantastic alternative to hand-piping letters in icing on a cake is to make letters with melted white chocolate. You'll never have another frosting screw-up again with this method, because the letters are made on wax paper, and placed by hand onto the cake.

Materials
chocolate morsels (white, milk, or semi-sweet)
a glass container for melting chocolate
a Ziploc bag
wax paper
optional: a computer, paper and printer
dessert

I used white chocolate letters on this pan of chocolate raspberry brownies I made this weekend - the combination was amazing!

This project can be done freehand, but if you're nervous about creating evenly-sized letters, you can create your own stencil.

Making the Stencil

Print your desired text from a word document. Make sure you use a large enough font that is easy to cut and trace, and looks proportional on your dessert. I printed mine in Arial Black, 80 point font.

Next, cut your letters out with a craft knife. Layer your stencil over wax paper on a flat, solid surface. When your stencil is ready to go, you can start melting the chocolate.


Melting the Chocolate

I placed about 1/4 cup of white chocolate in a glass measuring cup, and microwaved it on high in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until it was melted smoothly.

Spoon the melted chocolate into a Ziploc bag, and press all of the air out of the bag before zipping it shut. Let cool a couple of minutes, or else the melted chocolate could burn your hands through the bag. When it doesn't burn to touch the bag, snip a small corner off the tip of one side of the bag.


Trace along the sides of the letter stencils with a steady stream of melted chocolate, and gently squeeze more out to fill the letters in. For any mess-ups, a tooth pick can be used to shape the chocolate the way you want it before it hardens.



The stencil is not totally necessary - you can free-hand your text on the wax paper, or even draw shapes with the chocolate.

Your letters should be hardened enough to transfer onto your frosted dessert within 20 minutes. Gently - and I mean very gently - peel the letters off the wax paper. If you used a stencil, the letters should easily pop of the paper if it is touching it along the edges at all. Next, carefully arrange the letters on the frosting.


If you have leftover letters, you can place them in sealed containers, separated with wax paper, in the freezer for a month or more.

Homemade Green Tea Frappe Recipe


A quick note: I originally published this post as a guest post for GHTR.

One of my favorite frozen drinks is the green tea frappe. I can't exactly explain why - it has a very unique flavor. There is a slight bitterness from green tea, but in this drink, it's complimented by the sweetness of milk and cream. Blended with ice, this drink is a cool treat for warm weather.

I was interested in making this drink after having them at Starbucks. In coffee houses, green tea frappes are almost always made with matcha green tea - a powdered form of green tea leaves. My recipe does not use matcha powder; rather, a more traditional method for blending lattes into frappes. Because of this, this recipe will not produce the signature green color of matcha powder - the frozen drink will be tea-colored.

ingredients
brewed green tea
3 additional green tea bags
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup crushed ice cubes
1/2 cup milk*

optional whipped cream topping
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar

* milk can be switched for any other milk substitute, such as soy or rice milk.

directions

Start with the green tea-infused simple syrup. Heat sugar and water in small sauce pan, stirring often. Bring to a boil, and add vanilla. Let boil for about 30 seconds, and remove from heat. Immediately drop in 3 green tea bags, and let tea bags steep in syrup until syrup as cooled completely; remove tea bags.


Next, brew a cup of green tea - I made mine extra-strength, with two tea bags. Let tea cool completely.

Crush ice in a blender until it is fine enough to be consumed with a straw. Fill a cup with crushed ice. Pour in 1/2 cup green tea, 1/2 cup milk, and 1/4 cup of green tea syrup; stir. Experiment and adjust with more or less tea, milk, or syrup to get the flavor that you enjoy.


Directions for whipped cream

Combine whipping cream and sugar in a bowl; beat with a hand-mixer on high for 3 minutes or until cream is thick and fluffy. Spoon onto top of green tea frappe.

4 Lamp Shade Decor Upcycle Projects

I've collected some amazing DIY home decor projects for our new house, some of my favorites being upcycling old lamp shades to compliment a new room style. I have all kinds of lamps in my current house, and I'll be switching them around for new purposes once we move.

Here are three of my current favorite ideas, using lamp shades you may already have, with inexpensive materials you likely have on hand as well!

Hurricane Lamp Shade


This project, from A Little Hut, features a plain hurricane shade decorated in cardboard rings cut from used paper towel rolls. So genius!

Paper Lantern


I've had a large, white paper lantern since college, and I can definitely see it decorated like this for my daughters' room. Using just coffee filters and hot glue, this project comes from Our Humble A{Bowe}d.

Tapered Shade 


This particular DIY is for pendant light shades, but I think the project would do well for tapered lamp shades. I found this project on Design*Sponge, and the main materials are felt and hot glue.

Tapered Shade to Drum Shade 


I'm not a huge fan of tapered lamp shades, but they always seem to be the cheapest choice. Apartment Therapy has a very thorough tutorial for changing your tapered shade into a more stylish drum shade:

Cinnamon Almond Iced Coffee Recipe


One of my favorite parts about going to a baseball game are the cinnamon almonds - is that bad? They're so good! You only need cinnamon, almond extract, sugar, and water to make the most amazing syrup for your lattes.

This is an iced version - perfect for a hot Summer day. Serves 2.

ingredients
4 ounces brewed espresso or extra-strength coffee
1 cup milk, soy milk, rice milk, etc.

cinnamon almond simple syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 tsp almond extract
3 cinnamon sticks

ice

directions
Brew espresso or strong coffee. While espresso is cooling, make simple syrup.


To make simple syrup, bring 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar to a boil in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once a boil has been reached, add cinnamon sticks; boil for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately pour in 1 tsp almond extract. Stir and let cool. Remove cinnamon sticks before using syrup.




Combine espresso, milk, and 1/2 cup cinnamon almond simple syrup in a container and stir. Pour into two glasses filled 1/2 way with ice, and garnish with a cinnamon stick, if desired. Leftover simple syrup can keep in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for up to a week or more.


Note from Ashley: I originally published this recipe as a guest post for GHTR.

Project: Perched Birdies Decor


Maureen of Release Me Create has crafted an adorable guest post for us today: Perched Little Birdies.

Materials
- Cardboard Paper Towel Roll
- Craft Glue
- Yarn
- Small Decorative Pears
- Sky Blue Craft Paint
- Magazine pages

Now, on to how to make it...

Making the perch

Cover the last 1/4" of your cardboard roll with glue

Start with the end of the yarn and place it in the glue. Wrap it around the cardboard roll, making sure everything is covered.

Cover the other end of the tube with glue, and finish wrapping the yarn around. Trim excess yarn.


The Birdies
 
Cut the top off the pears, then paint them your color of choice. I used two coats, topped with a glossy varnish. 

For the eyes, I used little card stock circles; for the beak I used diamond-shaped cutouts, and wings drawn on with a permanent marker. 

Next, glue the birdies onto the yarn-wrapped tube. 

The paper orbies

Trim the ragged edges of your magazine pages

To achieve the look of different side orbs, cut the pages into different sizes: 

Fold in the corner of one sheet to begin: 

Continue to fold until you reach the end, and secure with a dab of glue:



Now, start a small fold at one end...

...and continue to fold until your strip rolls up, rather than fold up. Secure the end with glue.

Next, you can arrange the orbies together in little orb families - glue them together to make different shapes.

Glue the orb forms onto your yarn wrapped cardboard, and now you have your perched little birdies!




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4 delicious cold drinks to make at home


If you're in the U.S., I'm sure you're suffering from the nasty "heat dome" that has settled on top of most of the country. I take my girls out for an early morning walk, and then that's it! We stay inside the rest of the day. With the heat index being over 100 degrees F, it just feels cruel to go outside.

If you're self-confined indoors like me, I have some refreshing recipes to hopefully make your week a little better.

This collection of cold drink recipes are all guest posts I wrote for Going Home to Roost this year - hopefully you have the ingredients on hand!

Cinnamon Almond Iced Coffee (pictured above)

Green Tea Frappe


Mojito (!)


Vanilla Frappe

Bedroom Decor: Rose Pink and Navy Blue?

This is a color combo I never, ever thought I would use, for home decor or anything else: rose pink and navy blue.

Our (hopefully) new house has a master suite with navy blue walls. The first thing I said when I walked in the room was, "we're painting these walls!"

Everything I have for my current bedroom is pink, gray, and white, and it's not old decor, so I don't want to start from scratch. The idea of that blue-painted room full of my pink, gray and white pillows, blankets, and art reminded me that the combination can work.

Since our house will have all hard wood floors, I found these rugs for our room at West Elm:

The bed duvet is mostly gray, and the pink accents will be kept to a minimum. The curtains, furniture, and shelving will be white.

So what do you think about this color combination? Does it work, or should I just re-paint the walls charcoal gray or white?

One Picture Frame, Three New Uses


Picture frames are so versatile. Besides showcasing your favorite artwork or photographs, picture frames can be transformed into desk organizers or a place to jot down notes.

The first idea is a homemade chalkboard (pictured above), which I made for Going Home to Roost. You can see all of the steps here.

Using that same frame, I was able to turn it into a dry-erase board and cork board.


Using cork I purchased at a craft store, I cut it down to size, removed the glass from the frame, and inserted the cork to where the photo belongs.


Perhaps even easier than that is to replace a photo with your favorite solid or patterned paper. Dry erase markers work just as well on glass as they do dry erase boards.

Back from vacation + Decorate My Dwelling

I'd rather be camping - papercut
I'm back from vacation! I really can't wait to share more about the house adventure, but I have to keep my mouth shut until things are finalized... all I can say for now is that things are going well :)

The house we were originally looking at was a 1940s cape cod, but the new front runner has a very Mid Century Modern feel to it, from the 1950s.

With this new house, I'm kind of lost for decor ideas - every idea I had stashed away will pretty much have to be scrapped. I'll be starting from scratch for color schemes, and I want any decor I pick to match the home's natural architecture.

I've decided to start a new feature: Decorate my Dwelling. I love the idea of having advice in home decor, so for anything new I bring into my home, I will be polling my readers to find out which option I should go with.

Of course, I will be editing the options before they go up for voting - I can't include items that I can't afford or can't stand to look at.

Look for the first installment to come soon - my living room's color scheme!

I hope you all had a great holiday weekend :)

House Hunting We Will Go

We're going to start house-hunting tomorrow! Our favorites are disappearing quickly, so I'm getting a little nervous. I wish I could share pictures with you, but I don't want to get my hopes up too high yet. There is one house that we are very excited about, but I shouldn't my chickens before they are hatched.

Really, I'll feel lucky to own a house at all. The house I grew up in was lost in a foreclosure when I was in college, and I've felt a bit like a wanderer ever since - it's been a long time since I've felt like I have a home base. I don't want to move again for a long time, and really, any of the houses on our list are better than living in an apartment.

I really don't believe in fate or anything being "meant to be", but I do believe in being positive - which is what I am going to do my best at for the next few days :)
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