Thursday, September 29, 2011

{DIY} Halloween Paper Plate Garland

October will be here in just a few days, so this weekend will be spent digging out the Halloween decorations from the attic and putting them up. I love to put out everything on the 1st of October so we can enjoy them all month long. And also to make it worth my husband's time spent digging everything out ;)

So this week I've been working on some simple and cute decorations and I want to share one with you. This is a very easy and inexpensive garland made from paper plates!

I put it together in about half an kind of quick & easy craft!

You will need:
paper plates in 2 sizes
adhesive (I used a glue dot runner)
foam glitter sheets
hole punch

I found these paper plates for 97 cents a package!

I used a drinking glass to trace circles onto my foam glitter sheets and cut them out. For the letters, I printed them onto cardstock and used a spooky looking font.

I cut out the letters out and then glued them to the glitter foam circles (I used glue dots).

I punched a hole on each side of each paper plate. It's a good idea to use one punched out plate as a guide for the rest so that your banner will hang evenly. Then I glued the circles onto the smaller plates.

Last, cut your ribbon into small pieces (my pieces were about 6" long). Then loop each piece through the punched holes and tie into a bow, so that you connect each plate together.

Now you have a fun little Halloween banner to display! There are so many cute Halloween paper plates out there so you can really coordinate this to your decoration scheme. It would also be a fun party decoration using coordinating party plates!

Booooo-tiful ;) (groan...I couldn't resist)!!!

I'm linking this up at these FABULOUS parties...

Nothing But Country

lil luna link party button

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ruffle Feather Cake

I am very in love with ruffles right now, especially on a cake! This super girly trend is so fun and I was excited that I had the opportunity to make a pretty ruffle cake this past weekend.
I had the pleasure of working with Wendy of Wendy Updegraff Photography on her daughter's birthday cake. Wendy planned this unbelievably beautiful girly camping party with so many cute details! 
We were inspired by two beautiful baby shower cakes found on Hostess {with the mostess}. My cake combined the major elements with the addition of the feathers to tie in the party's feather motif. The cake was a 6 layer vanilla cake with cookies n' cream filling. I made all the decor from marshmallow fondant. Wendy added the adorable name banner that she made herself. 
Check out all the beautiful photos of this fun party over at Wendy Updegraff Photography

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake & Salted Caramel Swiss Buttercream

If you think the title of this post is a should try this cake!!! An absolutely divine combination of moist cake and addictive frosting.

I had been wanting to make the frosting forever and finally decided to go for it this past weekend. After deliberating over what cake to pair it with, I settled on banana because I was wanting to try that recipe as well.

The cake is so incredibly moist! It has the flavor of banana bread, but with the light and fully texture of a cake. The frosting...oh man that frosting...I could eat a bowl of it by itself. It is a Swiss meringue buttercream and it's light and silky with a lightly salty & sweet taste. Hands down one of the best if not THE best frostings I have ever made. 

The cake recipe is an adaptation of one I found on i am baker, a blog full of wonderful recipes and beautiful pictures. The frosting is from Sweetapolita, who I have mentioned many times before and who I have an unabashed cake crush on! Check out both sites for many inspiring recipes!

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake
adapted from i am baker

  • 1 1/2 cups ripe bananas, mashed (approx 4 medium bananas)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons flour (for coating chocolate chips)


1.        Preheat oven to 300°.
2.        Grease and flour (2) 9” cake pans
3.        In a small bowl, mix mashed banana with the lemon juice; set aside.
4.        In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
5.        In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, appx 6 minutes.
6.        Beat in eggs, one at a time, then add vanilla.
7.        Beat in the flour mixture alternating with the buttermilk, beginning & ending with flour
8.        Stir in banana mixture by hand
9.   Toss chocolate chips with 2 teaspoons of flour to coat and then stir into batter.
10.   Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Let the cakes cool in their pans on a rack for about 15 minutes. When you remove them from the pans, wrap them gently in plastic wrap until you are ready to frost. I do this with all my cakes and it helps retain their moisture.

The I love this frosting. When I made it originally, I used the recipe as written not taking into account that Sweetapolita intended it only as a filling. I considered just frosting my cake in a the casual open way pictured above as I've seen others do. But who am I kidding??? I'm a frosting girl!

So I went back and made another batch!! My 2nd batch ended up being even more delicious than the first and I didn't think that was possible!

I'm posting the recipe here already increased so you will have plenty to frost and fill your 9" cake. Also note, I used two 9" pans, but then I split each layer so that is how I end up with 4 layers...just a way to get more frosting in there ;)

Salted Caramel Swiss Buttercream
adapted from Sweetapolita


2 ¼ cups sugar (divided, 1 ¼ cup for the caramel & 1 cup for the frosting)

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup heavy cream

generous pinch of sea salt**
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into tablespoon sized pieces

5 large egg whites

 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

To make the caramel: Place 1 ¼ cup of the sugar and the water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring. Brush down the sides of the pot with a dampened pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Stop stirring and cook until caramel is amber colored, gently swirling from time to time. The caramel will darken quickly so keep a close eye on it! Remove from heat, and slowly add cream, whisking by hand until smooth. Whisk in sea salt. Let cool.

To make the swiss meringue buttercream: Place egg whites and 1 cup of sugar into bowl over a pot of simmering water(not boiling--you don't want to cook the eggs). Whisk occasionally and gently until sugar dissolves and mixture registers 160° on a candy thermometer.

Remove the bowl from heat, and place onto the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed for 5 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high, and whisk until stiff, glossy peaks form (about 5-6 minutes). Once the bottom of the bowl is no longer warm to the touch, reduce speed to medium-low, and add butter, a little at a time, whisking well after each addition.

Switch to paddle attachment. With mixer on low speed, add cooled caramel, and beat until smooth (about 3-5 minutes).
**You can leave out the seal salt if you want regular caramel

Enjoy and Happy Baking!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday's Fabulous Five {Halloween Wreaths}

Happy Friday! I've been seeing so many great Halloween party & decorating ideas out there lately. Since it's halfway through September, I'm gearing up for Halloween decor. Which I put up on exactly October 1st ;) 

There are a number of FABULOUS wreaths out there and I want to share some of my favorites.

This wreath is perfect for all you chevron lovers out there! I especially love the bats!! You can get all the tutorial details from the always creative Tatertots and Jello.

I really love the Boo bunting on this wreath from Pretty Ditty! She not only includes the printable Boo banner, but a Happy Halloween as well.

Candy corn is one of those LOVE them or HATE them kind of candies. I happen to LOVE them!! But even if you don't love eating them, you gotta admit they are fun to decorate with! Like with this fun wreath from How does she?

I really love how purple & lime green have evolved into being  Halloween colors! I think they really liven up the more traditional orange & black palette. Which is one of the reasons I love this cute rag wreath from Sassy Sanctuary. Plus that EEK is just too cute!

But even orange & black can look fresh & modern when you incorporate fun patterns like polka dots, damask, stripes & houndstooth! Which is exactly what Stacy from She's {Kinda} Crafty did with another one of her fabulous ribbon wreaths! And I LOVE those two adorable masked spiders!!

There you have FIVE FABULOUS Halloween Wreaths to get your creative juices flowing this weekend! 

Happy Weekend and I hope you 
get your craft on and have a great one!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

If you find yourself always eating the dough when making chocolate chip cookies (majorly guilty here), then this treat is for YOU! And since there are no eggs used, it is the kind of cookie dough that is perfectly safe to eat. I discovered this great recipe on Love & Olive Oil. I changed up the coating to use chocolate chips instead of the candy melts ;)

These are super easy to make and don't even require you to turn on your oven! But they do require a whole lot of willpower in order to avoid eating ALL OF THEM!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles
adapted from Love & Olive Oil

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup milk
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
14 oz dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips


Beat butter and sugars together in a large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add milk and vanilla and beat for one more minute or until completely mixed. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt and mix on low speed until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips.
Cover and chill dough for 1 hour.

When dough is firm enough to handle, form dough into 1" balls and arrange on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Place sheets in freezer and let chill for 30 minutes.

Melt chocolate chips according to package directions. Most packages will advise you to add a little shortening, which makes it much smoother for dipping. If your package doesn't include this info, just add 2 Tablespoons of shortening to your 14oz of chips before you melt them. 

Using 2 forks, scoop up your cookie ball, then dip it into the melted chocolate & roll it around to completely cover. Tap fork on side of pan to remove any excess coating, and return to waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Chill until set. Store, chilled, in an airtight container for up to 1 week!

You should get about 4 dozen truffles from this recipe. Even if you can't help but nibble a few taste tests ;)


Monday, September 12, 2011

{DIY} Football Party Garland

So thrilled to be sharing my first post as 
a contributing writer over at Piggy Bank Parties!

and learn how to make this super easy & fun 
football party decoration!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday's Fabulous Five {Football Party Apps}

Happy Friday! Yesterday marked the official start of the NFL season! Whether you are THE FAN in your home or your significant other is, chances are you are thinking about throwing a football party.

So today I'm sharing five awesome appetizers for your next get together.

Now what football party would be complete without buffalo chicken? But how about instead of messy wings, you make these finger friendly Buffalo Chicken Bites from What's Cooking Chicago? Perfect party food!

Or how about serving your chicken wings in dip form? I am loving this Cheesy Hot Wing Chicken Dip from Living Locurto!

For something a little different than your buffalo style chicken, try these Chipotle Chicken Tostada Bites from Apple a Day. I love pretty much anything on a tortilla chip!

One of my favorite sandwiches of all time is the classic BLT. I am also a sucker for any food served on a stick. So these BLT Bites from Never Enough Thyme are most definitely making an appearance at my next gathering!

And as long as we are talking party food on a stick...let's take a look at these super yummy Pizzas-on-a-stick from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes! These would be a hit with the grownups and kids alike!

 Five Fabulous Party Apps that would be perfect for your upcoming party! 
Hope your weekend is
 a fabulous one full of fun!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Metal Rock Cake {Avenged Sevenfold}

Have you heard of the band Avenged Sevenfold? If you have, you are one up on me because I had no clue who they are. But it is one my nephew's favorite bands so for his 16th birthday, I decided to include the band on his cake.

He is a very talented guitarist so I made a figure of him playing his guitar. It was my first fondant person. It was however the second time I included his guitar in a cake. But the first was a life sized version which I made for him last year (I posted it here). The 2 inch version was certainly easier :)

I made the band's skull logo out of fondant and painted it with food color.The creepy skull thing may not be my cup of tea, but he certainly loved it!

The perfect cake for a guitar playing 
cool rocker!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday's Fabulous Five {Pumpkin Treats}

Alright...I know it's only the 1st of week of September. I know that the official beginning of fall isn't until the 23rd. I also know that in many parts of the country (especially here in Florida) it isn't going to feel like fall for another month and a half, maybe two. 

But this fall loving girl can't help but dream and long for the days when it will be cool enough to open my windows and maybe whip up some of these delicious & fabulous pumpkin treats!

I'm drooling over these mini pumpkin cheesecakes from the Picky Palate. Oreo crust, pumpkin cheesecake, caramel drizzle and what??? Pumpkin Spice Hershey's Kisses??? I've never even seen these, but you better believe I'm going to find them just to make this!

I've yet to try making whoopie pies, but I think these will be the first ones on my list! Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Marshmallow Cream Filling. I mean could you NOT love these?

I love cookies, but a cookie with yummy frosting is extra awesome! I have to try these Pumpkin Cookies with Caramel Frosting.

Pumpkin bread is one of my favorite holiday treats, but I love the extra yum of cream cheese on this Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread. I think it would make a great gift as well!

Now I do love pumpkin pie, but I've never had pumpkin cream pie. But something tells me after seeing this recipe for Mini Pots of Pumpkin Cream Pie from The Crafting Chicks, I'm gonna love it! Plus, how absolutely adorable are these little individual pies in the jar? What a great little take home for your guests after Thanksgiving dinner.

Five Fabulous Fall Treats!
 I hope they get your mouth watering for 
all the wonderful holiday goodness that lies ahead. 
Have a fantastic weekend and I hope it's one full of yum!