Scrap Blanket

When you are handed down yarn and have leftovers from projects, you make unique blankets wrapped in charm.

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Complimentary colors to start out.  Then rows of alternating colors until they are completely gone.

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When the blanket is square a border can but put on. A plain double crochet can finish it off nicely. I have added this as well as a shell border.

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Complete.

 

 

Halloween Apothecary Decorations

I have been so busy working on my costume and crafts I am just now getting to post my work. Start to finish on the projects instead of a few steps at a time.

I found some super cute D. I. Y. Apothecary bottles on Pinterest, I tried making them myself and I think I did ok. Below are how I made them with photos.

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This is the photo that I found and were my inspiration bottles. I knew if they turned out half as good as these they would look great in the kitchen.

First step was collecting bottles, this I did for about 6 months in advance of actually doing the project. Another quick way is to hit up your friends for two to three weeks prior to project day.

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Step Two- The removal of labels. This part is the least fun. I tried several different methods filling the sink with hot soapy water and letting the labels get soggy worked well. I then took a fingernail scrub brush I use after I gardening and scrubbed the softened labels.

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The bottles were still sticky where the labels were, but I was hoping it would help my hot glue words stick and stay in place as I was placing them on the bottles.

I have worked with hot glue before when I made some snow flakes for a costume and I used the same technique with this project. Hot glue is messy and is stringy. So I used wax paper and put my design on the wax paper, let it dry and then cut it out with small sharp scissors.  This way its not stringy and if there is a bit to much in one spot or another I trim it to how I want it.

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Next they go on the bottles. I used the hot glue gun to put tiny dabs of glue on the back of the cut out words to permanently adhere them to the bottles.

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I also purchased a small bag of 12 plastic eyeballs for a dollar and hot glued them to the top of the lids. I had wanted to find some small plastic animals for on the lids but I did not find any that I liked enough, or for a reasonable price.

You can see they are really starting to come together, the last and I think the most fun is painting. Just a quick tip, you might want to plan a few other tasks for in between drying times. For a well mottled look it takes 3-4 coats of different colored paint. Each layer of paint needs to dry before the next layer is placed on top of the last.

I have found that when layering colors going from darkest to lightest or lightest to darkest works the best. I went from dark to light because I wanted to make sure all of the white parts of the bottles were covered.

Charcoal and green mixed for the base coat, the whole bottle and lid.

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When the base coat is complete on all of the bottles ( dark green) you just add paint to your base color. This saves paint and time and you know that the colors will work well together because your next color created is a variation  the current base color (dark green).

I added a small amount of metallic gold to my dark green, to produce a slightly lighter and shimmering green.  This coat was not a complete covering coat like the dark green was. I splotched it on.

The next layer of paint I added even more metallic gold paint.

This makes three layers of color. I then used the gold paint with just a very little bit of my mixed lightest color for a slightly bronze or dirty gold look to paint on just the words to help them stand out.  Also on our blood bottle we used red paint to make it look like blood.

Finished products were not too shabby.

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We have gotten a great deal of positive feedback from our friends and family. I think this project was fun. I think it would be a great October or late September art project for kids home schooled or not. It teaches color mixing skills as well as patience and dexterity. Cutting out the hot glue words and painting the gold on the words helps with fine motor skills and the development of them and learning how to control the tools used in this project.

RickabaughReviews Approves!

 

 

 

D.I.Y. Halloween Decor

Halloween is a fun and silly time of year.  I especially love decorating.  But Halloween decorating can really add up! Every year I try to add just a few things to my stock pile of decor for each season, and I really try to keep a good tab on how much I am spending.  We moved into a new house this summer and the decorating spaces went from three rooms and a small porch to 6 rooms and a porch and front yard 5 times as large.  Lucky us when we purchased the home from relatives they left some items, Halloween and Christmas because they were downsizing.  I try to only purchase decor for special season’s after the holiday is over, when prices are slashed.  If we do purchase something before the season it either must be super cheep on clearance or there must be a coupon that is 20% or higher off the item.  I know this may sound really silly but I put a Halloween decor list on the fridge this year.  It lists a few items that I would not mind purchasing after the season which I think we could add to our home.  As an example we have more windows as well as more artwork on the walls as this new house so I think we can stand to add a few more sections of creepy cloth.  Also maybe some more spiders.  I would like to add more reusable, craft pumpkins that you can carve like a real pumpkin but they don’t ever rot.

D.I.Y. Decor is probably some of my favorite kind because most times its free, I have the items on hand. The “WOW” factor from friends and family also is really nice.  Are my D.I.Y. projects always perfect. Nope. But sometimes I find some good ones to try out.

I have seen in the store lots of fun ideas-I snap pictures of them and then go home and reproduce them. One such product was small black bats that you can tape to the inside of your lamp shades and they look like little flying bats at night.

Love the concept!

I headed off to work the other morning asking my husband, the artist, if he would draw me a few bats on an 8 1/2 X 11 sheet of white paper for when I get home.  When I got home he had 5 of the most adorable bats ever! He was not sure what I was going to use them for so he made different sizes for me.  Best Husband ever!

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I got out two sheets of black card stock paper. This type is my favorite, it is heavy duty and holds up well over the years with all sorts of projects including scrap booking.

I used a light colored pencil in order to trace the bats on.  I placed them all down, rearranging to get the most out of one sheet and have as little waste as possible. Then the tracing began, and what followed was a whole lot of cutting.

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Then I used double sided tape and popped the bats here and there on windows and in lamp shades.  I kept my patterns in a small baggy. With the amount of windows we have facing the street in the new house I think that I can make the whole pack of black paper of bats and have just enough.  But instead of focusing on just one craft this year I am doing a few.  So I am saving the patterns and can make one or two sheets of black paper of bats a year.

The end results you can see in the following photos are stellar!!!  I love them and the husband loves them, so that means Rickabaughreviews approves!

Fun easy and cheap!

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Does a reward system work?

People probably think that I am an incredibly disciplined person.  I am a little bit. I have so much trouble creating a new discipline or good habit that I want in my life. Biggest best example that almost everyone struggles with is exercise. When I was in high school and college and was active in sports it was so easy. The coach told you when and where and what. And I followed the rules or direction of the Coach. I showed up and I exercised.

I am 37 and not a full time athlete, I work a couple of jobs. Finding time to exercise in my busy schedule is not my highest priority.  I did find it a priority to get Halloween candy early, just in case. Candy is delicious, and we rarely have candy in the house, because I will eat it.

The weather has not been great-mostly rain. So I have been inside doing crafts in a sedentary life style, instead of lots of yard work, sweating out my extra calories.  In addition I recently added 2/3 pieces of candy every day. Its not a lot of candy, they are the miniatures.

But I have not been able to sit in the car or at work without unbuttoning my blue jeans. Not cool!

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I want to sit and crochet all evening on my comfy couch, but I also want to button my pants. So I have to get in some indoor exercise. I am not using candy as my reward for exercising. Also I am not going to the gym for hours. Start out slow with small goals and small rewards for those goals.

So I grabbed my crocheting and set my goal for 50. Every 50 stitches I set down the blanket and  went up the steps, at the top of the steps I did 10 push ups. Walked back down the steps and laid down on the floor next to my crocheting and did 25 crunches. Max time 5 minuets.

Crocheted another 50 and hopped up, walked across the house, up the steps for my push ups at the top. My small exercise routine is low impact, slow stress, small goals that are attainable. Attainable goals are the key. I told myself if I did small bits of exercise In between I could pick up my crocheting again.  A free evening is a rate event, but I was able to do this for three and a half hours today.

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So my blanket grew 8 rows and I was able to get in over 25 flights of steps, 150 push ups and just over 400 crunches. I also got in streching time. That is a big work out. I got in upper, lower and torso.

Small rewards for small goals, works amazing!

RickabaughReviews approves!

Tomorrow will not be as difficult. Hopefully soon my pants won’t be so difficult as well.

Low Stress Remnant Blanket update

I got a good bit done on the remnant blanket today.

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I was able to get four complete rows from the medium pink. I then added one row of light pink and one row of light purple that will be the border color.

I have started the dark pink three rows and then I will be doing three of the purple that I had done before. After I will be putting in a single row of cream as a subtle pattern that will be between each color where I will use all that I have of the small skeins.

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The blanket about doubled in size today.

Low Stress Remnant Blanket

Do you have left over yarn from other adorable projects?

Do you save it thinking you will eventually use it for another project?

Do you now have a giant tub of remnants?

Well I have been handed down yarn like crazy, friends and family have just handed me yarn saying “ I was getting rid of stuff, found this and thought you could use it” You smile and say graciously “thank you so much.” You get home and add it to an already stuffed tub.

I know a great deal of friends who do a bunch of different kinds of crafts. Some of whom absolutely need a pattern and follow it precisely.

I wanted to share how to make a blanket from your remnants, without a pattern. It will be low stress, makes use of your remnants, and best of all someone will greatly love cuddling in the blanket you made them.

First I dug out skeins that color cordinate. Three of them were nearly full and the other 5 were half flat.

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I have decided that the biggest leftover skein will be used sparingly throughout the blanket and mostly used for the border. Using it in the blanket will help to tie in the border and make it look complete.

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I have started with a base of three rows of double crochet of the full Pink. Then three rows of double crochet with the full dark purple. I then threw in one row of double crochet of the cream to start breaking up the thicknesses of the rows.

Remeber to keep in mind a remnant blanket is a way of organizing your chaos.

You can see that the next color in line is a medium pink that is half of a skein.  I intend to crochet the entire skein until I have none left except if the littlest bit left, only does a partial row. Then I end it at that colors last full row.

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I will continue the entire blanket in double crochet style to keep a consistency throughout, it also helps reduce the stress of choosing loop size each time you change yarn. It also reduces stress in being able to put down and pick up and know what you were doing last time you shoved it in your project bag.

You can see that this medium pink skein is pretty flat. So far I have a full row on the blanket, I am hoping for four rows.

Stay tuned to see progress.

Completed Baby Blanket

8C6E05B5-88D0-478F-B589-3271EA771668.jpegI finally finished the scrap baby blanket!  At no other time in my life could this blanket have been possible.  It is left over ends made from many other blankets and projects including projects my grandmother made from 60 years ago.  I was passed down the yarn scraps because I can crochet.

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Here is my trusty bag of yarn left overs that I dug out of several tubs in the basement and attic because my craft stuff is everywhere. I would randomly choose a color pull it out and connect the ends and depending on how much yarn was on the ball or skein I would either do a single stitch or a double stitch, or multiple rows. Having no pattern meant that I did not have a specific amount of yarn that I needed or how big the blanket needed to be.  It was a very relaxing project.  I am able to crochet in very low light by the feel of the yarn.  So when we go to the movies I take my crocheting with me, multitask to the max! I also crochet in the car, but only when the husband is driving.

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In the photo above you can see the very plain blue border that really helps wrap it up and make it look complete.  I personally love my shell boarder but that is a bit fancy for a baby boy blanket.

In this close up you can see that there is no set pattern. This was a very fun gift!

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Welcome to the new Klunk baby!

 

Hela of a good costume!-Part 1

My husband and I greatly love Halloween. We work very hard at trying to make most of our costumes from scratch every year. We are both very creative and a bit on the crafty side. They usually work out well!

Hela from Thor Ragnarok. When the movie came out in November of 2017 I started right then and there growing out my hair to be Hela for Halloween 2018.

My hair is naturally curly-easily fixed with a flat iron. But its not black. So we just dyed it last week. I will have to touch up before the big day in October because my roots will have grown, but I wanted to make sure I was okay with the change and because I have a few allergies, wanted to make sure I was not allergic to the hair dye.

I used nice and easy brown/black.

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Movie hair on top-my hair on bottom.  Pretty close.

Next step was checking out her threads close up.

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We watched the movie again recently on Netflix and I was confident I could do it.

It is not going to be 100% movie accurate but it will be in our price range and much more comfortable in the chilly Pennsylvania night then leather would be.

We noticed on the close-up that there is a unique texture and we hit the local fabric store to find something similar.  When we found the fabric that we purchased for the main body, we were so excited that it was the exact texture that we needed.  When we pulled the bolt out and layed out the fabric in our hands we had a moment of panic. It was a bit sheer! But together we realized quickly that we could layer it over tight black clothing and then we wouldn’t need to develop a whole pattern. 30% off and we were sold!

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My next challenge was finding inexpensive black leggings, they will only ever be used for this costume. So we didn’t want to spend much.

We found some that fit great!

Next was a black turtle neck!

  • We are off to a good quick start! The quicker I have my costume complete, the sooner I can start assisting my huz with his yet to be determined costume.

 

Silly Cake for all occasions!

I am not a professional baker, I can follow the directions on the back of the cake mix box. But its not fun enough for the birthday surprise I had in mind. Watch the transformation, and find out how I like some of the baking ideas I have read about on the internet and all those fun baking shows. The Rickabaugh reviews are in!

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I have a cake pan, but it is the usual large rectangle. Not too much fun. I would eventually like to get myself some more different sized cake pans. But for now with my beautiful multiuse cake plate that is round, I wanted a round cake. So I used the two pie plates I have, given to me by my gramma. One is much smaller than the other and I feel pretty sure its considered depression glass. It still works!

Snack Pack Pudding, Chocolate, 4 Count – 3.25 oz Cups (Pack of 12)

I wanted a layered cake and realizing that I did not have enough store bought frosting and I wasnt sure if I had the ingredients to make some ftom scratch, searched the cabinets-found chocolate pudding snacks! I have chocolate cake.  We will see if with chocolate pudding in between the layers will be good.

IT WAS AMAZING!!

I ended up trimming the tops of the two small cakes “pies” so that they would stack nice. The trimmed off portions went into a bowl and then I crumbled them up real small and added two pudding snacks. Mixed well, using a knife spread it on thick hoping my baking experiment would work. It was sticky and held the two cakes together perfect. I highly recommend this super yummy invention. Also I trimmed the tops but I did not trim the sides to be perfectly straight. It wasn’t a huge mistake but when putting the icing on it was incredibly difficult. It looked cool and weird and different and that was great. But once is enough.

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Pillsbury Moist Supreme Premium Cake Mix, Devil’s Food, 15.25 oz

It might not be the most expensive or fancy but it hit the chocolate cake fix for all who had some! I highly recommended this brand.

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Most of the supplies are in order. I had a bunch of mixing of icing colors and so I did that while the cake was cooking. Next time I will do it while the cake is cooling. My icing was hardening up while the cake was cooling.

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Pretty cake plate! And my round pie plates. I also recommend remembering to grease and flour your glass plates before putting in the batter. I forgot and had to only do a small patch job.

If part of your cake gets stuck in the pan-don’t fret about it! Scoop it out shove it in the cake hole and slap some icing on it. Everyone will rave how good it tastes.

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Got my food coloring! The back of the boxes have great suggestions on how much of which colors you can combine to make color schemes that match your style. I personally do not have a color mixing wheel in my head.

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This is a very basic Icing bag set. The basic set such as this is not for fancy cakes, if you make your own very thick and heavy icing you can get adequate function from the tips but if the icing is too thick it just bends the plastic projections which are there to give you a specific design, so unfortunately I have found plastic tips for icing bags sets to be slightly counterproductive. Plastic icing bags, yes easy to wash but difficult to get a good amount of use out of all of the icing you have. I have a bit of arthritis in my hands and wrists and the plastic is difficult to use and hold and tires out my hands quickly. There may be a day when I pull out all my pennies and get a good set but considering I make one crazy cake every other year, I will not get good use out of it. I can figure out cheats until I need to start making a cake a week.

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I saw this totally cool trick to use cling wrap and line up two to three colors of icing then put it in your icing bag to make super cool multicolored flowers. I was being stingy on icing so I used just orange and purple. The concept is excellent and is so cool. It did not work well for this project because the icing I had was not stiff enough and I ran out of icing. Next cake I think I just might make my own icing, then I can double the mix amount and not worry about running out.

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Separating out the icing. Realized to make the most of the icing and wash one less bowl and one less fork, put the food coloring right in the icing container.

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Colors turned out excellent. I used very few drops of food coloring (between 2 to 6) to try to reduce the amount of stains that might happen with 5 small kids eating cake. Bolder, brighter colors need more food coloring. More food coloring means you might not get it out of their new birthday dress, also some kids have sensitivities to food coloring.

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This is how I watched the multicolored flowers started on a baking how to.  I suggest have someone help you with holding down the cling wrap-if cling wrap has always been your enemy. A good trick might be to chilling all the icing to make it less runny and easier to manipulate. Also if you have any burrito wrapping skills, now is the time to show them off.

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A trick I have never tried before that a friend who makes a lot of cakes suggested to me once, wax paper on a piece of cardboard.

Works Amazing!

Make sure you use two or more pieces that over lap just slightly in the middle of the cake. I was able to get away with just two because it was a small, not super heavy cake.

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Centered the bottom pie plate cake layer in the middle of the wax paper and card board. As you can see I trimmed the top of the cake to make it flat to easily layer on the pudding mix and then the top pie plate layer. It was flat but not level, which in the end product will make your cake look even less level. If you are a perfectionist get a ruler to help you out. I am a bit go with the flow, it doesn’t have to be perfect-it will be delicious straight or crooked.

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The “FUN” part of icing was next. It was difficult and so messy and looked crazy bad! I was texting updates to my husband who was off site and he had strong doubts about the outcome.

Tie dyed looks crazy bad before it looks good, every time, but it will turn out awesome!

Best term for how you put the icing on would be “glob” but you need to glob on the colors starting in the center of the top of the cake. Change colors going in a spiral from the center the whole way around the top and down the sides.

You can see that I left spaces in between the colors so as to not mix them all up on the spoons I was using to place it on the cake. I used a toothpick to smear the icing colors together to leave no showing chocolate cake. And it helped to level out the icing globs.

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Touching globs! 😂

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By the time I got to the bottom of the cake I was tired and ran out of different colors. Its still rough looking at this point, don’t get discouraged! The next step is the fun transformation-will pick you up-step!

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Clean toothpick! Start in the top center every single time. If you are really concerned about perfect mixing with drawing the tookpick through the cake, clean off the toothpick every time you start at the top middle and draw out to the edge and then down the side.

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Instant Tie Dye!! You can stop here and everyone will ooohhhh and aaahhhh! But I thought sprinkles will take it to the next level. They didn’t stick too well so they were everywhere in the kitchen.

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Now is when the cardboard and wax paper come into play.  Use two hands and put the cake and wax paper and cardboard on top of your nice clean cake stand. If it is a large cake get a helper. Its not as fun to eat cake off of the floor.

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In this photo you can see how I gently and slowly slid out the cardboard. At this point you can see very easily where your cake is on the plate through the wax paper. If you have to move the cake to center it on the plate use the wax paper and tug just a bit, slow and steady.

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When your cake is where you want it on the plate, take one side of wax paper out at a time. If you pull with two hands and slow and steady  the wax paper shouldn’t tear and stick under the cake.

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Cake on a plate! Just a bit more decorating I think!

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Remember that little bit of icing I put aside? This is where it comes in.

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Icing tip I used.

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I snipped off the end of the cling wrap and just slid icing and cling wrap into the plastic decorating bag, which greatly added in clean up-wasn’t too messy.

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Sqwished the icing to the end. A great tip I received from a baker friend was once the icing is in the bag( this is for right handed people) have the small icing tip in your left hand. Take the large open end in your right hand twist the end sealing the bag shut and creating a stable holding situation as well as controlling the pressure in your dominant hand, wrist, and arm. That useless left hand, wrist and arm hold the small delicate tip steady as I decorate. When I lose pressure in the bag, more pressure needs to be made. This is done by twisting the big end, that was twisted shut and held twisted between my right thumb and right pointer finger, twisting the plastic bag naturally pushes extra icing down to the decorating tip, descreasing the amount of space in the bag and increasing the amount of pressure in the bag. Once again giving you the adequate amount of icing and flow.

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I desired to have a purple and orange flower trim around the bottom of the cake. The cake was plenty busy so this small detail was lost on the overall look, but it was a great learning experience. The icing I choose for this cake was delicious but not thick and firm so the flowers were runny, so I ended up making less of a flower trim and more of a funky ribbon of color at the bottom.

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Sprinkles are fun looking. Very messy and bounce off of cakes sides when you toss them at cakes. Thus sprinkles everywhere. And if there is a drop of water anywhere near a rogue sprinkle you have streaks of color all over the counter and the floor, and if you get them on the bottom of your socks they get transferred to carpeting. Then the dog licks the found spinkles and next thing you know there is a strange green spot on the brand new carpeting.

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Add the candles when birthday subject is near! Until then keep it safe from harm with the lid.

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Ready to PARTY!!!

Kid tested, Miller Family and Rickabaugh’s approve!