Island of Berk Birthday cake!

Need an idea for a little kids birthday cake- dragons can be a simple win and unique as well. Step by step instructions on how to wow the party kids and parents!

My good friends son was turning 6 years old and I wanted to get him a few small toys. He recently saw the new How to Train your Dragon-The Hidden World movie in the theater,  and he loved it! Target has pocket sized dragons at a very reasonable price. One type has a baby dragon you can see and then a mystery baby dragon in a box next to it. I got three, one of each type of dragon they had available.

Birthday boy was not having a party, just a friend and family and us two went to the Laser dome for the day. I asked if it was okay if I make a cake. Permission granted, just no nuts due to allergies.

We got a chocolate cake mix and two medium vanilla icing containers.

Edible decor such as Swedish fish are always a great cake topper when working with an ocean theme.

The only tools I used to decorate this cake were a fork and knife.

I always lay down two pieces of wax paper onto my finished plate before I place the cake to decorate. The wax paper should just slightly overlap in the middle. This will allow me to have a clean plate for presentation by gently tugging the wax paper out after completed.

Two cake pans at the dollar store are perfect for a small stacked cake. Be sure to let the two cakes completely cool before decorating. Otherwise you will have a big sliding melted mess on your hands.

In order to have the layers stack nicely I needed to slice just a bit off the top of one in order to make it flat. Don’t throw this piece out, I will be using it later for the island.

I have to take this cake to a party so the end location of the cake is the cake carrier.  Notice how I placed two sheets of wax paper to gently tug out later.  Right now it is my crumb catcher. A bit of green icing for in between the layers.  I will be using more blue icing on the outside, so green goes into the middle.

Top layer on, flat in the middle, round on top.

Remember that spare piece of cake top from the bottom layer.  Here it will be used as the Island, giving the cake dimension.

Here you can see that I am using the green icing on top of the addition.  I will smooth on the icing first and then add the texture to make it look like grass.

I liked using the extra piece of the cake because it gave me a clean and clear picture of the area in which will be the island. Also waste not want not! You can see in this photo that I am using just the tip of the fork to create the grass look. I am pressing down very gently into the green icing and pulling straight up.  Not deep enough into the icing in which I will reach the cake, which might pull up chocolate cake bits or pull the icing up off of the cake.

Here the Island’s grass is complete.

Now comes the harder part, the blue ocean.  I am starting off with a lighter blue because I will need to darken up the color as I add to the cake.  We start with lightest blue next to the island.  When at the beach the water is lighter closest to the beach. The water is shallow and you can see the bottom, which is usually a light tan, sand color which makes the water look a lighter blue/green color.  As you move away from the island the icing should be tinted darker to give the illusion that the water is getting deeper- thus darker.

A nice light blue ring of icing around the island.  The icing doesn’t have to look perfect yet. you will be blending and creating waves after it is all on all over the cake.

Add a few more drops of blue food coloring to the rest of the container of blue icing. Then mix in to give a slow and gradual darkening of the ocean.

Slowly the blue icing is going on. I added blue food coloring to darken the icing about 4 times. It looks like slight waves in the blue already.  I am practicing with the knife with adding the icing to the cake in order to have the technique of wave making with a flip of the wrist and knife for the end result. A light slow flip of the knife, no one needs icing all over the kitchen.

Here you can see how the knife strokes ended up blending one shade of blue into the next very gently. Also it shows the close up of what your waves might look like. Remember it does not need to be perfect, it just needs to be edible.

Here is the cake on the carrier. Notice how I slowly slid out the wax paper. The back piece has not been taken out yet and you can see were the carrier bottom would have been a disaster.

Fish, dragons and candles are last and right before the kids arrive.  You are sure to get all the oohh’s and wow’s you need to over come the anxiety from the night before when decorating is a challenge. I know I sure did, and the employees of the pizza shop came to check it out too. Delicious and fun! RickabaughReviews Approves!

Snowman cheese ball

Headed to a party this evening. And we are taking a snow man cheese ball.  We made one for a holiday party a few years back and of course did not write down the directions. I have a few food allergies so everything we end up making ends up different.  I usually look up several different types of recipes and than mash them together to get something both the husband and I will like.

The husband cooked the bacon yesterday. Today I am warming it up a bit in order to have as much grease drain off as possible. I crumbled about 5 full pieces once warmed up.  It has to be crispy but not burnt.

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The base of the ingredients is cream cheese, we used 2 8oz. packages. Cream cheese is kinda the glue and what helps give our little snow man his shape.  But you do need to let the cream cheese warm up a bit before building so that it mixes well. He will go back in the refrigerator to get chilly once built.

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I put in a bowl 3 cups of Mexican mix shredded cheese and 1 cup of the shredded mild cheddar cheese. Tossed them a bit to get them well mixed and then added my bacon crumbles to the mix and tossed that mix. Then comes the super messy part. I added my softened cream cheese.

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Wash your hands good, then wash them again and then get your hands in there.  You have got the blend it really well. Nothing works better than your hands and eyes.  And then you need to split up the mix and remember the head is just a bit smaller than the snowman butt.

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Yes you will see that my snowman isn’t really white. this is where your grated Parmesan (and Ramano) comes in. You will coat the outside of the head and butt with the grated cheese. this is your fluffy snow look. I used about 1/2 of a cup.  Press in into the cheese balls gently with your hands and this also helps to further shape your head and butt into nice round balls.

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We used pretzel sticks as our construction beams.  Because they are edible.  You should never put anything into a dish that is not edible such as toothpicks for structure stability, there might be smaller children who are helping themselves. Safety first!

I gently pushed the pretzel sticks into the base, didn’t want them to break, because if they break then you have to dig out pretzel sticks and that is not fun. One pretzel stick easily breaks, and two  does as well, but three you have more support, so if you trip while carrying your little snow man he is less likely to have his little head roll right off and onto the floor. then I gently push his had onto the three pretzel sticks, very careful not to snap the sticks. Then he goes into the refrigerator to chill a bit while I make his little outfit.

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Twizzler’s pull and peel! They have a bunch of different flavors and colors so you can go with which ever flavor is your favorite to eat, there will be left over Twizzlers. I used a total of one section. I pulled them a part in three sections, two strips I smashed together to make one long scarf.  The other section I chopped up into pieces to make gloves and a smile.

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I needed to get a small kitchen knife to scoop out where the smile was going because it wasn’t staying/ sticking very well because of the Parmesan on the outside. I also used this technique to put in the olive eyes. Pretzel bit for the nose and pretzels for the arms. The gloves were just a bit of a challenge because once you pull apart the Twizzlers they are finicky to get back together.  Just a touch of water and a bit of squishing and they stay in place enough for presentation.

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I do not have any fresh rosemary growing at our new house yet, that will be put in in the spring. But I do have lavender still green out side.  I snipped off two sprigs and washed it very well, and poked a few into the head because I don’t have a top hat for the little guy, so I made him a little girl.  Cute as a button!

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We have our party pack of crackers and a plastic knife for spreading and we are ready to party!

So an hour to thaw the cream cheese and an hour maybe to build. You probably will not be taking photos for each step and typing in between. So I am sure you can put your little snow man together quicker.  You night even want to use a carrot for a nose too.

Snowman/lady cheese ball was a total success! Yours will be too!

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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Hela of a costume-top Part 1

I worked on the turtle neck of my Hela costume this evening. I started with turning my top inside out and popping it on.

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Then with help from the husband We drew on what sections I wanted to cut away in order to have the shoulders out.  I used a tan colored pencil, rubs off easy- and in case it doesn’t thats why we flipped the shirt inside out.

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And the side/back close up.

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Then the shirt comes off and gently cutting begins. Then the shoulders are off, trying it on to make sure I don’t need to take any more off anywhere.

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Shoulders are gone! Then I found the old bra I wanted to sacrifice for the costume and pinned the shirt to the bra. I put the bra on and then the shirt on correctly with the right side out and then carefully pinned the shirt to the bra in strategic places in order to know where I need to stitch. I will be taking out the wires later for comfort, but I need a good shape for the beginning of sewing.

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I am leaving the straps on the bra- I can slide them off shoulder and that is also where I want to attach the cape mainly for structure and strength and for easy attachment as well as a great deal of flexibility.

The next part I took off the top and bra and started hand stitching them as one. I do a great deal of hand stitching because I have found it to be quicker and more precise for myself.

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So all I got done tonight was a bit of sewing but here it is.

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I decided to attach a bra to the inside to give it the best shape structure in order to work on putting on the overlay fabric. I am glad I got a bunch of this overlay material because I realized tonight that I need to pay close attention to the sample photos I am using to see which angle the pattern is laying (oval overlay) I need to be able to recreate the same exact pattern angles will only pose as a slight bit more work.

 

Weekend Warrior!

Last weekend in August! Got to make the most of it!

Last Weekend in August-Work hard, play hard, sleep hard too.  Had so many gardening tasks planned for this weekend but only got a few done- due to my finger cutting episode. That is okay, we worked on a million other things this weekend. Plus we spent a little sweetheart time date night out to a movie.

Yesterday bright and early I started cleaning. Bathrooms, floors, laundry and ceiling fans. Then we did some gardening where my finger got cut, but it is healing great.  I soak it in warm soapy water every morning and then wear a bandage with triple antibiotic ointment, changing the bandage 4 times a day and letting the skin dry out a bit in between.  I wait until my skin is not so wrinkly from being wrapped up with moisture before I wrap it up again. When we go out I put a small finger splint we have on hand over my finger for extra protection. it is still just slightly sensitive.

While soaking my fingers in soapy water I set up a stepping stone to start painting. Looking good.

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I got around to water proofing my concrete leafs as well as a rock I painted months ago. The tops of these are done. I will get the bottom s of them tomorrow.

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I have the border on the baby boy blanket completed and am working on tying in the ends, so almost complete blanket! In plenty of time before my friends baby boy is here.

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I have successfully designed, printed, addressed and yes put in the mail box. Invitations to a great Aunt”s 90th birthday party.

The husband and I both sanded for an hour each on my China cabinet makeover.  The husband used the Dremel on the top edges where its a bit fancy and too tricky and small for the Black and Decker Mouse hand sander that I prefer to use.  It doesn’t look much different then my last update on my china cabinet makeover but it is coming along.  I did some sanding on the bottom of the shelves and I used the 220 grit on the one outside and my goodness that is so smooth.

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We went material shopping for my Halloween costume updates are in my previous post Hela of a costume. Made my cutie pie niece a card for her birthday. 8 is great! Also in the mail.

We also finally started working on our new bar.  We left the old bar behind when we sold the old house, it really was beautiful and it went great with the dining room.  It was our first bar building experience as a couple and we have a few things we are very excited about doing differently.  We got some stain, and some frame! 2x3x8 boards to start building the frame.

Busy! To bed at midnight and Up at 5am. Do it all over again tomorrow.

Hela of a Costume Part 2!

We worked on getting great under threads.  Leggings were first. I really like no nonsense brand and they fit great.  These were what I got.

No Nonsense Women’s Cotton Legging, Black, Large

Next was a black turtle neck. It needed to be nice and form fitting.  We went to several different stores trying on a ton of tops. What I found best was at Costco. It was a two pack white and black turtle neck set for under $20

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In my earlier post I had found a great black over lay material to give me the textured look with out the heavy and super hot look of rubber or plastic/leather and the comfort of cotton. The lighting isnt perfect but I think it looks great layered.

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This weekend in our non stop weekend warrior lives we got the green material. We purchased 4 yards because we are going to use it for the cape as well as the green accents on the main body of the costume.  We probably only needed to get three yards but I mess up sometimes.  The material was 30% off original price and then I found an online coupon for an additional 20% off my total purchase. Which saved me just over $29 on  the green material. I highly suggest always using coupons.  It makes my life more affordable.

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One of the key elements that I look for in a material is how much it is going to fray when it is cut.  This green that we purchased is spandex and will not fray much at all when cut so I do not have to worry about stitching the edges I can just cut out the shape and hot glue it on.

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.