Tutorial: The Cake Pop Topiary

Is there anything more fun than cake on a stick? I think not.

That’s why I whipped up some cake pops with a twist for a little dinner party I was hosting.

Here’s what you’ll need to create these ready-for-Spring cuties:

Cake Pops

  • Box cake mix
  • 1 (16oz) container Cream Cheese frosting
  • Food coloring
  • Pastry bag and tip (optional, but fun!)
  • 1 lb bag candy melts
  • Wax paper
  • Cookie sheets
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • Large bag powdered sugar
  • Milk
  • Vanilla

Topiary Supplies

  • Small pots of your choice (mine were on sale for $0.76/ea), you could try baby food jars too
  • Decorative grass
  • Floral foam square (enough to put some in each pot)
  • Lollipop sticks
  • Paper for name card
  • Ribbon (optional)

First you’ll need to bake the cake mix per the directions on the box. Bake in a 9×13 pan and allow to fully cool before crumbling it up into a large bowl.

Start with almost all of the can of frosting and mix it in with a electric beater or in a stand mixer. Add more until you get a consistency that will hold a ball shape. We added the whole can- and it was probably a bit too much- but still worked out.

Roll your cake balls (flour-ing your hands if necessary) and place them on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. Chill for at least 10 minutes in the freezer.

While the cake is chilling, you can prep your topiary pots.

Cut your floral foam to fit in your pots, this will hold the lollipop stick in place when you finish the cake pops (don’t add the sticks yet, though).

Set your pots aside for now, and melt your candy following the package directions (most can be microwaved at half power). Dip a lollipop stick in the melted candy before putting a cake ball on it. This will help it stay in place. Use a spoon to cover the cake ball with candy, let the excess drip off, then place on wax paper to dry. You can also skip the stick to make plain cake balls. Let the dipped cake balls chill another 10 minutes in the freezer.

While they are setting up, mix the decorative frosting. This is sort of a consistency game using the powdered sugar, room temperature butter, a couple of teaspoons milk, and 1 tsp vanilla. You can use an electric mixer or a stand mixer (stand mixers are less messy…) Just keep adding more sugar or a little milk to get a whipped frosting. Add food coloring to your liking, remember a little goes a long way.

Filling a pastry bag is easy with a tall glass, just stuff the bottom in and fold the top over the glass. A simple star tip will work great to create the flowers. You could also use a plastic ziplock with a tiny bit of the corner cut out.

There was a little failed double cake ball topiary situation, so just ignore the ball on the bottom…

Stick the cake pop into a prepped pot and place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. Then you can add your ribbon or namecard. Keep the topiaries in the fridge until close to serving time.

How cute are they?

Enjoy!

Big Impact Floral Arranging

I love having fresh flowers in my home! I know many of you probably do too. You may think it’s too costly, but really if you pick the right flowers and add in your own cuttings from trees and bushes around your home, you can have beautiful arrangements all the time.

I want to share with you how I arranged my dozen Valentine’s Day roses. First- buy them the day after Valentine’s Day. My dozen fresh Vendela roses cost $12 on February 15th.

Now everyone can stick a dozen roses in a vase on the center of the table and call it a day. But how about trying something more interesting? Gather vases of different heights that are made of the same material (i.e. all glass, or all white ceramic, etc).

Generally speaking, it is pleasing to the eye if the overall height of the arrangement matches the height of the vase. If you’ve ever put flowers in a vase and thought it looked off or weird, that’s probably why :) Working one vase at a time, hold the flowers up to the side of the vase and give the stem a diagonal trim at the desired height. Make sure you remove any leaves that will sit under water.Vases with small openings can get a single flower, while larger ones can get two or three.

Put all your vases in a cluster and play around with the placement until you like it.

This way you’ll get more bang for your buck as far as impact.

I love this little bird vase my friend Amy got me :) He’s perfect for a single flower or a few sprigs of fresh herbs.

Now don’t forget to change the water and use the little packet of powder that usually comes with flowers. Fresh flowers should last at least a week if not two. I always try to buy from the refrigerator section of the floral department- but if you have to choose from the buckets, pick buds that are mostly closed. I never buy pre-packaged bouquets unless it includes 3 or more flowers that I LOVE. Seriously, you are paying for those shiny twigs they stuff in there, and half of the flowers will be rotting. Your money is better spent buying a couple bunches of a single flower and a bunch of greenery. Here’s a list of flowers and greenery my grocery store usually carries that I buy regularly, most are $3.33/bunch:

Spray Roses (small roses, several on a stem)

Snap Dragons (tall with delicate flowers, I’ve seen mostly pink and yellow)

Peonies (spendy, but fun when they are in season!)

Stock (SO fragrant, comes in all colors…this is my favorite budget flower)

Daisies (try to avoid the ones that have obviously been food colored)

Salal (a.k.a. Lemon Leaf, big fat green shiny leaves for lining the base of an arrangment)

Solidego (sprigs of bright yellow flowers)

Hypericum Berries (red or green, fun accents!)

I have a lot more floral arranging tips to share, but I don’t want to bore you…are you interested in learning more? Let me know in a comment!

Lovely Crafty Weekend #61

Happy Friday everyone! What have you been working on this week? Here are last week’s features:

I LOVE LOVE LOVE these paint chip style business cards Liz Marie made. Aren’t they sweet?

{Liz Marie}

I couldn’t believe the difference in this before and after shared by Stink & Schmoop! It doesn’t even look like the same room. Love the B&Ws over the couch.

{Stink & Schmoop)

Julie from Crafty Imaginings shared some of her most recent treasure hunting finds, including supplies to make these supersized insects!

{Crafty Imaginings}

Check out this Spring-y pinwheel wreath at Loopy Loop Creations. How cute is it?! Head over there for the tutorial.

{Loopy Loop Creations}

And now, onto this week’s party! Here are some friendly guidelines:

1) Please link to a specific post, not your blog address.

2) Share the love and comment on other people’s blogs! We all love comments!

3) Please join my Linky Followers Network.

4) Please grab my linky party button from the sidebar and link back so others can join in the fun!

I Ball So Hard

Doesn’t everyone need some ball fringe in their lives?

My friend Amy originally saw this project on The Purl Bee, and we decided we had to have one! So off to the store we went to gather supplies. I made some modifications to the method to make it easier for beginners (um, yeah me). Basically I messed it up a few times and discovered some tricks.

Supplies:

  • 0.5-1 yd fabric (enough to cut a 16″ x 58″ piece, so it depends on the bolt width-I used 1 yd)
  • 4 yds ball fringe trim
  • Coordinating thread
  • Iron
  • Stitch witch (optional, but recommended…you don’t need a lot)

Kitty cube- optional.

After you wash and dry your fabric, cut out a piece of fabric 16″ x 58″.

With right sides together, sew a 1/2″ seam to join the ends. Iron the seam open and sew both sides of the seam down in place.

Notice that you do not have to be a great seamstress to get a nice finished product here! Just do your best!

Next get out your stitch witch. Working on the wrong side (look for that seam you just made, make sure all your hems/seams are on the same side!), fold over a good 1″  and iron in place. Use pieces of stitch witch to secure the hem every once in awhile- you don’t need to lay out the whole roll.

Once you have your 1″ hem in place, fold the fabric over again about 3/4″  covering the the first hem completely (note: a smidge of the first hem should be tucked under the fold and this is important!!) Do not use stitch witch this time, just iron in place.

So now you should have 2 big fatty hems ironed in place. But you’re not done ironing yet! The ball fring will be placed on the outermost edge and sandwiched inside the hem. So take the inner hem edge (i.e. not the fold, the open end) and fold it back on itself to create a hem half the size. I hope that makes sense. If you look at the picture above, the left edge of the hem will get folded to the right so it meets the outer edge. Do this on both edges of the cowl and iron in place (no stitch witch).

Now it’s time to grab your ball fringe. You’ll be placing it between your latest fold, on the outer edge.

If you need to, iron the hem again as you go. Pin the fringe in place every few inches. Now it’s time to sew! Using a zig zag stitch, sew the ball fringe in place, making sure to catch all layers of fabric. I’m not going to lie, this was a little difficult. This is where that stitch witched tucked under hem comes in handy. The first time I did this, my folds were popping out, and I couldn’t keep everything in place. So, trust me on the stitch witch and over-sized initial fold. Just go slowly, keeping the fringe in place as you go and pull out the pins.

When you’re done, you’ll have a versatile piece you can wear so many ways!

I hope you’ll try this project and tell me how it goes for you! Enjoy!

Getting My Feet Wet

Well, hopefully not for much longer…

You see we have double decks on the front of our house- which sounds posh- but is mostly pointless because neither one is weatherproof.

This is how the porch looked last fall when I finally painted it and re-stained the floors. But there was still a little problem.

Yeah…all those cracks. Let’s just say I’ve been standing in the rain fumbling for keys one too many times my friends. It’s over.

So, I started researching solutions. Actually this is not the first time I’ve thought about solving this problem, but I guess I was never properly motivated to follow through before. Or, I didn’t find anything cheap enough. That was probably it. You know I’m cheap.

I’ve come across several commercial products for this application, but none of them met my cheaper-than-dirt requirement. After a little more digging, I decided to make up my own method using some corrugated metal or plastic and wood furring strips to create a slope. Off to Home Depot I went-straight to the roofing department.

I saw corrugated metal sheets, but across the aisle there was a plastic looking version that intrigued me because it was white. Below the sheets there were boxes of accessories, namely some brackets that caught my eye called DuoDeck. I could have sworn I heard the angels singing when I read the side of the box that said “Create A Dry Space Under Your Deck.”

Did they read my mind?

Apparently these brackets are meant to use with the Palruf corrugated PVC sheets to basically attach a roof to the underside of a deck. In order to create drainage, you hang the brackets progressively lower (1/4″ every 2 ft to be exact), and the water runs off the side instead of on your head.

Conveniently enough, also on the side of the DuoDeck bracket box was a list of other supplies: 2×2 strips (which were already on my radar for my homemade version) and special screws made by the same company (featuring sealing washers-genius).

So the bad news is that I lost the patent on my underdecking system. But, the good news is that someone already proved this would work.

I left with 2 sheets of 26″ x 12′ Palruf, a 50 pc box of screws, (3) 2x2x8s, and 12 DuoDeck brackets. Grand total: $80

I hate to leave you here, but this project is still in process and I don’t want to ruin the big reveal. I will definitely be back with a full tutorial though, as I didn’t find too many resources on the internet for installing this product. It’s not difficult, but there are some things we discovered on the way that would have been helpful to know or think about in advance. But if you have a deck like ours, I highly recommend this system-it’s by far the cheapest- yet effective- I’ve found.

New Sponsor: Megan with SCENTSY!

I’m excited to introduce you to yet another new sponsor on Lovely Crafty Home! Megan contacted me eager to share her Scentsy business with you all. I have heard so many awesome things about Scentsy, and I feel like I’ll be trying it in the near future!

Megan is so excited to share Scentsy with you, that she is generously offering a product giveaway. Yes, YOU will have a chance to win some free Scentsy products from her later this month! Stay tuned for details! Until then, here’s Megan:

***********

Hello, my name is Megan and I am a Scentsy Consultant from Canada. I am also a stay at home mom to four great kids, a wife  and a piano teacher. I was first introduced to Scentsy about 3 years ago when my cousin signed up as a consultant. I was instantly in love at first smell! I had a hard time picking just a few of the scents because they all were so heavenly! I also loved the Scentsy concept of the wickless candle. Having small children at home and burning a traditional candle was never a good thing and always worried me. So when I found out that these warmers were wickless and a 25 watt light bulb was what melted the wax I was sold! How simple and brilliant was this!

What is Scentsy?

Scentsy flameless candles are a unique candle system, the Scentsy flameless candle uses a low watt bulb to warm the wax candle bars slowly into a pool of melted wax that maximizes the strength and life of the scent. Scentsy flameless candle bars last up to 80 hours and do not release harmful chemicals that you find in regular jarred candles.

Scentsy flameless candles come in 80 wonderful fragrances, and you melt the wax in a Scentsy warmer. You can select warmers to match your home decor, fashion style or holiday decorations. There are warmers for every season and as your style changes so can the warmer you warm your Scentsy flameless candle bars in.

After a few years of loving my Scentsy system, it finally came to Canada! I signed up as soon as I could, so I wouldn’t have to order it from my cousin in the States anymore.  After thinking about this and talking to my cousin about possibly building my Scentsy business I thought this was something I could do. It was a little out of my comfort zone, though. It all seemed perfect – there was only one concern: direct selling. I had no experience, I had never even been to a Scentsy party. I was so nervous about joining and not being successful. For an inexperienced seller, I thought Scentsy would be the perfect product to sell – all I needed to do was explain how to use Scentsy and then sit back and let the customers smell. If you like candles, you would LOVE Scentsy. I was SO pleasantly surprised when many of my customers would exclaim, “Wow, this stuff just sells itself,” after smelling a few of the samples. This helped me branch out and become a more outgoing person.

After a month and a half of selling Scentsy I was promoted to Director. This was huge for me. I also qualified for the incentive trip to Hawaii and had a fabulous time there meeting new people and being inspired by this new company! A year later I was promoted to Star director. I can’t even begin to tell you how much of a blessing Scentsy has been in my life and my family! I have made so many new friends, met so many fun people, made more money than I ever thought was possible, and this company continues to amaze me each and every day! I feel honored to be apart of a company who believes and emphasizes ”Give more than you take.” Yes, I do feel blessed indeed! And as a result I feel selfish when I don’t share the Scentsy opportunity with others. I know what Scentsy did for me and my family and I know what it can do for others!  If you read the Scentsy story you will be amazed at the tremendous growth of this company and the generosity of these people! I want to share with everyone the blessing I have received from Scentsy. I would love to have you be a part of my team and help you as you build your Scentsy business.

There are so many fun new things coming soon to Scentsy including personal care products (Layer by Scentsy) and a line of fondue pots and high quality Belgium Chocolate (Velata by Scentsy). If you want to see more information on any of the Scentsy products, or are interested in hearing more about Scentsy as a business, please visit my website or my Scentsy blog.

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Thank you so much Megan! We will be sharing details of the Scentsy giveaway soon, so keep your eyes peeled for that! If you are interested in sponsoring LCH please, click here for more information.

 

Lovely Crafty Weekend #60

Hello again everyone! This week has been fairly productive for me, and I hope it has been for you as well! Did you all have a nice Valentine’s Day?

Let’s check out last week’s features:

Marilyn at 4 You With Love shared her version of paper bag flooring. I thought it was incredibly inventive for her to use Rit dye in the glue!

{4 You With Love}

Andrea from Signs By Andrea shared a collection of great art focusing on the Family Room. She included some of her original work too, check it out!

{Signs By Andrea}

Almost A Housewife showed off her Valentine’s Day decor, which is super cute! I love how she extended it throughout her home, not just on her mantle. Take a look.

{Almost A Housewife}

Check out Sew Passionate for a sweet Ballard Designs knock off involving chalkboard paint!

{Sew Passionate}

There you have it! If you were featured, grab a button from the sidebar :)

Now I’m sure a lot of you have heard that Google Friend Connect will no longer be supported on WordPress sites. I have found a new program through Linky Tools that will take the place of GFC for me from now on. I hope you all will look in the sidebar for this and sign up:

And now, onto this week’s party! Here are some friendly guidelines:

1) Please link to a specific post, not your blog address.

2) Share the love and comment on other people’s blogs! We all love comments!

3) Please join my Linky Followers Network.

4) Please grab my linky party button from the sidebar and link back so others can join in the fun!

Ambush

Five days a week, this is what happens.

***

The hubs walks in sometime between 5:30 and 6.

[Dog wiggles excessively]

I hop up off the couch and pretend I wasn’t trolling Pinterest since he left that morning. “Hi honey! How was your day?” Kiss kiss.

“Meh. How was yours?”

“Well, I had this great idea! It’s so awesome! I’m going to ______________ (insert completely random and/or ridiculous house project).”

[Silence]

“Aren’t you excited?! It’s going to make our lives better/save us money/add value to the house/be totally posh.”

[More silence]

“Here, let me draw it out for you! I’m definitely going to need your help because you’re better at ______ (insert any skill set that will stroke his ego the most) than I am!”

***

Um, raise your hand if this sounds anything like your house.

Poor Mike, I pretty much bombard him with at least 10 crazy ideas daily. He takes it fairly well for a guy that gets bombarded with 10 crazy ideas daily-especially when it’s right when he gets home from work and all he really wants is dinner. He has not one, but two wiggly and excited girls greeting him at the door. And only one of them looks reaaaaaallly cute doing that. Oh, and it’s not me.

But somehow he usually ends up helping out with 1 or 2 of those crazy ideas. I can always count on him to encourage me- even if he’s a bit like a deer in headlights at first. I think I just have that effect on people.

Here’s a pretty little sketch from tonight’s episode…can you tell I’m trained in technical drawing?

 

 We live on a giant hill, so that’s my plan to make a terrace garden down the side of my house. The planter boxes I saw here via Pinterest I hope the hubs is excited!!

 

Tutorial: Cupcake Oven Mitt

When my friend Amy showed me these sweet and functional mitts, I had to have her share them with you!

You’ll find a FREE downloadable pattern in this tutorial, so read on for the deets! Here’s Amy:

The cupcake oven mitt project is a great way to use fabric scraps. You will need:

  •  Two different fabrics, one for the cupcake icing and one for the cupcake wrapper (approximately two 9” squares of each) I used drop cloth for the wrapper—shocker.
  •  Cotton or bamboo batting (anything but synthetic really, because it may melt when exposed to heat—approximately one 9”x18” piece)
  • Ribbon, buttons, or other embellishments of your liking
  • Sewing machine, thread, scissors, pins
  • Cupcake Pattern (download HERE)

First, cut out two pieces of fabric for the cupcake icing and two for the cupcake wrapper. Please note that the cupcake icing is not symmetrical. You can either cut one and flip the stencil and cut the other or fold your fabric right sides together and cut them out at the same time.

Next, cut one of each the cupcake icing and the wrapper from the batting.

Now, sandwich the cupcake icing pieces together in the following order: fabric facing right side up, fabric facing right side down, batting. Do the same with the cupcake wrapper pieces.

This is a little counter-intuitive. I wanted to sandwich the batting in the middle, but once the piece is sewn and turned right side out, the batting will be on the inside if you start with it on the outside. I promise it works.

Pin and sew the sandwiched stacks leaving a small opening at the top to turn them right side out.

Turn the pieces right side out. Now it’s time for some detailing. Iron both the cupcake icing and cupcake wrapper flat.

Take the cupcake icing and sew along the edges to add some interest and close the opening.  Next, do the same for the cupcake wrapper and also sew some vertical lines at the bottom to make the ‘wrapper fold’ detail as shown.

Now is the time to add fabric trim to the cupcake icing. If you would like a bric-a-brack or ball-fringe around the edge, sew it on before you do the next step.

Sandwich the cupcake icing on top of the cupcake wrapper and pin. At this point if you would like a fabric, ribbon or bric-a-brack loop, sandwich it in-between the icing and the wrapper.

Sew along the top round of the cupcake wrapper, joining the two together and leaving the bottom edge of the cupcake icing open so that you can slide your hand in, mitt-style.

Add any other embellishments you’d like, button sprinkles, cupcake topper poufs, etc.

And—presto—you have the sweetest little oven-mitt ever! Hooray!!

Thanks Amy!!! If you liked this tutorial, you’re in luck because Amy will be posting her sewing tutorials right here on LCH every week-COMING SOON!!!!

Gettin’ A Leg Up

You’ve all seen pictures of my foyer dresser/buffet decorated throughout the past few seasons, but something about it has always bothered me a little bit.

It looks a little squat, no?

When I bought it, I replaced the casters (it was missing one), but because of the skirt at the bottom you really couldn’t see them. Upon further inspection of the underside (was that dirty?) I discovered that the skirt was attached to the 4 blocks holding the casters- meaning I couldn’t just remove the skirt or the blocks. So, I decided to scrap the whole caster bit and try to retrofit some legs on the existing blocks.

I checked out the selection at Home Depot and found some 9″ “Traditional” legs that I thought I would work. They had 6″ legs also, but seriously, it’s  “go big or go home” in my book-  good advice in most situations. Except for cheesecake. And liquor.

After some retrofitting by the hubster involving a dowel, some screws, and some liquid nails, we have lift off!

Ok, so I realize this isn’t like an OMG worthy before and after, but I just wanted to point out that there are more ways to makeover furniture than just paint it.

I looooooove the new height. Plus, now I can clean under there. Clearly having a piece of furniture on wheels wasn’t motivation enough. I obviously moved the mirror up higher as well, which means most other people who come to my house can actually see themselves in at least one of our mirrors.

Have any of you added feet to a piece of furniture? Didn’t it make a big impact??