Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Too Good to Be True

Yesterday i went to Beverley's to see if they had any Russian netting for a birdcage veil (which reminds me, I need to order some) and I stumbled on this:

Thousands of pearls in every size and color! I almost fainted on the spot.

I guess they were clearing out the entire inventory of this particular item, so they had them all out on a table near the front. There was no packaging, and not much of a display. Just hundreds and hundreds of strands of wire with maybe 25 pearls on each. The strands were rubber banded together in bunches of 20 or so strands. A sign in the middle of the display said $2.99 each. Three dollars for 500 pearls? That is insane! After I pulled myself out of shock, I had to convince myself not to spend over $100 buying every color available. Finally, I settled on 10 bunches of pearls, and spent more time than I should have carefully selecting the best of the best. I was ecstatic, only $30 for a few thousand pearls in all different colors. I could finally start an Etsy shop, and make a nice little (or not so much) profit.

Then, everything came crashing down. I got to the register, and the nice cashier (after giving me a funny look) started counting each strand of pearls. I had at least 200, that would have been $600. Not okay. I'm convinced that I wasn't the first to make this mistake, the advertising was not clear at all. I stopped her right away, and sadly returned my pile of pearls to the table behind me. It's funny how something like this always makes me feel like I lost something, like I missed out on some great deal. If I had never seen those pearls, or if I knew from the start how much they were, I would have kept on living my happy life. But after thinking for a few brief moments of all of the things I could do, then having that taken away, I'm full of regret. Oh well, I'll find pearls again someday.

P.S. I really hate to do this, but vacations mixed with mile long to-do lists are making this next month a little crazy, so I'm going to take a quick break from blogging. I thought I'd be able to squeeze in a post here and there, but I really just need to focus on other things right now. But don't fear, I've come to love this way too much not to come back! See you in August!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Last Thursday Night

I've been going back and forth between Lincoln and Reno a LOT this summer, so things have been kind of crazy. Last Thursday and Friday were the only two days in a three week period that I got to see Brian, so I really just felt like spending every second with him, not blogging. I was just getting good at being consistent too. But here's the short version of what I was planning on blogging about.

My Momma had a birthday and was nice enough to let me practice Brian's groom's cake as her birthday. The ganache and chocolate pieces had a few troubles, but I think the topsy-turvy-ness worked well.

Brian's art was in a big fancy art show as part of Reno's Art Town. It's that pretty sunset in the background. There's also a picture of me, but I'm not going to show you that, it's bad enough that all of Reno can already see it. (I don't love pictures of me, remember?) But it was fun to go to the artist's reception. I felt so fancy eating appetizers in the lounge of the Sienna Casino with all the fancy people. Also, see the show girls's leg up in the top right corner? The guy who took that picture is a world famous photographer who Brian just so happens to know personally, so he's gonna do our trash the dress pictures for us after the wedding!

I guess there are perks to marrying a photographer, even if I have to be a model every once in a while.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Super Cute Super Easy Skirt

I was originally going to title this post "Cutest Easiest Skirt Ever." Then I made it and didn't love it as much as I thought I would, so I changed it to "Cute, Easy Skirt." Then I actually wore it one day, and I did love it after all.

At church on Sunday, I saw my friend wearing the cutest skirt I'd ever seen. I thought about stealing it, but it seemed pretty simple, so I decided to try to make my own.

This really is just about the easiest skirt you'll ever make. It took me less than 30 minutes to make. (40 if you count ripping and redoing one of the seams, but that was just because I was figuring out how to do it, even I couldn't mess this up once I knew how.)

I'm not sure if this is quite a tutorial, but I'll tell you what I did anyway.

What you'll need:

Two pieces of fabric long enough to go around your waist or hips or wherever you want to wear your skirt, without stretching

A piece of fabric as wide as the elastic when it's completely stretched out, and long enough to go from your waist/hips/wherever to your knees or thighs or wherever you want it to reach. Plus a couple of inches for the hems.

(Do you see yet why this isn't a tutorial? It sounds so much more complicated than it is, but I don't measure when I'm sewing any more than I do when I'm cooking.)

1. Hem the top and bottom of the skirt—the two long sides.

2. While keeping it stretched as far as it will go, sew one piece of elastic about 3 inches below one of the hems. This will be the top, so keep that in mind if your fabric is directional.

3. Sew the other piece of elastic right below the hem, again keeping it stretched as far as it will go.

This is the one I had to rip out. I originally sewed on the top elastic first, but it's much easier to do it in this order. I thought I took a picture of it the second time I sewed this piece on, but I couldn't find it.

4. Sew the two short sides together, and you're done! Have fun in your cute skirt.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I wanted to show you something super cute, but...

...for some reason projects take a lot longer when you have to rip out 20 seams and start over.

Side note: My nails are gross, I need to remember to get nail polish remover.

In other news, I'm pretty proud of myself for blogging five days a week for over a month now. (Okay, so sometimes I cheat and backdate a post, let's just keep that between us.) But sadly, that's going to change soon. I'm going to a 10 day family reunion later this month and a week long church camp at the beginning of next month. Then, you know, I'll be getting married in October, so that's kind of a big deal.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Red, White, and Blue

I've recently become obsessed with I Am Baker. She is definitely my new hero. Who knew you could decorate the inside of cakes as well as the outside? When I saw her flag cake, I knew I just had to make one for the 4th of July.

She didn't have a tutorial, just a picture. So I had to figure it out myself.

I'm not quite ambitious enough to make a 25 layer cake, but 13 layers was still pretty insane considering I'm WAY less experienced and talented than her. But I think it turned out pretty dang cute anyway.

Happy Birthday America! Sorry you couldn't eat your cake, but we all enjoyed it!

I decided to make it at the last minute, and the kitchen was already pretty full...

Our table is rarely used for eating. The current project: my wedding dress!

Our plum tree exploded and every inch of the kitchen is covered with the shrapnel.

...but I made due with what I could get.

I had about a square foot to work in. And more plums.

I recently ordered A Piece of Cake by Susan Gold Purdy, and a few of her other books as well. It's supposed to be second only to The Cake Bible, and I got it for way less (yay Amazon!). You know a cookbook is fancy when you're supposed to read the entire 70 page introduction before trying any of the recipes. I didn't, of course, but I thought I'd at least try being a good baker for once and actually be careful and precise in following the recipe.

All of my ingredients out and ready to go.




Softening. (Ok, so outside in the sun is cheating a little, but it's better than the microwave.)

I still didn't measure the vanilla. I don't think I'll ever measure vanilla.

As you can probably tell, as I went on I got less and less like a real baker and more and more like my shortcut-taking self. It only got worse.

I realized we didn't have any milk, but thanks to my mom's handy dandy milk conversion chart for powdered milk, we figured out about how much canned milk + water would make the equivalent of normal milk.

I beat my egg whites way too long and too quickly, they turned into rubber, it was the strangest thing. I tried again for the cake, and saved the others for chile rellanos.

I thought I'd be extra cool and have stars in my cake. You'll see later that melty chips DO NOT work for baking. Oops.

I have a long standing feud with red food coloring, but somehow everything I make needs to be red. I think pink, white, and blue are prettier colors anyway. Celebrating back on the first Independence Day when America was still a baby. Ok, I tried, but I give up.

And after all that hard work of being a careful baker (or trying at least), it was so much fun to see the cake grow...

...and grow...

...and grow!

In another mishap of the day, my mini red cake broke in half. But I still managed to get 3 layers out of it, and for the last layer I just used the old crumb-frosting-cake-ball-esque trick that I'm so fond of.

Remember those melty chips? And how I said they were a bad idea?

They were delicious, but kind of made the whole thing fall apart.

And finally, after hours of slaving away, isn't it beautiful?

No? Well, maybe after the crumb coat...

Still don't see it, huh? Don't worry, it'll be beautiful after I frost it...

Ok, so I REALLY need to learn how to make frosting.

Maybe if you step back, and squint a little.

It's what's on the inside that counts anyway, right?

What the other bloggers don't show you: after the whole thing falls apart about 30 seconds after the (almost) perfect picture was taken.

It didn't go completely according to plan, but I still learned a lot. Don't use melting chips for baking. LOTS of vanilla makes a delicious cake. Susan Gold Purdy is amazing. I might actually learn to be a decent baker if only I can get the frosting right. And I had so much fun, that I already started making plans for another cake with a super cool inside.

Are there any holidays between now and October? Because I couldn't think of any.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Hearts, Poofs, Pennants, and Cupcakes

I wasn't sure for a while about all of the banners that seem to be taking over the world lately. It's not that I don't like them, I just didn't understand where they came from or why they were suddenly so popular. Kind of like the owl trend, I mean they're cute and all, but why owls? But I thought I'd try making a few different kinds of banners to see how I liked them and possibly use them for my wedding. And now I get it. I'm hooked. I think I'm in love. If only the painter's tape could hold them on my wall for longer than the 30 seconds it takes to get a picture, I would keep them up forever.