Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mermaid Season

Hi there,
I've been loving this early summer weather. It's the perfect potato salad and flip flops kind of lazy day weather that puts me in the mood for a Mermaid Party. Isabel's Mermaid party was a blast and I've sold oodles of the printable party set. Between playing Pin The Tail on the Mermaid and some water play... it's an easy hit with the kids. If there are boys included just add a few eye patches to your goody bags and you're set.
Our Mermaid Cupcakes were topped with Marshmallow fondant sea shells and cupcake toppers from my Mermaid Printable Party Set. Thanks to that fab recipe from Cake Journal I had a great road map to these cute little treats that soon will top our cupcakes.


 The Recipe I use from Louise over at Cake Journal:

Makes about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds
White marshmallows (16 oz)
Water (2 tbsp)
Icing sugar sifted (1 to 2 pounds)
Heatproof bowl
Food colors or cocoa powder
Flavouring optional
Note: you can of course use your kitchen mixer when mixing in the icing sugar. Just remember to grease the bowl and paddle attachment well with Crisco.
  1. Put the marshmallows in a heatproof bowl and add the water. Put the bowl in the microwave oven and heat it for approx. 2 mins. until the marshmallows puff up like on the photo.
  2.   Stir the marshmallows until they get smooth. This is the time where you can add your chosen food color/cocoa powder or give it flavour. Note: Color the mixture a bit stronger than desired. You can always make the color lighter afterwards by mixing it with white marshmallow fondant.
  3. Now add the icing sugar and stir the mixture with a well greased spoon. Keep adding icing sugar until it looks like a dough. Turn out the “dough” on a greased work board and with your hands greased with Crisco start kneading the marshmallow fondant. Keep adding a little icing sugar at a time until it is not sticky anymore. Be careful not to use all the icing sugar as to much icing sugar can makes it too dry. It is ready when it feels pliable and ready to roll. If you are not using the marshmallow fondant straight away then rub a bit of Crisco on it and wrap it in cling-film and seal it in a airtight bag. 
    Note: Some uses the marshmallow fondant right away but I prefer to let it rest for a day before use. If your marshmallow fondant feels very hard you can always warm it up in the microwave for a few sec. at a time. Then it should be more pliable to work with. If it feels dry then knead in some Crisco or if it is too soft add more icing sugar.
 Louise is a fabulous baker and has some great tips for baking and decorating so be sure to check out her wonderful site.

The decorating was an easy task with my printables. Just print, cut and hang. Which in my book is a winner, don't mind if I say so. I think any printable set, mine or anyone Else's removes all the heavy lifting so to speak from creating a magical party atmosphere.

And here are how the little shell topped cupcakes turned out.

And my lovely friend Jeannine sent me a few photos of her little party using my Mermaid Party Printables. She's an amazing photographer. Check out her site.

So Happy Mermaid Partying Friends and be sure to take a break and stick your toes in the water at least a little bit!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Go with the Flow... Not

Do you Go with the Flow as the saying goes? I tend to go where the flow just left or get there ahead.
At Walt Disney World the hotel guests staying on property get in an hour earlier at a certain park on a certain day each weak. Well.. if you really think about what that means, then you would be insane to go to that park on that day... every hotel guest they have is going to use that perk and be there. Even if they don't get up early for that hour.. craziest thing I've ever seen. So, when my family and I are at the most magical place on earth... Disney, we always go to the park that had the Extra Magic Morning Hours the Day before... or at least not the park hosting extra magic hours. It's amazing how much lighter the crowds are. Of course there are some small trade offs, mainly fewer buses running to that park from the hotel.. but hey, when you do this and get there at opening... you end up not waiting longer than 20 minutes on any rides. Actually on our last trip we didn't wait 20 minutes on anything.
I kind of apply this to the rest of life. Would I rather be driving a new car now.. sure, but retiring at a decent age and enjoying life without the stress of a car payment is better than any new car smell that wears off far sooner than the car payment ends.
Education is another area where this applies for me. I'll be honest in saying that I would have preferred to get a degree, but as it happened I didn't have the support to make that happen and didn't qualify for enough aid to go longer than 1 semester. So I didn't go with the flow, instead I worked my way through some crummy sign shops learning all I could about file management and advertising, then transitioned into working at a printing company where I was able to dig in deep learning layout, and since I'd been drawing since I was two.. that was covered. In the end I worked my way up and around designing and drawing all the way and by the grace of God ended up where I always said I wanted to work as a kid... coke! Now I'm sure I could be making more, but I hear real horror stories about student loans that I'm glad to not be a character in. My point is not to go against the flow and quit school, far from it. It is that if you have a dream, a passion or just simply a wish... don't let a couple of stumbling blocks keep you from it. Chart your own course and let nothing keep you from reaching for the stars.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Monsters and Jesus

Hi Friends,
I know you're thinking what an odd title for a post. But it's just a glimpse into the way I work. The title actually came about when yesterday at the soccer filed a  boy who's been taking a peek at my sketchbook now and then took another peek. He flipped the pages looking at the monsters and then shouted "Jesus?". And then he flipped past more monsters. "Why is Jesus in there?", he asked.
I explained that I always have my sketchbook with me and always put in it what is running through my head at the time. The day before was a Sunday and so it's standard practice for me to jot sermon notes, scripture and draw whatever the day puts on my heart. If I'm being perfectly honest, which I have to be because something went wrong at the factory and God gave me two servings of conscience, my art skills are a heavenly gift. I know this because during my stupid years, when I thought I knew more than God and lived like there wasn't one, well my art stunk. What art I even made for that matter. I was uninspired and couldn't find it in myself to finish anything. Numb is another way to put it. It simply was ok when I did finish anything. It didn't have flow and I didn't have passion for it. I didn't have those awe moments of inspiration and excited creative thoughts. It was just dull ok art.

But the closer I got to my Lord, the more inspired I became and the more opportunity presented it's self. To this day I try to pray over any special project and weather it be art for coke, a monster for a book or just painting with my kids, I know where it comes from and that I'm fortunate to be blessed with the gift of art.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

France, Napoleon, and Marie

I can't help it.. I may never go there but I find France irresistibly romantic. I know others do too, after all I most likely feel that way from all the sweet chick flick romances I've seen set in France. Of course I do have ways of satiating that urge to hop the pond and visit the city of romance.. EPCOT! That's right, the one at Walt Disney World. Epcot's world show case does an amazing job of making you feel like your experiencing a day in the different countries.

The France pavilion has an amazing little bakery called Boulangerie Patisserie. My husband and I love to grab a baguette with turkey and cheese and a Napoleon for a yummy dinner. I usually get treated to a bottle of perfume in the France pavilion too.. but the must have is just time strolling with my husband and kids along the different countries.
 So all this thinking of France has me thinking about all the fun little party sets I have in my shop.. you simply purchase the files, print the little darlings and wallah! you're putting one of Martha Stewart's little Soirees to shame ;)

And then there's always the lady of France herself,Marie Antoinette. The old girl is famous for her "Let Them Have Cake". I say let them have Paper Dolls!