Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pics from the Cake Demo I participated in on Saturday...

lots and lots of baking during the week, too!!
First, before you tell me how 'gaudy' my 2 tiered cake is, lol, know this ONE thing: they put us in the front of the Hobby Lobby store, less than 20 feet fromt he constantly opening and closing doors, which meant that the humidity was higher than I thought it would be...heck, I didn't realize there'd be ANY humidity, since we'd been in the back of the store a back room working for 2 days, where it was literally freezing, which is perfect for cake decorating.  So with the high humidity, NONE of our icing would allow us to make buttercream roses, or even other buttercream 'stand-up' flowers.  Which meant, my design went OUT the window and I had to design on the fly, and in front of lots of strangers.  I had no coordinaing fondant colored in the correct pink, so I had to use what I had to use.  The very top tier, isn't so bad, except I broke the gumpaste tiara more than 5 times, rofl...and had to fix it.  The last time I broke it, I literally dropped it on the floor and pearls and stones went everywhere.

So, you saw the gems that I made earlier this week in like 2 posts below.  They were too big to put too many on the tiara, so I only used 4.  Then tucked more into the border.  The off-pink flowers? ugh.  THAT was one of the biggest on-the-fly things I had to do...with the wrong color.  It was suppose to be a trail of tall roses, white tipped in pink, and smaller solid pinks, trailing down the side of the cake, but since we couldn't make roses, I tried putting gems around the cake...didn't work.  So we had to improvise, so I made molded flowers, in the WRONG fondant (which was the only pink I had made, because I didn't plan on even using it), grr.  So, THAT is why the cake is so GAUDY, lol and doesnt' even look like it matches. 

Normally, my cakes don't look this guady, I promise, lol.  Then, I made some mini-cupcakes that I handed out to little ones, whos parents loved having kids walking around the store with icing all over their face and hair, lol.   OH, btw, the roses and carnations that you DO see on the cake (there's 4), are made of gumpaste that I'd made a good while back for practice, and when my cake didn't turn out so well because of the non-roses (ugh), I had my hubs bring them to the store I so could use them...the cake definitely needed some height, and tipped them in pink luster.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Now THI product, is for a TRUE drunk, lol!

I was looking around my deal site and ran across this...Wine Collars for Hands Free drinking, rofl

are you SERIOUS???  I can't fathom a real reason for these...can you???  Wait, I have a friend, who's probably reading this as we speak, that rides a 'party bus' to and fro wineries...yep, this might actually come in handy for something like that.  You can't just sit a glass of wine down in a cup holder like you can a soda or glass, but these babies???? you can carry your wine around your neck!!  In case you're interested, they're $7.99 for a set of 2, with FREE shipping...enjoy!

Busy making buttercream, fondant, and MORE!

Many of you may know that I decorate cakes for fun.  Fondant doesn't necessarily like me, lol but we've been working together to fix that, lol.  I'm self taught, starting around age 19 or so, and have made plenty, including several tiered wedding cakes.  But I couldn't make rose...the right way, anyway.  Mine always looked....WRONG, lol.  So, a few years ago, my oldest and I took a flower making class.  The oldest enjoyed it well enough, I just didn't want to take it alone, but when I went back for the gumpaste class, she said to count her out, lol.

I even made my own wedding cake a few years back.  I didn't have time to make
flowers for it, so I used silk roses and greenery.  As you can see, I didn't
even have time to work my homemade fondant well enough to smooth correctly, lol.
But it still turned out pretty, I think.

This weekend, my instructor was going to have a cake decorating challenge, but it seems not as many people want to join a 'challenge,' so she and I are going to do an on-site cake demonstration, each decorating a cake.  I'm also going to have a bunch of filled mini-cupcakes to decorate, and let others decorate to see how crummy their decorating skills are, and how much it can improve with just one Wilton class.  :) 

Anyway, my design for my cake includes a gumpaste and fondant tiara, and since I wanted everything on my cake to be edible, I needed to make the rubies and pink sapphires.  You may think this is easy, and actually it is, the hard part is getting the sugar gems to not stick together.  My youngesextt done a batch of watermelon with a break-away mold, and I done red cinnamon (which, btw, is STRONG!)

Mine were in a mold that had at least 1/2" of space between each stone...this did not fair well for me.  The sugar was difficult to stream from one stone-well to the next without letting too much pool between them, ugh.  Out of about 50 of hers, only 3 didn't come out right.  Out of 25-30 of mine, only about 15 resemble anything like a gem, lol.  But, I'll still be using them.

She helped me make a huge tub of pure white buttercream...of course, I should say 'white decorator's' icing because I rarely use butter flavoring.  I tend to use a bit of clear vanilla, and clear almond extract.  This blend tends to taste less over-powering, so I usually leave the butter flavor out.  Then I made a batch of gumpaste while she colored a small batch of fondant and a small patch of icing for me.

I plan to be very prepared by having anything done that I can so I can spend my time decorating, rather than preparing, mixing, and such, blah, the boring parts of cake decorating.  I don't plan on using any fondant or gumpaste flowers/decorations other than the tiara, just icing.  I have aquired some new silicone fondant molds that I plan to use on the cake tho. 

I'll take a picture of my finished cake on Saturday and share it with ya'll!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Toile Decoupaged Pumpkin...aDORable!

I just got a renewal notice for Country Living and saw the photo of the upcoming Halloween magazine.  Check out the toile pumpkin on the left!!

Isn't it just GORGE?! VERY stylish, I think.  I believe I'll be making one soon.  Rather than using a real pumpkin, I'll use a faux one...and I believe I'll do it for under, let's say....$2????  who wants to take me up on that challenge???  I bet I can do it!  and before you take that bet, let me just say, I know exactly HOW I'll do it for under $2 AND, know that I do not already own any of the items necessary to make it, with exception of the decoupage medium.  now, do you still want to take that bet? lol   Well, I will bet that YOU can do it for under $2 too...if you put your mind to it, I'll have no doubt!

Wanna hear a Creepy, Spooky REAL LIFE story??

Warning, this story is TRUE, it really did happen to me, just this morning, and if you get creeped out and the skeevies really easy, as much as I'd like for you to stay on my blog, you may not want to read this particular post, lol...I'm being serious.

So, I've not been sleeping all that well lately, nothing new there.  With my health problems, my sleep pattern isn't really a pattern anymore, lol, so I slept-in a little later than I intended.  I woke up to the dogs AND cats nagging me for their breakfast.  I looked at the clock and it said 10:47 am (our clock is set 30 min or so early), so it was around 10:17 am.  The first thing I always do when I wake up is check my cell phone for any missed calls, especially since I'm waiting on a call from my surgeon.  No missed calls.  BUT, I DID have a voicemail.  Now, this is weird, odd, and increasingly strange, because with Sprint, there's literally no way I could've had a NEW voicemail with NO missed calls.  I saw that it was from my husband (he calls me several times a day, so I really didn't think anything of it).  Even tho it weirded me out that I didn't have any missed calls, I listened to my was 2 seconds long.  It was the creepiest 2 seconds I've ever heard.  This voice was NOT my husband's, although it was from his work cellphone.  This was the creepiest voice I've ever heard by my own ears in my entire life.  The voice said two words, each one syllable, however the words couldn't be made out.  I immediately knew something was wrong.  I called my husband and asked if he'd called.  He said he'd been calling me all morning, no less than 8 times (which is way more than usual) and I'm like, 'what? why? what's goin' on?'  He then goes on to explain how he'd been in a car accident at 8:35 am (nothing major..well, it was sorta, but everyone was ok).  I knew that he wasn't hurt because I could hear banging and such in the background like he was in a mechanic's shop, which turned out to be the firehouse of the town (Fenton) he was heading to a jobsite in.  He explained the accident, how it would've been so much worse had he not switched lanes in time, so worse that the other driver who was in a small car, if he'd been hit by my husband's large Yukon, may not have survived.  Instead, my husband avoided the accident, only to have a woman in an Explorer slam into him.  Then the man in the car who caused the accident, didn't even slow down, but fled the scene and no one was able to get his plate number.  Everyone's fine, her Explorer was barely scathed, but my husband's front passenger side can't say the same.

So, I explain to him about the message...are you ready for this?  Although he called a multitude of times, he never left a message.  When the voicemail would pick up, he'd disconnect the line, not leaving any messages.  Now, by this time, I was thoroughly creeped out!  He wanted me to meet him to move things from his vehicle to mine for when it would be taken to the shop.  I met him and let him listen to the message.  He was thoroughly creeped out also.  I asked him if he'd called around 10:17, so he looked through his outgoing calls.  He didn't place any calls to me between 10-10:30 am.  We just looked at each other.

If I could figure out how to transfer this 2 second voicemail into a sound bite for you all to hear, I would.  It literally sounded like the demonic voice from Paranormal Activity, and I'm not joking, I wish I was.  I made sure my husband still had his guardian angel coin with him, and done an errand or two and went home...CAREFULLY, calling my oldest to make sure she'd made it home from school safely, as well..  I let my eldest listen to it, after explaining it all.  She was creeped out, but immediately said maybe it was a ghost call or butt call.  No, it was neither.  Ghost and butt calls last longer than 2 seconds and you hear background noise and such.  This was a evil sounding, echoey, growly voice, saying 2 words, over 2 seonds, then immediately disconnecting, and from my husband's cellphone.

The creepiest thing about all this?  the voicemail is time stamped for the very moment I awoke.

Creeped out????  I am....STILL!  It's giving me goosebumps just talking about it.  My daughter done a room cleansing (her bedroom) just in case, lol, so she'd be able to sleep tonight, we decided NOT to tell the youngest or discuss it in front of her (she's 12, and wouldn't be able to sleep for weeks if she knew).  My oldest and I are both now carrying a freshly charged crystal, and I'll give my husband and youngest one to carry, as well, even though she won't know why, but will just be told it's for positive energy (she'll be fine with that, I'm always rambling on about rocks and stones and their energies). 

All my life I've had creepy things happen to me prior to an accident or someone dieing, or something extremely significant happening.  Usually it's weird feelings that won't leave me be or dreams, but never anything this blunt and vivid.  This technically happened at the moment I awoke...why?  What's the significance?  What or who was speaking and what were they trying to convey with just 2 unidentifiable words?  My husband and everyone else survived the accident, and the damange isn't so significant that the insurance company won't even 'total' the car.  Or is it something that's still yet to come?  I hope not.  I hope that it was some weird cell tower fluke that was NOTHING, but just that, a weird cell tower fluke making noice that mimicked a creepy voice saying two syllable words.

what do you think?  what's your take on my morning experience?  please share, I'm curious.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Am I the only one in the Christmas mood?

I'm one of those weird people that start listening to Christmas music off and on starting in July.  As I sit and write this, I'm watching A Christmas Story, with lil Ralphie.  It's one of many holiday favorites in this house, along with Nat'l Lampoons Christmas Vacation, Christmas with the Kranks, and several other classics.  My kids don't tend to like the old black and white ones, like It's a Wonderful Life, The Bishop's Wife, or the orig. Miracle on 34th Street, but I do, so I watch them.  I've started listening to Christmas music already, started thinking about Christmas giveaways, almost completely finished with my shopping, and not quite ready to decorate, only because of my health and I know it'll be taxing on my body, but I DO love to sit in the dark with my tree lit up...nice ambience.  I have already have my Christmas cards made, ordered, AND received!!

'Now...that's allllllllll I have to say...about POOOOOOR Flick,' rofl lol ha ha ha ha one of my most favorite lines in A Christmas Story, lol.  too funny. It looks like I've worn out yet another disc tho, it's 'sticking' on scenes, grrr.  In the past 7 years, I've had to replace 3 Nat'l Lampoon's Christmas Vacation dvds because we wore them out, lol.  Isn't weird how you can watch a movie more than 30 times, but still crack up laughing at funny parts that you've seen over and over? lol

As you can probably tell, there's no REAL point to this post, not really, anyway.  Just talkin'.

Are any of YOU like this?  do you start listening to Christmas music and watching the movies long before the holiday season even begins, like I do?  SURELY, I'm not the only person that's like this, lol

Check out the pics of my pretty gourds! PERfect for Fall decorating!

I know I said in a previous post that I was going to try to post some pics of the gourds I have growing and Blogger wouldn't let me...let's give that a go again.

this one was about 2 1/2 inches big when picked!

This 'bird house' gourd still isn't ready for picking!

This was about 3 inches big when picked!

It turns out that i have about 3  or 4 of the 'bird house' gourds growing and getting huge, just like they're suppose to.  I think I'll give those to my elderly neighbor across the street when they get picked.  He loves making bird houses out of them, plus, I don't know what to do with them other than use them for decorating.  The striped gourds I picked, as well as a yellow bumpy goard, and put them in this arrangement:

Along with my dried hydrangeas (from plants that are now DEAD, thanks to a huge-ass barberry bush that took it over and killed it...grrr, I HATE that barberry bush, but my hubs loves it and begs me not to chop it down or cut it up.  Every spring AND fall, I prune that sucker down so much I think, 'surely THAT will kill it!' and then I could say 'oops, hun, I'm sorry, I didn't know it would kill it,' but it never lives on to kill again!).  The large white gourds were grown by my bestie and given to me the other day.  I just LOVE them.  They all make a great center piece for my kitchen table.  This pic was taken before I put the striped gourds in, but you get the idea.

Monday, September 12, 2011

This year's Basil crop, and the mess I've made of my tomatoes!

LOTs of beautiful basil...mmmmm, smells devine!  If any of you need some great basil seeds, the GLOBE basil is a great variety.  You can see their goreousness in this pic.  I went ahead and let some go to flower, this way I can get some more seeds (as if I need any more, lol  I still have like a gazillion from last year), plus I think the flowers are pretty to see when I go into my garden.

Now, my tomato bed?  THAT is a different story, even though the pretty basil is planted on the edges of the bed surrounding them.  Look at this mess, just look at it.

The hubs is like, 'well, I would've made you two more A-frames for another bed so you could've spread them out more.' ugh...NOOOOOOOOOOOOOW ya tell me!  I packed 12 tomatoe plants in this 4X8 bed, where I should've only planted no more than 8.  What happens is the plants compete for the nutrients in the soil.  I can amend the soil and even add Miracle Grow and other stuff until the cows come home, but it's not gonna make these plants produce any more than they're already doing, which isn't many.  In fact, they've STOPPED producing.  All I have are some buds and quite a few green tomatoes, which I'm lucky that the bugs haven't gotten, considering they just will NOT turn colors for anything, all because they're too cramped.  They're living among each other in a tomato jungle.  NEXT year, I will definitely do the two beds with a total of 4 A-frames, and that way I can plant 16 plants that should be happy and healthy and productive! 

My pumpkins...oh my, my pumpkins.  The problem I have is that my garden expansion wasn't done in time to get them planted when they needed to be, so they're going to be a 'late' crop, if any.  All I have are blooms, that's it, nothing in the slightest that even remotely looks like a pumpkin or the beginning of a pumpkin.  I fear that I'll not have any of those pretty white, yellow, and orange pumpkins that I planted!  :(   BUT, I have some very pretty gourds!

(I tried to post a few pics, but blogger was giving me fits, but will add them in the next day or so for everyone to see!!)
 Still no stalks on the Brussels Sprouts.  Those were 'Martha Stewart' brand, so I'll be switching next year, sorry Martha.

these poor looking brussels sprouts!

Halloween and Fall Decor Giveaway...Lavender Cove's 1st Giveaway! LOW ENTRY!

Many people know that Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and Fall is moste definitely my favorite season.  I made a little Halloween decoration and thought I'd add it to a fun little giveaway.  Do you see the little pumpkin witch with buttons on his/her hat? cute, isn't it.  I sprinkled it with the faux 'shimmer' snow, I dunno why, but I thought it would look similar to the mica sprinkles to make it look 'vintage.'  He's perched atop a black metal stand about 6-8" tall.  THEN, I was at Dollar Tree and saw these adorable little black mouse sillouettes...omg, have ya'll seen these painted on the old staircase runners of the really old houses lately?  It's a thing that decorators of old houses are doing for the past few years or so.  Now, you can WIN these little cuties (there's 15 of them in various scurrying poses) and temporarily (or permanenty, your choice) affix them to your staircases too.  Kids love'em.  Plus, I'm throwing in a pkg of 'chilling' 2 ltr bottle labels for some spooky Halloween drinks (perfect for a Halloween party at school or home), a string of faux Indian Corn hanging from a raffia braid, along with a spool of orange Halloween-ish ribbon w/sparkly wire trim to make some bows out of.  How's THAT for a cute little giveaway?

Entry is open to US Residents, age 18 and up only.  Ends 10-2-11 at 11 pm and winner will be selected by random via  Winner will be sent an email from email address and will have 48 hours to respond with your mailing information.  If at the end of 48 hours, a response is not received, a new winner will be selected and notified by the same means.  Entry is super duper easy and is ran by Rafflecopter form, so no comments necessary...can't get any easier than that!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I'm thinking about doing a giveaway!

It'll be the very FIRST giveaway for Lavender Cove.  I've let my LC peeps know of giveaways that are going on over at the sister site, Thrifty and Frugal by Debbie, but I've never done one for Lavender Cove.  Mainly, because, well, this is my 'fun' blog, where I've not been purposely focused on boosting the site's ratings, followers, and such, and with it being such a small group of followers, companies aren't really willing to work with this type of blog.  BUT, I'm STILL in the mood for one, lol.  So, I got something cooking up in my brain, I'm working on a ahem, 'fall craft' that shall remain nameless, that I'm going to do a giveaway on, completely and solely sponsored by myself.  It'll be fun, and you'll LOVE it!  Stay tuned, because it should be coming up here in the next week or so.

2 Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins, perfect to get you in the FALL mood!

We're having a cool spell here, down in the 70s during the day and 50's at air conditioning, just the windows and screen door open, letting in wonderful breeze.  I LOVE it!  So, Sunday I was in an autumn mood, so I decided to make pumpkin muffins.  They're super simple and literally only have 2 ingredients.  While looking in my stockpile, I noticed a box of cinnamon streusel, so I decided to use that instead.

So, all you need is a box of spice cake mix (or cinnamon streusel, like I used), and 1 of the smaller cans of pumpkin puree/filling.  That's it.  No eggs, no flour, nothing else, that's it.  You take you favorite muffin pan (I used a pair of vintage muffie-type pans) and spray them with baking spray.  In a bowl, pour the pkg of cake (or strudel) mix, then scoop the pumkin in on top of it, and mix with a spoonula or wooden spoon, or whatever, until there's no powder from the mix left.  At this point in the process, if you wanted to add chopped nuts or something, you can, and just stir them in (this is totally optional).  Also, you can sprinkle a little more cinnamon and nutmeg in at this time, as well, if you so desire).  Take a heaping tablespoon of the good stuff and plop it into the sprayed muffin pans to where they're only half full (they'll rise a little, not much).  You can put a chunk of nut on top in the center at this stage if you want...sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.  Bake at 350 for 15 min or so until firm but not browned on top.  Take out and cool for a bit (or not, totally up to you) and enjoy the pumpkiny fall yummy.  That's it.  Now, wasn't that super duper easy??

The powder on top was the sprinlky crumbles in the streusel kit, but if you're using a spice cake mix,
it won't have that, and you'll see nothing but scrumptious gooey good stuff, lol.

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