Redecorating on the Cheap!

Since I share custody of my little with her dad, most times I have every other weekend to myself to do whatever pops into my head.  I’d been to a couple yard sales a month or so ago, and picked up two round MDF tables, and an older audio cabinet from a nice old couple about to move out of state to live with their children.  I got a smoking deal – the three pieces listed above, as well as two lamps and a cute white bathroom cabinet for $35!   (The lamps were wrought-iron monstrosities which I dismantled and turned into the lamps shown here.The MDF tables were unfinished – boring old grey-brown pressed board.  Since they had glass tops on the tables, she had put large round table cloths over them, then placed the glass on top.  There were also lace doilies involved.  Since my decorating style runs way into Zen and light years from Turkey Hill, I knew they needed an update to fit in with my decor.  The audio cabinet was in great shape, but was a dark brown faux-wood grain, and had outdated vertical gold lines etched down the front of the glass doors.  Definitely not my style!

Unfortunately, it didn’t dawn on me to photograph the items prior to the revamping, so I don’t have any shocking “before” photos.  I did think to start snapping after one of the round tables was done (other is still in progress), and in the midst of the audio cabinet redecoration.

Orange is my accent color throughout the house, and goes especially well with Asian decor.    I freehand painted the flowers – my take on cherry blossoms – and the wording.  The characters are Chinese, and roughly translate to abundance in relationships, the heart, and the home.  The underneath, which you can barely see, consists of two shelves for storage.  I painted the interior of the shelves orange, and the whole outside of the table black.  The black paint is a spray can I picked up at Home Depot for $.97, and was able to completely paint both tables prior to it running out.  The orange, blue, and the red you’ll see on the audio cabinet were “”oops” paints that I found, in quart size, for $2.00 per can. I have LOTS left to work with of all the colors, so this was overall a super inexpensive project!

After finding that the hideous gold lines on the glass were actually etched into it, versus something I could scrape off, I was at a loss for a moment. I knew I hated the cheesy gold lines, but couldn’t think what to do about them.  Then, inspiration struck, and I decided to use them as a guideline to freehand some bamboo and leaves.  I painted the inside of the audio shelving orange, and used the same brown to paint the cabinet and the bamboo.   The lines on the bamboo and the leaf “veins” were drawn on with a black paint pen I had in my craft supplies.  I put the white paper behind the cabinet door for this photo, to show the detail.

Here’s a shot of the whole cabinet while it was still in progress.

Forgive the blurriness!  When the cabinet was complete, I hung a Chinese lantern from the dollar store inside.  I turned the flash off to show the light, and found that it is nearly impossible to hold still enough when my shutter speed is accommodating the lack of light!  A few days after this photo was taken, it dawned on me that this cabinet is a perfect place to store my fine China, which had been taking up space in a cardboard box for the past couple years.  It’s now full of gorgeous white China, and really spruced up that wall in my condo!

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Fun and Funky Bridal Shower

Here is another fun example of the ways in which situations which can seem annoying or pointless can turn out for the amazing and best!  Over Halloween, the girl and I worked very hard to make not only the Halloween and Fall themed pops that had been ordered – but also a big batch for her preschool class. She was adamant that we make enough to share with all the teachers as well.  Many hours, many dollars in supplies, and a huge mess later, they were done.  I arrived at school the morning of the Halloween party only to find – to my forehead-smacking-not-really-surprise(d) … no homemade goods were allowed at school.  There are six children with peanut allergies at her preschool.  Had I thought of it, of COURSE I would have known. Of course.  However, I didn’t think it through, and I also didn’t read any further on the sign up sheet than “Category” and “Name.”  The staff had cleverly hidden, via enormous Sharpied messages written repeatedly on bright neon … oh, those pieces of paper that look like an explosion.  Like what goes behind the word KAPOW! on the old Batman show.
Anyway, we got to school to find that the lovelies we created weren’t ok for the kids.  I was disappointed, but not half so much as the little.  The positive that came out of this – months later – is that those treats got passed out to all of the teachers.  One of whom just asked me to make the pops for her best friends wedding shower!  Her colors are black, white, and hot pink, with pops of rich teal throughout.  These are the samples I made her, so we could begin meeting in the middle on design.  To my utter surprise, she loved them and asked for me to do … exactly what I did, with no modifications.  I had so much fun with these, and can’t wait until the end of next month when I get to do her order for real!   The hot pink cake is a delicious, moist strawberry cream flavor, and the teal cake is a yummy banana.  Enjoy the photos! 🙂 And let me know if I can create something wonderful for you, too.

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It’s Holiday Time!

Again … forgive the poor photography.  🙂  Other than that, these are some super yummy Ghiradelli & Cheesecake, Pistachio Cheesecake, and Strawberry Cheesecake holiday themed pops.  I was only able to take a few photos because they were eaten up so quickly!

Candy Cane Crunchiness

Looks like it's snowing

... And two eyes made out of coal

 

This little guy just wanted to go caroling

O Christmas Tree, How lovely are your candies

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Non-Edibles

Cute, Low Light Lamps

  

 

These adorable lamps were so easy to make!  I have two in my living room – the black and white one – and the heart one is in my little girl’s room.  I bought some thin balsa wood sticks at Joann Fabric, painted them, and glued them.  The paper is simply cut from a pad of artist tracing paper.  The bases are 1/4′” poster board, also painted.  The lighting came from lamps purchased at various yard sales, which I dismantled and removed the cords and whatnot from.  I cut a hole in the poster board, inserted the bases, and used a 40-watt equivalent CFC bulb.  If you make these, it’s important to use either CFC or LED lights, because of the tissue paper. You don’t want any heat-emitting light bulbs that close to such thin, flammable paper!  For the heart lamp, I simply cut the hearts from pink tissue paper – the very same kind you fluff out of the top of gift bags, and glued them on.  Both styles provide a cute, easy, and low-cost way to softly light any room.

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Stuff On Sticks

 

I became obsessed with the idea of creating and decorating tiny little things on sticks about a year ago.  I never call them Cake Pops.  With all due to respect to the high priestess of desserts on sticks – Bakerella – the name Cake Pops makes my skin crawl.  I can hear it in my head, a somehow nasally, flat New Englandish drawing out of the “o” …. “Cake Paaaahps.”   Don’t ask me where that came from,  I haven’t a clue.
Additionally, I don’t use cake that often.  So they’re not, in the interest of accuracy, always  Cake Paahps. I call them all manner of other things, based on what they are.  I give to you, more cell phone pics!

These were my very first attempt – not bad, I don’t think!  Valentine’s Love Suckers.  Ghiradelli Triple Chocolate Fudge Brownie … Mmmm.  Of course, then dipped and rolled in season-appropriate jimmies.

            

Here are my assorted Fanci-Fall Balls.  You can probably see the two in the upper right and lower left corners are clearly covered in Halloween jimmies.  So? Halloween is in the fall too!  These were a variety of flavors, including:  Dark Chocolate Cherry; Dark Chocolate Raspberry; Peanut Butter Chocolate, and Peanut Butter Marshmallow.

 

Marshmallow Mummies.  They sometimes looked more scared than menacing, but either way the delicious goodness of Mississippi Mud that filled their guts up put a smile on my face!

 

Ah, my little Frankenbutters.  These guys were peanut butter chocolate flavor, and a big hit with all who tasted them!  I was having a fit laughing while I piped the black frosting on, because they looked so blank – then when I piped the eyebrows several of them instantly became Oscar the Grouch to me!  Oscar or not, I got rave reviews on these little guys.

 

The spikes represent the shards of pain that are slicing my soul, the blackness below  is the same as my dead, black heart.

No, I’m kidding.  An emo primary color is black, and I really liked how the white spikes were sort of hard and princessy at the same time.  It reminded me of the imagery of a handgun pulled out of a woman’s thigh-high – that whole very female, yet dark undercurrent vibe.

I did an order for a set of triplets, and one of the girls was very into the emo look.  I liked to call these guys Threemo, or The Trifecta of Tragedy.  The first thing I thought of was how to create a very emo treat on a stick for her.  I was quite proud of myself when I completed the first of the Trifecta’s emo hair.   I want to make them again, pipe some hipster glasses on the face and an ironic scarf, and call them Hip-Pops.  Which is more fun and ironic when you say it out loud.

I made Hello Kitty as well as an X-Box and Wii controller – but alas, they were eaten before photographed.

I have many, many more photos around somewhere.  I knew right where these ones were though, so wanted to get them posted.

Do you have any unique ideas for an edible dream?  I’m always looking to tackle new territory.  I’m not the best idea guy around, but can tear up a concept once I have the idea!  Tell me something you’d like to see and I’ll see if I can make it!

Enjoy!

**Update** Finally got a handle on the formatting, YAY!

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Yee-Haw!

No camera, blah blah, insert boo-hoo here.  Hee hee.

 

This is a cake I just did Saturday for a little girl’s birthday party.  The original concept had a white chocolate Jessie, all smiles and winks, perched atop the cake.  Alas, Jessie took a tumble while her chocolate body (which I molded MYSELF, I’ll proudly tell you!) and broke into four large chunks.  She wasn’t beyond repair … but I couldn’t, in my perfectionist state, let a cobbled together Toy Story 3 Jessie out to a party. I discovered she was broken much too close to party time to recreate her, so I had to quick-change my cake concept. I still think it turned out cute!  And … still a little bitter about the wily white chocolate Jessie.  Anyway, here’s the cake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here, for your viewing pleasure, the carcass of Humpty Jessie.  I was annoyed enough that I briefly considered cobbling her back together and finishing her, just to show her who’s BOSS.  I opted instead to do that by throwing her in the trash while laughing maniacally.

image

 

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Fish and Cake? Yes, Please!

You’re going to see this disclaimer until the issue resolves itself:   I don’t have a camera, so when I make things, I’m at the mercy of the recipient for photos.   If they remember to take them at all, they’re usually cell phone pictures.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m grateful to have a record of them at all!  And … I’m a GREAT food photographer. Without a camera. So bear with me on the photo quality – not this post specifically, I mean in general.  I’m working with what I got!

This is a mermaid cake I made for a 4th birthday party.   The cake was Madagascar Vanilla with raspberry buttercream filling between the cake layers, as well as just a taste piped into the cupcakes.  The various sea life is modeling chocolate and candy melts.  The mermaid body is plastic of course, but her jewelry and bikini were piped on, and her tail is cake covered by fondant.  I sprinkled pearlized sanding sugar over the top, and it sparkled so pretty in the sun!

**Update**
Dropbox found two more questionable quality photos on my phone.  I’d had an issue with the icing at the last minute, and was about an hour late to the birthday party this cake was for.  Consequently, it was cut into within minutes of my arrival.  I did manage to snap a couple pics of the detail on the sides with my own cell phone.  It has no flash, so the photos did have to be edited some to lighten them.  At least you get the idea!

  This is a detail of the shells I made, with a little of the sea grass piped up the side.

 Here you can see the purple coral, it looked really great!  The plastic doll gave me the creeps a little, I’m not going to lie.


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Elmo First Birthday

My First Foray Into Character Cakes

 

Don’t these little guys look good enough to eat?  They WERE!

 

This was the whole thing, complete with cupcakes.

 

The cake topper was a labor of love – I invested three hours into carving and sculpting him out of colored white chocolate.  I was so pleased with the result!

 

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