Monday, May 7, 2012

Snow White Princess Party!

I like making stuff.

I always have and I assume that I always will.

I know that if I wanted I could probably go and pay someone to do all the stuff I want them too, but honestly I'm all sorts of thrifty mixed up with a stubborn determination to do things myself and have enough faith  that with a little trial and error, I can do it myself; do it cheaper and exactly the way I want it
(No control issues here or ridiculously long run on sentences)  :)

Which brings me to what I have been putting together as of late.

My daughter turned three a few weeks ago and my hubbers and I decided that since she's entering that oh so lovely "Princess" stage we could have a Princess party themed for her. Snow White is a character she knows and love, we decided that she would be the princess that the rest of the party would be inspired from.
My hubbers always matches his hat to the kids party theme <3

Everything turned out great and for a few hours on a Sunday afternoon we had a ton of little girls running around our backyard all dressed up as their favorite princess. I've never really focused on a themed party, except for the old school way of matching cake and banners. But I thought this would be a good opportunity to give it a go and this is what I came up with.

This was her invitation that I designed. Her dress was designed to match the dress my daughter would be wearing for the party.  I whited out the address part as well as my phone number....so just imagine that it's there.

Here's another view....

You can download and edit the invite {HERE} for free; for your own use or from the printables tab. Just keep in mind that you need Page Plus from Serif to use the blank invite, you can download that free program {Here}. 

Any problems setting the invite up,please just contact me and I'll do my best to help you out :) I wanted to go with a more stylized version of snow white and not the usual Disney version.

***Since I originally posted this, some people have emailed me, letting  me know they aren't too savvy with new programs, so I added in this version. Just download it and print it out.
***I've created a NEW updated version of this party pack that includes, invitations, bunting, water bottle labels and cupcake wrappers you can find them all {{HERE}}

It's a fill in the blank type of invite, just print it out and fill it out :) I put two on the page so that you get more out of a sheet of paper. You can download it from {HERE} or from the printables tab.

To print the invitations I used regular old card stock that gave the invitation a bit of weight. The actual size of the invite is 5x7.

And I mailed them in plain white envelopes.

I purchased them both at my local craft store and with a 50% off coupon I got both for about $7.50. The bonus is that I have enough card stock and envelopes left over, which will msot likely cover the Thank you's (coming soon) or my other daughters 2nd Birthday in July! 

I also created custom mailing labels...Not the greatest pic. but you get the idea.

I used these Avery address labels to print these on. They are #5160 and measure 1x2 5/8. I think they even make a clear printing version which would also look great. These can also be downloaded from {Here} and edited for your own use for free....same thing goes though you need the program I mentioned above to use them.

Onto the party....There are so many things I wanted to create for the party, but more often than not reality sets in and I have to realize there is only so much I can do with the time I do have available.  I need to also consider that sometimes Mother Nature has "other" plans for weather that I need to anticipate in the future. The first thing I started to create were the goodies that would go along with the Snow White I had made for the invitations.

So I made these toppers for cupcakes, these can be made well in advance of the actual party....

Here is what they looked like on the cupcake stand...

I also made cookies...some with Snow White. These are made with Royal Icing transfers and can also be made in advance of the party. I have a tutorial to make them, that can be found {{HERE}}.

And some with just pink designs with the number three.

This was my favorite out of these...I wanted to create something similar to the Gingham cookies I saw on Glorious Treats Site, but settled for my quickie version. Her's are about 1000 times better, so if you have the time look at hers.

I used a chocolate sugar cookie recipe, I found on the site LilaLoa...and when I say they are the best chocolate cookie recipe..I mean it. I try a lot of  recipes that "say" they are the best, but most fail to meet my expectations. This one DOES NOT..seriously try it, try it, try it :)

For the rest of the goodies I tried to stay  with the color theme which was red and pink. For drinks I used Fruit punch (red) flavored little Hugs (Quarter Waters as we called them as kids.)

I added on some Happy Birthday labels, which you can also download and edit for your own use from {HERE}. You can use these on anything really, but I just slapped them on the drinks, because that's all the time I had left.  I also made a larger version, but ran out of time and never used them for anything. Bigger labels can also be printed out from {HERE}. They are also Avery Labels 8163 and measure 2x4.

I used colored striped straws like these....to serve the drinks. They were purchased from a shop in Esty called Cupcake Social...They sell the cutest stuff, check them out! And will do there best to try and customize your order, they sent me only pink and red straws since that is the color scheme I needed!.

I also made cake pops...

If you notice in the picture above, the stands are made with images of Disney princess's. Snow White, Cinderella and Ariel. My hubbers custom made them for the party. They are the only Disney images I agreed too...lol :) In the middle are dipped marshmallow pops...yum.

I also made brownies, drizzled with pink and white chocolate and covered in pink, red and white sprinkles.

And set out assorted bowls of candy.

And last but not least we had to have a princess cake...This was one of those, it's 1am and here is your cake type's of thingy's. I just wanted it done at this point.

This is the dress my daughter wore...

She's not so good at the stay still, look at the camera and smile bit, but you get the idea! I purchase this dress on Esty.com the shop that I purchased the dress from can be found {HERE}

I wanted to do a nice backdrop behind the dessert table, but like I wrote earlier; Mother Nature had other plans for the weather and it was too windy for anything like that.

Here's a pic. of  Daddy and his little princess's, enjoying the goodies! Our  fairy tale family!

Hope you enjoyed this post! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or just leave a comment below!!

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

How to Make Monster High Cake Pops

I wrote about the Monster High Themed birthday party my niece about a week ago and the fabulous Monster High Cookies  I made as favors for her well and the Monster High Cupcakes that were served up as well.

I also mentioned that a made some other "goodies" for her, those other goodies being these sweet little gals....

Now let me forewarn you that these were made at about 1:30 in the morning, after this prego lady had been on her feet for way to many hours. They are cute, but have the potential to be super, de duper cute if your not so exhausted when making them :)

To make them this is what you will need:

  • A prepared cake. (I used a Pillsbury Yellow cake mix)
  • Frosting, your flavor preference. I used my own Fantabulous Vanilla Frosting (although you won't need a full recipe's worth)
  • Lolly sticks
  • Wilton flower cut out (Medium Size)
  • Decorating squeeze bottle or small plastic baggie.
  • Tooth picks
  • White candy melts
  • Dark chocolate candy melts
  • Pink colored fondant or something to use for the bows.
  • Cellophane bags (If your going to wrap them)
  • Pink, white or black ribbon. (If your going to wrap them)
If your not familiar with making cake pops you may want to take a quick look at {THIS POST} which shares some hints, tips and tricks on making perfect cake pops.

After your cake has cooled, crumble it up by hand in a large mixing bowl. There should be no large pieces after you are done. Add in less than 1/4 cup of whatever frosting you choose to use and mix it up using a large spoon, if the mixture feels to dry add in a bit more a little at a time to achieve the consistency needed. Don't add in to much or they will be too heavy to work with and will most likely fall of the stick when you are dipping them.

After you have incorporated the cake with the frosting you should have something similar to a big bowl of mush. Set it to the side for a minute as you prepare your work space.

Cover a baking sheet with wax paper, this is where you will place the finished cake pops after they have been molded. I use a tbsp. measuring spoon to scoop up and roll out all my mixture. It allows me to keep everything roughly the same size.

After all your mixture is rolled out get your cutter all ready to start molding these. I used a Wilton Cutter from this set...not the best picture, but you get the idea. I used the second to largest one.

At first I was going to try and shape all the skullettes by hand, but I was tired and just wanted to be done when I thought about the flower cutter. What I did was take it and squeeze it a bit.

Which if you use your imagination you can see that after the top has been flattened or cut...it resembles the skullette shape!!!

Now with all my mixture rolled out, I placed a ball into the cutter.

And pushed down on the mixture, so that it would take on the cutters shape.

After the cutter has been removed, there sometimes was a bit of the upper flower portion left.

You can just use you fingers to press it in, or even cut it off if it's easier. I suggest (even though I was waaaayyyy to tired to take my own suggestion.) to make sure it is packed in and smooth. It will help later when you are dipping them, to keep them neat looking.

After all your skulls are molded and ready to go, get your white candy melts and get them smooth and ready for the dipping to begin. Be sure to use something that is deep enough to dip them. 

Before their big plunge though, dip the end of a lolly stick into the chocolate and insert into the skullete about 1/2 way. This helps to keep them on the stick when you are dipping them and gives a finishing touch to the bottom of the pop.

I don't have an actual picture of when I was dipping them, but they can be a bit awkward. I got the hang of it after the first few so keep in mind....be "gentle"   :) After they have set up and are ready to be decorated lay them out. 

Get your dark chocolate candy melts and melt them in a squeeze bottle if you have one, or else just melt them and use a small plastic baggie with the corner cut off (small cut) to pipe the eyes (sockets) and nose on.
I just squeezed three blobs onto the face (eyes & nose) and then used a toothpick to draw the eyelashes out of the eyes.

When they are all done, you are ready to start adding the bows. I used pink fondant, because it was what I had on hand at 1:30 in the morning, but there are numerous things that you could use; heart shaped sprinkles, colored laffy taffy, fruit roll ups. Just look in the junk food aisle and let your imagination run wild! 

But for the fondant all I did was take little strips and squeeze them in the middle to achieve the bow shape and I attached them with a bit of the white candy melts.

After they were all done I wrapped each one individually and tied them with varying colors of pink, white and black ribbon.

I then placed each one in a custom made cake pop stand that my hubbers made. It was a rectangle cake pop stand with the Monster High Skullette on it, which added to the overall theme of the party. AND my niece loved so much she has it hanging on her wall. 

(Just so you know, I will be setting up a page on here soon where you will be able to order custom made cake pops stands. They are perfect for them parties and look awesome!! In the meantime if you interested please e-mail me for information.)

Hope you enjoyed this post! If you have any questions please feel free to email me or just leave a comment below!

****Many of the supplies, plus more can be purchased HERE....at my shop to help spice up any Monster High Theme Party!

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

How to Make Perfect Cake Pops or if you like Cake Pops 101

A lot of you email me with questions about cake pops and problems that you encounter making them.
So instead of answering the same questions over and over and over again, I thought it would be easier if I just went over many of the problems "I" have encountered as well as some cake pop solutions "I" have discovered to make the whole cake pop thing something that is easy.

And really it is......if you follow some of these tips and tricks for making cake pops easier!

Because let's face it, if you go by some of the instructions floating out there, you end up with big mushy blobs of cake that sometimes stay on the stick, but mostly fall off.

They resemble nothing of the "pretty" round pops you see and most often are just gloppy blobs on a stick. That is  "IF" you are lucky enough to have yours stay on the stick. And let's not forget the trouble many of us have dipping them when the chocolate just won't get un lumpy.

Then there's the problem of cake pops that ooooozzzzzzzeeee oil from them and the worst offender... the problem of them cracking. Yes , cracking! After all the hard work you put into those little guys, they crack....


With all the roadblocks, some people throw in the towel, before they even reach the finish line.

But since I have made literally thousands of these in the past year, I learned many do's and dont's along the way; helpful hints and solutions that just may make the task of making these seriously delicious treats easy as pie.

Now as a disclaimer I am not an expert, I don't have any sort of "cake pop" master's degree. All I have is my experience and what has and has not worked for me. So if you find what I write in some way cake pop blasphemy...well firstly get over it  and then accept my apologies ahead of time.

There are many ways to make cake pops....this is just "MY" way. Other people may have 100% success with their way of doing it, I just haven't and if your reading this then you probably haven't either. So have a read and a look and then try it out for yourself..and do let me know what you think.

I use a good old box mix when I make cake pops, it works for me. They always taste awesome and not one person has every thrown one at me in disgust, screaming obscenities. But I do doctor the mix a bit in order to have it taste great and have the consistency work later on.

First off I cut out 75% of the oil the box recipe calls for, and I add in apple sauce to make up the difference. I also add in a box (approx 3.5 oz) of instant pudding to the mix, do not make the pudding, just add the powder. which boosts up the flavor ten fold and gives the cake more body and the right type of moisture.

I have found that it also also cuts down the baking time. (Bonus!!) Typically in an 13x9 pan it takes 22-24 minutes to fully bake

Because so many of you always email me about this apple sauce to oil ratio, here is a pic...

It really comes down to 1/4 cup of apple sauce with 2 tbsp. oil. It's not and exact science, just a guesstamation on my part so if it's not 100% DON'T WORRY!!!

What these two things do is.........

-Prevents the need to refrigerate the cake pops.
-Stops the cake pops from oozing oil after they have been dipped
-Completely and totally eradicates any type of cracking.

Secondly I DON'T add in ridiculous amounts of frosting. Some videos and "how to's" on making cake pops use a lot of frosting. Please the excess frosting madness needs to stop, it only creates mushy balls of frosting.  The key is mixing this amount throughout the crumbled cake, you want it mist and pliable not super moist and mushy. Think play- doh.For a box mix (13x9 size cake) I may use a little over 2 Tbsp - 3 Tbsp If even that much frosting.

That. Is. All....Really...Trust me on this.

What this does is....

-Stops the cake pop from falling off the stick.
-Allows you to roll out a cake pop into any shape, as well as perfect little balls.
-Provides you the right balance of cake and frosting and not a ball of mush.

When I mix the cake and frosting I mix it by hand and NOT with a hand mixer or my Kitchen Aid mixer. I have found that by using my Kitchen Aid, I can roll out ridiculous amounts of cake pops in record setting time, because it mixes it so well that the mixture does not stick to my hands. You also need a lot less frosting, as the mixer is so powerful it changes the mixture,

BUT they don't taste as good, still good but not the same.

The scientific reason why, I'm not 100% sure, but I think the cake and frosting mix too much and become something else altogether. They look pretty, still taste good, but taste much better when done by hand. (My opinion.)

When I do roll out the balls, I use a tablespoon measuring spoon (heaping)  A metal one works better than plastic as it won't break. Just scoop all the dough out then roll them afterwards.

When you add the stick, dip it in chocolate first...

What this does is...

-Adheres the pop to the stick.
-Finishes the pop in a clean way when you dip it.

You can actually dip the stick put it in the pop ans dip the pop for a seamless edge if you like. There is no need to wait..at all. If they fall off the stick well, then you added too much frosting and they are too heavy.

And lastly melt the chocolate so you can dip correctly. I use candy melts, so for a bag of candy melts I add in about a teaspoon of oil to help thin out the chocolate. If I'm using chocolate candy melts, I skip the oil and add in chunks of dark chocolate 80% of higher, which thins the melts AND gives it a fantastic flavor. But as long as you melt everything slowly, you don't have to add anything unless you want it thinner then by all means ad away!

The chocolate should run off the spoon...easliy and with no clumping. Clumpy chocolate often means you are closer to overheated candy melts. This happens with white and colored candy melts, melt them slow!

Dip away!

I hope these tips help you along the way I know they have helped me!

 If you have any questions, please feel free to email me or just leave a comment below!


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