Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Thrift Store Transformation #4

     Yay, for another crafty transformation! Well, this may be the last post for awhile, unfortunately. The point of this blog was to inspire me to use all my free time this semester to craft. Crafting makes my soul happy:) However, all this free time is about to jump out of the window and fly far, far away. I'm excited about moving cities and changing jobs, but I will miss my open days to let my creativity run free. Guess i'll just channel it towards my soon-to-be classroom! Ooh. I think I'm cool with that!

Here is what I started with...

I loved the color of this dress! However, it had an odd shape. It appears to be frowning at its misfortune. 
I would love to know the designer's thought process behind that complimentary embroidered fan/rose. Not sure I understand this one.   

Time to get rid of that fan! I always get too excited and end up butchering the initial cut. At least I  can still even it up later. 

Add caption
I left some extra fabric at the top in order to allow room to add some of my own decor. 
These lovelies are also thrift store purchases that I planned to use as accent fabric. I thought the colors would be super fun with the purple.

I love making fabric flowers! Of course that's what I'm going to accent my NOW purple skirt with.  I traced and cut out a handful of circles with which to make my flowers. My circles were roughly 4" wide. I also made a couple smaller ones that were around 2 1/2" wide. BUT, make them any size you want. Experiment!
Next, I just ran thread around the entire edge of the fabric circle. Then, I pulled the yarn tight and WAH LA!  Just tie your thread off and you're good to go. 

I just clustered them onto my skirt and then sewed them on! My sewing skills are far from polished, but as long as it looks good from works for me:)
I used the bottom rim of the coral shirt to make a belt out of.  It gave my skirt a more finished look.


Total price: $10.12!

Monday, May 2, 2011

.......PEANUT BUTTER CUPCAKES....... filled with dark chocolate ganache

So, I am terrible at following recipes because I like to experiment with everything I make. If you know anything about baking, you can guess how a lot of my creations turn out. They don't. This time, however, I let my creativity run in choosing the type of cake, icing, and ganache for these cupcakes, but thankfully I forced myself to stick to the recipes that I found. I am really excited about how they turned out. Beautiful. But, most importantly....DELICIOUS!

1. Chocolate Cupcakes

This recipe is unbelievable. It is insanely moist and mmmm so good! My roommates were just fine eating them plain which definitely says something. 

Cups Flour                               
2 Cups Sugar    
3/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
2 Tsp Baking Soda
2 Eggs
1 Tsp Salt
1 Cup Buttermilk
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Boiling Water

Directions: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Grease your cupcake pan. OR, I found it best to use cupcake liners to keep this oh so moist cupcake from falling apart when removing it from the pan. Place all the ingredients above in a mixing bowl and mix until blended and smooth. Pour into cupcake pan and bake for about 20 min.

2. Dark Chocolate Ganache  

Ganache sounds ritzy which often equates as hard to make. However, it is the easiest part of this cupcake recipe!                                                       

2 bars of quality chocolate
I used Ghirardelli 60% dark
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Bring cream to a boil

Pour over chopped chocolate

And stir till smooth!

2 bars (8 oz) of quality dark chocolate 
              1 cup heavy Whipping cream  
Directions: Coarsely chop the chocolate and place in a medium to large size bowl. Next bring whipping cream to a bowl. CAUTION: it will boil over really fast so keep an eye on it! Once it starts to boil, remove it from the stove and immediately pour it over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate becomes smooth. If you plan to pipe it into the cupcakes, it is best to leave it in the fridge for a couple hours. You can also pour it into the center, but you should still allow it to cool for a bit.  

3. Peanut Butter Icing

 This is a very creamy icing that I find excellent for cupcakes. However, if you want to use it for a cake, I would add more powdered sugar for a stiffer consistency.

Ingredients-        1 stick butter (room temp)
                    1 package of cream cheese (room temp) 
                    1 cup peanut butter
                    2 cups powdered sugar 
                    Dash of milk ( about 2-3 tbsp) 

Directions: Start by creaming together the butter, cream cheese, and peanut butter with a mixer. Next, gradually add in the powdered sugar. After adding in about 1 cup of the sugar, go ahead and add the milk to help you finish blending in the sugar. Again, there is less powdered sugar than some icing recipes to keep it creamy and not overwhelmingly sweet. But feel free to add more if you would like a sweeter, stiffer consistency. 
I twisted the end of a knife to form a hole in the cupcake. I chose to pipe in the ganache that I had chilled prior. However, you can also  pour it in if  the ganache is still in a liquid state. If you do not want the cupcake to absorb all of the chocolate, I would suggest chilling them before pouring the in the ganache.  

Now, it's frosting time!

4. Decorative topping

 It looks a lot more complicated than it really is. All I did was melt a bark chocolate in a double boiler ( ok, jk. I cheated and used a microwave. But, a double boiler works a lot better). Next, you just drizzle your designs on some wax paper and chill them in the fridge. Once hardened, gently peel them off and place them on your cupcakes!

FINITO! Time to brew some coffee and dive in:)

Monday, April 25, 2011

I Finally Made It to Blackberry

     Ever since I discovered the existence of Blackberry Farms, it has been my dream to visit. Blackberry Farms is a 4,200 acre, 5 star resort in Walland, TN. I was not confident that I would ever get the chance to visit this idyllic place unless I stumbled upon some large sums of money. However, I was blessed to get to nanny at Blackberry for the little girl I normally keep while her Mom taught a photography class there. 

Here are a couple of my Blackberry "loves"...  

The property of Blackberry is ridiculously beautiful. It is located at the foothills of the Smoky Mountains which makes for some unbelievable scenery. 

The Farmstead
                                                                                 The Boat House.

This is a pavilion where you can go build a fire and relax in some rocking chairs.  This would go nicely in my backyard:)

Outside fire pit

We played mostly in the grass:)


One of my very favorite things has always been room service. Never again will I have room service like I did at Blackberry. This truly trumps all experiences. I felt like I was looking at a Food and Wine magazine, 
except this time, it was sitting on the dining room table staring 
Fine Dining with Iris:)
at me.

Exploring Blackberry Farms was very wonderful indeed. I now want to live on a farm just so I can sit in a rocking chair with my coffee every morning and watch the sheep and chickens mosey around. Granted, my daydream doesn't really take into account the hard work to obtain such bliss. But i'll let it slide.  

Blackberry has a quaint garden where you get to see where a lot of your food  is grown! No wonder that salad was amazing.

The Gardener's Hut.

Iris and the Master Gardener. He couldn't get her to smile, so he joined her instead. 

exploring the garden



Monday, April 18, 2011

Thrift Store Transformation #2

So, I had so much fun with my first thrift store challenge that I couldn't wait to get started on another one! 

 I was very excited when I found this dress on my last thrift store run. I can only imagine how some nice teased bangs and complementary blue pumps would have just made all the other church ladies jealous. But, since I don't live in the 80's, I guess I'm out of luck with that one.  Better make some changes!

Apologies for the blurry picture, but you get the idea. It was quite cathartic to cut that dress up. I took off the top and the extra length at the bottom in order to utilize the middle part of the dress for a skirt!

Since I cut the dress in half, I obviously cut the zipper in half. So, the zipper was of no use anymore. Therefore, I just decided to completely cut it out and sew the two sides together. Thankfully, there was enough elastic to go without a zipper because I have yet to develop the skills to put another one in.

I went through and hemmed both the top and the bottom parts of my soon-to-be skirt. 

Next, I added four buttons to give the middle section of the skirt some character. 

However, I wasn't quite happy with it. So, then I added fun accent buttons to give it a bit more of a unique look.


Between the dress and a few sewing supplies, I spent under $6! Makes me HAPPY.