Friday, February 11, 2011

New Giveaway Winner, More Giveaways and Spring Cleaning

First up, I have a new winner for my box of holiday crafting.

Congratulations Pam from Gingerbread Snowflakes!

Email me with your mailing information and I'll get this package out to you.

Now I've said it before. I'm a little tired of winter. But despite the 5-6 ft piles of snow bordering the driveway I know we are on the edge of spring.

(Maybe the tulip bulbs are coming up under there... just maybe)

How do I know...

1. We're almost into what I like to call the "adage months" March, April and May. Every year I can hardly stand the idea of bleak holiday-less January. Then February's cold seems even worse, until I remember that not only does Valentine's Day offers a bit of much needed holiday fun but it's the shortest month. Which swiftly leads us right into March- Out like a lion in like a lamb. Then... April showers (which are better than snow) bring May flowers. (And before you know it it's summer!)

2. I've notice some buds on the flowering trees.

3. My farm share is going to be starting seedlings soon in their greenhouse

4. I've got the spring cleaning bug. I've been spending a few minutes here and there trying to bring order to my studio.

(This is after some clean-up. I couldn't bear to show you a true before picture! And trust me, there's still a long way to go).

5. According to Sheep Gal (a wonderful blog I read) lambing season is just about 7 weeks away. Little lambs always make me think of spring.

Another sign of spring- Barb is doing a winters waning giveaway. Click on over to enter for a chance to win some great yarn (from her flock) and her book on dyeing yarn. I took a dyeing class with Barb and it was great!

6. And, it doesn't really have anything to do with spring but but I love the tote bags that Jane from Maiden Jane makes and she's going a giveaway for her wine and chocolate bag. So head on over to Jane's giveaway for a chance to win.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Doily Pops

When I think about Valentine's Day one thing that always comes to mind is heart-shaped white doilies. I just love the delicate lacy look of them- they're so classic.

I'd been thinking a lot about this month's Sweets-N-Treats post and first had the idea to create an edible doily. But it was only ever a partially formed idea. I just couldn't work it out in my head, but it kept rolling around in there and today I came up with the answer!

White Chocolate Pops.

To make these I actually started with cookie cutters.

I used two hearts. (These are the second and third smallest hearts from a Wilton 6 pc. set).

First make a template by tracing both hearts, one inside the other, on a piece of paper.

Then freehand a scalloped edge.

And cover it with parchment paper. You can set up more than one of these templates to make several pops at a time. (I had 4 set up.)

Next you'll need something to pipe the candy. I like to use plastic snack bags. Put two layers of masking tape near the bottom corner of the bag.

This stiffens up the plastic a little bit. You want the tape near... but not quite over the tip. Then cut the tiniest piece you can manage off of the corner of the bag. It was hard to get a picture it's so small so I hope you can see it.

That's all the prep work- now you're ready to go!

Melt some white chocolate (I used Wilton Candy Melts)

Then spoon a little of the melted candy into your piping bag and set the bag aside. I used about 6 spoons, which is enough that you can comfortably squeeze the bag, but it's not so much that you'll end up with a solid chunk of chocolate when it starts to cool.

Center the smallest cookie cutter over the traced line on your template. Holding the cutter in place firmly use a spoon to fill the heart just to cover the area inside the cutter. You don't need a lot so be careful not to overfill. Use the spoon to push the candy towards the edges of the cutter where needed. Remove the cookie cutter right away.

Now you're left with this solid heart shape.

Tip: Wipe off the cookie cutter between filling each heart. It'll make a cleaner shape.)

Using the piping bag trace around the larger heart with the chocolate.

(Tip: Squeeze a little chocolate out onto a scrap piece of parchment before you trace your line. Sometimes the chocolate at the tip of the bag cools a little forming a partial block. If that happens you'll squeeze too hard and end up with a blob of chocolate.)

Next connect the inner and outer heart by piping lines at different angles.

Then squeeze out small dots around the outer edge of the heart to form the scalloped border.

( Tip: If there's too much room between the dots you can use a toothpick to fill the the bare spots.)

Finally add the lollipop stick. I set the stick into the chocolate then roll it over so that it's covered by the candy.

If your chocolate has hardened too much to set the stick you can cover it with some additional chocolate to hold it in place. This happened on my first few pops but once I'd had a little practiced I got fast enough that the chocolate was still melty and I had no problem setting the sticks.

Once the pops have hardened peel them off the parchment and you have an edible doily!

Melt more candy as needed. To refill your piping bag once the chocolate inside has hardened simply break the chocolate out into a bowl. It can be remelted and then the piping bag refilled.

I really liked them just plain white but if you want to can get a little fancier you could add a message. I made a little pink chocolate (Using Rose Pink candy dye from Wilton) and piped the word Love across the front of the pop.

Yum, they look too sweet to not wanna eat.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Giveaway winner, where are you?

I haven't heard from my giveaway winner yet... so Mindie who said:

"I love making valentine's with my kids for their friends. Love pink and lace and doilies."

if you're out there please contact me by tomorrow. If I don't hear from you by the end tomorrow of the day I'll pick a new lucky winner.

I thought I'd allow some extra time- with all the snow we were having across many many states last week I thought some people might have been without internet. But I really want to give this crafty stuff away so Mindie, I hope you're out there! Please contact me asap!

If I have to pick a new winner out of the entries I'll announce it on Thursday.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Cookie box of "chocolates"- Sweets-N- Treats February

This is my first Sweets-N-Treats feature. Some of you might remember that after putting Cupkins, the monthly Cupcake and Muffin collaboration I participated in, on hiatus I decided to continue doing a monthly feature focusing on all sorts of edible crafts.

For February I used Valentine's Day as my theme. A holiday that is in large part very chocolate focused. However... recently I've been trying an allergy elimination diet, a two month trial recommended by my doctor, where can't have all sorts of my favorite foods (including chocolate). It's kind of annoying and chocolate is everywhere right now. So I've been thinking about people who can't ever have chocolate, it's a really hard to avoid it this time of year! That gave me an idea to make a "faux box of chocolates" an edible box filled with tasty little non-chocolate treats.

First I built a box using sugar cookies by making a template for the box pieces using cardstock.
Rolling out store-bought dough and cutting the bottom, top and four sides out using my template. Then I used a few cookies cutter to press designs into the top and sides. (I just pressed the cutter in enough to make an imprint but not slice the cookie all the way through).

Here is is out of the oven and in the beginning stages of assembly. To stick all the parts together I used store bought frosting and added confectioners sugar to it until it was stiff enough to hold everything together.

I decorated it using cinnamon candy for the small dots, white frosting for the largest heart on the lid, fondant for the white hearts on the sides and slices of gumdrops rolled out until they were large enough to cutout a small heart shape using a cookie cutter.

To hide most of my frosting seams I filled the inside of the box with a little coconut.

Then filled it with smaller decorated cookies.

To make these little x's and o's I used a butter knife to carve x's into the dough and the a pastry bag tip to make the o's Once they were cooked I used a tooth pick to fill in the lines with frosting and dipped them into red sugar.

I colored ivory frosting to look like chocolate and decorated some like little boxed candies.

Others I used sanding sugar, sugar beads and tinted frosting to decorate.

Happy Valentines Day!

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