Saturday, March 31, 2012

Inspired by Pinterest

If you "Pin", then you know how addicting it can be. Pinterest is yet another resource for inspiration, whether you're looking for an outfit, recipe, craft, diet.... and the list goes on.

Monday was my Mom's 60th Birthday, so last weekend I traveled to Wisconsin to celebrate with her. As I was growing up, cakes were my thing. I have made tons of cakes in my past for every occasion you can think of. Many were made from the commercial Wilton pans that came in a variety of shapes and characters. I started to get burnt out.... mixing 10 different colors of icing..... washing the tiny frosting tips....... So I don't really make them anymore. But I do still love special desserts. So now, I try to find recipes that have that "wow" factor, but are fairly easy.

I knew I wanted to make a layer cake because I was planning on using my Grandma's glass cake pedestal and the rhinestone "60" cake topper that I had made 5 years ago for my Grandparent's 60th Wedding Anniversary cake. So I did a search on Pinterest for layer cakes and I found this 14 layer cake! There are many variations of the recipe, and for ease I choose to do the one that uses a box cake mix. Although you add a different ratio of things to it rather than follow the box, as well as the addition of pudding mix.
The night before my travels, I set out to bake the cake layers. This required 2 batches of the cake mix and I used the disposable tin pie pans that was suggested (lined with parchment paper for easy release). The recipe called for 1/2 cup of batter in each pan. This seemed like too little to me. So I added another 1/2 cup so each one had a full cup. My layers were thicker then, and I ended up with 10 rather than 14. I was okay with this. I wrapped up each layer individually for the trip.

Once I was at my parents, I assembled the cake. I did make 2 batches of a homemade chocolate frosting (yum). It worked out perfectly. Before frosting the entire tower, I secured the layers by pushing 4 skewers through them all.

Here it is completed, with a dotted frosting border and the topper in place.

Here's a close up of the topper I made. I painted house numbers silver and then painstakingly glued all different size rhinestones to them.

Mom with her grandsons.

Here's our cake once it was cut into. It was enjoyed by all! I would definitely make this recipe again.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Peacock Suitcases - New and Vintage

Family, friends and co-workers all know of my love of peacocks. So quite often, I hear the following phrases:

"Every time I see a peacock, I think of you."

"I was out shopping at (insert store here) and saw this peacock thing and thought of you."

It's pretty darn cool because now, not only am I on the hunt for peacock things but so are others around me! This was the case a few weeks ago when the lady who works in our company cafe told me she had been to TJ Maxx and they had "peacock luggage" there. I had no idea what to expect when I got there. It was very sleek, modern luggage with photo prints of a feather on it! They had 3 sizes, and I opted for the smallest size as it will be okay to be a carry on (which I prefer to travel with all the time now). It has the wheels that turn every which way (which my current suitcase does not have) and the inside is pretty roomy and has great organizational compartments.
Switching gears here, I wanted to share a recent project I did that is also a peacock suitcase. When my friend Kristen helped me at my last show, which happen to be the first show I used my Mom's vintage suitcase as a display, I told her about this peacock suitcase I had seen a few years ago. If you are familiar with the brand Fossil, they often have one of a kind vintage items for sale on their website. A few years ago, they had an old suitcase that someone had painted a huge peacock on. I loved it, but wasn't sure about the $150 price tag. So I told Kristen I'd wanted to do something similar, but didn't want to alter my Mom's pieces. She was kind enough to give me one of the vintage suitcases she had purchased at the Salvation Army.

It was a smooth gray exterior, and I decided to paint both sides a cream color. I left the rest of it gray though, and it goes really well with the color scheme (truth be told, I didn't want to deal with painting around all those pesky hinges and handle). It took 3 coats of the extra wall paint I'd already had in the basement, and then I applied a large feather decal that I got at Hobby Lobby. These are those popular wall decals you see all over the place now. The cream color was the perfect background for it.

Then, I applied all of the business cards I have had over the years - almost as if they were my "travel stamps". It makes sense, because they tell where I've been and where I am going. Some of them read "chairs and wears" and that is back when I used to do painted furniture too. I found some cool letter stickers in my scrapbook stash so that I could spell out Peacock Fairy, and used a rub on for the word "the".

Once all of that was complete, I applied a clear coat to it all so that it will be protected. I tied ribbon scraps in the same color palette (muted browns, greens and blues) to the handle. I also stamped a tag with my favorite stamp - it reads "in my past life I was either a gypsy or a peacock". I would hope this case is something a gypsy would be proud to use!

The backside features a smaller feather that came in the set of 2. This was a really fun project to do, and I can't wait for it to debut at my next show as part of my display! Oh, and that other suitcase? Hopefully a little getaway is in the works soon!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Need I say more?

Peacock? Wine? Yes please!

I found this peacock labeled wine at my local grocery store. It was on sale for a good price, and of course, knowing that I will have that lovely bottle to use as a vase afterwards is worth it even if the wine isn't that great. Yeah, it wasn't that great. I hate it when my husband is right!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Spring Forward!

It's easy to catch Spring Fever here in Michigan. One day it's a balmy 66 degrees, and the next it's back in the 30's. One thing about people who live in these climates is that when those nice days hit, they are ready to change their wardrobes. Fast! I will always shake my head at those who are already in shorts and no jackets!?!?! Myself? I can inject a little bit of Spring into my outfits without feeling too over the top. This outfit I submitted last week to Effortless Anthropologie featured an Elevenses butterfly jacket from Anthro. The official name is Skippers and Sulphurs and I got it for a steal on eBay ($30)! Underneath is a brown Old Navy tank. The chunky necklace was on clearance at JC Penney a couple of years ago. And, I'm wearing jeans. I still wore my coat over this ensemble when I went out.

Don't forget to set your clocks ahead tonight.... I always hate losing that hour of sleep!