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Christmas Cheer!

Christmas Cheer!

Christmas is almost here and the home decor has started going up! How great it is to see everyone celebrate Jesus’ birth!

For the mantel, I took an old wreath and removed all the red trimmings to give it a more updated “all green” look. The only new purchase I made was the “Noel” accent. I love The First Noel Christmas song and wanted to incorporate it somewhere. The chocolate cone trees were purchased at last year’s Christmas clearance sale and I just love the color!

Warm Inviting Christmas Mantel

Warm Inviting Christmas FireplaceI had been searching for a sleigh for several months but, being a frugal person, couldn’t see myself spending $90+ for a sleigh. One day I found this cute sleigh at HomeGoods for less than half the price! I liked that it was in a neutral color (with no reds) and the size was not too big. I decorated it with garland and topped with gift boxes. I then found the cute little deer at Marshalls.

Southern Christmas Sleigh DecorTwine Christmas Reindeer

My buffet was decorated in neutrals:

Christmas Buffet Decor

We haven’t put up a Christmas tree in my home in the past 10 years but this year we did a “Jesse Tree”, a tree that tells the story of God’s salvation through the coming of the Messiah.
1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him– the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD–
3 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears;
4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
Isaiah 11:1-4

Jesse Tree

Jesse Tree About

Merry Christmas!!


DIY Scarecrow Costume

Need an easy, modest costume idea? For a total price of $3.56 I made this cute scarecrow costume. I had the flannel shirt, boots and floppy hat so just purchased a roll of raffia ribbon at Michaels with their 40% off coupon.  I used the ribbon to make the wristbands, hair pieces and as stuffing. I chose a ripped pair of jeans so I could have some of the stuffing come out of the holes. The makeup was easy and a simple online search pulled up lots of cute ideas.

Scarecrow Makeup

DIY Scarecrow Costume

Homemade Scarecrow Costume

Scarecrow Wristband

To make the wristbands, I used a hair tie and cut twelve 18″ pieces of raffia. I folded each piece in half and used the slip-knot tie method shown below:

Scarecrow Wristband Tutorial

For the hair pieces, I used the same method but attached to bobby pins. And there you have it, an easy last-minute costume that will get you lots of compliments 🙂

Hawaiian Cupcakes (Beach Theme Cupcakes)

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For my little niece’s fourth birthday party I made these cute little Hawaiian themed cupcakes to go with her Hawaiian themed birthday party.

Hawaiian CupcakesHawaiian CupcakesHawaiian Cupcakes 3The cupcakes were fudge chocolate with Swiss Meringue frosting. I used graham crackers for the sand, and the flowers and seashells were made using Wilton candy molds and fondant molds. The seashells were dusted with various pearl dust colors.

Cupcakes by My 11 Yr Old :)

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For my birthday my 11yr old daughter baked and frosted these cupcakes all by herself! This was her very first time doing both and she did AMAZING. She used a box mix (Duncan Hines) for the cupcakes and a vanilla buttercream recipe with real butter (no shortening) for the frosting. She even did some color mixing for two-toned frosting!

Here she used the 1M star tip for the rose swirl:

Cupcakes by KrystaThe “I Love You” message using various tips:

I Love You CupcakesI got a cute new handbag for my birthday but it’s stuff like this that I cherish the most. The birthday wishes and greetings, phone calls, birthday serenades over the phone,cards and texts were much appreciated 🙂 I did get asked a couple of times if I was sad to be turning 35 and my response was “No Way”!!!! I am grateful for another year of health and blessed to be surrounded by my loved ones. I feel like I am just now entering the fun, relaxed part of life. I have a newly-ordered passport in the works that God-willing I intend to fill up! Two weeks ago a solicitor that came to my door asked to speak to the parent of the home when I answered 🙂 so no, I am not sad or depressed to be THIRTY five and I hope I always feels this way which every new year that God blesses me with.

Here I am at 35 with far better skin than I had in my teens and twenties, better hair (my twenties were the years I experimented with wacky, crazy hairstyles), and hopefully wiser LOL.

IMG_1945I know, the bathroom selfies/pics are getting old. One day I will get some “real” pictures taken 🙂

Closet Organization, Baking and More

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Less cake-making has lead the way to many little projects finally getting done around my house, not to mention it’s a lot cleaner these days. I have always kept a tidy home but when I got busy with cakes, the housework often got neglected. So here’s what I’ve been doing with my newly found free time:

I organized my handbags using this built-in I stole from my husband’ side of the closet (a bookshelf would work just as well):

Handbag OrganizationMy shoes have been pretty organized thanks to these neat little racks from the Container Store. I love these because you can stack and expand them to fit in pretty much any space you have and with the store coupon they’re much cheaper than having a custom built-in. Some of the racks are almost ten years old so they are definitely sturdy. The design was changed a few years ago but thankfully it still worked with the few racks I had from the old design so I didn’t have to repurchase.

Shoe OrganizationI started going through my clothes and put my out-of-season and too-big-but-don’t-want-to-get-rid-of clothes in these cute storage boxes I purchased at JoAnn. A future project is to Modpodge the boot boxes underneath the storage boxes with a cute coordinating paper I also found at JoAnn.

Storage Boxes

I still have all my accessories to organize (jewelry, hats,scarves, gloves). Once those are completed, a post will follow.

Because I still love baking, of course I still do that every now and then too! This weekend I made some “from scratch” strawberry cupcakes with strawberry Swiss Meringue frosting.

Strawberry CupcakesThe next day I made a chocolate cherry cobbler for Father’s day. Boy it was a huge hit!!!! I’m not sure if my family was happy to have something other than cakes or it really was that great :). I’m going to say they really loved it because I didn’t even get a chance to take a photo of a bowl of it served with ice cream. I used a recipe I found in the latest issue of Better Homes. It can also be found here.

Chocolate Cherry CobblerLess cake-making has given me more time to work out and I also avoid having to taste test all those goodies so now the weight seems to be coming off easier 🙂

IMG_1393All work and no fun is no bueno so here I am poolside while the kids played at the pool!


Graduation Cake With Cap Topper (Photo Tutorial)

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My intention is for most of my posts to be helpful whether they are related to baking, fashion, or even photography. I am not the technical photographer in my house but I am the one behind the artsy, creative poses and composition ideas. So when I do share photography posts on here it’s because I’ve contributed to them in some way :). With that being said, I hope you find this tutorial helpful.

When I made my first graduation cake I recall there weren’t many tutorials out there for the cap topper (where the topper was not made out of cake) so now that I’ve made a few graduation cakes, I finally got around to taking pictures to document how I make mine. This cake was fun to make because I was given quite a bit of liberty with the design. The only requests were that it be Spring HS colors, have a quilted top tier,have a congratulations message and possibly a lion paw print for the school mascot. I ended up changing the design a bit from my initial vision but I think it was for the better. I love how the cake turned out.

Spring HS Graduation Cake DesignThe assembly of the cake:

IMG_0024Final cake:Fondant Tiered Spring HS Graduation CakeFor the cake topper I use a foam ball that’s been split in half and a thick piece of card stock. The foam ball is about 4.5″ in diameter and the card stock was cut into a 5.5″ square. Both pieces were covered in fondant.I made holes on the center of each piece prior to covering with fondant. These holes are what connects the two pieces.  By making the holes prior, I find it’s easier to find the center and remake the hole once covered with fondant because it will be softer in these spots. Once the fondant dries and hardens, I assemble with a lollipop stick and cover the center with tassel topped with the cap button. The video tutorial below the image is a great tutorial on how to cover the foam ball with fondant. I followed the same steps to cover the card stock.

Graduation Cap TutorialVideo tutorial for covering foam ball. This lady is amazing and I love her tutorials.

Minecraft Inspired Cake

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I had the opportunity to make a Minecraft inspired cake. As I normally do with all cake requests, I got busy looking at photos and watching videos related to the theme. I came up with, what I thought was, a great cake design. I have two little people in my house who are Minecraft lovers so when I told them about my design and sought their input, I was quickly put in my place with a “Mom, that’s not how it works. Put that down and come PLAY the game”. LOL so I didn’t actually play the game but I did watch my kids and got a quick lesson on how the game works. I got some input from my kids and came up with this design:

Minecraft Inspired CakeI wanted to have a sparkling candle on top of the TNT for added effect but didn’t have one on hand. Other than that, I was very pleased with how it turned out and the kids loved it! All of the cake toppers were hand made out of fondant/gumpaste. I didn’t see many cakes with “Steve” in a position other than completely upright so I knew I wanted to make mine appear to be moving so that’s how I modeled him. I also wanted the “Creeper” to have a two-toned look similar to the photos I saw so I made him with a marbled effect. The grass was made with buttercream using the Wilton grass tip 233. The dirt was given the textured look by adding Oreos into the chocolate buttercream. The diamond tools and map were my son’s suggestion. The age was displayed on an Obsidian block. (Notice the diamond tools next to the block. These are the only mining tools for this block in the game). These are all the little details my kids helped me with. The name was displayed on signage similar to what I saw on the game.

Minecraft Inspired Cake ToppersThis was another very fun cake to make!

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