Thursday, September 30, 2010

birthday loot





you know how my birthday presents were missing? well i finally found them. they were in mommy's car for some odd reason. i couldn't wait to see what all the shinny beautifully wrapped boxed had inside. so i put all of my presents on the floor and plopped myself down right in the center. ooh, this pretty pink bag caught my eye first. i grabbed it and i tossed the paper out. i dug my hand inside and pulled out a baby doll that looked just like mommy's favorite doll, Emma. i picked her up and squeezed her tight. a brand new baby! i got up from the floor and took her straight to my crib and laid her down for a nap. she looked quite tired! then i ran back and repositioned myself in the center of the presents once more. another box, another present. and on, and on, and on, and on. i found really cute clothes inside some bags and plush toys in some others. i even got a new teddy bear to cuddle with when i sleep. i haven't named him yet but i am leaning towards calling him Misha #2.

i opened all the presents, except one. i have to tell you that i even got tired a little. and at one point a bit overwhelmed as well. but mommy pushed the last bag toward me. so i pulled the tissue paper out and dug my hand deep inside the bag once more. and there i found a bright striped case which held a book inside it. i didn't know there was a book. i mean, it's not like i could see it. but mommy opened the striped case and pulled the book right out. she let me glance at it and then abruptly pulled it toward her and began flipping through the colorful pages inside. her face lit up and her smile grew wider as the pages turned. i wondered what was inside that made this book so special? maybe some pretty pictures? a funny tale perhaps? but then she looked at me and said, "this book is made just for you! it's all about you, you see!" she sat me on her lap and read the book out loud. although i didn't understand it all, mommy's excitement was contagious. i too began to smile. i even clapped my hands. the book was beautiful though. the pictures were so bright and magical. it was about fairies searching for their princess. and at the end you know what it said? it said that they chose ME as their special girl! i was the princess of all the fairies! i don't mean to be biased, but i think this book may have been my favorite present of all. and you know what? you can get a special story written just for you. you too can be the princess of all the fairies. and for the boys, there are special books for them too. probably not as pink though.




p.s. thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate my birthday with me! and thank you for your generous presents. i love them all!

from mom's kitchen



these cupcakes were the runaway hit of my birthday party! everyone thought that mommy got them at some specialty bakery. everyone was really amazed to find out that mommy baked them just for me. i think it was the glitter that tricked everyone into thinking that these cakes were some sort of delicacy. i wonder if my guests would have enjoyed them just as much if they knew how simple it was to create them?



the key to this cupcake is presentation. these beautiful baking cups from Paper Eskimo do most of the decorating work for you. they come in many different patterns and gorgeous colors and you bake your cake right in them. it really doesn't get much easier than that! the cakes come out perfectly each time and there is no need to mess with fluted baking cups or cupcake pans. you can use any cupcake recipe you like or you can take a shortcut and use a pre-made baking mix. i usually opt to make my own cupcake batter but in a party situation when time is of the essence, i get some help from Ghirardelli. their chocolate bunt cake mix makes a delicious cupcake! the edible glitter dust is the other decorating secret. it really gives these cupcakes a gorgeous sheen and sparkle. paper cutout butterflies from seller paperpyro finish off the cakes. and there is also a tasty little treat hidden right in the center.


ingredients

36 baked-off chocolate cupcakes per the directions of your cake mix of choice (if you prefer to make your own and need a recipe click here)
1 cup of mixed berry jam
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar
5 large egg whites, room temperature
pinch of salt
4 sticks (1 pound) unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
gel food coloring of your choice
glitter dust

directions

1. fill the cupcakes - let your cupcakes cool to room temperature. once they are cool enough to handle, take an apple corer or a small round cookie cutter and cut out a hole in the center of each cupcake. fill each cake with mixed berry jam.
2. make the swiss meringue buttercream frosting by placing sugar, egg whites, and salt in a heatproof mixer bowl set over a pot of simmering water and whisking until the sugar dissolves and the the mixture registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer.
3. attach the bowl to the mixer and whisk on medium speed for 5 minutes. increase speed to medium-high, and whisk until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 6 minutes. reduce the speed to medium and add the butter one piece at a time. make sure to whisk well between each addition. whisk in vanilla extract.
4. color the frosting by adding food coloring gel to the buttercream in small additions until you reach your perfect shade. if you are going to do two different colors, divide the buttercream in half and whisk in the food coloring in separate batches.
5. pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes using your piping tip of choice.
6. sprinkle the cupcakes with glitter dust. a little goes a long way.
7. add butterflies to the cakes to finish, or adorn them as you like.
8. enjoy the "oohs" and "aahs" that will surely follow!

recipe and images © diaper style memoirs

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

wonderfully handmade


these topiary centerpieces are fun and easy to make and make a dramatic impact. they will bring out your inner Michelangelo for sure. the materials are inexpensive. all you need is some floral foam, some moss and some spray adhesive. everything else you can find in your own home and your backyard. use your old terra cotta pots or swing by your local salvation army store where you are sure to find lots of beautifully mismatched vintage vessels. adorn them with butterflies and glittered birds and you are on your way to having a magical garden party. once you master the simple bird you can try to make other fun animal shapes like snails and even squirrels.


materials


1 package natural sheet moss
1 can of spray foam adhesive
5 floral foam blocks
1 sturdy branch (the straighter the better)
spanish moss
some small twigs
serrated knife for carving

directions

* these directions are for a large bird topiary about 12 inches from wide. for smaller birds or other animals you might have to use a different amount of foam blocks.

1. take 4 floral foam blocks and glue them together to form 1 large block per the directions on the adhesive can. let the block dry for a few minutes before carving.
2. once the block is dry and ready to carve, draw the simple form of the bird on each side of the block to help you imagine the form of the bird inside and guide you in carving.


sides front/back


3. carve with serrated knife little by little and watch the shape reveal. the carving does not have to be perfect since the entire shape will be later covered by moss.



4. once you finish carving the bird, it is ready to be covered by moss. spray the bird with adhesive and allow it to become tacky. take as much moss as you need to cover the entire surface of the bird and spray the back of the moss with the adhesive as well. allow the moss to become tacky. you will probably have to cover the bird in parts since the moss is usually in pieces when you buy it. apply the thinnest pieces of moss to the top and sides of the bird. if there are really thick pieces, try to trim some of the dirt from the dirt side of the moss to make it thinner. reserve the less attractive pieces of the moss for the bottom of the bird.



5. when the bird is covered, insert the stick into the bottom to make the stem. add a couple of twigs to the bird's tail end to make a twig tail.
6. cut a piece of foam block to tightly fit into your planter of choice. the tighter the foam fits, the more stable the topiary will be.




6. stick the stem into the center of the foam block and glue spanish moss to cover the foam base.
7. adorn as you wish. glittered butterflies, birds, ribbon bows make beautiful additions.

in my dream closet: fall/winter preview edition




finally the new fall/winter 2010 Misha Lulu collection has been revealed. it is one of my most favorite brands! these whimsical vintage inspired clothes are to die for!















photos © mishalulu.com

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

the big 2!





when i woke up on sunday morning, Nini ran into my room. he began jumping up and down and singing a really upbeat song. at first i was caught off guard. i mean i just opened my eyes and Nini was right there, singing. and then i quickly came to the realization that finally it must be here. my birthday! yeah! so i jumped to my feet and danced along to my own birthday song. soon mommy and daddy came in and started singing. i was really really excited and couldn't wait to see what the day had in store for me. after the usual morning routine, i had a special breakfast of sour cream and cheese. some apple juice, of course, to wash it down. mommy doesn't usually let me have that much sour cream and cheese at once, but it was my special day and that meant i could eat whatever my little heart desired. then i played with Nini for a bit while mommy finished up making my cupcakes. i wanted to help so bad. specially with the sparkly dust, but she wouldn't let me. i was allowed to put one butterfly on top of one little cake but as mommy predicted my unstable hands plopped it on top and ruined the perfectly piped mound of yummy yellow frosting. she wasn't too mad though and i even got to sample the ruined cupcake right then and there. i shared a bit with Nini. yummy! so much chocolate and fruity jam inside. i couldn't wait to have another. i tried to take one more. the tray of cakes was pulled away before my hands could reach it.

then mommy left with Nini and i was left with daddy to waste the day away. we went to the park and played a little. i was begining to wonder if this was it for by big day? i went down for my nap as usual. then i woke up and waited for someone else to come and sing and make me feel so special. daddy came in, but didn't sing. instead he picked me up and said we had somewhere to go. i had to get dressed quick! he put me in my favorite party dress, some pom pom socks, and my new shiny patent shoes. a really big bow finished off my outfit. i was all ready to go.

finally we got to my aunt's house. she is not really my aunt but just as close. i ran into the backyard and looked around. my party! it was right there waiting just for me! it was so pretty! a magical garden as my party invitation promised. there were flowers, and sparkly birds everywhere. butterflies all around and different animals made out of grass, i think. mommy was there and so was Nini. my uncle. my grandma and grandpa. everyone ran up to me and said hello. Nini sang his pretty song all over again. i was totally excited for the rest of my guests to arrive. soon they all came with shiny bags with presents inside just for me. this birthday thing was turning out to be even more awesome than i had ever expected. everyone wanted to play with me and give me attention. i wished that i could have a birthday every single day! all these babies came and my best friend Eve was there. i ran around chasing the kids most of the time. and then at the end of the night, finally, the cupcakes appeared and i devoured two of them. one purple frosted one for my first birthday and a yellow one for my big second! frosting spilled all over my outfit but i wasn't that concerned. the cakes were so delicious! soon after i got really tired. it was way passed my bedtime. so i said bye bye to all my guests, gave each one a smooch and left. i think i fell asleep on my way home. oh what a party! the only problem - my silly mommy forgot her camera. she was too busy with all the decorating and cooking i guess. most of my birthday party pics i posted - we had to take the following day. so don't be surprised to see remnants of yellow frosting on my sunday best! by the way, i wonder what ever happened to all those shiny bags with presents?

the magical garden party































alice & olivia striped party dress . kimmy cardigan by jottum . pom socks from the childrens place . cinderella patent mary-jane by pazitos . flared bow headband from forever 21