Sunday, January 31, 2010

Why I Live In Arizona

A friend of mine that I work with is from Colorado. She has lived in Arizona for over 20 years now but still has a hard time living here sometimes (particularly between the months of may and October but I am not even going to think about that right now). This last semester she was working on figuring out and writing down all the things she liked about Arizona. She thought it may make her a bit more optimistic about her life here. I dont know if it worked but since then I have thought about some of the things I like about Arizona. Arizona sunsets are definitely on my list.
I just do not think you can get much more beautiful than that.

I took these photo's last night when I walked out of a friends house, who lives in the middle of a cotton field, and was greeted by this beautiful sight. I just really wish any picture could do it justice. Happy trails...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Head Bands!

When I craft, I often get obsessed with certain types of things (thoughts of the Duck Tape Debacle of freshman year are running through my mind). In the latter part of last year I began making flowers out of fabric. I made slews of headbands. I also made some brooches for those in my acquaintance who think they are too old for such girly accessories. I suppose my time may come where I feel that way but not yet. I gave tons away for gifts. In fact, everyone I like at EAC (all five of them) got a headband that is very similar.

For the headbands on the right, you can use any man-made fabric that has some sort of plastic in it. I used an array of colors but it seems that I only ended up with a black and gray one. I cut circles of varied sizes that fit inside each other. Then comes the fun, you run the edges over a flame. I use a candle. Then all you have to do is thread a bead or a button through the middle of all the toasted circles of fabric. To attach them to a headband or a pin I put hot glue on the flower and the headband or pin and put a little circle of felt on the other side.

For the headbands on the left side, I just cut a circle of any fun cotton fabric. I then, not masterfully, fold the edges into the middle. I used some hot glue to keep all the edges together and stuck a button in the middle. I am positive there are easier ways to do this I just dont know of them.
I love how my hair is a different color in every one of these pictures. I am not even sure what color my hair really is. Hmmmm, it is a mystery! Happy Trails!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Red Velvet Cake

The first cake I ever made from scratch was Red Velvet Cake a few years ago. After trying many different types of cakes, all of which are much more difficult, I have finally decided that, for now at least, Red Velvet Cake is definitely my favorite! It is simple, rich, and delicious. Today I made Red Velvet Cupcakes. I make them out of this recipe. For cupcakes, I half the cake batch and make a normal size batch for the frosting. I cant ensure that the universe is always fair but I can ensure that, in my baking universe at least, their is fairness and happiness. I also have figured out that cooking them at 325 degrees at 20 minutes/ dozen cupcakes does the trick.

The recipe is pretty straight forward. Please give it a try. Do it yourself, it is always better that way!

I used my amazing new cupcake decorating tips but there are many different creative ways to decorate the tops. I just cut a round hole in the corner of a ziploc bag for years and decorated them that way. There is always the kitchen knife standby.

Did anyone notice that I am using a Kitchenaide? Yep, Preston and Mindi let me borrow theirs to see if I liked using one and to help with the mass amounts of baking I plan on doing. Thanks Preston and Mindi! I think I am going to have to have one!

Nothing like some Friday afternoon baking to make it feel like the weekend. I survived my first full week of school!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Craft Swap!

Recently, I participated in a craft swap! I follow this wonderfully talented girl and her plushy wonders, Skunkboy Creatures. She decided to organize a little craft swap. There were no set rules. All you had to do is send a craft to your partner. I have only been in one other craft swap so I decided to give it a try. I was immeasurably lucky to be partnered with Allie. She is an architect from San Fransisco and amazingly talented. I loved being in contact and making something for her! I painted this painting for her and some little flower brooches. I feel really good about what I made. It was immense fun! I am rather sad it is over.

She was so thoughtful with what she made for me! I told her I love owls, traveling, and bright colors. She made me a passport cover and other amazing things with owl fabric! I was so excited to get them and even more excited to use them.

The swap was a success! I am very happy that I got to participate!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Cupcakes Galore!

I have simply had a million reasons to bake lately. If I don't have a reason, I make one up!  Cupcakes are my newest obsession. I recently got the Martha Stewart Cupcake Book! I read it over and over a million times salivating more with every page. I love the idea of cupcakes. I mean really, you get all the goodness of a piece of cake in your very own individually wrapped container. For Christmas, I got some FANTASTIC cupcake decorating tips. I am so happy to have them. I am not quite sure how I am managed baking all this time without them. They enable me to make all the cupcakes I make beautiful. It is all about the tools not the talent.

My Christmas Eve dessert this year were Mint Chocolate Butter Cream Cupcakes pictured in the bottom right corner. I made chocolate mint leaves. They took me several tries, Mindi can attest to this, but I eventually was able to make a few. I will admit that not only were the chocolate mint leaves disgusting but not at all worth the 4 hours I took to make them. So if you ever think, "Those chocolate leaves in that picture really looks beautiful, I want to make those," don't do it! You will regret it.

There are Snickerdoodle Cupcakes in the top right corner. The rest of the cupcakes are all Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate or white chocolate icing.

Don't you worry, I am just getting attacked by my own cupcake.

Want some of my cupcakes? Come visit and I would be happy to share!
Happy Trails...