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Friday, January 31, 2014

go team!

can you stand one more cookie post? i mean, i told you i was busy this week!

i was excited to tackle a request for super bowl-themed cookies. i'm not really a football fan at all, but if we're talking cookies, i'm all over it. 

although i was a little nervous about the denver broncos logo. i knew i could just make them in royal icing beforehand, though, like other cookies i've done before. and sure enough, once i got started on them, i was pleased with how they turned out. 

i iced simple round cookies with a contrasting outline, peeled one of the transfers carefully off of the wax paper, plopped it on, and added a little text:

the other two designs were even easier:

now all i need is for someone to ask for hockey cookies and i think i've got all of the major sports covered!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

domestic goddess at work

i've been on a roll this week. like, i was asked to make some cookies for a bridal shower that incorporated lace and the color "blush."

and i totally want to watch "steel magnolias" again. heh. 

anyway, trying to figure out how to accomplish the lace aspect of this had me rather stressed. i'd heard of some newfangled stuff called sugarveil that might work - it's basically like royal icing, but when dry, is pliable and easier to work with. 

except that the silicone mat that would create beautiful edible lace was a little out of my budget. okay, a LOT - the damn thing was $70.  so i decided to go a cheaper route and try these instead:

but it didn't work. not even close. the mats were too rigid, the grooves for the design weren't deep enough, and the sugarveil dried and cracked off in pieces. bummer. 

a trip to michaels yielded something else that i thought might be doable:

i thought that i could make it work if i used some decorative paper punches on it, like these:

i cut the sheet into strips, punched them carefully, and laid the pieces on top of still-wet cookie frosting. 

not too bad, right? and then i decided to try a technique called brush embroidery on a few of them, freehanded some other designs, and this is what i ended up with:

these came out so nicely, i almost regretted doing the edible paper ones. but they fit in perfectly with the others, so i hope the bride likes them. 

then i finally sat down at the sewing machine to make an iPad mini case for a friend. i'd shown her a bunch of different fabrics, and she went with these:

because i've made these so often, i was able to whip it out in less than an hour. 

and then because she'd waited so patiently for me to get my shit together and get cracking on this, i decided to throw in an extra little bonus matching pouch. 

lastly, the bean's school put out a call for dessert donations to serve at their annual spaghetti dinner fundraiser. like last year, every kid who brought something in would get a free dress day. so i decided to make a batch of whoopie pies

they kinda looked like turds fresh outta the oven. 

after they cooled completely, i mixed up the marshmallow filling (by hand, because my dumb ass started the dishwasher with all of my electric mixing attachments inside) and dropped dollops on every other cake. 

mmmmm, ooey gooey goodness. 

i wanted to bag them individually, but all that gooey filling threatened to spill over all of the sides. so i wrapped them in wax  paper, dropped them into the cellophane bags, and tied with ribbon in the school color. 

i was sad that the recipe only yielded ten whoopie pies, but i'd probably made them too big. 

somehow i doubt that anyone will complain about that. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

fix me

in case you were wondering, i do indeed still receive my monthly stitch fix boxes.  december's fix kinda got buried in all of the holiday hullaballoo, and to be perfectly honest, it was less than exciting anyway. i know i kept at least one item, but hell if i remember what it was.  heh.  what i do remember is that only four out of the five pieces actually made it to me, and after a little bit of back-and-forth with customer service i ended up sending three of them back.  now i'm going to have to scour my closet to jog my memory and remember what it was that i kept.  hmmm.  my memory's not as good as it used to be.  it sucks getting old, yo.

so when january's shipment arrived - #8, if anyone's counting - i was pretty excited when i yanked the flaps open, ripped the tissue off and found the first item.  while it doesn't look like much in this picture, trust me…it's a super cute knit motorcycle-ish jacket.  it's got a fun asymmetrical zipper and it looks really cute zipped halfway or all the way up.

i actually did like this top, but not $68 worth.

this little knit box-pleated skirt is in a great color and it was comfy and versatile-looking.  but it, too, was $68.  yikes.

the teen lobbied hard for this bag.  i did like the bright color and its crossbody style.

in the end, this dress was the dealbreaker.  with credits i'd earned and the styling fee credit, the whole box with the 25% off discount would have been a very reasonable $177.  but i knew the moment i laid eyes on it that this thing wouldn't make it into my closet.  like, ever.  ew.

see?  less than flattering, and absolutely zero redeeming qualities to it.  boo.

with these shipments, i find that it's almost an all-or-nothing deal.  the pieces are a little on the pricey side when purchased individually, so it's only really worth it if the whole box is good enough to keep to utilize that 25% discount.  because the $20 styling fee doesn't get rolled over into any sort of credit beyond the current fix, i either keep one piece of the whole thing.  this month was definitely a 1-piece deal.

i still love the concept, though.  and i've ended up with new items in my wardrobe that i really do wear a lot.  most of them aren't even things i'd have chosen during a shopping trip on my own, so i like how it makes me expand my fashion horizons a little.

on to #9!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

i call them thing 1 and thing 2

i got the chance to try my hand at cat in the hat-themed cookies last week. as i usually am when tasked with something new, i was a little stressed over how i'd pull it off. but i perused a bunch of ideas online and finally came up with a plan.

i especially love working with this particular friend, because although she's as much of a detail-oriented partyzilla as i   am, she pretty much gives me free reign as far as design. with these, she asked for a dozen hats and then a dozen each of thing 1 and thing 2 designs. i toyed with the idea of hand cutting hat shapes, but settled instead on a round scalloped cookie with the hat drawn on it. 

after doing the outline, i got a little worried. it didn't look very good so far. 

setting those aside to allow them to dry a little, i then turned to my thing 1 and thing 2 cookies. i'd decided to keep them simple:

filling in the stripes on the hat made me feel a little better. maybe it would work out after all. 

same goes for the rest - as they got filled in, i could see them all coming together. 

just a few more details drawn on, and i was happy to be done. 

and when they were all wrapped up and tied with pretty blue ribbon, i was completely satisfied with how they turned out.

whew. one more success to add to the cookiefolio. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

another day, another disney run

a 5am start time for a half marathon is brutal. BRUTAL, i tell you. even though i managed to sweet-talk the hub into letting me book a last-minute hotel room nearby, i still had to do this:

although it really didn't matter. as i usually do, i found myself wide awake a good half hour before i needed to be. i forced myself to rest as much as i could and then tiptoed into the bathroom to get ready. 

the weather was perfect. 

i got to skip the shuttle and instead caught a ride with my friend kelley, who came dressed in a super cute costume. 

when it was time to make our way to the corrals, i ran into my friend delovely details and her hubby. 

thanks to a reorganization of corral placement times, i scored this year and found myself up a little closer than my usual:

it was really nice to get started fairly close to when the gun went off.

starting in an earlier corral also means that there's a lot less weaving to do around walls of walkers. don't get me wrong - i definitely take my share of walk breaks, just not in the beginning of a race. and big props to those who do walk the entire 13.1 miles of a half, because i sure couldn't do it. the other difference this year was the presence of male runners in B. in the past, dudes were only allowed to start as far up as C. it's cool and all...i mean, hey, fairness and equality for all, right? except that a lot of those guys are assholes who think it's okay to throw elbows and ignore running etiquette as they push their way to what they clearly feel is rightfully theirs. there are some women that do this too, though. either way, people, quit acting like jerkfaces and have some respect for your fellow runners. 

running through the parks is always fun. i was really hoping for frozen's anna and elsa to make an appearance for photo ops, but they were nowhere to be found. it also seemed like there were fewer characters out this year, so the lines were already fairly long when i came through. i did stop for a few, though. 

here's a tip, too: to get the maximum amount of cheers from cast members, dress up as one of their own. quite a few of them did a double-take as they saw me scampering through the parks in my faux tour guide getup. it was fun to watch. 

i also couldn't resist taking pictures near some of my favorite disneyland landmarks, even though i take these at every disney run. 

the course dumped us out onto the streets of anaheim just after mile 6. since we were running through a bunch of residential areas, there were these gentle reminders every so often:

because it was still dark and i was trying to take pictures while in motion, most of my shots are hopelessly blurry. it wasn't till almost mile 9 that i started getting halfway decent pictures. 

soon i was here:

and then it was back to the disneyland resort for this:

i wasn't expecting a hill in the final mile. thanks for that, runDisney. as if that last bit isn't tough enough for me as it is. at least the rule still applies: what goes up must come down.

i still didn't finish any faster than my very first try at this run, but i managed to shave a few minutes off of last year's time. and i was happy to accept my new shiny finisher's bling.

i wish i liked bananas. 

because the bean decided this was the perfect morning to sleep in, she and the teen didn't end up coming to the finish line. no biggie, really, except that walking back to the shuttle stop and then figuring out which one would take me back to the hotel was kind of a bitch. and i was freezing. thank goodness for the mylar blanket i was handed by a volunteer. 

finally back in the room, i dug into the post-race snack box and admired my medal some more. 

i was pretty pooped, but i couldn't resist the chance to rock my "i did it!" shirt and wear my medal in the parks. 

next year, the tink half is over mother's day weekend. there's a ton of outrage over this, mixed with a rumor that a star wars- or avengers-themed run is taking over the january spot. i'm personally totally fine with the move, although i liked the motivation for training runs through the holidays. 

guess i'll just have to find a different run to train for during the holidays this year.  any suggestions? 

living that VIP life

our trip to universal studios deserved its own post because we splurged on the VIP treatment, which was really fun.  the VIP tour guide at d...