Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Quinceañera -- Invitations

On January 23rd Vivian turns 15.  In celebration of her birthday we are having a Quinceañera celebration for her.  It is a Mexican tradition (in other Latin countries as well) to have a big party for the girl to celebrate her “transitioning into a woman”. What the!  I’m not ready for her to be a “woman” yet…she’s still my little girl! Dammit!  Anyway...simply put, a Quinceañera is similar to a Sweet 16 party.  

There’s been so much to do…so many details...I basically have not had time for anything else.  I am DIYing the party favors, Vivian’s bouquet, hair accessories for the girls that are coming out in her Quinceañera (the girl has girls and boys that accompany her called "Court of Honor") and the invitations. It was someone’s brilliant idea to have a dessert table of which I am also doing…oh, wait that was my idea!  Although there is much to do it’s been a lot of fun planning and executing this for her. The party is January 26th.

I planned on showing the stuff as I went along, but like I said I haven’t had much time.  I did manage to take photos, so will eventually post.  First up is the invitation. I was initially going to make the invites from scratch…meaning cutting, glueing, attaching, etc. each invitation…yeah that didn’t happen as I found these great invitation kits at Michael’s that Brides magazine put out. They are so pretty and saved me tons of time and curse words.  Each package contains all you need to make 30 invitations (I needed 2 packages).  

In the box is a "how to" and directs you to a website that has the templates.  You download the template, type in invite information and BAM! Done.  Well, I did have to add an extra page to the left of the invite, as had additional information.

The invite needed a little something, so I purchased these cute blingy thingies and added ribbon the color of the invitation (by the way...Vivian's main color for party is purple).
 Attached to invite with a glue dot and now it's really done!
And ready to be mailed (they actually were mailed about 3 weeks ago).
Until next time....
Luna is ready for Christmas!  Too bad I'm SO not!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Cake

I can't believe this month is almost over!  If you celebrate Thanksgiving, I do hope you all enjoyed yours.  I sure did!  My contribution to Thanksgiving dinner is usually home made mashed potatoes, cheddar biscuits, and a dessert.  I was watching The Chew and had to make Carla Hall's Pumpkin Chocolate Cake for the family.  

Here's the how to....

(with some additions and minor changes)

Pumpkin Cake Ingredients:
1 ¾ cups sugar (I cut down the sugar just a little per the suggestions of some of the reviewers)
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
2 cups pumpkin puree (I pressed it a bit to remove excess liquid)

Filling Ingredients:
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup (8 oz tub) mascarpone
1 cup (8 oz tub) whipped cream cheese (can use 2 cups mascarpone but I only had one so substituted the whipped cream cheese)
1 cup pumpkin puree (strained/pressed of excess liquid)
2 teaspoons salt
½ cup toasted crushed walnuts (can omit – but I wanted to add some texture and this worked perfectly)

Ganache Ingredients:
3 tablespoons corn syrup
6 ounces heavy cream
12 ounces dark chocolate – chopped into small bits (I used Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup toasted crushed walnuts for top of cake (again you can omit – Carla Hall suggests adding crushed ginger snaps but I didn’t have any.)

Instructions for cake: 
1. You will need two 9-inch round layer cake pans.  Spray each cake pan and flour (I used parchment paper cut to fit the bottom of each cake pan instead of using the flour).
2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
3. In a large bowl mix sugar, vegetable oil, and eggs until combined well. 
4. In another bowl whisk flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice.
5. Next stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture until just combined.
6. Now fold in the pumpkin puree.
7.  Then divide the batter between the two cake pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.  Make sure to rotate half way through cooking.  The cake is done when a toothpick comes out clean after inserted into each cake.
7.  Place cakes on a cooling rack and leave for 5 minutes in cake pans.  You then remove from cake pans and leave cakes on cooling rack.

Instructions for filling: 
1. Using an electric mixer, beat the mascarpone, cream cheese, pumpkin puree until blended. 
2. Add the pumpkin pie spice, salt and powdered sugar and mix until well blended (about 1 minute). 
3.  Once combined add the vanilla and beat for another 30 seconds.
4.  Toast the walnuts in an ungreased skillet for about 5 minutes.  Make sure you stir throughout the time as don’t want to burn them.  Once done and cooled crunch them up and add to the mixture.
5.  I put the mixture in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to let it set. 

Instructions for the ganache: 
1.  In a small saucepan add the corn syrup and heavy cream and bring to a simmer. 
2.  Add the chocolate and stir until smooth.
3.  Remove from heat and add the vanilla extract.
4.  Toast the rest of the walnuts (see step 4 under “Instructions for filling”) and set aside.
Assemble Cake:
1.  Cut each cake into two using a serrated knife or dental wax (the unflavored kind!)
2.  For each layer of cake spread the filling evenly.
3.  I decided to frost the entire cake – you can do this or just add the filling to each layer
4.  Pour the ganache over the cake.
5.  Add the crushed almonds
6.  Sit down, cut a big slice and eat it! 

Until next time…

Friday, November 9, 2012

Necklace time...

As I stated before I'm in the midst of planning Vivian's Quinceanera.  I will post more about it later.  Last night I was looking through my supplies to see what I could use for the Quinceanera (favors, girls accessories, etc., etc.) and I decided to take a break and make a necklace.  Here are the supplies I used....

And I made this....
Luna slept the whole time.

But I woke her up, as I needed a model.

 She wasn't too happy about it at first, but I think she ended up liking it.

Until next time!  Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

SoCal Social -- Part 2

Sorry it took me longer than expected to post part 2 of SoCal Social photos.  I am planning Vivian's Quinceaneara (15th birthday party -- like a Sweet 16) and, when not at work, that is where my mind is...thinking of what needs to be done, what has been done, and what should have been done. I will post more about that later.  OK, so back to SoCal Social....here are the photos from the dinner at Avila's El Ranchito and photos of the Swag Bag contents and additional gifts.

Here we are seated at our table...munching on the chips & salsa...

The food at El Ranchito was muy deliciosa!  It was served buffet style and they had cheese enchiladas, fajitas, rice, beans and tortillas...ole!  Dessert was provided by Meringue Bake Shop and dang was it yummy!  She also provided her PushCakes in our gift bags, but I didn't get a shot of it as I gave it to Vivian and before I was able to take the photo it was gone.  But she said it was "soooo good!".  
I liked the napkin provided with the dessert...short and to the point!
The fabulous Mark Montano attended this year again, and brought us his new book, "The Big-Ass Book of Bling".
When we got to our table each chair had a big gift bag and all kinds of things were in them...spray paint, duck tape, glue, cute stuff, useful stuff, needed stuff, and well, amazing stuff!  Here are photos of the gift bag and swag bag contents...
Beverly & Vivienne also had the raffle section of the evening with very generous gifts to be won. And guess what?!?! I won! Yay me! I won a Bias Tape maker. 
I forgot to take photos of the pens & colored pencils that were also part of the gift bag.
Once again I want to thank Beverly & Vivienne for a fantastic day!  

Until next time...
Spooky pic of Luna....Happy Halloween everybody! 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

SoCal Social - Part 1

Last Saturday was the 2nd annual SoCal Social blogging event.  The event is put on by some fabulous ladies -- Beverly from Flamingo Toes and Vivienne from The V Spot.  I went last year and had so much fun and met some very cool bloggin ladies.  Two I have kept in touch with through out the year and we met up again this year.  Melody from Melody M. Nunez blog and Amanda from Kaleidoscope of Colors.  We spent the day, along with a new bloggin friend Oksana from Oksana + Hobbies, at the Orange Circle in Orange, California.  When we arrived we were given an empty swag bag and a list of stores to hit up for some awesome swag (and food!).  We ended the swag walk with dinner at Avila's El Ranchito where we received more swag and opportunities to win some cool prices (more on that in part 2).  

I dig the Orange Circle and bonus -- it's near my home!
Here are the many photos I took of our Swag Walk....

The Bruery...full of wine, beer, cheese, etc.,...all the goodness in the world!  We had our photo taken by one of their employees....from left to right -- Melody, me, Amanda & Oksana.  They were kind enough to provide cheese wrapped with something (can't recall but it was good) and we ended up ordering grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. So good!
On to Gallery at Glassell.  They had a cool beverage for us (or coffee if you so inclined) with either Meyer Lemon or Acai Black Currant simple syrup mixed in...

We moved on to my favorite Paris in a Cup Tea Salon.  Paris in a Cup = yummy macarons!  They were generous with their swag this year and included a croissant chicken sandwich...deliciousness!  We ended up going back and purchasing some more macarons.
Eikon Home -- this is such a nice little store and the owner is, well nice...super nice (yeah, I know I'm a wordsmith I tell ya!)
 And check out their cool napkins with inspirational sayings...you wipe your mouth and feel all inspired afterwards!  I like it!
A couple of stores down was Affaire de Coeur.  Oui! Oui!  I was obsessed with that necklace! I want it!!!
We had to reel Amanda back as she was going to sneak off to the crazy store...I don't know the name but it's packed full of stuff and you can't move for fear of bringing everything down!  
Don't go in there you'll get crushed!!!

On our way to Country Roads we met up with some fellow bloggers...
Hello ladies!  

Country Roads is HUGE!  Has tons of stuff...Amanda made herself at home in the antique tub...

Accross the street we went to Elsewhere Vintage.  It's such a lovely store full of lovely vintage clothes and accessories. 
Right next door is Lost & Found, which is another cool vintage store...check out the pink men's shoes...
Speaking of men...next up was the Joy Ride Vintage store for, well, men....I didn't take pics of the clothes but they had some rockin' cool suits, ties, shoes, etc.
And now we pause for a silly photo op...

And we're back...Down Home Antiques was shock full of interesting, um, antiques...from deer heads, to Indian heads, to doll heads....oh, and a fake cake!  Although they were nice enough to have coffee and yummy cupcakes and brownies for us.  
And then there was Julep's Home & Floral...so many beautiful things!  

That's it.  I hope I didn't miss any stores...I had so many photos!  Anyway, stay tuned for Part 2 of our SoCal Social adventures!

Until next time!

(Luna's photo usually goes here, but she was being a diva and wasn't in the mood for a photo.)


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"Dia de Los Muertos" Skull Top

I really like skulls...not the human kind...you know the decorated kind.  "Dia de Los Muertos" (or "Day of the Dead" for you non-Spanish speaking type) is coming up so I thought I'd give it a shot and bling out a skull on a tank top.  Here it is….

Not bad if I should say so myself.  Unfortunately, I got so into it (and also trying to keep Luna out of the sequins) that I didn't take step by step photos. However, it's super easy!  Basically I printed out a skull, pinned it to the tank top, used my glue as a pen to draw around the shape and then glued sequins to the tank top. 

Ugh! I didn't realize this photo turned out so crummy. 
I like it! And best of all it was free, as I had all the stuff already.  

Until next time!
She looks so innocent! The sticker kept trying to lay on the sequins.   

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Gold Lace...

I like to check out other blogs on the regular.  Sometimes I marvel at the ingenuity, creativity, and geniusosity (it's a word...OK, it's not but I like it) of the DIY blogs out there.  I mean to take on a designer's jewelry piece and make it yourself for tons less is fabulous!  So, I was checking out RunwayDIY.com's take on the gold lace cuff and thought, "dang, that's so easy!" so I attempted to do it myself or DIM...hmmm....not quite the same ring as DIY.....anyway, check out her post here and this is how mine turned out....
I basically followed everything she did...
I covered a roll of paper with plastic wrap...sealed the ends with tape to hold the paper in place...measured piece of lace around my wrist and left an inch in between...then with a sponge I added white glue to the lace and then wrapped the lace around the roll of paper and tied with dental floss to hold the lace in place.  Let it set for about 24 hours...OK it was more like a couple of months.  I meant to go back and finish it during the summer but I was busy with...well, OK fine, I forgot about it!  But, the important part here is that I did finish it! Look how nice it looks on Vivian's wrist...
The only thing I did different is that I used this paint...
instead of the spray painting it.  It's the same paint I used to stencil my downstairs bathroom...
Until next time...

Thursday, September 13, 2012


I like going on craftgawker to check out other people's crafts and get inspired.  Yesterday I saw this super cute bracelet posted by high on diy (click here to see the bracelet and "how to"and to check out a cool blog).  It reminded me of another bracelet I had seen on someone and I always wanted to try and recreate.  I didn't have the items that she recommended to use, but since I was in the crafting mood I decided to use what I had and came up with this...

Yep, the beads I used are too big, but I like it!  I did have some problems with her directions in that my brain didn't want to accept the information and transmit it to my hands.  So, I changed it up a bit and connected the head pin to bracelet with a small jump ring like so...
I do plan on making a new one with smaller beads and maybe having the same type of chain throughout, but I do like the thicker chain and small chain combo.

Here are some other things I have made recently....
This is a colored hex nut bracelet.  
Until next time...
Luna slept while I made the bracelet.