Thursday, September 20, 2012

Robot Cake Pops (Elliot's 7th Birthday)

I'm going to start this post saying what all moms say every year on their kid's birthday. I cannot believe how fast the last year went by, or even the last 7 years. There were days that flew by so fast I can't even remember them, there were days that were so long and hard they felt like a hundred years. I think the first few years, I was so sleep deprived that I only vaguely recall being in them. But here we are, on my son's 7th birthday.

There, that's done.

If you remember, last year I made him Alien Cake Pops to take to school for his birthday treat. Well, it seems I've started a tradition. This year when we were discussing the birthday cake for the party, he so nicely reminded me that we needed to make cake pops for school also. Ummmmm, okay. Because I can't say no. And it's his birthday. And when it's my birthday, I absolutely expect everyone to do everything I want, because it's my birthday. So, I'm seeing karma in action here, I suppose.

So, here they are, the Robot Birthday Cake Pops.

These came from Bakerella's book Cake Pops, and of all the cake pops I've made in the last 2 years, these are the closest I've ever come to her artistry. I think they're darling, and the birthday boy wanted to eat them all this morning, so let's put a check in the awesome mom box for the day.

Here is how I made them.

First, I baked a cake (chocolate) in a 13X9 cake pan. I usually bake my cakes up to a week ahead of time, then cut them in large pieces and freeze them. After defrosting the cake, I crumbled it up in a large bowl, added the frosting and mixed the two together. (For a much more detailed step-by-step tutorial, visit Bakerella, she truly is an artist.)

I have found, through trial and error that less is more when adding the frosting. In this case I was making squares, so I wanted to make sure that the mixture was firm enough to hold the shape. I added a small amount of frosting, mixed, then I"ll add more if I need it. I've also discovered that Betty Crocker cake mixes, in particular, are already very moist, so you need a lot less frosting in the mix. So, once the cake was the right consistency, I made the squares.

And then I left them in the freezer for about a half an hour, took them out and added the sticks to them. Then I put them back in the freezer and let them sit for the rest of the afternoon.

Next, I mixed some blue and white candy melts together, melted them in the microwave, added a little bit of black gel color (the same kind I use to tint my butter cream frosting) and came up with a light grey. I've also found that adding a little bit of Crisco shortening to the melted candy makes it a much smoother consistency for dipping. Again, add a little bit at a time with this, it doesn't take much. Then, just dip them, tap off the excess candy, and set upright in a block or rack of some sort to dry. 

 How classy is that priority mail box??

In all the next steps, I used a toothpick and melted candy to "glue" the details on the robots.

After the coating was dry, I put the mouths on. I cut small pieces of fruit by the foot apart and "glued" them to the pops with more candy coating.

Then, I put the gummy lifesavers on for the necks.

I let them stand on their heads while drying in this step, hee-hee!

Next, I cut apart some candy necklaces to use for the eyes.

I can see! I can see!!

For the "ears" or "head bolts" I debated using candy dots or mini M&M's. I think either would work, but my husband talked me into using the candy dots.

Then, last but not least, I used another piece of the candy necklace and a small piece of uncooked spaghetti for the antenna. (Okay, okay, I know spaghetti?! but it was late, the stores were closed, and I was so slap happy, that it seemed like the perfect solution.)

And, there they are. 22 Robot Cake Pops, ready to be eaten!

Now, last year when I took these to school, I brought them after lunch, so I had made a little display box for them. But his teacher wanted to have them earlier as a snack before recess (an exceptionally smart decision on her part, I think) so I just wrapped them up individually and sent them in a container. 

I even let his dad deliver them to school this morning. 

My birthday boy!

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Simple Fall Tablerunner

I am wishing for fall. Here in southern Arizona fall is a long time coming, it can sometimes be 100 degrees even until Halloween. (Which can make cute, furry costumes uncomfortable, to say the least.) So, when I see photos of beautiful trees changing colors, and hear posts about cooler evenings, what can I say, I get jealous.

Well, even if I can't make the temperature feel like fall, at least I can get a fall feeling going inside the house. So, I pulled two fall-like fabrics out of my stash and made a simple table runner.

I decided to do a double sided table runner, so I chose these two complimentary fabrics. I just love the grey one, so I used that as the top fabric.

 I measured the length and width of an existing runner that I have, then cut the 2 fabrics to the same size, adding seam allowance. Then, simply sewed the fabrics, right sides together leaving a small hole to turn right side out. Then I turned the runner right side out and pressed it flat.

As a finishing touch I stitched this fantastic leaf trim that I won on a Tophatter auction. Isn't it perfect?! It is orange on one side and brown on the other, so while I was pinning it to the fabric, I chose places to turn it over so both sides would show. I think it makes a great finishing touch.

And that's it, I have a lovely fall table runner! So, even if the weather won't cooperate, I can sit a my table and at least pretend it's fall!

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