Sunday, 22 November 2015

The reality behind my cakes

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People ask me all the time, how do you manage to do your cake/cupcake orders with 3 little kids at home? 

Well, here is the honest truth:

I throw mini temper tantrums in my head. The whole time.

Because creating fondant cakes and cupcakes is A LOT of work. It's time consuming, intricate work and it takes a lot of concentration and time alone to get it done. So, with that said, clearly having 2 small kids and a baby doesn't exactly lend to this kind of work. Ever.

But there is something that I just love about creating something out of nothing. There is something magical about having an image in your head and bringing it to life. So I love it. But I would never say it was easy--not in a million years--not with 3 kids, that is.

But I managed to quiet the mini temper tantrums that I was silently throwing in my head as the pressure was on, the kids were driving me bonkers, and time was ticking.

So I worked late into the night while everyone was sleeping in order to get the details of this adorable cake order done, and I thanked my parents and mother-in-law for entertaining our kids during those final hours before it was due for a woman whose sister was finally able to get pregnant. A new mama who finally, after a long road of infertility issues, was able to the theme of the baby shower was fittingly "Worth the wait". With turtles, of course.


So I tirelessly rolled fondant through my fingers for hours on end to create teeny tiny turtles to sit on top of cupcakes, and created a big turtle to sit on top of the cake. And to add a little 'pretty' to the cupcake stand, I made some cherry blossom flower toppers and sprinkled edible pearls over others. 

So, yes, I love this work.

I love to be creative. I love to be detailed. I love to be able to feel like I'm being productive and like I've accomplished something.  And I always, always love the end product.

But when I got the news that the caterer who catered this particular baby shower wanted my contact information since she was hoping to use me to make desserts for her catering company, I had a moment of NNOOOOOOO WAY. How on earth would I be able to do more. But then of course, 2 seconds later I changed my mind. Because creative work like this does that to you.

Because, you see, the road to the end is never smooth sailing, it's never just quick and easy. And your fondant pieces become so precious to you since you know how fragile they are, and you know how many long nights you have spent creating them. So when I show up with my large white cupcake boxes full of hours and hours and hours of my work, I hand them over and pray that they make it safely from the customers hands to the table that they are being displayed on.

Because it's all fun and games until you drop a cupcake box.

So to the new mama who I've never even met before--congrats. Your wait is finally over.

Your first steps into the world of motherhood are almost here. And I can tell you with all honesty, it will definitely all be worth the wait.  

But speaking of which, I'm heading to bed. 
Because being a mom is absolutely exhausting. 

Erica xox

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

DIY mini burlap Christmas trees (for less than $2 total!)

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Last month was a whirlwind. October is birthday month in our family, with Oliver, Carter, Scarlett and Mya all celebrating their big days--which means a lot of celebrations, a lot of cake, a lot of booked weekends, a lot of excited kids and a lot of busy, tired parents. Then, to top it off, Mya's friends all decided to be born in October as well, so we have been dropping her off at a different birthday party each weekend, all month long. 

But, it's November now, and just as the chaos of birthday crazy has died down, Christmas crazy has begun. 

Well, begun in this household anyways. 

Because Christmas is my absolute favourite. 


So I've quietly been sneaking out Christmas decorations in anticipation of it actually being a reasonable time to start decorating. So in the spirit of DIY'ing it this Christmas, I thought I'd pass along an adorable little Christmas idea that is super easy to make, and ridiculously cheap to make. Even if you're not a crafty soul, I promise you you'll be able to do this. 

Mini burlap Christmas trees.

How cute are these?!

They can be used as a table centre piece (as I'm using them for), or they would be cute up on a fireplace mantel or just on a side table or shelf. Pretty much adorable any way you choose to use them.

If you head into those fancy little Christmas shops you'll see these adorable little burlap trees, sitting on the shelf for an outrageous price. OR, you can make them yourself for almost nothing. 

So, after doing a little searching online, I discovered that all that I needed was this:

-a few sandwich Ziplock bags 
-some soil (or rice, or sand--whatever you have on hand), 
-some ribbon & a few elastic bands 
-some greenery
-xmas balls
-that green spongy stuff that you stick flowers in to keep them put (whatever it's called) *see pic below

So here is how I made them:

Decide how many trees you want to make, and then fill the appropriate number of sandwich bags with soil, rice or sand. I made 3, so I've got 3 bags going here. I just dug up some dirt from my garden for these.


Then place that green spongy thing on top (I cut mine to size). 

Cut your burlap to size. *Place the burlap under the dirt, as seen in this pic, and wrap it up to cover the green foamy thing, then cut the burlap to make sure that the green foam and dirt won't show.

Then cut a few tiny branches of greenery off of the trees around your house (I cut mine from my Blue Spruce tree in my backyard, but if you don't have one in your backyard you can buy greenery at any hardware store like Lowes or Home Depot these days) --or quietly go for a walk late at night around your neighbourhood with some discreet clippers in your hand. 

Once you have shoved that greenery into the foam thing, wrap your burlap up and around the "tree" like a present, and secure it with an elastic band. Then add your ribbon.

This (below) is what they will look like before you trim the excess burlap and add your sparkly Christmas balls.

 Trim the excess burlap down to however you want it to look like, then start adding your tiny Christmas balls (found at Dollarama right now for only $1.50! for a whole box!).

And that's it! Adorable little Christmas trees. 

These cost me $1.50 total since I had everything on hand except the balls--so I'd say that's a pretty cheap centre piece! 

Happy decorating everyone!

More yummy dessert recipes coming your way for the holidays soon.

And on a more serious note, love to Paris and everyone impacted by violence all over the world. xoxo


Monday, 19 October 2015

Spray painting your kitchen cabinet knobs

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This will be quick. It's past 10pm and I am trying to teach myself to go to bed at a reasonable time these days, because, well I'm tired. I think the residual effect of painting a million doors and door knobs for a whole month has caught up with me--BUT, before I go to bed, I thought I'd give you the good news...

If you want to change the look of your kitchen knobs, it's not as torturous as painting a million doors in your house. It takes all of a few minutes, and they can go from frumpy, dingy, old knobs, to something new and beautiful. This little project took all of a few minutes. Literally, I would call it fun. Maybe.

My knobs weren't horrible. This kitchen was put in just 2yrs before we moved into the house, so they were manageable. Just not what I would have chosen myself unfortunately. And although this new kitchen may look decent from a quick glance, I secretly wish that the old homeowners had never touched it--if it was a complete gut job I wouldn't feel so bad tearing it out and putting in my dream cupboards, granite counter tops, island and tile floor. But for now, I have to live with it until we decide what our next major project will be. So I figured if I have to live with the laminate floors that I'm not in love with, the cupboards that I don't love and the counter top that isn't granite...well, I may as well try to change the little things that I can, without spending a fortune.

So, knobs it was.

I just wanted them to match the now black hardware and knobs that are now throughout the rest of our house.

Because they used to look like THIS...

So, with a few minutes of work, I transformed these little scratchy brushed nickel knobs into shimmery black, just like the rest of the knobs in our house.

Here is what you need to do:

Just grab a drill, take all the knobs off of your cabinets (expect about 3 seconds per time at all). Then take them outside or into your garage, with the garage doors opened of course, and grab THIS spray paint (same exact spray paint that I used to paint my door knobs)

Then flip your knobs UPSIDE DOWN and spray paint under the knobs first...

then walk away for a while (I let them dry for about an hour), then come back and flip them over and spray paint the tops.

Do the same for these long knobs...paint them upside down first, then flip them over when dry and paint the tops.

Then get your drill back out when they're good and dry, and screw them all back on...and watch your kitchen transform into something a little more beautiful.

Have a great night to bed.

Erica xox

Monday, 12 October 2015

Spray paint your old door knobs and it'll look like you have brand new doors!

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I've been staring at these little screws for almost a month now. Twisting them snug into old cardboard that is now drenched in black paint by this point, and watching in awe as the spray of black over them instantly transforms them into something new. 

Spray paint and I are pretty much best friends by this point. This magic paint transforms everything and anything from old to new. From ugly to beautiful--in only a matter of minutes. Instant gratification at it's finest. And I love it. 

From painting all of our kids dressers (bought each for about $40 or less) this one...

to transforming chandeliers from dark brown to crystal white, to painting our dark mirror to a light white--spray paint can pretty much do it all. 

So when we moved into our new house last summer and we were faced with a million gold door knobs staring at us every time that we opened a door, I knew I had to figure something out. Gold and I are not exactly on the same page--but I found out very quickly that if I wanted to change out all of our gold door knobs and hardware it was going to cost us a fortune. A really cheap set of door knobs was about $40 for one knob, and the ones that actually looked nice were even more ridiculously expensive. So as I started calculating how much it would cost for us to change out all of those gold knobs...well I pretty much shut the idea down in a quick minute. 

Until I did a little digging online, and discovered that spray paint could be the answer to all of my gold problems. And after doing even more research into it, I discovered that people have spray painted their knobs and they held up for YEARS. Maybe a few scratches or wear marks here and there after a long period of time from doors that were used constantly, like the front door (which could be easily touched up by spraying some paint into a bowl and using a tiny paintbrush to fix it)... but overall, the results from others who have tried this have told me that the spray paint holds up for a good while. So, for me, it was worth a shot. 

But you can't just use any spray has to be THIS spray paint. 

So for about $10 a can, you've got yourself a bunch of new looking knobs and hardware. 
Which means that you can go from these goldies...

to these black beauties. 

And you can go from these worn out, gold hinges and screws...

to these brand new looking ones...

in only a matter of minutes. 

And you can go from doors that look like this...

to doors that look like THIS.

I can't even tell you how happy my doors make me now. I mean, really--ridiculously happy. 

And no, it hasn't been easy. I wouldn't even call it fun. But I'm so glad that I did it. 

So for all of those mornings where I'd wake up after being up literally all night long with Sophia, I'd splash some water on my face, get the drill out, take a door off and carry myself a nice ol' heavy door right down the stairs and into the garage, ready to be painted at some point during the day. And then when the baby went down for a nap, Carter and I would work together and I'd fulfil his daily dream of being able to use power tools and he would push the button on the drill (and be THRILLED) and we'd take every last screw out of those hinges and race to get them outside so I could spray paint them when he went down for quiet time that afternoon. Or there were MANY nights when I'd be out in the garage at 10pm painting away, because having little kids means that you have to do pretty much everything when they're asleep. 

So, sure, this was a tedious job. 

But, the good news is that if your doors are already beautifully white, this little job will take you no time at all. Spray painting door knobs and hardware is easy and fun. But painting every single door in your house and all of the door frames is NOT fun. But it was a must for us, since every door was at one point years ago painted a dingy, creamy white--not exactly the look we were going for. So I painted them all a crisp, stark white...and they now look beautiful.

So, in a quick nutshell, here is how I did it:

First of all, start by NEVER counting how many doors you have in your house...or you just won't even start this project. Because it turns out I had 21 to do--and I only started counting once I got to about the 15th door and I was starting to lose steam. So spare yourself some grief and just don't even count. Because the good news is that it was TOTALLY worth it. So, hang in there with me...

This is what you have to do: 

Start by choosing a door that is not necessarily a main door--so I chose one of the kids closet doors as my starting point (my practice door) since I didn't know what I was doing and if I was going to mess up a door it may as well be one that wasn't really noticeable..tucked away in a bedroom. And I'd suggest doing just one (maybe two) doors a day. Don't just start to take all of your doors off or you'll get all of the hardware mixed up and you'll be overwhelmed and it'll just be a mess. So a door a day is how I managed it. Mainly since I knew I'd be doing this by myself during the day when Terry was at work and when I had both Carter and Sophia to look after. So one door a day was all that I could manage. 

Once you have taken your hardware and knobs off, take them outside and put them on cardboard. 

and (it only took me about 12 doors to figure this one out)...but it's much easier to spray paint the knobs that don't have the little metal pole sticking out of them (like this one below) if you put them on an old cup or toilet roll holder. This way you can get underneath and spray the entire knob more evenly.

A few tips: Take your time. Don't spray too close to the knob and don't spray when there is wind. Spray them, then walk away. Don't try to fix a spray paint mistake over and over again when the knob is wet or you'll end up with a ton of spray paint dripping from your knob (true story)--but hey, if you mess it up, the good news is that if it dries and you think you've completely ruined your knob (another true story), have no fear! ..just get some steel wool and scrape it off running it under hot water. The paint will all come off and you'll be good as gold (pun intended), and you can start over again. 

Make sure you spray once, then wait until they dry and come back and do a second coat. Once you have finished your second coat leave them to dry over night (at least). They will still be a bit tacky for a few days, so just handle them carefully and don't use them a ton in those first few days if you have already put them back on your doors. The longer they have to sit, the better. 

You'll get a feel for how to get an even coat on the knobs after doing a few, so just be patient and take your time. 

Because, when you're done, it will look like you have brand new doors. Because spray paint is flippin' magical. 

Thanks dad and Terry for helping me to put all of these millions of doors back on. I couldn't have done it without you.

Happy painting everyone!! 
Erica xo 

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