Monday, April 14, 2014

"Frozen" Ombré Party Cake

Posted by Tara


My only girl just had her first real birthday party. She turned 5 this month and has always wanted a princess party. For all of her previous birthdays we have done something low key with just family invited, but this year I wanted to do something special. We invited her two favorite girls and had a simple Frozen party. I didn't want anything too high maintenance, so we stuck with easy stuff!


For her cake, I wanted to make something I hadn't attempted before. I had seen this super pretty frosting technique online before and thought it would work well for this Frozen cake. Here is my first attempt!


I started by buying and preparing a Vanilla Cake box mix. I first made two cakes in 8 inch round pans, but didn't think the cake had enough height when stacked. So I ended up making one more 8 inch round cake for a triple layered cake.


After the cakes cooled, I trimmed the tops of them with a serrated knife so they would be more level when stacking.


I had tossed around the idea of using chocolate buttercream for the filling, but opted for something easier. I had just made Freezer Strawberry Jam earlier in the week and had plenty to spare. I spread the yummy jam in between each layer and was sooo happy I did! It added the perfect touch of fresh sweetness to the cake!


Once all the layers were ready to frost, I made my frosting and started by filling in any big gaps on the sides of the cake with frosting. See how there are some gaps in between my layers? I filled in those as well as any on the top or bottom I may have had. You'll want a nice smooth surface of frosting before beginning the decorative frosting elements.


To make my frosting, I just googled a butter cream recipe that I felt was simple. Mine was:

4 sticks of unsalted butter
2 lbs powdered sugar
pinch of salt
2 tsp of vanilla (if its pure)
4-6 tbsp of milk or whipping cream
Cream butter till fluffy. Slowly add sugar and salt. Then add vanilla and slowly milk till consistency desired.

After I finished the first frosting layer, it was time to make the scalloped design on the sides. I used gel food coloring to make my two shades of blue because I was worried regular food coloring might change the consistency of my frosting. The frosting needs to be prety firm and not runny to hold it's shape after being applied to the cake. The color I choose was Wilton's Royal Blue gel food coloring from Party City.

To add this type of food coloring, I simply insert a toothpick into the gel and remove the desired amount. For the darker blue frosting, I used 2 toothpicks with quite a bit of gel on it. For the lighter blue, I only used 1 toothpick with gel on it. I thought about trying to do one more layer of color, but felt I was running out of room and time. Neela really wanted the top to be white, so I finished the top with the regular white butter cream. 



This was my first time, so the close up looks worse then from far away, lol! I started on the bottom with the darkest color. Fill your piping bag and put a large dollop on your cake using a large round tip. It should be about the size of a marble. Then using a small spoon, press the dollop to one side and drag away in the opposite direction. Do that all the way around the cake, making two lines with each color. Once I got in the rhythm of pressing the spoon after each dollop, it went quicker than I expected.

I wanted to top the cake with some Frozen figurines, but let me tell you how NO STORES have any in stock. So if you decide to do your own cake and want something on top, make sure your local stores carry them or get them online from Amazon or Walmart beforehand. Or you can make your own by following Devin's Frozen Peg Dolls tutorial!

Regardless of how much I worried about the cake or how well it turned out, Neela loved it and was so excited! She didn't ask about figurines up top, she was just excited about her Frozen-colored cake!



Not only was this cake pretty but it tasted delicious! This is an easy and simple cake that you could do with any color and for any birthday!

Linking up with: Sunday Soiree // Simple Supper Tuesday // Tuesdays with a Twist

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Baseball Tee

Posted by Devin
 

Spring is here and that means it is baseball season! I've been to a spring training game and we are currently juggling baseball season with three of our boys playing on different teams. Between practices and soon-to-be games, my life for the next few months is going to be consumed by baseball.
 

I'm a really terrible baseball player, but I sure do like to rock a great baseball tee! And this particular baseball tee is a total fave of mine lately. Tara bought this one for me from Forever 21 (she has the same one, but in red) and I feel like I want to wear it every day! It is so casual and comfortable, but super cute at the same time!
 
 

I always love a baseball tee, but add stripes and a pocket like this one has and you just can't go wrong! Plus I love that it's navy and you can pair it with just about any color. My favorite color to pair navy with, though, is usually yellow.
 

I added my favorite blue flats, a brown belt, and a pair of sunnies and I was ready to head out for a Saturday full of activities! No jewelry other than my earrings needed, I was keeping it super casual. Hope you all enjoy baseball season as much as we are hoping to!
 
 
What I Wore:
Striped Baseball Tee - Forever 21
Mustard Skinnies - Rue 21
Flats - Target
Braided Belt - H&M
Sunglasses - Fresh Picks

Linking Up With: The Pleated Poppy // Style Elixir // Because Shanna Said So // Plane Pretty // Manic Monday // Mix It Monday // Little Miss Monday // Trend Sping Linkup //

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Fabergé Eggs Craft

Posted by Devin


If you are looking for a great Easter craft to do with your kids this year (and want to sneak in a little world and art history lesson as well), I have the tutorial for you!

When I was in the 6th grade, we made Fabergé eggs out of paper mâché and I remember thinking it was so much fun. Out of all the many school craft projects I ever made I'm not sure why this particular one stands out in my memory, but I loved it so much that I thought I would make some with my boys this year! 

To start with, I decided my boys probably needed a little but of an explanation as to what exactly a Fabergé egg is. And the best place to go to for that is always Wikipedia, in my opinion. Here is the link for a quick synopsis from Wikipedia I shared with the boys if you would like to teach your kids about them as well.

Secondly, I put together a paper to print out with pictures of various Fabergé eggs so they could see what they look like and have a little "egg-spiration" when creating their own. Here is the sheet you can print out as well.

For our craft, we did not make paper mâché eggs, instead I purchased plastic craft eggs from Walmart to decorate. Here is what you'll need for this craft project:


•plastic craft eggs ($1.97 per dozen at Walmart)
•craft paint in various colors
•paint brushes
•gold (or silver) Sharpies
•adhesive gems, jewels, and embellishments
•any other stickers or decorative items you would like to add to your eggs (the more, the better!)



This project was pretty simple. I gave the boys the picture of the Fabergé eggs and all of the craft supplies and let them do their thing! We began by painting our eggs and then added various embellishments once the eggs were dry. It was fun to see what the boys came up with and how their creativity and personalities came through in their designs. Everyone had a great time; 10, 8, 6, and 3 year-old alike. In fact, I made a few myself and also had a blast!





We are going to proudly display our Fabergé eggs in our home this year (if my 3 year-old doesn't keep sneaking off with them) and my boys were super excited that their eggs were going to be here on my blog for all of you to see. :) Happy crafting, everyone!


Linking Up With: Link Party Palooza // Tidy Mom // Pinworthy Projects // Creativity Unleashed // Moonlight and Mason Jars

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

New DownEast Home & Clothing Store + $50 Giveaway

Posted by Tara and Devin

We recently had the opportunity to visit the NEW Mesa location for DownEast Home & Clothing Store. All we can say is WOW. It was awesome. So many lovely pieces for your home. Here are a few of our favorites!

Tara's Picks

I was in AWE when I saw these bright green chairs. You could add these chairs to any table and it would be adorable.

When I saw these over-sized, decorative olive jars I knew I needed them for my pot shelves in my house. They are large and would add some elegance to my (and any) room.
 

With 5 kids eating at my house; I appreciate a sturdy, well-built table. This table is definitely sturdy and would be a great, rustic piece in the kitchen. Add chairs or a bench and it would look lovely. I love how the store had everything from kitchen to bedrooms, to living and dining rooms. They seriously had it all!
 

I loved this table runner paired with these mini topiaries. The store has tons of home decor in lots of different styles and the green in this combo just screamed "Spring" to me. 


Devin's Picks
 
I came to the store specifically looking for some decorative pieces for my living room. I absolutely fell in love with this beautiful white pitcher-turned vase. It even had a gold G on it for Gable!!! Does it get any more perfect than that?!!


All of the ceramic items were so cute, I especially liked all of the birds I saw throughout the store. This little yellow birdie would add such a fun punch of color to your home.
 

In the children's section, I couldn't keep my eyes off of the darling all-white piggy banks. This little Frenchie was just too much!
 

And Cash was pretty sure we needed to take this little chair home with us. He assured me it was quite comfortable.
 

But ultimately, I ended up bringing home these awesome mercury glass owls. What is it about mercury glass that I can't resist?!! These little guys are currently sitting on my piano next to my vintage books and they are the perfect addition to my family room.


We loved this store and we are pretty sure you will love it too. Want a chance to win some awesome gift cards to spend here? Then you won't want to miss these two great giveaways!

To celebrate the new opening, DownEast is offering a chance to enter a “Shopping’s More Fun With Your Friends” giveaway from Friday, April 4 to April 18th, 2014. Customers will be able to register for the giveaway at the new DownEast Home & Clothing store in the Mesa Pavilions. The giveaway will award one lucky winner a shopping spree valued at $200 and also present a $50 gift certificate to each of four friends selected by the winner. The winner does not have to be present at the time of the drawing on Saturday, April 19th to win. 

We wanted to also do our own Giveaway! One lucky reader will win a $50 in-store Gift Card to use when you go to the New DownEast Home Store! Make sure to like our Facebook page and Pinterest page and leave your email in our comments to enter! Giveaway will end April 12th at midnight (Arizona Time). 

Monday, April 7, 2014

DIY "Frozen" Peg Dolls

Posted by Devin
 
I don't have little girls, so Frozen hasn't had quite the reception in my home that it seems to have had in many others. We took our two youngest boys to see it and although they liked it, we do not have repeated requests to buy the DVD or hear "Let It Go" being belted out on a regular basis. However, I LOVED the movie and was super excited when Tara told me she is going to throw a Frozen birthday party for Neela. Woohoo! Let the girlish-fun begin!
 
For Neela's present, I decided I would make her a few peg dolls to go along with the theme of her party. I have made Star Wars, Harry Potter, Grinch, Jack Skellington, and Super Hero peg dolls; but this was my first time getting to make princesses. YAY!!!
 
For this project you will need: peg dolls, craft paints in various colors, paint brushes in various sizes, a sponge brush, a gold sharpie, a stylus painting tool, a pigment liner drawing and writing pen, and clear finish gloss (the only item not pictured here).
 
I was always taught that the first step to any tole painting project was to give everything a nice, even coat of white paint. This allows the other paints you use to stay true to color as you apply them and not be tinted by the wood tone underneath.


To Make Olaf: Let's start with the easiest, shall we?

Step 1 - Apply a second coat of white paint to one of your peg dolls and using a small paint brush, paint on the carrot nose with orange paint.

Step 2 - Using the stylus and black paint, add three large black buttons to his front. The top one should be slightly further apart than the other two. Also, I liked mine a bit misshapen, not perfectly circular.

Step 3 - Using the pigment liner pen, draw on all of the detailing including his face, his arms, dividing lines around his snowman segments, and outlining his nose. I used black paint and the stylus for the dots of his eyes.

To Make Anna: Anna was super fun to paint thanks to all of her detailing!

Step 1 - Using a peach or flesh-toned paint, paint a large enough area to cover her face. I painted a bit of chest area too but ended up covering this up so you only need to paint the face and a bit of the neck.

Step 2 - With blue paint (I used a color called Spa Blue by Americana Paint), paint a portion of the chest area and the front portion where her dress will show. Curve the bottom portion out on the sides so it has the look of a skirt or dress. I used a small brush for this.

Step 3 - Paint on her cape (I used Dusty Mauve). Make sure that you paint all the way around and up around her neck. Follow the lines for the front as I have shown. I used a small brush to paint the edges the way I wanted them and then filled in with a larger brush.


Step 4 - Using a small brush, paint on the bodice with black paint.

Step 5 - Paint on her hair. I used a Milk Chocolate paint mixed with a bit of Orange for her hair, but I wished I had gotten it orangier. If I was doing this again, I would use mostly orange with a touch of the brown. Use a small brush to paint on the double braids and the edges around her face and fill in with a larger brush. Then add the eyes using the stylus and black paint.

Step 6 - Add the detailing. First I used an Antique White and a small brush to paint on her white streak to her hair. Next, because her hair was blending in a bit too much with her cape color, I outlined her braids with the pigment liner pen to give them some definition. Then I used the stylus to add the details to her bodice. The colors were Kelly Green and Pink Parfait. Lastly, I used my gold sharpie to outline the top and bottom of her bodice.
 
To Make Elsa: I have to say, Elsa is my favorite and I think she will be most little girls' favorite as well.
 
Step 1 - Paint on the face area (again, with peach or flesh-toned paint) and all the way around the neck and shoulders.
 
Step 2 - Using a light blue paint (I used Baby Blue), paint on her cape as shown. Make sure you go all the way around the doll, just leaving the small portion in front white.
 
Step 3 - Using blue paint (again, I used Spa Blue), paint on the dress portion in the front as shown. I outlined it with a small brush and filled in with a larger brush.
 
Step 4 - Paint on her hair and eyes. For her hair, I used Antique White. I used a small brush to paint the braid, the wisps around her face, and outline the edges; and then filled in with a larger brush. Use black paint and the stylus to make the eyes.
 
Step 5 - Add shimmer to her cape and the bodice portion of her dress using a clear silver glitter paint. I used a paint called Sparkles: Silver Glitter by folkArt paint and it was perfect!
 
Step 6 - Using white paint, outline the bottom of her bodice (using a small paint brush) and add some snowflakes to her dress and hair. At first I didn't have the snowflakes and she looked a bit plain compared to Anna. We can't have that!!! The snowflakes were the perfect touch to finish her off. To make the snowflakes, use the stylus to make a simple dot in the center. Then add six dots around the center dot, dragging the stylus away from the center to create the spiked look to the snowflake edges.
 
When all of the peg dolls are finished being painted, spray on a few light coats of the clear finish gloss to give them a nice shine and help protect the paint. And that is it! Let's take a final look at each of the dolls so you can see different angles.
 
Olaf
 
 Anna
 
 Elsa
 
I am super excited to give these to Neela! I hope she loves them!
 
 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Chaos and Braids

Posted by Tara


This past week was pretty chaotic for me. From picking up kids from school, practices, and blog meetings I just felt overwhelmed. When I got ready for this fashion post, my schedule was so busy I decided on a big braid for my hair. It is my go-to hair-do when I am in a rush! The day we shot for this post, it was sprinkling rain and extremely windy, so of course my braid was blowing everywhere and threatening to come out, but over all its always easier than straightening and curling my hair.


These shoes are my favorite! I got them last year for my birthday and if you saw my recent fashion post you learned my love for floral. These shoes has a hint of sparkle to them that just make them fun. The colors n these shoes allow me to wear them with lots of outfits.


Chambray is a staple in I think everyone's closets. I love my star printed chambray. It's  a heavier fabric so it kept me warm on this cool, breezy day. My necklace is a new statement necklace. I love all the colors in it, an the glam it adds to my outfits. 


My green skinnies I have had now for almost 3 years. I got them at H&M and they have been amazing! Whenever I need a new color, I always buy my colored skinnies from there. 


I do have to admit it was a little fun shooting in the wind. I felt like a real model, ya know, the kind that have fans blowing in their hair while they pose!? Wouldn't that be the life.... hair and makeup done professionally all the time and professional photographers....? Sounds fun, but I'll stick with me doing my hair and makeup and Devin being my awesome photographer (she makes me laugh). 


What I Wore:
Chambray: Forever 21
Green Skinnies: H&M
Floral Shoes: Journeys
Clutch: Fresh Picks
Necklace: Fresh Picks

Linking up with: Plane Pretty // DC Style // Funday Monday // Little Miss // Manic Monday // Mix it Monday // Join the Gossip // Stylelixir //Trend Spin // Because Shanna Said So // Pleated Poppy // Three-fer Thursday // All Things Pretty // Fashion Informant // Tres-Chic Fashion