Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Simple Crocheted Bookmark

I want to share a pattern with you. This is one of my favorites and it is simple to make. It is the pattern for my simple bookmarks. Now, when I was making them last December my two boys really wanted to give them to their teachers. So, that was our teacher gift for the year. 

Simple Crochet Bookmark
Ch 36. Sc in 2nd ch from hk. *Sc in next 19 ch. Ch 2. Turn. Sc in 4th st from hk. Sc across (20 st). Ch 2. Repeat from *. Fasten off and weave in ends. 

Now, something that I am still trying to decide on is whether or not to put starch on them to make them more flat. As they do tend to curl. So, I guess that it is up to you whether or not you do this last step.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Feature: PrettyHandCraft

For the Friday Feature, this week we have Irina from PrettyHandCraft.
Tell us about yourself and your shop. What do you sell?

Hi, I'm Irina, owner of PrettyHandCraft.
I always loved knitting, so when I was pregnant with my child, I started knitting for him. Then, I made a baby blanket for one of my friends. Then some more, sold them on ebay, so I suppose, it all started with knitted baby blankets :) I set up this shop with my child in mind - all the revenue goes into his saving account, which only he can access when he's 18 :) So, I still have a few years here, as Alex is only 4 at the moment.

Now, I'm trying to sew, because I found another passion - fabric! I love all different prints and designs. So in my shop there some items which I sewn as well, not just knitted stuff :) Mainly, its different folders, drawstring bags and needle cases.

I honestly cannot live without creating something, for me its like a therapy after a long day at work, or being a housewife and mother. I just need to make something :) Some things will bother me for days, my but I will find a solution how to make this or that (I remember, I got stuck with lace border for one blanket, I had three or four different designs, and eventually, I chose one :), but I will make things right, because I am my toughest critic. I remember one phrase from my university years "when you make things for somebody else, they should better, than you would make for yourself". That is true, I do believe in Customer Service, and the fact that your customer is your boss.

How do you keep everything organized? Do you have a workspace?
I wish I had my own craft room, where I could put a desk for my sewing machine and comfy chair by the window for me to knit. At the moment, its only a dream, and I have to be organized, and put everything away (at the moment, in the big wardrobe) at the end of the day.

What has been the most difficult aspect of being a Mommy with a Small Business?
The most difficult part is to find time for craft, as I feel guilty not spending all of my time with Alex. I try to find compromise, sing along, involve him into dialogues while knitting or sewing. I let him cut some paper templates, so it is still time together. And the reward is, every item I sell is going towards his account, so hopefully, he will appreciate it in the future.

Thanks, Irina!
For more information, you can visit Irina at the following sites:

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Feature: Amanda Moussa

 This week's feature is Amanda Moussa.

Tell us about yourself.
I'm an illustrator, designer and postgraduate student; and I'm married, with a 16-month-old daughter. In the little spaces of life between those things, I like wasting time in libraries and parks, sketching on trains, ‘experimental’ cooking (borderline poisoning), and, in theory, I’m a big fan of plays and poetry readings, but in practice I can’t even remember the last time I went! I guess that’s become a casualty of a busy life.

Tell us about your shop. What do you sell?

I sell illustrated and customized cards, prints and decor items. At the moment, my little specialty is my illustrated ‘letter’ bookends, which can be customized with any design, but I am also working on a larger range of pop-up cards, wrapping paper, and nursery rhyme-themed bookends.

When did you start creating? Why?
I’ve been drawing for most of my life, including in some of my earliest memories, so I can’t really imagine not doing it. I do it because I can’t not do it. But I only began making products to sell last year. Initially they were intended purely as presents for family members, but I had a few follow-up requests from other people, and it grew from there.

What goals do you have for your shop? Is is a hobby, major source of income, or somewhere in between?
I think it’s somewhere in between. A self-financing hobby, and sometimes a supplemental income, depending on how productive I’ve been! It’s still very much in its infancy, so at the moment I am working on streamlining my production so that I can spend less time fulfilling orders and more time developing new designs. My goal is to build up a much larger range of products, and realize more of the ideas floating around in my head. As my daughter gets older, I hope to invest much more time and energy into the print illustration side, but for now, streamlining and growing my product range is the goal.

How do you balance your business with your family?
With difficulty sometimes! Since I'm studying too, I need to make a lot of decisions about what to prioritize and when. My daughter sometimes likes to watch me draw, but otherwise, I don't work when she's awake. I don't think I’d be a very good mother if I took that attention away from her. But I'm lucky that she has quite reliable nap times at the moment - I try to have everything constantly ready to go, so that I can grab any spare moment to do a bit more. After my husband gets home from work, we have some family time, and then if I have not been very productive during the day I do an hour or two of work later in the evening, after my daughter's bedtime. My husband often looks after her on Saturdays, so I can get a good chunk done, and then Sunday is family time. It’s a bit fraught at times, but I like that ‘fast-paced’ feeling of fitting a lot in.

How do you keep everything organized? Do you have a workspace?
I have a shelf! I would absolutely love a studio, but at the moment my materials migrate around the house with me. I do have individual boxes for supplies, work-in-progress projects, and finished pieces, which keeps my head somewhat organised, but no permanent workspace.

What has been the most difficult aspect of being a Mommy with a Small Business?
Not having 28 hours in the day. I used to need long stretches of time to ‘warm up’ and get myself in the right head-space to work, but I've had to accept that I will now not often get those uninterrupted chunks of time. I need to be ready to snatch five minutes here and there. I'm constantly amazed at how much you can actually get done in 5 minutes if you don't procrastinate. I was the queen of procrastination, so its been a tough lesson to learn. I think the other difficulty is trying to avoid burn-out and giving yourself a chance to recharge. You can’t always be on standby without getting drained, so I have to occasionally draw a line and say ‘no more today.’ That’s hard to do when there are five different projects vying for attention, but sometimes it’s the most productive thing, in the long run, that you can do.

What has been the most rewarding?
Being paid for my artwork is a very validating feeling, and it’s especially nice to be paid for something I enjoy doing. I like knowing that I am doing something else alongside being a mother and a wife. I want to be a good example for my daughter, and that includes being someone with my own identity, ambitions and interests. And, although I don't get a lot of relaxation time, I enjoy the feeling of being busy. Most of the time, anyway.

Do you have any tips for other moms with a small/home business?
Learn how to make the most of small chunks of time! I try to keep several small goals in mind - finish shading a figure, paint a base coat on a bookend, make notes on one chapter, etc - so that when I have a free moment, I don't waste time deciding what to do next, and I don't get overwhelmed by the entirety of what needs doing. I just focus on those little goals, and eventually they have added up to the big goals without me even noticing.

Thanks, Amanda!

If you would like to see more of her designs, you can find Amanda at the following websites:



Etsy Shop:


Monday, August 12, 2013

Cooking from the Heart

This year has been a rough year for us.  Sadly, I lost both of my beloved grandmothers only a few months apart from each other.  Growing up and as an adult I was very close to both of my grandmothers.

Grandma Piccininni was famous throughout our family for her delicious food and scrumptious cakes and desserts.  When used to joke when we were kids that we would need bigger clothes to go home in after we slept over he house.  This summer I have started the wonderful process of sorting through her recipes into a cookbook.  While entering the recipes into Tastebook I realized I did not have any pictures for these recipes.  Then I had the brilliant idea that Gooba and I would start making Grandma P's recipes and photograph them for our cookbook.

Our first experiment was a Blueberry Crumb Coffee Cake.  I must admit I teared up several times making this cake, thinking of my grandmother and how she would have absolutely loved cooking and baking with Gooba, or even knowing we were sharing her recipe and love for food and cooking together.

We even invited our neighbor over for coffee and cake!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Friday Feature: Southern Chic Naturals

This week's feature is Stacey of Southern Chic Naturals.

Tell us about yourself.
I am a new mommy of a beautiful 3 month old little boy Alexander. Right now I am a stay at home mom, which I'm glad for because this little guy is a full time job all by himself! I stopped working eight months into my pregnancy and started focusing on preparing for our little guy and on my store on etsy. Before this I worked at a doctors office as the marketing and PR coordinator.

 Tell us about your shop. What do you sell?
Years ago I was introduced to the world of natural ingredients and products due to the harmful ingredients found in traditional bath and beauty products. I started to make my own recipes, mixes,and emulsions about 10 years ago and recently opened Southern Chic Naturals on Etsy to share in my enjoyment of handmade natural products for everyone to enjoy. My shop is a little bit in between as a hobby and a source of income. It started as a hobby and mostly stayed that way since I had a full time job, but now that I'm at home I can focus on it more.


 What has been the most difficult aspect of being a Mommy with a Small Business?
The hardest part of being a mom and having a small business is finding the time to solely focus on business. Usually I'm multitasking, for example, right now as I'm writing he's sitting on my lap sucking on my arm and staring at computer while he listens to Mickey Mouse Fun House on Pandora! The life of a mom is challenging sometimes trying but it's rewarding at the same time. I love having the ability to sleep in a little or wake up early and enjoy his smiles and giggles in the morning. The best part is not having to be rushed in daily activities.

Do you have any tips for other moms with a small/home business?
I think my best tip for all moms with small business' is to find the routine that works for you and stick to it. Try a couple of different routines until you find the best one that works for both you and baby.

If you would like to try Stacey's natural line, you can find her at the following sites:

Friday, August 2, 2013

Friday Feature: PreciousTrends4U

 This week's Friday Feature is Mandi of PreciousTrends4U. Enjoy!

Tell us about yourself.
Good Morning! I am 28 year old mother of two little girls that are 3 and 4 years old. I am fortunate enough to be able to stay at home with them . I help out a few friends and family with some childcare needs which helps pay the bills.

I recently found Etsy on Pinterest and began to see that there is a demand for some of the things I do all the time. We are a very crafty family and will go the extra mile to make or create something that we find that we like. Partially because prices are outrageous for nice things. So this is when I began to see that they are many different options for birthdays and other events. And since birthday's are a very big deal at our house (and when I say big deal we celebrate with a birthday week) I have become very good with Photoshop and personalizing cakes, decorations and invitations.

Tell us about your shop. What do you sell?
Currently I am only selling kids invitations for birthday parties. Mostly high demand characters like Doc Mcstuffins, Hello Kitty, Monster High, Avengers etc. Many of these characters are so new that its hard to find anything for a party which is where I began to see the opportunity. I make all invitations custom and most have the option of adding a picture of the birthday girl or boy.

These are typically sold as a jpeg file to be printed by the buyer. I am also willing to print and ship upon request. I look forward to expanding the characters available as well as decorations and thank you cards.

What goals do you have for your shop? Is is a hobby, major source of income, or somewhere in between?
I would love for this business to become more known and become more of a source of income so that I can spend more of my time creating new things for my shop.

How do you balance your business with your family?
I think the correct balance is very important as my family is the reason for the shop and my biggest priority. I do most of my work in the morning before they rise, nap times or in the evening after my children have went to bed.

How do you keep everything organized? Do you have a workspace?

We do have an office in our home which currently is a multi task room for many crafts and other business we own. The nice thing about this shop is most of it is digital so the files and folders on my laptop are fairly efficient.

What has been the most difficult aspect of being a Mommy with a Small Business?
Honestly, I cant pin point one difficult aspect. I think that being a mom requires you to be flexible and each day poses new challenges.

What has been the most rewarding?
As I have said my shop has only been open for a short time but it is very rewarding to be able to help out people with their birthday or event needs for a low cost.

Do you have any tips for other moms with a small/home business?
Always remember why you are doing it and don't let the business consume you. It will only remain "fun" as long as you keep your priorities straight. Which can be a challenge when you find something you love it can consume you.

 Thanks, Mandi! 
You can find more "precious trends" at her Etsy shop:

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Feature: Lil Missy and Bubba

We're back for another Friday Feature. This week we have the wonderful opportunity to hear from one of our more "experienced" Mommys, shall we say. Grab a pen and take some notes about what makes it all worth while! 

Tell us about yourself
Right off the bat I need to clarify that I am a Mommy but my two sons are over 6 feet tall and I have two daughters-in-law and four beautiful grandchildren, so yes that makes me a little different (well a lot different) than the young business Mommies of today, but I have been creating for years so I do have an understanding of what it is like trying to manage it all.
I am retired from the corporate world and married to the most supportive husband ever and believe me, I test that daily. He is a “new” husband of just over five years so I am still “breaking him in” as far as what is involved with selling my creations, but he is always there for me. A few months back he said “I wish I could think of something to make that went along with what you make”, so I suggested doll beds as I make doll clothes. He set out and made “a lot” of doll beds so this Spring we will be doing a two day outside show featuring his items along with mine. I am very excited for him even though I had to do the painting and bedding part of his beds. I feel it is time to pay him back for all the time and support he has given me with him having the joy of seeing his things sell. I can hardly wait!

Tell us about your shop. What do you sell?
I sew, so give me some fabric and I will sew something! No don’t give me some fabric…I am a fabric-holic already! My etsy shop “Lil Missy and Bubba” is new as just opened in February but I have been on eBay for several years now. I made the decision when starting on etsy to just sell appliqu├ęd baby bibs but that has already changed and I am adding some baby toys. I still, after all these years, have the hardest time sticking to just one item. I love to sew and there are so many wonderful fabrics and so many things one can make, so I just go along with my heart and make what makes me happy . Is that a good thing? I don’t know. Do I question why I jump around? Yes I do, but I know I am not a factory so I am not good at mass producing anything and I want to always enjoy what I’m doing so I feel if I stick to sewing, at least my items are in the same ballpark. Do my shop and store always look cohesive? I don’t know but is that perhaps something that only sellers think about? Do customers ever think “I’m not buying something here as this shop is not cohesive”? I doubt it. I also do several craft fairs a year.

How did you come up with the name?
For many years I created under the name “From the Heart”. While true then, and still true today, I wanted a new name. Well let’s face, I “needed” a new name. I had pretty much settled into baby girl clothes so Lil’ Missy was my husband’s choice of names. He even wanted the apostrophe. What a guy, right? So it was Lil’ Missy for a while, but then while doing shows, we would be asked “why are there no cute items for boys?’ so a change in items and a change in names was necessary and Lil Missy and Bubba was born. The apostrophe was dropped,. Hard to see it go, but it had issues.

When did you start creating? Why?

Its my Grandmother’s fault! She sewed, quilted, crocheted, embroidered, gardened, canned, butchered chickens, did laundry in a wringer washer , hung it outside to dry and yes ironed! I spent my days with her and my Grandfather when I was little so they taught me to do all the wonderful things they did. My Grandmother had the patience of Job and worked endless hours with me on the crocheting thing. I still have many items she made including a large crocheted peacock bedspread. I also still have her treadle sewing machine which has the most wonderful gathering foot ever made but I no longer use it as my youngest son was my bobbin winding person and he does not live here. I always made things for myself and gifts for others but then one day way back when everyone had geese in their blue and mauve kitchens, I started making geese and just couldn’t stop. That lead to many other decorating type items and I had to do something with them! Of course there was no internet then, as hard as that is to believe, but fortunately we had a couple of little consignment stores. I took some things there and they sold and I haven’t stop making things since.

What goals do you have for your shop? Is it a hobby, major source of income or somewhere in between?
My goal would certainly be different if I were still that young Mommy at home with little ones. I would do whatever I could do to stay in business. I’d never put my family second, but I’d keep going even during slow times because of that magical thing of the internet. The whole world is looking to buy something wonderful and handmade, not just customers in a tiny local consignment store (even though they can be a source of income). My goal for us now is to supplement our retirement income and to have something to do so we don’t sit around in our rocking chairs watching TV…well we do that anyway but at least not all day!

Does you family play a role in your business?
I have already mentioned my very supportive husband, bless his heart, but my children are still very supportive of what I do. They say I need a web page. I wish they’d make it for me.
Both of my sons are very creative, a family curse I guess, but I love seeing what they make and create.
Hang on ladies for those days when those kiddos help you with so many parts of what you are doing, even if it is just loading up things for a show. My youngest son was always willing to help at a craft fair. He was my cashier and a great help with setting up my tables both physically and aesthetically. We still laugh at some funny things he helped with around high school age. Again I will mention….there was no internet so I had to buy supplies at a couple of little local stores or if I wanted something different I had to order from catalogs which were mostly black and white. Yes, I’m that old! My patience with the waiting was not good so many times I had to use my own creativeness, especially with patterns. I worked for a couple of days one time trying to make crows. My son came home from school and let me know they looked like bowling pins. Sounds cruel but he was so right. He helped me redesign them and after being dressed up in sunflower dresses and bib overhauls complete with corn seed they sold extremely well. With a pair of gingerbread people, he suggested I needed to tea stain them. I didn’t do that particular pair and at my next show a lady said “I’d buy these in a second if they were stained.”. I looked and my son was under the table laughing. They didn’t sell that day so stained they became and yes they sold. I bet his mother taught him a lot of what he knows!…so believe me they are watching and learning so many things from you! Teach them the love of creating!

How do you keep everything organized? Do you have a workspace?
Organized? What’s that? Actually I am pretty organized but I’m one of those people who likes order and did I mention….I do NOT have kids at home. Sometimes I still can’t believe it when I reach for my sewing scissors and they are still there….as a matter of fact I have become over-ran with scissors. I think all those missing ones from years past are reappearing!…the socks never did though!
I am so fortunate, as someone who owned our home before us built a room on top of the garage. My sewing studio now! I just repainted it recently in turquoise and red. Love it! I have double south and west windows so lots of sunshine and I can look out over the world! It does have one issue. The stairs are homemade and spiral with a big step up. We ponder often how many more years I can climb them. But still going strong!

What has been the most difficult aspect of running your own business?
Well now don’t laugh…but once upon a time, I thought you just listed something and it sold quickly, and if it didn’t no one was ever going to buy it. I have learned there is a buyer for every item…well that is if you can afford to re-list it twenty times! I suppose there are some things that may never sell…but it is very rare so re-list and one morning when you get up, there it is ….sold in your inbox!

What has been the most rewarding?
Oh so many things over the years have been rewarding and you young Mommies will have those memories someday also. Do what you love and love that you can do it. I love that I can sew. Thanks Grandma!…and now I am able to make clothes for a Special Needs Granddaughter and last July I was most honored to make a baptism gown for my newest granddaughter. I guess I could do those things without having a business but out there in this world are lots of other little ones enjoying the things I have made! When I hear back that “my gift was a hit at the baby shower and the Mommy loved it”….It warms my heart!…and to know that some special little one is eating their first birthday cake with a bib on that I made, I am overjoyed!

Do you have any tips for other moms with a small/home business?

Tips! Treat yourself like you’d treat your best friend. Be encouraging and understand you can only do so much . Take a break when you need to. Not everything needs done today! If you and the kids are still in your jammies when your husband gets home…tell him you are having a pajama party and ask him to join in.
Utilize your crock pot…seriously…Nothing say I have it all together like the smell of supper cooking!…but mainly Don’t Quit! There are so many wonderful years ahead of you and it gets easier…well in 15 to 20 years….but it gets easier. Always remember there is NO ONE who can do what a determined Mommy can!

 Thanks for sharing your wisdom, Rebecca! 

If you would like to see more, you can find LilMissyandBubba at the following sites.

Thanks for joining us!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Sharpie Decor Plates

Materials: (1) Sharpie's of many or one color. Depends on what you want to draw. (2) A white ceramic plate. You can find these at your local dollar store.

On your plate, draw or write anything you want. If your giving this to a grandmother from her granddaughter maybe you'd like to trace a hand or make a special Picasso art piece. The sky is the limit as to how you want your plate designed.

This is what my plate looks like right before I put it in the oven.
This is another plate design I came up with!

Put your plate in the over for 20-30 minutes on 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

This is what it looks like after the oven! All done! Because it's handmade with love I would tell whoever you give it to, to hand wash the plate. You wouldn't want the one of kind art fading. Just get a pretty box and tissue paper, wrap it up and viola!

This post was brought to you by: Southern Chic Naturals

Monday, July 15, 2013

Up-cycled Onsie

I have the fortune of being the recipient to my cousin's baby clothes. My son is three months younger than my cousin. Sometimes the clothes are slightly stained (hey, they're babies) or have sayings that I just don't understand. I believe this particular onesie says "Crown Please". 

Of course I had to remedy this! I made an applique with some Star Wars fabric I had laying around. Sewed it to the onesie and viola! New onesie!

Total cost $0 - yay me!

And now you have a cool, 

new, one of a kind onesie.

This post was brought to you by: Valerie Daisy

Monday, July 8, 2013

Easy Infinity Bun

Easy Infinity Bun:

First, pull your hair into a ponytail. Style it however you like around your face. I started with a side twist.

To do the twist: 1. do a small side part 2. take a small section above your forehead and divide it into two pieces. 3. twist the bottom strand up over the top strand 4. your top strand is now on the bottom. take another small section and add it to the bottom strand. Twist it up over the top strand. 5. keep adding strands and twisting until you are back to your ear. 6. Give it a few more twists and secure with bobby pins. 

Now to do the bun, secure all of your hair in a ponytail at the back of your head. Twist your hair and wrap into a tight bun. Each time you wrap the hair around, tuck the ends tightly under the layer on top of it. This makes the bun stick straight out and looks weird. Don't worry! Your not done yet! 

Grab the top loop and gently pull it up over, forming a figure-8. Pin it securely. I like to use spin pins, they screw into your hair and hold better than ordinary pins.  Use a hair clip if you like. 

There! Now you have an easy, elegant hairstyle with no fuss! 

This Blog Post is brought to you by: ReDream Jean

Friday, July 5, 2013

Friday Feature: Walking the Narrow Path

This week's featured Mom with a small business is Missy of "Walking the Narrow Path".

Tell us about yourself.
Friends call me Missy. I am 20 years old, married to the love of my life, Billy for almost 3 years, and we have a 7 month old son, Toby Garner! I grew up in the town of Canal Winchester, Ohio on my grandpa's farm. We raised everything. I showed horses for 9 years in 4-H - that was my life... Horses. I never thought about sewing, even though I could do it well. Since being married, my "horse life" went away for the time being and God has called me to the sewing machine... and *BAM!* my small business was born.

Tell us about your shop. What do you sell?
Simplicity Alterations & Creations by Walking the Narrow Path is about making life a bit more simple. Although I'm still trying to find my "signature", I love making casserole carriers and aromatherapy rice bags. But, ideas are swarming in my head, so who knows what I'll make next.

How did you come up with the name?
"Walking the Narrow Path" is the story of my life, spiritually. I've always chose the "road less traveled" because I chose to follow Jesus Christ. He has lead me to where I am today... which is a pretty good place.
Simplicity Alterations & Creations is more for my local peeps. I started off doing alterations, so when that started booming, I went a little adventurous with creating some cool things.

When did you start creating? Why?
I starting creating when life was at a fork in the road (about a year ago). Part-time jobs and I were on sketchy terms. Then add me being pregnant - no one wants to hire the pregnant woman. So Bill and I decided that I would stay home. But my restless, pregnant self needed to do something other than eat and clean.


What goals do you have for your shop? Is it a hobby, major source of income, or somewhere in between?
My goal for my shop is to be a steady source of income. However right now it's "somewhere in between". I'm getting better at managing my time between mommy and "boss", but life happens and sometimes I don't have any time for being the "boss".

How do you balance your business with your family?
My life revolves around my son and hubby. God blessed us with a pretty content baby, so leaving him on the floor with his toys while mommy "works" has worked out really well. Naps are amazing :) I have also been very fortunate to live close to my in-laws, so they help watch him while I catch up on some things.

How do you keep everything organized? Do you have a workspace?
Right now, that's been difficult but still manageable. We currently rent a house, and space is limited. My work space is more of a "work corner" in our dinning room. A filing cabinet keeps my fabric and "work binders". And then clear tubs in the closet keep the goods. I make sure to keep my business and my home separated, though.

What has been the most difficult aspect of being a Mommy with a Small Business?
Time. Time. Time. There is never enough time in the day. I have to choose between cleaning the floors or making more stock some days. My husband works 2nd shift right now, so the mornings have been a bit more manageable because he helps me out a lot. Also, space, but that may be changing soon...very soon, God willing.

What has been the most rewarding?
The most rewarding thing is that people actually have bought my stuff! Even outside of Etsy. Also, being the "go-to" gal when someone needs their clothes fixed or a bridesmaid dress made. I love helping people on a personal basis. The availability I have is great, too. I'm always home and always available if someone needs something quick.


Do you have any tips for other moms with a small/home business?
Relax. Your first job is being the wife, then mommy, then boss. Nothing is worth more than your family, so don't treat your business as such. However, still put all you got into your work, of course. And pray, there is nothing you can't do when you have the strength of God with you. Trust me, it's pretty amazing.

Thanks, Missy! 
If you would like to see more of "Walking the Narrow Path", please check out the following sites:

Monday, July 1, 2013

Cake Pops

Cake pops. AKA Cake Truffles. AKA AMAZING! If you haven't had them, you are in for a completely delectable treat! Ok. Something you need to know about me: I am a mild chocoholic. Soooo you could make these cake pops with just about any kind of cake/frosting combination, but with me--it's gotta be chocolate. Now you can use boxed cake, I suppose, but PLEASE make your frosting. It is soooo fresh and tasty, really easy to do, and doesn't have a crazy amount of chemicals to preserve it. With my chocolate cake truffles, I like to use cream cheese frosting. It adds just the right balance of sweetness and richness.
Beat together the following:
3 Tablespoons cream cheese (softened)
3 Tablespoons butter (softened)
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons milk

You will also need two layers of your favorite chocolate cake.

This may sound like overkill, but I actually weighed my cake. It came to 2 pounds and 5 ounces. Since the ratio of frosting to cake is fairly important, I figure that my slightly obsessive behavior will help you sub different recipes of cake with the same results. If your two layers weigh less than that, then DON'T put all of the frosting into the mix.

Step one. Crumble your cake. Tear off a chunk (I usually do a quarter of a layer at a time) and just rub it between your hands. Make sure all of the crumbs are about equal in texture. Big pieces will make your balls crumble....

Plop your frosting on top. (If your cakes were smaller, then try adding half to three quarters, stir it together and then add a bit more as needed.)

Now, you could use a spoon to get started, but honestly the best tool for mixing in the frosting are your 5-10 digits. If you are worried about your mani, this recipe probably isn't for you, but give it a try anyways. You'll thank me later. Your hands are washable :-)
Make sure you get the frosting worked evenly throughout the cake to bind it together.

Texture check: When you pick up a palm-full of your mixture and give it a little squeeze, it should just stick together. If it is too dry, add more frosting (or if you used up all of your frosting, a teaspoon of milk). If it feels squishy, you put in a little too much frosting. There are two ways I can think of to fix this problem.

FIX #1: MAKE MORE CAKE! You can always freeze what you don't use now for later! Or just help yourself to a nice, warm piece drizzled with melted chocolate and a cup of milk (or tea, as you prefer)...

FIX #2: crush some oreo cookies (without filling). Sprinkle in the crumbs to help absorb some of the frosting...

Crisis averted. Now on with the instructions. Scoop a golf ball sized amount into your hand. Do you have a cookie scoop? Use it. They will all be the same size! Gently press the crumbs into a ball and roll it in your palm. You will get messy. It helps to wash your hands every now and again to keep the sticking to a minimal.

Place the finished balls on a sheet of waxed paper on a tray. Chill. The balls, I mean. Well, you could chill while they chill. Remember that big piece of cake I mentioned before? Yum...

Usually 10-15 minutes in the freezer will do the trick. If using the fridge, it will take longer...

Now it is time to decide how to present your truffles or pops. We went with the pop. Everything is better on a stick, right? To make a pop, dip one end of the lolly stick into your melted chocolate.
OH MY GOODNESS. I forgot the melted chocolate. You will also need to melt some candy coating. My choice? Ghirardelli double chocolate candy melting bars. They come in HUGE bars that you just break off a big chunk and melt. Soooooo good. We get ours from Sam's Club. If you don't want to go top of the line, you can find Wilton candy melts in most craft stores or even Walmart. They come in a variety of flavors and colors.

Okay. Back on track here. Dip one end of the lolly stick in the chocolate, about a half an inch deep. Gently push into your chilled truffle balls as you can see above. Let the coating harden. It will hold the truffle on the stick.

Dip the ball into the chocolate like so. After making sure you have it covered thoroughly, tap the stick on the side of the bowl. It will help the excess coating drip off. Don't hit too hard or the candy coating won't be the only thing that falls in the bowl...

You can leave it just as is, OR you can now roll the coated ball in some sort of topping. We have used toffee, oreo, coconut, sprinkles... It makes them so pretty!

I like to just stick the finished pieces back on the wax paper to dry. They look a little like caramel apples to me. But you could poke holes in styrofoam and dry them right side up.

Upside down is easier...

Voila! C'est magnifique, oui?

So now that I have you drooling a little, go give it a try! I will be happy to answer questions if you have them!
This post was brought to you by Amanda Doster