Thursday, April 10, 2014

Ahoy, me Hearties! Mermaid & Pirate Party Signs

Ahoy, me Hearties!

Using the same silhouette style as my shark party signs and dinosaur party signs, I just created a set of Pirate and Mermaid themed party signs!

 
I created them as a custom order for a customer who had purchased a set of the shark party signs a few months back. She was so happy with the DIY shark signs...


...that she asked me to create a set for her daughter's pirate and mermaid themed birthday party.  I really like how they turned out!







It was the perfect creative challenge because "pirates" was one of the themes that we're considering for my son's birthday party next year. If we do decide on it, it'd be nice to have one thing checked off the list.

But I think the best part is when my customers love their custom designs so much that they send me customer appreciation pictures!!  These gave me the biggest smile!  


If like them as well, you can purchase your own set HERE, in my Etsy shop!  It's a DIY set, that you can print yourself.  Weigh anchor and hoist the mizzen!

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirates life for me!

 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

DIY: Clothespin Butterfly Valentines - "You Make My Heart Flutter, Valentine!"

 
"Love is like a butterfly:  It goes where it pleases and it pleases wherever it goes."  ~Author Unknown

 

My son is in a Kindergarten and 1st grade combo class this year and he's super excited to make Valentine's for all of his classmates.  We originally had our heart set on making glow stick lightsabers, but none of the dollar stores had the right size glow sticks.  And then I saw THIS picture on Pinterest and knew that these "I 'chews' you!" chomper Valentines would be perfect! 

"I chews you" Valentines with butterflies above.
So, we bought the materials and started putting the "chomper" Valentines together, but he kept making butterflies out of the heart shapes that we were punching out. And he repeatedly asked me if we could make butterfly Valentines for the girls in his class.  I was trying to distract him, because the last thing I wanted to do was make a second and different set of Valentines!  But he persisted, and kept showing me this shape...


It was so cute, and I thought he was so sweet to want to make butterflies for the girls, "because I don't think the girls will like the chompers, Mommy."  So I finally took the two heart shapes and grabbed a clothespin to try and figure out how we could afix the "wings" to the clothespin to make it appear to flutter, sort of in the same vein as making the heart chompers "chomp".  Then I came up with these:


You can make your own, too!  You will need the following materials:

* Clothespins - I found a bag of 50 count at Walmart for $2.  I'm sure the dollar stores have them, too.
* Colored paper - cardstock, construction, regular paper, all work, too!
* Glue - I ran out of white glue, so I used this E6000 craft glue. Glue from a glue stick might not have a strong enough adhesive to keep the wings attached to the clothespin. 
* Heart punch or scissors - If you're doing a batch of 30 then a heart punch will make your life easier, but you can always cut out hearts the old fashioned way, too.  Just fold paper and cut out a 1/2 heart shape.   I picked this heart punch up at Joanne's craft store, and it measures about 1 1/2" across. I'm sure that Michael's and Hobby Lobby have this heart punch, as well.  Don't forget your coupon! 


Step 1:
Punch, or cut out, the heart-shaped "wings".  You will need 2 hearts per person.  So, if you have a list of 30 kids that will receive these Valentines, you will need 60 hearts.

Step 2:
Fold the lower tip of the heart, up, so that the lower tip's point lays 1/2 way from the fold, to the bottom of the upper point:


Optional step:  This is when my OCD kicks in.  If you're a perfectionist like me, try to get both sides of the wing-folds to match, so that once you glue them to the clothespin the "wings" will be even.  And keep them in pairs, so that they stay matchy-matchy!  




Step 3:
Glue the wings on to the clothespins!

Apply glue to the following spots, on both sides:



Step 4: Attach the heart "wings" to the clothespin, making sure not to close the clothespin, with the wet glue on it, until you have both wings attached.  This will prevent the glue from getting on the first heart "wing" and keep it from sticking once you release and close it.

Keep the fold on the heart "wing" aligned with the corner on the clothespin.  Be sure to center the heart "wing" lower tip onto the clothespin.






Step 5:
Let dry.  Admire your work.  :) 

Step 6:
Attach the tag!

You can attach a tag to the final product, with a clever saying, or you can even write on the clothespin itself.


Here are some links to some free Valentine tag downloads that you can cut or punch out:

HERE: Lemon Drop - You Make My Heart Flutter Valentine + Free Printable
HERE: Catch My Party - A variety of free Valentine's day themed printables
HERE: Sassy Dealz - You Make My Heart Flutter free printable

And here are some cute sayings, butterfly related, if you want to make your own tags:

"You make my heart flutter, Valentine!"
"Come fly with me, Valentine!"
"Your love gives me butterflies, Valentine!"
"You give me butterflies, Valentine!"
"You set my heart aflutter, Valentine!"
"Sending you "butterfly kisses", Valentine!"
"Fluttering by to say, Happy Valentine's Day!"
"I'm up in the air for you, Valentine!"

Free Downloads:
I put together a couple of tag templates for you to download, for free!  You can use a 1 1/2" circle punch. 

     * I "chews" you, Valentine!
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bxtpk5seXFEEdF9hMkJhTTlSS2M/edit?usp=sharing
Download this template HERE

     * Come fly with me, Valentine!
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bxtpk5seXFEETG1zT0FCNGM4bDg/edit?usp=sharing
Download this template HERE

     * Blank!
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bxtpk5seXFEEUDFXUmdmZXN0SjA/edit?usp=sharing
Download this template HERE

I almost forgot to mention one of the most important things about these clothespin Valentines!  I love that they are non-candy!  I'm positive that the kids are going to get tons of candy on the 14th, so I like to try to do non-candy Valentines.  Although, I think a piece of candy would look so cute in the Chomper's teeth! 

I'd love to see how yours turns out!  Please post your links in the comments! 

Have fun and have a happy Valentine's day!! 

 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sea Turtle Cake - The How-To



This is a sea turtle themed cake that I made for a my friend's baby shower!


This was the first time I'd carved a shape out of cake (for the turtle body) and the first time I've sculpted an animal character face (out of fondant) but they both turned out better than expected! I was so relieved!  I figured it was either going to be a disaster or it would go the other way and miraculously turn out great!

I used Wilton fondant for the first time when I was making this cake, as I usually make my own homemade fondant.  I tinted it with teal Wilton gel color, for a tropical ocean color.  The Wilton brand fondant was really nice to work with and I had no issues with it, thank goodness!

For the front flippers, I used the Wilton leaf cut out set and cut out two leaves to turn into flippers.

http://www.createforless.com/p-images/3/2012/0124/216817-3-1.jpg


I used the largest of the leaf cutters, that where the curve matched up to almost the same as the sides of the 4" cake pan, for the insides of the front flippers, so that they would perfectly line up to the sides of the mini turtle cake, and I used the leaf cutter to trim off the tips of the flipper.  I looked up pictures of sea turtles online to get the general idea of the shape of a turtle flipper, and for the comparison dimensions of the turtle itself - size of flippers in relation to the size of the turtle, etc.  

For the back flippers, I can't for the life of me remember what I used, but I'll update this post once I figure it out.  In general I made 3 "toes" pointed towards the back, and cut the inside edge so that it would lay flush with the body of the turtle. 

For the tail, I took a small chunk of fondant, rolled it, then using my fingers, just tapered the tip into a sort of oval and pointed tip and cut the base so that, again, it would lay flush with the body. 

For the turtle head, I took a chunk of green fondant and rolled it into sort of a teardrop shape, thicker on one end and more narrow on the other end, and then flattened the top, bottom and sides, rounding the edges, and brought the tip into a point.  I took a craft stick (can also use a toothpick, a sandwich pick or a Popsicle stick) and pushed it into the back of the head.  This will be used to keep the head in place, once it's pushed into the cake. 

I used a toothpick to make the nostrils and then used the side of the same toothpick and pressed it along the pointed tip, to make a mouth, to make a wide, lazy mouth.  And I was sure to pull up on the corners of the mouth slightly to make it look like a lazy smile. 


I was super nervous to start, but I kept telling myself that it's ok, and that if I messed up, IT'S JUST FONDANT, I can roll it out and start again!

The Eyes:
Lately, I've seen "eye candies" sold in the cake sections of craft stores, but I made the eyes for the turtle before those came onto the store shelves.  I like to have the flexibility to create my own, so I can give the eyes some emotion and life.   


Plus, the larger the pupils are to the size of the eyeball the "cuter" the animal looks.  Have you seen Puss In Boots, when he makes his pupils huge?  Then you know what I'm talking about.  


Eyes How To:
I rolled out a bit of white fondant and used one of my wide open frosting tip to punch out two white eyeballs.  I took a slightly smaller frosting tip and punched out some pupils from thinly rolled fondant.   For the eyelids, to keep the lazy, relaxed theme going, I punched out a thinly roller out piece of green fondant, the same size as the white eyeballs and cut it in half. 


I stacked the black circles onto the white and let them dry a bit.  You can brush a bit of water onto the white circles before putting the black ones on top to make it stick better.


I adhered it to the sides of the turtle head with a tiny bit of clear piping gel.  

The Shell:
First, I baked a 4" cake then carved out a hump on one side.  Once it looked like the general shape of the humped back of a sea turtle, I crumb coated it. 


I cut out a octagon (8 sides) from a 6" circle of rolled out white fondant.


This gives me the general size of the "inner" hexagons, so that they all fit on the turtle's back.  Then cut out 3 hexagons (6-sides) - about 2" each.  Then 4 more, slightly smaller. 


[I'm selling a template of these in my Etsy shop: HERE]  (***coming soon***)


Arrange onto the top of the 4" cake:


Lay the 6" green "turtle shell" onto the 4" cake, with the hexagons in place.  But first, roll out a strip of green fondant and wrap it around the sides of the 4" cake, so that the white crumb coating on the sides doesn't show, once it's on top of the cake.  


Smooth the circle onto the top of the 4" cake, slightly pressing in between the hexagons to bring out the shapes. 


For the rest of the cake decorations, I used the Wilton Fondant Silicone Sea Life Mold, to form the sand dollars, starfish, coral and sea shells, in different colored fondant.


 

For the hibiscus flower, I couldn't find a mold that I liked, so I made a template and printed it out on cardstock.  


Once printed, cut out the flower, carefully to retain the outline details.  I ended up not using the stamen cut out, but I did use it for size reference, so don't throw it out!  More on the stamen application later.  


I laid the flower template out onto a rolled out piece of fondant (you can use any color for the hibiscus!)  I then pressed the template slightly into the fondant, to leave an outline.  


I then used a cutting mat and a clean Xacto knife to cut out the hibiscus.  


 In order to get a "realistic look" in the center of the flower, I used the Wilton Flower Impression Mat Set to imprint the inner wrinkles.  I laid the fondant flower face down onto the mat and gently pressed in the middle of the flower to transfer the impression.

 
Then I let dry.  If you're smarter that I am, you'll only let it partially dry, so that it will still be flexible once you put it on the sides of the cake, so that it will bend with the curve of the cake.  As you can see below, mine dried perfectly flat, so they stuck out from the cake: 


Now, for the stamen.  I ended up using a small circular tip to freehand the stamen "stick", and a smaller circular frosting tip to add the "dots" to the end of the stamen.  Again, you can use any color combination, but I used white because I wanted the turtle to be the star of the cake show. 

For the "waves" at the base of the cake, I again used the teal Wilton food gel color and created a lighter shade of teal, than the fondant covering, and used the shell technique, with Wilton frosting tip # 21, to create the waves.



I placed the turtle body in the center of the top of the cake, after I laid the blue fondant down.  I pushed in the turtle head at a 45 degree angle coming out from the body.  I laid the flippers and tail down, as well. 

The white frosting was showing after I put the turtle shell on, so I wrapped the 4" cake with a strip of fondant.










Please post your links of your own sea turtle cake into the comments!

I'd love to see them!

Happy sea turtle cake making!! 

 
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