I was casting about for an idea of what to bring to a Halloween potluck when I came across a video showing someone unrolling some canned cinnamon roll dough, arranging the coils of dough in a pan to look like intestines, and then topping the dough with cherry pie filling to look like blood. It looked delightfully creepy, but since I’m not really a fan of canned cinnamon rolls I decided to go a step further and make the dough myself.
A little searching online turned up this fabulous recipe for a similar dough made with red velvet cake mix– brilliant idea! Unfortunately for me it didn’t turn out quite as planned– the dough was very soft and sticky,* and after I rolled it up with the filling it refused to unroll so I could form the intestine-coils. I ended up just pulling the dough apart and plunking it into the pan– I didn’t expect it to turn out well, but by the time it puffed up in the oven it looked pretty great, particularly with the addition of some edible eyeballs (canned lychees). Nevertheless, I’ve adjusted the flour/water ratio below so you’ll hopefully get dough that’s easier to handle!
For May the Fourth I attended a Star Wars themed party, so of course I had to make something in-theme to contribute! I decided on these porg-shaped rice balls, which are rice balls rolled in crushed sesame, with nori accents and a chunk of cucumber in the middle for extra crunch. They turned out adorable, if I do say so myself, and were popular with party-goers, so I consider them a success!
While you can make these without any special tools, it’s a lot faster and easier to do if you have the right equipment. I used a nori punch for the facial features, and a rice-roll press to make my pieces evenly shaped and well-compressed. That being said, you can feel free to shape your rice by hand (wet hands make it easier) and to cut out eyes and mouths with scissors. I would definitely recommend using the parchment paper cutout to mask off the white parts of the rice during the sesame step, though!
While my daughter has several pairs of kitty ears that she enjoys wearing for all occasions, we thought that her friends might also enjoy their own sets of ears, at least to wear for the duration of the party. The ears would also make a great party favor, so it was off to the craft store to get felt to make some!
The process for making these was pretty easy– just gluing felt to a headband– but I’ll give you the step-by-step tutorial below.
So I planned a historical costume picnic this summer, and as part of the picnic activities I wanted to supply some fun lawn games for people to play. A little searching revealed a game from the early 1800s called the Game of Graces— involving throwing and catching a wooden hoop with crossed sticks. It was supposed to promote gracefulness.
Apparently the game was originally aimed at girls, not boys (what, boys don’t need to learn to be graceful?), but I thought it looked fun, easy, and appropriate for picnickers of both sexes.
So far you’ve seen the progress photos for my daughter’s Birthday Princess dress, but what’s a princess party without a castle cake? I knew I had to make one, so I started collecting fondant cutters and images of pretty cakes several months before they’d actually be needed.
After much vacillating I decided to make it a two-tier round cake with two towers at the base and three on the top tier. Since there was plenty of leftover cake last year, I kept the same sized pans as before– 7″ on the bottom (three layers) and 5″ on the top (two layers). Color scheme would be white, pink, and purple, and I’d decorate it with climbing roses and lacy crenellations.
Fair warning, this is not a tutorial post– the process was so involved that I just couldn’t take the time to get pictures of every step and post recipes and instructions for all of the components. I may do individual posts on some of the techniques, though. So for now just sit back and enjoy the pictures and general instruction summary!
When my daughter became obsessed with The Little Mermaid (which was one of my very favorite movies as a little girl), I was thrilled to have the chance to have a mermaid-themed birthday party for her. Though since we’re trying to avoid being stuck in the Disney rut for everything, I went more generic and less YAY ARIEL AND SEBASTIAN AND FLOUNDER AND ALL THE OTHER COPYRIGHTED CHARACTERS YAY!!!
For my daughter’s first birthday I went all out with the pink elephant theme. It started with the invitations, which I got customized on Etsy, and then added hand-punched elephants in pink shimmery paper (mounted on 3D adhesive squares), plus tiny pink rhinestones for a little sparkle. The invitations were handed out in pink shimmery envelopes, and I actually had to go out and buy a special pen to prevent smearing of the purple ink I used to address them. And that was just the beginning…
Allie’s cake was four layers high, in pink ombre, and was topped with a homemade bunting made out of pink fabric scraps (that match the bunting decorating her bedroom).
There were also pink polka dot elephant cookies, pink macarons, pink candy popcorn, meringues, candy kisses, and pink Pocky. Everything was presented either in clear glass apothecary jars (from TJ Maxx, so much cheaper than anywhere else), or on homemade glass cake stands, made by gluing glass candleholders to glass plates with my trusty E6000 adhesive. Oh, and at the last minute I picked up a papier mache elephant and painted it pink to put on the table.
And of course, we had to do a cake smash photo shoot (which was several weeks after the party, but hey, still fun!). The background is just a big piece of pink fabric, binder-clipped to our bookshelves, and I got the wooden letters on Etsy and painted them white to use as props. Yes, I’m aware (now) that the E was upside-down…
She’s wearing a custom pink and gray tutu, and her shirt has a pink elephant on it with “I’m One!” embroidered underneath. Etsy is awesome. And yes, the smash cake is pink on the inside too. 😉
The scary thing is, this party is arguably NOT the most elaborate one I’ve thrown for her birthday…