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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Yummies- Cake Pops!

  It's true I am jumping on the bandwagon a bit by planning on having cake pops as part of my wedding dessert bar, but they really are genius little treats. They do take a bit more time than baking a regular cake, but they add a certain pizazz to cake that no amount of fondant or icing flowers can.
  The original recipe was located on Recipe Rhapsody, but I have reproduced a shortened version here with a few tips and tricks to go along with it. My sister and I had a lot of fun making them together, but we will have even more fun eating them!

Ingredients and Materials:
Favorite Cake Mix
Favorite Frosting
Favorite Candy
Melting Chocolate
Lollipop Sticks
Florist Styrofoam blocks
Oven and Microwave

Step 1: Bake your favorite cake following the box's instructions or make Aunt Elma's family recipe from scratch. For the cake pops pictured, I choose a triple chocolate mix from my local grocer.

Step 2: After it has cooled completely, crumble into a large bowl.

Step 3: Add half a container of frosting to crumbled cake and mix with spoon well. I used chocolate butter cream. You will know it is mixed well enough if you can easily form balls with it. If they fall a part, mix more or add more frosting.

Step 4: Roll cake/frosting mix between balls to form balls (like you would clay). The recipe says to make them about an inch wide, but we discovered it was best to err on the smaller side than on the larger. Not only does it make it easier to coat them later, but they fit better in one's mouth if they are smaller. They will also be less likely to slip down the stick with the weight of the cake and chocolate if they are on the smaller side of an inch.

Step 5: Let balls chill on wax paper for at least 30 minutes.

Step 6: Melt some of the melting chocolate in the microwave. I used vanilla flavored, green colored melting chocolate. The deeper the bowl the better. We suspect an actual melting pot would be the best as it keeps the chocolate at a consistent melting point making coating easier.

Step 7: Dip in the lollipop sticks, then push the stick into the chilled cake balls. The chocolate will harden and help keep the cake ball on the end of the stick.

Step 8: After all the sticks are in the cake balls and have hardened a bit, you can melt more chocolate and begin to coat the outside of the balls. Submerging completely is the best to coat the balls evenly.

Step 9: Once you've coated the balls immediately dip them in your favorite crushed up candy, nuts or coconut. I used Heath bar bits, but toffee or crushed almonds would work too.

Step 10: Push stick into Styrofoam block, so that the chocolate coating can harden evenly. After you have filled your Styrofoam block full of cake pops, place it into the fridge to chill. Once the chocolate coating has hardened, then they are ready to serve!

  Note: These would make a great alternative to the huge piece of cake served at kids' birthday parties, which is usually too big and too sugary for them to eat. It's just the right size for those sugar and calorie conscious individuals. Also, anything on a stick is fun to eat, especially if you're five!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Craft Show!

Although I am a member, I will not be participating this time around, but I thought I would let folks know that if you are near Central Illinois there is a great craft show coming up featuring fellow Etsians. It is also located close to Bloomington, Champaign and St. Joseph, which are full of vintage clothing stores and antique shops if you want to make a day of it.

Here is a map of my favorite Central Illinois shops:
 Visit Central Illinois Vintage and Antique Shops

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Featured Artist: Sister Shop Grand Opening!

Apparently, I am quite the influence (for better or worse) because my little sister has just opened her very own Etsy shop called A Gaslite Romance selling handmade Steampunk jewelry. Of course, I am super proud of her creativity, dedication, and willingness to try something new. I also happen to really like her pieces and covet the necklace above. I guess it's not much of a stretch to imagine that a woodland creature-loving, tree-hugging crafter like me might really love Neo-Victorian inspired jewelry, so I figured you might too.

However, I didn't just want to shamelessly promote my little sister (even though she deserves it), but give you more of a "Featured Artist" experience. You will have to bare with me as this is my first interview and I wanted to be as informative as possible. Anyway, hope you enjoy!

Interview with A Gaslite Romance:

Q: What is the most important fact a buyer should know about you?
A: The most important thing buyers should know is that I pour my heart and soul into all of my pieces and I truly hope that comes across in the finished product.

Q: Why did you choose jewelry as your craft of choice? Or did it choose you?
A: I would say it was a little of both. I fell in love with Steampunk jewelry and got the crazy idea that I could try my hand at it.

Q: What is your favorite thing about creating jewelry?
A: My favorite thing about creating jewelry is the process. It starts with an idea and sometimes it turns out exactly how I envisioned it. Other times it takes a completely different route and the end result is even better than I envisioned.

Q: What movies/books/media/artists have inspired your style?
A: I am mostly inspired by all things Victorian and the Steampunk culture. That particular era is just timeless. While technology is a necessary evil, I am just fascinated by the beauty and complexity of the mechanical workings of technology of the past. I am also inspired by my sister who has a much keener sense of creativity. 
  (this is me blushing)

Q: What are your Top Three favorite Etsy shops and why?
A: Steampunkjunksupply - They offer great quality and variety of supplies necessary for my craft.
Nouveaumotley - Is the very first shop that got me interested in Steampunk jewelry.
Edmdesigns - Has amazingly beautiful and intricate Steampunk designs that I can only wish I was capable of.

Q: Where do you see you, your craft and your shop in twelve months?
A: I hope that in twelve months I will continue to grow as an artist. I hope that I will gain experience necessary to hone my craft. I hope that I will still be able to enjoy my hobby while sharing it with others.

Note: If you or others are interested in being a "Featured Artist", then let me know and I would be happy to spread the love.

Etsy Trade Success!

I have been offered many trades at my shop on Etsy, but none of them have intrigued me enough to participate (unfortunately, money is a necessity to continue my hobby) until Annie Carvalho, a fiber artist, came along. Immediately her work stood out and I saw an opportunity to get my dog, Jersey immortalized in soft, lifelike felt and grabbed at the chance!

I was nervous at first to put myself out there and risk all the hours/dollars, but we swapped many emails and pictures, which helped to ease my fears. I finally sent off the infamous Hobbit Hole with the same trepidation I always feel when I send one of my creations out into the world, but I was enthusiastic to receive my sculpture and felt it was truly worth it.

I know I am not alone when I say that I love to receive mail (sans bills), so when I saw the little postage box waiting for me today after work I was so giddy I couldn't get in the door fast enough. After ripping through the packing tape, I gently lifted out my very own, miniature sculpture of my favorite furry buddy. It was so much more than I could have imagined and well worth the wait! It will serve as a precious memorial long after she is gone.

Check out the Hobbit Hole at its new home as a photo prop for Annie Carvalho's whimsical fiber sculptures!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Welcome to the New Year!

I realize that we are now a month into the new year, but it has been a crazy month to say the least. I have already taught an entire novel, rearranged my craft space, broken the zipper on my favorite winter coat, gotten over a horrible flu and survived two snow days! However, through this all I have continued to be grateful for one of the holiday gifts I received as it has continued to inspire me. I was lucky enough to receive Craft Magazine issues one through ten!

I have always enjoyed their website, but the tangible copies are priceless. They reserve a very special spot on my crafty shelves. Not only are the projects listed easy to follow, but give me a chance to branch out with everything from cooking recipes to new sewing projects. I am able to practice old skills and learn new ones with this awesome collection. It was one of my favorite gifts this year and I hope to make it a favorite of someone else's soon.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Holiday Promotion Winners!

Here are the winning results of my Holiday Promotion:

First Prize Winner:

Second Prize Winner:

Check your Etsy conversations or the email attached to your Etsy account to collect your prize.
Thank you to all the participants and enjoy this holiday season!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Holiday Promotion 2010

Enter your name in a drawing to win a coupon for The Market in the Glen to use this holiday season. Entries will be taken from now until Dec. 11th, 2010. There is a 1st prize and a 2nd prize winner for this drawing. The 1st prize winner will receive a holiday coupon for 15% off any item in my shop and the 2nd prize winner will receive a coupon for 10% off any item. You can have up to two entries for the 2nd prize and an almost unlimited amount of entries for the 1st prize. The winners will be chosen randomly using the random number generator and announced Dec. 12th, 2010. 

To Enter for a Chance to Win the 2nd prize (a 10% off ANY item coupon):
-Become a Follower of this blog 
-Favorite my shop at

To Enter for a Chance to Win the 1st prize (a 15% off ANY item coupon):
-Refer a friend to my shop OR blog and have them Follow or Favorite me
-Mention my shop on your blog OR link to this promotion on your website
-Buy an item from my shop during the run of this promotion and receive an automatic entry to this drawing
-Feature one of my items in your Treasury during this promotion

-If you were referred by a friend, be sure to include the friend’s blogger or Etsy name to ensure they get a chance at the 15% off coupon code.
-If you are unsure whether your correct email is linked to your Etsy name or blog name, then leave one I can email you with the coupon code in the event that you win OR check this blog on Dec. 12th, 2010.
-Coupons will expire Jan. 6th, 2011