paisley shabby chic

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Campell's Vintage Soup Vases

Safeway/Woolworths are selling these GORGEOUS vintage Campbell's soups at the moment. I couldn't resist.

I decided to buy them, empty them and use them to make vases or pencil containers. I was definitely not the first person to think of this though. When I went online to find the best way to seal the containters, I found several blog posts doing this same thing, so I'll just post one of their tutorials. I intend to mod podge mine, because it's easy and mess free.

Under The Sycamore's finished vases

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Cupcake Recipes

For anyone interested in the recipes from my 10 000 cupcakes party, here they are:


Vanilla Cupcakes
A recipe I always use, but after really testing this recipe at my party I would recommend only using it if you're eating them on the day or within less than 24 hours to get the most out of them.

Makes 24 regular sized/48 mini

125 g butter at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla essence
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups self raising flour

Preheat over to 180*C and line baking trays with patty pans.
Combine all ingredients in bowl, beat with electric mixer on low until combined. Increase to medium until mixture is smooth and has changed in colour.
Diving mixture between patty pans and cook for 20 minutes or until golden and springy. 10 minutes from mini cupcakes.
Turn onto wire rack to cool.

Chocolate Cupcakes
I had never used this recipe before but was SO happy with it. The cupcakes stayed moist and tasted absolutely delicious, and they weren't too oily, which is always a worry when using oil in a recipe. They didn't spoil the patty pans or anything. It also didn't need an electric mixer which was good because mine needed a breather. The original recipe from Martha Stewart is here. The recipe isnt metric, but I used the same thing in a metric size and it all seemed to work out (ie for one non metric cup I used one metric cup) 

Makes about 40 cupcakes

3 cups caster sugar
3 cups plain flour
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder
1 tablespoon bicarb soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
1 1/2 cups warm water
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180*C. Line baking trays with patty pans.
In a LARGE bowl whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa, bicarb soda, baking powder and salt.
Add buttermilk, oil, and water. Whisk to combine.
Add eggs and vanilla, whisk until smooth.
Divide into patty pans and bake for about 20-25 minutes until springy, or until an inserted pick comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
Let cool in pans for 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Beer n Bacon Cupcakes
I got this recipe here at Brit+Co and altered it a little bit based on suggestions in the comments. I'd done something like this before with raspberry fizzy drink so I knew it would work. It's a cheats recipe with a box mix. I doubled the original recipe to make this one.
I used Young's Double Chocolate Stout, after asking a friend for suggestions.

Makes about 21 muffin size 

2 boxes butter cake or vanilla cake mix
500ml oz bottle of beer, reserving 1/4ish cup for frosting
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 180*C and line baking tray with patty pans.
Combine most of the bottle of beer, the cake mix and two eggs. Beat with an electric beater until smooth.
Divide amongst cases and cook for approx 15 minutes.

Beer Frosting & Bacon garnish

20 small strips of bacon
1/4 cup sugar brown sugar

1 cup salted butter, softened
500 g icing sugar mixture
1/4ish cup beer
2 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla essence

Cover tray with baking paper, line bacon up and sprinkle with brown sugar. Cook in oven (180*C) until crispy. Dont forget about it and let it go black like I did. Set aside to cool.

Cream butter and icing sugar and cocoa with electric beater, add beer and vanilla and continue until smooth.

Caramel Cupcakes 
This recipe was from my 4 ingredients kids cookbook. I added the caramel chips to one batch of it because I had some to use. My only comment here would be that the cupcakes were a little tricky to pull away from the paper. But not so tricky that you ended up with paper stuck to the cupcake, so in the end a good moist recipe.

Makes 24 cupcakes

1 cup (175 g) self raising flour
380-400 g can Top n Fill or Carnation Caramel
1 egg
1/3 cup (75 g) butter, at room temperature
(Caramel chips, any amount you'd like)

Preheat oven to 180*C and line baking tray with baking cups.
Sift flour into a bowl and add the caramel, egg and butter.
Beat with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. About two minutes. (Stir in chips if using)
Divide batter between cups and bake until golden brown. About 10 minutes.
Cool on wire rack.

Lemon Cupcakes
Pretty much just the vanilla recipe with a tablespoon of rind and some lemon juice.

Orange & Poppyseed Cupcakes
I used a packet for this because it was a last minute decision to add another flavour when I saw it at the supermarket during my trip there on Friday. 


Vanilla Buttercream
From a Women's Weekly Kids cake book

125 g butter, softened
1 1/2 cups (240 g) icing sugar mixture
2 tbs milk

Beat butter with electric mixer until as white as possible.
Gradually beat in half the icing sugar, then the milk, then the remaining icing sugar.
Flavour and colour as required.

Vanilla Frosting
This is a trusty recipe from my Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. Because they are a cupcake shop their recipe gives just enough frosting to work with for 12 cupcakes, as opposed to a lot of cook books that dont allow for enough icing.

250 g icing sugar mixutre, sifted
80 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
25ml milk
a couple of drops of vanilla essense

Cream the butter and icing sugar with an electric beater on medium speed until it comes together, then turn it to slow.
Combine milk and vanilla in a seperate bowl and add to the butter mixture a couple of tablespoons at a time.
Once incorporated, turn the mixer up high and continue beating until light and fluffy. About 5 minutes. The more you beat the lighter and fluffier it is. 

Ganache Frosting
I tripled the recipe for my party because I loved ganache and just used it on a heap but I would say generally the amount I'm giving covers up to 12 cupcakes if used sparingly.

1/2 cup thickened cream
200 g dark chocolate

Break chocolate up into pieces.
Heat cream on stove top until it boils.
Pour over chocolate and whisk until smooth.
Beat with electric mixer until it's as stiff as you want it. Work quickly when icing before the ganache hardens.

Cream Cheese Frosting
I just winged this recipe so I cant write it for you. There was 500g of cream cheese then a bit of butter and milk and a bunch of icing sugar. In my experience cream cheese frostings are too sugary and not cheesy enough so I just did it to taste.


10 000 Cupcakes

A few days ago was my 10 000th day on earth. I've been looking forward to this milestone for years. I think I first worked out when it was when I was at uni and was upset cos it was so many years away. But, predictably, time flew, and this year I got to celebrate!! I love baking, so I decided to have a cupcake party, because it was a great excuse to try all the cupcake designs I've been wanting to try for so many years.

The make-you-own banner my mum bought me, plus some pom poms and honeycomb balls
I spent AGES preparing for this party. I had an ideas book that I printed off cupcakes I'd seen on Pinterest and wrote notes about what I would need or how I would change it. I decided to call my party "10,000 cupcakes" as I was 10 000 days old and planned to make a massive amount of cupcakes. I was struggling with what to do for my invite, so instead of making my own I got my own version of these gorgeous invites on etsy made by ForeverYourPrints instead. Mine said "Celebrate my 10,000th day with a cupcake or eight, and I can promise you a belly ache!"

I had this party at my apartment so I had to keep the numbers down as I cant fit many. So I decided just to go with uni friends, not all my different groups, and only invite those people that I knew would enjoy it and hopefully put in the effort to attend. In the end there were 18 people including me, which I think is my apartments capacity.

I baked all the cupcakes and made all the fondant decorations for it and had a ball! The party was on the Saturday, so I started making fondant shapes on Sunday and Monday (a public holiday) after buying all the fondant I would need on the Saturday. I made a bunch of custom cupcakes for people who gave me requests. I took Thursday off work and did all my shopping for ingredients. I spent a lot. And bought a lot.

These are the decorations. Most of them I already had. I probably only spend $20 on extra bits like this
After making my fondant decorations and doing all the shopping, my friend Lucie helped me bake the cupcake cake. Then I decorated it when she left for soccer. That was Thursday night. I had an early night cos I knew the next two days would be massive.
These were my roses and leaves
Here I have the injured dog for my vet friend, a rat, some nipples, flowers and a few other shapes

Here are my faves. I made the Swedish Chef from The Muppets for my friend Hendo who does a very good impression; an ambulance for my paramedic friend Sweeny, and a red panda for Chris (who wasn't even invited but I'd seen a picture of a red panda cupcake online, and he loves them, so I couldn't resist).

These were the flowers for my cake. I didn't even use half of the amount I made! Oops!

In my haste and excitement I forgot to grease the pan of giant cupcake! It didnt matter, though, I just iced over it

Finished product
The giant cupcake had a honeycomb/crunchie cream centre as well. But being a cake it wasn't amazing. Too much cake, not enough rest of it. And the cake was a bit dry by the time we ate in. In fact I think I can safely say that my vanilla cake/cupcake recipe which I always use is great when fresh, but too dry after even a day, let alone almost 2. A big learning curve for me. I am going to look out for a new vanilla recipe. 
I wasnt upset that only about a quarter of this got eaten. I'd rather people enjoy their food, and the cake was sadly a bit disappointing.

Friday morning I got up at the time I normally get up for work (6.45) and got to work (on the cupcakes!). I spent about 6 or 7 hours baking, and during that time I went to the supermarket to buy more ingredients as I'd run out of icing sugar and butter. I made a bunch of different flavoured cupcakes, but I'll admit, I used a packet mix for a couple to save time. I'll write out the recipes at a later date, but what I had on offer were Vanilla, Chocolate, Lemon, Orange and Poppyseed, Beer, and Caramel flavoured cupcakes. (Recipes are here now)

Here is a picture of nearly all the cupcakes I made before I iced them. I had over 260 in total. 
You can see a post-it note down the bottom there as I had to label them all so I remembered which were which!
Luckily I have a lot of Tupperware in my house (after an amazing Tupperware party where I got $600 worth of free Tupperware) so I packaged up most of these, airtight, ready to ice the next day. I kept a handful out that I knew I could do ahead of time, like the ones covered in buttercream then fondant. I worked on those Friday night, then again, headed to bed before 9.

Next morning I woke up at 6.30 (15 mins before my alarm was due) ate breakfast and started on the icing! I didnt even bother getting out of my pjs. I made SUCH a mess making all the icing. I had a lot of cleaning up to do before the guests arrived, but it was fun. My bowls werent really big enough for the bulk size I was making so I had a fine layer of icing sugar over most of my kitchen when it came time to clean. And actually, a fine layer of icing sugar over myself too.

I didnt take any photos of MAKING the icing, so I'll just show you some photos of the end products and then my table ready for the party!

lemon cupcakes with lemon cream cheese

burger cupcakes made with vanilla cake, chocolate cake, icing and fondant

popcorn cupcakes made with dyed marshmallows

chocolate BBQ cupcakes, with gummi bears on the grill

ice cream cupcakes, made in the cone

I bought a cute nom nom stamp for sugar cookies and fondant
cookie monster and elmo

These were meant to have a lot of swirls and decorations done in royal icing but I ran out of time and steam

caramel cupcakes with ganache icing made into a bouquet. I stuffed the bouquet up but it still looked ok

some of the personalised cupcakes

orange poppyseed


cupcake with a mini cupcake (mini reeces peanut butter cup with frosting)

beer n bacon

My little masterpiece

I bought a heap of little cupcake boxes that hold 4 cupcakes in preparation for people to take some home too! My favourite part of the party was probably people taking a box and filling it, then I got to give them a little thank you to go with it. I was squealy with delight.

I didn't keep track of how much money I'd spent because that would take the fun out of having a party, but I am predicting it was in excess of $300. I did work out that it was about 4 kg of butter, 4 kg of icing sugar, 3 kg of caster sugar, 3 kg of self raising flour and 24ish eggs though. Plus the last of my aluminium foil, baking paper and glad wrap, and heaps of decorations and chocolate, cocoa, baking powder and bicarb, oil etc.

All these photos are before the guests even arrived! 
I wont put up photos with my guests cos I haven't asked permission from anyone, but suffice to say we all ate too much, and had some massive sugar crashes later in the evening. I reckon it was one of my favourite parties!! It had so many of my close friends there and I got to do AAAAALLLLL the baking!! 

Next post will be the recipes I used! 

(Sorry about the un-even-ness of the photos, I still havent got the hang of posting photos)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Down To The Woods

I really wish I was better at blogging than I am. I'm going to have to properly put aside time to do this.
This blog is meant to be about parties, craft and cooking. So far I've posted about a gingerbread house, and some glass etching, so it must be time for a party!!

Every year I have a themed birthday party. Sometimes big. Sometimes small. Sometimes inside. Sometimes outside.
This year, my 27th, was an outside party that I called Down To The Woods. It was a few months ago now, but that doesn't matter!
My invitations
I always send invitations, the old fashioned way. But nowadays I rely on facebook for RSVPs. I put this together using photoshop, but I purchased my clipart from etsy as I'm not so good with the graphics side of it.

So the fun part of parties is always the planning. I took a table to the park and covered it with food. A few years ago I had a Mad Hatter's Tea Party, and being a sweet tooth I provided heaps of awesome junky food, but forgot about anything healthy for my poor savoury friends! This year, as I had also been improving my own diet, I had a lot more good foods on my table too.

My favourite thing on the table (by looks that is. For eating its Fairy Bread. ALWAYS fairy bread!) was the sugar cookies! I didnt have time to make my own cookies from scratch, so I just decorated Marie biscuits as owls and hedgehogs to match my theme. 
Hedgehog and Owl cookies

fairy bread
mushroom and toadstools

Me (dressed as a gnome) and my table and the bunting I made and lanterns I decorated with
I found the big lanterns at The Reject Shop and loved them, so I bought them. The small ones I got from Party Affair. The bunting I made out of fabrics I had been collecting for a few months. They're either patterns in my colour theme, or woodland print.
As my parties are always themed, I like people to dress up. Most of my friends did, at least a touch. One friend of mine brought his toddler along in a gorgeous eeyore onesie. I also cut out some little woodland animal ears and made people who didn't bring a costume wear them.

It turned out to be a beautiful day to sit in the sunshine with some friends for a few hours and the food was enjoyed by all.  I havent entirely decided on a birthday theme for next year, but I do know that on June 13th this year I will be turning 10 000 days old. So I'm having a cupcake party to celebrate!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Gingerbread House 2012 Christmas

I love Christmas, and I always enjoy making a Gingebread house too. My favourite feature is the roof, which I cover in m&m's or Smarties. It's become a bit of a tradition to take one to my family's Christmas get together on Boxing Day.
This is 2011's...
2011 Gingerbread House
Last year my brother challenged me to create either a double storey or a house with rooms for 2012. So I decided to do the double storey. I found a template at graphicality but knew that I couldn't fit both wings on if I wanted to transport it two hours to the country, so I only did one.

My friend Johnny is very creative and also makes gingerbread houses. He was my competition this year. Even if his house was crap it'd still look better because he has the skillz with the cameraz. But it was amazing. This was his creation:

Another friend, Emily, was making her first gingerbread house this year, based on this hilarious version. We're yet to see her interpretation though.
Crack (Gingerbread) House
For the first time ever (or maybe since Year 12) I was working right up until the 21st of December, which meant that I was so disorganised for Christmas when I am usually super organised. I put my tree up at the end of October, and then from then on it was bedlam until Boxing Day. I made royal icing iced gingebread and gluten free shortbread for the staff morning tea on Friday 21st at school. I was making dough for these cookies before school between waking up and leaving I was that short on time. So I left the gingerbread house very late.
Here's a few filtered photos of my gingerbread making:

I am yet to perfect dying food. It appears to just dye my hands instead...
(background is the outline of my shortbread snowflake cookies drying)  

Now to my 2012 gingerbread house. I made the dough on Saturday night (22nd), got up at 6.30am on Sunday and spent 3 hours in the kitchen rolling and cutting the dough (using my templates) until about 10.30. By then it was already 30 degrees and my apartment (which has no aircon) was like a sauna, so I stopped.
Creative shot of the sugar, butter and honey
gingerbread cooling

I had to wait until the Monday 24th to start decorating because it was too hot to be playing with chocolate, and hoping sugar would dry quickly and hard. Saturday arvo I had been supermarket shopping for some pure icing sugar. I had most of my chocolates already. But my local supermarket was sold out of pure icing sugar and I had a minor freak out. Sunday I drove to another supermarket and found some. Whew.

I had a lot of trouble this year deciding how to decorate my house. I'd seen so many different ways on Pinterest. I'd love to do a pastel one, but our Christmas was mainly red and green this year, with a touch of pink for the little girls. So I had to stick mainly with those colours.
I ended up doing and m&m and Smartie roof, same for bricks on the 3 storey part. These were brown but they look a bit halloweeny. Wasn't too pleased with it. Then mosaic freckles for the sides. I normally do a bullet fence, but I stole my friend Chris's mum's idea of using a curly wurly for the fence. It was super cute. It was the only part that got a bit melty and wrecked in the car ride to Heathcote. But normally the fence gets a bit wrecked anyway as it's around the edge.

the green light was just a glow stick for fun

little table and chairs and presents under the tree

Still hoping to get a photo from Emily of the crack house, but until then, this is my gingerbread house. I was pretty happy with it in the end. Although I hated the tree. Next year I think I'm just going to go back to the normal house, and put some rooms inside it. (Unless I'm in Paris!)