Not Martha

links: Valentine’s Day

Homemade Candy Necklaces – Bakingdom. Wow! Via Recipe Girl on Twitter.

1st Annual Valentine’s Day Tea Party at Sweet Anthem, an indie perfume shop here in Seattle. Sip tea and sniff perfumes? Sounds lovely.

My Funny Valentine – Our Finds. I love all of the cards they collected here.

make grow gather – valentine’s day cookie packaging.

Hungry Happenings: A sweet Valentine’s Day dessert – Conversation Heart Cheesecakes. Cute!

Valentine’s Day Drinking Straws @Craftzine.com blog. A simple and festive idea. And I already have those red and white straws!

Ask a Clean Person: This Valentine’s Day, Say It With Jewelry Cleaner | The Hairpin. A Clean Person shares a recipe for DIY jewelry cleaner, yay!

DIY: You Blow Me Away Valentines, at Design Mom.

Easy Homemade Peppermint Candies | A Chow Life. So sweet!

Sally J Shim – Fabric Heart Valentines.

· comments [6] · 02-10-2012 · categories:holidays · links ·

Valentine’s Day Surprise Cracker

My love of traditional English Christmas Crackers (the paper sort, not the edible sort) has been well documented. Since it takes two people to open one they seem like a good choice as a way to celebrate Valentine’s Day as well. (With my apologies to traditionalists, sorry about that.)

I found the supplies I needed at a local shop and decided it was meant to be. I added a few decorative details in my instructions below that can be skipped to make it easier. All you really need are a tube (a paper towel tube will work great), some cracker snaps (a specialty crafts store should have them), some decorative paper (crepe or tissue paper) to wrap it all up in and some fun little things to put inside. I decided to go for a few handmade details:

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· comments [33] · 02-8-2012 · categories:holidays ·

links: holidays

How To Make Scratch-Off Polaroids (V-Day Idea!) – Hello Brig. Simple and very very good idea. (I’m thinking naughty photos would work well here, aren’t you? C’mon, you know you are.)

Mini Crepe Paper Flower Favors DIY at Oh Happy Day. So sweet.

Easy DIY: Heart-shaped Surprise Ball | Celebrate the Big & Small. You know how much I like surprise balls.

Nerds in Love: Top 10 Valentines for Geeks  | Mighty Girl.

· comments [3] · 02-6-2012 · categories:holidays · links ·

3D Christmas Tree Gingerbread Cookies – the outtakes

3-D Christmas Tree

Earlier I posted about how to turn a tree shaped cookie cutter into one that is interlocking and standing (shown above). I wrote about the way to interlock three cookies but I wanted to say that I started this project by using the same 8 inch tall cookie cutter and much thinner dough to make trees that used six layers that slotted together. I made them in the same year I showed the gingerbread houses that perch on the edge of a mug. Here are some photos that I took waaaay back in 2009:

3-D Christmas Tree

I made small ones that used three cookies, and large ones that used six cookies:

3-D Christmas Tree

Trouble was that the larger trees curled, the layers of dough wouldn’t cool flat no matter how careful I was, leading to them looking like this:

3-D Christmas Tree

It had a nice geometric look but just lacked a certain amount of charm and, dare I say it?, looked like beef jerky. Also, it required rolling dough out to a point where it was unreasonably thin. Still, at that point in time I was a bit caught up with interlocking as many cookies as I could.

3-D Christmas Tree

The smaller trees were flat and looked fine but I’m happier with my current version using thicker dough that allows you to decorate the edges. My lesson? More isn’t always better. Um, less is more? That sounds better. Ok, Happy Holidays everybody I’ll see you in the near year!

· comments [8] · 12-22-2011 · categories:christmas ·

3D Christmas Tree Gingerbread Cookies

3-D Christmas Tree

I made 3D Christmas Tree Gingerbread Cookies for Christmas. They slot together and don’t require icing to hold them up. Below I explain how to 3Dize your own cookie cutters and I also provide printable templates in case you don’t have a tree cookie cutter you like.

3-D Christmas Tree

3-D Christmas Tree

3-D Christmas Tree

3-D Christmas Tree

Click through for a how-to.
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· comments [35] · 12-21-2011 · categories:christmas ·

links: christmas

How to: Make Modern Perforated Christmas Trees » Curbly | DIY Design Community. These look like the porcelain ones from West Elm, nice job.

12 Days of Christmas Gifts | Mighty Girl. Love!

MinuteFrame: Order a framed photo in less than one minute. This one is the service of a friend of a friend, and I have not tried it but it looks so darn handy. Very simply you upload a photo to have printed at the 5×7 size, they do the printing and framing and ship it to your giftee.

mirrormirror: Christmas Cupcake Decorating at Trophy Cupcake. Paola includes tip numbers and notes on technique for some fancy cupcakes. They look great Paola!

Calvin and Hobbes Snowmen Truffles · Edible Crafts.

Festive Topped Jars at You Are My Fave. Simple and very impressive! Via Edible Crafts.

Felted Bell Ornaments – the purl bee. So sweet.

· comments [4] · 12-19-2011 · categories:christmas · links ·

amazing Gingerbread Brownstone from Kitchen Table Scraps

Gingerbread Brownstone made by Kitchen Table Scraps

Have you seen this amazing Gingerbread Brownstone made by Kitchen Table Scraps? Even better, she shows how to make it including shaping the rounded front windows, adding all the detail and lighting it from the inside. Super greatness.

Gingerbread Brownstone made by Kitchen Table Scraps

· comments [3] · 12-13-2011 · categories:christmas · food ·

links: christmas

German Pyramid Cake – The Crafts Dept. Eeek, I want one.

Peppermint Rice Krispies Treats · Edible Crafts. I love the candy cane hook so they can hang on the mug, so clever!

Christmas Tree Meringue Cookies | Bakers Royale. Reminds me of the Christmas tree Duchess potatoes.

Gingerbread Playdough Homemade Gift for Kids · Edible Crafts. I want some of this.

DIY Holiday Gifts Advent Calendar – CHOW.

Sprinkle Bakes: Christmas Coal Candy. Via Edible Crafts.

The 2011 Good Gift Games and Good Gift Games Greatest Hits – The Morning News.

· comments [3] · 12-6-2011 · categories:christmas · links ·

Thanksgiving wishes

I’m away all week visiting family back in the good old Midwest so I won’t have any Thanksgiving updates unless I manage to find some wi-fi. So, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and I wanted to remind you of this very smart tip on brining a turkey in your fridge without taking up all the space in your fridge that I learned over at Savory Sweet Life — brine it in a turkey sized oven bag and keep it in one of the crisper drawers. Awesome right? Here’s a not very lovely photograph of mine last year:

· comments [8] · 11-21-2011 · categories:holidays ·

links: halloween

Eyeball Tableware | CraftGossip.com.

The Sexy Zombie Vampire Halloween Makeup Tutorial | The Hairpin.

Martha Stewart’s Haunted House! – The Crafts Dept. Love.

Spooky & Playful: The Best Halloween Treats for 2011 | Apartment Therapy The Kitchn. And, hooray, they included my Tentacle Pot Pies!

Wrapping Up a Night of WitchCRAFT | Make and Takes. Full of good Halloween projects. (Wish I could have joined you ladies!)

Eyeball Cookies · Edible Crafts. Very simple and wonderful.

Phobias on the IPAD – The Crafts Dept. Do you see those ghosts? They’re amazing, and simple.

Sprinkle Bakes: Pumpkin Cheesecake with Sugared Pumpkin Seeds, at Sprinkle Bakes. The pumpkin seed decorations here are sorta spooky.

· comments [4] · 10-28-2011 · categories:halloween · links ·

Zombie Head Cheese, the outtakes

Zombie Head Cheese

These are photos of the test Zombie Head Cheese we created, thus the poor lighting and the two kinds of cheese. But I wanted to show you the idea for a tongue that I decided to skip.

Zombie Head Cheese

I carved the tongue from a block of Spam I had coaxed out of the can as a whole rectangular chunk. Know what? Spam is surprisingly easy to carve. It’s also very slippery.

The tongue was ghastly. And since the skull wasn’t secure in order to keep the jaw open it tilted to one side when we attempted to scoop some cheese off. Eeek.

Zombie Head Cheese

In the end I decided to drop the tongue made of Spam in part because it was slippery and in part because it smelled too strongly for me to recommend. But, if you want to have a go at making a Spam tongue it is really effective.

· comments [22] · 10-27-2011 · categories:food · halloween ·

Zombie Head Cheese

Zombie Head Cheese

I made you something for Halloween. You can serve it a party. Or maybe make it as a snack for your viewing party of The Walking Dead.

Zombie Head Cheese

These are both made of soft cheese spread on a plastic skull. Easy. Creepy. Delicious. That is, if you can get people to dig in.

Version 1

Zombie Head Cheese

You know that old trick of unwrapping a block of cream cheese and topping it with soy sauce and some sesame seeds? Yum right? I added some food coloring and a life sized plastic skull and called it Halloween worthy.

(This is version #1, a slightly easier version is just below.)

Zombie Head Cheese

First get a life sized plastic skull (wash it really well), some soy sauce, one 12 ounce tub of cream cheese spread and some food coloring. Tint the cream cheese to a fleshy color, I used about 15 drops of red and 10 drops of yellow here.

I found a plastic skull like this one at a local party supplies store, but I really wish I’d managed to find a plastic skull where the top of the head is removable. Something really frightening could be made with that. Spinach dip brains anybody?

Zombie Head Cheese

Then add just one drop of blue food coloring and stir only a few times until the blue appears streaky. Less is more here, it will further streak as you spread it. Now, frost your skull like a cake. Start with the tricky bits around the face first. If you can’t hold the crown of the head to stabilize the skull it makes it much more complicated. Try to keep the teeth clean.

Zombie Head Cheese

A detail of the blue-streaked cream cheese.

Zombie Head Cheese

I used a small flexible spatula to spread this. There is no need to be tidy here, the messier the grossier. Grosser? Grossest? You know what I mean.

You can also stick a few rectangles of parchment paper surrounding the head so you can be a bit messy while frosting and then pull them out after you are done, a trick I learned about frosting cakes. If you can putting the head on a smaller plate on top of a larger plate will be useful to catch the fake blood, and it will be easy to artfully arrange the crackers. Saltines are the traditional cracker for this but these more artisanal crackers I found looked like creepy bandages and still have that bland and salty taste you want. You can frost your head a few hours early and refrigerate. It’s amusing to sit nearby and observe as unsuspecting people open the fridge.

Zombie Head Cheese

Cocktail onions create nice dead eyes.

Zombie Head Cheese

Just before serving mix a bit of soy sauce with some drops of red food coloring and drizzle it over the head so that is streams down. I used a pipette but if you don’t have one handy a small measuring cup with a pour spout or a carefully wielded spoon will work just as well. If you can get the soy sauce to pool around the onion eyes, it looks extra creepy that way. Also sprinkle on some bugs, I mean, toasted sesame seeds.

Zombie Head Cheese

It’s even scarier after it’s been eaten. Yikes.

Version #2

Zombie Head Cheese

This is version #2, it’s slightly less involved. You just need spreadable cheese, cocktail onions and a plastic skull. Let’s face it, just about any pink or orange tinted spreadable cheese will look suitably disgusting.

Zombie Head Cheese

I used this cheese that has reddish port wine streaks in it. I didn’t manage to capture the reddish colors in these pictures as well as I hoped but I promise it was pretty gross looking.

Zombie Head Cheese

I’m smitten. What should I name it?

(See also: The Outtakes wherein I attempt to carve a tongue from Spam and am entirely too successful.)

· comments [60] · 10-26-2011 · categories:food · halloween ·

links: halloween

Eye Popping! « bakerella.com. The two newest Halloween cake pops, eyeballs and spider nests, are simple but so effectively creepy!

Everything You Need to Know About Carving a Pumpkin | Serious Eats.

How-To: Brains in a Jar Cake @Craftzine.com blog.

Halloween Panna Cotta · Edible Crafts. Eyeball!

Cupcake Ghosts · Edible Crafts. Cute, and they look easy to create.

How to Make a Delicious Glow-in-the-Dark Punch for Halloween – CHOW.

A question about zombies. Specifically, Zombie Stories. Extra specifically, Zombie Stories that Don’t Suck. | Ask MetaFilter. Zombie book recommendations.

· comments [2] · 10-20-2011 · categories:halloween · links ·

links: halloween

Gross, And I Mean Gross, Halloween Recipes · Edible Crafts | CraftGossip.com.

Spider Cake in a Jar · Edible Crafts | CraftGossip.com. I love how they topped this jar!

Modern Parents Messy Kids: Handmade Halloween: Make Spider Sack Decor with the Kids. A very clever take on the string wrapped balloon thing.

Modern Parents Messy Kids: Handmade Halloween: Etsy Costume Roundup.

Take This Halloween Costume Idea … Please | The Hairpin. Scott and I have dressed up as ceiling fans before. All it took was a trip to Joanns for some t-shirts and iron on lettering. Silly but easy.

How to Make a Spooky Halloween Mirror | The New Home Ec.

· comments [3] · 10-10-2011 · categories:halloween · links ·

links: Easter

custard served in real egg shells
Sprinkle Bakes: Breakfast for Dessert: Boiled Custard Eggs, Shortbread Soldiers and Coffee on a Stick. More faux eggs, via Edible Crafts.

a pastry horn made to resemble a carrot
Hungry Happenings: Fun idea for an Easter Brunch – Carrot Crescents Filled with Egg Salad. These are so cute.

hot cross buns
Hot Cross Buns | The Pioneer Woman Cooks | Ree Drummond. Yum.

knot buns with raisin eyes, very cute
Bread roll chicks | Flickr. These knotted bread roll chicks are adorable. I couldn’t find the specific entry but they are from The Secrets of Our Supper.

two pyanski eggs
Minimalist Pysanky @Craftzine.com blog.

cute felt carrots
Felt Carrot pattern, at I Make Stuff. (Warning: PDF). I love the line of stitching that dds a bit of detail to these.

napkins folded in a bunny shape
Bunny Fold Napkins at Martha Stewart. This is an old one but a good one and it’s been popping up on Pinterest lately. And I like it as a last minute way to add Easter decoration.

· comments [20] · 04-21-2011 · categories:holidays · links ·