Friday, October 30, 2009

All Dressed Up

So there are two reasons to post about dressing up today. Firstly let's see what I wore today. Its one of the fab dresses I thrifted yesterday! I'm totally in love with the neckline on this dress. The plunging structure is very flattering. Also it layers so well, with a turtleneck during the chilly months, and a pretty camisole when it gets warmer (months away, how sad). But versatility in making a piece last through your wardrobe during four seasons is most important to a money crunched fashionista.

Now, I'm not a label checker while I thrift shop. Mostly labels don't mean much to me, if its nice then why should it matter if its Chanel or Wal-Mart? (plus we don't get alot of clothes here that come from high end designers). However I noticed this dress said Max Studio, and out of curiosity I googled it. Turns out this 'max studio' is a higher end line than what I'm used to. It makes me feel shamefully more in love with this dress.

Now, onto the real dressed up fun. Before walking 2 of my client's dogs this morning, we did a little photo shoot. The result was so cute, I could not handle it. Readers, look on at your own risk.

Penny the pekingese is dressed as a Fairy Princess, that's my Daisy in the middle as a harlequin, and Susie the terrier/chihuahua mix is a daisy (a hand me down from my Daisy's last year costume). Cuteness overload! I think so. ^^

Thursday, October 29, 2009

thrifty thursday

Well it must have been over a month since I've gone to my local thrift store. I was just itching to pop in and see if I could score any new cameos for my collection. Turns out today was a good day. With crisp October temperatures and sunny skies, I took the bus across town.

Value Village was full of shoppers, no doubt looking to score the best 'unique' costumes for this weekend. It felt so good to just peruse the store, pick up anything I fancied and bring it to the dressing room for the final call.

Today, dresses seemed to be calling my name, and I tried on about ten. There were four that fit well and would make lovely additions to my closet. However...I had also found a beautiful cameo brooch that I could not leave, and two bracelets with charms I wished to upcycle for my own jewelery. It was a tough call, but I reasoned myself down to 2 dresses, the brooch and the bracelets which would be used for parts. It seemed that from those five items I would get the most bang for my buck, and that really is important when shopping on a strict budget.

The dresses will be posted soon to my flickr account no doubt, and the charms should be showing up in my designs when the shop opens. But, if you're anxious to see my fab finds, here's a sneek peek.

Cute square buttons and eiffel towers anyone?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

festive cupcakes

Holidays make blogging so easy, there are a hundred things you can do! So for the party tonight, I chose to make some halloween inspired cupcakes. Here's how I did it.

First, gather all of your ingredients. That's : a cake mix (if you're like me and have a whole store of them in your cupboards), chocolate frosting, vanilla frosting, eggs, water (I prefer water, but the package states milk could also be used), applesauce (this is to replace the oil. Cuts down on the fat and helps to moisten them!), sprinkles, cake papers.

So despite the instructions on the package which say throw it all together and mix, if there is one thing I learned in cooking school it was to first combine ALL of your liquids, whip them up real good. Then add the dry. Again, whip it....Whip it good....

Fill each little cake paper, nearly to the top so they puff up. Then into the oven at 350'F degrees they go.

It should take around 17-20 minutes for the tops to start to get golden. If you poke a toothpick in and it comes out clean, then they're done. Place on cooling rack.

Wait about fifteen minutes before frosting, so it doesn't all melt and disappear. Now comes the fun part. Plop chocolate frosting onto the cupcake, then smear it out to the sides, smoothing it as you go and removing excess. Yum.

Now place vanilla frosting in a piping bag with a small round tip (or use a ziploc bag with the tip of one corner cut off). Use this to pipe a swirly pattern. Pretty, but not quite done.

Now, the really fun part. Using a toothpick, start in the centre and draw the pick out to the side. See how it pulls each ring out? Do about 6 or 8 of these and voila, spiderweb design!!

And here they are. For variety I did half of the cuocakes with spiderwebs, the other half got black and orange sprinkles. Well I can't wait to dig into them at the party tonight. Hope this can inspire you to make your own festive cupcakes. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pumpkin Lollipops!

So tomorrow there is a Halloween party for the young girls in my church. And as I am one of their leaders, I decided to make them a little treat. Here's the tutorial for what I did to make these cute wee pumpkin lollies!

Firstly, you're going to need a few suplies. I had everything I needed, except the orange candy melts, which are relatively cheap at the Bulk Barn.

So you'll need candy melts, a small glass measuring cup, one large chocolate candy melt, sucker sticks, a candy mold, wax paper, toothpicks and flavouring if you like. I chose to add a drop of orange to add yumminess.

First step is to place the glass measuring cup with your candy melts, into a shallow pot of water. Slowly bring this pot of water to med/high. You'll need to pay close attention to be certain things don't burn. You don't want a rapid boil either, just simmering. This melts your candy. Melt about half, then turn the heat to low, and stir the rest until its smooth and shiny.
So now that its all gooey and smooth, carefully poor, (or spoon like I did) the melted candy into the molding tray. If you spill over the edge of a mold, just carefully wipe it away with the edge of your finger or a damp cloth. Once the tray is full, now we add the sticks!! Slowly push the sticks into the little wells provided. Twist it from side to side to coat the stick with the candy. After you've done each individual lolli, into the freezer the tray goes!
Okay, those should take about eight minutes to set and harden. While you're waiting for those, take your chocolate melt, and in a small glass bowl, melt it in the microwave. The trick to doing this, is do it in 10-15 second increments, stirring each time. When it is mostly melted, you can stir the rest in very easily, this prevents you from burning the chocolate. (Mum had to teach me that after burning chocolate several times in the microwave when i first started using melts).

When the lolli's are solid, remove from the freezer and place on wax paper. They should come right out of the mold no problem.

Hello Monsieurs Pumpkins! Now, using your toothpick, carefully dip it into the chocolate, and then carefully dab it into the hollows where the features are. There has to be a better way to do this (I just haven't discovered it yet). My hand is a little wobbly, so my pumpkin faces turned out goofy, but they still look cute....Right?

I left three without chocolate so you could see the originals. Now, just gussy them up with cellophane bags, ribbon and little tags. The bags I had were too long, so because I'm too poor to go and buy the right size, I merely snipped these ones to the length I wanted. I used a stamp I had picked up at Michael's for $1.50 last year after halloween. And Tada, finished product!

Candy lollipops are a fun, easy and inexpensive way to add the 'treat' factor in Trick or Treat!