Saturday, January 5, 2013

To DIY Soap or Not To DIY Soap

This post has absolutely nothing to do with cakes but another side of me that I like to partake in whenever possible.  DIY projects.

So for all you DIY'ers out there that love to save money...this is for you!

A few months back, around August, I decided that I wanted to make my own laundry soap.  I happened upon it when I was reading a blog about how to buy groceries monthly and then supplement with fresh veggies and fruits weekly.  I have no idea what blog that was.  I've tried searching for it and cannot, for the life of me, find that blog.  Not to worry because there are tons of sites that show you how to make this detergent.  In a nutshell (commence reenactment of the scene from Austin Powers)...  here's how I made mine.

What you need: all found at wal-mart
1 Box Borax
1 Large Box of Baking Soda
1 Large Box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
1 Container of OxiClean
3 Bars of Fels-Naptha

First you need to grate the bars.  You can do this by hand, which is what I did, or use a food processor with the grating blade.  By hand takes some elbow grease.

Transfer it to a large container that you can mix the rest of the ingredients in.

Add your OxiClean...

And the rest of the of the powders.  Thoroughly mix and then I put in all in a Trader Joe's, put the bag in one of my boys' toys bins to secure the bottom and added an approximately 2 tbsp scoop.

That's it!!  Save money, have great smelling clothes and have bragging rights that you make your own powder laundry detergent!

Give it a try and see if you don't make the switch yourself.  By the way I haven't bought laundry detergent since September and I still have about a 1/4 of it left.  We wash a LOT of clothes so I don't think I'll make it to the 1 year mark that some people claim.  I've still been thoroughly satisfied with the results!

As always...thanks for stopping by, God bless and leave some love!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Pretty, Pretty Petals

Hey guys!  I've missed talking with you all lately.  I just haven't prioritized properly to get blogging in on top of everything else.  I know you understand and that's why I cherish our friendship.  You're all so forgiving.  Thank you.

Over the past several weeks I've been planning, making lists, buying supplies and working on the preparation timeline for this wedding I had...TODAY!  It's right after all the holidays and I was very worried that I wouldn't find time to get everything done and give it the attention it requires.  So as soon as I knew I was doing the event, which was in August, I set about preparing.

Making a cake to feed 140 is typically nothing to stress over...but...throw that in after Christmas and New Years and you can guarantee there's going to be some kind of level of stress.  Fortunately, proper planning and prioritizing helped to avoid a lot of it...Except when it came to the chocolate marshmallows but we'll get to that later.

By the way I'm keeping this post short.  I want to tell you all the boring details but, alas, I shall restrain myself.

I've always wanted to do one of those rose petal cakes where the petals cascade down the cake.  This was my opportunity.  When the bride sent over what she had in mind I was thrilled and worried.  Would it be as pretty as others I've seen?  Would I even know how to make it look the way it's supposed to?  What do I start with first, the middle flower or the outside petals?  These are the questions that flooded my mind and so I do what I've always done...being a self taught cake designer... I googled.  I'm not ashamed to admit it.  I looked up pictures, videos, how-to's, other blogs and forums to figure this baby out.  The design is simple enough but I wanted to make sure I did it right.

She also wanted strands of pearls on the cake and, for a moment, my heart stopped...rolling all those little balls and attaching them one by one can be a nightmare...but it's so pretty!  So, again, I googled.  I  knew there were molds to use that help you create a 12" string of pearls in one go and I set out to get one.  I was a bit worried about how easy it would be and if I'd actually be saving any time if it ended up not working properly.  I ended up getting this one from  It did make the work easier but still a bit time consuming to rollout the fondant to fit in the mold.  All in all a wise choice and great success!

The bride also wanted some extra goodies for the guests besides the cake and I suggested something different than cupcakes since they would have cake already.  She decided on marshmallows and the ever popular french macarons.  So we created two flavors of each.  Toasted coconut and chocolate marshmallows.  Pumpkin spice and strawberry cream macarons.  With my lists made and my schedule on my calendar these ended up being a breeze to create...except the chocolate marshmallows!  I don't know what I was doing wrong and ended up blaming it on the humidity because I had to make 3 batches before I got ones that came out right!  The marshmallows ended up being the perfect choice because they also had a Hot Cocoa Bar set up.  How awesome is that!

I was so thrilled to be apart of this wedding as well because a dear friend of mine was the one doing the  decorating for the event.  She's incredible!  She definitely has an eye for style and pulling things together to look gorgeous and this venue definitely looked just that.   Unfortunately I don't have pics of all the beautiful details but I'm sure I can find a way to share them with you later. ;-)

This is the cake we made and I think it turned out pretty close to what I had envisioned.  What do you think?

...And here it is set up at the wedding.  She wanted it separate from the desserts because she didn't want anyone bumping it. 

...this is the dessert table but I forgot to get a pic after they finished decorating.

Turned out pretty nice, right?  The cake, by the way, weighed a ton!  I could barely lift it and was worried I would drop it.  But.  I didn't.  It was an honor to be a part of this wedding and I hope the guests all enjoyed the cake and goodies!  

If you were a guest and visit this blog please let me know what you think!  I'd love to hear from you!

As always...thanks for stoping by, God bless and leave some love!