Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Twinkie Cakes!

My mom used to make us these yummy little cakes that we called twinkie cakes. They tasted just like a twinkie, only better. The secret is in the filling, which I'm going to share with you. When I started making them for my kids, I began rolling them in sparkly sugar and calling them fairy cakes. Whatever you call them, these are really good and really simple. I made them for Valentine's Day this year, and colored the icing pink.
Just use your favorite yellow cake recipe, or yellow cake mix. I really like a cake mix for a treat like this, because it lets you get to the fun (and delicious) stuff faster. This time I used a yellow cake recipe from my old faithful Good Housekeeping cookbook, but I've used a cake mix many times as well.

Twinkie Cakes (aka Fairy Cakes)

1 recipe yellow cake made into cupcakes, but don't use liners! At the end, you're going to cut them open, so you want to keep the sides intact. Just give the muffin tin a spray with cooking spray.

Twinkie Filling

Combine 1 cup milk and 1/3 cup all-purpose flour in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring just about constantly until it makes a thick paste. It's going to get thick really quickly, so just stir until it thickens then remove from heat. Now let it cool just a bit, then pop the pan into the fridge to chill.

After the paste is nice and cool, it's time to finish making the filling. Now beat 1 stick of butter and 1/2 cup crisco together in your mixer for 4 minutes.

Then, add 1 cup confectioner's sugar and 1 tsp vanilla and beat another 4 minutes.

THEN add your chilled paste, and yes, beat yet another 4 minutes. It's going to pay off, I promise you.

It's okay to have little bitty chunks in the filling, they will be few and far between.

All right, now just halve your little cakies and fill them up. Around here, we like things sparkly, so if you are so inclined, roll the edges carefully in some chunky sugar or sprinkles.

You can also use this filling to fill and ice whole cakes. It goes really well with a rich chocolate cake. In fact, the filling recipe will probably make more than you'll need for the cupcakes, so why not make that cake too, and then invite me over to help you eat it!

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Good Time

Our family was blessed to be able to spend a few days in the mountains with childhood friends and their families last week. I knew that I would spend a lot of time laughing- a lot, but I wasn't anticipating long talks about the gospel and God's grace in our lives. It was so refreshing and encouraging to see God at work in the lives of dear friends. Our God is so faithful.

Kiddos spying some turkeys.

Good food. You know there was food.

Old friends catching up. That's Joanna, me, and Carrie on the steps of our cabin.

We were so excited about this trip, and I wasn't really ready for it to end. It was just such a good time. I could have spent a week with these people. The time together really exceeded my expectations, and I'm hoping we can make it a yearly event.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valentine's Day Crafting

I have always loved Valentine's Day.  Who doesn't love roses, paper heart doilies, pink, and sappy love songs?  Okay, lots of people I'm sure!  But I am such a romantic at heart.  It is such a great time for crafting, and even if you don't sew or aren't really crafty, there is still lots of opportunity for crafty fun.

I pulled this out a couple weeks ago, and today me and the kids did a little crafting.  I was thinking about something for the kids to put their valentines in, and I thought it would be nice to have something out now that we could leave little treats and love notes in over the weekend.  I had lots of brown paper bags, so we decorated one for each of the family.  Each bag is closed with a clothes-pin with a paper heart glued on.

If you're looking for gifts, this was a big hit with my husband last year.  I made one for him to put in his office, and it turned out so well that we made another one for our home.  We've since given one out for Mother's Day as well.  I just bought pre-cut poster board and a fat sharpie to make the letters.

Here is another craft I did last year.  I bought flour sack kitchen towels and red fabric paint.  I used cardstock to make a heart stencil, then stuck a paper doily onto the towel with spray adhesive.  Then, I sponged the paint onto the towel over the doily (using my stencil), then carefully peeled the doily off.  This was not an original idea, but I can't remember where I saw it.  I think this would make a sweet gift for a lady used as wrapping over a loaf of homemade bread.

Hope you are finding fun ways to spread the love this year!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Gifts for Baby

Here are the two handmade gifts I made for our little guy for Christmas. I had wanted to make this little rocket man for quite some time! This was a fairly easy project; although I had a little trouble getting the little pouch just right. I used a cereal box for the wings, like the tutorial suggested. I'm kind of thinking that something sturdier would be much better though; maybe plastic canvas. The only thing I had to purchase for this was the wooden egg. It was so exciting this year to only have to buy a very small amount of supplies for the gifts I made.

This little book was a last minute gift I put together. For the pages, I just cut rectangles from an old white sheet, about 8 x 17 inches. I used Steam-a-Seam to attach my shapes/animals to one side, then sandwiched felt rectangles cut a half an inch smaller. Then top-stitched the pages before putting it all together. Most sewing projects I just want to see the end result, but I really enjoyed the process with this one. I could have really gone nuts with this one, more embroidery and fun trims, but Christmas was upon me and I needed to keep it simple!

Felt pocket with shapes to pull out. Inside the shapes I put bits of that plastic wrapper that wipes come in. It gives it a little crinkly sound.

On the last page I put a little lift-a-flap. Inside the flap I put a bit more crinkly wrapper. Fun, right? I really like how this turned out. I think I'll be making more of these in the future.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Some Sewing Links You Might Like

I was able to get a little sewing done last week, and just thought I'd pass along some cool refashioning links. I love being able to take something I already own, and give it a whole new look.

I found this brilliant idea, and thought it was a great solution to buying skinny jeans. Have you ever tried on skinny jeans? I tried a pair on two sizes bigger than my regular size and they were way too tight! I had this pair of flared jeans that fits my curvy frame, and I didn't mind cutting into them. They turned out pretty good. They aren't quite as skinny around the ankles as your typical skinny jeans, but I was afraid they would turn out just looking really unfashionably tapered. At the bottom of the post she gives tips for adult jeans. The measurement I used for mine was 2 1/2 inches. And speaking of jeans, I tried a great method for hemming jeans a while back. Check it out here; it's genius, and so easy!

I also made a simple jumper for my two year old out of one of my shirts. This shirt never really fit me right, and the color wasn't that flattering. But such adorable fabric and details; I knew it had a life as something else. I just placed one of my daughter's A-line dresses on top, and traced it, adding a little extra for seam allowance. Maybe now I'll have the confidence to try this tutorial. I cut the neck and arms a little too big, but it turns out it also looks cute on my eight year old as a shirt. So, no harm done really.

There are many more refashioning ideas I'm hoping to try as I get the time. I'll be sure to pass them along.