My husband told me that the other night I sat up in my sleep and blurted out, "I wanna make a cake!" and then promptly rolled over and returned to my slumber. I have no recollection of this. However, I believe him because yesterday my schedule was wide open and that's all I really wanted  to do. So around 12pm I finally gave into the craving and set off to the local market to hunt down all the gluten-free ingredients I needed.  I have never baked a cake before…unless you count fun-fetti that comes in a box. 

But not only did I want to bake a cake…I wanted it to look like the ones below:

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Photo Credits: Emilie Griottes as seen on Decor8 , Elizabeth Messina , Potter & Butler & A Pair of Pears

Surely I could easily enter the bliss of cake making and/or styling like the very talented women above. I do not mean to make light of their talent…because they are honestly masters of creating beauty. However, for some reason I thought…"Sure! This will be easy. I'll put on some Ella Fitzgerald and a polka dot apron and I will June Cleaver this shit up!". If my mom or mother in law are reading, please excuse the language.

After wandering the grocery aisles like the "The Walking Dead" searching for xantham gum, I finally returned home ready to embark on the grand culinary experience. I announced to my husband (who is bed ridden at the moment with a thrown out back) that I was going to make him an amazing cake. He smiled in apprehensive approval…and looked a little bit afraid.

Ella Fitzgerald music on. Check.

Ingredients laid out creatively and "styled" at a bird's eye view for photo opts. Check.

Polka dot apron in place. Check. 

Rustic antique cake stand awaiting. Check. 

 

"I am going to rock this! Beautiful vintage inspired cake with locally made organic ingredients here I come!" I thought to myself.

Turns out, gluten free flour mixes are amazingly complicated. Also, I'm not very well aquainted with a sifter. Let's just say there were lots of  flour "poofs" stretching up to our kitchen ceiling. Guess what else…I'm terrible at cracking eggs. Another finding, eating the cake batter along the way…BAD idea. That will give you a pretty epic stomach ache. Oh, another confession? I look like a jackass in a polka dot apron….but it was worth a shot 😉 It's also very hard to take pictures of things WHILE you are cooking.

The whole experience resembled a cliche' cooking diaster scene from a romantic comedy. Only it was real.

Yet, despite all these discoveries I kept my focus…all the while desperately taking photos with egg and sugar covered hands for the sake of the "DIY" experience I had planned for my blog. Because everyone "styles" their mixing spoons and indgredients in such a way that is worthy of Real Simple Magazine right? And we ALL have airy white walls and lace doilies delicately folded in the corners of our kitchens. Sure we do, right next to our vintage copy of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Well, actually I got my copy at Costco….when the movie came out. I'm actually not sure if it's a picture of Julia Child on the back or Meryl Streep. No matter! Onward and upward!

I managed to get the consistencies correct after a stressful experience triple checking the gluten free recipe…and when I pulled the cakes out of the oven…they looked pretty good. "Awesome…my camera may be ruined and covered in butter…but at least these cakes look sweet" said I to my stressed out self.

Now it came time to make the frosting. I was determined to color the frosting a delicate mint green, because then it would match my blog banner. Yes, you read that correctly. It wouldn't taste very good if it didn't MATCH my JARFLY blog, after all. Heck, who cares if it tasted good! I just wanted it to LOOK good. So to work I went…carefully testing drops of food coloring in water (which doesn't really help unless you are dying easter eggs).

Long story short, I mixed the frosting wrong and forgot to add the butter. Then I realized I was out of butter. Back to the store I went. When I came home, I realized I was short on powdered sugar. After a slight mental breakdown…my husband hobbled to the store and came back with more powdered sugar. With which I managed to finally get the proper consistency with.

Two green drops of food coloring later…BAM. Minty green frosting. YAY! Now I just need to frost the cake and put it on the 1940's cake stand. Easy enough. 

Right.

I sort of forgot that unless you let the cake totally cool…the frosting kind of melts everywhere. I also managed to place the cakes on top of each other upside down…making a fairly hefty crease in the middle…on which the frosting just rolled off of. In summary…my frosted cake looked like it had been puked on. And the lovely vintage cake stand was COVERED and I mean COVERED in frosting. Top to bottom. It looked like a complete nightmare.

By this time it was 9pm and I had completely lost my natural light to even take a photo. Of the alien cake.

So I threw it in the fridge…sat down on the kitchen floor….and cried. Yes. I cried over a cake. "How will I ever gain 3,000 unique visitors a month to JARFLY if I can't bake a gluten-free vintage mint cake and style it like Martha Stewart!" I wailed at the heavens, "And for the love how long can my camera possibly sit with dried egg on it before it ceases to work!"

This was all so very sad since I even had a "Happy Birthday" banner looking-cake topper thingy to similuate an actual birthday decor idea. I taped the hell out of it and figured I could photoshop the imperfections. I even figured I could photoshop the whole darn cake!

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This morning I got up extra early to see if I could salvage the over-frosted monster in the fridge. I managed to scrape it to a point where it looked kinda okay (see above)…but I forgot that my husband and I had snuck two big pieces late the night before…so there was a chunk missing from the back. I decided this problem could be fixed by throwing a flower on top of the cake. Plop. Missing pieces "camouflaged".

But here's how I felt looking at the cake…which had literally taken up my ENTIRE Tuesday.

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(SIGH)

I came to realize that not only was this whole experience pretty ridiculous….but that of course I set myself up for failure from the get-go. I wanted to look like other people….I was modeling myself after them. The fact is…I WANT to be a "design blog"…the kind that inspires people to want to bake a cake…like the blogs listed at the beginning of my post do for me. Truth be told…if I'm to accomplish this, I'll need to do it my own unique way. Of course, this is wrapped up in being myself. It also has a lot to do with patience.

I did notice one thing…I had more fun writing this post about my mis-adventures in the kitchen than I've had writing posts in months.

SO.

Maybe I'll never reach that goal of being a widely known design blog…because just maybe…that's not really what I'm good at. Or perhaps I'm very good at it. All of that is unfolding. But I'll tell you one thing…that green monster cake I created?

It tasted darn  good….terrible frosting and all. I know because I'm currently eating it, as I type this.

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I guess I better go put my living room back together. I moved all the furniture around just to get that perfect white wall to take the photo above in front of. Ha…have a great week everyone. IF you can relate to this…I would LOVE to hear your thoughts in the comment section below. 

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One of the many perks of breaking into the world of weddings is the sheer amount of beautiful creativity I get to be a part of! I was lucky enough to take part (in however small a way) in a lovely wool-inspired photo shoot a couple months ago.


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We were also super excited to have been featured on Style Unveiled  this week! I'm very lucky to be able to work with so many talented people, special props to Erica of Erica Ann Photography & Fine Art , who is responsible for all these lovely photos!

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Aren't those colors and textures lovely? Well hanging out with sheep never looked so glamourous…that is for sure! I hope you all are enjoying the final stretch to friday…..see you tomorrow as I get back in the swing of "a few of my favorite things"!

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Teacups

I've been wanting to try making my own candles for awhile now. Since it's my first time, I decided to take it easy on myself using some craft store wax and fragrance sets. Next time I plan to find natural clean burning options with less chemicals involved.  I'd also like to experiment with making my own fragrances. I CAN tell you though, this quick and easy craft turned out very cute….you will love adding these charming candles to your dining room or deck area. AND what a great way to re-use old tea cups!

What you'll need:

*For good options on supplies see HERE

old tea cups (or comparable container that handles heat well)

wicks

soy wax (I used the kind that comes in flakes) 

candle makers fragrance (I used vanilla)

candle maker glue (optional)

sticks or chop sticks

a pot (for warming wax on stove)

something that pours well

*use items that you don't mind getting waxy and having to clean off later*

 

 

Directions:

1. Pull our your tea cups, and place a wick in the middle of each cup. You can glue the wicks down with candle maker's glue if you wish, but I found it works fine without it.

2. Wrap the wicks around a stick or chop stick and let it rest on top of the tea cup. This helps keep the wick from moving around while drying.

3. Pour the wax flakes into a pot and slowy heat to 160 degrees.

4. Once wax is melted, add a couple drops of the fragrance of your choice (optional).

5. Gently Pour the wax into each of your cups at LEAST half way full.

6. Let dry until white color

7. Gently pull the sticks out from the wicks, and trim the wick to a desired height

8. Let sit one more hour to completely set

9. Light them and enjoy!

 

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That wasn't too painful was it? I came away with some waxy pots and pans, and I'll admit to using some colorful words a few times while trying to pour the wax…but other than that it was pretty easy! My tea cup candles look  pretty out on my porch and I kept a few for the kitchen as well. I hope you enjoyed this project! Feel free to forward it around and if you have any thoughts or questions for me leave them in the comment section below! Comments are my favorite thing ever…

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I came across today's Raspberry Ricotta Ice Cream in my latest issue of Whole Living. It's a FAN-tasic magazine…I keep every issue on my counter next to my cook books and find endless uses for the healthy, quick and practical meals in it. Since we are now officially a few days away from the Fourth of July (for those of us stateside)…I thought this would be a great tutorial for a quick yet impressive dessert to shower upon your guests over the holiday.

 

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I can't wait to serve it for a mini-summer get together soon enough, as it's the perfect warm weather treat! Those colors just make me want to frolic on the beach…and it tastes divine, very refreshing.

You'll Need:

An Ice Cream Maker

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream 

1 cup light or normal ricotta

1/2 cup sugar (you can reduce it if you watch your sugar intake or try using stevia to taste)

1 tsp vanilla extract

pinch of salt (sea salt or himalayan salt tastes best)

1 tsp-1 Tbs lemon zest (the more you use, the more tangy it is….)

Waffle cones (optional)

*buy organic if your budget and lifestyle allow, it tastes better and is better for you*


 

Instructions:

1. Night before: Prep your ice cream maker in whatever way it's instruction manual describes.

2. Mix all the ingredients (above video) together in a large bowl. 

3. Pour the mixture into your properly prepared ice cream maker.

4. Let roll 25 minutes or however long is recommended for your ice cream maker.

5. In the last 3-5 minutes of the roll, slowly add whole fresh raspberries.

6. Scoop out and serve (for softer ice cream) OR place in a covered container in freezer overnight for       harder ice cream.

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What's your favorite summer treat? Leave a comment below with a link or recipe! Let's share the sugar love!

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I have a confession. When I was in highschool, I became a chronic scrapbooker. Yes, a scrapbooker in the most lethal sense. I would take my hard earned babysitting money and gallop into the nearest "Scrapbooking Nest" where I would proceed to buy all the overpriced stickers and acid free paper I could. This paper (I was told) could withstand the apocalypse…at about $5.99 a piece (but money well spent right?).

I even went to scrapbooking parties where we would practice "page" themes. Simply putting my camping trip photos in an album would no longer do. They needed…NEEDED I say…sparkle borders and thought bubbles popping out of peoples heads saying "Schools out!" or "Party Time!" or "Girls Rule!". These items were essential for my memories to properly be recorded. 

As you can imagine not only did my bank account hit a low during this phase, but I became completely addicted to glue stickers and ribbon. Through a series of events (that I will not speak of here) I was finally set free from my over the top need for glue and photoalbums.

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After helping out at a large banquet event the other night, I was awarded a bag of scrapbooking items (Thanks Sara & Kirsten!). I will not lie, my paper cutting addictive tendancies immediately began rising up in my throat and I would have given anything for that whole room of 200 people to clear out so I could start doodling right there on the floor.

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Thankfully, SMASH products come to us at a much simpler time than 1998…and I can assure you my scrapbooking adventure this time around will be much simpler and in turn, more fun! I love the quirkiness of these products (notebooks, pens, sticky notes and fancy tapes). Did I mention they are sparkle and thought bubble free?  

When it comes to journaling and scrapbooking these days…I don't force miserable friends and family to look at pictures anymore. Instead I use scrapbooking to brainstorm for my business and dreams. It's a fun hands on way to organize my thoughts. I also look forward to the quiet time in the midst of such a digital age. Plus, when I pull out my books and journals later, I acutally enjoy looking through them. So in a way, I am making a memory…just a more purposeful one that's just for me.

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Can I interest you in some bakers twine? For decades I'm sure it was used for just that, wrapping up dough and baked goods. For me, I love using it to wrap gifts and send packages. You can find bakers twine anywhere, but I purchased these on Etsy at Annie 42 Creations.

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Another fun idea is making your own stamps. I drew this victorla design with ink and then had it made into a stamp by Puddle Jumpin' Cards. It's a great way to share your drawings with people without, you know, showing up at their doorstep with a painting intended for their mantle (that's weird).

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The other day my Mom pointed to some tape I had with me and said, "what's that?". Oh man…well let me tell you. It's called washi tape! You can buy all sorts of japanese washi tape on the web, but I really like Cute Tape because they have many different styles. Washi tape is perfect for wrapping gifts and packages because not only is it perfectly secure, but it's pretty. And know what? I like pretty things. 

If you are in scrapbook recovery like me, these items are simple fun ways to boost any note, journal, letter or package. I don't know if they could withstand the apocalypse or acid rain, but for now anyway, you'll be glad they are in your desk.

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