Beauty and the Beast Belle Cupcakes

belle (22 of 24)Michelle and I are beyond excited for Disney’s new live action Beauty and the Beast. The costumes look stunning and I adore Emma Watson, she is the perfect embodiment of Belle, on screen and in real life. Belle was always the Disney princess I associated myself with as a kid… but looking back that’s probably just because she looked the most like me.

There’s nothing quite like a themed cupcake to get me even more excited for something. Michelle and I made these two-tiered Belle cupcakes for the occasion. They brought me right back to my 6th birthday party when I had a Barbie cake. Did anyone else have one of those, with the real Barbie inside the cake “dress”? This whole week has been filled with a whole lot of Disney/Barbie/princess nostalgia!

On another note, Michelle and I have officially finished college as of yesterday and we are off to Thailand for two weeks! I have no idea how four years flew by that fast. We can barely contain our excitement for this trip and can’t wait to see what adventures await us. We have some fun content lined up while we’re gone and hopefully upon our return we’ll have some Thai-inspired crafts to share with you all.


Materials:

  • Cupcakes (not shame in using a boxed mix – the college budget is real)
  • Vanilla frosting
  • Yellow food coloring (we used golden yellow and bright yellow to create two separate shades)
  • A printed Belle template (here’s our Belle Template)
  • Toothpicks
  • Super glue or hot glue
  • A knife
  • Plastic ziplock bags or piping bags

Bake your cupcakes and allow them to cool completely. We used red cupcake liners to symbolize the red rose from the film.

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These cupcakes are actually created by stacking one cupcake on top of another in order to get the correct dress shape. Start by unwrapping the paper from a cupcake. Flip it over so that the bottom is on top. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut away slivers of the cake to make the cupcake a more conical shape. Grab another cupcake and spread frosting on top of it. Finally, place your upside down carved cupcake onto the iced cupcake. Repeat these steps with all of the other cupcakes.

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Separate a small amount of your icing and use your dyes to mix a deep golden yellow color. Spoon it into a zip lock bag or piping bag and cut a small hole in the corner. With the remaining icing, use your dyes to mix a lighter shade of yellow for the main part of the dress. Spoon that into a different baggie and cut a larger hole in the corner, about a centimeter wide.

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Starting at the top of the cupcake, carefully create vertical stripes using the yellow frosting. The key is to move faster at the top and slow down towards the bottom so that the stripes are wide at the base. They should be tall narrow triangles, and they don’t have to be perfect – in fact, the lumpiness makes the frosting look more like fabric.

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Continue making stripes until the entire cupcake is covered and none of the cake part is exposed. If there is cake exposed at the very top, just use a little bit of frosting to cover it up.

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Using your darker shade of yellow frosting, carefully pipe the ribbon around the dress, following the wave pattern of the stripes.

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Next, print your Belle template and cut out only the top half of her body.

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Use super glue or hot glue to attach toothpicks to the backs of the cutouts and allow them to dry.

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Once they have dried, insert them into the top of the cake, and you are finished. Hope you enjoy them as much as we did, and enjoy the movie!

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Happy baking!

-Kirby

 

St. Patrick’s Day Lucky Charm Treats

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Like most holidays, Saint Patrick’s Day was way more fun as a kid. My brothers and I would wake up to find that those sneaky little leprechauns had turned our milk green and nailed our shoes to the walls! But their pranks were forgiven thanks to the chocolate coins stashed throughout the house. Now that I’m an adult, Saint Patrick’s Day just involves a lot of beer. In college that’s just like any other Tuesday night.

But sweet leprechaun-themed treats are a great reminder of the holiday spirit I felt as a child. This Lucky Charms spin on Rice Krispie treats is a fun and easy way to add a little Saint Patty’s Day celebration to your home or office – just maybe don’t tell your dentist about this one.


Ingredients:

  • 6 cups of Lucky Charms cereal
  • 10 oz bag of marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup of unsalted butter
  • Rectangular baking dish
  • (optional) Wax paper and green paint for decoration

Melt the butter in a large pan on the stove.

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Once the butter is melted, add the marshmallows.

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Stir until they are completely melted into a creamy consistency.

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Remove from heat and add the cereal. Stir until the marshmallow mixture is evenly incorporated.

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Drop the contents of the pan into a greased baking dish. Use the back of a large buttered spoon to press the cereal firmly into the dish until it is smooth and compact.

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Allow to cool. Then use a sharp knife to cut the treats into rectangles or squares.

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For an extra Irish touch, wrap the individual treats in wax paper and paint each one with a green clover.

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Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

-Kirby

 

DIY Twine Bowl

twinebowl-6-of-12When we first lived together sophomore year of college, our sorority made us choose a theme for our bedroom. Yes, you read that right. And to be completely honest, we were pretty psyched. Remember those home improvement shows for kids where they went all out on the themed rooms? Well that’s what it felt like. After much deliberation (and accepting that a Harry Potter theme probably wouldn’t fly in the sorority house), we chose “country rustic”. We’re still not quite sure what that means other than we probably spent too much time looking at Pinterest weddings.

Anyways, to make this story somewhat relevant, this craft made us giggle because it’s very “country rustic”. If you put twine on anything you can call it rustic, but make a bowl out of it and use it to hold your farm fresh eggs, and now you’ve got country rustic.

But really, this craft is so simple (it’s only made of two materials!) and is a beautiful addition to a kitchen table when filled with fruit.


Materials:

  • Twine
  • Two bottles of Elmer’s school glue
  • Water
  • Two bowls (on for the glue and one for a mold)
  • Plastic wrap

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Pour 1 1/2 cups or so of water in your bowl and mix in both bottles of glue. Stir the mixture together until well incorporated.

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Unravel as much twine as you can and soak it in the glue.

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While the glue soaks, turn your bowl “mold” upside down and cover it with plastic wrap. You don’t have you use plastic wrap but it makes for easy clean up!

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Now wrap your glue-soaked twine around the bowl over and over again until there are a few layers of twine. The more you do this, the stronger the bowl will be. If you want to, you can be strategic with how you wrap it – you can make pretty loops or be very precise so that it is all really even. We opted for a more rustic feel, because you know, that was our theme. One you finish, patiently wait for the glue to dry. You want to wait at least 24 hours. The twine should be rock hard.

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Gently peel off the plastic wrap and any pieces of glue that are still stuck to the bowl.

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It makes for a great hat!

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Just kidding. Fill it with fresh fruit or whatever pleases you – because your bowl is ready to go!

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Happy glü-ing!

-Kirby and Michelle

 

DIY Cactus Rock Garden

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I am all on board the succulent train. I have one on my desk, I have one on my bedside table, and I’ve managed to convince both of my parents to plant them in their gardens. They make me smile when I see them along the walls of trendy L.A. coffee shops, and I must talk myself out of buying more whenever I pass the aisle at Home Depot. You get it, I like succulents.

So this past weekend when I went over to my friend Evie’s house and saw her homemade cactus rock garden, I got very VERY excited and she kindly showed me how she made it. This craft is perfect for kids, but also perfect for 22 year olds like myself. There is something about the smooth weight of the rocks and the way you can move them around in the sand/gravel that is so therapeutic – kind of like those zen sand trays. I could rake that sand for hours.

It’s a super cute addition to a book shelf or a coffee table, and the best part is we didn’t spend a penny to make it. This craft makes me smile. So thanks Evie, you’ve brought much happiness into my week.


Materials:

  • Smooth, somewhat flat rocks (we went hunting in the neighborhood)
  • A container (we used a recycled tomato can)
  • Sand or small pebbles (we used aquarium gravel)
  • Various shades of green paint
  • A sharpie
  • A glue gun
  • Pink embroidery thread
  • A fork
  • Scissors

First pick your rocks. You want to test them out with your container so that they aren’t so big that they fall out, but also aren’t so small that they look disproportionate. We used a large tomato can, but this craft could be done in any sort of container! Evie’s original was in a cute homemade box, and my next go at this will be in a wide but shallow ceramic pot so that I can use a lot more rocks.

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Fill your container just below the rim with gravel or sand.

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Mix your various shades of green. We did a different shade for each rock (and ended up omitting the neon green rock).

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Now patiently paint your rocks. I say patiently because you must do at least two coats and you have to do both sides. It takes forever and is pretty boring. It’s like watching paint dry. hehe.

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But the wait is worth it because now you have beautiful green stones. I loved them so much like this I was tempted to just leave them so that I could just look at them and hold them from time to time.

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We used a small stone and a big stone painted the same shade to make a cactus with a branch (that sounds wrong… is there a better word for that?). We simply glued it on with hot glue.

At this stage Evie turned to me and said “now  just make your pom pom.” Like I know how to make miniature pom poms… does anyone just know how to do that? Needless to say, I had her very carefully walk me through it and to be honest, it’s quite easy and now I can confidently make mini pom poms.

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So here are the secrets. Get a cute tiny fork with a cool swirly handle (or probably just a normal fork), and wrap your thread around it until it forms a thick bundle. Next, gently weave the end of the thread through the fork tongs underneath your “bundle”. Pull it through and tie it into a tight knot around the bundle. It should look like a oddly shaped bowtie. Remove it from the fork and cut both sides of the “bowtie”. Use your fingers to spread apart the threads and voila! you’ve got a little poof.

 

Glue your pom pom to the top of one of the rocks.

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Use a sharpie with a fine tip to draw on the thorns. We used a variety of patterns to depict them, including stripes, crosses, “v”s, and little lines that look like sprinkles.

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Now you can arrange your rocks however you would like in your little garden. And then you can rearrange them when you get bored. And then do it again. That’s the beautify of this sweet little craft.

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Happy “gardening”!

 

-Kirby

And The Oscar Cookie Goes To…

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The Oscars are coming up next weekend and I am beyond excited. It is my most anticipated televised event of the year (sorry, Superbowl). Michelle and I are hosting a small viewing party, for which we made ballots for guests to bet on the winners. Download our ballot here —> oscar-ballot-2017 if you would like to print it out for your own party! We also will be serving these Oscar statue sugar cookies and of course, what’s an Oscar celebration without a little champagne?

I make it my mission to see every movie nominated for the biggest awards so that I can formulate an honest (and passionate) opinion. I can’t speak for you all, but I don’t remember the last time I saw a bad movie… the contenders aren’t messing around this year! After much deliberation and a whole lot of crying at the movies, I’ve settled on MOONLIGHT as my favorite. The performances were so powerful and so believable, and I really admire the director’s choice in camera movements. It has been weeks and I’m still thinking about it. But that’s followed by a close second tie between HELL OR HIGH WATER, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, and LION. Oh and maybe LA LA LAND and HIDDEN FIGURES…. See, I have a lot of trouble deciding.

Who are your picks for the Oscars this year?

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Ingredients:

  • Sugar cookie dough (find our recipe here)
  • Cardboard, scissors, and a pencil (for the shape cutout)
  • Royal icing (find our recipe here)
  • Yellow and black food coloring
  • Ziplock baggies
  • Gold sprinkles (we used Wilton gold pearlized sugar, which also be found on amazon)

Use a pencil to draw an Oscar statue that is approximately six inches in height. Cut it out with scissors. Now you can use it to carefully cut the shapes out of the dough by tracing it with a sharp knife.

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Use a spatula to place the cookie cutouts on a greased baking sheet. Bake in a 400º F oven for 6-8 minutes and then allow to cool.

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Max a batch of stiff royal icing (meaning, do not add any water and make sure it forms stiff peaks when you lift it with a spoon). Divide your stiff royal icing into thirds, 1/3 for the black, and 2/3 for the yellow. Thoroughly mix your colors. Then divide those colors in half so that you can add a pinch of water to make a slightly runnier version of each color as well.

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Spoon the stiffer icing into plastic ziplock bags or piping bags and cut a tiny hole at the corner.

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Use the yellow icing to trace the statue with thick lines and make sure there are no gaps. Allow to dry for a minute or two.

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Use the runnier yellow icing to fill the border lines. You want them filled as much as they can without spilling over the edge.

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Cover the cookies in gold sprinkles. You may need to add a second coat since the sprinkles tend to sink into the icing. Once they dry, dust off all of the loose sprinkles and move the cookies to a clean surface.

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Now use the black icing to pipe the border of the statue’s stand.

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Fill those borders with the runnier black icing and allow to dry.

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And… ACTION! No shame in using your cookie to pretend you’ve won your own Oscar for a little while…

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Mardi Gras King Cake

king-24-of-26We hate to brag, but this is one of the most delicious king cake recipes ever. It is soft, it is cinnamon-y, it is nutty, and it is coated in thick, gooey vanilla icing. It doesn’t get much better than that!

The festive cake season started on January 5th, also known as the Twelfth Night or Epiphany Day, and ends on Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent begins. This year Mardi Gras takes place on February 28th so it is perfect timing to whip up your own king cake. Whoever finds the small baby hidden inside is blessed with luck and prosperity, and has to bring the king cake to the party next year!

We’ve learned a lot about the history and symbolism behind the cake throughout this project, but what we love the most is the joyful celebrations that surround this treat. We daydream about dancing in the streets of New Orleans every time we bite into this cake, but for now we’ll have to enjoy it from afar here in Los Angeles!


Ingredients

The Cake

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 package of yeast
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened, cut into small cubes

The Filling

  • 2/3 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cups chopped walnuts

The Icing

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

The Decoration

  • Yellow, purple, and dark green sprinkles or sanding sugar
  • A small, plastic baby

Mix 2 1/2 cups of flour with the package of yeast until completely blended.

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In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Using the paddle attachment on your mixer, combine the dry ingredients with the hot milk while the mixer is on low speed.

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Once the liquids are well incorporated, add the eggs one at a time. Mix until a gooey dough forms. Switch to a dough hook attachment. Mix in the remaining cup of flour and the salt.

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Add the softened butter, one cube at a time. Using the hook attachment, knead the dough for 8 minutes, pausing to clean the sides of the bowl every few minutes.

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Knead the dough a few times by hand on a floured surface.

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Then roll it into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rest and rise for an hour. It should almost double in size.

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While the dough is proofing, make your cinnamon filling. Combine all ingredients until it forms a thick paste.

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Once the dough has risen for an hour, remove it from the bowl and roll it out onto a floured surface. You want to roll it into a rectangle measuring approximately 10 x 20 inches.

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Smear the cinnamon filling onto one half (the long ways) of the dough. Don’t be afraid to use your clean fingers to get it evenly distributed! Fold the dough in half over the filling and press down firmly.

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Carefully slice the dough into three long, even strips. Then pinch the dough together, sealing any openings so that the cinnamon filling won’t leak out.

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Gently braid the dough. After you braid it you can stretch it out a little bit.

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Form the braided dough into a wreath shape on a foil-lined baking sheet (we used a pizza stone). We tucked the loose pieces of dough underneath each other in order to disguise them. Then cover and allow to sit for another hour.

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While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350º F. After an hour, when the dough has once again doubled in size, place it in the over and bake for 25-30 minutes. Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes or so once finished baking. The filling might have leaked a little bit (ours did!) but no worries, it comes off easily when you transfer the cake to a new plate.

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While it cools, make the icing by mixing the powdered sugar, vanilla and milk together until smooth. It should be viscous but not too runny.

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Onto the fun part – decoration! First, and most importantly, tuck the little plastic baby into the cake somewhere. It helps that it is braided because there are many secret little crevices.

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Using a spoon, pour the icing on top of the cake in thick globs. Allow it to ooze instead of spreading it.

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Then finish it off with green, purple, and yellow sprinkles! We did them in six alternating sections.

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Time to reap your reward! Pop your piece in the microwave for ten seconds if you want it warm and soft… really, does it get any better?

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A big thank you to our friend Evie, a cooking genius (and she is 12!!) for her help on this baking project.

 

Happy Mardi Gras!

-Kirby and Michelle

Origami Valentines

king-28-of-39Does anyone else feel nostalgic about Valentine’s day from elementary school years? We miss the shoebox mailboxes that we would customize and decorate to stash our valentines. We miss the sweet little cards from our peers with funny pun notes and lollipops taped on. We miss the cookies that our teachers would bring – the kind from the grocery store with heaps of neon pink frosting and heart-shaped sprinkles. Did anyone else stress way too much over which card to give to your secret crush? It had to be subtle but send a message at the same time… not the easiest task for a 4th grader with Spongebob valentines!

Anyways, this year we decided to throw it back to the good ol’ Valentine’s days and make homemade valentines for all of our closest girlfriends. It’s a sweet reminder that we love them. The day should be about celebrating all of your loved ones, not just the romantic ones.

We opted for paper origami pyramids. They are very easy to make and are perfect vessels for peanut and peanut butter m&ms. Mmmm!

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Materials

  • Paper in various shades of pink & red
  • Scissors
  • A pencil
  • A ruler
  • Glue
  • Thin ribbon
  • White paper
  • A black pen
  • White thread
  • Peanut & peanut butter m&ms (or whatever small candy you prefer)

Using a ruler, draw a square onto a piece of paper. Then draw triangles on each side. It is important to measure all of your angles and sides so that they are even, or else the pyramid won’t align properly. Add a rounded edge to each side of the triangles. These don’t have to be perfect because they will be folded inwards and hidden inside of the pyramid. Now carefully cut out your shape.

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Use the shape that you’ve cut to trace and then cut out all of your other shapes. For a cuter result, use a variety of pink and red paper colors.

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Now you get to assemble the pyramids! First, using a pencil or a hole punch, make a hole at the end of each triangle. Next, fold the rounded edges on the triangles inwards, so that the shape once again has perfect triangles pointing outwards. Finally, fold at the edges of the square, so that all four triangles point upwards.

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Once you have folded all of your pyramids, use a glue stick (or just Elmer’s school glue) to glue the edges of the pyramid together. Only glue three of the sides together, leaving one open.

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When the glue has dried, cut a piece of thin ribbon to tie your bow. If you are looking down at your pyramid with the open side pointing away from you, thread the ribbon into the hole on the right side of the pyramid as well as the hole in the center. Then thread that ribbon from the inside of the left hole outward. Loop it around and back through the center hole. You should have your ribbon looped through all holes, with both ends now coming out of the center hole on the inside. This sounds confusing, but if you follow the pictures it should be pretty straight forward. Thread the two ends of the ribbon through the hole of the open wall of the pyramid.

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Now you can tie your ribbon into a bow. The ribbon holds the walls together, but when you untie the bow, the wall easily slides open to reveal the goodies you’ve stashed inside.

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Fill your pyramids with candies until they are completely full! Then close the box and tie it together with a bow. We curled the edges of our ribbon since it was the plastic kind.

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Using plain white paper, scissors, and black pen, cut out small hearts and label them with the names of the people you are giving valentines to. We punched a tiny hole in each one with a pin, but you could also use your pen to do it. Then tie the name tags to the bows on the pyramids using thread.

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Voila! Your valentines are complete. We often forget how much a simple homemade gift can brighten someone’s day, and these are the perfect way to remind your friends how much you love them.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

-Kirby & Michelle

Texas-Style Queso Blanco

qeuso-edited-6As most of you know, the Super Bowl is coming up. And we’re going to be completely honest here… football is not our thing. In fact, we had to google who is playing this Sunday (sorry, Dad). But there’s one thing that brings us to the TV room every Super Bowl Sunday, and that’s the food. We can get down with some buffalo chicken wings and jalapeño poppers.

One of our favorite snacks of all time is queso (otherwise known as liquid gold). In fact, one of the first things we bonded over our freshman year of college was our love for cheese, and look how strong that bond proved to be. If you haven’t had queso, here’s your opportunity to change that. We wish we could have our first bite of queso all over again. It’s not easy to find here in L.A. though. Our Mexican food is amazing, but very different from Tex-Mex. Liquid cheese doesn’t necessarily fit the California health mold. Can you imagine… “May I have some queso with my quinoa and kale?” So we’ve been making our own, and my god is it good.

The best thing about this recipe is the use of fresh ingredients. We won’t deny how tasty Velveeta queso is, but this recipe allows us to enjoy it with a little less guilt.


Ingredients 

  • 8 oz white American cheese (get a good quality kind, preferably at the deli counter), cubed or shredded
  • 4 oz monterrey jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup tomato, diced
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, diced
  • 1 cup half & half or cream
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes and green chilis
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 lime
  • Salt & pepper
  • Cumin (optional)
  • Chili powder (optional)
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Chips

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Pour a tablespoon of oil into a large saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add the garlic, onions, fresh tomatoes and jalapeños. Sauté for a few minutes, just before the onions begin to look translucent.

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Pour in the cream and the can of Rotel tomatoes. Stir well and bring to a simmer.

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Then add the cheese a little bit at a time, continuously stirring. You don’t want the cheese to burn the bottom of the pan but you want it hot enough to melt evenly and smoothly.

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Once all of the cheese is melted, add the lime, cilantro, salt and pepper. At this point you can play with the seasoning and add based on your preferences. We like a little cumin, chili powder and red pepper flakes.

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Pour into a bowl and serve immediately with chips! You can also microwave it later if it cools too much.

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Good luck not eating the whole thing by yourself!

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Go Patriots and Falcons! May whoever wins be rewarded with liquid gold.

-Kirby and Michelle

Sharpie Ring Dishes

edited-5As of Christmas, I am a newfound ring owner. My mom gave me a beautiful set of three delicate rings from Armenta that I absolutely love, and weeks later I still look down at my sparkly finger wondering why I never wore rings before. Well the truth is, I lose every piece of jewelry I own, so I avoid wasting money on jewelry. As much as I wish I never had to take my rings off, I have to when I’m painting in my studio, doing dishes, or washing my face. Every time I take them off, I wish I had a secure place to put them, dreading that I will lose yet another special piece of jewelry. I began looking for ring dishes online when I decided I should make my own!

I found this set of 13 appetizer plates and decided it was a perfect opportunity to make gifts for my friends and my mom, as well as myself. While making them, I also thought of my friends Rob and Vicky who recently got engaged while visiting here in L.A., and realized that these also make perfect engagement gifts. They are incredibly affordable, yet practical and thoughtful.

Sharpie art is a Pinterest craze I’ve always been eager to try and this was the prime opportunity to do so. Once you bake your sharpie art, it won’t rub off of the ceramic plate when washed. I used metallic oil-based sharpies (the water-based ones won’t work) and decided to use sticker letters to monogram each dish, but the best part about this craft is that you can design your dishes however you’d like with whatever colors you’d like. Here’s hoping I still have my rings by next Christmas!


Materials

  • Plain small plates or dishes
  • Oil-based sharpies, or sharpie paints
  • Sticker letters
  • An oven and baking sheet

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Place your sticker or stickers onto the plate. Firmly press on them so that the sharpie ink won’t seep underneath.

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Draw your design around the letter. I chose to draw a thick stripe of tiny dots that disperse as they move away from the letters.

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Carefully peel away the sticker. If ink managed to creep beneath the sticker, use a needle or toothpick to scrape it off, or wipe it away with a bit of rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab.

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Finish all of your plates before you bake them. I kept my design uniform, but customized the letters and switched from gold, to silver, to copper.

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For Vicky’s engagement gift, I wrote the first letter of her and her finance’s names (R & V) and hand-wrote their upcoming wedding date beneath it.

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Once you have finished your sharpie decorations, allow them to dry for at least 72 hours. Then place them on a baking sheet in a cold oven. Heat the oven to 425º F and bake them for 1 hour. Once you turn the oven off, leave the plates inside and let them cool with the oven. The reason for this process is to avoid cracking caused by sudden temperature change.

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When they are completely cool, take them out and they are ready to be used or gifted! I would avoid putting them in the dishwasher just in case, but the ink should be very permanent now. Hopefully my friends will use theirs as much as I will use mine! These also make great dishes to put your keys or change on, so you don’t have to be a ring person to make one.

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Happy decorating!

-Kirby

Wooden UCLA Sign

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This is a really exciting time of year to be a UCLA Bruin with the Men’s Basketball team ranked *3rd* in the NCAA. Woohoo!!! Although, to be honest, is there ever a time we’re not trying to show off our Bruin pride? No. As we’re both graduating early and in our final quarter of school (aaah!!!), we’re trying to make the most of our time here – taking advantage of our Den passes to watch the Men’s Basketball team dominate in Pauley Pavilion, enjoying the 70˚F “winters” on campus by Janss Steps, and spending every night with friends who will soon be going their separate ways.

We decided to step up our school spirit a bit with these wooden, distressed UCLA signs. It’s a perfect way to decorate a college apartment and sturdy enough to last forever once you become an alumni. While we’re obviously partial to UCLA, this craft can be tweaked to represent any school/team you desire…even that school across town. 😉


Materials:

  • One 4 x 2 (we used Pine wood)
  • Sand paper
  • Wood stain and rag
  • Wood glue
  • Clamps
  • Acrylic paint: white, blue, and gold (yellow)
  • Water
  • UCLA cutout
  • Pencil
  • Paintbrushes
  • Sawtooth picture hangers or command strips to hang

Locate a piece of wood that allows you enough space to decorate to your liking. We opted to cut a 4×2 into four equal-length pieces which we glued together because it adds a little extra texture and character to the final product. Sand down so that the edges are smooth before staining.

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Once you’re happy with the surfaces of the wood, wipe it down with a wet rag to remove leftover wood shavings. Now you are ready to stain it! To get the color the correct richness, it usually takes three layers. Rub it on the wood with a rag and let it dry for 15 minutes. Then, rub off the excess stain with a damp rag and let the leftover stain dry for three hours. Repeat three times for best results.

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After the wood has been stained and dried, sand down the pieces. This wears down the wood and stain a little bit to create a more distressed, vintage look.

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Next, mix the white acrylic paint with water. Our mixture was one-part water, one-part paint – feel free to play around with your own mixture depending on how distressed you want your final product to be (the larger the ratio of water to paint, the more diluted the mixture will be). Once the mixture is to your liking, rub onto the wood with a rag. Let dry.

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With wood glue, glue each of the pieces together on the long end. Hold pieces together with a clamp while drying so that they are secured and will not come apart with time.

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Once all the wood pieces are secured to each other, carefully trace your UCLA cutout onto the wood with a pencil. We taped the cutout to the wood in some places to make the tracing process easier.

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Paint inside the lines of your UCLA tracing with yellow paint. For better results, we painted three layers of yellow onto the wood. The more opaque the yellow paint is, 1) the better it looks against the wood and 2) the fewer number of layers you will need of blue paint on top! Let dry.

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Next, trace the inner part of the UCLA logo on the wood. You can print a shrunken-version of the original cutout to trace or estimate depending on what you are most comfortable with. Paint within these new lines with blue paint. We painted three layers to really ensure there were no spots of yellow shining through.

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From here, you have a few options to hang the sign on the wall. You can install sawtooth picture hangers (like these here) onto the board and secure on the wall with nails. This is the sturdiest option. Because of our college living arrangements we were unable to nail into the walls. Instead, we used command strips.

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Now you’re ready to hang your work and show off your school spirit!

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We chose to hang ours above another craft that showcases some of our favorite UCLA memories. It’s a simple craft that involves many of the same steps as the UCLA sign. Once the wood pieces are secured with wood glue, attach wire to it with small screw eye bolts (like these). Then, hang pictures from the wire with small clothespins.

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Go Bruins!

– Kirby and Michelle