Succulent Pots

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In case you couldn’t tell from some of our previous posts, we’ve been really into succulents lately. It seems like over the past year succulents have become all the rage in Los Angeles, and we can definitely see why! While very cute and trendy, their low-maintenance tending requirements are perfectly suited our busy schedules.

The other weekend some of my roommates went to the Brentwood Farmer’s Market, something I definitely recommend checking out if you have the chance to go. From locally grown fruits and vegetables to freshly baked artisanal breads to mini succulents, farmer’s markets are always a great way to spend your Sunday (especially when you find cool new ways to spruce up the apartment)! When Maddy came walking through the door — succulents in hand — I immediately jumped at the opportunity to turn the pot-less plants into our newest craft on the blog.

This craft is one of my new favorites in the effortless way it enhances the ambience of the room. These succulent pots are a very affordable way to express your creativity and add a little character to your desk, coffee table, etc. Read on for more!


Materials:

  • Succulents
  • Mini terra cotta plant pots (we got ours here)
  • White acrylic paint
  • Gold leaf pen (we love this one here)
  • Paintbrush

After carefully peeling off price stickers from the pots (we soaked them in hot water with soap for a few hours to ease the process), generously apply white paint directly onto the terra cotta. Let dry and touch up as needed.

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Next, we took out our gold-leaf pen and doodled away. You can decorate each pot the same way or create a new design for each one — this is the part of the craft where you can really let out your inner-creativity!Plants (12 of 27)Plants (16 of 27)

Finally, we carefully potted our succulents into their new homes! Plants (27 of 27)Plants (25 of 27)

Happy potting!

– Michelle

Decorative Letters

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Throughout our college careers (as is the norm for most college students), we’ve constantly been on the move — in and out of dorms, sorority houses, apartments. Each new school year comes with a new place and new people to call home. While definitely exciting as each place will inevitably bring new memories with our friends at school, it makes it a little harder to create that “home away from home” feeling.

When we moved into Towngirls (the 4-girl room in our sorority) together sophomore year, we decided to make a little housewarming gift for our roommates to brighten up the standard white walls and grey carpets of our room and make the place feel a bit more lived-in. Since then, it has been a tradition to begin each school year with this housewarming gift for our new roommates.

This craft is unbelievably easy to make (you’ll be surprised) and can be tailored to each person’s favorite color, pattern, etc. These letters make the perfect housewarming, birthday, holiday gift for friends and family — really, it’s great for any occasion!


Materials:

  • Cardboard letters (we got ours on Amazon, here)
  • Acrylic paint/paintbrush (you can also use spray paint)
  • Decorative paper (we got ours at the Paper Source, here)
  • Modge podge
  • Scissors
  • Pencil

After carefully peeling off all the price stickers from the cardboard (you want to begin with as smooth a surface as possible), we began to paint the letters completely. Two layers ensured a rich paint color. Let dry completely before moving on!

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Next, we flipped the letter upside-down and traced onto the matching decorative paper with a pencil. It’s really important to make sure you are tracing the letter backwards onto the back side of the paper — we don’t want to pull a Karen from Mean Girls!!

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Then, carefully cut out with scissors. Make sure to stay as close to the pencil line as possible so that the paper lines up with the letter so there is no excess or shortage.

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Finally, we painted Modge podge onto the front side of the letter so we could attach the decorative paper. Carefully lay the paper onto the Modge podged surface so that there are no wrinkles. Press down firmly to secure.

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Now you’re ready to keep ’em, gift ’em, hang ’em on a wall – whatever your heart desires!

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Happy Modge Podge-ing!

– Kirby and Michelle

Coconut Macaroon Birds’ Nests

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We hope everyone has an amazing Easter this upcoming Sunday! We will both be spending it the best way possible, with family. This is one holiday that, although it was a blast as a kid (who doesn’t love a good Easter egg hunt?), it is still just as special as an adult. Maybe it’s the fact that the weather is nice, family and friends are around, or that it always is on a Sunday, but neither of us can remember having a bad Easter. Plus, the Easter candy selection might be the best of all the holidays. Hard to compete with that.

This past week we tested out some coconut macaroons as a sweet treat to contribute to our Easter parties. Instead of traditional coconut mounds, we shaped them into nests that perfectly fit three little cadbury eggs in the center. The result is an adorable Easter themed treat that tastes like a dream.


Ingredients

  • 5 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut (1 14 oz bag)
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • A bag of cadbury mini eggs

Preheat the oven to 375º F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In our test run, the cookies stuck a little bit so next time we will grease the paper as well just to be careful. Mix together the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla until well combined.

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In a separate bowl, use and electric mixer to whisk the egg whites and salt until they form stiff peaks.

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Carefully fold the egg white mixture into the coconut mixture.

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Use a spoon to form a heaping mound of mixture onto the baking sheet.

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Then use your fingers to press down in the center to create a “nest” shape. You might want to test the size of it with three eggs to make sure that they will fit. Repeat this until you have used all of your mixture.

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Bake for about 25 minutes, until the edges are golden. Then allow them to cool completely. Once cooled, fill them with mini cadbury eggs and you are done!

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Lola thought they were pretty tasty, too hehe.

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Happy Easter!

-Michelle and Kirby

Flower Tea Cookies

_MG_7094Alas, Spring has sprung! There are daffodils beaming in the garden, birds and squirrels scampering about, driving Lola (my cocker spaniel) mad, and my favorite summer wardrobe staples creeping back into my closet. However, I often find myself confused with the weather this time of year. I think that I forget Spring is not Summer. I expect the sun to be full blast and for ice cream to be present every evening. Even here in LA, it is still a little bit chilly, which I feel guilty saying because I know that if California isn’t hot right now, the East Coast much be worse. In fact, my mom called the other day from Santa Fe, NM where it was snowing. Yikes.

So, long story short, these sugar cookies are a great transition to Spring. They are bright and floral, but can be enjoyed with a nice hot cup of tea. With a little nook cut into them, they rest effortlessly on the side of a coffee cup. You can make them with any shape, really, and I look forward to making a festive batch in the distant holiday season when hot cocoa comes back into my life.

P.S. Michelle and I just got home from Thailand! It was the most incredible adventure and I fell in love with Asia. We’re already daydreaming about how to go back. Stay tuned for content about our trip and our favorite crafts that we stumbled across in the colorful, vibrant markets.


Materials

  • Sugar cookie dough and royal icing (recipe here)
  • Food coloring (I used purple and orange)
  • Plastic ziplock baggies or piping bags
  • A round glass (or circle cookie cutter)
  • A knife

Follow the recipe on my older post to make your sugar cookie dough. Roll out your dough onto a floured surface until it is approximately 1/4 in thick. In order to save money I used a glass to cut the round shapes rather than buying a new cookie cutter. Continue rolling and cutting until you have no dough left.

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Using a knife, carefully cut a slanted rectangle out of your cookie. For this step it’s probably best to just follow my picture because I realize “slanted rectangle” might not make any sense.

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Place the cookies onto a greased baking sheet and bake in a 400º F oven for 8 – 10 minutes, until barely golden brown on the edges.

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While the cookies are cooling, make your royal icing. Divide the icing into 2/3 and 1/3. Mix the color that you would like for the petals  into the large half and the color for the flower centers into the small half. I used purple for the petals and orange for the centers. Divide the large half of icing (in my case, the purple) in half and mix a tiny bit of water into one of the halves in order to water it down.

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Spoon all three batches of colored icing into separate ziplock baggies or piping bags. Cut a small hole in the corners.

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Using the thicker purple icing, pipe the outline of the flower petals. Then allow to harden for about ten minutes.

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Next, fill the outlines in with the runnier purple icing. Fill it as much as you can without it spilling over the edge.

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Finally, pipe the orange icing into little dots in the center of each flower. Allow to dry and serve!

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Happy Spring!

-Kirby

Hedgehog Match Holder

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We love candles – who doesn’t? There is at least one scented candle in every room, and that number continues to grow every time we step foot in Anthropologie (anyone have any good self-control tips??). One idea we’ve been obsessed with lately is placing a cute ceramic container full of matches next to your candles, rather than hiding them away in a small cardboard box. We began hunting online for the perfect container and we came across this adorable miniature hedgehog flower pot.

Rather than use it as a planter, we opted to fill it with matches so that we can have them on display next to our candles at all times. We even glued the striking strip to the back so we can light the matches on it, too! The funniest part is this little hedgehog now has the best pink hair-do.


Materials:


Because this little hedgehog is meant to be a planter, he cleverly has a hole on the bottom so that water can drain out. This hole isn’t so clever though when you’re trying to use it to hold your matches. We placed a paper towel inside to block the hole and prop up the matches since they were too short for the container.

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Cut off one of the striking strips from a box of matches.

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Carefully (yes carefully… fingers were accidentally glued together at this stage!) glue the strip to the back of the pot.

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If your matches are attached to the box that they came in like ours were, cut them out.

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Neatly arrange them in the pot, starting from the inside out. They can be a bit tricky to manipulate but as it gets fuller, they get easier to handle.

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And that’s it! So simple, but so cute. We guarantee you’ll get a few “awww”s out of it.

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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.

Belle cupcakes

 

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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