Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My First Attempt at Cake Pops

Funfetti Cake Pops

Red Velvet Pops
 A couple of weeks ago I made cake pops for the first time for my guy's bday BBQ. They were really fun to make and everyone loved them. They are simple to make, but just takes some time to go through all the steps. It took me about 2 hours to make all the pops over an 8 hour period, including prep, baking, cooling, and refrigerating.

Here's what I used
 All you need is cake mix and frosting from the grocery store, candy melts (bought at Michaels), and lollipop sticks. I bought the Wilton Cake Pop book from Michaels which has all the basic steps, multiple recipes, and decorating ideas. I found this to be a great resource, and would highly recommend purchasing if you want to make some cake pops.

Basically all you do is bake a cake, crumble it, add frosting to the crumbled cake, roll that mixture into the ball, refrigerate, dip in candy melts, and decorate. Here are some photos of the process.

Baked Funfetti cake

Red Velvet

Add cake to the mixer (dry)

Mix and doesn't take too long to crumble

Add frosting and use mixer to mix it

This is how it looks, kind of like cookie dough

Rolled out balls

Melted candy melts in the microwave
 After all the balls are rolled it is time to add the lollipop sticks. I dipped one end of the lollipop stick into melted candy melts and then inserted into the cake ball, maybe like halfway through. I did this to all the balls and then refrigerate for about an hour to ensure the melted candy harden and attached to the lollipop stick well. This was a tip in the Wilton book.

With the sticks

Another view with the sticks
 After about an hour I removed and swirled the cake pops in melted candy melts. This gave the pops a hard candy shell. In the beginning I found that candy melts were really thick and it wasn't easy to move them through the bowel of candy melts. I read online you can add a little vegetable oil to thin it out and this seemed to to the trick.

For some of the pops I added sprinkles or candies right after I dipped them in the candy melts. This way the candy melts were still soft and the sprinkles adhered and didn't fall off. And another trick in the book and that I read online was to place the finished pops in a Styrofoam block. Keeps them upright and easy to serve them on this as well.

These were really fun to make and looking forward to making them again. There are some great decorating ideas online and in the Wilton book.

Thanks for stopping by and please email me with any questions. As always please leave a comment if you would like, and till next time....

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pirate Scrapbook Layout Using Cricut Imagine Buccaneer

It has felt like its been forever since I made a scrapbook layout. When I first starting crafting my main focus was scrapbooking, but lately I have been making cards or decor items. And also using my Yudu here and there, as well as making cake pops (blog post in the future). I am so behind on my scrapbook albums. These pics are from out first trip to Disneyland in March of 2009 (can't believe more than two years ago).

It was so great to get a new layout done. I really enjoy scrapbooking so much. I have many layouts from this album but I find it so hard to get a good photo of scrapbook layouts, any suggestions? I used to scan and stitch a layout, but my newer printer/scanner does not do a good job, so these photos are from the camera.

For this layout I used the Cricut Imagine Buccaneer Art cart. I was so excited when ProvoCraft released this cart for the Imagine. There are so many great pirate images and backgrounds. After making the print and cuts the simple layout went together quickly.

Here are the individual pics of each page:

This layout was about a dinner we had at the Blue Bayou in Disneyland. Such a great place, the food and scenery was awesome.

All the elements including the background paper was from the Buccaneer cart. I really like that you can print patterned/background paper with the Imagine. I love the first page's scene of the treasure map, so cool. The pirate ships came out really great, so detailed. Its really great to have sizable printed embellishments. Sometimes I find when using embellishments or stickers that are bought it maybe perfect but either to big or to small. So having the option to resize these elements is really helpful.

Sunken ship


Journal spot

The only problem I have had with my Imagine is that if the print is at the bottom of the mat, the cut is not totally aligned all that great. You may notice it on the journal spot. I used some markers to blend in the color so the white of the cardstock didn't show. I think I need to take some time to do the advance calibration, something I haven't ventured into yet.

Hope you enjoyed and thanks for stopping by...till next time...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

First Card Using Copics and CTMH Art Philosophy Cricut Cart

Here is one of my latest projects. I made a set of 16 thank you cards for my guy. Recently threw him a b-day BBQ. We had such a great time and many of our friends got him such fun gifts. So I wanted to make a fun card to give thanks. I have had this Muchas Gracias stamp set from a while. I got it at Joanns, I think it may have been a dollar stamp set. I never used it because I had a hard time finding a good way to color my stamped images. I've tried a number of things but really never loved the look. But recently I dove into the world of Copic markers, and I am really pleased. I was lucky to get a great deal off the message boards to start my collection. And now that Michaels carries them (although my local ones don't yet) it will make them cheaper to by, got to love coupons. Also Michaels has a list of 60 colors they will carry, and a color chart online to keep track of what you have. So I will base my collection on these colors and go from there if needed.

To make the card base I used the new Close To My Heart Cricut Cart Art Philosophy. The cart has some great basic and detailed shapes. And there is a card feature for each image. So I used one of the square shape with rounded-in corners. I cut the card base at 5 1/4 inches in the light green cardstock. I then cut the shape with the 1st layer at 5 inches. This way you can still see the card base and you don't have to worry about lining it up perfectly.

Here's a bunch of images of the cards

This was a great set of cards to make and went very quickly. I am really liking the CTMH cart and the various possibilities with it.

And here is my new collection of Copics. Started at 35 and got 8 more when I visited home in Upstate over last weekend, the Michaels up there have them on display, and hopefully down in the city soon.

Newest colors

Thanks for stopping by and till next time...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Combining & Printing Layers with Cricut Imagine & Toy Story Cart

One of the features that would make the Cricut Imagine really great would be able to combine layers of a detailed shape, and be able to print and cut them out together. I love the dimensional look of the layered cuts, but sometimes, especially with the Disney carts, it becomes difficult because of all the intricate small pieces. This has been a feature that people have wanted but no one knew how.

But recently the blog titled Cricut Craft Room Blog figured it out, and I couldn't be happier! Here is the link to the blog.

The author of the blog gives a great tutorial with all the steps on how to complete this. I was surprised how easy this became once I did it a few times. I will definitely be doing this in the future and will get me to use my Disney Carts more often.

This has to be done using the Cricut Craftroom with the Imagine. The only thing that did not work for me was my Imagine did not cut the image after it printed. It printed great and looked like it was going to start printing but stopped. I read on the message boards that others have had problems cutting with the Imagine using the Cricut Craftroom. So I will have to try and do some troubleshooting about this is the future. For this project I cut it out with scissors, which wasn't too bad because of the large shadow.

Close up of Lotso

One think I love about the Imagine is being able to create and print custom colors. It lets you enter the RGB color that you want. It takes the guesswork out of matching colors. To find the RGB of a certain color I use a great little program called Color Cop. It is a free download and super easy to use. It lets you use a dropper icon to pick the color you want. To find the colors for Lotso I used the PDF of the Toy Story handbook on the Cricut site. This let me pick the perfect shades for the character. Here are the RGB codes the I used for each layer: (pg.66)

Base (shadow layer) - Black (a default color on the Imagine)

<lotso-1> + shift : R243 G226 B203

layer 1 : R240 G81 B147

layer 1 + shift : R150 G 1 B95

layer 2 : White (a default color on the Imagine)

layer 2 + shift : R89 G19 B71

layer 3 : R221 G25 B37

layer 3 + shift : R228 G177 B122

I had a lot of fun making this and look forward to making some more of the characters in the future. Please check out the Cricut Craftroom Blog, it is a great resource on how to use this program.

As I make more and more of the Disney characters I will list the RGB codes that I use, and will hopefully have some sort of comprehensive list in the future.

Thanks for stopping by, till next time....

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

First L Letterpress Project ... Thank You Cards

Here is my latest crafty project! Last week HSN had a great deal on the L Letterpress starter kit. I have been looking at getting this for awhile and finally took the plunge with the price, bundle, and free shipping. The kit came with the basic starter kit that they sell in the stores, but also included additional printing plates, inks, and papers. 

I don't own the Epic Six but have a Big Shot (the old Ellsion version). I read on a number of blogs that the L Letterpress would work on the BigShot, and after a few trials and errors I think I got the hang of it.

BigShot with the Letterpress plate
After reading a number of blogs, looking at the Lifestyle Crafts website, and watching the video on the HSN website I learned a few tips. When inking up the brayer on the acrylic plate you don't need to use much a ink at all. It literally felt like a drop, I didn't think it it would be enough, but a little goes a long way.

Ink on the acrylic block

Ink on the actual printing press shape
 And here is my very first print.

Not too bad

After a couple of reinking and prints I noticed that there was some smudging and noncrisps lines. I think what was happening is that there was ink getting on the extra adhesive that remains after applying the adhesive sheets to the back of the printing shape plates. You may notice it above. After I removed all the adhesive and only put some in the center of the die it seemed to work better.

Also while using the Big Shot I felt that the Letterpress plate alone did not leave much of an impression, so I added a chipboard shim, one seemed to be enough, and two seemed to be too much.

I made a total of 8 cards, four of each design. I will be giving these to a close friend for her birthday tomorrow night, an easy and nice gift I was able to pull together.

Really like the damask background

The other four cards

Wrapped with a ribbon

Overall I really like the L Letterpress. I don't have all the kinks worked out, and I feel like there is a learning curve. I was a little frustrated in the beginning because it wasn't working as smoothly as I thought. But I tried to remember this is how I felt when I first started using the YuDu. And I have come to love that machine.

So if I would say if you have been on the fence, find a good deal and take the plunge.

Thanks for stopping by, and please leave a comment or become a follower if you like. Till next time....