Join me for some fun!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Mini Chocolate Cabbage Cakes

Nothing wows people like a 
Chocolate Cabbage Cake
and I decided to make mini versions
of my 

which is the size of a large head of cabbage.

I usually start with a full cake baked
in a ball cake pan or two metal bowls
but I wanted something small and simple.

So I started out with a cake ball a little smaller
than a baseball - about 2.5-3 inches in diameter.

This super moist, super large cake ball
started out as a - surprise - bakery cake.  
Our Macy's grocery store has a really good bakery
 and this is one of the moistest chocolate cakes
I have had.  Mixed in with their super thick
layer of chocolate buttercream (and yes, their
frosting is yummy too, 
especially stirred right into the cake),
this made the most
delicious, moist and gooey chocolate cake
ball ever!  Of course you can make your favorite
chocolate cake and frosting or use a leftover.
Did you know cake gets moister after several days
as it begins to absorb the moisture from the frosting?

Just break the cake and frosting up in a bowl,
and then form it into a ball. You want
this to be sticky and gooey so that you can't wait
until your next bite.

Now comes the fun part, wrapping your little
moist cakes in cabbage leaves.

I wanted to get radicchio to mold my chocolate
on, but the store only had green cabbage so I 
chose the smallest head I could find.

Melt candy melts in the microwave.  I used 
about one and one half cups white and 6 to 8
discs of green.  You could do this all in white too, or 
milk chocolate.  Any color would be fun, even
pink, but I wanted a green cabbage cake.

Paint the melted candy onto cabbage leaves.

This cake ball is so small that painting 
the bottom of the cabbage leaf with candy melts 
didn't work so I decided to use the top of the leaf 
and curve it more by letting it cool between 
two bottles.  This worked great.  

The coolness of the leaves made the chocolate 
set up quickly.  Just peel the leaf off the chocolate.
Then, while it is still a little soft, I was able to
cut the bottom of the chocolate leaf so it would
sit flat on the mini pedestal.  I easily peeled the
chocolate off the top of the leaf and was able to
reuse the leaf time and again.  You will need about
5 to cover.  I did mine one at a time to make
sure I was getting the right size and curve of leaves.

 Start with the leaf on the
top of the cake to cover the cake as you look down
into it.  

Use a little of the melted candy as glue
on the bottom of the leaf and where the
leaves overlap. 

Continue overlapping leaves around the cake ball.
The beautiful thing is that if the leaf doesn't
work out, you can just remelt it in the microwave
with the bowl of candy melts.  

I can't wait to serve these to my girlfriends!

I will be posting these with

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Irish GreensTablescape and Rose with Leaves Napkin Tutorial

Corned beef and cabbage was the traditional
fare growing up for St. Patrick's Day at
our house 
so I just had to bring out my 
cabbage leaf plates again to celebrate.

The texture on these plates is just something 
that I adore.  I could fill my cupboards with
cabbage dishes and plates.

One of my favorite silk flowers I own
is this cabbage with script.  These are perfect
for my St. Patrick's Day table featuring cabbage.

As far as decorating for St. Patrick's Day, I don't
do anything but a table.  My parents used to tease
each other about who was English and who was
Irish but as I have done geneology, I haven't found
any Irish yet, but why not have a little fun on 
St. Patrick's!

We have lots of pretty greens to set the table with.
I just love the bubbly texture of these goblets.

A white charger and green plates are topped with
a green and white napkin. 

 I had intended to make
a rose napkin in the middle of the plate but
I found this darling rose with leaves that
I like even better.

The rose with the leaves is so textural and is
 super simple.  It takes about a minute to fold one.

 Fold a square napkin in half, placing the top points at the top.
Roll the napkin toward the top tightly, about 1/3 of the
way up.  Carefully turn this over so the rolled part
is underneath.

Begin on the left and roll the napkin left to right holding onto
your rolled under part.  Then tuck in the remaining tail.

Stand the rolled napkin up with the rose part down and 
separate the two points, pulling them opposite of each other.

Voila!  Your rose with leaves is finished.  You may
have to play with it a little to get it to sit up
straight.  Pull the leaves out a little more or cup
them a little in the center to support the weight
of the middle rose.

I only have one set of green flatware and 
fortunately it is the perfect green for 
today's table.  I just love colored flatware
and would have some in every color if I could.

Our cabbage flowers take center stage in a mercury
glass urn and greenery along with
some chicken wire candle holders.  I love how the chicken
wire gives a rustic outdoors look to the table.  You
can fill them with candles, flowers, plants, etc.

Even though I don't think I am, I can still get
a few kisses from hubby and the kiddies!
They are better than pinches!

I had to have something sweet and a miniature
version of my Chocolate Cabbage Cake in green
chocolate goes so well with the table.

While I have always loved boiled cabbage,
I think I prefer this little chocolate cabbage!
Who wouldn't?!!  

My next post will show how I made these
fun little cabbage cakes which would be great
for St. Patrick's Day, Easter, a Spring Party
or a Garden Party.

I will be partying with

Monday, March 2, 2015

Ruffled Round Burlap Tablecloth Tutorial

I fell in love with these the minute I saw them in a catalogue,
but let's admit it, a 30 inch table isn't going to fit anyone and
I am not going to spend $200 for that, so making my own has been in the
back of my head for several years now.  

I knew it was going to
be a big job because of all of the fabric it was going to take
and I knew it was going to be time consuming, but the other
day the fabric practically jumped into my cart at Wal Mart.
 I got it on sale so 8 yards was under $30 and the bag went
into the "To Do" pile.

 Monday morning I got up and decided I wanted to 
give this long awaited project a try and Voila!! It is done!

I love to time projects - I think it came from the old black and white
version of Cheaper By The Dozen where the dad was always the
efficiency expert and watching that as a youth, I learned to love
to time things.  Now I tend to do things on the fast side so I am
going to tell you that I had this done in 7 1/2 hours total
(yes my back hurt after sewing that many hours!) so it may
take you longer but I am thinking of making a matching
one for my other outdoor table since they sit side by
side.  I do think it would take less with a white cotton fabric
(I want to make one in white too!) because the burlap is
heavy and bulky.  One other disclaimer - I didn't have to
cut out my ruffles, I had a 100 foot roll of burlap runner,
that I had bought for our church

and which our daughter had also reused for runners at 
Girl's Camp also.  Itt happened to match the
burlap I bought perfectly, so that would take additional
time if you had to cut the ruffles out.  I did serge one side
and hem the other so I didn't get to skip those steps.  So
I had already purchased that over a year ago and just reused
the long runners.  I used about half of the 4 yards of burlap
and under 30 yards of runner so you could buy the 50 yard
roll and use a little over half of it and the cost would be
under $50 for this cloth to fit a 48 inch table.

(The link is to a 50 yard roll of the 14 inch wide runner
that is fringed and sewn.  I couldn't find the 100 yard
roll.  You could also use 3 10 yard rolls of the 12 inch too.
It certainly saved time and sanity.)

Start by measuring your diameter of your table.  I
have two indoor rounds and two outdoor rounds and
each of them were different sizes - alas!  Add 1 1/2
inches to that for your seam allowances as the seam gets
pretty bulky with the heavy burlap.

So I was cutting a square of 49.5 inch fabric.

Fold that square into half twice and taking a yard stick
or a large quilting ruler, place the top of the ruler at
the point and mark half of your diameter as you go around
every few inches

so that when you cut you will have a 49.5 inch diameter circle.  This is
a kind of follow the dots exercise to get a round circle.

Keep your phone's calculator handy as you are going to
be using it all the time from now on. (Or any calculator, or
use paper and pencil!  It all works.)

To calculate the circumference multiply your diameter
by 3.14 so 
49.5 X 3.14 = 155.43 inches
Then divide that by 36 inches
= 4.3 yards
Then you will want to multiply that times 2 to get the fullness
= 8.6 yards for my first ruffle.

After cutting the length for the ruffle, since I was using a 14 inch wide
runner, I needed to 
trim the runner down to  11 inches, considering half an
inch for the seam and half an inch for a hem.  Most tables have 
a 30 inch drop to the floor so you want your ruffles to end up being
about 30 inches.  It can hang a little above or puddle a little
too so don't worry too much.

Then I serged the top edge and
turned over the bottom edge to hem it.  

Next, seam the two ends together, being careful to make
sure that right sides are together and serge or finish the seam to 
prevent raveling.  

Now run a gathering stitch around the top of the 
ruffle.  I like to break something like this into quarters
so when you pull your gathering threads you don't have 
as far to go.  Keep those pins in place or remark
your quarters.  I used one color for half way and
another color of pin for the quarter mark so I knew
where I was.  Later I added a third color for marking
into eighths as the second and third ruffles get bigger.

Fold the top round into quarters and mark the
quarters with coordinating colored pins. 

Attach the first ruffle to the top of the tablecloth.


(Shown with the straight underskirt attached to top and ruffle)

Now you are going to add the straight underskirt
that the other two ruffles are going to be attached to.

Take your circumference
which mine was 4.3 yards and add 12-18
inches to this.  You will want to be able to
have some room for the cloth to fit over the 
table.  Cut a piece that is that long and 30 inches

Before you sew this end to end, use a felt tip
marker and mark 11 inches up from the bottom
edge.  I used the finished selvedge seam so I
didn't hem it.  Then mark another 11 inches above
this line all the way down the length of the fabric
so you know where to place the two remaining ruffles.

I laid my underskirt down the hallway to do this.

Serge or finish the top edge.  Sew a hem if desired.
 Sew the back seam and finish the edge.

Again, marking both the table top and this new
underskirt piece into 4ths with pins, line up
seams and begin pinning from there.  

The right side of the underskirt will
be facing the right side of the ruffle
so the ruffle is sandwiched between the table top 
and the underskirt.

To gather up the extra fulness in this underskirt,
just create a pin tuck or two on each quarter.  No
one is going to see this and you need room to
get the skirt over the table.

Attach this underskirt to the table top.

Now it is time for ruffles number 2 and 3 -
the thing is growing!!!

This ruffle measurement is going to be bigger
because you added the extra 12-18 inches
onto the underskirt so use your calculator again
and multiply the length of your underskirt by
2 to get the proper fullness for the ruffle.  
My first ruffle was a little over 8 yards and my
second and third were 9.5 yards.  Fortunately
the runners we had used on the Christmas party
table were that long as we had placed 3 tables 
end to end so I had plenty of length using the
runners we had already cut.

The second and third ruffles are going to be
cut 1 inch wider as you want them to tuck up
under the first ruffle so I cut mine 12 inches wide.
Again seam, hem and finish the top edges of the two 
remaining ruffles.

I cheated on the second and third ruffles and
just marked the underskirt and the ruffles into
eighths and hand tucked the ruffles - so I skipped
using the gathering stitch on the machine.  I don't
know if that saved me time or not, but the hand
tucking of the ruffles as I went seems to look as
even as the first ruffle.  You are going to want to
sew that on the lines you have made with the
marker, starting with the second ruffle and
finishing with the bottom ruffle.

(You can see I don't have the gathering stitch, I
just hand gathered it and held it in place as I sewed
on these two bottom ruffles.)

Here is when it gets really bulky, but just
have plenty of counter or table space for
the tablecloth.  

Again, the counting thing - my efficiency expert
part of my personality - but I was counting how
many remaining eighths I had as I went along.

Before I knew it, I was done!  It fit!

(Give the seams a nice pressing as you go along.)

Next time (if there is a next time, but that matching
though slightly larger table is lonely without one,) 
I probably won't try to do it all in one sitting.

I have to admit - BURLAP SMELLS!
I thought I was working in a barn all day
and growing up in Wisconsin and having
dairy farmers as relatives, it was a pretty
familiar small!  I think with the smell, I probably
am going to keep this as an outside cloth.
Dirt Road Dakota Girl says to spray it with
vinegar and let it dry to get the smell out. 
I haven't tried that yet but I think I will.

If you are making a tablecloth that is wider than
your fabric is, you will need to add strips along both
sides to create the diameter you need for the table topper section.
 Let's say you
have a 60 inch wide table, you will want to
add a strip to each side of the table topper to create 
61.5 inches.  Those would be pretty little strips, so
you might want to make them 4 - 6 inch strips on each
 side and cut your center panel down accordingly to reach 61.5.

I hope I haven't scared you off.  It was very 
and I am in love so it was worth the time spent!
And yes, I can see myself sewing more of them -
oh the colors, the fabrics!!

I actually made the tablecloth first and then
decided to do the chair sashes and
while setting this table realized I had better
try making the napkin rings!  One thing just
lead to another!

I haven't been this crafty in years!  At least not
all in one week!

I will be posting this with 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Fluffy Bunny Tail Chair Sash Tutorial

These adorable sashes look like a
 little cottontail rabbit
just crawled right up the back of the chair,
burrowed in  and
decided to stay!  

These are super easy and so adorable.  I think
the kiddies won't be able to keep from stroking
their furry tails.  I know I couldn't.

I was inspired by chair sashes at Pier 1.  They 
didn't have the ears and were a little on the small side
so I decided to create these to go with my burlap
table cloth.  I love how they turned out.

So let's start with the easy one before I scare
you away with the Ruffled Burlap Tablecloth Tutorial!
This one anyone can do!

I already had the burlap ribbon which I had ordered
on Amazon.  It is Ashland 10' x 5".  Here is a link
for that.  It also says it is available at Michaels.  You
will need about 2 yards per chair so buy accordingly.

I had to go and buy fur and I found this at
Hancock Fabric,  It was called Bunny Fur.  I had
to laugh at that.  It is long and furry and so fun.

Start by cutting out circles of the fur.  I used an 8 inch
salad plate and 1/4 yard made 7 so if you need more
get 1/2 yard.  

Using a double thread, stitch around the outside of the
fur circle then pull it tight and fill with a handful of
batting.  Pull the opening as closed as possible and
stitch from side to side to close the opening.  Tie off.

Here are some of the tails lined up ready to go.  This
went super fast and I was even doing it with
kiddies playing around me.  

This reminds me of the Star Trek
The Trouble With Tribbles!  These little
guys aren't going to take over though.

Now to make the ears.  I already had some burlap
on hand that I got at Wal Mart.
These are pretty free form so just cut
out two layers at once to get the ears to match.

You could also glue the edges together
but it was quick and easy to serge.

Create the curve of the ears by a little stitching.

I used hot glue to attach the ears to the back side of 
the tail.  Make sure the curve of the ears face the right
way as the bunny is looking away from you.

Tie the burlap ribbon on the chairs and let 
some ends hang down - I did about 12 inches
hanging on each side.

To make it easy to take the sashes off the chairs I
used a safety pin to attach the tail to the sash.

I always love to dress up a chair and these are
super easy and fun.  


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