As mentioned in my last post, I’m way behind on my blog. There are things I made in August that haven’t been added yet! I decided to start the posting with something quick and easy. A coworker asked if I could create a beer bottle koozie that looked like a carrot for his Bugs Bunny costume. Challenge accepted! I improvised the carrot using alternating groups of rows of knits and purls to give the carrot texture. I also created a large cartoony leaf that snapped to the bottom to give the effect of Bugs’ carrot. It turned out great!
I’ve been itching for months to try real free-form needle felting. I got a little taste of it with my felted soap a few months ago. When Etsy sent me an email featuring adorable felted pumpkin starter kits, I knew I had found my first project. I wanted a kit to at least tell me what to do the first time I tried it. If it was a good experience, I could experiment later. I ordered the kit from Emma’s Garden Primitives. It was a wonderful experience! The kit shipped promptly, included everything I needed to make an adorable, palm-sized pumpkin, and included easy to follow instructions. I couldn’t be more pleased! The pumpkin is now friends with my knit cat. 🙂
Since it’s Halloween, we interrupt all of the wedding posts for…well…a Halloween post.
My engineering firm has an annual Halloween dessert contest. After seeing the outcome of last year’s competition, I realized that the vote goes to aesthetics rather than flavor. I bake a lot, but do very little dessert decorating. (I do no dessert decorating.) After an extensive Pinterest search, I chose to make eyeball cake pops. I actually get to bake something rather than just putting together pieces of candy. I had also been wanting to try cake pops for quite some time. To add to the dessert, I also made eyeball punch.
This process turned out to be an exercise on how NOT to make cake pops. They turned out cute/creepy in the end. I didn’t even come close to placing in the competition. I probably need to work on my decorating skills.
Make the cake as indicated on your cake mix. (My red cake was really creepy.)
Allow to cool fully. (I made mine the night before.)
Crumble the cake using a fork and place crumbs in large bowl.
Mix the crumbs and 1/2 to 3/4 of a container of store bought frosting. Mix until the frosting is completely absorbed. My mixture was the consistency of Play-doh. Since this was my first attempt at cake pops, I’m not sure that was correct.
Use a cookie or ice cream scoop to create balls of the mixture. I used an ice cream scoop and rounded the balls with my hands.
(After this point lots of things started going wrong. So as to not confuse, I’ll continue with the steps that seemed to work. See carnage below.)
Place balls in small containers and put into FREEZER. (Multiple containers are good because you can rotate the containers and only take a few balls out of the freezer at a time. I used small baking dishes.)
While the balls are cooling, use a double boiler (or put water in a pot and put a glass bowl over it as I did) and bring your water to a boil. Turn the heat down so the water is simmering. Melt the almond bark in the upper compartment of the double boiler or in the bowl. Add a few drops of vegetable oil if you wish your almond bark to have a smoother consistency.
Remove a container of balls from the freezer. Dip the end of one stick and push it into the center of the ball. ( Don’t push the stick too far or you will see balls sliding down your sticks later as the ends of the sticks push through the tops of the balls.) Repeat the process for the rest of the balls in the container. Put the container back into the freezer and remove a different container. Repeat until all of the balls have sticks. Leave the balls in the freezer until the almond bark on the sticks has hardened.
After the almond bark has hardened for the first container of balls, remove it from the freezer. Dip the entire ball in the almond bark. You may need to spoon almond bark over the ball near the stick. Remove the ball from the bowl of almond bark and spin the ball to remove access almond bark. I found a wire whisk to be a useful tool for removing access almond bark. Place the coated ball in the cake pop holder or place on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper. Repeat until all of the balls are covered in almond bark.
Paint the eye design onto the balls using food coloring. (I tried to use the food coloring markers first. They did not work. I would not suggest purchasing them.) Mixing one drop of red with one drop of green made an almost black. I painted the pupils first. After letting the dry, I painted the iris region. I started out painting the entire iris region a solid color, but the food color pigments were so dark that it looked like a giant, dark dot. It looked much better when I painted the outer border of the iris and then painted lines going towards but not touching the pupil. See below.
The balls turned out OK. I had lots of problems and trial and error. I had several pops break apart in my almond bark, causing the almond bark to have cake in it. This resulted in a much less smooth almond bark. I also didn’t like the design on the early pops. They were really creepy when you tried to eat them.
Eyeball Punch Instructions:
Draw eye designs on ping pong balls using Sharpies
(I thoroughly tested them to make sure they wouldn’t bleed in my punch. After drawing on them, I washed them. I then left them in a small bowl of water for two days to make sure they wouldn’t bleed.)
Make punch using equal parts Hawaiian Punch and Sprite in the pitcher. Place the ping pong balls on top for a creepy touch.