Oct 29, 2010

Sinful Chocolate Cake & weekend preview

This cake is my favorite dessert to make. 
It is so easy, so yummy, so chocolatey!
I made this for the first time last year for my in laws wedding anniversary- which happened to fall on Thanksgiving.
 It was a huge hit, and became the dessert of request for birthdays and get togethers!


Sinful Chocolate Cake
1 package of Devil's food cake mix
1- 5.9 oz package of instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup canola oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips

Ganache frosting:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, eggs, and water. Stir in the mini chocolate chips and pour batter into a lightly greased 12 cup bundt pan.
Bake for 50-55 minutes or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick comes out clean.  (don't forget the chocolate chips may leave some melted chocolate on the toothpick....)

Cool cake thoroughly in a pan at least an hour and a half before turning out. 
When cake is cool, pour whipping cream into saucepan and heat over medium high heat just until small bubbles form around the edge of the pan- not boiling! 
Remove pan from heat and pour in the half cup of chocolate chips.  Let sit for 5 minutes without stirring.  After 5 minutes, stir chips into cream until smooth.  Allow to thicken slightly- 2 minutes.  Pour over the top of the cake, and serve when ready!  


I promise- if you love chocolate, you will LOVE this cake!!

****
One final thing I will leave you with today- in September I told you that Extreme Makeover Home Edition was in my city.  This Sunday night is the episode that was filmed here!  I'm so excited!  It's a Halloween themed show, so set your recorders if you're out trick or treating.  I can't wait to see it and hopefully see some of my friends that were able to volunteer with the build.
Here's some photos from our local paper with some of the design team and volunteers:



The haunted house is supposedly really scary- I am not a haunted house girl, so I couldn't tell you from personal experience!! (the only one I've been through was the one at Disneyland.....and that was just fine for me.)
I hope you'll watch it!
Have a great weekend and Happy Halloween!

Linking to:
All Thingz Related

Oct 28, 2010

doily-ish inspiration

I had a friend in high school who would say if something looked too old fashioned or how a grandmother would decorate as, "doily-ish".

As in, "that's too doily-ish".

Nate Berkus recently featured on his show a picture of a wall treatment. 

paper wall art

It's made from paper doilies and big thumbtacks! 
I have been drooling over this idea for a couple weeks now. 
Very Anthropologie. 
It's so simple, it's brilliant. 
Kudos to you Mr./Ms. Doily Wall Designer.

If you know the original source, let me know so I can post it here.  I thought he said he'd gotten it from Sunset Magazine, but didn't find it on his site. 
I am just digging this idea! 

Now I need to figure out where I can do this.....

Oct 27, 2010

featured blogger- a really creative space!

I've been wanting to introduce you to one of the most creative people I know.  I love their work space, and the pieces they create.  I'm always so inspired- I hope you'll enjoy this little tour and introduction!

This is the office/workspace. 
This creative person built the desk and just about everything else you can see in this room....the clocks, the signs, the carved horse on the desk, the shelves...

 Aren't these old suitcases fantastic?
And the floors!  They are made from old barn crates.  There's some special significance that I will let you in on at the end. 

The sign is completely handmade and painted. 
The vintage cameras on the shelf are so fun.  I love collections of old cameras.  The picture next to them, to the right is a photo taken by the owner of this room.  It's kinda hard to see, but that's Robert Kennedy!
You can just barely see his silhouette- if I'd gotten a closer shot, you'd definitely see him.

These shelf brackets were also handmade.  The shelves run around the top of the room holding all kinds of interesting antiques and personal items.



The storage cabinet for art supplies.


Aren't these handles cool?  Old gnarled pieces of wood....

One of the coolest parts of this room is the bookcase.  When the house was being built, the idea came to have a fun way to get to the shop under the house....
 a secret passage way behind the bookcase!


You can climb down through a trap door to the shop, and here's what you find below:




And in this shop, as well as the workspace are some pretty cool creations. 





Would you like to know who the super creative person is?


It's my pops!  :) 
He is an artist, entrepreneur, clockmaker, wood carver, found object creator....and a great inspiration, husband, dad, and papa. 
It's one of the reasons that I have a creative streak and follow in his footsteps.  I know that if I'm feeling discouraged creatively, that he gets it- and helps me to feel that I'm not alone.  His words of praise on my projects mean more to me than anyone. 

The wood floors that he painstakingly restored are, as I mentioned, wood crates taken from my father in law's barns, when he retired.  I love the connection of the floors between both my dads!

He recently started blogging on his creative projects and creations,  you can find him here.

I hope you enjoyed the workspace tour!  (even if there was a little nepotism involved!)
Stop by and say hi to him!

Oct 26, 2010

fun weekend finds and wine bag tutorial

Since I didn't want to pack too much into yesterday's post, I saved some other weekend stuff for today!
Last week I found some really fun treasures.
First off, I found a pair of beautiful statue busts at a thrift shop.  I kept this one and will be listing her sister on my Etsy shop soon....
(I know I keep saying that, but I'm once again learning how to be a technical guru.  sheesh.)

Next, I picked up this super cool vintage game board at a garage sale.  It was a toss up on keeping it or selling it, and I finally decided I didn't want to end up on one of those Hoarder shows....
The date on this is 1944!!  I think this would look so neat in a vignette.
It's listed on Ebay currently.  If you're interested in it, my ID is legallyblonde72.  I guess you can figure out how long I've had that handle!  LOL!

I was also able to score this cushion at the same garage sale.  Yes, the fabric is hideous, but it was $1, and I knew it was pretty close to the size I needed for our nook bench.  I had been holding off on buying cut foam because even with my 50% off coupon it would be close to $40. 
I think one dollar is a much better deal, don't you?  Now I need to decide what to recover it in....


 And finally, I picked up this cigar box.  I loved all the markings on it.  I had a cigar box that I used in my craft room for storage, and then the lid snapped in half one day.  :(  Even though I'd love to replace it with this one, I think this will also be making it's way to Etsy.


****
Ok, so on to the tutorial!
These really are so basic, but hopefully I can make it interesting and inspriring!
First off, I started with some unbleached linen. ♥  One of my favorite fabrics to work with!
I layed a bottle of wine on the fabric and folded it over to get an idea of how long and how wide to cut the fabric.
 The measurements that I ended up using for the bags was 26" long by 7 1/2" wide.  It seemed to accomodate all the sizes of bottles we had.

Once I had the fabric cut, I took out my Heat n' Bond tape, and cut 2 strips as wide as the top of the fabric.


I love this stuff! You lay the sticky side down first; iron it in the paper side for a quick couple seconds, and then peel the paper tape off.  Next, you just fold over the top of the fabric over the newly exposed sticky side of the Heat n' Bond, and re-iron!  Voila!  It's a seam you didn't have to sew!
 Next, I just did a very small seamed edge along the length of the fabric, with the insides together.
Two straight lines on each side of the bag- zip, zip and it's done!

Turn the bags right side out, and you're ready to start stenciling!

I printed out on the computer some large numbers in a font I liked on card stock.

I used an exacto blade and cut out the numbers on a quilter's mat.  If you don't have one of the self healing mats, just do it on a surface that won't get marred... :)
I centereed the desired number on the bag- it's best to put the bottle in to get an idea of where your number will show best- it actually needs to be fairly low. 
I used a basic black acrylic paint and a stipling (stiff) brush.  I put a narrow strip of wax paper inside the bag so the paint wouldn't bleed through to the back.
Also, make sure you're pressing down around the edges of the stencil so the edges of the numbers are somewhat crisp. 

That's it!  Kinda old school, but that's how I roll.




These were great for our wine tasting party, but they would make a really fun vintage looking hostess gift as well!  A super easy handmade holiday gift- with a bottle of your favorite local vino!
;)

I hope you'll check in tomorrow- I'm going to be featuring a very special blogger!
Hope your Tuesday is great!

Linking to:
Make It Yours Day
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Somewhat Simple

The DIY Show Off

Oct 25, 2010

wine tasting party

We had such a fantastic and fun evening with our 6th annual wine tasting party!
Great food, great wines, and some of my most favorite people on this earth!

I enjoyed putting the table setting together. 
Our theme this year was California wines. 
We put together a play list of the Mamas and Papas, Chris Isaak, Frank Sinatra, Ray LaMontagne and a few others....just a fun Cali vibe.

I  made a simple burlap table runner and added some turquoise ribbons to run the length of the runner.

  The invites were sent out a couple weeks before.  
I used fresh sunflowers and mini pumpkins for part of the centerpiece. 
The real centerpiece was the wine- I used the wire basket to hold all the wines for the evening.


I just love the pear pitcher- we used it for refilling the water. 
I made numbered wine bag covers out of unbleached linen fabric. 
Tomorrow I will show you how easy they are to make!

Everyone starts the evening by covering the wine they brought in the bags provided- I always keep them by the front door.

I provided a wine cocktail to start out the evening as our friends arrived.
Autumn Punch:
Gewurztraminer
Cran-apple juice
sliced plums
grapes


I used white dinner plates and a colorful appetizer plate. 
 The napkin rings were made out of some craft wire that looked like twigs.
The bee glasses were for water, and our wine glasses were with the buffet of food.

The lineup of wines ready for tasting- we had 6 in all!


The menu board.....
and the food:









Sinful Chocolate Cake....
I will post the recipe for this on Friday!
It is one of my most requested items- super easy, and everything you want when you have a craving for chocolate cake!! ♥



Mark made sure he didn't let any go to waste!!


After all the eating and tasting, we revealed the lineup.  We opted not to do the tasting cards and rating this year, and just enjoyed talking about the wines and had some good conversation.




the girlies:
L to R: me, Lois, Tiffany, Janie

Our very handsome hubbies!
 L to R: Mark, Rex, Jon, Brian

And finally, our resident cleaning lady:


Bella always does a great job of sweeping  cleaning the floors after the party is over.
:)

I hope this inspires you to try your own wine tasting party! 
They really are so much fun and so easy to do.
Fall just always seems like a great time to do it.

I hope you had a fantastic weekend!

Linking to:
Just Something I Whipped Up
Motivated Monday at Be Colorful
Motivate Me Monday
Market Yourself Monday
Made By You Monday
Anythingz Related
Crafty Soiree
Centerpiece Wednesday at the Style Sisters