Sparkly heart cupcake toppers

Here is a quick and easy way to add a little sparkle to your cakes or cupcakes…and who doesn’t like sparkle?!

I made these white chocolate heart cake toppers to go on some white chocolate brownies (a.k.a. ‘blondies’) I need to make for another project (more on that later). The blondies were a disaster but the toppers were a success and the method could be used with milk and dark chocolate and with different shapes. Perhaps festive shapes for Christmas or letters if you wanted to make, say, a ‘Happy Birthday’.

You will need:

Cling film

500gm white chocolate buttons or pieces (500gm will make around 20 heart shapes)

100gm 2mm silver cashous or similar (I get mine from The Raspberry Butterfly)

Small heart biscuit cutter (or any shape you like)

Marble slab, large smooth chopping board or bench top

Pallet knife or rubber spatula (cake scraper)

Lay the cling film over your chosen surface as perfectly as you can. If you have wrinkles or folds, the melted chocolate will seep in and your shapes may get stuck.

Melt your chocolate.

I have the best results melting chocolate in the microwave and the trick is not to let any water get in so don’t cover the bowl with cling film or the condensation will fall back into the chocolate and it will split and go grainy. Put your chocolate pieces in a clean, dry microwave safe ceramic bowl and into the microwave for 1 minute. Remove with over mitt and stir until all the chocolate is melted, smooth and there are no lumps. When you take it out there will still be unmelted chocolate but I find the bowl heats up enough that the chocolate will continue to melt while I stir. If it needs more microwave time, pop it back in for 30 seconds at a time and keep stirring.

Using a spatula or palette knife, smooth the melted chocolate over your plastic covered surface about 3-4mm thick. Work quickly and try to get the chocolate as smooth and even as possible but don’t overwork it as it will start to cool immediately and you need to get the cashous on before it hardens up! Note that if you are using marble like I did, it will harden even more quickly as the marble will be cold (or is it just my cold house?).

Sprinkle the cashous over the entire chocolate surface and then straight away start cutting out your shapes, starting from the outside and working your way in to try to get as many shapes as possible. Then eat all the leftover edges – yum!

If you don’t have biscuit cutters you could cut the chocolate into small squares or diamonds.

I tried taking photos but I was working  too quickly and they were terrible so unfortunately there are no step-by-step pictures but I did include one of the chocolate covered with cashous.

I think they look pretty sweet on my DIY cupcake stand too!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements

Geometric ‘Art’

I was a tad unwell recently and confined to the couch for about ten days. Anyone who knows me well knows that I have a hard time being idle so rather than spending all (just some) of my time watching my guilty secret TV show which I will not disclose for fear of ridicule (*cough* Gossip Girl), I used most of that couch time to trawl through my favourite blogs, picking up ideas and getting inspired. Sounds nice right? Well it would have been if I was able to put that inspiration into practice. Unfortunately when one is couch-bound it’s quite hard to roll your sleeves up and get stuck into a project. I did try to crochet a granny square but it all went pear-shaped. Literally. I crocheted a purple pear by accident.

By the end of the week I was unable to sit there any longer so I hauled my sorry sick self into my craft room with a vague idea of doing something to add a pop of colour to the fireplace mantle. The same mantle that I had been staring at for ten days straight. The same mantle that desperately needed something to tie in the hints of orange and bluey-green. By the 9th day, the mantle was mocking me and I had to take action. I made art. Well, in my pain-killer induced state I called this art. My Dad called it something else.

For someone who could only really use what was in reach I think I did ok. It’s kind of neon, it’s geometric and it’s DIY so judging by all the trends I have been seeing everywhere, this masterpiece is practically the hippest thing going around.

Anyway, it made me feel good just creating something. Something other than photos of heart shapes made out of M&M’s to send to Dave.

You too can make this geometric wonder!

What you will need:

Mod podge (I used gloss)

Brush

Canvass in any size you like (my was a small cheapie from a cheap shop)

Scraps of paper. I used metallic tissue, gold wrapping paper, paint chips and antique sheet music

Scissors

Cut your paper shapes and play around with the layout until you are happy. Take a quick photo with your phone or camera so you can remember the position of the shapes. Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to the entire canvass and start laying out shapes. If you are layering your shapes like I did you will need to figure out which ones need to go down first. Smooth out any air bubbles or wrinkles (note to Mod Podge newbies (like me!) tissue paper is delicate, especially when covered in glue so be careful when smoothing). Apply a layer of Mod Podge over the entire canvass and allow to dry. Repeat until you have a total of 3 layers.

Display in the most prominent area of the house and wait for the admiration and invitations to exhibit your work to roll in.*

And there you have it. Some may call it ‘scraps of paper glued onto cardboard (here’s looking at you, Dad!) but I call it art.  And nobody can argue with that because then they would have to answer the eternal question ‘what is art?’ And they would have to explain Jackson Pollock to me.

*Bizarrely, as this post goes to press I am still waiting for that gallery invitation…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A visit to Walhalla

For the Queen’s Birthday long weekend Dave and I escaped to West Gippsland for a well-deserved minbreak. It’s a great place to go in winter because it’s cold but it’s green, hilly and gorgeous and there are lots of little towns to visit. My favourite town was Walhalla. Founded in 1863, Walhalla is an old gold mining town nestled in a valley in the Baw Baw Ranges. Spending the day there was like spending time in a different era. Cute and cosy cottages are built into the mountainside, the old hillside public cemetery watches over the town and the Goldfields Railway winds its way through the forest alongside a gushing Stringers Creek.

Our visit coincided with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations so we were treated to Devonshire tea in the town hall, people in costume and bagpipes (confession: I love bagpipes!). Next time we go we will definitely be staying the night in one of the lovely cottages or at Walhalla’s Star Hotel. I could easily spend a couple of days there soaking up the history. Here are some snaps of Walhalla but they don’t even begin to capture the beauty and atmosphere of the town.

P.S. If you look closely, you might just spot yours truly…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

%d bloggers like this: