Semi-Homemade Butter Cream Frosting

Anyone who has been reading for a while here on my blog knows that my little guy {ok, he's 3 now and not sooo little} has life-threatening food allergies to dairy, eggs, and peanuts. Unfortunately that means that we miss out on all of the yummy goodness of most desserts.

I have found some really great recipes like this one for chocolate cake, and this one for homemade Cinnamon rolls, but had yet to find a really good equivalent to a butter cream frosting.... until now!

I had a brainstorm -- probably in the shower since I tend to do my best thinking in there. What if I used store-bought frosting and jazzed it up a little to taste like a butter cream??

I have found that the Pillsbury brand frosting are dairy-free and work great for us when we make cake or cupcakes. 

So, I took my Fleischmann's Unsalted Margarine -- and set it out to soften. I used 1 cup -- 2 sticks -- of margarine.

Once it had softened up, I put them in my kitchen-aid mixer bowl and used my whipped the margarine as best as I could. {Since it's not real butter it doesn't whip perfectly, but it will whip a little bit} It took me about 5 minutes or so. Then I added about a cup of powdered sugar to it and whipped that in. 

Then I used 1 can of Pillsbury's strawberry flavored frosting and added it to the whipped margarine and powdered sugar mixture in the bowl.

I then let that whip together for another 5 minutes until it was well mixed and light and fluffy

Not only does it look good, but it tastes ah-mazing! It melts in your mouth just like real butter cream frosting does, but it doesn't have an overwhelming butter flavor. It looks great on cupcake too! If you have nifty cake decorating tools your frosting will look even better than mine does. 

I took these lovely little chocolate cupcakes with the strawberry frosting -- and the sprinkles my daughter chose -- to her preschool class for her birthday. They were a big hit, but as my hubby said, my customers aren't too picky! 

So, next time you have a party try making some semi-homemade butter cream frosting. I bet your guests will think you made it all from scratch and they will LOVE it! 

Try it with your favorite store bought frosting brand and WOW your friends! 


From Ugghhh to Ahhhh.... Painting Furniture

I have had a really ugly dirty grungy bar stool chair sitting in my dining area for some time now. Last Friday I decided it was time to make it pretty!

I used green Frog Tape {which I am loving more than the blue tape these days} and some paper to cover the wicker/rattan seat on this chair. Then took it outside and prepped for painting.

Then I used this spray paint primer {from my Lowe's}. It's Zinsser 1•2•3 primer. It covers everything! I didn't sand my chair, just made sure it was dust free. The primer stuck perfectly! Only needed one good coat to cover the chair. 

I used just about an entire can of spray paint to prime my chair. I love using spray paint for furniture. It's easy {except for the wrist cramp from holding the sprayer down} and it coats evenly. Just don't attempt it in the wind!!! 

A couple weeks ago I was browsing the spray paint section at my local JoAnn's and found 2 cans of aqua spray paint on clearance for $2.50 each. I bought them both, and snagged up a can of light pink for another project on clearance too. 

Once my primer dried {it didn't take too long since it was sitting out in the sun on a warm day} I spray painted it aqua. It took about a coat and a half. I say half because I missed a couple spots on the first coat and had to go back and touch-up paint it. Then I gave the wear and tear spots -- the top and around the seat -- an extra coat. 

My spray paint was a satin finish making it perfect for furniture. It has a little bit of a sheen to it, but it's not SHINY. 

Chair - $0 {already had it -- a gift from family}
primer spray paint - $4 
aqua spray paint - $3
TOTAL - $7 

Do you have a piece of furniture in your home in need of painting!!? 
I have a couple more on my to do list! But, they will probably have to wait until after baby is born. 


Mingle Monday - 3.26.2012

Welcome to another Mingle Monday!! If you missed my guest post from Pamela's Heavenly Treats make sure you go check it out!! 

Visit as many blogs on the link list as you would like. Make sure you leave a comment and tell them you are stopping by from Mingle Monday!

Please link family friendly blogs ONLY!! I would hate to have to delete anyone from the blog hop. 

Become a follower here on my blog so that you can take advantage of any and all freebies that I offer {usually once a week}.


Have a great week!! I am hoping to get a couple tutorials up this week. 

Plus a date with my sewing machine to complete a custom blanket order and to create some new fun blankets using my new stash of minky that I picked up this weekend.

I love the bright colors! Plus... there is a bolt of light pink minky with small stars on it that I'm going to use to re-upholster my gliding chair for the girls' room in anticipation of the new little one arriving in July! 

Are you doing anything fun for your Spring Break!?! 

Healthy Recipe: Orange Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Maple Walnut Glaze {Guest Post from Pamela's Heavenly Treats}

Today I am so happy to have a special guest post! Pamela from Pamela's Heavenly Treats is sharing one of her delicious and healthy recipes today!! 

As if the draw for healthy treats isn't enough to keep you reading.. here's a small sample of her yummy creations that I found on her blog:

{see the recipe here}

{found here}

Welcome Pamela!! 

My name is Pamela from Pamela's Heavenly Treats where I make healthy cupcakes and cookies, and sometimes other desserts.  I am a wife, mother of 6, homeschool teacher and I have a small Healthy Cupcakes & Cookie business. Everything that I make is made with 100% Whole Wheat Flour and my secret ingredients. You will not know that you are eating healthy when you taste these treats. 

Today I will be sharing my Orange Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Maple Walnut Glaze, the name tells you that it is a GOOD cupcake, and I make it healthy, in this recipe you have to make the walnuts and put the brown sugar maple glaze on them, I was eating that by itself, the walnuts tasted like maple cinnamon and it was just delicious, ok let's begin before I have flashbacks. There are four parts to this cupcake, but they are all pretty easy steps:

My Basic Cupcake Recipe
2 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup light brown sugar
 1 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp white vinegar
1 cup canola oil
1/2 fresh squeezed orange juice
1 tbsp orange zest
Set oven to 350

Mix wet ingredients, and then add dry ingredients until well blended. Fill cupcakes cups 1/2 way. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool on wire rack.

8 ounces whole shelled walnuts
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup fat free milk
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla

Set oven to 350ºF.  Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool completely.

In a saucepan combine sugar, milk, cinnamon, and salt.  Whisk over medium heat until all the ingredients combine together, then bring to a boil.  Boil the mixture about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and carefully stir in the vanilla.  Immediately stir in the toasted walnuts.  Set aside.

1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp orange zest
1/4 cup walnuts mixture, chopped

Combine sugar, water, butter and orange zest in a saucepan over medium high heat.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, then add walnuts.  Allow to cool before drizzling over the cooled cupcakes.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces of light cream cheese (softened)
1 stick of unsalted butter (softened)
3 cups of powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
orange zest and glazed walnuts for garnish

Cream butter and cream cheese, add vanilla, then add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until to the consistency that you want it.

•  •  •  •  •

Take your cooled cupcake, and drizzle the walnut glaze on the cupcake, frost and then garnish the top of your cupcake with the walnut glaze and some orange zest.  This cupcake tastes just like orange sherbet, I could just eat the frosting on top that how good it is. 

I had a wonderful time at KdBuggie Boutique sharing one of my favorite healthy cupcake recipes, I hope you come on over and visit Pamela's Heavenly Treats for some more healthy cupcake and cookie recipes.

Thanks so much to Pamela for sharing this mouth-watering cupcake recipe! It looks so delicious... and the fact that it uses whole wheat flour is totally awesome! I have been browsing her website and just sit at my computer and drool! {Of course being pregnant and craving anything sugary and sweet doesn't help much!!}

Make sure you pop over and check out her website! 


Mingle Monday - 3.19.2012

Sorry for the late start... with a birthday party this weekend at our house in the pouring rain, there was a lot of clean up going on!! Not to mention being exhausted from it all!

But, hopefully you aren't too busy enjoying your Spring Break {for those of you doing something fun!!} to link up this week!

Let's Mingle!

Visit as many blogs on the link list as you would like. Make sure you leave a comment and tell them you are stopping by from Mingle Monday!

Please link family friendly blogs ONLY!! I would hate to have to delete anyone from the blog hop. 

Become a follower here on my blog so that you can take advantage of any and all freebies that I offer {usually once a week}.


And make sure to have some fun!!

Feel free to grab the blog hop code and post it on your blog! It's always fun to see new people linking up! Thanks!! xoxo

My Current Sewing Project...

So, as I mentioned last week I am now past the half way point in this pregnancy and I'm feeling the time crunch to get as many of the "projects" on my long term to do list done. 

Last week I finished my sons blanket and pillowcase for his "big boy bed" {plus gave you a little tutorial on how to make a quilt using my "cheat" method of no binding.}

This weeks project has been working on my daughters quilt. Hers is much more labor intensive because I'm doing it the old fashioned way -- piecing it together.  I have been collecting my fabric for her quilt for a while and it's been one of those things that was put on the back burner for Etsy shop orders, birthday parties, custom cookie orders, and everything else that has come up in the last 6 months. 

With her birthday this past Monday, and a party on Saturday I am desperately trying to get it done so I can give it to her as a birthday present. She has been watching as I carefully laid out all the pieces for her quilt - in my own random pattern across our office and playroom floor. 

They sat that way for a couple days completely blocking the opening to my little office/craft room as I sewed my strips together. The kids kept trying to "sneak" around the pieces as I held my breath telling them to just stay put. Since it was a random pattern I couldn't really recreate it.... hence the picture I took... just in case! 

Tip for making a nice clean quilt... iron iron iron! After each of the pieces in a strip are sewn together, iron them all. Then once strips are sewn together, iron after each new strip is added. This is a picture of the half done quilt laying on my ironing board.

It took me about 4 days {not included the 2 or so it took to cut all my pieces out -- thank goodness for a rotary cutter and a LARGE cutting mat!} to sew all of my pieces together. I took it to her twin sized bed just to make sure it was as big as I wanted it to be... and it's perfect! 

Here's how it looks as of right now! 

I used 5.5" squares and 5.5"x10.5" rectangles to piece the quilt together. Using new fabrics that I bought specifically for this blanket as well as fabric scraps from my stash. 

I'm so glad we have such a nice large open floor plan in our home... otherwise this would be impossible!! 

Most of the lines line up... though if you look hard there are a couple that are just pretty close. Not bad for my first real quilt attempt! 

Now it's decision time.... to bind or not to bind. I am planning to tie the quilt because it is way too big to machine quilt it with my little machine. BUT... I don't have a quilting frame. So, the floor will become my best friend -- though my 4+ month pregnant belly makes it a little more difficult! Better get it done now while I can still get up off the floor. 

I'm leaning towards binding this one because it is so large and I think that tying it first will be much easier. Anyone with quilting experience have any suggestions!??! 
I would love to hear from you! 


Mingle Monday - 3.12.2012

Another week gone by.. is it just me or is this year zooming by?!! Tomorrow {Monday} my little girl turns 5!! She is beyond ecstatic... and I feel way OLD! How could I have a 5 year old?!?! It seems like just yesterday I brought her home from the hospital not knowing how to take care of a newborn. Thank goodness for motherly instincts.

Happy Birthday munchkin!!!!!

•  •  •  •  •

While you are linking up this week, feel free to grab my Mingle Monday button so you can remember to come back week after week.
Visit as many blogs on the link list as you would like. Make sure you leave a comment and tell them you are stopping by from Mingle Monday!

Please link family friendly blogs ONLY!! I would hate to have to delete anyone from the blog hop. 

Become a follower here on my blog so that you can take advantage of any and all freebies that I offer {usually once a week}.


And make sure to have some fun!!

Feel free to grab the blog hop code and post it on your blog! It's always fun to see new people linking up! Thanks!! xoxo

DIY Toddler Bedding {making a quilt with batting WITHOUT using binding!!!}

If you are like me you have tried making quilts before. Maybe yours were successful... mine... not so much! Binding is hard to work with. PLUS once I pick out the fabric that I want for my quilt I can NEVER find the pre-packaged binding to match! Rather than make my own -- which I can do, but it's tedious and time consuming -- I opted this time to go an entirely different route ... NO BINDING!! 

Yep, you read that right, a quilt with NO BINDING. {Ya, I heard that audible gasp coming from all of you hardcore quilters out there!!} But wait... there's more... this quilt is made using a curtain! Yep.. a regular old curtain! 

Remember this? The Dwell Studio curtains I scored for $6 each {retail $30}. I bought all 3 even though I knew I only needed two for the window. 

Well, here's the third one put to some good use!! 

Making this cute guy some actual toddler bedding has been on my TO-DO list for a while. Now that baby #3 is half way cooked, I am trying desperately to tackle my list!!! {my hubby says I'm nesting... I think I'm just being practical. Newborns are a lot of work and my office is piled high with "projects" in the works... so, I'm just jumping in!!}

I know you don't all have a cotton curtain hanging around your house... but if you are going to re-do your child's room, or put together your nursery and you are out buying new curtains for the window, pick up an extra {just make sure that the printed side is 100% cotton} and you can make your own! 

Otherwise, you can simply use store bought fabric and create your own binding-less {not a real word... I know} quilt. 

Here's what you need:
1-3/4 yd of cotton printed fabric for the top
1-3/4 yd of snuggle flannel for the back
batting - I buy the pre-packaged crib quilt batting
sewing machine, iron, scissors, rotary cutter, ruler, mat, thread... blah blah blah.. all the usual stuff! 

Here's how to make it:
Be sure that your fabrics have all been prewashed and dried {so that is doesn't shrink with your blankets first washing -- who wants that?!?}. Then iron your fabrics. 

Next {this is where your rotary cutter and mat come in handy} cut your fabrics. Cut a 37"x55" rectangle from each of your prints PLUS the batting! Yes... cut the batting too! 

If you don't have a rotary cutter, you should totally get one. If you don't want to, then I hope you have a lot of floor space! Lay your fabrics and batting out on the floor and cut through all three layers {print #1, print #2, and the batting} so that they are all exactly the same size. 

Next, take your bottom fabric {in my case the blue snuggle flannel} and lay the batting on top of the WRONG SIDE of the flannel. 

Pin the batting to your flannel all the way around. 

Now take it carefully -- so you don't prick yourself with the pins {speaking from experience on this one} -- to your sewing machine. Sew a straight stitch all the way around using the edge of your flannel as your guide. I made mine a 1/4" inseam so that I could do a finished seam of 1/2". You want this inseam to be smaller than your finished one so that you don't see your stitching. 

P.S. Keep the batting on the top as you sew so that it doesn't get stuck in the walking feet of your machine! 

Once you are done it should look something like this: 

By sewing the batting on to the flannel you are essential holding it in place so you can finish the rest of the blanket. Now grab the top print. Lay your printed fabric on the floor PRINT SIDE UP. Then place your flannel/batting piece on top BATTING SIDE UP so that the right sides of your print and flannel are touching. 

Pin all the way around, but leave a 7-8 inch opening so that you can turn your blanket right side out. I like to double pin at both ends of this opening to make sure I remember where I need to stop.

Sew around your blanket with a 1/2" inseam making sure that it is INSIDE of the batting and flannel stitching you did earlier. This way you will be turning your blanket right side out on the seam you are sewing now. 

Once you are done sewing, trim the corners so that you will have square-ish corners {as opposed to a blobby corner} and turn your blanket right side out. 

It can be a little tricky turning it, just be gentle of the batting and go slow if you need to.
 {That's why we left a large opening!}

To help in the next sewing step, take your blanket to your ironing board and iron down all the edges. Make sure your top and bottom fabrics line up -- they tend to sit a little wonky if you just iron it as is. Take your time and really open up those seams to make your blanket look nice. 

Now for that opening. As you iron, fold the two prints inward and line them up with the existing seam so that they lay straight with the edge of your blanket. 

Pin it closed. This is when I like to add my tag! 

To close the opening and keep your blanket holding it's nice crisp edges that you just ironed, sew a straight stitch all the way around the edge of the blanket. I made my inseam 1/4" so that I would catch all of the layers of my blanket. 

When you are done your blanket will look like this:

Now you can finish it however you want. You can tie it using yarn or embroidery floss. Or if you have one of those fancy quilting machines you can use it to quilt the top of your blanket. 

Why do you need to do something more? 
To make sure that the batting stays in place. Even though we have sewn through it now 3 times, you need something in the middle of your blanket to keep it in place. If you choose to leave it as is, your batting will most likely tear and/or bunch up when it gets washed. 

I chose to do a little bit of top stitching. I chose several hippos on my print design and sewed on them with my machine -- really wish I had one of those fancy quilting ones. These are terrible pictures.. but you can see that where I sewed the hippo shape on the top, there is a hippo shape on the bottom as well. Since the stitching goes through all layers it holds the blanket and batting together. 

Now it's ready for snuggling and sleeping! It is soft and cuddly because of the flannel, and it is warm and squishy because of the batting. What more could a little guy ask for!??!  

His bed will probably never look like this again .. beds in our house never seem to stay made! 
{we are storing our crib mattress under his bed until we set up the new crib in the girls' room}

Here's my little guy "practicing" sleeping. He wouldn't let go of Peter Pan {his latest toy obsession} or his wand. 

Here's my super helped trying to help put him to "bed".

... and here's a sneak peek at the pillow case I made to go with his quilt... more on that next week!

What is on your project to do list?