Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Fluffy Marshmallow Icing

I was asked to make cupcakes for a family birthday and usually I ice them with butter cream icing but I wanted to try some marshmallow icing.  Many recipes I found on Pinterest are made by melting marshmallows however I wanted to make the real thing.  I found this:

Week 2 Pin: Marshmallow Icing
Original Source: Cake Duchess
Difficulty: Simple but don't get distracted 
and Adults Only - the Sugar Syrup's Hot!

I cooked mini red velvet cupcakes and thought they would be perfect with marshmallow icing.  The Cake Duchess ( tells about the origin of the Italian Meringue frosting that her grandmother made for her and this recipe is her mother's version.  

1 cup of granulated  white sugar (not powdered sugar) 
4 egg whites, room temperature 
1/3 cup of water 
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar 
1 teaspoon vanilla

It was simple:  The sugar syrup is boiled on the stove, don't mix it but make sure you watch it and don't let it brown.  Whip the egg whites and when stiff peaks form, add the boiling syrup (yes, 245 degrees is too hot to get the kids involved) and whip for 7 minutes.  

The recipe was too much for cupcakes, so I will halve the quantity in the future.  What was left over I plopped on a baking tray, drizzled with vanilla, as I forgot to add it to my marshmallow and baked in a low oven for 45 minutes.  Every time I opened the oven to check on the progress, my daughter and I were taking chunks to test the texture and progress.  By the time it was finished cooking, the tray was almost completely empty.  As a bonus, I discovered that this is the perfect topping for a lemon meringue pie.  It browned, remained fluffy underneath and when you ate it, it transformed into delicious toffee.  

This recipe is now typed up and in my recipe collection for ever.

I have an invitation to my Niece's Baby Shower, so next week I'm creating something for the baby.


The purpose of our lives is to be happy.     Dalai Lama

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The Washer and Ribbon Necklace

Day 1 of Week 1 of Term 2.  Will I still be enthusiastic at Week 11?  It's a long term.  Good luck to me.

This week's inspiration: Washer and Ribbon Necklace
Who is this for?:  This one's for me
Original creative source:
Cost: $15.88
Difficulty: Easy Peasy

I really liked the simplicity of this necklace.  The industrial look of the metal combined with the softness of the ribbon is a fashion trend at the moment.  I thought that it would be an easy task to begin on Week 1.  Thankfully, I was right.

I bought 1.5m of double sided satin ribbon from Lincraft ($0.99 per metre).  I also found a packet of 10 metal washers ($7.19 a packet at Bunnings).  There were alternate washers that were cheaper (around $4.00) but I was concerned with the content as the packaging simply stated "Zinc Coated".  What else was in it?  Was I going to look like Princess Fiona after I wore it?  Would my throat turn a peculiar shade of green?  The stainless steel washers seemed the safest choice.

Using the instructions from for the Washer and Ribbon Necklace, I began to thread the ribbon in and out like the diagram.  The great thing about this Pin is that you don't need any written explanation.  The photos are clear and the technique is so easy that it was done within minutes.  I did find with the satin ribbon that I needed to pull the ribbon tightly after Step 5 to make sure the washers were evenly spaced.  Looking at the completed ribbon with 10 washers, I realised it needed more!

After purchasing a second packet of 10 washers, I completed the threading.  After just a few minutes, the threading was done.  I clipped the ends of the ribbon, painted the end of the ribbon with a little clear nail polish (so it won't fray) and tied a small knot in each end of the ribbon.  This necklace has no clasp but is simply tied in a bow behind the neck, adjusting for length required.  Easy.

Washer and Ribbon Necklace

Perhaps the most difficult part was taking my "selfie" to show the finished product.  I have dozens of photographs down my t-shirt, showing too much cleavage, too many chins, the necklace was crooked, the flash didn't work and so on.  I don't know how everyone else seems to take "selfies" with their trout pout incessantly.

Week 1 is complete.  Next week I'm creating something for my daughter to use for school camp.


"It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something."                           Franklin D. Roosevelt

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Where to begin...?

Pinterest has provided inspiration for new cooking and craft activities that I'd like to try.  Other people pin photos that take their breath away, recipes that they want to try, home made products that can be made for a fraction of shop bought products.  I joined those who gained inspiration from others' pins and gathered my own inspirational pins.  What I wondered was:  How many pins actually inspire people to actually recreate the fashion look, make it, or try the recipe themself or do they simply pin it and forget it?

So, my commitment is that I'm going to make one item that I've pinned on my boards every week during school term.  This term is 11 weeks long!  OK last time I went to school, that's 11 activities at one a week.  I can do that.

In Week 1, I will create a necklace and then over the next few weeks a small quilt, bath bombs, hand cream and of course, everyone's favourite - a dessert!  I'll test out whether or not the pin was as easy to complete as it looked.  Not everything is craft as not every pin is a crafty pin.  If I pinned it, then I thought it was worthy of at least an attempt to make it, do it, or go there.  Not everything is guaranteed to succeed but I'm ready to have a go.

I would like to hear what you think and what inspires you.

“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!” 
 Julia Child, My Life in France