Monday, November 16, 2009

Army Tank Birthday Cake Tutorial

This edition of Mmmmm Good Monday is construction instructions for an army tank birthday cake like this one!

Army Tank Birthday Cake

There are lots of images of army tank cakes to be Googled. There are even some tutorials out there, but I found that they were all just smidgen vague for my liking. So, forgive me if I break it down too much I am not making any assumptions about your intelligence, it is more a reflection of mine! :)

Note*** I made this from a carrot cake bundt recipe. I cannot see why a regular double cake recipe would not suffice.

For tank body:
Cake batter, your choice.
9x13" Cake pan (I used a glass lasagna pan)
4" Ramekin or oven proof dish with straight sides.

For accoutrements
Licorice cigar (cannon) You could always use a tube shaped biscotti)
Licorice pieces halved (tracks)
Circular sweets, I used chocolate covered mint patties (wheels)
Green plastic army guy(s)

Your favourite icing recipe. (I used cream cheese because it was a carrot cake.)
Light green or yellow and light blue colour pastes to make a bright light green.
Black (or purple) icing colour paste.

Construction Instructions

Bake cake recipe according to instructions, but watch times because of the rammekin dish. Cut and assemble as pictured below.

Tank Cake Instructions

Here is a picture of mine pre-icing. Mind the wooden skewer, I broke a corner off whilst removing the cake from the pan.

Army Tank Birthday Cake

After the cake has cooled and you have cut and assembled it to something at least resembling the one pictured it is time to ice! First mix your green. Mine looked this at first (It was actually left over from those every cupcakes). Once you are happy with the green, add a little bit of dark purple (I used black) food colouring paste at a time. A little goes a long way and you want your icing to be army green, not grey (I assume.). You don't have to mix it all the way, it will blend itself as you apply it to the cake.

Spread it as evenly as possible. Leave the top of the turret until last. Cut a little hole out and insert a toy army man. Ice around him.I would have liked to smooth mine more but I didn't have the proper tool and really, I just got excited at how awesome the cake looked.

Army Tank Birthday Cake

After you are satisfied with your icing job you can apply the wheels, tracks and cannon. I would take care to either leave the cannon as long as you can or insert it almost half way. It saves it from sagging down to the cake. (The cigars are a bit heavy.)

Last but not least, I have made up some cake flags. Cut out and glue together with toothpicks in between. These are great. This way you don't have to find somewhere to write on the tank. (But feel free as it is YOUR cake.)

Cake Flags

Happy Baking!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I Just Couldn't leave it alone!

The pattern I recently won at Today's Creative Blog by Skip To My Lou. It sat idle for less than twenty four hours! It took a couple days to do because I had to wait until Wednesday was sleeping and she recently fell ill with a cough but I finished it! And here is the finished product!

Brown bag Lunch Anyone?

I actually had all the colours of felt to make this little project. (Having all the materials is so rare for me!) Between the thrifted felt remnants, Eco Spun store bought felt and the wool felt remnant oh and the corn batting this was a very eco friendly project. I could say it was a use what you got type project too. But in all honesty I am most happy about having a present made for Wednesday. It seems I keep adding to my list of homemade gifts for her and this was the first one I could check off. Just the sort of motivation I need to get me further in gear. Truth be told I am scared to look up how many weeks are left before C-Day! But like the Little Engine that Could, so can I!

I am also officially addicted to making felt food. It was so easy, so cute and thanks to my super duper sewing machine I don't have to do a lot by hand, which is nice because my hand stitching skills leave a lot to be desired. But I am okay with that. To help me on my way I have been googling free felt food patterns and have come across some most ingenious and absolutely adorable blog posts. Here is a sample of my favourites:

One Inch World has a few great tutes, I particularly love the lollipops and bow tie pasta, both for their sheer cuteness and crazy simplicity! This is also a wonderfully child friendly crafty blog you should spend some time surfing!

Here is the pattern for a super simple peelable banana from Deviant Art user starxxlight who also has the most adorable marshmallow plushie on her homepage.

This is a tutorial for felt corn stalks that I can't wait to make the cobs from by Cupkateer.

I found this soft serve waffle cone and it instantly made me hungry by Flickr user Hannah Hoosier.

And last but not least (and definitely not the last of links I have bookmarked) here is a quick tute for some felt sushi by

The list just keeps going but these were some of my favourites and 'fer sure gonna do's' and I thought I would share. There are so many more inspiration sites to choose from on Flickr and Etsy. And really, a peek in your own fridge and pantry just might be the inspiration you need!

Happy crafting!~

Monday, November 9, 2009

Holy Moly I won!

That is correct folks, I won my first blog giveaway this weekend. It is so cute it almost hurts too! It is a Skip to my Lou pattern via Todays Creative Blog. So yes, this pattern which can be purchased for 1.75 USD or you can place her button code on your blog and you will receive the pattern for free. That is wonderful, I had no idea until right now! Details and tutorial are here. It is so cute and I think I might even have all of the colours in my stash! So this week, add it to the must do before Christmas pile!

Photo is from Skip to my Lou website.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Hijinx!

Halloween 09

This is Wednesday in her Little Red Riding Hood costume I made her! Is she not the most adorable thing you EVER DID SEE?! And she wore it! Twice! Love it.

The costume was inspired by this one at Martha I thought it would be a great idea for Wednesday because she really does not enjoy bulky costumes, things on her head or being a showpiece. Kind makes Halloween tricky non? (No pun intended) so I thought if I can get her to wear the cape (even by itself) then everyone will know what she is and we can both be happy. It worked, I had a blast making it and watching Wednesday trick or treat in it! Even with a red hooded sweater cloak on without the cloak people knew. She stayed super warm though with the coat and cloak and the layers on her legs. If a really cold wind hadn`t come up when it did we would have let her keep going for the fun of it.

This was her first year trick or treating and we were lucky enough to have a little friend for her to go around with. Her play date friend Sydney was a lion and man was she cute! They caught on to the process after the second house and then it was us parents who had to keep them from going to houses that were not giving out candy. Wednesday used a yellow basket for her treats but it emptied quickly when being swung about so we had to keep emptying it for her. She didn`t mind, she though getting candy was great but the whole process and being out with the big kids and the moon made her very happy. Daddy and I managed to get a few pics in but the camera was not cooperating. *sigh* Our little girl went trick or treating. She is growing so fast!

Details on the costume construction:

I started with the hooded cape. My mom had originally bought me a simplicity pattern that used a single yard of six foot wide felt but I did not have a six foot wide yard of felt. So, I used this tutorial at blueprints to make the cape. (Sort of, I cut it differently, made it from felt and tweaked it more) but she was a big help for the basic idea. I did use the Simplicity pattern for the hood though. Because the pattern did not have a seam allowance due to it being intentionally cut from felt I cut the pieces from a red fleece sweatshirt and used the nice wide bottom hem as the front of the hood. I had to tweak the cape a bit to accommodate the hood and the big fat black button (from an old Mrs. Claus apron of my mom's) but Wednesday was super accommodating in the many "Wednesday, can you try this on a moment for Mommy?" So far cost of costume = zero dollars.

Next I made the bodice-ish-shirt-thing. I just so happen to have a white turtle neck kicking around that Wednesday never wore (I am not a big turtleneck fan). I found two very nice pieces of black felt and laid them on top of the shirt and with a white pencil crayon just kind of drew the curve for the arm and a vest front. I ran the pieces through the machine with a semi-decorative stitch around the edges and then basted the pieces to the shirt. I finished it off by giving it a faux lace up with red embroidery thread. The felt and floss were both thrifted pieces) So far cost of costume = zero dollars.

The next day I began the skirt. Which was so ridiculously simple that I might lose this week to the sewing machine for Wednesday's wardrobe. But I digress. The skirt came from an old corduroy skirt my mom had in her alterations pile for some five years. She thought of it when I said I needed some black fabric for the skirt and offered it up. I snatched it without hesitation. It is lovely, I may have to use it elsewhere soon. Anyhoo, the skirt is just two pieces of fabric sewn up the sides, a wide hem and an elastic fitted under the hem. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Costume cost = zilch.

The 'fur lined boots' were a pair of fun fur topped striped baby leggings tucked into a great pair of black boots. The baby leg warmers I had on hand from last Christmas and the boots were another hand me down. Great touch though right? Costume total = nadda.

Last but not least I had to buy a pair of tights for her little thighs. I found a pair on clearance at Wal-Mart for three bucks. So, costume total? Three dollars + one and a half days effort. Not too shabby for my first time doing the Mama-come-Martha eh?

That night we carved the pumpkins. I asked Wednesday what she wanted and she said a monkey, so a monkey I gave her. For the bigger pumpkin I had wanted to carve something from a stencil but my poker took was not sharp enough for the intricate design so I let Wednesday draw on the pumpkin and then carved out her design. It actually looks kinda cool.

Jack O' Pumpkins

I roasted the pumpkin seeds by rinsing them, drying them in the oven a few moments and then I used this for a (lol) recipe:

Put seeds in a bigger bowl than you think you need.

Sprinkle with oil About two teaspoons per bigger pumpkin`s worth.

Sprinkle with about one teaspoon (per medium sized pumpkin) of sea salt. (Grind up bigger salt with a mortar and pestle or a rolling pin and sandwich bag. But sea salt does make the difference.

Mix well. Lay in a single layer on cookie sheets and bake at 375 until golden brown.

Try not to eat them all yourself. I said try. They are so very good!

When I took Wednesday shopping the other day she saw all the Halloween decorations and wanted "Spiders Mommy, spiders!" I couldn't find anything I wanted her to have (you know, that is not the kind of junk that falls apart in a day) so I promised to make her spider cookies. I bought some cookie cutters and Halloween coloured sprinkles for cookie fun. What a mistake, well in the beginning anyways. I tried out Martha's sugar cookie recipe because I had made it years ago and it worked perfectly for cut out cookies. For some reason though, I couldn't get it to work. I don't know if I didn't use enough butter or if I was too impatient when it came to the chilling but it didn't work out. So, I thought this one time I will buy a pre-made dough thinking of Pillsbury doughs. We went to three different grocery stores and no one carried it. I was getting really flustered. I went through my cookbooks and found a recipe in a book I trusted. I made the recipe exactly as it stated and chilled it overnight like a good girl. The next morning (Halloween)I pulled it out but it was so sticky as it warmed up. I thought "OMG this cannot be happening again!" but with a lot of flour I managed to get the cookies cut and almost three times the recipe yield. (Some were super thin). Thank goodness. I watched them like a hawk in the oven they turned out perfectly. I spent Wednesday's naptime decorating them with leftover cream cheese frosting and sprinkles. I had a lot of fun with the decorating. I had originally wanted Wednesday to help but I had managed to fluster myself so much trying to get the dough just right that I just made them up and let her have one after lunch. I put them into wax paper treat bags I made by sewing up the sides and middle of some folded wax paper. I stapled them shut and covered the staple with a pumpkin sticker. I had originally wanted to make them prettier but had no time for Halloween ribbon shopping. They still looked and tasted fantastic though. The cookie recipe? One of my new favourites for sure. Ron likes them plain and I can't wait to make a bunch for Christmas! This post is long enough, I will share the recipe at a later date most likely for an MMmm good Monday.

Small Halloween Cookie Collage

The sun started to come out so we used the available light to take some photos. Then over to a family member's house for even cuter photos!

Halloween 09

We went trick or treating after much hub bub (It was almost like the world did not want us to go!) But we made it!

Trick or treating

We let her trick or treat for about a half hour. And then we bundled her up under a wool blanket in her stroller and we went home. She was so pooped from the day she was in bed and asleep by eight o'clock. We ate some of her stash but we are not big on candy either. I'll let you know how long it lasts with everyone chowing down. Poor Wednesday, doesn't get any of it. The "Hide it and forget about it" method mentioned over at Unplug Your Kids works well!

I think, that is it! What a great three days! I will leave you with a slide show of the rest of the photos we took of the day. I hope your Halloweens were all happy, healthy and fun!