February 28, 2012

Carving a Couch Cake

Back in September, I had this great idea to surprise my husband with a special cake for his birthday. I wanted to create a couch and have us and our pets on it. We love to go out on adventures together, but our favorite way to relax is cuddling on the couch watching our favorite movies and shows. The story goes (like most of my brilliant ideas) that it got busy making cake for other people and his deployment schedule kept changing so this brilliant idea was never created. No dessert, in fact, was made for his birthday. I did make a nice dinner, but served him the pieces of a leftover dome from a cake I made for a customer. Another idea failed. But at least he technically had cake! 

Another brilliant plan had failed (story of my life), so I forgot about it and figured I'd try to be a better wife next year. Last Friday I got a surprise phone call from my husband while he was still at sea. They were going ashore and getting on a military flight to come back home before the next part of the excersice started. Yay!!! Always a great surprise to have him home even if only for a few weeks! This cake I had planned to make in September immediately came to my mind (thank you Jesus!) and I resolved, without looking at the timeline, to create a couch cake with our family sitting on it. 

It was a wirlwind of a weekend, and I was exhausted by the time I collected my husband from the airport, but it was all worth it! He was completely surprised and so excited to see us and our furry kids looking like we would during a normal evening at home (yup, hearts really can be seen floating above our heads wherever we go together!). Because it was for my love, I was able to put in lots of extra details including his favorite reindeer comfy pants, Emma (our dog's) pink belly, our wedding rings on fingers, his high regulation haircut and my painted toes and comfy pants.

There is no greater joy than creating something special for the one's you love and this certainly is no exception. It is out of pure love and complete joy that I lost sleep, set aside the messes in the house (those of you who know me understand how hard that is for me!) and put so much detail into this original and unique cake just to put a smile on my husband's face after too much time away. I am greatly blessed with a godly husband and it's been so fun to make this sweet gift of sugar for him.

"So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves."

Philippians 2:1-3

February 19, 2012

Simple Heart Cookies

A month ago I looked ahead on my calendar seeing what special lessons I wanted to teach to the kids at church and what truths about God I wanted to hone in on. I saw Valentine's Day coming up and knew I wanted to do something special. I found my heart cookie cutter, started looking for sugar cookie ideas and then life happened. Valentine's Day came and went and no cookies came out of my kitchen for the kids. Plan failed.

Being a little late no longer bothers me as it becomes a bit of the norm in my life, so I became determined to have cookies ready to pass out to my Sunday School class the Sunday after Valentine's Day. Yes, this would work out great! And do kids really care when they get sweets? I didn't think so! God in His goodness knew how He made me and worked it out perfectly! Love that! Our lesson this week was on the Life of King David (yes, the whole life... that alone was a big enough challenge to teach in 15 minutes to first graders!).

Crafts and sweet gifts of hearts matches a lesson on David perfectly as we discussed how God felt about David and comparing him to King Saul. David wasn't the most handsome and he sure wasn't the tallest. He was a young shephard when the prophet Samuel was intructed to go to Bethlehem and annoint this new king that would replace the fallen King Saul. No one was more shocked than David's own family! God used David to teach us that He does not look at our outside apperance; He looks on our hearts.

You may be beautiful on the outside, well dressed, always looking your best, but what is the state of your heart? Is it full of hateful thoughts, dishonestly, unfaithfulness and disobedience to God? Or are you maybe a bit of a mess on the outside but proudly holding Jesus in your heart striving to be more and more like Him each day? The way into our eternal home is not by our outward apperance or even by the works we do. It's only by Jesus. If you don't proclaim Jesus as your Savior, holding him in your heart, you will not be admitted. No exceptions.

Maybe this Valentine's Day will be a time for you to recommit your life to Christ or discover Him for the first time. God is waiting patiently for you and is looking at your heart and sees it's condition and yet still loves you as His own son or daughter. Choose Jesus.

"But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look on his apperance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward apppearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.""
1 Samuel 16:7

Decorating a Simple Heart Cookie

For more detailed instructions on making a royal iced sugar cookie click here.

Start by outlining each cookie with a piping bag and a #2 round tip. Give yourself about a quarter inch edge for lace around the iced heart.

Flood each cookie with thined royal icing using a toothpick to spread the icing around the cookie.

Using a piping bag and a #2 round tip filled with white royal icing, pipe a small heart into the wet icing.

Again using your white icing bag and the #2 tip, pipe half circles around the edge of the cookie overlaping the lines when strating a new half round. 

Let your cookies dry for 24 hours before writting a special message or scripture using a food pen. The edible ink needs about 3 hours to dry depending on humidity before bagging the cookies.


February 7, 2012

Gumpaste Star Spray on Wire

"He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names."
Psalm 147:3-5

What you need:
tylose glue
20 or 18 g wire
small cell rolling pin
cell board
parchment or wax paper
baking sheet

Starting with gumpaste in a sausage roll, use your cell pin to roll the paste over the cell board's lines to the desired thickness. For these stars, I rolled my gumpaste to about 1/4 inch thick.

Center your cutter over each line in the cell board. Pay attention to which end you want to be the top and bottom. The bottom of the cutter should be closest to the bottom edge of the board (the line in the board is thickest at the bottom edge).

Remove the access gumpaste and carefully turn your cut-out over. For the purpose of this tutorial, I only rolled enough paste for a single shape. To speed up the process, roll enough paste to cover the length of the cell board.

Dip the end of a wire in tylose glue tapping off the access.

Carefully slide wire through the raised portion of your shape. Place your index finger over the raised line to feel when to stop inserting the wire or, mark the length of the shape against the wire using your finger as a marker and then slide the wire in.

Gently hold the bottom of the shape against a paper towel to remove excess tylose glue (not shown in photos). Failure to do so will crause the shape to stick to the baking sheet.

Place finished shapes on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet to dry for at least 3 days before using. Turn shapes over after at least 24 hours to allow the opposite side to dry well.