Wednesday, May 23, 2018

DIY Fingernail design with Words

So I was going to an SCBWI Writing Conference in Oregon and wanted to do something fun and artsy with my fingernails 'cuz that's something I can do at home...usually with some help from my daughter-in-law ;D...so we decorated my nails--or maybe I should say Fatina decorated my nails ;D

Anyway, I didn't want to spend a fortune on a manicure so this was an EZ, inexpensive way to have some fun at my fingertips.

First you paint your fingernails white, then you cut out some newspaper clippings and soak them in alcohol. Place the newspaper clipping on your nails, rub them with a blunt object so that they transfer without ripping the paper and then pull the clipping away. Voile' you will have words on your fingernails.

(I did a youtube video of this process but it isn't working right now...sorry)



If you have any questions, let me know. And if you try this out, please send me a picture and share it in the comments below. And Happy Writing!



Tuesday, April 3, 2018

PENGUIN POPS


If you want to make these fun Penguin Pops, just follow the EZ steps below. 

Of course you need penguin pop molds, which you can get at candy making supply shops like Blake's Decorette Shop in Portland, Oregon

Then you need some white chocolate and some food coloring: Orange and black will do. You also need a food quality paintbrush...or two. All you do is paint the food coloring onto the mold.

Then spoon in your melted white chocolate.
Put your molds in the refrigerator to chill for a couple hours and voilÃ.

Penguin Pops


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Sunday, April 1, 2018

Cake Fail for Easter

Everything doesn't always turn out.  We all have failures in life and this can apply to writing, working or even baking. And sometimes I have absolute fails and I've had my share when it comes to making cakes. I like to think it's just because I tried to do too many things in a day. But that's just an excuse because after putting in the time to bake a cake and  attempting to decorate it...well,  let's just say it's not fun to have a fail. But it happens.

The last two cake fails I had were because I tried to add something to the recipe and obviously it didn't work out. The one above was because I cored out a portion of the inside to add a pudding filling for that fun-family surprise. But the hole damaged the "structural integrity" (yeah who even says that when they are talking about cake...I guess just cake nerds--like me) and the cake started to implode. Of course my son said,  "didn't you learn from the last time you did this?"

I guess not.

He is right. There was another cake fail where I added pumpkin to the batter...and not just a little but a LOT. That extra-added pumpkin damaged the structural integrity of my bear cake...(see below).

Not so pretty but he tasted just fine.

Still I had to remake him because he was for a birthday party.

But that's not the only cake fail I've had. There was also the sad turkey cake for Thanksgiving.
He sure didn't look happy for our festive family feast. So I had to take another do-over. This time with cupcakes because they sure cook a whole lot faster than an entire cake.

Luckily, those little guys turned out pretty cute, at least in my mind. 

But there are still more fails in my past. Like the time I saw something on the Food Channel and  thought, "hey I can do that". 

"Not!"

Sculpting a person out of rice krispies sounds EZ Smeazy but, take it from me, those people on the Food Channel are there for a reason. They have talent. Something I must be lacking because look at this sculpted figure of my brother-in-law Bo.

Yeah,  it doesn't look anything like him. At least I had the Bee and the Hive cake as backups and they turned out ... sort of. . . so we still had a party-with cake--for his birthday. 
Plus he was interested in the Beekeeping book, so that took his mind off the horrible fail...I hope.

I'm not saying all my cakes have been horrible fails. Some have actually turned  out. 




But it's always the fails that keep me striving to get better. Like this cake fail, where I tried to make my fondant out of marshmallows...yeah marshmallows - what was I  thinking?

Okay maybe it doesn't look so bad from  far  away but let's  get a  close up shot so you can really see.
Okay,  so maybe this one should be called a "fondant fail" because at least the cake  tasted good. And that cake in the background really did turn out...so 1 out of 2 isn't so bad...I'm hoping.

So, what is the point of this post? I just wanted all the homebakers out there to know that you aren't alone in your burnt, botched or under-baked disasters. We all have them...at  least I hope so. Otherwise, I'm the only one who has those disasterous moments in the kitchen. But just to prove that the motto "If at first you don't succeed,  try-try again," is a good one to keep in the back of your brain anytime you're testing new recipes at home, I wanted to show you that I took another do-over to make my little Easter penguin (yep, Easter penguin) cake and he actually turned out--at least  I like  to think so. (Okay the nose is a little large, but so is mine, nothing wrong with having a BIG nose... right?


And, if you want to see  how I  made him,  just keep on reading.

First I baked the cake in a pan shaped like a sphere

Then I cut off all the excess and used it to cut out little feet and wings ... and that BIG penguin nose. I used some frosting to glue the two halves together then I started frosting the ball.
And I kept frosting...
And frosting. . . until:


Plus it doesn't hurt (at least that's what I think) to throw those white chocolate penguin pops on the table,  to prove sometimes things turn out for me...even if the penguin cake does have a BIG nose.

(And, if you want to see how I made the penguin pops...come back later this week to see how EZ those little guys are... and, if you like to bake, or write,  or read you might want to think about subscribing to my blog so you will get notified when I have a new post ;D )

Thanks for taking the time to read about my Easter Fail. I hope it gave you a smile. 






Saturday, March 24, 2018

Easter is Almost Here - Homemade Treats

Easter is just around the corner and it's so easy to decorate on a budget. 

All you need is a silicon mold and some chocolate. I use white chocolate to create Easter Eggs you can eat...even the shell. All you need to do is melt your chocolate and pour it into the molds. Then I put the molds into the refrigerator and let the chocolate  harden. Super simple and oh...so...pretty.


Another thing you can do is make Easter baskets...with cupcakes.


This is another super simple way to make a fun party food and create a fantastic eye-candy at the same time. All you need is regular cupcake papers and pipe cleaners. I mix shredded coconut into the frosting to create my grass for my "Easter baskets" then I top the baskets with jelly beans. Really cute and  very tasty too.

Another fun thing to do is to take plastic Easter Eggs and stuff them into little yarn chickens. I  think these little chicks are so fun.

 




Thursday, March 15, 2018

CAN DREAMS COME TRUE...


There are different meanings for the word Dream. It can be the world we escape into when we  fall asleep or it can merely be a  wish...

Have you ever had a dream and wondered, "What does that mean?"

Or...

Have you wished you knew how to interpret your dreams? Well, did you know there are sites on the internet that say they can give you some insight into your dreams? Well, there are.

Just like this one: Dreamforth

I'm not saying Dreamforth is accurate or that I trust these types of sites, I'm just saying they're out there. And you might want to take a peek. I mean even if the site doesn't deliver or interpret your dream, it might give you a little insight into why you had the dream.

On another note, have you ever wondered if Dreams are merely a premonition of what's to come?

Well, here's one book that talks about that...in a roundabout way (if you read it, let me know what you think of the story)

Can Dreams Come True? (Book One of the Cecily Taylor Series) by Krysten Lindsay Hager


Contemporary YA fiction

Pages: 224 pages

Blurb:

Cecily has always had a huge crush on singer Andrew Holiday and she wants to be an actress, so she tags along when her friend auditions for his new video. However, the director isn’t looking for an actress, but rather the girl next door—and so is Andrew. Cecily gets a part in the video and all of Andrew’s attention on the set. Her friend begins to see red and Cecily’s boyfriend is seeing green—as in major jealousy. A misunderstanding leaves Cecily and her boyfriend on the outs and Andrew hopes to pick up the pieces as he’s looking for someone more stable in his life than the models he’s dated. Soon Cecily begins to realize Andrew understands her more than her small-town boyfriend—but can her perfect love match really be her favorite rock star?

Excerpt 1:

I started to feel anxious after lunch. After all, I had been an Andrew fan for a long time, and even though I had seen him in person, this was a huge deal to get to meet him. What if he wasn’t what I had imagined? I didn’t expect him to fawn over me or anything, but what if he was rude or ignored me? It would kill my fantasy of him as being this sweet, quiet, sensitive songwriter who wore his heart on his sleeve while also being kind of a loner/rebel with just a touch of bad boy in him. Oh man, I would be crushed if he didn’t notice me or worse—if he ended up flirting with Harlow. 

In all his magazine interviews Andrew always said looks weren’t important to him, and what he noticed in a girl was if she was true to herself. He said he went for “bright girls who were sweet and easy to be with.” Now that I thought about it, that was the kind of fake crap magazines put out about all the teen celebrities. It was like when I saw Lawrence Claibourne, my favorite actor who claimed to be Mr. I’m-just-looking-for-a-sweetgirl-to-read-poetry-to on a red carpet with a model whose boobs were falling out of her dress and had overdone the lip fillers—I mean, you just knew he wasn’t into her for her personality. But Andrew wasn’t like Lawrence. Andrew seemed so sincere and deep. Lawrence had a smirk and you could tell he was a player, but Andrew seemed like he had been hurt and needed to find the right girl who he could open up to and learn to trust again. . .or at least that’s what he said in his last interview.

The final bell rang and my heart shot up to my throat. This was it. I was on my way to meet my crush. From now on, any dreams of him would be marred by the reality I was about to face.

Was it better to keep wondering what if and keep the fantasy alive or to go and actually meet him?

Excerpt 2:

I felt disloyal sharing my problems with Zach with another guy, but in some weird way it was like no one got me like Andrew did. Even though we had only known each other for a little over twenty-four hours, it was as if I had known him for ages. Although I guess it made sense seeing as it always seemed like he understood what I was going through whenever I listened to his music.

I ended up pouring out the whole gross story about how insecure I felt about Tanna and how I didn’t want to seem jealous, but I didn’t feel comfortable with Zach hanging out with her.

“I know you’re probably thinking, well, obviously her first serious boyfriend, how insecure and jealous can she be?” I said wishing I hadn’t opened my mouth.

“Nope, not at all. In fact, I was thinking this crap is why I don’t date more. What is it with our generation being so casual about stuff? Again, people call me old-fashioned, but I don’t think you and I are wrong to expect people not to hang out with their exes anymore. And if I’m old-fashioned, then why are my songs about this exact thing so popular? I can’t be that out of touch if people are relating to the lyrics, right?”

“Yeah, I think a lot of people want commitment deep down,” I said. “Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe guys just want to date as many girls as possible and not settle down.”

“The media says I come off as this wounded guy as an act to get more female fans.”

I bit my lip. I had heard those rumors, too. In fact, at my old school, people made fun of me for falling for his fake image and said I was too naïve to see he was a player.

“Why are people so cynical?” he asked. “There was this article about me called, ‘Vulnerable or Vulgar: Is Holiday for Real?’”

I had read the article five times and then went online to read the outtakes from it, but all I said to him was, “Oh?”

“Yeah,” he said. “The journalist who interviewed me had an edge to him. The whole time I could tell he didn’t like me, and I almost wanted to call him out on it. I gave short answers and he labeled me, ‘moody and reclusive.’ Actually, I’d like to be reclusive, but I can’t get enough time off to do it,” he said laughing. “Being a recluse is just a dream at this point.”

I giggled. “It’s annoying how people just make snap judgements about you and they can put it out there.”

“I know, right? And if I’m having a bad day because I don’t feel good, nobody writes, ‘He had a sore throat and doesn’t feel like talking.’ No, they make it sound like I was being stuck up when all I wanted to do was go to bed and not die from the flu.”

Excerpt 3:

Andrew sat back and nodded. “Well, Dimitri got the song, you know? He understood what I was looking for—a relationship where two people understand each other on a spiritual level. You know, where their souls connect. Make sense?”

“Yeah, is that what you have with your girlfriend?” I asked hoping it didn’t look like I as phishing for info on who he was dating.

He shook his head. “Nah, I’ve never had anything like that before. But it’s the ultimate idea though, you know? How about you?”

“No, never,” I said and then I felt guilt wash over me. “I mean, I’ve had deep connections with people—just not what you’re talking about or what Dimitri said—the whole deep mystical thing.”

Andrew stared at me and I felt like he was looking into my soul. “Sometimes it feels like it’s impossible to get that connection with anybody. Or you think you’re halfway there and they say they get you, but then something happens and you know they weren’t as deep into it as you were—or at least as deep as you were hoping. That’s the inspiration for next song I’m working on. It’s about when you want to believe so badly that you have a soul connection, then something happens and you realize it was just another superficial relationship. That’s the title: Just Another Superficial Relationship.”

“Wow, I can’t wait to hear it.”

“I can sing you the chorus if you want,” he said.

Holding my breath, I tried to be cool and not squeal with delight that my favorite singer was about to not only sing for me, but let me hear an unreleased song. This was like a dream come true and it made me question if I hadn’t indeed fallen into the water and hit my head on some rocks, and was now either dreaming this in a coma somewhere or this was my own personal version of heaven. I felt guilty for inwardly gushing over Andrew when I had a boyfriend. But this wasn’t about me being interested in going out with Andrew. It would never happen anyway. This was just me meeting my crush who happened to be a singer, who I felt understood my feelings more than anyone else.

Andrew sang the chorus and a warmth washed over me. The song was perfect—the yearning, the longing—I had experienced all of it myself. It was like he had taken all my innermost thoughts and somehow put them into words.

“Amazing,” I said. My whole body was warm as my mind raced. Was I actually sitting here with him and having him trust me enough to share a new song? This was beyond anything I had dreamt of happening today.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Krysten Lindsay Hager writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends...Forever?, Next Door to a Star,  Landry in Like, Competing with the Star (The Star Series: Book 2) and Dating the It Guy. True Colors, won the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book and the Dayton Book Expo Bestseller Award for childen/teens. Competing with the Star is a Readers' Favorite Book Award Finalist.
Krysten's work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Bellbrook Times, Springfield News-Sun, Grand Blanc View, Dayton Daily News and on the talk show Living Dayton.







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