Tuesday, November 29, 2011

EtsyBABY's Annual Candee Cayne Holiday Hunt

It's the 4th annual Candee Cayne Holiday Hunt hosted by the EtsyBABY Team. Tuesday, November 29th - Friday, December 9th, search Knitstyle's shop for the Candy Cayne graphic, purchase the listing and you'll receive FREE SHIPPING! Visit the EtsyBABY's website for a list of other participating shops and see what sale or special promotion Candee Cayne has to offer.

Look for this Candee Cayne graphic!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Black Friday - Cyber Monday Sale

Happy Thanksgiving!! I was cooking away in the kitchen for most of the day yesterday. Baking some yummy pies for Thanksgiving dinner and since I don't do any of the meal cooking for Thanksgiving I decided to cook a nice dinner last night. I enjoy being in the kitchen and it definitely got me in a cheerful mood. Hope you have a very nice Thanksgiving and are able to spend it with friends & family!

Ready for some great weekend deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday?? A group of EtsyKIDS Team members are having special sales and promotions all weekend so be sure to check them out! Knitstyle by MMC is offering FREE SHIPPING on all orders (excluding Patterns and Kits). Just use the coupon code "NOVSHIP2011" at checkout.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Do It Yourself, Or Not

Are you a knitter or would you rather purchase an already knit pair of SNUGGS(c)? SNUGGS(c) are Knitstyle by MMC's original design for suede knit baby booties. They are completely lined with the softest plush yarn that any baby would love!
Since 2007, Knitstyle by MMC has been knitting numerous pairs of SNUGGS(c) in either tan or chocolate brown. In 2009, I introduced the option for knitters to purchase my original pattern and knit their own pair of SNUGGS(c). Now, I am offering buyers to either purchase an already knit pair; purchase a DIY kit that includes the pattern and yarn; or to purchase the pattern alone. I also introduced some new colors for the suede-like yarn (colors to choose from: Tan, Chocolate Brown, Black, Purple, Light Blue, and Light Pink). Check these out!

SNUGGS(c) in Purple

DIY Pattern and 2 Yarn Kit

DIY Pattern and Suede Yarn (Blue)

DIY Pattern and Yarn Kit (Pink)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

U-Pick Strawberries

I can remember the early days of June.. as a child, my grandfather would bring me along to help him pick freshly ripened strawberries at one of our local farms. I looked forward to going each year and since then, I have always enjoyed strawberry picking and have made a habit of it almost every year. For the first few years, I would bring along one of my nephews, who at the time was 3 or 4 years old. He is now 14 and probably too cool to go strawberry picking with his Aunt Megan! Nonetheless, I have a growing supply of young nephews and nieces and continue to bring 1 or 2 kids along with me every year. A few years ago the farm closed and re-opened under Whippoorwill Farm CSA. This meant the U-Pick Strawberries was only open to CSA members so last year I decided to join the CSA, primarily for the strawberry picking!!! The rest of the CSA season was absolutely amazing I had to join for another year! Last week, we received the CSA newsletter letting us know that the strawberry patch would be open on Friday for strawberry picking... so, I bagged the TGIF gathering after work and left work early to get there for the last hour of picking time on Friday afternoon. My 3-1/2 year old niece, Sydney, joined me for the fun this year for a second year in a row. We had fun picking strawberries (and some daisies) and I hope that this tradition is creating memories that will last...

In past years, I've made strawberry pie, strawberry muffins, strawberry lemonade, strawberry margaritas (yum!), strawberry margarita squares, strawberry shortcake...

Yesterday I bought some rhubarb and today I decided to make a strawberry-rhubarb crisp. Found the recipe while I was looking through some cookbooks on this rainy Sunday morning. Heading to my sister's for dinner tonight for Lamb chops and we'll dig into the crisp for dessert!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Cake Decorating (For Amateurs)

Cake decorating can be fun but it can also be a little stressful if you are not prepared or do not allow yourself enough time. I started getting into cake decorating for my nieces and nephews over the years and have learned to make sure I allow myself enough time so that I can take my time with the details and enjoy the process. If I rush, I tend to make mistakes or get a little sloppy and am unhappy with the final result. So... with my latest cake I decided to document my process and share with you all. This cake was for my nephew's 8th birthday and he is a HUGE hockey fan! Special Request: sports theme

Step 1: Pick a theme/image you want to decorate. If it's your first try to keep it simple! What you decide will determine the shape and size of your cake. Here, I chose the Boston Bruins logo.
Step 2: Bake the cake and let cool.

Step 3: Make frosting. My favorite frosting is this Italian Meringue Buttercream I found on Martha Stewart Recipes. It makes 4-1/2 cups which is more than enough to frost a cake. It's not the best option for decorating but it taste great (not too sugary) and works well. The photos below show the process of making this frosting, from making the syrup, beating egg whites, adding syrup to egg whites, and finally beating in butter and vanilla to finish frosting. The directions are pretty straightforward!

Step 4&5: Level cake (all layers) and frost. I wanted a white background so I added a few drops of white coloring gel to brighten the buttercream. Buttercream tends to have a buttery yellow tint to it. This is a double layer cake and I always add frosting between layers as well. The leveling will help keep the top of the cake flat. The layers do not have to be completely flat, but enough to remove the round bump in the center.

Step 6: Divide up remaining frosting and color. Depending on how many colors you will use, you'll need to divide up the frosting accordingly. For this cake, I have 2 colors: yellow and black. Now, this was my first time making black frosting or icing so I would like to share a little tip I learned. After dividing the frosting, I melted some dark chocolate and added it in (about 2 TBSP for about 1-2 cups of frosting). Then I used a black gel food coloring. The chocolate will help with getting a true black quicker without having to add too much coloring. Adding too much food coloring can alter the taste of the frosting. It is best to add the coloring in small portions and mix to see the results. Add more if necessary. Another tip ... while mixing the black color in, the frosting turned a silvery gray at first but in time (by the time I started the decorating) it darkened and turned black.

Step 7: Decorate! With the colors ready and pastry bags filled we are ready to start decorating (I like to have pastry bags ready for each color so there is no need to clean anything once the decorating starts). Depending on what you are going to decorate, it is best to have a plan on where to start and end. You can also use a knife to carve it out first to make sure the sizing is appropriate. Here, I started with the outside first, then the middle and then I filled in the rest.

Finishing touches ... filling in and the side of the cake. For the side of the cake, I filled it in by creating single layers around the cake, starting at the bottom (or you can start at the top) and working my way around and up to the top.

Step 8: Put candles on it and sing Happy Birthday!!!

I have posted a few images of cakes I have made in my Flickr account: Cakes