Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Introducing. . . Nap Mat Covers

It's the end of July and school is just around the corner once again!  A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine asked if I knew of anyone who made covers for the nap mats that a lot of the kiddos use in preschool and kindergarten.  I searched the Web for a tutorial and could not find one for the kind I was wanting to make.  After looking at some different variations, I decided to try to make a pattern myself. 

I was really pleased with how it turned out so I wanted to share my new product with you!  The cover fits a standard 1inch thick nap mat that can be purchased at Wal-Mart or wherever you buy school supplies.  It slips over the mat and attaches with velcro so it can be easily removed and thrown into the washer. 

 Attached handles and straps make carrying much easier.
Custom monogram available!

Comes with matching pillowcase that fits a travel size pillow.

 My new sew in fabric tags!

Thanks for reading!

with love,
Ashley :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Tables and Cupcakes

Tables and cupcakes. . . kind of a weird combo, I know.  What these two do have in common is that they were two of my projects this week so I decided to cover them both in the same post!

Last weekend we got together with some of our sweet friends for dinner and I decided to make dessert because I have been wanting to try a new summer recipe for Key Lime Cupcakes that I found in one of my magazines.  I tweaked the recipe a bit and used store bought icing to save a little time, but they turned out to be pretty tasty!

Key Lime Cupcakes (I used regular limes because my grocery store didn't have key limes)
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbls lime zest (I used a cheese grater to zest my lime into a small glass bowl)
3 eggs
11/4 cup flour
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tea baking powder
1/2 tea salt
1/4 cup half and half
2 tbls fresh lime juice

3 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 (10oz) jar lime curd  (I had never seen this before, but I found it on the baking isle with the pie fillings)

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line your muffin pan with cupcake liners.
2) In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar, and lime zest.  Beat at high speed with mixer until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3) In another bowl, whisk flour, cracker crumbs, baking powder, and salt together.
4) In a small bowl whisk half and half and lime juice together.  Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, alternately with half and half mixture.  Spoon batter into muffin cups (about 2/3 full).  Bake for 16-20 minutes until done.  Let cool completely.
5) Use a melon baller and carefully remove a small ball shaped amount of cake from the center of each cupcake.  Spoon lime Filling into the center of each cupcake.  Finally frost your cupcakes with vanilla icing.  To spruce up the appearance, I sprinkled graham cracker crumbs over the icing, stuck a small slice of lime in the icing, and topped each cupcake with a toothpick umbrella! 

If you want to create a cute summer dessert, be sure to try out this yummy recipe! 

And now on to the tables.  Right after Daniel and I moved to Nashville, I found two matching side tables at Goodwill to use for our nightstands.  Yes, it has been 2 years, but I have been so busy refinishing furniture to sell that I haven't refinished our bedroom furniture.  On a recent trip to HomeGoods, I found an adorable lamp on clearance that I bought for my nightstand and I decided that everything would look much better together if I stripped and repainted our nightstands an antique white.  Below are the before photos of our nightstands.

Here is a shot of them right after my wonderful Hubs helped me sand them:

And here is the finished product after a coat of primer, two coats of paint, and one coat of clear protectant:

Thanks for reading!  Let me know if these recipes and ideas were helpful to you!  I am working on adding a suggestion box to my blog for you to leave ideas! 

Enjoy this beautiful Saturday the Lord has given us! 

Ashley :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

From Crafts to Cakes

Along with my ventures in crafting, I absolutely LOVE to bake!  Last year for my birthday a dear friend gave me a certificate for a fondant cake decorating class!  We have a great place here in Nashville to find all of your supplies for everything sweet.  It is called Sweet Wise and this is where I took the Fondant 1 class.  I enjoyed it so much, I decided to take their Buttercream 1 class about a month later. 

My first fondant cake (made in class)

First buttercream cake (made in class)

At the beginning of this year I began making cakes out of our home for family and friends.  A sweet couple that Daniel and I have gotten to know since we moved to Nashville asked me if I could make a Cars cake for their son's 2nd birthday.  That was my first big cake on my own and I had so much fun making it for them!

Cars cake (Fondant)

This May we decided to throw my mom a surprise "50th" birthday party and I really wanted to make her cake.  Over the past few years my mom has really gotten into golf and is really good at it too (I like to brag on her!).  So, thanks to our friends at the course she plays at, we got to have her party at the golf course pavillion.  Going with the golf theme, I decided to make a golf cake of course.

Mom's 50th golf cake (Fondant)

My most recent cake was for a sweet girl that Daniel works with.  She ordered a Hello Kitty cake for her daughter's birthday a couple of weeks ago.

Hello Kitty cake (Fondant)

There was a lot in this post, but I wanted to catch you up on the cakes I have been making.  It looks like I should have started blogging a little sooner, but better late than never!  I am trying to get the word out about my cakes too so if you have a special occasion coming up or know someone who may be interested in having a custom cake made let me know!  Thanks so much for reading!

God Bless,
Ashley :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Honeymoon Remix

It has been a little while since my last post because Daniel and I have been in Cancun the past week for vacation; we like to call it our "honeymoon remix" because as many of you know I got extremely sick on our first one. 

This trip was all we could have hoped for and more!  I had never been to Mexico and Daniel had never been to this part of Mexico before and it was absolutely beautiful!  We stayed at the Excellence Riviera Cancun and I would definitely recommend it to anyone!  I can't tell you how nice and friendly everyone who worked there was!  It was all inclusive which was pretty dangerous considering how much we like food!  The resort had its own private beach area, countless beautiful pools, live music and shows at night, and over a dozen free activities per day such as kayaking, bike tours, beach volleyball, poker, cooking classes, dancing classes, etc. 

The view from our room

On day two we went on a day trip to visit Chichen Itza, one of the old Mayan cities.  Before we got there they took us to a sink hole where you can normally swim, but because it had been raining so much they would not let us swim because it was contaminated. 

At the sink hole

One of the new 7 wonders of the world

Everyone told us that we needed to go to 5th Avenue in Playa Del Carmen for the best shopping, so we did.  As a crafter, I really like buying locally handmade items to support that way of life and 5th Avenue was a little too commercialized.  We definitely saw several "Made in China" and "Made in India" tags.  We still had a great time though and found several items we liked!

We went on two half day snorkeling trips!  We both really like to snorkel and the water in Mexico was so clear and a beautiful deep blue.  One trip was across on a ferry to Cozumel and the other was up the way from our resort on Maroma Beach.  On the Maroma Beach trip we got to ride what they call the Spinnaker which it similar to Parasailing but you are just sitting in a swing attached to a kite.  It was really fun! 
Getting ready to snorkel

Daniel riding the Spinnaker, he went SO high!

On Sunday, I got to go swim with the dolphins!  I have been wanting to do this for a very long time and Daniel was so sweet to go and watch me and take pictures!  It was amazing!  These creatures that God made are so intelligent!  It was such a big reminder of how creative, loving, and awesome our Lord is!  I got to ride holding their fins, kiss them, hug them, and play with them!  The dolphins we were with were Figi and Asia; they were rescue dolphins and Figi was pregnant.

We got to spend our second 4th of July in a row at the beach.  Last year we were in Haiti on the mission trip and this year not too terribly far from there in Mexico.  Our resort had fireworks and a special celebration.  We also met a sweet couple that night from North Carolina.  The husband serves in the Army- we are so thankful for what he and so many others do for our country to have the freedom we have! 

My sweet friend Kristin that we met on the 4th.

It was such a great trip!  We really enjoyed seeing the Lord's beautiful creation and just slowing down a bit to be reminded of it and what He has done for us.  We so loved our time together and are so thankful for the blessings in our lives.  Honeymoon remix was a success! 

Here is one last pic. . .  there were iguanas everywhere!!!  I was scared to get any closer, but this one really liked his picture taken!  :)

Stay tuned for a new post very soon!  I had a cake order the week before we left that I am going to blog about.  Thanks!

Ashley :)