Archive for category Creating

Too Busy Baking to Bake Anything

You might have noticed that things are little slow here at The Bake Cakery.  OK, a lot slow.  While I haven’t been baking goods of the sugary variety, there has been something else baking:

For those that know Jason and I, you might have thought this announcement would never come, but with grad school finished up and 8 solid years of marriage to look back on, we decided it was time!

I have been experiencing the joys of pregnancy: namely nausea, exhaustion, and moodiness. Without an appetite, I haven’t had the desire to bake or even think about new recipes for the past few weeks.  Now, with my first trimester about to end, I’m finally starting to feel hungry again.  I did have my first peanut butter craving and whipped up a batch of these cookies to celebrate.

According to the What to Expect When You’re Expecting App, Baby Beaird is in the peach stage of the produce journey at 12 weeks and 3 days.

This will be the first grandbaby on my side and he/she will join 4 other sweeties on the Beaird side.  Between moving to a new city, buying a fixer upper and deciding to start a family, we know we’ll have our hands (& hearts) full for a good long time… and that’s just the way we like it.

Ideas for Decorating an Apartment: Vinyl Wall Designs

Renters can decorate too, or so that’s what I’m telling myself.

After owning a home that we completely remodeled, living in a (very new) rental is somewhat of an adjustment. We were used to spending nights and weekends on DIY improvement projects and now we don’t know what to do with ourselves!Target Birds & Branches Vinyl Clock

I love to scour the Target endcaps for cheap clearance finds. On one fateful trip, I found this glorious “Birds & Branches” clock for just $6.24 (check the tag!) and it had to come home with me.  That was back when we owned our place and I never did find the time or the right place to hang it… Until now!

Target Clearance Price Tag

Our new rental has tons of style with pretty moldings, high ceilings and lots of details… but it doesn’t necessarily reflect anything about us or our taste. The blank wall above the fireplace was screaming for some art and this clock was the perfect size.

What’s great about it is that when we’re ready to move, the vinyl peels right off.  We even hung the clock part with a thumb tack so as to make the tiniest hole possible.

Removable Vinyl Wall Art

The clock came with extra birds that we felt would clutter the look.  My uber creative hubs had the idea to put one bird above the window molding for some added flair.

See him way over there on the right looking back at his buddy on the clock?.. No? Ok, I’ll zoom in:

Vinyl Wall Art

Overall we are excited to be city dwellers and have accepted the fact that we just have to get creative in our decorating. Stay tuned for more ideas as we slowly put together our new place!

Organized Cake Decorating Supplies

Keeping all my favorite cake decorating supplies in order is no small feat.  They range from tiny piping tips to a rather big turntable that I used to get an even coat of frosting on my layer cakes.  For the more frequently used supplies (spatulas, fondant tools, piping tips & bags, sprinkles etc.) I adapted the Wilton Ultimate Tool Caddy to fit my needs and make it easy to take on the go.

Wilton Cake Decorating Supplies Organizer

Luckily it is well-designed to fit a lot of the typical baker’s equipment, like this handy food coloring compartment:

Wilton Food Coloring Holder

But… I took it one step beyond Wilton’s vision and added some of my own touches to make it more practical.  I like to know where to find things, so labeling and organizing is an addiction second nature for me.  I’m also a little crafty and like to be unique so I did some personalizing while I was at it!

How I keep my Cake Decorating Supplies at Bay:

  1. Using a Silhouette SD that I borrowed from a friend (seriously the coolest crafting tool on the face of the earth!) I cut my logo out of sticker paper and applied it to bottom compartment.
  2. Bake Caker Logo Cut With Silhouette HD

  3. After putting everything in its place I used a label maker with black ink and clear labels (I don’t recommend the one I have to anyone… but it did the job). Now I don’t have to hunt for any of the supplies and I know where to put them back when I’m done making a mess in the kitchen (or better yet… hubby knows where to put them if he’s helping me with dishes)!Cake Supply Labels
  4. The last thing I did was get my piping tips in order…umm…like… by number. (Ok, maybe this was taking it a step too far but I looove it!)  Since the tip compartment is clear, I created a template that fits underneath, showing the spot where each numbered tip lives. If I have more than one of a type it just gets stacked on top!
  5. Cake Tip OrganizerWilton Piping Tips

I keep my fun BakeCakery stickers in one compartment so I don’t forget to include them with each cake. I soOoOO want to do a cake competition just so I can show off my sweet cake box!

How do you stay organized when it comes to kitchen gadgets?

Made For You With Love

Remember the caramel apple cheesecake I made yesterday?  Well, I had some extra batter because my springform pan was too short to hold it all.  Not a problem – I quickly whipped up some extra crust and baked a baby version too.  We were getting together with good friends today, so I decided to wrap it up as a little present for them to enjoy.

Jason designed these adorable stickers for me a few months ago and we had them printed by Stickermule.  Just $9 for a batch of 100 2″ stickers after a coupon code. I also have a stash of fun treat boxes and bags from Christmas thanks to Jason’s mom. Who knew you could gift-wrap a mini cheesecake!

The ribbon and label came with one set of treat boxes and I thought they matched really well with the sticker and my blog.  Despite what you might think, I’m not a huge fan of pink.  But my favorite color is chocolate brown (is that weird?) and the two go so well together. I will say that in transport some of the caramel stuck to the window of the box which of course drove me crazy briefly, but overall I was really happy with how it turned out.

Along with the idea of owning a B&B, you can add professional baking to my list of dreams.  I love that I can whip up something in my kitchen to make other people smile!

The B&B Dream

I have this crazy dream, a daydream I guess you might say, of buying a rundown old property in Florida and restoring into a Bed & Breakfast. I recently bought a book on how to run/open/manage a B&B just to satisfy my curiosity.  The main premise in the book is that you shouldn’t rely on the B&B for your main income.  People also say that old homes are money pits.  I’ve also heard if you want to operate a B&B you should do it after the kids are grown and not have any pets.  We haven’t even started a family yet and I couldn’t imagine living without a fluffball to snuggle with.

Even with all the doubts and naysayers, I can’t get the idea out of my head.  I guess the B&B I have in my minds eye just puts so many of my passions and talents to good work (except that whole chemical engineering phd thing…heh).

I often wonder if it could be a process… I work for 20 years in research and then we purchase our getaway. Will I be too tired then?  Or could we buy a place soon and while we’re working at our day jobs, spend many years renovating it with the intention of making it into a B&B later?  I don’t want to just buy something – I want to rehab it and bring it back to its 100 year old glory.  I want decorate each room with a purpose and a vision,  to do it all on a budget, and blog about it all the while.  I want it to have an organic garden and fruit trees that we harvest from for breakfast.  I want it to have a compost bin, some rain barrels and energy saving windows. (Jason really wants double flush toilets.) Like I said, tough for me to get it off the brain.

Scouring and using the advance search feature to look for 51+ year old places for sale has only made me want to do it more.  Although, admittedly, I went into a few places that I liked on the internet and they are in oh-so-much-worse shape when you see them in person.  Here are a few I’m drooling over right now (click the links to see more photos):

Classic style, built in 1903, 4500 sq. ft., in Tampa, FL

Spanish style, built in 1920’s, 4291 sq. ft (including guest houses!), in West Palm Beach, FL

Victorian, built in 1910, 4300 sq. ft, near the water, in St. Petersburg, FL

Little Letters

Jason and I don’t have kids yet. Well that’s not technically true we have one – Ms. Abbygellers Princess Fuzz Bucket herself (Abby for short). But you probably can’t see her…she has invisible superpowers.

But you know what I mean, the sweet bald drooling kind that cuddle and suck on their toes.  So you can imagine our excitement when last year at Thanksgiving both of my sister in-laws announced that they were pregnant!  Fast forward to the end of June/beginning of July this year and we have THE most adorable nephew, Vince (Vbear) and niece, Alice – just 9 days apart!

Told you they were cute!  So what is a new aunt to do other than spoil and snuggle them as much as possible?  I had been collecting diapers and other baby goodies as part of my weekly coupon shopping so I put together a basket for each babe.  I wanted to add a personal touch and I got inspired to make a decorative wooden letter for their nurseries.  Using two coordinating scrapbook papers (blues and browns for baby V and purples and yellows for Ms. Alice), I outlined and cut out the paper to exactly cover the letter and glued it on.  Then I just let it dry overnight. Here is the final product:

And what they look like in the nurseries!

Alice’s room has clean lines and modern crisp furniture. Vince has a nautical themed nursery with lots of fun colors (aren’t those capiz mobiles awesome!). I am so thrilled that they each have a little something in their rooms from Aunt Amy and I can’t wait to spoil them some more!

Succulent Smörgåsbord

Reading the title, you probably thought I was talking about a pork buffet, but I’m really referring to plants here… Succulents! These are hardy little guys that can live without much water or maintenance (i.e. my kind of plant).  Just don’t leave them out in freezing temps or extreme shade and you are good to go!

The best part about them is they are SO easy propagate.  My first succulent came from a window box in the “horseshoe” on USC campus. I broke off a small piece, came home and stuck it in the dirt and it has turned into this over the last 4 years:

Since then my sweet hubs will surprise me with a new plant during a Lowe’s/Home Depot adventure. Mom and I swapped a couple of plants and recently my sister in law Jenna graciously shared some new species from her collection with me. Then, I gathered up a few more that were growing wild at Jason’s mom and dad’s new place (aka the Beaird Ranch).

All these new guys needed a good home, so I grabbed some Miracle Grow Citrus, Palm and Cactus soil and I fixed up some pots I had laying around.  A few years ago I snagged these beauts at a community garage sale for a buck a piece. They were pastel, one baby blue, one lime green and one pale yellow. Always intending to paint them, I grabbed a can of Rustoleum Painters Touch in a dark navy blue.  Here is the final product:

I am thrilled with how they turned out and I can’t wait for the plants to grow up so I can share my collection with others.

Someday soon, I will catalog each of the species growing in here and share that with you too!

Bath Salt Sand Art

For a while, bath salts and bath gift sets were all the rage.  I had accumulated a few packs of salts and, although I love soaking in the tub, its not something I get the time for very often.  Inspiration often hits me at random moments and usually with found objects. My family lovingly calls this “Amy Art”. I saw some kids doing sand art at the Grant Seafood Festival (mmm fried scallops) and that was my jumping off point for this project.

Ok, back to bath salts.  The bottle was leftover from lemonade we took on a picnic one day. I made a little funnel with wax paper and then poured each bath salt in carefully, making sure each was level before I poured the next color.  One of the packs came with a little wooden scooper so I tied that on the bottle with raffia just for fun.  I love that it corrals all the salts in one place, makes a nice relaxing visual element in the bathroom and was basically from stuff I had on hand. Super cool that the bottle has a built in rubber stopper to keep everything fresh. Now I get to enjoy the salts, even when I’m too busy for a bath!  Suddenly I have a craving for fried scallops and ice cold lemonade…

Quick & Free Photo Swap

Jason’s sister Jenna gave us an awesome stacked picture frame several years ago as a gift.  It originally came with black and white placeholder images of Italy and I have been meaning to swap them out in favor of real photos for way too long now.

We take most of our pictures digitally, and rarely do I get the chance to print out the good ones.  Since I didn’t have any photos handy, I opted for a different approach. My latest issue of Garden Design Magazine (a freebie from an online deal) had vibrant pics of several varieties of Mums which I cut to fit each frame.

Sometimes the quick projects like this are the most rewarding. We now have a colorful, in-season update to our photo frame and it didn’t cost a thing!