Quantcast
DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: August 2015

Monday, August 31, 2015

DIY PAPER BOWS!!

   This was found at www.helenmade.blogspot.com .  Kind of cool and unique!!



saw this origami bow tutorial here. However, it was in another language and many of you needed a written tutorial plus pictures tutorial, so here it is. A 3" x 3" paper would make a nice bow. I used 4" square for the bows that I made for the cake here.

A thin pattern paper would make a beautiful bow.



If you are using double side pattern paper place the side that you want down.


Mountain fold horizontally, crease well, then unfold.



mountain fold the other way, crease well and unfold.


you should have this.

Valley fold diagonally, crease well, and unfold.


valley fold the other way,crease well and unfold. You should have this: 2 mountain fold lines that looked like a plus sign. And 2 valley folds that looked like an "X".

Follow the creased lines and fold your paper like this


Press it down and fold the "closed" side about 1/2" down like the picture below, crease well.



Open your paper completely like shown. As you can see there is a small square in the center and the creased lines are not the same.


You are going to mountain fold those lines or the small square.


like this

refold the paper like the 7th picture above except

you will push the small square down like this

you paper now should look like this with two layers.

fold the top corners down like this


turn the paper over and repeat

you are going to open the paper, making sure your folds (small square) stay in place.

it should look like this after you opened the paper.

Turn the paper over, make sure you place your paper like in the photo. Cut at the fold where the black  lines are.



After the cut you should able to move the two pieces up and down. These two pieces will be the bow tails.

Fold the top piece down and fold the edges

of the side pieces down like shown




fold the other edges up and over lab the previous fold a bit.

now working on the bow tails, fold the edges in then cut the center where the black line is (make sure  don't cut the small square on the bottom)




then fold it like shown


turn it over

fold the bow tip under the center square

cut the bow tails and you are done! It wasn't too hard right!


I was in a rush putting this tutorial together so some phrase might not be clear but I was hopping the pictures will help.

RAKSHA BANDHAN FROM INDIA!




Rakhi: The Thread of Love

    In India, festivals are the celebration of togetherness, of being one of the family. Raksha Bandhan is one such festival that is all about affection, fraternity and sublime sentiments. It is also known as Raksha Bandhan which means a 'bond of protection'. This is an occasion to flourish love, care, affection and sacred feeling of brotherhood.
Not a single festival in India is complete without the typical Indian festivities, the gatherings, celebrations, exchange of sweets and gifts, lots of noise, singing and dancing. Raksha Bandhan is a regional celebration to celebrate the sacred relation between brothers and sisters. Primarily, this festival belongs to north and western region of India but soon the world has started celebrating this festival with the same verse and spirit. Rakhi has become an integral part of those customs.








An insight of Rakhi Rituals

    On the day of Rakhi, sisters prepares the pooja thali with diya, roli, chawal, rakhi thread and sweets. The ritual begins with a prayer in front of God, then the sister ties Rakhi to her brother and wishes for his happiness and well-being. In turn, the brother acknowledge the love with a promise to stand by his sister through all the good and bad times.
    Sisters tie Rakhi on the wrist of their brothers amid chanting of mantras, put roli and rice on his forehead and pray for his well-being. She bestows him with gifts and blessings. In turn, brothers also wish her a good life and pledges to take care of her. He gives her a return gift. The gift symbolizes the physical acceptance of her love, reminder of their togetherness and his pledge. The legends and the reference in history repeated, the significance of the festival is emphasized.










Unconditional Bond of Love

    Raksha bandhan has been celebrated in the same way with the same traditions for many years. Only the means have changed with the changing lifestyle to make the celebration more elaborate and lively. This day has an inherent power that pulls the siblings together. The increasing distances evoke the desire to be together even more. All brothers and sisters try to reach out to each other on this auspicious day. The joyous meeting, the rare family get-together, that erstwhile feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood calls for a massive celebration.
    For everyone, it is an opportunity to reunion and celebrate. People also share tasty dishes, wonderful sweets and exchange gifts. It is a time to share their past experiences also. For those who are not able to meet each other, rakhi cards and e-rakhis and rakhis through mails perform the part of communicating the rakhi messages. Hand made rakhis and self-made rakhi cards are just representation of the personal feelings of the siblings.











Traditions &  Customs

    Raksha Bandhan is an occasion to celebrate the sacred bond of love and affection between siblings with lots of verve. Also known as Raksha Bandhan across the world, this festival is primarily a north Indian festival that is celebrated all brothers and sisters to express their deep emotions, love and affection.
   On the day of Rakhi festival, the sister ties Rakhi on the wrist of her brother and both make prayer to God for the well being of each other. Sisters perform 'aarti' and put tilak on the forehead of her brother. In return, brothers make promise to take care of his sister under all circumstances. Usually, brothers gift something to the sister to mark the occasion. The mirth that surrounds the festival is unsurpassed. Amidst the merriment the rituals are also followed with great devotion.









Preparation of Rakhi Festival

    Generally, the fancy Rakhis and delicious sweets are prepared long before the Shravana Purnima. According to the Indian tradition, the family members get ready for the rituals early in the morning. They take a bath to purify mind and body before starting any preparations. Sisters prepare the puja thali which consists of roli, tilak, Rakhi threads, rice grains, aggarbattis (incense sticks), diyas and sweets. After offering the rituals to the deities of the family, the sister perform aarti of their brothers and ties Rakhi on their wrist. Then, they put kumkum powder on the forehead of their brother and offer sweets. All these rituals take place amid the chanting of the following mantras :



"Suraj shakhan chhodian, Mooli chhodia beej
Behen ne rakhi bandhi / Bhai tu chir jug jee"
,
Which means "The sun radiates its sunlight, the radish spreads its seeds,
I tie the rakhi to you O brother and wish that may you live long."
After her prayer for a long life for her brother, she says that she is tie the ever-protective Raksha to her brother's wrist and chants:

"Yena baddho Balee raajaa daanavendro mahaabalah
tena twaam anubadhnaami rakshe maa chala maa chala"


    This means," I tie you the rakhi that was tied to king Bali, the king of Demons,
   O Rakhi I pray that you never falter in protecting your devotee.
    In return, brothers pampers and blesses the sisters and promises to protect her from all the evils of this world. He also present a token of his love and affection as a Rakhi gift. The rituals performed on Raksha Bandhan may differ from place to place but they carry the same aura throughout the globe.
Raksha Bandhan in History
    The traditional Hindu festival 'Raksha Bandhan' (knot of protection) was came into origin about 6000 years back when Aryans created first civilization - The Indus Valley Civilization. With many languages and cultures, the traditional method to Rakhi festival celebration differs from place to place across India. Following are some historical evidences of Raksha Bandhan celebration from the Indian history.













Rani Karnawati and Emperor Humayun

    The story of Rani Karnavati and Emperor Humayun is the most significant evidence in the history. During the medieval era, Rajputs were fighting Muslim invasions. Rakhi at that time meant a spiritual binding and protection of sisters was foremost. When Rani Karnawati the widowed queen of the king of Chittor realised that she could in no way defend the invasion of the Sultan of Gujarat, Bahadur Shah, she sent a rakhi to Emperor Humayun. The Emperor touched by the gesture started off with his troops without wasting any time.

Alexander The Great and King Puru

    The oldest reference to the festival of rakhi goes back to 300 B.C. at the time when Alexander invaded India. It is said that the great conqueror, King Alexander of Macedonia was shaken by the fury of the Indian king Puru in his first attempt. Upset by this, Alexander's wife, who had heard of the Rakhi festival, approached King Puru. King Puru accepted her as his sister and when the opportunity came during the war, he refrained from Alexander.










Lord Krishna and Draupathi

    In order to protect the good people, Lord Krishna killed the evil King Shishupal. Krishna was hurt during the war and left with bleeding finger. Seeing this, Draupathi had torn a strip of cloth from her sari and tied around his wrist to stop the bleeding. Lord Krishna, realizing her affections and concern about him, declared himself bounded by her sisterly love. He promised her to repay this debt whenever she need in future. Many years later, when the pandavas lost Draupathi in the game of dice and Kauravas were removing her saari, Krishna helped her divinely elongating the saari so that they could not remove it.

King Bali and Goddess Lakshmi

    The demon king Mahabali was a great devotee of lord Vishnu. Because of his immense devotion, Vishnu has taken the task of protecting bali's Kingdom leaving his normal place in Vikundam. Goddess lakshmi - the wife of lord Vishnu - has became sad because of this as she wanted lord Vishnu along with her. So she went to Bali and discussed as a Brahmin woman and taken refuge in his palace. On Shravana purnima, she tied Rakhi on King Bali's wrist. Goddess Lakshmi ord Vishnu to accompany her to vaikuntam. Due to this festival is also called Baleva as Bali Raja's devotion to the Lord vishnu. It is said that since that day it has become a tradition to invite sisters on sravan pournima to tie sacred thread of Rakhi or Raksha bandan.









Rakhi Celebrations

    In India, Rakhi celebrations are about strengthening the bond of love between brothers and sisters and fostering brotherhood. This festival is not a ritual, custom and tradition that can change over time but its style of celebration has become contemporary. Since ages, Raksha Bandhan is being celebrated in the same way. All the traditions are followed with the same enthusiasm. The gaieties have only blown up to a larger scale. Rakhi festival is the celebration of the chaste bond of love amongst the siblings.
    Everyone start preparing for this festival much in advance. About a month before the commencement of raksha bandhan, you can see fancy and colorful rakhis in every market. Ladies start shopping for rakhi and rakhi gifts quite early. They shop for new clothes and beautiful rakhi gifts specially the one that have to be sent to their brothers staying far. Almost every shop, be it sweet shops, garment shops, gift shops, or any other shop, all are flooded with attractive rakhi gifts to attract people.









    The celebration of Rakhi, in India, is well known for its carnival spirit and strengthening the bond of love between brothers and sisters. In fact, India is globally known for its colorful festivals and ever-green tradition. Celebrated with different rituals, family get-together and sweets, Raksha Bandhan is about sentiments, love and enjoyment. Like any other festival, rakhi has its unique significance.
    On the day of Rakhi festival, the festivity of this auspicious day begin by the day break. After taking bath early morning, people get ready by wearing new clothes and gather for worshiping. After invoking the the blessings of the Gods, the sister performs brother’s arti, puts tika and chawal on his forehead and ties Rakhi amongst chanting of mantras. Sisters whole heartedly give sweets to their brothers to eat which in turns add more sweetness in the Raksha Bandhan celebration and pray for their well being. In return, brothers pamper their sisters and present beautiful gifts to lure them. They also promise to take care of her and stand by her side in any circumstances.









    After performing all these rituals, the whole family reunion to enjoy and have fun. Then all of them share the delicious food, tasty sweets, gifts, music and dance. It is a day to remember all the memorable time spent together for those who, for any reason, are far away from their family. Emotions can also be expressed through e-mails, e-cards, rakhi greeting cards and rakhi through Internet. The overflowing emotions of siblings cannot be stopped on this day.
    Rabindra Nath Tagore started gathering of people like 'Rakhi Mahotsavas' in Shantiniketan to propogate the feeling of brotherhood among people. He believed that the this will invoke trust and feeling of peaceful coexistence. Raksha Bandhan, for them, is a way to harmonize the relationship of humanity. The tradition continues as people started tying rakhis to the neighbor and friends.

Friday, August 28, 2015

VANILLA BUTTERMILK CAKE WITH INSTANT FUDGE FROSTING!!

   Here's another recipe found at www.sweetapolita.com .  She makes such lovely desserts!!


Vanilla Buttermilk Cake with Instant Fudge Frosting










I have a real thing for the 70s. I mean, heck, I was born smack dab in the middle of them, into a family of much older siblings ready and eager to love, spoil, and torment an unsuspecting baby sister, so overall I’d say it was a pretty fabulous era. When I think back to my first memories of cake, they come along with my first memories of life at all: sitting around the dining room table with siblings who, at that time, would have been about 15, 14, and 8. I have particularly fond memories of the family birthday dinners gathered around that same table, eating the birthday kid’s meal of choice: my mom’s lasagna, my dad’s famous barbeque steak dinners, or, any other favourite of the time. There was, though, one thing that didn’t vary: the cake. Throughout the 70s (and possibly the 60s), I remember my mom serving yellow birthday cakes with chocolate fudgy icing. I was so young, but I can envision these cakes in rectangular glass baking dishes smothered with the icing, sprinkles, and colourful birthday candles. I’m fascinated by this, and I’ve asked around: it seems that many others have these same yellow & brown cakey memories of the 1970s. Perhaps it was the combinations of signature colours-of-the-era: golden yellow cake (or, should we say, Harvest Gold) and warm chocolate brown (or Rust Brown) frosting that drew them to this type of cake. The memories overtook me the moment I spotted this classic cake in one of my beloved baking books: Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes, and I knew I had to try it. I also love the traditional layer-cake structure, the homespun feel of it, and the decadent-but-uncomplicated flavour combination of vanilla buttermilk & fudgy chocolate.







With a total of 4 whole eggs + 2 additional egg yolks, as well as buttermilk, butter, and a generous amount of sugar, this cake has a gorgeous texture and is a beautiful golden yellow. The process was different than I’m used to, with a mixing of the egg, a portion of the buttermilk, and vanilla to begin; followed by a whisking of the dry ingredients with the sugar; the addition & mixing of the butter and partial buttermilk; and then adding the initial egg & milk mixture into the batter. Confused yet? It wasn’t any more difficult than the classic butter cake technique, but just different. The switch in technique was a welcome change and resulted in a lofty and moist cake.










The frosting is made in the food processor, which was pretty exciting for me since I am in love with my new food processor and am always looking for a reason to use it. As the title suggests, it was made in an ”instant,” since you just put all of the frosting ingredients into the food processor and, well, process. Was really simple and fun to make, and the result was fluffy, satiny, and rich. As I always do, I used my favourite Belgian bittersweet chocolate, Callebaut, which makes it even more decadent and flavourful. I find that in these kinds of recipes where the main flavour of the frosting or cake is classic chocolate or vanilla, that it’s truly worth using the best chocolate or vanilla that you can get, as the flavours really come through and really are the main attraction. With such a yummy and classic frosting base, though, you can even get a little adventurous and add a few drops of almond extract, or, say, 1/4 teaspoon (or so) of instant espresso for a mocha version. Those are just ideas, but you can use your imagination and add anything you like, or, of course, leave it traditional & simple.
So, here’s the family in our yellow-cake-with-chocolate-frosting days, or, well, 1975. I found this while digging through old photo albums the other day, and I love it. My brother Andy, my mom, me (the baby who seemingly was the only one experiencing gale force winds that day…what was up, and I mean up, with my bangs?), my sister Michele, my sister Linda, and my dad. This was actually taken in California, where we were visiting our relatives. It wasn’t until I had 2 kids, that I really began to appreciate, and become in awe of, what my mom’s life must have been like with 4 kids, and this trip is no exception: they drove all of us, including 1-year-old me, in a station wagon (yes, with wood panel sides, I believe!) the 2,700+miles from Ontario, Canada to California in the peak of the summer months. What I’d give to go back in time and watch that go down!
Here I am a few years later, in my favourite red checkered dress, eagerly awaiting birthday hot dogs and, I would bet, yellow cake with chocolate frosting. It was only a few short years after this party that the 80s were in full swing, and that I discovered frilly white heart-shaped cakes with pink icing flowers from the bakery, where I insisted my mom buy my birthday cakes each year for pretty much the rest of my pre-adult life. Hey, is that a Harvest Gold refrigerator I see? Of course it is! Were you a Harvest Gold household? Avocado Green? Rust Brown?







If you’d like to make this classic delight, here’s the recipe:


From the book Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes
Vanilla Buttermilk Cake with Instant Fudge Frosting {click here for printable recipe}



Yield: One 8″ triple layer cake; serves 12-16


Ingredients:

4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
3 cups cake flour
2 cups sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature



Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans or spray to coat with vegetable oil. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and grease the paper.
2. Put the eggs and yolks in a medium mixing mixing bowl, add the vanilla and 1/4 cup of the buttermilk. Whisk to blend well.
3. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, in a large mixer bowl; whisk to blend. Add the butter and the remaining 1 cup buttermilk to these dry ingredients and with the mixer on low, blend together. Raise the mixer speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
4. Add the egg mixture in 3 additions, scraping down the side of the bowl and mixing only until thoroughly incorporated. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared pans.
5. Bake the cake layers for 28-32 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes clean and the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let the layers cool in the pans for 10 minutes; then carefully turn out onto wire racks, peel of the paper liners, and let cool completely.
6. To assemble the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread 3/4 cup of the Instant Fudge Frosting over the layer right to the edge. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and use all but 3/4 cup of the frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake. With an offset palette knife or spatula, smooth out the frosting all over. Place the remaining 3/4 cup frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a medium star tube and pipe a shell border around the top and bottom edges of the cake.




Instant Fudge Frosting



Ingredients:

6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
4 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (no need to sift)
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tablespoons half-and-half
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Method:
A large food processor is the best piece of equipment to use for the frosting recipe. It whips up the perfect fudge frosting, and there is no need for a boiled syrup.
Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to incorporate. Then process until the frosting is smooth.
Sweetapolita’s Notes:
1. For the ultimate version of this frosting, I used my favourite Belgian bittersweet chocolate: Callebaut Chocolate – Pure – Bittersweet – 1 kg
2. For a mocha frosting, you can add 1/4 teaspoon (or more, to taste) instant espresso powder.
3. If you don’t have a food processor, you can make this frosting in your mixer by beating the butter and confectioners’ sugar with the flat beater for about a minute on low speed, followed by another minute on medium-high speed. Add the remaining ingredients and beat on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes, until fluffy.
4. Frosting is best used immediately, but holds up nicely on the cake once frosted.
5. Finished cake keeps best in a cake-saver at room temperature for up to 3 days.
6. You may enjoy the previous post 50 Tips for Baking Better Cakes.
Good luck & enjoy!

IKARI BRIDGE DIVING FROM BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA!







    Each July, tens of thousands of spectators line the banks adjacent to the Stari Most, the Old Bridge that crosses Bosnia-Herzegovina’s beautiful Neretva River in the city of Mostar. Undeterred by the Balkan sun, onlookers keep their eyes locked on the apex of the single-arch bridge where, one by one, divers enter the water in a spectacle of machismo and local tradition as they vie for title in the world’s longest-running high diving competition: the Ikari.
    As one of the oldest venues for extreme sporting events, the Stari Most has been the place to go for male rites of passage since it was first built back in 1566. Set in the Ottoman Empire’s regional capital, the Old Bridge connected the Neretva River’s two banks at its narrowest point, a strategic location that marked the centre of the city’s earliest development. The name Mostar comes from the “mostari,” or bridge-keepers who held watch over the structure from the Halebinovka Tower on the west bank, and the Tara on the east. In a city dotted by minarets and spires, and inhabited by Croat and Bosnian ethnic communities, Stari Most grew to symbolize the peace and unity of cosmopolitan Mostar—a physical structure that also bridged cultural divides.










    Much of the Old Bridge’s charm also lies in its tradition of bridge jumping. Crossing the Neretva gorge at a height of 21 metres, over twice that of a high board diving competition, the Stari Most has long offered men the chance to prove their pluck by diving from its highest point into the teal-blue waters below. In Mostar, so the saying goes, as soon as you learn how to walk, you learn how to dive.  It’s a rite of passage that makes heroes of men, and many take their first leaps during the annual Ikari competition in which up to seventy-odd participants can choose to make their descents either feet or head first. It’s no surprise then, that many of the world’s high diving champions got their start at Stari Most. Zvezdan Grozdic, the international cliff-diver










who has proved his mettle on the elite World Cup circuit, took his first plummets in Mostar back in the late 1990s. Although Grozdic now jumps from staggering heights off cliffs worldwide, it’s not easy to out-jump local legend Emir Balic, an Ikari veteran who by the age of seventy (in 2004) had taken the plunge over 1,000 times—the first when he was the boyishly tender age of fifteen.
    For someone like Balic, and the countless others devastated by the Bosnian War (1992-1995), the intentional destruction of the Stari Most on 9 November 1993 by heavy shelling, embodied the worst of the civil war for most Bosnians. As the stones of Stari Most tumbled into the Neretva River, the country witnessed the decimation of a globally-recognized symbol of multiculturalism and unity. With resounding











condemnation of what has since been called a war crime, the international community coalesced to support the reconstruction of Stari Most; and on 23 July 2004, the Old Bridge reopened in a celebration of renewed peace and partnership. After a decade of rebuilding, the ceremony was perhaps most touching when nine Mostar divers leapt into the Neretva River with torches in hand.
    Returning after a 438-year-old run, the reinstitution of the Mostar Bridge Jump and Ikari is a sure sign that the Stari Most retains a strong significance for Mostar as a symbol of reconciliation and courage.









When to Go to Mostar Bridge Dive
    If your aim is to take in the Ikari bridge jump, plan on being in Mostar the last week of July. The exact dates change each year, but the local diving club, the Mostarski Ikari, announce the final dates ahead of time. A call to the Mostar tourism board or a visit to their website in the month previous will provide you with the specific dates and times.
Even if you can’t make it to Mostar in July, bridge jumpers continue to dive on a seasonal basis throughout the warmer months. Enjoy an ice cream atop the Old Bridge and wait for the divers to make their appearance. A good time to stake your dive-viewing location is usually in the afternoon to early evening.









    Now is a great time to visit Mostar. With reconstruction and the rebuilding of BiH’s infrastructure, tourists are returning to Mostar in greater numbers. Although Bosnia-Herzegovina is not mine-free, the country is not considered dangerous, and Mostar is safe for all travellers. Mostar’s Old Bridge area is also a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site as a symbol of solidarity and peaceful coexistence. Preserved in the Old Town are Mostar’s unique Turkish houses and the Old Bridge.







Odds n' Ends

    These days, the annual Ikari competition has reasserted its prominence as a tradition within Mostar. Presided over by the local diving club, Mostarski Ikari, Speedo-clad bridge jumpers continue to enthral onlookers with their feats of bravado. They jump, not only during July’s Ikari, but throughout the warmer months, entertaining tourists and residents alike. If you happen to be in Mostar, take a walk along the Old Bridge at Stari Most. You might luck out and catch a young boy take his first leap to manhood in Mostar’s Neretva River.