Friday, February 21, 2014


Red Heart Paper Quilling

Let's just say there have been way too many snow days lately. This week has just been crazy and I feel like I haven't even got anything done! The other day we were stuck in the house while it was dark and rainy, so I decided to try paper quilling. I wanted to make a heart. I took some pics along the way of my first quilling project, I didn't really know what I was doing but I still had fun and liked how it turned out. Pardon the lighting, I had no natural light so I strapped on the external flash and went to town.

First I used cardstock in a deep red color I liked. Cardstock is a little tricky because of its stiffness but it is the only red I had on hand (besides kids construction paper) I cut them into 1 inch wide strips roughly because I wanted some good dimension for my final project.

I started at one end slowly rolling the paper tightly until it was all rolled.

They ended up looking like this. When I let go of them they loosen and each take on their own little personality.

I decided to use a little hot glue and dabbed a little on the end to keep the rolled paper bound.
I set up all my rolled circles together and put them in a heart shape. I kept rearranging them until I got them how I liked them. Notice the very bottom one is different, I squeezed the very bottom of the circle to elongate it. After I had them how I liked them I started using a little hot glue to glue them to each other. One thing to note: Using a craft glue of e6000 would probably be less obvious, I wasn't as careful as I should of been so if you look close you can see evidence of the hot glue.

I thought these could be so cute on a valentine card, hanging up, as a garland, or even just sitting out. I really loved how the look turned out. Okay, moving on. :)

I went to the basement to find something to put my heart on. I am working on crafting with what I have and re-purposing items already in my stash. I found this little wood plaque that I had previously painted black to use for a different project that never happened. I just got some flat white paint and painted over the black. I should have used primer, but I didn't, so after like 3 coats we were good to go.

I did a light sanding on the edges just to add some personality, and you can see that some of the black started showing through which looked good.Then I just lightly put a few dabs of hot glue on the back side of the heart and stuck it on. Didn't get a picture of that step but I'm sure you get the picture!

Final product. Note to self: be more careful with the hot glue next time! If I had my sillouette (I'm still dreaming of one...think of all the cool stuff I could make!) I would have possibly added a little vinyl to spice it up a bit.

I'm so Lovin' this...it doesn't hurt that it was free since I had everything I needed to make it work.


The 15th day of the first lunar month each year, known as "Yuan Xiao", it is one of the three major traditional festivals in Taiwan. It is also the first festival celebration after the start of the Lunar New Year. Special events include the Taiwan Lantern Festival, Pingxi Heavenly Lanterns, Taitung Bombing of the god Handan, the Beehive Rockets of Yanshui, the Taipei Lantern Festival, and traditional celebratory temple rituals.
Since 1990, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau has organized the Taiwan Lantern Festival, and this year, the the festival enters its 24th year.

Year of the Horse for 2014

    The centerpiece of the event is a giant themed lantern modeled on the Chinese zodiacal animal of the year, accompanied by subsidiary lanterns and special lantern areas such as the Hope & Wishes lantern section, the Fun Filled lantern section and many others, all of which successfully display the art of lantern making. During the official opening ceremony, performing groups from Taiwan and overseas enliven the festivities, making this an event you don't want to miss.


    Starting in 1990, the Tourism Bureau integrated civilian and local governmental resources to conduct the event to celebrate the Lantern Festival (15th day of the first month in the lunar calendar). The purpose of the festival is to spread the traditional folklore of the festival.

   The firecrackers ceremony of the Wumiao Temple in Yenshui Township was held by ancient people in order to show respect for the exploits of Guan Yu. Fengpao, is the ceremony to start the burning of thousands of firecrackers hung on 15 to 75 foot high wooden stands. This ceremony starts from 6 p.m., and goes on until 5 the next morning. Thousands of visitors attend the ceremony.


This diy comes from www.mykitchenaddiction.com .  If you're a baker, you will probably use alot of  royal icing to decorate your cookies, cupcakes and misc. other sweet treats.  Nothing is worse than not having the right consistency of your icing while in the middle of decorating a couple dozen cookies (let alone ruin a tasty cookie with a subpar icing).  Good luck!

Stress Free Royal Icing

Last week, as I was decorating cookies for Halloween, I was reminded of the fact that I’ve been meaning to share my tips for making royal icing with no stress. After all, everyone wants to decorate beautiful cookies during the holiday season, but no one wants to fight with the royal icing. Between shopping for gifts, decorating the house, and lots of friends and family dropping in, there’s enough stress already!
This is one of those blog posts that has been writing itself in the back of my mind for quite a while. Almost every time I post about cookies that I have decorated, I get a few emails or comments asking me about my royal icing. I usually either give a quick reply with the ratio of meringue powder, powdered sugar, and water that I use… Or I direct the question to these posts from Bridget and Gail. They are both brilliant when it comes to cookies… And, they have taught me most of what I know. Want to see where their two worlds collide? Check out this fantastic video about royal icing over at the University of Cookie. They are the masters, and I cannot even begin to pretend that I know more about cookies or royal icing than they do.
But, here’s the thing… When it comes to royal icing, I think you have to do what works for you. I’ve made royal using Bridget’s method and meringue powder. I have also gone the egg white powder route and followed Gail’s thorough instructions. My problem is that no matter what I do, I end up with clumpy bits in my royal icing. And, those clumpy bits always end up getting stuck in my pastry tips and causing me quite a bit of stress. And, believe me, when you have a big batch of cookies sitting on the counter just waiting to be decorated, you don’t want the royal icing acting up.
I am pretty sure the problem lies with me 100%. I take full responsibility for the lumps in my royal icing. But, after having the same problem time and time again, I developed a new method that works for me. And, so far it has been 100% clump free.

My Stress Free Method…

Eventually, I realized that I was introducing all of the clumps into my icing when I was reconstituting either the meringue powder or the egg whites. I had issues both ways. I would always have gooey little clumps that just would wreak havoc on my icing and poor pastry tips. I tried pouring the mixtures through a strainer before adding them to the powdered sugar, but then I’d have a sticky strainer to deal with. No fun.

So, the one day, I had some extra time, and I decided to attempt making a batch of icing without reconstituting the meringue powder (I usually use meringue powder for no great reason other than that’s what I like to do). Instead, I whisked the dry meringue powder into the powdered sugar. Then, I added the water, popped the bowl into the mixer and went about my way. No. Clumps. I thought maybe it was a fluke, so I tried it again the next time I made royal icing, and sure enough, it turned out perfectly smooth with no clumps.
It’s been almost a year that I’ve been making my royal this way, and I don’t think I’ve had any issues with clumpy royal icing since then. Coincidence? I think not!

The Royal Recipe…

My recipe for royal icing certainly isn’t unique to me. I’ve referenced plenty of blogs, cookbooks, and even packages of meringue powder… And, this is the one I’ve kind of settled into. As I mentioned before, I do typically use meringue powder, so that’s what is included in my recipe. Just be sure to use a good tasting, good quality meringue powder for your royal!
This recipe for royal icing uses only one pound of powdered sugar. The number of cookies that it will cover will certainly depend on the type of decorating you are doing and the size of the cookies. It’s easy to double or triple, though… And, it’s usually better to err on the side of too much royal vs. not enough. I typically end up making a double batch.

Royal Icing
  • 1 pound powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
  • 3 rounded tablespoons of meringue powder
  • 6 – 8 tablespoons of warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice or clear vanilla extract (optional)

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the powdered sugar and the meringue powder. Whisk the two together by hand. Add 6 tablespoons of water to the mixture and add the lemon juice or vanilla extract, if desired.
Fit the mixer with the beater blade/paddle, and start mixing on the slowest speed until everything comes together and there are no visible pockets of dry powdered sugar. Gradually turn the mixer up to medium/medium-high speed and beat until the icing is fluffy. Adjust the amount of water, as necessary, adding just a few drops at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.
Use immediately or transfer to an airtight container to avoid the icing crusting over before you use it.

Happy decorating!