I hate making cake pops

by Dana on October 29, 2014

There I said it.
I’m sure I’ll say it again.
In fact this is all very reminiscent of a clay Angry Birds post….

I guess that although I like to craft, and make, and do stuff, I just really hate uncontrolled messes.
And that’s exactly how these feel!… until the bitter end,  when they do end up looking kind of cute.  And then it sort of seemed worth it.
Because I actually don’t mind the cake baking, crumbling, rolling-balls steps.
That works out fine.

It’s when we get to this blasted part of the process that I want to throw everything away!….

…..and treat my kids to a plastic container of those neon-colored sugar cookies at the grocery store instead (you know, those ones that your kids ask you to buy every season, because they come in a different color for every holiday?  That might have been easier.)
Don’t mean to melt and complain on you.
Bear with me and we’ll trudge through the bowls of hardened chocolate together.
I mean, Why?
Why did I use so many bowls?!
Dishes. For Days.

Okay. Here’s the deal with the cake pops.
My mom got me the Bakerella Cake Pops book a few years ago.
It’s adorable.

Maybe you remember the Rudolph pops I made for Owen’s birthday a couple years ago?   With cake poop oozing out the back?
Owen loves looking through this book.  It’s in my pantry and every once in a while he pulls it out and just studies all the pictures and schemes in his mind how he might make them.  It really is the cutest thing.

And for the last month he’s been flipping through the Halloween section and asking if we can make some (btw, I just noticed on the Bakerella site that she has an entire Halloween book out!….better not show that to Owen.  Heh Heh)

So in the midst of October craziness, I told him that the week after I finished shooting videos we would make some.
And then he did the cutest thing my amateur cake-pop heart had ever seen.
He drew me a picture of the steps for making jack-o-lantern cake pops.  Ahh!

He even drew the pictures in a little mosaic, similar to her photos at the beginning of the book.  And he included a section for packaging and sending a pop off in the mailbox to a friend.  Oh Owen!
How could I say no to something like that?

So.  I baked two cakes.  I made the balls.
And when the kids came home from school we invited 5 friends over to help decorate the pops.

Bad idea.
Not because of the friends….but because of the delicate process (please share any tips you have for making it easier!)  The balls were falling apart in the chocolate, the chocolate wasn’t melty enough, tic tacs were bounding on the floor, kids were running wild.
So we quickly made some disaster pops to appease the masses—covered with more sprinkles than chocolate—and most of the kids were happy.  Owen still wanted to make his special jack-o-lantern pop and was dying to try out the edible pen.

So the next day we gave it another go (after I had dipped the pops in a more controlled setting)

And here’s what I concluded this time around:

• Work in small batches.
• Keep all of the balls in the fridge and move about 10 at a time to the freezer so they’re only in for a short period of time.
• Melt the candy in small batches, and after you dip a few balls, melt it again.
• Plastic bowls work better than ceramic bowls.
• Dip the balls all the way under and use a spoon to smooth chocolate around the ball.
• Don’t get hung-up on the word “smooth”.  Most of us will never be Bakerella.  And if you are, please share tips!
• Do all the dipping at night, so you can be as neurotic as possible and let the kids help you decorate the next day.

That’s what we did.
And I gotta say, I love how they turned out.

We used a mix of edible pen drawings, frosting gel tubes, googly eyes (to make crazy eye balls):
And we made ghosts, zombies, anything Halloween-y.

And in the end the kids were really proud of their creations.

Owen’s favorite pop was his jack-o-lantern, which looked pretty close to the ones in the book.

My worst pop was a clumpy ghost, too bottom heavy to stay on his stick.

Of course the other silver lining to the crazy mess, is that when you’re done you have all sorts of treats to wrap up and share with friends, stuff in the kids lunches, send off in the mailbox as Owen illustrated (actually, that’s probably a bad idea)

And if you have any leftovers, they make the perfect late night treat (they’re yummy even with out the chocolate coating and whole lot easier to make!)

Ahhh. Okay.
My rant is done.
Till we meet again next month, cute little book….

I’m off to sew costumes!


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TUTORIAL + Free Printable: Candy Corn Masks

by Dana on October 24, 2014

Last year at Halloween time I was asked to share a craft with the kids in Owen’s class.
I always love a good kid-craft challenge!
So I thought about my two favorite things from Halloween—costumes and candy.
I combined them together….

And we made Candy Corn Masks!
It was a sweet success.

This project is great for kids of all ages, from pre-school kids up to….well, adults!  (although the masks might not fit as well).   AND I have FREE printable masks ready for you!
So let’s get started….

1. Print your masks:
• Click HERE to download the PDF file and save it to your home computer.
• Print it on white cardstock from your home printer OR email the file to your local printer (Office Depot, Staples, Kinkos, etc) and have them print to cardstock for fairly inexpensive.
• The file comes with many options: with the candy corns in two directions and even plain candy corns without faces.

Now when it comes to decorating, you can use whatever you want—crayons, markers, glitter, paint!  For our masks, we used paper squares to create a mosaic of color.

2. Prep the Project.
If you’re making this with young children or for a class project, it’s easiest to do these first steps BEFORE the kids get involved.

• Cut your colored paper into small squares so kids can glue the pieces to the masks.
• Cut out the eyes and mouth from each mask so it’s easier to trim them later.

3.  Decorate your Mask!

• Place a piece of paper under each mask so you don’t get glue on the table.
• Grab a glue stick and smear glue in a small area of your mask, arrange paper squares over the glue, and repeat till your candy corn is finished.  Be as creative as you want with the color scheme!
• When the mosaic is done, cut out the mask and trim any excess paper from the eyes and mouth (when doing this with the school kids we had adults help with this step).
• Attach skinny elastic (1/8 inch wide elastic works best) to one side of the mask with a staple and then tie a knot around it to keep it secure.
• Have the child hold the mask around their face and measure to the other side.  Staple and tie another knot loosely this time, on the other side.  Try it on again, make adjustments to the elastic, and when it fits well, tie the knot tighter.

Of course every mask needs some personality.
So add a mustache, a hair bow, a bow tie to your mask?!  Or give your candy corn eyelashes and glasses.

So many choices.

And I loved seeing the variety of candy corns that came out of Owen’s class.
This group was adorable!

And…they even wrote me thankyou cards with pictures of their masks on the front.
Does it get any better than that?!
Thank you kiddos.

For even more fun, use the same printable to make puppets.
Decorate and cut out your candy corn.  Then tape a painting stick on the back and you’re ready for the show!

It’s the perfect afterschool activity for all your corny friends.

Then hang your mask on the front door (with your spider web frame) so everyone knows where the party’s at.

Happy Halloween!


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I made it through on the other side!
The other side of video week that is.
We worked some long hours and shot 17 videos for Season 2 of MADE Everyday!….lots ‘o stuff to share with you over the next 6 months.

But today I get to share the final video from Season 1.
These are the perfect projects for all those fabric scraps you’ve been saving….you know, all those cute you little pieces you can’t part with??
Let’s throw a party with them!

First we’ll make a simple Fringe Garland, cause you can never have too many garlands.
Then we’ll use the scraps of our scraps to make cupcake toppers.
They’re great for a party or to give as gifts to friends!

Just hit the PLAY button below, and enjoy!

MADE EVERYDAY with Dana is a fresh new sewing show, where we create fun things using everyday items.

To watch other episodes:
• Click the VIDEO tab at the top or….
• Subscribe to my Youtube channel so you’re updated as soon as the episode goes live.


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what I’ve been sewing for 3 weeks

by Dana on October 10, 2014

It may seem a little quiet here on the old blog.
But rest assured that behind the scenes, I’ve sewn enough projects in the last few weeks to make my head explode!
(And let’s hope that doesn’t happen)
((or my videos will look pretty horrible)).

But video time….here we come!
Next week we’re shooting 15 new projects for MADE Everyday.   It’s gonna be fun.  It’s gonna be exhausting.  My head is not going to explode—I have to keep telling myself that.

So let me give you a sneak peek at what I’ve been doing!
We’ve got a lot of dots…..

And KID shorts with yellow spots.

I’ve been sewing gingham and knits,

gathering fabric…..

…..and gathering stacks.
Can you handle the tiger/kitty print??  Clara’s gonna freak over it.

I raided the napkin and towel section at the store for elephants.

and I’ve bought more dot fabric than you can shake a yard stick at.
Oh yea, I bought a yard stick.
I think everyone should have one.

I found 2-inch wide metallic gold elastic, and used it to make something for me!  Yay!

My pile of felt seems to grow, then deplete, and then grow again.

And hey!  I bought new zippers!

I mean, I bought ZIPPERS.  A lot of them.
Don’t these colors make you happy??

And now I’m just tying up loose ends.

So that on Monday, we’re ready to go! (more on the shorts fabric here)

And just when I think the kids have no idea what their crazy mom is doing, Owen gives me this gem last night:
“When we grow up, and you’re old….if you forget how to sew, you can just go watch your videos on Youtube!”

Haha. Fantastic idea!  I guess he’s got it right—at some point my head IS supposed to explode…
Good thing I’ve got those videos documented.

Have a happy weekend friends!

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