This One Italian Girl

Rattle Cupcakes



As I mentioned in a previous post I recently attended a baby shower where I made these mini rattle cupcakes.  I found the idea on Pinterest, and thought it was just too cute not to try.  Turns out we already had a dessert provided through the restaurant so it’s a good thing I made these mini so people still ate them.

I knew I wanted to do chocolate cupcakes because the Mom to be loves chocolate and I also wanted to color the frosting so that had to be vanilla.  I used this recipe for the chocolate cupcakes, which already included instructions for mini cupcakes at the bottom.  The recipe said it would make about 36 cupcakes, but I got about 44 out of it.

To make the rattles I bought short sticks – like the ones used for cake pops, life saver mints and purple ribbon.  We were going with a purple theme for this baby shower, but obviously you can use whatever color you like.  First I hot glue gunned the mints to the end of the sticks and let that set.  Then I tied the ribbon into bows on the sticks.  Once the cupcakes were cool it was time to assemble.  I forgot that the cupcake had paper liners so I had to figure out how to get the sticks to go through.  I ended up cutting little slits in the side of the cupcake papers to fit the stick through, which worked perfectly.



Now the fun part – the frosting!  At first I was just going to do white frosting and top with sprinkles, but then I realized I didn’t have any purple sprinkles and I really didn’t want to go the store.  So I made purple frosting instead with no sprinkles.  To get the right color I just kept adding blue and red food coloring until it was the right shade of purple.  Then I put the frosting in a piping bag and made circles on top of the cupcakes.  And that was it.  It was not difficult to make, but I will say it was a long process.  The most time consuming part was gluing the mints and tying the bows.  But it was well worth it for how cute they turned out, and everybody loved them.  Such a cute idea!


Paint Nite



This has been quite the busy week.  We had our menu tasting on Tuesday night, Paint Nite on Wednesday and then of course we had to watch the Warriors game last night.  And now it is already Friday.  These are my favorite kind of weeks, the ones that just fly by because you are busy having too much fun.


So Wednesday night, the fiance, myself and my soon-to-be in laws went to a Paint Nite.  The fiance and I have already done one of these before so we knew what to expect.  But for those who don’t know, it is a fun event where you go learn how to paint a specific painting while eating and drinking.  Their motto is, “Drink Creatively”.  On their website you can choose whatever painting you want to learn.  Each painting is given a certain difficulty level and also has a little bio about the artist who will be teaching.

The whole purpose of the night is to have fun while doing something creative.  The first time I went, we painted the golden gate bridge at night.  It was super fun and actually not as hard as I thought it would be.  I am by no means an artist, so I was pretty worried my painting would turn out to be a hot mess.  These teachers are really good at breaking it down and helping you create some really nice art.



Most Paint Nite’s are held in some type of restaurant or bar.  Ours was held at a pizza place so we got there early to eat first.  You can eat while you paint, but I find that messy and once I get started painting I don’t want to stop.  After we ate some delicious Hawaiian pizza we got our aprons and picked out some seats next to each other.  As part of your ticket you get a blank canvas to paint on, an apron in case you are messy, some paint, 2 brushes, a water cup and a sham wow towel.

Our teacher, who called himself Fuqua, was hilarious.  He is not an artist.  Just a guy who has attended a few Paint Nite’s, enjoyed the atmosphere so much that he wanted to start teaching them himself.  His real name is not Fuqua, he stole it, which was his motto for the evening.  Good painters create but great painters steal.  He was very adamant about wanting us to use his painting as inspiration but to let our inner rebel come out too and feel free to improvise.  No two paintings were going to be exact.  If there was something you didn’t want to add to your painting then he said don’t add it.  If you wanted to add something extra that wasn’t there then add it.  This is your painting and you should leave with something you are completely happy with it.

I loved his philosophy because it really opened me up to being creative.  Knowing that I didn’t have to follow the painting exactly only set me up for success.  There is no such thing as a mistake.  Just art and creativity.


After we got our background colors complete we took a 15 minute break to let that dry before adding more paint on top.  Our painting was a beach scene either at night or at sunset.  That part was up to you whether you add a moon in the sky or a sun at the horizon.  I went with a sunset because it felt more natural with the red and orange colors in the sky.  We also had some hills across the horizon and a couple palm trees on the side.  I even added a hammock across the trees to add my own little touch to it and the fiance added a fisherman.


Fiance’s painting


My painting

Overall, it was a really fun night.  I think I had more fun this time than the first time.  Probably because I had done it before so this time I knew I could relax and be a little more free with my painting.  I am usually the type that always likes to follow the directions, but our teacher kept encouraging us to bring out our inner ‘rebel’ and that is exactly what I tried to do.  It also makes it really fun to see how everyone else interpreted the painting.  They were all so different.  One lady turned her painting into a sort of dessert sand storm, it was amazing.  If you ever get the chance to do one of these, I would highly recommend it.  They have tickets on Groupon all the time.  We even got to paint with our fingers!  And who doesn’t love doing that?!

Memory Lane



This weekend we had our engagement party.  I am still waiting to get all the pictures that were taken, so I will share those later this week.  As part of the decorations at the party, I printed out pictures.  Since the fiance and I have been together for almost 10 years, we had plenty of pictures to choose from.  As with most things in life, I took to Pinterest for inspiration and found a display I liked.  To display the pictures, I decided to hang them on a string by clothespins over a window in the backyard.  Since I wasn’t exactly sure how big the window was, I printed out a bunch of pictures to be safe.


Once I had all the pictures, I started playing around with how I wanted them displayed.  I tried to stagger them by size so it wasn’t all horizontal or all vertical pictures next to each other.  I also tried to arrange them randomly by year so they were all mixed together.  Another important thing I tried to do was include our immediate family in a few pictures because family is very important to both of us.  After all of that was figured out, I laid out the pictures with the string on top to get an idea of how it might look.

Another idea I got from Pinterest was to add the ‘Memory Lane’.  Since I am huge into scrapbooking, I already had plenty of paper and stickers to work with.  Our wedding colors are going to be royal blue and silver so I tried to include this in some of the decorations for the party.  For the Memory Lane part I used silver stickers and put them on royal blue scrapbook paper.  Then I cut the paper into triangles to give it that banner style look.




Once I had it all laid out how I wanted it to look, I snapped a quick picture so in case I forgot on the day of the party I would have something to look back on.  I tried to keep all the pictures in the same order so I wouldn’t have to mess with that either on the day of the party.  I think the little picture corner turned out really cute and is a fun way to share some personal photos of all the love you have for your significant other.  Our reception venue has a TV in the room where cocktail hour will be, so I think we are going to play a little slideshow of some more pictures.  We will probably re-use some of these pictures and just add more.  Trust me, ten years can add up to a lot of pictures.


Bridesmaid Gift Idea




As with most things in my life, I found the inspiration for these gifts on Pinterest.  I wanted to do something a little creative when I asked my potential bridesmaids to be in the wedding.  The one I found on Pinterest was actually from Etsy, so I could have ordered that exact gift.  Although the ones on Etsy were only about $10, I found a similar necklace at Claire’s for buy one get one free and I would just have to put it all together myself.  Since I don’t mind doing crafty things, I figured why not save a little money since this is just for fun anyway.


Enough about the back story, let’s get to the fun part of how I put the gifts together.  Here’s a photo of how the necklaces came from the store:





Since the cute customized card didn’t come with these, I had to make something myself.  I ended up just playing around on Word until I found a font and style that I liked.  For the paper, I used a white and semi glittery piece of scrapbook paper and then cut them into squares to fit into an envelope.  To hold the necklace to the card, I used a lot of tape.  I bundled up the back of the necklace on the back of card and taped that down, and I also taped the sides and the ring part.  As for the diamond, I Googled ‘diamond drawing’, copied the image into Word, and played around with the sizing until it looked just right.






For my Maid Of Honor I wanted to do a little something extra.  I found this funny card, again on Pinterest, and made it myself with the help of Word.  I am so thankful for all the fancy fonts because I do not have the best handwriting.




Although this whole wedding planning thing can be a bit overwhelming at times, it’s the little things like this that remind me to just enjoy the ride.  This is supposed to be a time to celebrate love and family’s coming together.  I can worry about what color shoes I want to wear or what our party favors should be later.  For now, I am just enjoying it piece by piece and I know that it will all come together.

Jar Desserts


One of my nieces recently turned 3 years old.  What do you get a toddler who has enough toys and clothes already?  Well I went with dessert because who doesn’t love dessert?  She likes to help her Mom in the kitchen and they like to bake together.  So I decided to get her a custom apron with her name on it so she can really be official when she bakes.  Then I thought I should give her something she can use with the apron.  But it had to be something easy enough that she could help with.  This is where the desserts in a jar came to mind.  They are basically all of the dry ingredients to your recipe.  A fancier way to give someone boxed brownies.


For my jars, I decided to do a Chocolate Chip Cookie mix and a Brownie mix.  To make these you will need to pick your favorite recipes and you will need a 1 L jar for each mix.




Then get all your ingredients ready.  For my Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe I used:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Ingredients

For the Brownie recipe I used:

Brownie Ingredients

Then you simply start adding your ingredients into your jars.  You can add them in whatever order you want, but I suggest you layer them by color so you can see the different ingredients.  If you have a funnel I recommend using that to pour in your ingredients.  I don’t have a funnel, but I can say that a rolled up piece of paper works just as good.




I added the salt and baking soda ingredients in after the flour layer.  A little tip for the chocolate chip cookie recipe is to pack down your ingredients as you add them because it all just barely fits into a 1 L jar.  I used the handle to one of my spatulas that has a flat round end to pack down all the ingredients.  Once you have added all your ingredients they should look something like this:


Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix


Brownie Mix














Since you can’t add the wet ingredients into you jar, you should make a label with the directions.  This is where you can let your creative side loose.  I used scrapbook paper and hand wrote the directions because, well honestly, I don’t have a printer.  But if you want it to look neat and professional then you can print them out.  Here’s what my finished jars looked like:


DSC_0329   DSC_0332

























There you have two desserts in a jar.  The perfect gift for someone who loves to bake or hates to bake but has a sweet tooth.  They are great to give for birthdays, Christmas, Mother’s Day, or any other holiday you celebrate.  Feel free to make any type of cookie and decorate any way you want.  Happy baking!