DIY Chirstmas: Santa Claus Face Cupcakes

I had a bunch of these at my party on Friday and I had to keep convincing people to eat them because they kept saying the cupcakes were too cute to eat. It’s food, people! Eat it!

To make 24 cupcakes you need

1 box white or yellow cake mix
2 tubs icing (I used cream cheese icing because I like it but obviously plain white works just fine)
Pink and red food coloring
24 black or brown jelly beans cut in half for eyes (you could use blue or green or whatever)
12 pink jelly beans cut in half for the nose
24 red paper cups
Piping bags and tips

Bake your cupcakes in the paper liners according to the directions.

In one tub of icing dye it a very light pink. I only used one drop. Cover all the cupcakes with a thin layer.

Next, dye the rest of the pink tub with red food coloring. I hear if you use the gel kind of coloring and let the icing sit for awhile the color will deepen. I wasn’t that patient. With a big circle tip inside fill an icing bag halfway with red icing and make Santa’s hat by piping across and back in a zig zag over the top third of the cupcake (make sure you leave some room for the white part of his hat.

Then, with a smaller tip (I used a Wilton #3) and white icing in a bag pine a tight zig zag along the bottom edge of the hat. Add the poof on top of the hat with the same tip, just hold the bag in one place and keep squeezing until the poof is big enough.

Using a bigger circle tip and white icing I made the mustache and beard. For the beard I just made a series of big elongated blobs of icing.

I had some leftover sparkly red writing gel that I drew a smiley mouth but you could just as easily do the same with the red icing with a very narrow circle tip.

Stick your jelly beans on the middle of the face and you’re finished!

Wilton has lots of decorating tips on their site if you’ve never piped icing before. Really helpful.

Funny story, one cupcake was sitting too close to a candle on the table and Santa’s beard melted off!

DIY Christmas: Gift wrap ideas

Here are all my lovely wrapped presents (I have a few leftovers waiting for their own paper treatment) under my skinny tree (one of two trees). Most of these are for Justin’s side of the family who feels that each person should receive an amount of gifts equal to the number of years he or she has been alive. Ok, that is a slight exaggeration, but still, they like to go all out for the holidays… Moving on!

Pom Poms: I made these with leftover thick green yarn and a pom pom maker. Fun for a kid’s gift.

Add something extra: Little seasonal floral picks like this are super cheap at craft stores and tying a candy cane on with ribbon is like a mini bonus gift.

Ornaments: I had these old plastic small ornaments from a previous tree and had no intention of using them again on future trees so what to do with them? Put a couple on gifts, of course!

Non traditional ribbon: This ribbon had cute snow flakes on it!

Scrapbooking Supplies: I had some leftover holly and wreath stickers from another project so I used some to dress up tags. You could also stick them directly onto a box instead of a bow. It looks like with smaller boxes. You could try foam, chipboard, felt or other kinds of textural stickers or even use sticker letters to write “to and from” directly on plain wrapping paper.

Wax Paper Flowers: I made one of those flowers I told you about. It turned out nice and poofy!

Doilies: You can tie a doily to your box with ribbon or even use a handmade paper snowflake.

Other ideas include layering gift wrap. Wrap the whole present in one kind of paper and cut a strip of different coordinating paper to drape across the present and top off with some ribbon. Along the same lines I also like mixing and matching different widths, textures and colors of ribbon on one gift.

I have plenty of “regular” looking gifts as well. I have to use up all those shiny plastic bows somehow. You know, the kind that you pluck off of every ripped piece of wrapping paper on Christmas morning because you can re-use them OVER AND OVER AGAIN. It is a vicious cycle.

Phew, I’m glad I’m not rushing at last minute to get presents like last year. Happy gift wrapping everyone! Just remember, gift wrap is recyclable!

DIY Christmas: Gift Wrapping Party

I had my gift wrapping part last night with quite a table full of supplies to make lovely presents.

I also had quite a lot of work to do.

Snacks and cupcakes for the guests. This was before I added punch in my egg nog bowl (not much of an egg nog person). You can see the light garland on the table and the Santa cupcakes in the corner – I’ll have a full post on how to make the cupcakes later.

Adriane brought these yummy red velvet cookies! Aren’t they pretty? Here’s the recipe.

1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® sugar cookie mix
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon red food color
1 egg
3/4 to 1 cup Betty Crocker® Rich & Creamy cream cheese frosting
1/4 cup chopped nuts

1. Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, cocoa, butter, sour cream, food color and egg until soft dough forms.
2. Roll dough into 1-inch balls; place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
3. Bake 8 to 9 minutes or until set. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.
4. Frost cooled cookies with frosting. Sprinkle with nuts. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

Peanut had to stay in the back because of people with allergies. Not that she minded. She wanted to catch up on her nap time, anyway.

I’ll have a full post later  in the week on cute wrapping ideas from the party!

Felt Lights Garland

Supplies: red and green felt, embroidery thread, glue, scissors

Cost: $0.25 per sheet of felt (mine were scraps), $0.25 for embroidery thread

Time: a couple hours so the glue can dry

Difficulty: Easy

Casualties: Felt not wanting to stay glued, I had to use things as weights to sit on the felt pieces until the glue dried, and Cat chewing on thread. Why, oh, why does my cat love to eat the inedible? Like artificial Christmas trees… Bad kitty!

I made this little felt lights garland to decorate my food table for my party tonight. I’ll post more of the complete table later when all the food is prepared and everything. Yes, I could have put real lights but these little felt ones are pretty cute. I went with red to keep it minimal but you could use a mix of colored felt and have multi colored lights!

First I cut a light template and cut out light bulbs out of red felt. Then I cut green felt rectangles to cap the tops of the bulbs.

I glued the green bits to one side of the red bulbs.

After laying down the embroidery thread I dabbed glue to the other side of the bulb and folded the rectangle over and waited for the glue to dry and taped the garland up to the table.

I still have way more to do for the party tonight but at least I already decorated my cupcakes – they look like cute Santa faces. More to come!