Monthly Archives: January 2012

Redneck Wine Glass and Dessert Tray

I know I’ve mentioned how crafty my Mom is, but I may have failed to mention how equally crafty my Dad is. Actually, he is the handiest man I know. He can fix anything, and when he wants, he can build anything!

On Christmas, we were handed this:

Hmmmm, what are these???

This is a Redneck Wine Glass. The bottom is a candle holder, and the top is a canning jar, complete with lids! So, if you don’t finish your entire glass of wine, you can seal it up and put it in the fridge for later. So excited, we’re definitely going to make Lemonade Shake-ups in these this summer!!!

So cool! Dad has been working on this project for a while. He had to compile all of the pieces and them build them, and then make sure they held up. He was forced to drink a bunch of wine ensure the glasses could withstand The Rays.

His craftiness inspired a project for me as well. I’d like to say that did any work on these, but really, other than purchasing the supplies and picking out the trays, I did not do anything.

My Annual Cupcake Party is next month, and it’s already consuming all of my creative thoughts. One really important part about hosting a party is how to display your food. Last year, I just used random trays and plates. We host other events throughout the year and I’ve been wanting some trays. Just to really give that layered look to the food table.

I found some pretty simple instructions here: How To Make Interchangeable Cupcake Stands. I loved the idea of being able to take them apart for storage.

Well, ours don’t come apart for storage. 🙂 But who cares? They are really fucking cool! I bought candle holders from the Dollar Tree and plastic trays from the Salvation Army. Originally I planned on looking for plastic plates at Target, but found these at the SalVat instead. I think they are perfect!

Lets be honest. Brian did most of the work. I’m not really power tool savvy. He helped me buy the knobs and screws, and we got wine corks from our friends. He drilled the holes and assembled the trays. Once we were done, I ended up gluing the cork in the candle holder.

I didn’t follow the directions – which call for a candle holder that is hollow all the way through. Whoops. So it was too shallow to really get the cork in the hole and have it stay there. The other problem with taking them apart is on the gold tray, the knob I choose has a thing on it that doesn’t allow it to be unscrewed from it’s home. I had no idea, it just looked cool and was on clearance.

Here’s a look from the side, you can see the cork, but luckily you can’t see the glue 🙂

Trunky Decorating

My parents used to have a beautiful tree in their backyard. He was just a generic tree, but absolutely perfect. The perfect climbing tree, which would have been awesome if I had any upper body strength. His name was Trunky.

This was Trunky, a few years before his untimely death in 2010.

We loved Trunky. Well, most of us anyways. But eventually he got old, and my parents made the tough decision to end his poor life by chopping him down, into small pieces.

Here is Trunky today:

Bye, Trunky!

What does this have to do with a craft blog? Is this just some sappy dedication to your childhood tree?

It has everything to do with crafting! You might remember last year, the Ray Family Christmas Extravaganza had The Rocks Glass Invitational (which I won, of course) . I wanted to keep the competitive crafting tradition alive, and with the help of my sister, I suggested that we decorate Trunky disks as a family, as a competition. The idea was well accepted by all parties. You see, my dad had left a bunch of the branches in the driveway for firewood (or for decoration, not sure). My sister wanted to take a log to have on display in her living room. And that’s when the idea struck – we can cut up a log, then everyone can decorate a piece of this family history.

[a big THANK YOU to Leah, for getting these action shots!]

Everyone worked really hard! You could decorate any way you wished – we had three wood burners, paints and glitter glue. I am pretty sure all of us went the wood burning route, except some of the kids. And on a positive note, no one got injured.

Adult Division

Kids Division

The winner of the RFXX2011 Trunky Decorating Contest:

Congratulations, Andrew! This is the family crest he created for us.

If you’d like to check out the other contestants, here are links to all of their images:
Iowa (Ginny)
Playboy Bunny (Leah)
Ray Iowa (Ginny)
Drunk Face (Dan)
Ray Crest (Andrew, Winner)
Impatient Face (Brian)
Butterfly (Penny)
RIP (Becky)
Sun Star (Tim)

Breakfast Crack

If you haven’t made Christmas Crack before, you had better try it. It’s a stick-to-your-teeth holiday treat that’s relatively inexpensive, super easy and just plain delicious. This is a fantastic recipe for it.

Crack isn’t just for snacking. It’s also for breakfast. This is a French Toast bake that I’ve made three times now. First was for myself (bad idea, as Brian does not enjoy sugar for dinner), second was for our Christmas Day brunch, and the third for the Ray Family Christmas Extravaganza Christmas Brunch (two different events). It was a hit!

I got the recipe about a year ago from E-Mealz. E-Mealz is a really great dinner meal planning service on the cheap.  I’ve adjusted the recipe a bit, so here is the original recipe, with my changes [following]. The original recipe is for like 2 or 4 people, in a 9×9 pan, but I make mine in a 9×13 pan and will serve 6. I pretty much just double most of the ingredients.

Delicious French Toast (also known as Breakfast Crack)

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup br0wn sugar [2+ cups]
  • 1/4 cup butter/margarine [use 1.5-2 sticks]
  • 1 tbs corn syrup [1/2 cup]
  •  4 slices of white bread [10-12 slices]
  • 3 eggs [5 or 6 eggs]
  • 3/4 cup milk [1.5 cups]
  • 1/2 t vanilla [1 tbs]
  • 1/4 cup sugar [1/2+ cup]
  • cinnamon [wing it]
  • maple syrup [totally unnecessary)

Directions

  1. Combine brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, pour into a greased 9×13 pan.
  2. Place one layer of bread over the mixture. You should definitely get four pieces to lay flat in the pan, cut the remaining pieces of bread into halves/pieces to so that all of the goo is covered.
  3. Mix the sugar and cinnamon to your desired sugar/cinnamon likings. Sprinkle half of the mixture over the bread layers. Then layer the remaining bread, and the rest of the sugar/cinnamon mixture.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, milk and vanilla. Evenly pour over bread mixture. You can let it sit overnight or just throw it in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes (for the single serve) or for closer to 40-45 for the big guy. It’s done when the egg mixture is fully cooked.

Tips:
Don’t worry about the exact measurements. It will turn out fine.
Don’t let the brown sugar, butter and corn syrup boil for very long. The longer it boils, the tougher and more caramelized it will be. It will be super sticky and stringy, so once it hits a rolling boil, remove it from the heat.
Don’t make this just for yourself. You will eat the entire pan.

EDIT [1/24/12]
I made another batch for the in-laws, who saw the recipe and were intrigued. This pan turned out fantastic.

Side shot: the crack should still be boiling when you take it out of the oven. Let it sit and cool for a few minutes.

This is what your crack should look like. It shouldn't be soupy on top.

Jade’s Rodent Cakes

My adorable niece, Jayden, turned 6 in May. She loves rats. Fortunately she does not have a live one, but just lots of stuffed/plastic/rubber ones. They totally freak out Grandma!

So we went on a quest to make a rat cake. I cheated and made these closer to Zhu-Zhu pets, whatever rodents they may be.

I split one cake mix into two loaf pants. Once completely cooled, I carved off all the corners and made him more oval shaped. I used regular kitchen knives. Sure, I could have tried fondant and made a smooth rat, but when has that really worked for me? (Hint, it hasn’t! Yet!).

We mixed up four frosting colors – black, brown, tan and white. And some pink for his little rodent feet and tail. We frosted in sections, then forked all of the frosting for a really matted fur look. 

The ears and nose are made from bubblegum strips. Eyes are some sort of chocolate – looks like malted milk balls. The teeth are some minty