2/23/12

Squeaky Clean

This is my favorite bar. Full of cinnamon
What did I do today?  I made me some smell goods.  I took a soap making class and I was pretty amazed at the fact that it wasn’t the hardest thing in the world. I think I can throw soap together pretty easily, some pieces may look better than others, but at the end of the day, it’ll be soap.  The hard part comes from trying not to kill people with your soap.  Adding dyes and fragrance and a ton of other things to make your soap smell good and look great can really do damage to someone’s skin.  The dye we added looked an awful lot like food dye, but I learned that if you put food coloring into your soap, you will turn someone's skin the color of the dye.  There’s nothing worse than having to apologize for giving someone a rash or color streaks on their body when all you wanted to give them was a homemade bar of soap.  Although the class, instructors and other patrons were nice and friendly, I chose not to pay attention in class and I did my own thing.  My goal was to leave the class with as many bars of soap as possible, I didn’t care if they stunk or burned your skin off, I just decided to choose quantity over quality.  With that being said, I think the concept of homemade soap is great and I’m going to experiment more at home.  I will be my own guinea pig and I will use my soap on my own body to make sure it’s safe for the general population.  Like a perm, I’ll use it on a test area first, so that if I overdue it with any ingredient, I won’t look like the elephant man afterwards.  I’ve already purchased my ingredients and soap molds, and I plan on getting started this weekend.  If my soaps become a success, not only will everyone I know receive at least one bar per year from me for whatever occasion, but I’ll also consider never buying another bar of soap as long as I live.  Dial, Dove, Lever 2000 and all those other money hungry soap companies will no longer have me as a customer.  Why pay someone for something I can do myself?  Realistically, I doubt I’ll start making my own soap because although I can wash my car, paint, cook and clean the carpet, I still pay others to do those things for me, why would soap making be any different....  
I left the class w/8 bars, those other suckers only had 4. I WIN
   

12/7/11

I'm back and I have candy

I took a bit of a hiatus from blogging but I'm back with new and hopefully exciting tales of what I'm trying to learn today.  Tonight I took a candy making class that was taught and sponsored by Henrico County.   The class was fun and super cheap.  When I say super cheap, I do mean super-duper cheap.  It's a wonder the County stays in business charging such low prices for delightfully enriching classes like this.  I'm not being sarcastic about the enriching class part, just about the county not having money to stay in business part. 

My delicious, hand-made candy

The deadly pillars I had to dodge in the storm in order to survive
The class took place in one of those historical homes that’s always scattered across parks and hidden inside of botanical gardens.  There were 9 other individuals in the class and the ages ranged from teen to not so teen.  We were given instructions on how to create and personalize our candy and then we were let loose on a table full of colorful sweetness and sprinkles and chocolate.  The making of the candy actually wasn’t that difficult, the difficulty came in your ability to be creative with your design and not have it look sloppy.  I stuck with a bit of caution for my designs, I’d rather them be plain then messy looking.  The end result for me turned out to be 1 snowflake, 2 gingerbread people, 1 Christmas light bulb and 1 snowman head that really could use more detail and color.  I love looking at them and I think I will probably enjoy eating them as well.  After class was over, some major storm had hit the area; I had to risk my life to get back to my car.  There were overturned pillars (that I was told are extremely heavy), power outages in the parking lot and massive puddles every 3 steps.  Had I perished in the storm, these candies would have been my last gift to everyone.  Since I did not die and am living to tell the tale, I suppose I will make another batch of candy and share them with those I love most, or at least with those that come over to my house and want candy.   

10/25/11

I'm a Level 1 graduate! Toss your caps in the air

My final project

Today was my last class of 'Level 1 Cake Decorating' and I passed with flying colors.  My final project was a well designed work of art.  Truthfully I could've created a pile of crap and the instructor still would've given me my certificate.  However, I feel good about myself since I feel like I actually kind of earned it.  My sister, who showed up late to class, made a great cake too.  I actually think hers looks better than mine which isn't fair since she's such a bad student.  She's late to class, doesn't read the syllabus and actually suggested we not go to class and learn at home on our own, and she still produces a great cake. sigh.  We're pretty gung ho about taking Level 2 Cake Design and we've even started thinking of the name of our bakery should we get so good at cakes that we feel the need to sell them.  I'm not going to hold my breath over that but it's fun to talk about. It's an hour after class ended and I just got a text that my sister's cake was knocked out of her hands and fell on the ground.  The person who knocked the cake from her hands actually felt so bad, they ate some of it off the ground.  That very disgusting, yet a sincere gesture.  Her cake will never be tasted by others and can only live on thru pictures.  Let's all have a moment of silence for my sister's lovely cake.......  My cake on the other hand is still in one piece and will be force fed to anyone that enters my home.  So if you're hungry, come on over.  I'm not sure when Level 2 design begins, but in the mean time, I have a cooking class, painting class and crown molding class to hold me over until I'm ready to bake it up some more.  Next week is painting so I'll have that update and hopefully a gorgeous work of art to display in my home.
My sister's cake BEFORE it fell on the ground


10/19/11

You can call me Betty Crocker

Today’s cake decorating class was great in the fact that we got to do lots of different icing designs, but horrible in the fact that I was slowly sneezing myself to death during the class because of allergies.  Don’t worry though, I didn’t sneeze on any cupcakes or icing but I do think that every time I sneezed, somebody in class looked at me like I was disgusting.  Sometimes I think that person was my sister since we were sitting next to each other AND sharing icing.  But I swear, I didn’t contaminate any of my food, and I’m not sick with anything contagious, it’s ALLERGIES not the Bird Flu…..I think. 
Today we made some gorgeous little flowers for our cupcakes and although I made mine differently than the instructor told us to, I still loved mine so much, it was so perty.  My sisters’ flower looked nice too, and then she dropped it.  We both gasped at the same time, and started laughing at the same time because that could only happen to her.  Nobody else dropped anything, but one of the Milon girls did.  Luckily it was just a test flower she dropped and not one of our delicious chocolate cupcakes.  I know you all can’t taste them, and you have to take my word for it, but these cupcakes taste like little rainbows in your mouth. YUM! 

Our test flowers before Kortni dropped hers
After filling what felt like a million bags full of icing, we got down to the business of icing our 6 cupcakes however we wanted.  I tried to use the techniques we’d been taught in class, but I just got so excited squeezing all those bags of icing, I did whatever.  I still think they turned out pretty good though.  Next week is our final class and we actually have a final.  The instructor makes it seem like the final is important, like we could fail.  I don’t really see how that’s possible.  I’m PAYING to take this intro to cake design class, I’m spending MY money, how is it possible that I won’t get my “certificate” and move on to the next level?  I know the concept of paying money, learning things, being tested on said things and then receiving a pass/fail is very similar to the concept of college, I just don’t think those same standards should apply to me and this class.  There’s a 10 yr old in the class for crying out loud, everyone is a winner here and we all deserve a certificate.  If I don’t receive my grade of pass, the next blog entry will be from jail because I will assault someone for taking my money and not giving me an A.  Hopefully it won’t come to assault and jail time, but I’m just warning everyone of what could happen.    


My 6 cupcakes. I like that one over there the best


10/11/11

I'm really bad at a lot of things

video

 Today was cake decorating class #2 and I learned that my visions of thinking I have some special hidden talent, is getting smaller and smaller with every class I take.  I'm not saying my cake tonight isn't edible and tasty, I just don't believe it will be winning any beauty contest anytime soon.  My silver lining in my cake decorating mishaps is that my sister, God bless her, is no better than I am at these classes.  The Milon sisters will try together, make a valiant effort together and in most cases, mess up perfectly fine baked goods together.  I did get an A+ for icing making (video above, please don’t judge me for my non matching home attire).  I gave myself that A+ because if I wait around for others to acknowledge my exquisite icing making skills, I will be waiting for an eternity.  So an A+ for icing from scratch and a C- for design execution.  I gave myself a C because I think it taste ok, but it looks very different from the sketch I was modeling it after.  I think I’ll raise my grade to a B, at least you can tell what the design is….kind of.

I’m having a really fun time in this class, and I’m pretty sure if my budget will allow, I’ll move on to level 2 and 3 of cake design.  But please know this; it’s very discouraging that I’m not GREAT at cake design.  I want to be the Venus and Serena of cake design and so far it appears that I’m just the Kia of cake design, which isn’t a good thing just yet.  I will stick with this, I will celebrate small miracles and I will begin forcing my sweet treats on family, friends and neighbors pretty soon so get ready for that everyone. Next week its cupcake decorating, can’t wait!
I made the cupcake cake on the left, my sister made the fish cake on the right


My sisters 1st attempt at a cake. It was Angel Food Cake and disgusting


10/4/11

Yummy Yummy Yummy in my Tummy

Today was class 1 of my cake decorating classes and I somehow roped my sister into taking them with me.  I thought that we were really getting a great deal on this class.  We paid half price for the class itself and only had to purchase 1 little itty, bitty kit for the class. Then we show up and realize that we were 100% unprepared and we should’ve purchased other supplies.  Luckily we know how to improvise.  So while everyone else was using their already purchased icing to decorate their already purchased cookies, we were buying icing to decorate a piece of plastic and cookies that other class members so graciously gave us.  We made it work, and like always there was no need to be embarrassed about our lack of supplies because we were too busy laughing at ourselves to even notice if anyone in the class was giving us a snooty look.  My sister actually said the phrase, “Who reads the syllabus anyway?”  Not really sure where she came from talking like that, I ALWAYS read the syllabus (except this one time) but I’ll let her comment slide because she’s hilarious.
During this class we learned cake baking and icing techniques and how to make “star designs”.  My star making started off rocky like most of my icing creations in the past, but I quickly turned into a pro at it.  Next week, we have to bring in an already made cake and we’re going to decorate the top based off of designs in our kit.  I’m pretty excited about that because those designs have the ability to either look really great or look like actual crap and I want to overachieve and make something worthy of being displayed on one of those TLC cake design shows.  That probably won’t happen but I’m going to work really hard at it and not be influenced by my non syllabus reading sister.  For next week's class we have lots of supplies to get and if we don't have everything, I don't think we'll be able to fake that.  I'm already excited about the pictures I'll be able to post after the next class because I think I may have stumbled upon a hidden talent of mine that just needed a little guidance. 
Our star designs on our borrowed cookies and plastic sheet.

9/28/11

How come my feet don't work?

I’m a dancing machine, a frustrated machine, but still a dancing machine.  Yesterday in class I actually learned ADULT steps which proved to be really frustrating.  It was like I was doing the steps in extra slow motion.  It was kind of comical at times, frustrating at other times, but in the end at least I had attempted the steps.  I practiced a little in my garage when I got home so that I could make my debut in my dance video that I will post and it was pure comedy.  I think if anyone had seen me tapping away, they would’ve thought I was TRYING to be bad.  My feet just don’t do what I tell them to do, and my left foot is so much worse than my right foot.  I might just turn up the music really loud and move my feet so it will appear that I’m tap dancing.  Despite the lack of talent and the massive amount of funny that this tap routine will display, I’m still going to make a video because I said I would.  It will be called…..Save the Last Dance or Footloose or Step Up.  The title isn’t really important, and since the video will probably be less than 30 seconds it could be untitled and still be exactly what it’s going to be, foolish.