7 posts Posts by Alyson

Getting Over Blogging Jitters

blogging jitters

Hi! So the lovely Gilit asked if I would introduce myself since I’ve been a contributor since June, showing you ways to play with your food. (For example these donuts and these toppers!) Shoes off Please is actually the first blog that I started to contribute to, and I am so happy I reached out to her! :) It took a lot of courage to do so, and I am excited, albeit nervous, to share how I got that courage and what it’s been like blogging and doing diy projects!

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I work full time as an interior designer at a showroom and a marketing rep for two companies. It’s incredibly exhausting, so sometimes I just want to come home, curl up, and watch 10 episodes of Seinfeld in a row…don’t judge. I started my blog, sugar and bash, a little over a year ago in hopes to avoid becoming a couch potato and to roundup my favorite things, like a personal reference of sorts. I love design and just wanted to share it! It wasn’t until a few months ago that I wanted to do more diy projects and connect with other people.

D O N ‘ T  P R O C R A S T I N A T E !
Posting things on your blog is sort of terrifying at first. I was new at this, I didn’t know what people would say and I didn’t know if what I made was already out there?! It was hard. I spent most of my time writing down ideas and getting supplies. Once I took photos and was ready to post, it just didn’t seem good enough. There are so many A-MAZ-ING blogs out there and I compared myself wayyyyyy too much to others. (don’t do that, okay?!) Eventually I just got over it and felt that someone would care about what I had to say. You will learn so much along the way and your work will only get better! From this post a little over a year ago to this one here, you can see how my photos and styling have improved.

macaron cakestand

D I Y  W H A T  Y O U  A R E  C O M F O R T A B L E  W I T H
This awkward macaron stand was one of the first projects I did, ha! The idea was there and it would’ve been cute…except I didn’t know how to work with clay. I learned pretty quick to stick to things I knew I could do. I love working with fondant, sugar cookies, and all sort of sweets. I was also more confident because I knew I could get to the end without questioning what I was doing. What I really love is crafting and learning how to sew, weave, and work with clay. It also helps with inspiration and future project ideas. You just want to make sure you know what you’re doing before telling someone else how to do it. ;)

flamingo donut

R E A C H I N G  O U T  &  C O L L A B O R A T I N G
The best way to get your name out there is to collaborate or seek out a blog you can contribute something to. I actually saw Gilit was looking for contributors for her blog one night when I was in New York. Of course it was on Instagram and I totally got all fangirl on her, haha. When she said she liked my blog I immediately emailed her about the position and here we are! I’ve also collaborated with a few companies, coming up with some little promotion projects. Being honest and offering something to help their brand succeed will also help you. Look for small local companies that you would like to work with, I actually have had the best success with those. And if you’re too scared to call or email, just have some alcohol on hand! (Kidding!! Or am I??)

boozy s'mores shake

Wow, so here we are at the end of my novel. was that fun or what?! I think the best advice I can give you to get over the blogging jitters early on is to really just go for it. Your skills will improve over time and you will definitely learn so much along the way. I’m super comfortable with a camera, photoshop, and illustrator now! Just keep in mind literally everyone once started where you were. Just stay positive, keep an open mind, and when in doubt google the heck out of it!

Alyson

 

Back to School Party Ideas

back to school partayIt’s time for the little ones to go back to school and I assume some parents are jumping for joy. (Editor’s note: that is very much correct.) Getting back into a routine can be a daunting task, especially for kids, so let’s start it off with a party! There are so many great ideas out there to make it extra special and extra handmade. Here are my favorite party ideas!

B A L L O O N S !
These are like a necessity! No kid will be sad with balloons and they add so much color when thrown around. I love this apple balloon diy! There are also some cute photos you can take to capture moments like this.

P A R T Y  F A V O R S
Yes, please! Send the kids home with some treats and an adorable gift jar full of school supplies! This DIY offers free printables too!

B A C K D R O P S
Every party needs a backdrop or a banner to spruce up the walls. I love this one because it’s simple and totally a congrats moment when you head back to school. It means you graduated Summer, right?

P I N A T A S
I love how pinatas are such a thing now. They are fun to make and you can stuff it with candy,  school supplies, and CONFETTI! These pencil pinatas will do quite nicely.

E D I B L E  P L A C E  C A R D S
They make your guests feel welcomed with a personal touch. Now, edible place cards are on a whole new level of cool.

M I N I  D E S S E R T S
Anything mini is my jam! You can create a dessert for each guest and let them have at it. I saw this mini bundt cake shaped like an apple and i just about squealed.

I wish all those parents (and kids) out there the best of luck!

For more creations, head on over to my blog and check out my instagram!

Alyson

 

DIY Cupcake Toppers for Labor Day Weekend

DIY Cupcake Toppers for Labor Day Weekend

I’m sure you’ve already been invited to several parties for Labor Day Weekend, the last hurrah of Summer. So here’s the deal…I don’t cook for parties because I take it personal if no one eats my food. (I know, I’m sensitive.) I usually bring chips and dip and add it to the table with all the other people that forgot to bring something and rushed to the store last minute. These cupcake toppers bring that “barbecue vibe” without the actual barbecue. And hello! Store bought cupcakes work great, no baking required! :)

DIY Cupcake Toppers for Labor Day Weekend

What you’ll need –

Fondant
Fondant tools, but using your hands is totally cool.
Fondant roller
Toothpicks
Gel Food Coloring (red, yellow, green, beige, brown, and you can mix to make the right color)
Cupcakes!

Tips: When coloring the fondant, you can wear gloves so the dye doesn’t get all over your hands.  Knead it over and over until the color is no longer marble-y. Nothing has to be perfect, so I totally make the pieces by hand, even with all the tools next to me. Also, keep the fondant wrapped in saran wrap until you are ready to use, otherwise it will dry out.

DIY Cupcake Toppers for Labor Day Weekend

DIY Cupcake Toppers for Labor Day Weekend

DIY Cupcake Toppers for Labor Day Weekend

DIY Cupcake Toppers for Labor Day Weekend

These were super fun to make and not as messy as you’d think! I would have to say these 4 foods are perfect staples for your barbecue and I’m sure your friends would appreciate them, even if you skipped on bringing the potato salad.

DIY Cupcake Toppers for Labor Day Weekend

Also, can I take a minute to rave about these cupcakes I bought?! They were from Haggen and made by Kimberly’s Bakeshoppe. I’m not even kidding about how good these were. They’re Vanilla Bean, but also had a vanilla cream center. droooool.

DIY Cupcake Toppers for Labor Day Weekend

I hope everyone has a wonderful 3 day weekend and a great Labor Day!

xo Alyson

Mini Flamingo Donuts

flamingo donut

You guys love flamingos, right?! Because I totally do, so it’s okay if you do too, I won’t judge! With that said, I will find any excuse to turn something into a flamingo and donuts are no exception. With a little fondant and a little patience, these mini donuts will be a hit at your next party!

What You’ll Need –

For the Pink Glaze (covers about 20 donuts) –

instructions

01. Take a hunk of white fondant and flatten it out like you would before cutting cookie dough. (Set aside a little bit for the white beaks.) With a toothpick, spread the tiniest amount of pink gel coloring in the center. I wanted pale pink flamingos and just a drop goes a long way.
02. Start kneading the fondant, folding it over and over…and over. It will look like a marble-y mess, but it will eventually even the color out and you’ll have pink! I also sprinkled some confectioner’s sugar on it to keep from sticking everywhere.

directions 2

03. Once you have the fondant finished and ready to use, start by rolling little pieces for the bird’s head. Take a knife to cut off the ends off to ensure they’re flat, then shape the necks. Do the same for the beaks, but just cut off one side with a knife and keep the other end round.
04. The fondant should be slightly sticky, so just attach the beak and sculpt as desired. Stick a toothpick in the bottom of the neck so it can attach to the donut. Once dry, color the tip of the beak black and add a little eye!
05. For the tail, take a little fondant and pinch it together. For the wings, make a teardrop and shape accordingly. (This is why I love fondant! It’s so easy to sculpt and if you mess up you can change it!)
06. Cut several toothpicks, about a 1/2 inch long, and attach to the backside of the wings. This will make sure the they stay in place!

donut glaz3

07. The glaze is real easy! First combine the milk and vanilla in a saucepan and heat on low until warm.
08. Slowly whisk in the confectioner’s sugar.
09. Once combined, add a small amount of pink food coloring. You want it to be close to the flamingo color, so start with a tiny amount again. Add sprinkles for a pop of color! They are donuts after all and no donut goes without sprinkles!

donut glaze 4

10. Add the tail pieces before the glaze hardens and they will hold perfectly!
11. Attach the head and wings to the donut once they are dry and you are good to go!

flamingos again 2

flaninogs 2

Not every flamingo has to look like the other one, and they don’t have to be perfect by any means. They are better that way! These would be so fun for a kid’s party and they can even make their own! Hope you make these guys for your next flamingo themed party!

flamingo

For more sweet creations, head on over to my blog and check out my instagram!

Alyson

Boozy S’mores Shake with Homemade Marshmallow Vodka

boozy s'mores shake

I love a good s’mores more than anyone and I also happen to love anything with booze in it. (See where I’m going with this?!) These Boozy S’mores Shakes are literally the best thing I’ve made this summer! They are rich and filling, just the perfect dessert on a hot Friday night. They are also easy to make and the marshmallow infused vodka is so easy you’ll wonder why you never made it before!

boozy s'mores shake

What You’ll Need for Marshmallow Vodka –

  • Plain Vodka
  • 1 bag of marshmallows
  • coffee filter

What You’ll Need for 2 Shakes –

  • 6 scoops chocolate ice cream
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 15-20 large marshmallows
  • 2 graham cracker sheets
  • hershey chocolate bar
  • 6 ounces of marshmallow vodka

boozy s'mores shake

01. For the vodka, cut up the marshmallows exposing the gooey insides and put in a container. Add the vodka and keep overnight in the fridge. Most of the marshmallow pieces will dissolve, but you can use a coffee filter to strain it. The vodka adds a little more marshmallow flavor and it’s perfect for martinis down the road!

02. Set the broiler on high and dump 20 large marshmallows on a cookie sheet and set on the highest rack. Toast one side and let cool. Flip them over and toast the other side. Keep an eye on them because they will burn fast!

boozy s'mores shake03. In a blender add the milk, vodka, and chocolate ice cream and blend until smooth.

04. Add in the toasted marshmallows and blend until fully incorporated. These will give the shake a silky marshmallow-y taste we all love!

boozy s'mores shake
boozy s'mores shake

05. Add the hershey pieces and graham crackers in the blender, but pulse so they don’t blend entirely.

06.
To add some pizzaz, drizzle chocolate or marshmallow syrup inside the glasses!

07.
Add whipped topping and some more crushed graham crackers on top.

boozy s'mores shake boozy s'mores shakeHope you guys have a chance to make these beauties!

Alyson

*see more Alyson magic on Sugar & Bash!*

 

DIY Faux Ceramic Cactus Wall Hooks

DIY Cactus Hooks

I’ve really been into ceramics lately and after receiving some adorable pieces from Quiet Clementine, I was inspired to create my own version. These faux ceramic cactus wall hooks turned out quite awesome, especially with their functionality and overall cuteness!

What You’ll Need – 

Faux Ceramic Cactus Wall Hooks Faux Ceramic Cactus Wall Hooks

First cut out your cacti on the card stock. (Mine are simple hand drawn ones.) I had one cactus cutter but I wanted three different shapes for the hooks so it looked like a set. I also cut out a few flowery shapes to attach later. Work your clay and knead it real good so it’s easy to work with. Use the cookie cutter to cut out the shapes, easy.  Use the card stock templates you cut for an outline and slowly trace with an x-acto knife. bake your clay hooks according to the instructions on the package.

Faux Ceramic Cactus Wall HooksFaux Ceramic Cactus Wall HooksAfter the clay has dried, you can slightly sand out any imperfections. I used a little water and 220 grit sandpaper. I also glued on the small flowers here. For the hook part, I used some hobby wood, but you can use really anything since it won’t be seen. Take your drill and make holes for the screws to twist in. You can use some super glue here to enforce it. The other end goes straight into the wall.

Faux Ceramic Cactus Wall Hooks Faux Ceramic Cactus Wall Hooks

I used 2 Acrylic green paints and mixed a little white in them for a lighter look! I also used the liquid gilding for the edges to create some gold detail because I just like gold, okay?! For some texture, I made some dots on the cacti and the flowers. When the paint dries, brush on the glaze. If it’s not smoothing out, mix it with a little water. The glaze gives it a ceramic/glossy look and honestly makes the finishing product look polished and soon your friends will be asking where you got these! (yay!)

DIY Cactus Hooks
DIY Cactus HooksDIY Cactus Hooks

What do you think? Will you make these?! I’m also all for making other faux ceramic pieces!

You can check out more of my creations on my blog or follow me over on instagram!

Alyson

Flamingo and Pineapple Sugar Cookies!

Make your own flamingo and pineapple sugar cookies this summer!

Alyson here, and I have to say I’m thrilled to be posting on Shoes Off Please! Gilit’s love for flamingos inspired these little cookies, and the pineapples seemed like the perfect pairing! I’ve been obsessing over sugar cookies these past few months, and it was a no brainer to get these cuties made! Those pink little creatures are just too perfect for this world, right?!

What you will need –

First up, you’ve got to get those sugar cookies made, so here is my absolute favorite recipe! Also, if your cookies are slightly spreading when you bake them, stick them in the freezer for about 10 minutes before popping them in the oven. It works every time!

If you’ve made royal icing before, awesome! If not here is a solid recipe. Now for the fun part!

Make your own flamingo and pineapple sugar cookies this summer!

First you will want to outline your cookies with the thicker royal icing and let dry for at least 15 minutes. Next, ice the flamingo’s legs and beak, and the pineapple’s top! The circle cookies will be your base, so those also need to be outlined and filled. Clearly they don’t have to be perfect, as you can see below. (They will be covered up by brown sugar.)

Make your own flamingo and pineapple sugar cookies this summer!

now when you flood the cookies, add a few drops of water or lemon juice to thin the frosting. You want to find the right consistency so that it spreads to the edges and ribbons back into itself in about 5 seconds. This is where the squeeze bottle comes in handy! Pour the icing in and start flooding the cookies.

Make your own flamingo and pineapple sugar cookies this summer!

To add the details, use your icing tip for those little pineapple dots and wing outline. For the wing, I lightened it a tad and made a tiny amount of flood icing to fill it in. A lot of times there is a sweet spot where you can use the same icing for the outline and flood, but it’s all a matter of testing it out.

Make your own flamingo and pineapple sugar cookies this summer!

Using the black food decorating pen, color in the tip of the beak and a little eye! You can also use a pink one to add some more dimension to the cookie, like outlining the wing to give it a feather-y look or outlining the entire flamingo. Carefully rub the line with your finger to blend it in.

For the water, I used that ICEE Squeeze Candy because it’s such a pretty color and makes the water a beautiful shiny blue. However, it’s actually kind of a gross candy, haha. If you don’t think anyone wants a sour blue raspberry gel on their cookie, I recommend just sticking to royal icing or even blue sprinkles!

Make your own flamingo and pineapple sugar cookies this summer!

Finally, carefully stick some toothpicks into those cookies and you’re done! The flamingos are very fragile, so I had to be extra slow and careful. I found that making the hole in the circle base first, then cutting the toothpick before inserting it into the flamingo works best. Add some brown sugar for sand and voila! You’ve got a cute little party centerpiece!

Make your own flamingo and pineapple sugar cookies this summer!

Make your own flamingo and pineapple sugar cookies this summer!

The cookies would be a great addition to any Summer party, and can neatly be displayed on a cake stand! And trust me, the more flamingos the better!

Make your own flamingo and pineapple sugar cookies this summer!

For more sweet creations, head on over to my blog and check out my instagram!

Alyson

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