Fantastic Find: Crosby and Taylor Handcrafted Measuring Spoons



Oh my goodness. You totally thought I had forgotten about Fantastic Finds, didn't you? I might have...if it wasn't for my overflowing basket of finds that are desperately begging to be shared with you! First up in the very long line of finds - are these GORGEOUS hand crafted pewter measuring spoons from Crosby and Taylor.

You guys. I'm kind of obsessed with these. Basically they are gorgeous pieces of pewter that you can also use to measure with. It's not that complicated.
 

Each and every measuring spoon, measuring cup or other beautiful piece of pewter from Crosby and Tayor is hand crafted. No two items are identical. As a bit of a (sugar) artist myself... I LOVE THAT. And they are so smooth and so shiny and I love that too. But don't worry about the whole, "mistakes happen" aspect of handcrafted -- each one is tested to make sure it really measures as it should. And not only are they perfectly accurate...


...but there is just SOMETHING about the weight of real metal measuring spoons. They are tiny and thin and I never want to put them down. I always want to be measuring. It's like living in a 5 star hotel in my very own kitchen. I mean seriously -- just look at that handle! Don't you just want to pinch it yourself?


Crosby and Taylor have so many gorgeous designs to choose from too. Like these vineyard measuring spoons. Also... I'm not sure if you noticed it...They also make beautiful matching stands for each measuring spoon design.

Bottom Line: Do you need these? "Need" is such a tricky word. I mean, sure you could grab a set of generic, plastic spoons from the nearest dollar store and they would be perfectly useful and would fulfill all your measuring needs. With a price tag of $35, these are definitely not on the list of "basic items to procure before you start decorating" but they are certainly worth the indulgence. It's like each spoon has created itself somehow. I know I keep going on and on about how they feel in my hand...but you can see pictures of how gorgeous they are...and there just aren't words for how much I love to actually hold them. And I know I'm weird and you all are kind of backing away from your computers and phones right now trying to figure out if maybe I should have taken that nap today after all...but I'm telling you -- the second you hold one of these in your hand -- you'll fall in love. So put them on your "if you really love me, you'll remember that these things will make me happy" list for your birthday or Christmas or to reward yourself for actually finishing that order of eleventy-dozen cookies last week.

AND THEN... book mark this post (or email it to the person who should really be loving you) because Crosby and Taylor has a coupon code for you guys!! Use the code pewtershare to save 25% off a set of these UNBELIEVABLY GORGEOUS MEASURING SPOONS! (I'm not quite sure that I've used the word "gorgeous" enough in this post. I'm worried you might think I don't like these spoons.) (I do.) (I love them.)

Tell me -- do YOU have an indulgent cookie purchase that you just love?? 


How to Make Decorated Cookie Videos


How to make cookie decorating videos with a cell phone and no experience whatsoever.

I’m pretty sure this is going to be the longest post in the history of ever. And I haven’t even written it yet. I have, however, procrastinated it for weeks. So that should count for something, right? Here’s the thing. Videos. They’re the thing these days. Everyone is making them. Or watching them. Or wishing they could make them. And I’m here to tell you that you can be anyone of those people that you want to be. Seriously. I’m going to walk you through my ENTIRE VIDEO PROCESS. Painstakingly slow because I’m cool like that. But don’t get all crazy on me if you do it a different way. I like different ways. And totally welcome your comments giving people more options. You know, as long as there is no hatred involved…I’m good.


This is my video set-up. I use my regular ol’ half-way broken cellphone attached to a GRIPPY ARM THING. The grippy arm thing is also attached to a tri-pod. (I used to attach it to the back of another chair, but the tripod was just easier to move around. In case you are wondering THIS is the tripod I use.) I center my cell phone camera so that half of the screen is blank so I’ll have space to add captions later. If you don’t plan to add words or captions, go ahead and center that cookie on your screen. I try to place the cellphone as close as I can to the cookie while still having room for my hand and a piping bag underneath it.

SECRET HINT: Try to keep the cellphone or camera at a *slight* angle to the cookie instead of directly overhead. I find that my hand blocks a lot of the decorating if the camera is directly overhead.

Make sure you have everything ready and then press record and get to decorating. Personally…I like to have a cookie made for each drying step so I don’t actually have to wait 15 minutes before continuing to decorate. But how you do it is all up to you.

There are a lot of different programs for editing. Many of them are available right on your phone. I like to do a little more in depth editing so I transfer the video file to my computer. You just connect the phone to the computer with the USB charging cable and open the camera folder on your phone like you would any other folder. The program I use for video editing is called MICROSOFT MOVIE MAKER. It's free to download... but right now it is not available for Mac computers.


Open the Microsoft Movie Maker application on your computer. Click on “Add videos and photos” and choose the file from its location on your computer.


Depending on the length of your video it can take up to 60 seconds to load into the program. It will show you a progress bar and a black video screen until it is ready. When the video is fully loaded the screen will look something like this. Click on the “edit” button at the top of the screen under the “Video Tools” tab. Let’s talk about the options in this tab.


Video Volume: You can choose to make the sound of the video louder or softer. I usually slide the scale all the way to mute and add music later. Because seriously, who wants to listen to me begging my children to not bump the table for just 30 more seconds?

Fade In/Fade Out: These are for the sound. You can choose how fast the sound fades in and out at the beginning and end.

Speed: This is where it gets fun. You can speed up the video or slow it down as much as you like. There are automatic presets, but you can also type any speed in there you want as well.


Split: This button essentially cuts the video into two parts wherever you are in the video. I use this when I want to edit parts of the video separately from each other. (For example, speeding up one part or slowing down another part.) I also use this to remove pieces of video. Just split the video at the beginning and end of the part you want to remove. Click on that section and hit delete on your keyboard. If you accidentally removed the wrong part because you weren’t paying attention, you can always click the “undo” arrow at the top left of your screen. But beware – it only lets you undo about 3 steps.

Set Start/End points: These buttons are pretty much self-explanatory. Play the movie to the exact second you want it to start. You know…past all the wobbling and weird zooming…and then press pause on the video. Click up there on the “Set start point” and everything before that point is automatically erased. When you get to the point where you want the video to end, pause it again and click “Set end point” and everything after it is erased.


On the “Animation” tab, you can choose how you want all those split pieces of video to be connected together. Click on any segment of video and then choose how you want the video to come in. Do you want it to bounce from the right or fade in from black? You can do that. Leave it alone if you want it to be a seamless transition. I usually animate transitions where substantial time has elapsed like when I say “let it dry for a million years” but leave it alone when it’s just seconds later. But that choice is entirely yours to make.


Back on the “Home” tab, you can choose to add more video or photos if you want. Sometimes I film different parts of a tutorial at different times. I can put them all together by just adding each video one at a time. I also add a title photo and my logo using the same button. I use the “Add music” option to … go skiing in the Alps. Just kidding. I use it to add music. In case you are wondering, I purchase my music from MELODY LOOPS. They have lots of great options. You can also choose to record a new audio track by clicking “record narration.”


The button I use the most on this screen is the “Caption” button. This is how I add all my text to the videos. When you click on that button a text screen appears on the video. Type your message into the box and drag it to whatever size and shape and location that you want. You can also edit the text with the tools that appear at the top of the screen. Modify when and how long the text appears using the “start time” and “text duration” boxes.


TOP SECRET HINT: You can use the caption boxes as a watermark on your video by adjusting the duration to the entire video length and clicking on “transparency” to adjust how see-through the text is.

SUPER TOP SECRET HINT: If you want all of your text boxes to have the same appearance, click on the DOTTED LINE FRAME of the text box and right click. Choose COPY. Instead of clicking on “caption” at the next place you want a text box – right click and choose “paste” and it will paste an identical text box in the video. All you have to do is replace the text. Trust me…it’s SO MUCH FASTER than modifying every text box every time.


When you are done with all your fancy video edits, click on the “File” button at the top of the screen. Choose “save movie” and then “for computer”. You will be prompted to name your video or save it as the original video name. IF YOU ARE NOT DONE EDITING THE VIDEO—use the “save project” button to keep it in all its parts and pieces for you to continue to edit later. You can now upload your video to YouTube or Facebook or email it to a friend as part of a chain letter from a Nigerian prince.

Wait!! What about Instagram? Don’t worry my favorite friends…we’re not done yet. Transfer the video to your phone. You could do this using cables and technical jargon that I don’t understand (in all honesty, it's just the reverse process of how you got the video from your phone to your computer...but by this point I'm just lazy)…or you can just email it to yourself using your computer. And then open the email using your phone. Download the video to your phone. Ta da! You can now upload it to Instagram.

But WAIT AGAIN!! How do I make it a SQUARE video? Seriously guys. Hold your horses. I’m getting to that. I use an app called “InShot” to make it square. It's a free app available for both ANDROID and IPHONE. The option to make it square is under the “Fit” tab on the app…but it usually just opens right to that option because it’s the most popular. You can also trim your video, flip the video, and add music and text with the InShot app if everything I just said about Movie Maker is just more than you want to deal with.

So...that's pretty much it. What did I miss? Ask me your questions and leave me your suggestions! I'm ready for them.


NEED MORE? 

Grab the GRIPPY ARM THING (also known as a "mobile phone holder") or my favorite TRIPOD.

Get the MICROSOFT MOVIE MAKER program for your computer.

Find your new favorite music tracks at MELODY LOOPS.

How to Make Decorated Donald Trump Cookies



You know, spending a couple of days in the birthplace of a nation has really made me think about the founding years of my own country. And thinking about all those years of history that have developed our separate countries into what they are, I just can't stop wondering how it is that Australia has managed to create the pure love in cookie form that is a Tim-Tam while the United States is stuck with Oreos. HOW will I continue to live my life without the option of ducking into a shop for a Tim-Tam? I would go on a chocolate strike until America promises to import Tim-Tams, but I think you and I both know that would last about 20 minutes and would only end in tears and ice cream.

So I'll just keep making my decorated cookies will secretly opening a science laboratory in the basement where the sole purpose is to recreate a Tim-Tam in it's entirety and perfection. The lab will, of course, require a regular shipment of *actual* Tim-Tam...for research purposes obviously. And a lock. And sound proof walls. And maybe Netflix. You are welcome to join me when construction is completed. The pass code will be "I can eat more Tim-Tams than you. But I won't because I like you." In the meantime...let's make some more decorated political cookies!




1.  With medium consistency skin colored icing, outline and fill a wide "U" shape area for the face. Be sure to add a dot of icing at the bottom for the chin.  Let dry for 15 minutes.
2. Add dots of icing on both sides of the face for ears. Outline and fill the jacket area of the cookie with medium consistency gray icing. Let dry for another 15 minutes.
3. Fill in the shirt area of the cookie with white icing. And outline and fill the hair with a golden brown colored icing. (Surprisingly...I mixed brown and gold food coloring for this color.) Let dry for another 15 minutes....you know the drill.
4. Add 2 dots of white icing for the eyes. Immediately add 2 dots of blue and then 2 even smaller drops of black on top. Put a #1.5 tip on the gray icing and pipe the lapels on the jacket.
5. Add mouth details, nose and eyebrows. Pipe the bottom of the tie with a #1.5 tip and red icing. Pipe the teeth and collar with white icing and a #1.5 tip.
6. Put a #1.5 tip on the brown icing and add hair details. Finish the tie with a diamond of red icing.


 
See it in action here.

NEED MORE?

Grab the DONALD TRUMP CUTTER or the REPUBLICAN ELEPHANT CUTTER.  

See how I made HILLARY CLINTON COOKIES here.