silver, red and white

As she is wont to do in the last couple of years, Saucy has left her holiday decorating until the very last minute. She's not sure what exactly precipitated this lifestyle change - she used to be fully decorated by mid-November... but it is what it is. In an attempt to keep it simple, this year she dug deep into the storage boxes and pulled out anything that was red, white, or silver... or went with anything that was red, white and silver. It's a theme, people. Well, its an attempt at a theme. We shall see...

The tiny tree in the foyer is decorated with birds, pinecones and lots of red with touches of silver. The stairway is draped and decorated with lots of birds and berries.

The main tree - in the living room. It's just a funky mix of anything that was red or silver or white.

It's pretty cool when you sort through your stuff, you can isolate a couple of colours and come up with a whole new theme. Last year, most of these ornaments made the cut along with anything green Saucy could get her hands on. That one looked pretty nice, too. It's just turned into a constant pattern of reusing and recycling around here.

That tree topper, it was found in a grab bin a few years back and Saucy meant to jazz it up and re-glitter it but never got around to it. Apparently, she never got around to straightening the books on the shelf, either. It's a pattern of bad behaviour. Let the books fall where they may. This is the third or fourth time that Merry has been used, sans glitter, and it looks nice enough the way it is.

Pottery Barn mixed with Dollar Store, Restoration Hardware mixed with Wal-Mart... it sort of all works together. It has to. It doesn't have a choice.

The presents are wrapped to match the theme. Red paper with a knit pattern from Michaels mixed with some brown butcher paper did most of the work and special gifts were wrapped with two rolls of fancy silver and red foil and embellished with pompoms and fancy bits, otherwise the general decoration on gifts of choice this year was yarn - especially the red yarn with silver in it. Lurrve.

Oh, and if you need to present a Starbucks gift card, just ask the barista for a clean cup and lid. They might have some brown and white tissue if you don't have any on hand. Stuff the cup to look like a frappucino with whipped topping and slip the card inside, voila!

Saucy has yet to get decent shots of the dining room (believe it or not, the table is even set) and one more (really pretty) tree. She might even get a few last minute decorations up on Thursday, now that the gifts are mostly packed up or sent off... the rest of the pictures will explain the whole brown paper thing much better and "tie it together" as they say, so stay tuned.

cupcake meets nanaimo bar

If you're Canadian, you must be familiar with the popular Nanaimo bar, a sliced dessert bar that makes its appearance at most important events - especially around Christmas. You can read about the origin of the Nanaimo bar here. If you've never tried them, get the ingredients and make them this year for the holidays. Trust Saucy on this one, people. Aside from the sport of basketball, William Shatner and Justin Bieber, this might be one of Canada's greatest contributions to society.

What if the quintessential Canadian slice made its way onto a cupcake? It would be... nirvana.

Saucy prepared a box of Betty Crocker Butter Pecan cake mix as follows:

  • Sift the cake mix with 1/3 cup dry cocoa
  • Mix in three eggs (at room temperature), plus
  • 1/2 cup melted butter, plus
  • 1 cup water
  • Beat until blended (about one minute)
  • Beat on high speed until light and fluffy (two minutes)
  • Fold in 1/4 cup fine, unsweetened coconut and 3 tablespoons ground almond
  • Scoop with ice cream scoop into paper lined muffin tin (24)
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes
  • Cool completely before frosting

For the frosting, Saucy prepared her usual buttercream recipe (below) but she added two tablespoons of custard powder and tinted it a nice golden yellow colour. She topped each cupcake with a nice bite-sized piece of Nanaimo bar.

Today, the Cheerios had their Christmas cupcake sale at the school. Over 300 cupcakes went in just under one hour. There were the usual flavours you've seen here on the blog, plus special Christmas cupcakes like Spicy Gingerbread Boy, Tutti Frutti Candy Cane and Chocolate Peppermint. It was like, a cupcake smorgasbord.

The Cheerios are getting downright professional with their mad decorating skills.

Saucy's Never-Fail Frosting

1 cup butter at room temperature*
1 cup vegetable shortening at room temperature (ie. Crisco)
1 teaspoon white vanilla (ie. Wilton)
dash of salt (important!)
4 cups confectioners/icing sugar
2 tablespoons whipping cream

Best made in a stand mixer. Cream together the butter, salt and shortening thoroughly. Add the sugar, one cup at a time until blended. Beat in the vanilla as you go. When the sugar is completely beaten in, make sure the sides of the bowl are scraped down. Add the whipping cream, beating at the highest speed until super fluffy, about one minute. Use immediately. Store covered in refrigerator when not in use.

If you would like to add colouring, use the professional type sold at cake decorating supply specialty stores or Micheals. Remember: paste food colouring is stronger and more vibrant, so measure accordingly. The colour will also deepen after blending so keep your tint light.

* In Canada, at Real Canadian Superstore, Saucy buys "white margarine" for making large quantities of frosting, especially when the Cheerios are decorating upwards of 300 cupcakes. It's a cost thing. Plus, it's white-white so the finished frosting, if you use white vanilla... is as pure as the driven snow.

would you do a little favour?

Saucy's little niece Moira goes to a very small rural school in southern Ontario. It's sad, but the school will be closing at the end of June. It's really a very tiny little school and of course the decision was made due to budgeting and such, but the nice small atmosphere of the school has made The Warden and The Inmate very happy to send their children there.

The kids in Moira's class are doing a little project to commemorate the last year of Maidstone Central School. They are collecting post cards from as many places around the globe as possible.

Would you mind, Dear Reader, in this busy holiday season - if you are headed to the post office anyway - would you send Moira and her class a little post card and tell her where you are from? It's a marvelous little geography project... and it will be a nice sendoff for one of the last, sweet country schools Saucy knows of.

Maidstone Central School
1501 Lakeshore Road #203
Maidstone, Ontario CANADA
N0R 1K0

And just to sweeten the incentive, Saucy has asked the classroom teacher to set aside any postcards that arrive with the message "Hello to Miss Moira and friends via Saucy's Sprinkles" and at the end of the project, the class will draw a postcard and the lucky sender will receive one of Saucy's handmade charm bracelets. She'll even customize it for you if she can... so what are you waiting for?

santa baby

When Saucy sat down to think about it, well, there just isn't much she wants for Christmas this year. Nothing really springs to mind. She seems to have everything she needs... but every girl can think of something, right?

Saucy adores Steve Martin (why, he was a selected secret celebrity boyfriend after all...) and his new book about the art scene in New York is just waiting to be devoured! Sometimes, it's like Steve can see inside Saucy's brain... and there's not much in there, but he writes about what she's interested in, anyway.

An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin,

One thing she has been dying to try for almost a year now is Wen hair care - she really digs infomercial products. After all, ProActive changed her skin, right? Anyone know anything about this stuff?

Wen hair care products,

It's silly, but this little compact of solid perfume hidden in a ring caught her eye on Sephora. She's really digging the gold tones lately... it's just a phase.
Juicy Coutre solid fragrance ring, Sephora

Juicy Couture cupcake in oven charm, Nieman Marcus
Juicy Couture martini shaker charm, eBay
$39 - $99

Let Them Eat Cupcakes poster, Etsy

Jar of Fancy, Anthropologie

Miniature cupcakes, Etsy

Let Us Eat Cake button, Etsy

Marie Antoinette cupcake earrings, Etsy

... and that's pretty much it. Tell us, Dear Reader, what is on your wish list this year? Saucy has a direct line to Santa himself, she'll put in the good word for you.

If you live in Saskatoon, the Cheerios will be hosting a Christmas Cupcake Sale on Thursday, December 16th from 12:00 noon - 1:00 in the main hall of their school, Aden Bowman Collegiate (1901 Clarence Avenue South).

The girls are pre-selling tickets to their friends over the next few days so they can anticipate how many cupcakes to make. Teachers and parents are ordering cupcakes by the half-dozen and by the dozen. All pre-ordered will be boxed by the half-dozen, tied with a ribbon and available for pickup in the front foyer of the school during the sale.

If you would like to pre-order a box (or more!) of delicious Christmas cupcakes to support the Cheerios, please email Saucy at sasha {dot} libby {at} shaw {dot} ca.

Oh, and if you really can't make it to the school during the pickup time at noon hour on the day of the sale, we can surely work something out. You really don't want to miss these special Christmas flavours.

one day of dipping

Some of Saucy's favourite Christmas projects... posted again this year, just in case you forgot.

It's dipping day again... the day when anything standing still around here gets dipped in melted chocolate and smothered in sprinkles. First up are the pretzel rods. Dip them about two-thirds up, alternating with white and milk chocolate. Saucy prefers Wilton Candy Melts (you can get them at Michaels) because of their consistency and if they get a little cool and thick while you are working you can pop them in the microwave and warm them up again.

Use a spoon or a pastry bag to drizzle the opposite shade of melted chocolate across your dipped treasures and add the sprinkles while the chocolate is still shiny.

Miniature candy canes are posed together like a heart on parchment paper or better yet, a silicone pad. Pour melted white chocolate inside the hearts - you may have to push and stir it around with a little blending stick. Add sprinkles or crushed peppermint. Yes, they're that easy.

This is for the more ambitious dipper... only because the Teddy Grahams are wearing Christmas sweaters. The crackers could go naked, too. Nobody would care; it's like a s'more on a stick. Saucy had some leftover royal icing so she decorated the guys and outfitted their duds with sprinkle snowflakes and trees. The rest was super-easy, just poke lolly sticks into regular marshmallows and dip 'em in melted chocolate. Set them to rest on a bed of crushed graham crackers...

... or, rest your dipped marshmallows in a bed of crushed peppermint.

Kids love skewering things. Have them line four marshmallows onto a skewer stick and then dip the entire thing. Drizzle with chocolate (here, red tinted candy melts) and sprinkle away. The possibilities here are endless. This year Saucy is contemplating a marshmallow skewer dipped in white chocolate, drizzled with dark, sprinkled with Oreo crumbs and topped with mini cookies... how about you?

architectural artifacts

If you noticed Saucy's Facebook status over the weekend saying something along the lines of, "died and went to architectural salvage Heaven," and wondered what that looked like, here it is.

Saucy and The Inmate convinced Veto and The Warden to make a little date night at Architectural Artifacts, Inc. for an evening holiday shopping event.

It didn't take much convincing to tell the truth. Veto is pretty much up for anything and The Warden, being a draftsman by trade, is keen on anything to do with architecture. And so they were off. From the moment they entered the beautiful old building they knew it was going to be the very best of sojourns. Plus, Saucy was tipped off to the whole thing by her pal Linda so she had a gut feeling it was going to be absolutely fascinating... and it was.

Look above and you will see an assortment of vintage light fixtures, most of them of the industrial sort.

Oh, what Saucy wouldn't do with those bad boys! The area was also filled with salvaged doors, windows, wrought iron gates and balconies, segments of staircase railing... and metal fireplace mantels.

Here, Saucy contemplates life, art and her navel...

... and the navels of these ladies ...

... while Veto contemplates vintage agricultural and seed "specimens." There were plenty of framed scientific samples, test tubes, botany experiments and such. It was like a scene from Harry Potter.

Although it may look happenstance in the photos, the displays are anything but. They are thoughtful and detailed, right down to a vintage school sink filled with photography slides. It was a feast for the eyes at every turn. Sort of like going to an Anthropologie store but without the clothes and soaps.

Words cannot express how much Saucy wanted this amazing printer's case: each drawer was subdivided into the smallest sections you can imagine... perfect for storing charms and general crafty bric a brac.

There was a wide array of candy store display stands in various shapes and sizes. You can find them online here.

An entire table - about twelve feet in length - covered with chandelier crystals. Do you see what Saucy means here, people? Died and went to Heaven.

Display boxes, storage units, office supplies and filing...

A Coca-Cola sign made of some sort of cindercrete/composite material, from Argentina.

There were vintage pediments over almost every available doorway.

Lunch, anyone?

The Inmate locates a giant initial. She fails to convince her husband to close the deal.

Veto did make a purchase on this night, a working drawing by Argentinian blacksmith José Thenée that Saucy had to have. Here, she poses before leaving the event in front of the most amazing display of the artist's drawings fastened to the wall of the main entryway. You can't imagine it - spanning about thirty feet high and the length of a hallway, with details cut out and adhered to the mural, it was breathtaking.

So that's what Heaven looks like. In case you were wondering.