Working Girl Cake

I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to Cakes. Birthday cakes, baby cakes, wedding cakes, cookie cakes, naked cakes, drip cakes, vintage cakes, meringue cakes…you name it, I’ve pinned it. I have the best intentions of making Nicole and I the most grandiose, sparkling and macron themed birthday cake, but then every year our birthday pops up OUT OF NOWHERE and I just make us cocktails.

This past weekend I hosted a baby shower and I had all intentions of making the most grandiose sparkling blueberry drip cake, and then as everything else, the date popped up OUT OF NOWHERE. Bound and determined to still make a cake, but knowing I didn’t have time with my 438 jobs I currently have, I had a creative working girl solution.

I found an inspiration photo on Pinterest.

Then, I ordered (from a local grocery store) a 3 tiered chocolate cake that was just iced. No piping. No decoration. Just iced. It was $17. That is the greatest time and mess saver and I will never, ever bake a cake again after coming up with this genius plan.

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Then, I made a ganache. It’s easy. Equal parts chocolate and heavy whipping cream. Melt slowly in the microwave with 25 second increments until melted and smooth.

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Next, the drizzle. Spoon it around the edges of the cake to give it the drip look. Mine got a bit wonky on some spots, but that’s the charm of home made.

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Then, fill in the top.

berries

Since it was a baby boy shower, I decided to top the cake with blueberries and blackberries. Just pile them on. No rhyme or reason.

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Tada! They will think you worked days in the kitchen, when in reality, it was more like 15 minutes. And all under $25. They will love it. Here’s proof.

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If you are a more tactile, flip-through-the book kind of baker, here are some of my favorites from my home collection:

Butter Celebrates!: Delicious Recipes for Special Occasions

Butter Baked Goods: Nostalgic Recipes From a Little Neighborhood Bakery

How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking

The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook

Book Love: Folk Art Techniques

My personal artistic style is messy, dreamy, and intuitive. I very rarely sketch out ideas or work with a final image in mind. This might be why I’m compelled to buy every art-technique book out there, because the process is so foreign and fascinating.

I LOVE folk art, and folk design, from all regions of the world. Lately a few new books have been published with step-by-step techniques and ideas, and are welcome additions to my collection.

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Imagine A Forest: Designs and Inspirations for Enchanting Folk Art

Enchanting folk art! Mermaids and sirens, beetles and butterflies! Wallpaper inspiration for daysssss. Usually I check out a book from the library before purchasing, but I went with my gut and bought it. So happy I did!

Then, it wasn’t enough. I needed MORE. So, again, sight unseen, I purchased Creative Folk Art and Beyond:

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This fun book caters toward those who require more instruction and steps to create their work. It’s like a sketchbook and journal all in one. Also a good keeper!

If you are wanting to add even MORE folk art instruction books, here’s a list I found:

Folklorique: A Folk Art Coloring Book: A Unique Antistress Coloring Gift for Men, Women, Teenagers & Seniors with Relaxing Patterns, Stress Relieving … Relief, Mindful Meditation & Relaxation)

Modern Folk Embroidery: 30 Contemporary Projects for Folk Art Inspired Designs

European Folk Art Designs (Dover Pictorial Archive)

Etchart: Hidden Forest: Reveal the wonders of the wild in 9 amazing Etchart scenes

I’ve also put together a Pinterest Board on swoon-worthy folk art, both traditional and contemporary.

One snowy day, sitting by the fire, I decided to try my hand at folk-style art. This was extremely satisfying, and maybe now I should set my career sights as a wallpaper artist? Yeah? Maybe.

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pattern play by Nicole Chilton

Hygge-based Gratitude

Every morning for the past few years, I’ve jotted a quick note of something I’m grateful for. It helps start the day on a positive note, and puts my mind somewhere cozier.

This year, I decided to focus each month with a theme. Get really specific. Inspired by one of my Christmas presents, “The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living, I decided to write down all things “cozy” (the definition of Hygge – pronounced hoog-a).

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Being cozy is an enormous luxury, as I found out by these daily notes. Warm water, dry socks, and sweets aren’t something any human should take for granted, because not everyone is so fortunate to have these.

Hope you enjoy and find ways to embrace your good fortune of hygge!

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  1. warm water
  2. coffee
  3. dry socks
  4. candlelight
  5. Yoga Blankets
  6. pashminas
  7. fireplaces that work
  8. rainy nights
  9. brisk walks
  10. grilled cheese
  11. kid snuggles
  12. reading by firelight
  13. book shopping
  14. SNOW DAYS!
  15. dinner with family, sitting around the fire
  16. slow cooking (making whipped cream by hand)
  17. easy chairs
  18. a warm house
  19. jazzy radio
  20. a drawer full of clean pj’s
  21. hugging my husband
  22. thunderstorms
  23. Amber Incense
  24. QUIET TIME
  25. well-loved scarves
  26. tarot by candlelight
  27. brunch with my daughter
  28. a clean bedroom
  29. misty mornings
  30. writing letters
  31. golden milk

What are YOU grateful for that makes you feel all warm and cozy? We’d love to hear.

Originally published over at NicoleChilton.com.