Home Made Mario and Luigi Costumes


These costumes were made very inexpensively. I purchased the hats on Ebay for about $5.00 each. I used some white felt that I had in my craft bin to cut out a white circle, and cut out an “M” on one, and an “L” on the other. The letters were then attached to the hats with fabric glue.

I also purchased two pairs of plain denim overalls from Ebay, for a cost of about $20.00.

For the large buttons on the overalls, I rolled out some yellow Fimo ($4.00) to a thickness of about 1/4″. Using a 1 1/2″ diameter cookie cutter, I cut out four circles. In order to get the buttons to have a dome shape, I used a paper egg crate (styrofoam egg crates will not work). Lay each circle inside an egg “cup”. Press each circle lightly around the edges and the center with fingertips until they take on a slight cup shape. Leave circles in egg crate and bake according to the directions on the back of the Fimo package. Allow the buttons to cool completely before removing them from the egg crate.

To attach the buttons to the overalls, you must first make sure that the overall straps are hooked in front. Next, fill the “cup” of each button with hot glue. Allow to sit for about 20 seconds, so glue isn’t too runny. Press Fimo button onto the overall button.

I already had a long sleeve red shirt for Mario, but was unable to find a green shirt for Luigi. I purchased a white long sleeve shirt from the thrift store ($2.00) and two boxes of Rit Fabric dye (golden yellow and kelly green) for another $6.00. Using half the packet of yellow and the entire packet of green, I followed the instructions for bucket dyeing method listed on the back of the package.  I was able to achieve a color that was similar to the color of the hat.

J. thought he wanted to use a stick-on mustache ($3.00 for two), which ended up being way too big for him. We opted to draw on his mustache with face paint instead, and he was much happier with it than the adhesive one.

Mario and Luigi’s white gloves were $2.50 per pair at a local costume shop.  For a total of about $45.00, I created both the Mario and Luigi costumes.

Here are some photos of the whole Super Mario crew!

Princess Peach, Mario and Luigi

Princess Peach, Mario and Luigi Halloween Costumes

Mario, Luigi and Peach

Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach Costumes

See our Princess Peach costume tutorial here!

Mario Costumes

Gumpaste “glue” recipe


If you were wondering how to attach gumpaste (or fondant) flowers to a cake, this is the never-fail recipe I use.  Find a clean glass container with a lid.  Measure about 1 teaspoon of a good quality gumpaste.  Tear the gumpaste into very small pieces and place them inside the jar.  Pour 1 Tablespoon of alcohol (I like to use vanilla flavored rum, but you can also use any alcohol based flavor extracts you might have on hand) over the gumpaste, and stir.  For best results, make sure the gumpaste is completely dissolved before you use it as a glue.   This mixture should last for about a month if you keep it refrigerated.

posted under Recipes | 31 Comments »

A Castle Birthday Cake


For everything that went wrong with E.’s 5th birthday cake, who would have thought that her 6th birthday would go so smoothly?  E. wanted a castle cake, and of course, she wanted it to be pink!

This cake was two tiers, and each tier had 3 layers.  The bottom layer was a fudge marble cake (I used boxed mix this year instead of baking it from scratch) baked in a 10 inch round pan.  I used vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream between the layers and to frost the outside of the cake.  The bottom tier is covered in marshmallow fondant.

For the top tier, I baked a small, 6 inch chocolate cake using a round pan.  I cut the rounded edges off of each layer, so I ended up with something that was more or less square shaped.  I used gumpaste to cover it, because I wanted to make sure that the castle “walls” wouldn’t sag.  Here are the pictures of the work in progress:


castle birthday cake

Adding the corner turrets.


castle door

With the door added.


finished door

"Rocks" around the door and "stone" stairs.

gumpaste flowers

The base looked a little dull, so I attached several gumpaste flowers here and there.

Gumpaste wrapped turrets with tops.

Wrapping the turrets with gumpaste and working on the placement of the tops.

Even more flowers

I added flowers and small marshmallow fondant "rocks" to cover any gaps at the bottom of the castle.


E.'s Whimsical birthday castle!

The tops of the turrets, doorknobs and the number 6 are all painted with gold luster dust diluted with a bit of vanilla flavored rum.

I used Makins Clay Texture Sheets I found over at Amazon.com for the turret tops and the wood grain on the door.

Of course, not everything went smoothly, because the morning of  E.’s birthday party she developed a fever.  I wanted to postpone the party, but she decided that she wanted the presents and to eat some of the cake, so we canceled our guests, and we managed to have a blast in spite of the flu.

posted under Cakes! | 2 Comments »

Princess Peach Costume


My daughter wanted to be Princess Peach for Halloween this year. If you’re not familiar with the Super Mario Brothers franchise, this is Princess Peach:

This is Peach...in a train wreck of a dress.

Originally, I thought I would purchase a horrible 80’s puff sleeve prom dress from the thrift store and make a few alterations. Despite the fact that they were a dime a dozen back in July, this month there were no ugly pepto bismol pink 1980’s prom dresses to be found.

I searched for patterns at the fabric store, but quickly realized that I would need to buy two patterns and alter them. Instead, I opted to draft my own pattern and use some fabric I had on hand – a light pink taffeta for the body of the dress, and some hot pink fabric for the peplum that I picked up from a remnant bin at the fabric store.

I was lucky enough to have been given the pink taffeta by my Mother in Law when she was weeding out her sewing cabinet a few years ago. I really didn’t know what to use it for, and I almost gave it away a couple of times. Who knew it would eventually come in handy?

I didn’t take pictures of all of the components of the dress, but here it is in progress:


The bodice.

Neck trim.

Bodice with neck trim in place and brooch placement test.

Pinning the pieces together.

Pinning the pieces together to make sure they fit properly.

Peplum pinned in place.

Skirt with peplum pinned in place.

bodice pinned to skirt

Finished bodice attached to skirt.


The finished dress!

The complete Princess Peach Costume.

The finished Princess Peach Costume.


See our Mario and Luigi Costumes here!

Sale at The Land of Nod

Song Bird Wedding Cake


I was asked by a friend to make a cake for her wedding. She is a botanist, and her husband has a degree in forestry, so they agreed that they wanted a “woodsy” theme for their wedding.

This cake fit their description perfectly.

Song Bird Wedding Cake

Song Bird Wedding Cake

The birds were modeled gumpaste, which I painted with petal dust.

Painting in Progress

Painting in Progress

The colors of the song birds were chosen to coordinate with the wedding reception decor.

Bird Factory


Bird Factory

The cake only had to travel a few miles down the road, but transporting it was easily the most stressful part of the process! An egg crate was used to transport the birds:

Don't count your eggs before they hatch!

Don't count your eggs before they hatch!

Once I was at the reception location, I had to carry everything up a flight of stairs! Five trips, to be exact!

Putting the cake together was the easy (and fun) part.

Song Bird Cake

Song Bird Cake Assembled!

Personalized Chocolates On Sale

The camera is crooked...not the cake!

The groom cut the log that serves as the cake plate himself!


Song Bird close up

This was one of my favorite birds. Cute!

posted under Cakes! | 14 Comments »



I have been working on several projects around the house that I want to share…as soon as I photograph them…then of course, I have to get around to posting them here.

The trouble is, I sit down at the computer and get sucked in to some great blogs I have come across.

It is no secret that I love making cakes, so I check in to Cakewrecks almost every day…mostly hoping I never see my cakes there.

Then, I found out that Jen (of Cake Wrecks) has yet another site called Epbot.
I am in complete awe of her never ending chic geek savvy.

I have also been lost for weeks reading older posts over at Hyperbole and a Half. Seriously, I have never laughed so hard in my life!

I don’t recommend going to Hyperbole and a Half if you should be working…you will lose hours from your day.

I know some days that I should be blogging…but why should I do that when I could be procrastinating?

Birthday cakes, II!


Okay, so better late than never, right?

Disney Princess cake

E.'s 4th Birthday...Princesses!

Super Mario Bros. Birthday cake.

Super Mario Bros. Birthday cake.

Side view

Mario Cake!

Next week: Wedding cakes!

I’ve only done one so far…but I’ll post it soon!

posted under Cakes! | No Comments »

Mother’s Day Flowers


Yesterday, the kids made some egg carton flowers…they should have been daffodils, but I didn’t realize that we were out of yellow construction paper.

That turned out okay, because the kids were happy that they got to pick out their favorite color.

Print out the template for the flower petals and leaves, or draw your own.
Here is a list of what you will need:

8 sheets of construction paper for petals (yellow, or your choice)

3 sheets of green construction paper for the leaves.

1 paper egg carton

Scotch tape or hot glue gun

12 yellow buttons

12 green bendable drinking straws

Trace flower and leaf templates onto construction paper and cut them out.

Cut out the “cup” portion of a paper egg carton. Paint the egg carton inside and outside.

When paint is dry, glue or tape the egg cup to the center of the flower petals.

Turn over, and attach a straw to the back of the petals. Use a small amount of glue or tape to attach the yellow button to the center of the egg cup.

Attach two leaves to to the bottom of the straw.

We made 11 of these flowers and placed them in a vase as a gift for my mother. I think that they turned out to be very nice!

Print this template to get started!

Cakes of Birthdays Past I


I had so much fun writing about E.’s birthday cake, that I wanted to share some pictures from previous birthdays.  While browsing on my computer for pictures to add, I have decided that since there are so many, I should just make another post next week with more.

Scottish Clan Crest Birthday Cake

My husband's birthday cake from last year.

Rose teapot and tea cups

Rose teapot and tea cups for E.'s 4th birthday!

A rose "tea cup" cupcake.

A closeup of one of the pixie tea cups.

Don’t forget to come back next week!

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Birthday Cake Experience


This week started out to be very promising.  Despite not having a car at the moment, I was able to get E. a Princess and the Frog doll to put in her birthday cake.  I made the cake earlier this week and found that it was too short – the top of the skirt was about mid-thigh on an average barbie doll.  I made more layers – chocolate ones this time.  It was the perfect height.

Everything else was going well, until Friday night – the night before the party.   I made the fondant pieces for the skirt portion of the cake and decorated it.  I opened the box with the doll inside and as I tried to remove the dress, I realized that it wouldn’t come off!  I had inadvertently bought the Tiana doll whose dress turns into a plush frog.   Then came the discovery that the doll had no legs…it is basically just a torso sewn onto a stuffed animal…yeah, I don’t really get it either.

I squeezed the frog/dress part of the doll and wrapped it tightly with saran wrap. No good, it still wouldn’t fit into the doll-sized hole I had made in the cake!  I considered wrecking the toy and just cutting off the plush part, but then I realized that E. would get a doll without legs and a ripped up, stuffing-less plush animal to play with…which wouldn’t be much fun for a 5 year old.

With all the hope I could muster, I tried to see if any 24 hour stores had the doll in stock – the nearest one was 80 miles away.   I thought about whipping up a plain old layer cake, but remembered that E. had specifically asked for a doll cake.  I decided that the only thing I could do was to use a different doll, but since E was asleep in her room, finding one was no easy task.  You see, when E. puts her dolls away, she just tosses them into her doll bin, one on top of another like so much cordwood.  If I were to move the wrong doll, the whole pile could potentially topple like massive, tangled Barbie Jenga tower.  I held my breath and plucked a slightly disheveled Barbie doll from the very top of the stack.

I was relieved that the doll I happened to pick up was newer, and NOT one of the old ones that look like Courtney Love after a three week bender.  I washed the doll and put some plastic wrap around her to keep her nice and clean and made a fondant bodice.  I put the doll into the cake and made a sash around her waist to cover the seam.  I also used a little bit of the white fondant to cover the tiara the doll was wearing and make it look a little bit more like the one Tiana wears.

I was very tired, so I decided to save the decorating of the cake board for the morning.  The cake was too tall (with the doll inserted) for both the refrigerator and the freezer…so I put the doll into the oven for safe keeping.  I was a little worried that the oven would get turned on with the doll inside, so I left the oven light on and went to bed.

E., being very excited about her birthday woke me up at 7:30 am.  I opened the oven to take the cake out and saw THIS:

Yes!  Fondant CAN melt!

Yes! Fondant CAN melt!

Slip sliding away.

Slip sliding away.

Melted.  Icing.  Bad!

Melted. Icing. Bad!

Yeeeeeah.  The icing was in puddles at the base of the cake, and it tore the fondant skirt pieces as it slid down.  Apparently, with the oven door shut, the light can generate heat up to 100 degrees!  (**head desk**)

Feeling only slightly less deflated than the cake, I briefly envisioned chucking the whole thing outside in the snow.  After I managed to calm down a bit, I decided that it was still early enough that I could make a new batch of frosting and redecorate the skirt.  I was out of the white fondant and thanks to a snowstorm couldn’t even leave to get the ready made variety.  I had barely enough of the green fondant left to make the outer skirt “leaves”, but I think over all it turned out ok.  I did happen to have a tiny bit of left over gumpaste, which I tinted purple and used to remake the sash and bow in the back.

I decorated the cake board and used the final bit of green fondant to shape a lily pad for my gumpaste Prince Naveen to sit on.  Despite my initial bout of hysteria, the cake turned out okay.  Remember all the fussing I had done over not having the right doll?  E. quickly decided that the doll was Charlotte (Tiana’s friend from the movie), trying on Tiana’s dress.  Now, why didn’t I think of that?!

Anyway, here is how it turned out:

Purple Bow

Purple Bow



She loves it!

Not too bad for a quick save...

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