Sunday, June 9, 2013

Cinderella, Cinderella, All I Hear is Cinderella

 My friends and family on Instagram and Facebook probably feel that all they have heard from me is 'Cinderella' these days.  That is because my kiddo attends a special ballet school that produces a full ballet at the end of the spring term in lieu of a regular recital.  All the girls participate, from tiniest with the smallest parts and easiest dances to the graduating seniors who have specially-choreographed solos and starring roles to everyone in between.  It is unique and special and heavily involves parent volunteers who create sets and costumes, and fulfill all duties outside of the performance itself... well, actually some dads do perform too!  It requires a big time commitment from the students, parents, and fabulous teachers (all two of them!!) and it always feels worth it in the end!  This is my daughter's fourth ballet.  This year, as you may have guessed, they performed Cinderella.

I have been the room mother for the past couple of years for my child's class, a job that I really love.  This year, she was moved to a class that meets twice a week and we just adore the sweet girls and moms we have gotten to know this year!  Each year, Piper gives her classmates a keepsake for the ballet for opening night.  This year, it was necklaces.  Since all the girls usually are given fresh flowers for opening night by family and friends, her gift is something a little different.

These were super easy to do. (Thank you Sandie for helping me at Archivers!  I had my friend and crafty genius point me to those great bottle cap pendant bases.  Check out her blog, Chic Green Dragonfly.)

I printed out the text on my computer onto scrapbooking paper and used a 1" punch to cut them out.

I glued them into the bottle caps...

...and I used the negative space from a Martha Stewart punch to get little stars (my child's class danced the parts of the stars and the hours)...

....and outlined the paper with Glossy accents and added iridescent crystal glitter to edge the paper.

I filled in the surface of the bottle cap with Glossy Accents to seal it.  Magically, the glitter tends to move around a bit.  That was a happy accident.  The Glossy Accents require a few hours to dry.  As it dries, I noticed that air bubbles would surface so I tried to catch and pop them as soon as they appeared.

I found 2.4mm ball chain by the roll with clasps and charms at Hobby Lobby.  The combination of the sale going on and the fact that this is dance recital time, meant that finding ballet shoe charms was not going to happen!  Actually, finding eleven of any one charm was impossible so we mixed them up a bit.  I used 9mm jump rings to join the charms and the pendent to the ball chain.  The chain was cut at 24".

My kiddo requested a green one.

To package them, I cut inserts from glitter paper using Cricut Holiday Frames and Tags at 2-3/4".  I used a star hand-punch and cut slits from the edge to the stars for the chain to fit into.

I made boxes using Cricut Bridal Shower, cut at 9-3/4".

Cut at this size, the box bottom is 2-3/4" square; the top is 3" square.  The finished thickness is 2-1/8" so I used a little Dacron upholstery batting cut-to-fit to put in the bottoms.

I was so happy with the final gift.  I hope they liked them.

For my daughter's opening night gift, and because the grandparents always get her flowers, my daughter always receives three gifts from us:  a book of some sort related to the story of the ballet, a music CD from the ballet, and something completely unrelated to the ballet, but that I know she wants.  For her gifts, I used a kraft paper bag, my 'test' bottle cap charm, and an extra necklace insert to make a tag.

Each year, we have a reception after the second performance where mom volunteers bring fruit and desserts for a little treat table.  This year, I found a recipe that I altered a bit for Pink Lemonade Cookies.  I wanted to share that with you too.

I started with a recipe I found at the Tasty Kitchen website.  Click here for their recipe, that they call Pink Lemonade Gooey Butter Cookies.  I loved that they used a cake mix to make it fast and then added touches like fresh lemon zest!  (The cake mix I used was Pillsbury Moist Supreme Pink Lemonade Premium Cake Mix, 15.25oz).  It makes a nice, stiff dough that is really pretty and reminds me of the color of "ballet pink" tights.

I will say that I changed the recipe a bit:

  • I use Butter-flavor Crisco for my cookies.   (My fellow foodies are probably shaking their heads at this, but honestly it keeps cookies from going flat so I always use it instead of dairy butter in cookie recipes).
  • I used Vanilla Sugar instead of plain granulated sugar for the first rolling.  (To make vanilla sugar, just add a vanilla bean, cut and split, to regular or super-fine granulated sugar.  Sometimes I will use the vanilla bean first in vodka to make homemade vanilla extract and then dry the bean off and use it in the sugar.  Keep it in an air-tight container and in a few weeks, you have vanilla-infused sugar!   As you use it up, just add more plain sugar!)
  • Not so sure the author's cookies came out of the oven looking like the picture.  The condensation of a cooling cookie, as we all know, will dissolve powdered sugar with its fine texture very easily.  Even with the first roll in granulated sugar and second roll in powered sugar, I used a sifter and added more powdered sugar right out of the oven, and on at least one batch, I added it twice.  
Right out of the oven.
The cookies on the left were fresh out of the oven and just powered.  The ones on the right were almost cooled.  The sugar dissolves as they cool.   Really, they are best just like they appear on the right so your guest doesn't end up with sugar all over her dress and lap!
  • Because I was in a time crunch, even as my dough got soft, I did not refrigerate it.  My sugar-coated hands kept the dough from sticking to me.
  • I wanted these to sparkle a bit so I found edible glitter at a nearby cake supply store.  If you are looking for a source for this stuff, check out my local supplier, Bryant's Cake and Candy Supplies. They ship from their on-line store.  It comes in all kinds of colors, like silver and florescent pink.  This is the Rainbow (which is like Crystal Aurora Borealis or CAB).  It was subtle; next time I am trying the silver!  This is added after the cookies are baked, sugared, and cooled.  

This recipe made a really tasty cookie with a tender crumb, wonderful texture, lovely color, and fresh lemon flavor.  Unlike the indication from the title, they are not gooey inside (happily), but owe much to the cream cheese baked in them!  They are my new favorite cookie!

This is always such a busy time of year, but this experience is so meaningful to our family and to my daughter that it is more than worth it!

Cinderella 2013 - click photo for close up

....And it is a good thing because I found out that for the next two ballets I will will be trained to take over for the mom who is the lead coordinator for the production.  (Her daughter graduates in two years).  Honestly, I am really looking forward to it... and to the many years and many ballets my daughter will get to perform in!

Thank you for checking my blog post!  I hope you are having a fun and happy summer!  Ballet performance week kicks off the first official week of summer kid programs for us.  Next up:  Guitar Camp!

Sumo's Sweet Stuff
Keeping It Simple


Sis Patterson said...

What a wonderful and magical gift set! Love the necklaces and the pink lemonade cookies - as usual - you excelled in creativity and thoughtfulness! Love the entire post - and the final picture is perfect. Watch out guitar camp!

JennyKozar said...

Just amazing Nadia! Perfect Perfect Perfect!!

Lizzie said...

Thanks for sharing this...its wonderful....reminds me so much of when my daughter was younger...sigh!

~ Jo ~ said...

WOW what a beautiful keepsake gift that those girls will remember and cherish forever! You and your daughter did a wonderful job!


moknowsall said...

great post. so creative and professional looking. the girls will love them.


Ryan said...

You never cease to amaze me!! Piper is so lucky to have you to learn from! And we've also found some treasures at bryants over the years!! :)

gypsyrps said...

You are just amazing!, I get so excited just to see an e-mail from you. All of your projects inspire me. I am also Room mom and get so tired by the end of the year. You give me the energy to keep going. Thanks so much for sharing your creativity and love.

Lori said...

Nadia, what can I say that I haven't before? I love it! I bet those little girls were over the moon to get those pretty little boxes and their pretty little pendants. Your model is the prettiest of all, though :) Thank pink lemonade cookie recipe sounds good. I am going to have to try it out.

L.B. said...

such a sweet and thoughtful gift for the girls in the show with her Love this

Cindy@ said...

Nadia I love your gifts for the girls. They are beautiful and represent the special occasion. You are one awesome mommy!

Ladybug said...

When I first saw the necklaces, I thought "oh how sweet of the Ballet company to have those made for the girls". Then I slapped myself on the side of the head w/ a "you silly woman --- Nadia made those! Where's your head at, girl??!!!"

Nadia, they are simply beautiful. I bet the girls just loved them.

Thanks for sharing your DD's Cinderella story/ballet w/ us. You made me feel like I was there!!! :-)

Kaby said...

Gorgeous necklaces. What a stunning idea.

cdm317 said...

What a wonderful post. The bottle cap necklaces are a sweet keepsake for the ballerinas. I enjoyed seeing all the FB posts and pictures of the festivities. Those cookies look delicious!

Diane Hodrick said...

Love your necklaces...that was very sweet of you to do. And the cookies look fabulous. I love anything pink, so they're right up my alley.

Unknown said...

Found your blog via Clever Someday's blog, but I THINK I may have visited before. You're so very creative and kind. I sew, have a Cameo Silhouette, and three daughters (now all in their 20s, tear) who all ALSO took dance lessons, and participated in recitals, so this brings back memories!! LOVED the ballet performance they produced in their later years. Yours looks more intimate (and lovely)!
Also am a AG fan, so probably have been here before.

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