How to Make a Bird’s Nest Necklace

This necklace is really easy.  And it’s pretty much foolproof, since a large part of the process is just sort of crinkling up and making a bunch of wire look messy.  I liked adding a bird charm on mine, and after making this first one, I tried different variations of the same necklace with different color beads and wire.  For the next one, I used thick brown wire and three pearls for the eggs.

What you need:

-a few feet of 20-24 gauge wire.  It needs to be thick enough for you to bend with your fingers, but tough enough that it stays in place after the necklace is made and while it is actually being worn.  I believe I used 22 gauge.

-three beads of similar size that represent the bird’s eggs

-desired amount of necklace chain and clasp

-bird charm (I guess this could be optional)

-basic jewelry making tools

1.) You begin by stringing each bead onto the end of the wire, kinking the wire between each bead so they sit in a circle.

2.)  Then, with the remaining wire, wrap a circle out of the wire around the outer edge of the beads.  Mine was about an inch and a half in diameter.  Keep wrapping around this original circle, but try to vary the circles slightly.  Make some slightly larger, some crooked, some smaller, so the end result is a sort of messy bird’s nest.

Make sure to wrap a little extra on the back so the back of the necklace is heavier than the front.  The first nest necklace I made has a tendency to flip over (the eggs like to gravitate towards me) because they are so heavy.  On the second one, I made sure to compensate for this by making the back heavier with extra wire.  Just something to keep in mind.

3.)  When your nest looks adequate in thickness, wrap a few last pieces in and out of the middle hole to hold the nest together.  These are almost perpendicular to the wires of the circle, but should appear to be sort of loosely holding the whole thing together.

Not to get too complicated, but this is what I mean.

4.) Attach jump-ring to perpendicular wrapping at what will be the top of the nest.  Attach another jump-ring to this one, so the necklace will face the correct direction.

The two jump-rings between the nest and the chain.

5.)  Attach the bird charm if you have one you would like to use.  I attached mine to the higher of the two jumprings.

6.) String the chain through the top jump-ring; attach clasp.

7.) Frolic in a meadow gracefully! Springtime!


Not Overbearingly Sweet White Frosting for Perfect Red Velvet Cupcakes

So for my roommate’s birthday, I made red velvet cupcakes.  Yes, from a box.  I admit it.

Oh, they were soooo perfect.  So beautiful.  Moist.  Delicious.  The frosting was perfect, not too thick or runny or sweet.  It was the perfect cupcake ever, and the frosting actually was kind of an alternate version of what the cookbook reccomended.  Usually, substituations don’t work for me.  Ususally I end up with some crazy weird tasting mess and when people take a bite, I have to warn them: “Just keep in mind, I did this ONE little thing wrong, which I can do better next time.  Oh, but don’t stop eating it, it’s not that bad.  It’s pretty good.  Kind of…”

Aha! But not this time!  This time they were perfect.  My roommate said they were the best red velvet cupcakes she had ever had.  I will take that.  BEST RED VELVET CUPCAKES EVER!

While I can’t necessarily take credit for Duncan Hines’ recipe, (I think it was Duncan Hines?  Don’t quote me on that one) I can share my small little advice I have with all baked goods: never overcook them.  When the box says to bake them for 19-24 minutes, I set my timer for eighteen.  And usually, they are done at eighteen.  These were.  They were perfect.  You don’t want to cook them any longer than what takes them to be done.  Undercooking them slightly keeps them moist.  If eighteen minutes (or whatever the lowest time the box recommends) isn’t enough, put them back in the oven for a minute or two and keep checking back to see if they’re done.  So many people just see 19-24 minutes on the box and set the timer for 21-23 minutes.  This is why the world is a cruel, cruel place.

Okay, so the frosting.  You want to make sure it isn’t too sweet.  I thirded my original recipe because I didn’t have that many cupcakes (four cups of powdered sugar seemed a little much for fifteen cupcakes…) (maybe I should not have eaten like six cupcakes’ worth of batter…whoops.) and I changed it up a little.  Here is what I ended up with:

Not-too-Sweet White Frosting

– 1/3 cup butter (I used margarine, so mine was kinda yellower than it could have been)

-1/2 teaspoon vanilla

-2 cups powdered sugar (you might have to add more to get the right consistency)

– 1 small tablespoon milk (you can leave this out if your frosting is really liquidy already)

First, combine the butter and the vanilla by hand.  If you are making a huge batch, I suppose a mixer wouldn’t hurt, but you don’t want it to become too whipped.  Gradually add some powdered sugar, add milk, and then continue adding powdered sugar until the frosting is thick enough to frost with.  No drippage should be happening.

And then I frosted them and it was beautiful.  Glorious.  Magnificent.  There were eagles soaring in the sky.

Yes, it was that good.

The Cake Pop That Made Me Think I Was Good At Making Cake Pops


These were my first attempt at cake popping.  Yes, I know they don’t have a stick in them.  This actually made it so much easier.  And they didn’t have to be perfectly round (also a plus).  They are at the beginning of Bakerella’s Cake Pop book for a reason.  They are freakin’ easy compared to any other cake pop-esque treat.

The trick is that you use this mold (I got mine from JoAnn’s) and follow these lovely guidelines, as I did.

Need: colored chocolate, cake, cream cheese frosting, M&Ms, sprinkles.  No crazy cake popping talent required.  Only patience.  Lots of patience!  If you are just experimenting or making cake pops on your own, I recommend only making half the cake bites…it takes FOREVER!

These actually looked surprisingly like they are intended to look.  Success!

Easter Cake Pops: Cake Pops Revisited

Cake Pops are my nemesis.  Well, they aren’t exactly, but they are one of those things that looks sooo perfect in the cookbook and is promised to be sooo easy and is actually a very stressful, painful process.  If you are crazy like me, you will continue attempting to make cake pops despite your lack of success.  You will slowly climb the Cake Pop Mt. Everest and finally reach the top!


Today’s stop: Cake Pops for Easter.

Technically you could use this post for tips on any sort of cake popping — it’s the technique that I’m trying to get down.  And I want others to go in knowing what I have now learned through experience.

These were baby chicken cake pops…

Inside: chocolate cake from a mix baked in a Cake Pop Pan.  This is a marvelous invention!  My tip to you is if you have one of these, perhaps don’t fill the little round holes super full because then they come out of the oven looking like little Saturns.


-Yellow baking chocolate.  (Melting tip: use a double boiler and keep the water at about 100 degrees, to the point where the water is warm, but cool enough to touch with your bare finger.)

-Yellow and orange tiny rainbow chip sprinkles.  They look like teeney tiny Hershey kisses but colored and candy-coated.  You need two yellow ones per chick for the wings (see either side) and one orange one for the beak.

-Orange sprinkles in the shape of a chicken foot.  Anything sort of star-shaped or even flower-shaped seems to work.

-Edible pen.  Actually bought one this time.  Only it didn’t work.  Going to try a different brand next time. The pen worked for like one chick and then stopped working.  This must be one of the first chickens to receive eyes.  The later chickens have terrifying crazy eyes with either the red pen (zombie-chicken?) or the blue pen gone wild (rabid-chicken?).


-When dipping the cake balls into chocolate, poke the hole in the cake ball first.  Dip the stick in chocolate.  Insert chocolate stick into hole.  Let dry.  Be very gentle with it afterwards, as this form of “gluing” is not very secure.

-When dipping the whole cake ball, don’t dip the whole ball into the bowl of chocolate.  The cake ball will fall off and you will be very sad and without a normal-ish looking chicken.  Rather, have a large, deep plastic spoon full of chocolate in one hand and with the other hand, carefully twirl the cake pop in the chocolate of the spoon while only letting the cake pop sort of graze the chocolate, and not smash against the spoon.  Spoon smashing results in lost cake pop ball again.  We would like to prevent this.