Jessica Bakes | Red Velvet Christmas Tree Cupcakes

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Happy Yuletide all! Here are some goodies I baked this morning for a gathering this weekend - Christmas Tree Cupcakes for the kids plus some bonus Red Velvet and Cream Cheese frosting for the adults (plus a cheese cake, hope to get some photos of that too!)

I got this idea from Preppy Kitchen! They have so many fun looking recipes and I knew I could use some of my baking hacks to put my version together. So read on for what I used from their post and what I did a bit differently!

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Cake

I swear by doctoring up boxed mixes! I did it for Beatrix’s cupcakes earlier this year and many times in between and all you do is add an extra egg and sub butter for oil. I used a red velvet store box and it made two dozen cupcakes. I’m not sure if I’ll ever go back to making cake from scratch!

White Icing

My go-to recipe is a block of cream cheese, a dash of almond extract and 3 cups of powdered sugar. Maybe a small splash of milk if you need it a little smoother. Tangy and not too sweet! I used this on the second dozen cupcakes and for the base of the trees as a place for the ice cream cones to stick to!

Green Icing

I used the recipe on Preppy Kitchen but made a 3/4 batch and dyed it all green (versus making a whole batch and splitting it in half). I needed that much green to pre frost and then pipe a dozen trees. If I made these again, I’d do the full recipe and make it all green just because I’d rather have left over frosting and not enough.


These trees were easy to pipe icing onto because the more imperfect, the better! The dusting of powdered sugar really looks like snow! Wouldn’t these be cute next to a gingerbread house too?

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Inspiration | Yellow Regency Vest

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For my latest historical sewing project, I’ve been working on a yellow linen Regency era vest. Before I debut the final piece (although it’s not a secret, you can see my progress on Instagram!), I wanted to share some of the inspiration behind my color, silhouette and embellishment choices!

Although I’m making my vest from an extant museum piece, I’m not copying it exactly. I’ve used popular color combos of the time (yellow and white), trims (Hussard inspired buttons and placement) and motifs (like the Napoleonic bee embroidered on back!). I’ve also modified the construction, but I’ll go into that when I show you the finished piece!

What are you guys sewing/crafting these days?

18th Century Market Fair at Locust Grove

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 This young man was also at JAF and does wonderful military interpretations.

This young man was also at JAF and does wonderful military interpretations.

Beatrix at Market Fair
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 An example of what the market fair booths look like.

An example of what the market fair booths look like.

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Ever wonder what it’s like to go to an 18th century market? What early Americans would wear, eat and buy? We got the chance to take it all in last weekend when we time traveled to 1778 just outside of Louisville, KY at historic Locust Grove!

For just one weekend, historical interpreters set up camp in canvas tents. There are market sellers, tradesmen and women, entertainers and both the Continental and British forces, plus their camp followers. A lot of the vendors also set up their personal camp within their larger booth tent, and we’re not just talking cots! One woman let me peek into her bedroom which was a full wooden queen bed, along with a dresser and some chairs! Another family moved into one of the historic cabins and it looked so authentic! Maybe one day when the kids are older we’ll get the chance to do the same!

I wish I had more photos, but much of our time was spent chasing the kids around! They got a lot of compliments on their little costumes and I sure was a proud mama!

Beatrix at Market Fair
 Pretending to play a colonial game of Fox and Goose.

Pretending to play a colonial game of Fox and Goose.

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 These are Hessian Mercenaries who fought with the British. I LOVE THEIR PANTS.

These are Hessian Mercenaries who fought with the British. I LOVE THEIR PANTS.

Time Traveling | Lil Alexander Hamilton

Little Hamilton Halloween Costume
Silly Hamilton

Just like his country, my little Alexander Hamilton is young, scrappy and hungry. Now that it’s complete, I’m so excited to share Felix’s 18th Century Market Fair and Halloween costume! I’d love to tell you more about how it came together!

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Silly Hamilton
Little Alexander Hamilton Halloween Costume

Pattern

To create this costume, I ordered a 1970s bicentennial pattern off of etsy in the smallest size I could find. It was nearly complete - just missing the shirt sleeve - which was easy to measure and draft on my own. I’d say I did a pretty decent job with visual accuracy but because this is a kids costume, I did take some modern shortcuts, which I’ll explain below.

Alexander Hamilton and Little Red Riding Hood

Fabric and Notions

Felix’s ruffle shirt is a basic white cotton. The waistcoat and breeches are a natural undyed 100% cotton denim. His jacket is cotton flannel and faced with left over denim from another project - it was a little too limp on it’s own and again, because it’s just for playtime, I didn’t want to make it out of an HA wool. It has a simple contrast natural muslin lining.

I did kind of go all out on the real metal buttons, but I ordered them from China on eBay, so it wasn’t a fortune. I think they’re actually the glue that brings the whole costume together and I’m so glad I went for it. I can also remove these and put them on future versions of this costumes (should that be requested) so I know they won’t go to waste.

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Sewing Notes

To begin I compared Felix’s measurements against the pattern and made the tissue pattern smaller by simply creating folds and tucks, pinning them down, and then cutting my fabric. We did a lot of fittings as we went, and in addition to the initial adjustments I also took in the shoulders quite a bit. And at the end of the day, it’s still a little big on him, but I hope just enough that he can wear it next year as well. Since it’s an open jacket, I think we have some time (but like I said before, this kid is always hungry and is in the 95% percentile for height and weight, so who the hell really knows?)

I’m hesitant to point out the mistakes, but if you see it, I see it too. There’s one kid of major mess up, but it doesn’t take away from my happiness with the end result! And I’ll just leave it at that!

Hamilton and Little Red Costumes

Accessories

Lastly, how about that tricorn!? I used one of my old fedora floppy brimmed hats and reblocked it into a round crown with the brim steamed up into three points. I trimmed the brim with petersham ribbon and used an awl to poke a series of holes to lace leather cording through to keep it from flopping around. At Market Fair one vendor gave him a play pipe to tuck up there and he decided to put his newly purchased whistle on the other side.

I bought him sweater leggings for the girls section to go underneath but told him they’re just long underwear. On his feet are his everyday black rainboots, a strategic purchase from earlier this fall.

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So that’s Felix as Alexander Hamilton! I love the way my little dude rocks this look and I’m so happy to see him jump, roll around and play in it! It’s already been through the wash once and stood up nicely to laundering. If I’m lucky, he’ll ask to wear it everyday.



Time Traveling | Little Red Riding Hood

Little Red Riding Hood Toddler

In preparation for Market Fair next weekend, I wanted to have 18th century outfits for my kids AND have them pull double duty as Halloween costumes! (You can see mine here!) My mom graciously volunteered to make a red velvet cape for Bea to wear over her dress, so voila! Little Red Riding Hood!

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Little Red Riding Hood Baby

There’s something so gorgeous about the way the red velvet looks in the sunlight! It’s made from a store bought modern pattern (I don’t have the number… I’ll look!) and slightly altered to fit Bea’s height and shoulders. It’s a smidge big, but that’s how play clothes should be. And no, I’m not worried about whether or not she’ll get it dirty. She’s a little girl and it’s a costume!

The dress underneath is my attempt at making an 18th century dress modifying what I could find. The base fabric is a faux silk (read: poly) matte satin that I paired next to left over linen for the center panel. I did do handworked buttons on either side because I like the look of them and sewing them is fun! It’s laced up using some black cording (in some photos, I had it tied at the top and Bea pulled it out - I’ll re-lace it the other way next time!). The skirt is pleated for fullness, but covered by her polka dot apron. I let her pick that fabric (as in, I held up two choices and asked which one she liked better!) and this was her selection!

The apron was made in the same was as my full sized version but done by machine. Her fichu is just a square folded on the diagonal that I safety pinned to her long sleeve tee she wore underneath (she wore regular leggings under as well).

That’s just about it! The dress zips up the back which I kinda of regret because it looks so not 18th century, but it’s not visible when she’s wearing her cape. I could also pin her fichu over her dress instead of under and that would solve the problem.

If I have time, I’ll make a little white cotton cap for her to wear at market fair, but those pig tails sure are cute! Time to time travel, baby!

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