Hot Chocolate Spoons 

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​Hot Chocolate Spoons 
These guys are great to stir your hot chocolate or coffee. I make these every year for Christmas gifts and every year they are the most requested treat I make.
For the single and child free in the family they get 4 spoons per person. Families with children I give them A LOT. Kiddos love these spoons. I used to give a packet of hot cocoa  per spoon but now that I make 200 plus of these every year only people new to the  spoon of happiness get packets.

What you need:
8 oz light cocoa candy melts
Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips. Sprinkles or Ghirardelli white melting wafers. Plastic or wooden spoons. Cheap plastic will melt, get the heavy duty plastic spoons.
Wax paper.

How to:
Take the whole bag of candy melts. Small handful of the chocolate chips. Melt using double boiler method or microwave. If microwave follow directions on candy melts bag. Remember half power or defrost setting.
Once melted just dip spoons in chocolate, set on wax paper. If chocolate is too thick add just a dab of coconut oil. Add more if needed but stir well and test on a spoon before adding more. You can go from too thick to too runny easily.
If adding sprinkles, sprinkle on now before chocolate sets up. If drizzling white chocolate let spoons set up for atleast 30 minutes. I melt small batches of white chocolate for the drizzle. A little goes a long way. If you coat any of the spoons in white chocolate it’s best to double coat. Dip once. Set up. Dip again.

Learn from my mistake people. One year I had two crockpots going making candy, the oven on all day making candied nuts, and my dryer running most of day. All this in kitchen where I was making the spoons. The room was so toasty my chocolate could not set up. Now I do all my chocolate coating on a day by itself.

 Gift giving: I use 4×6 plastic treat bags. Two spoons per bag. I cross them corner to corner. Then twist tie at the cross section. I then tie on some curling ribbon. Now put them in a gift bag or a Christmas theme coffee mug. Throw on a ribbon and name tag. Done.

If it’s a big family getting a good bit I tin them. Use wax paper between layers instead of bagging. Saves time and makes it convenient for the receiver.
At my family gatherings there’s always unexpected guest. Usually a family or person new to area that have no one to celebrate the holidays with. So I make several extra candy gift sets.

  

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Honey, I Shrunk the Pores

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Cleanser, toner and face cream

Cleanser, toner and face cream

 

Today I am sharing with you my 1,2,3 skin care regimen I use on my face.

Over the years I have spent a good bit of money on face washes and lotions. Only to face extreme breakouts and rashes. The only thing that did not break me out was Noxzema, which is a great product. But as I began to age my skin began to dry. Badly. I suspected at one time I was beginning to mummify because my skin was so dry.

So I had to say goodbye to my beloved Noxzema and search for alternatives. Luckily my search was short. I researched natural beauty products and singled out a few ingredients I knew my sensitive skin could handle.

Step 1 is the sensitive skin cleanser.
Step 2 is a toner
Step 3 is an anti-aging cream

Before we go any further lets talk about shelf life. After researching natural skin care I have learned this: shelf life is a tricksy thing. Some people believe these products have a shelf life of three weeks other three months. Yes that big of a difference. I just make small batches of these recipes so I know I will use them up sometime during the 3 week to 3 month range. Now each product on it’s own seems to last forever but once mix together that changes. I don’t know why. Maybe they don’t play well together?

Step 1: SENSITIVE SKIN CLEANSER
I’m going to share some information on the Sensitive Skin cleanser, which I found on Pinterest which led me to Beautyandthefoodie blog. Check her out she has some great DIY beauty recipes. Here is the recipe located on her blog. Sensitive Skin Cleanser.
I have been using a few weeks now. Just twice a week and eventually three times. The other days I wash my face with coconut oil.
So far I am liking this cleanser. It is gentle yet you feel like you are getting a deep clean. The recipe does call for raw honey, I used some honey I bought during a trip to Asheville, NC. It is that dark amazing tasting honey. So good. I’m sure you can find a good quality honey at your local farmers market.

face cleanser

Step 2: SKIN TONER
The toner I also got from Pinterest but as sometimes happens you pin then next time you try to visit the site it is blocked. Luckily I wrote down the recipe, I changed some amounts because I felt the amount of one item was too much for my aging dry skin.

Skin Toner
1 oz distilled water
½ oz apple cider vinegar
10 drops tea tree oil

Just mix. I store in an amber glass jar. You can also use 10 drops lavender essential oil instead of the tea tree oil. The vinegar has a strong odor but will be gone by the time the toner dries.

Step 3: FACE CREAM/OINTMENT
The Face Cream or Ointment. It does look more like an ointment instead of a cream. I concocted this recipe from products I researched and had on hand. This stuff turned out to be amazing. AMAZING! I use it at night before bed. A little goes a long way. Sometimes I use a dab in the morning after my shower. Once a week I heavily slather this on my face, let it sit for an hour then use the cleanser. I love this stuff.

What you need

What you need

GOTHA’S FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH OINTMENT

¼ cup almond oil
2 droppers full of Argan oil
2 tbsp coconut oil (solid)
2 tbsp beeswax pellets
1 tbsp Shea butter
10 drops lavender essential oil

Use a large glass measuring cup, that is sitting in a water bath on the stove (medium low heat). Add your two droppers full of Argan oil. Pour in ¼ cup almond oil. Add the coconut oil, beeswax and Shea butter. After everything has melted and stirred well remove the glass measuring cup or whatever you are using from the heat. Add your lavender oil. Mix well. Pour into your storage containers. Let cool completely before putting on lid. Store in a cool dark place.
You can add a few drops of vitamin e oil when you add the lavender. It would just make this great cream even better. I do not use vitamin e oil because my skin tends to itch when I use it.

Freshly poured magic

Freshly poured magic

Fountain of youth?

Fountain of youth?

Just for your 411: when you begin to use natural products your face may experience a breakout or two as your skin releases built up toxins and anything yucky lurking about. Now if after a few weeks you are still experiencing breakouts this stuff may not be for you.

I buy everything but the coconut oil off of Amazon. Only because that’s where I find the best deals.

Now let’s talk common sense. If you begin to break out in hives or your skin begins to experience a burning sensation STOP. WASH OFF PRODUCT! As I always say, research all the ingredients before using them. Know what is going on your skin!

 

Gotha’s Chocolate Coconut Bombs

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Too damn tasty

Too damn tasty

I have added coconut oil to my diet in hopes of helping my dry cracking itchy skin. I am trying to heal my skin from the inside out because in my 40 something years nothing has helped my skin from the outside. If I had back the money wasted on lotions, I wouldn’t be rich but I’m sure I could pay a few big bills off.
I first became familiar with coconut oil from Pinterest when I was looking for natural hair treatments. That sparked my interest about that amazing oil, so I researched the many uses and benefits of the awesome coconut and the oil it produces.
What you must first understand is the oil is solid like lard. Fortunately it has a low melting point of 76 degrees. Which makes it easy to use on the hair and skin. Now getting it inside the body is easier for some but not everyone. I fall into the not everyone category.

I have tried melting the coconut oil and just slamming it down the hatch like a shot of liquor. Nasty doesn’t even begin to describe that process. Some Pinterest pins suggest just eating it by the spoonful, solid. That ended up with gagging like a cat trying to upchuck a fur ball. I have added it to food and drink with some success.

When done properly coconut oil in coffee is a great tasty way to get it into your diet. But when you have stomach issues like me, coffee every morning is a no-no.

Much by accident I came across several pins about coconut bombs.
What are coconut bombs you ask? Just a tasty way to ingest good ole healthy coconut oil.

There happens to be a few ways to make these bombs. Some recipes just have you mix the solid form of the oil with some tasty ingredients. Some call for you to melt the oil before mixing.

Ingredients added to the oil varied also. Some people used ground cinnamon, some cinnamon with chocolate and others used just chocolate or cocoa powder. None that I found had shredded coconut in the recipe. What?
Now my version is one of many. You may not like it. No problem. Go to Pinterest and search ‘coconut bombs’ you will have so many recipes you are sure to find one you love.

Here is my version:

What you need

What you need

Gotha’s Chocolate Coconut Bombs for Smoother Skin

1 cup of melted coconut oil. (about 60 seconds in microwave handles that)

A small handful of chocolate chips, about 25. Semi-sweet, milk chocolate, basically whichever floats your boat.

One tablespoon cocoa powder.

1 cup of shredded coconut.

Here is the easy peasy way to build your bombs:

Add your chocolate chips and cocoa powder to your melted coconut oil and stir. Stir a lot. It took some convincing for the chocolate chips and oil to decide to become one. After that mix in the shredded coconut. Your mixture will be runny. Just toss it in the freezer for two minutes. While your bombs are cooling lay out some wax paper on your counter.

Remove mixture from freezer, stir well. If it’s still too runny pop back in freezer for another minute. Once cooled and slightly hardened use two spoons or a melon baller to shape bite size bombs. Place on wax paper to set up. I ended up with 25 bombs. You may get more or less depending on how you size them. I have most at a two-bite size.

This is from a smaller test batch. The recipe makes much more.

This is from a smaller test batch. The recipe makes much more.

Adding the coconut. Yum

Adding the coconut. Yum

I store the bombs in the fridge. Remember coconut oil has a low melt point. My house is HOT!
The husband thinks we live in the artic and keeps our heat on what I call the tropical setting. I have had to go outside in 20 degree weather wearing shorts and a t-shirt to cool down. True story. Neighbors must think I’m having menopausal hot flashes. So I feared my coconut bombs would react like Frosty the Snowman on a tropical island and turn into coconut puddles.

Tasty. This is a skin treatment that can spoil a girl.

Tasty. This is a skin treatment that can spoil a girl.

Right now I have two bombs a day. One at my first break at work the other during my second work break. If in a few weeks I feel I need more coconut oil I will add a third bomb. And yes I do yell, “Bombs away” before eating one. (UPDATE: with two per day for two weeks my skin still looks dry, but man it feels soft. So it is helping. I will now add a third bomb to see where that takes me on my dry skin journey).

How do they taste? Like an Almond Joy minus the almond. But without almonds it’s a Mounds you say. Nope. Mounds uses a dark chocolate which changes the taste dramatically. Don’t argue I’m a ‘robust’ girl, I know my candies.

Now some people use coconut bombs for weight loss. Does that work? I don’t know but you might want to omit the chocolate chips from the recipe if you are trying to watch your weight. I have not lost any weight but I have noticed that after eating a bomb I do feel full plus do less mindless snacking. It’s the late evenings that kill me with the over eating. I will soon tackle my food issue. First I am focusing on being more active. Which with my Vivofit is working well. Small changes, not all at once is my plan.

A note on buying coconut oil. My first suggestion is do your research so you can make an informed decision. After trying several, some refined some unrefined. Some virgin some not so virgin. Some without taste others with a coconutty taste. As of right now my favorite is a unrefined virgin coconut oil from Target. It does have a coconut taste. I still try other types/brands as I find them so one day my favorite might change. So, research, try a variety, maybe look at some brands on Amazon and read the reviews.

Are you a coconut oil user? If so please share with me, I am always looking for new ways to try this amazing oil.

UPDATE: I have tried this a few times adding extra ingredients. After research I have discovered Cacao Nibs are a nutritional powerhouse. Brazil nuts may help my Thyroid issue. So I added 1 tbsp of the nibs and three chopped Brazil nuts to the recipe for my bombs. The bombs are still great with the add ins.

 

A Hairy Situation

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I am in a hairy predicament. All because of my hair.

My hair, my sad, sad hair.

 

This stuff that sprouts from my head is thin with just enough curl to make it look like an unbrushed rat’s nest, when it is freshly brushed in the morning oh the frizz! Also because I have a thyroid condition my hair tends to fall out more than your average everyday hair shed. Then you add the medicine I take for the thyroid which has a side effect of causing hair to fall out. You see my dilemma? What hair that doesn’t fall out is a hot frizzy untamed mess.
I discussed this hair falling out situation with my doctor. He was a total ass to me plus offered no solutions. Now to give him credit he is also an ass about everything else ( I am in the process of finding a new doctor).
I was in a hairy situation. So as usual Gotha protocol off to the internet and Pinterest I went to look for a solution.
After researching I decided what was needed was something that can treat the scalp plus help what hair I have left.
After a few weeks of research I came up with a recipe. You have things in it to help improve hair and scalp plus some things that are suppose to increase circulation to scalp which may/may not help the hair to grow.

The magic formula?

The magic formula?

I also added some vitamin/supplements to my diet that claim to improve hair growth.

I have done this for a few months now. I am pretty sure my hair has grown a good bit but I can’t tell because as the condition of my hair improves the more it curls. So it looks like my hair has gotten shorter when it really has grown. Ha-ha, great cosmic joke there. Now as to my hair getting thicker, I can’t tell if it has or not. If it has it’s not been enough for me to get excited about.

Sadly I will never have thick hair. I will always have excessive hair loss due to my thyroid. BUT what hair I do have is growing a tad faster then before, also it’s pretty darn healthy looking and curly.

If you have similar hair issues and have some tips, hints or a miracle please feel free to share in the comment section.
Gotha’s scalp and hair treatment

½ cup coconut oil. Melted.
1 tbsp. sweet almond oil
1 tbsp. olive oil
5 drops rosemary essential oil
5 drops tea tree oil
10 drops lavender oil
15 drops peppermint oil
1 tsp. beeswax pellets
Place a glass jar or glass measuring container in a small pot that has four to five inches of water in it , a water bath. On medium heat melt the beeswax and coconut oil. I find that the beeswax pellets like to be difficult melting on medium heat, so you may have to increase your heat for a few moments. Stir often during the melting process.
Once melted completely, remove glass container from heat. Pour in the sweet almond and olive oil. Mix well. Add your essential oils. Stir.
Since I tend to be impatient I pour the mixture into my storage containers and allow them to cool for 10 minutes in freezer. I then take out give each container of scalp treatment one final stir then allow to set up completely on my counter top. Once set, place lids on the containers and store in a cool dark place.

Container lined with wax paper. Makes storage and clean up easier.

Container lined with wax paper. Makes storage and clean up easier.

I added the beeswax to the recipe during the second batch I made. You want the oils to melt quickly as you massage into scalp and throughout hair, but you don’t want the oils to melt in the container just from the heat of you holding it. So I added to beeswax to stabilize it slightly.

How to use Gotha’s Scalp and Hair Treatment

Scoop a small amount into hand. Massage into scalp. Once the scalp is covered well massage the oils throughout hair till the ends. Thickness and length of hair determines how much of your oil mixture you will use. My hair is thin so I use very little.
Cover or not cover with shower cap, it is your choice. I have used both methods and find the shower cap is only necessary if you’re applying heat with a blow dryer as part of the treatment. Some people like to heat their hair treatments but with this I think since it’s mainly for the scalp heat is not needed.
Leave on 30 minutes to 2 hours. Shampoo, probably twice is a good idea.
IF after drying your hair looks oily next time leave the treatment on for a shorter period of time or during the first shampoo leave shampoo on hair a few minutes, rinse then shampoo again. No need to leave shampoo on long during the second go.

You can omit some or all of the essential oils from this recipe. Just so you know each one brings great things to the scalp party, but are optional. As always: before making or using any home treatment RESEARCH all your ingredients. It’s your scalp and your hair so be fully informed about what is going on it.

Teaser: I have made and been using an anti-aging ointment for my face. IT IS FRICKING AMAZING! I will share this with you soon.

You Dropped a Balm On Me

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Leader

Most over the counter lip treatments. Like lip balms in tubes, name brands and generic. The moisturizing effects don’t seem to last long, some even tend to dry the lips even more. I have made a cinnamon lip balm in the past, my first time I made the mistake of replacing some of the ingredients I needed with what I had on hand. Lip balm did not set up. My second time I used the right ingredients but used too much cinnamon oil. My lips were on fire after using even a tiny amount.

Those failed attempts did not stop me in fact they made me more determined to master the whole do it yourself lip balm. Have I mastered it? No, I feel DIY natural product making will always be a learning process, the more you learn the more your recipes evolve. I have had several dozen lip balm making sessions that have turned out perfectly. Some batches not so perfect yet I have learned a lot from the failed batches.

Today I will share a few recipes that have worked pretty well for me. I like these balms a lot as the moisturizing benefits can last up to several hours with just one application.

Before we begin lets apply some common sense. If you are allergic to any of the ingredients, DON’T USE THESE BALMS. If you use these balms and experience an allergic reaction, wash balm from lips and discontinue use. If your lips puff up like a actress that has had a bad botox injection you may want to seek out medical attention. ALWAYS research your ingredients before making anything that will go on or into your body. I am sharing the recipes NOT forcing you to make and/or use the products.
I have had only positive experiences with these balms, lotions, and hair treatments. Every person is different so I would advise trying a tad of the product on the skin at the fold of your elbow to test your reaction before committing fully.

The little container with the brown balm is COCOA BALM

The little container with the brown balm is COCOA BALM

Cocoa Lip Balm

Makes three 0.20 oz. jars (tiny)

1 tsp. beeswax pellets
2 tsp. Shea butter
1 tsp. sweet almond oil
1 tsp. cocoa powder
Using a glass container, sit it in a pot with a few inches of water also known as a water bath. Turn heat on medium low. To the glass container add the beeswax. Next add your Shea butter and sweet almond oil. Allow to melt, stirring often. I use a wooden skewer to stir, once I’m done with the balm I just toss the skewer in trash. Once melted remove glass from pot. Stir in your cocoa. Pour your flavored lip balm into whatever container you have chosen. I use these little plastic pipettes to transfer the balm from glass to lip container. Makes things easier but is not a necessary piece of equipment.
Let set. Now you have in your possession a balm for tasty smooth lips.
*with this recipe you can replace the cocoa with flavorings. Some people use Kool-Aid drink mix powder I like to use Crystal Light drink powders.

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balm 2
Peppermint Lip Plumping Balm

Makes three 0.20 oz. jars

1 tsp beeswax pellets
2 tsp. Shea butter
1 tsp coconut oil
5 drops peppermint essential oil

Using a glass container, sit it in a pot with a few inches of water. Turn heat on medium low. To the glass container add the beeswax. Next add your Shea butter and coconut oil. Allow to melt, stirring often. I use a wooden skewer to stir with. Once melted remove glass from pot. Stir in your 5 drops of peppermint essential oil. The peppermint oil will increase blood flow to the lips adding a dash of plump. Pour your peppermint lip balm into whatever container you have chosen. Let set. Now you have a lip balm that will plump those lips. Now that your lips are plump, give your man (or woman) that pouty look to get your way. BUT remember there is a fine line between pouty and duck face. Let’s not cross it.

For my personal peppermint balm, I add a small chunk from a Burt’s Bees lip crayon for a hint of color. If you make a batch of tinted balm for friends please use a fresh stick of whatever lip color you choose. To use one you have been using on your lips is just…yuck, wrong.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Healing Balm

Healing Balm

Healing Lip balm

Makes three 0.20 oz. jars

1 tsp beeswax pellets
2 tsp. Shea butter
1 tsp coconut oil
5 drops lavender essential oil
¼ tsp. of honey (local is best)

Using a glass container, sit it in a pot with a few inches of water. Turn heat on medium low. To the glass container add the beeswax. Next add your Shea butter and coconut oil. Allow to melt, stirring often. I use a wooden skewer to stir with. Once melted remove glass from pot. Stir in lavender essential oil and honey. Pour into lip balm container and allow to set. Here’s my experience with this recipe. I have made it several times. I don’t know why, but sometimes the honey mixes in well and sometimes it doesn’t. When it doesn’t you have honey in bottom of your container and atop that you have your set lip balm. Weird.

This if for when your sweet lips are in need of some TLC. Like severely dry and cracked or worse; your lip has exploded from a fever blister/cold sore. This is why I like to make small batches, it’s cheap so tossing it after your lips are healed is no big deal. Some people argue that the virus that causes cold sores dies quickly so your lip balms aren’t contaminated. Well, I just made a healing lip balm for mere pennies; excuse me why I toss the left over in the trash just to be on the safe side. Better safe than lip explosion!
If you don’t have all this handy and the lips are in emergency need just rub some honey on your lips several times a day.

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balm 5

A little of this a little of that:
The beeswax is what allows the balms to set. If your balms are too hard next batch use less beeswax. Too soft next time more beeswax. Easy fix. You can add a few drops of vitamin E to every recipe. I do not because I tend to experience some itching of the skin when I use Vitamin E.

I buy most of my supplies from Amazon. Mainly because I have Amazon Prime and can get most items with free shipping. If you plan on making balms, lotions and other concoctions in large batches I would suggest shopping around to find the best deals.

I have used many items as lip balm containers. Little jars I purchased just for balms, also Altoid tins, old chap stick tubes, if it has a lid it is fair game in my house.

It Hat to Be You, Tale of a Witch Hat

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finished hat 2

Tall witch hat. Makes tall witches look like giants and makes short witches look like…well, like short witches in tall hats.

This was an easy project. Just took a few short hours. During those hours I also had time to bake a cake, make dinner and plot evil plots.

What you will need:

1 cheap witch hat (I purchased mine at Wal-Mart)

Duct tape (If you have black duct tape great, if not the silver will work just as well)

1 paper towel tube

Black fabric

Glue (if you have glue that is recommended for use on fabric great, I used glue that wasn’t recommended for fabric but it worked out just fine)

Something to stuff hat to help hold shape. I used doll batting but newspaper will work also.

Begin by stuffing the hat with batting to give it an upright shape then tape the hat brim to strengthen it. Inside and out. I gently taped half way up the inside: pushing the batting up out of my way as I went. Cut the tape into little pieces at first to give yourself more control. Now you are ready to tape the outside of the hat. Again be gentle and just little pieces. Go higher and higher. Once you pass the tip of the hat begin using long strips place the lengthwise (us and down) until you reach your desired height.

Not a great picture but it gets the point across

Not a great picture but it gets the point across

Now we need to strengthen and build up layers. Take your cardboard tube. Choose an end for your bottom, cut several 1 inch slits all the way around making ‘flaps’. Push the flaps outwards now lower the tube down the hat. At this point you will have some empty space between hat and inside of tube. Stuff it with something. I used a plastic shopping bag. It’s what was handy.

Using tape again just start wrapping until your hats feels sturdy and has the height you want. You may have to mash and torture the high end of the tube. If not you will end up with a penis shaped hat.

Ready for some fabric

Ready for some fabric

Cut a notch in the end of your black fabric about 4 inches from the side. Rip until you get to the end. 4 inches is just a guess at size I used. I eyeballed it. You can vary the width on the next few strips you rip. Now just glue the crap out of the hat and fabric. I started with the cone first and finished with the brim. Don’t be shy with the glue.

Start at the base and work up

Start at the base and work up

hat 4

hat 2

I’m using my hat as a prop and not for a costume. I feared it might be to top heavy and keep falling over. To fix that problem before I started I glued several rocks inside the hat at the base of the cone, I covered it with fabric also.

finished hat 1

I loved how this turned out. It was wickedly easy and fun!

finished hat 3

United States of CAKE

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July Fourth is just around the corner. As you are making plans to celebrate the anniversary of our independence why not add this cake to your cookout menu?

This is just another spin on the multi colored Bundt cake I have made in the past. I didn’t get the swirl effect I was going for instead it looks more like a Pepsi logo. Haha!

I added too much batter to my blue layer. I will remedy that when I bake this for our family cook out. If it turns out the same way I will have a cooler of Pepsi’s on hand to make it look like the Pepsi logo was intentional.

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The day of the fourth we will begin by watching “The Patriot” because my husband is obsessed with that movie. We will have family and friends join us for a cookout. Last but not least we will gather in the town square to enjoy the fireworks display.

Have a great and SAFE Independence Day!

Red, White and Blue Cake

One white cake mix.

Follow directions on box.

Divide batter up between three bowls.

Using food coloring color gel mix your colors.

Layer colored batter in Bundt pan.

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Bake.

Cool.

Turn out onto cake stand.

Using a can of white frosting, divide it between three bowls.

With the first bowl of frosting. Melt in microwave. Usually 15 to 20 seconds.

Add color, mix well.

Drizzle over cake.

Do same with second bowl.

Finish with the third bowl.

Let the icing set up.

Dazzle people with your awesome cake design.

After admiring your work finish up by EATING CAKE!

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