Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Spring is my favorite time of year. Look at these crocuses, (crocii?) that popped up this week.
They are simply beautiful. And make me itch to get my hands in the garden.
I realized last week that Easter was very early this year, and I had not done any sewing for the girls. So I ran out and got some easter egg colored georgette at Hancock fabrics and got to work. I used Butterick fast and easy B4220. It says one hour, and while it did take me longer than that they were surprisingly easy to make. A good thing too, because it was a busy week. Here is a pic of the kids all spruced up for Easter Sunday. It takes a minor miracle to get them all in the picture together.
Happy Easter.

Sock and Glove

A couple of weeks ago I saw a late night replay of the Martha Stewart Show. It was the special knitting episode. One of my boys was still up, and just hasn't let go of the idea of making the sock and glove animals she featured. Of course, gloves were nowhere to be had, so I scoured clearance racks and came up with a couple pairs for 75 cents each. my favorite was this guy, who is made out of a mohair glove. Rabbit from rabbit. It made him beautifully fuzzy and soft. And his tail is a really cute white, from another pair of gloves. We made an entire bevy of bunnies and dogs. Some found their ways as birthday gifts, and others being carried around by the kids. One made an adorable baby gift. The only change I made in the pattern was to leave the stuffing hole in the bottom of the head, so I didn't have any problems with the knit unraveling while being stuffed.
Make a bunny today!

To drape or not to drape?

One of the reasons I like fondant cake decorating so much is that it is so versatile. You can roll it, shape it, mold it, drape it, any of an endless number of options. I think this look is great on a square cake, with offset layers, and just a hint of icing lacework peeking out from beneath the draping that cascades down the corners of the layers. This first cake was done for a valentines wedding, the second was in November, hence the harvest themed flowers. I would love to do a
really awesome colored cake with contrasting draping, definitely not for the skittish bride. I found a picture I loved here. The green is the exact shade of a cake I did last week. It was an amazing event. I will post details on that event soon. Check out the awesome talents of Fleur de Lisa wedding Cakes in California. There is so much talent out there. It is inspiring to try to live up to the beauty all around us.

Monday, March 17, 2008

A Bride in Bloom

This summer I had the opportunity to work with Jenn Osorio. This bride had an incredible vision, and knew just what she wanted. Unfortunately what she wanted was a cake from a past issue of the fabulous new magazine, Bride and Bloom. I had not seen it, and it was off the newstands, so we went on the hunt. I tried everyone I knew, every vendor, every florist. No luck. Finally I called the magazine, and spoke to an incredible editor, who personally went to the art archives and emailed me the desired picture. Can you imagine anyone from Brides, or Modern Bride, running from office to office to help a desperate cake decorator? I am forever a fan. Not to mention it is a stunning magazine with an emphasis on artistic vision. We made a few changes to the cake, and this is the end result. Hand formed roses and stephanotis, pleated fondant, subtle tone on tone lace work, vase shaped top layer filled with sugar flowers.

Thanks Jenn. It was great.

A Suessical Day

This cake is one I did for a prenuptial wedding reception/party for some incredibly creative people. Dr. Suess is one of their favorite things, so we created a cake just for them. The bottom layer is green eggs and ham on a pale yellow background. The second layer is an orange background, with handpainted sneetches-with stars and without. Next comes the blue layer, with handpainted pictures of thing one and thing two, in red, white, and blue. Top it all off with, of course, the cat's hat. It was great, and the colors were vibrant and fun.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Books, Books, Books

Last week was Literacy week at my kids elementary school. I help out, and it is a truly amazing week. Our goal 4 years ago started with trying to get a new book into the hands of every child at the school. Since then it has grown to where we can usually give out 2-3 books to every child. Every day at lunch there was a drawing for books, as well as teachers handing them out in the classroom on Friday. My hope is that every child has the opportunity to discover that magical world you can enter when you read.
All the books given out were excellent, authors I love to read. To tell the truth, I read youth oriented books more often than I read books specifically for adults. There is so much talent in the publishing world, without having to worry about language, or suggestive situations. Right now my favorite author is Shannon Hale, with Stephanie Meyers running a close second, and the classic Avi in third. But of course it changes weekly. Shannon Hales books are fairy tale based, a classic genre that harkens back to the earliest attempts at narrative, and yet they have a strangely modern feel to the emotions dealt with. Deep in the forest, beside babbling streams of astonishing clarity, with magic in the very air, Isi, the main character in Goose Girl struggles with discovering her innermost self, and emerging from the stifling expectations of a suffocating mother. And yet it is still a light and enjoyable read. Stephanie Meyers deals in shimmery vampires, overprotective werewolves, and bloody quests for vengeance, and yet at the heart of things her Bella is just a normal teenage girl, dealing with life and everything it throws at her. And Avi, well, his books deal with everything, in almost every genre, and yet almost all are a voyage of self discovery, where the hero does not have all the answers, but things work out anyway.
Pick up a book. You'll enjoy it. I promise.

Flavor of the Day

I love doing wedding cakes for people I know. Not only because it lends a certain meaning to the event, but also because in general people with whom you are acquainted tend to put more trust in your artistic abilities. This cake was done for a young woman in my neighborhood, and it turned out amazing. The set up was great, the ambiance lovely, and I was able to practice my piping techniques. We chose a subtle tone on tone design that matched threadwork running through the sheer tablecloth overlays. If you look at the close up you can see the design more clearly.

I have always had a standard set of cake flavors that I offer, as well as being open to suggestions and requests, but I have finally made a list of my favorites. And no, white cake is not one of them.
Almond PoundCake
Apple Cinnamon,
Carrot Cream cheese,
Chocolate Ganache
Chocolate Cherry
Chocolate Raspberry
Chocolate Chunk
Lemon Curd and Berries
Lemon Poppyseed
Pear spice
Pecan Cinnamon Spice
Pineapple Coconut
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip
White Chocolate Raspberry


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Divine Purple

One of my reasons for starting this blog was to post some of the pictures of wedding cakes and other creative things I've made. It is a really convenient way to say to someone, "hey, look at what I did!" So I will try to explain them as they are posted. This cake was done several years ago, but it is still one of my favorites. It is one of the first cakes I did where someone brought me a picture and said, " Can you do that?" and it turned out just like the picture. ( I actually like mine a little better, truth be told.) The color was perfect, and it looks, well, professional. At the time that was an accomplishment for me. Now all my cakes look this good, I hope. The light purple marbled fondant with white lace overlay went perfectly with the flowers the bride had chosen.

Yard Sales and Potato Bread

Sunday evening I spent a while going through an old recipe book I found at a yard sale. It is filled with great old circa-1950's recipes, and good down home breads. I happened on one for potato bread, so , having had mashed potatoes for dinner I economized and used the leftovers for bread. Two days later it is still fresh and soft, and Sutton and I had peanut butter and raspberry jam sandwiches with of course homemade raspberry jam. Yumm. This is Sutton's everyday lunch, but today I indulged as well. The bread is great. Give it a try.
Soft Potato Sandwich bread;
3 C milk, scalded
6 T Sugar, 6 T Butter, 2 T salt, 3 medium potatoes, mashed, 3 T yeast activated in 1/2 c warm water, 10-11 C flour, Course cornmeal.
Combine all ingredients except flour and cornmeal, add 4 C flour, mix until combined. In electric(I love my Kitchenaid) mixer slowly add flour 1 C at a time until you have a soft dough. Knead 5 Min. Let rise until doubled, Knead 5 min, let rise second time. Sprinkle cormeal into loaf pans, shape bread, and let rise. Bake at 375 until golden and crunchy on the outside. Eat at least one loaf hot. Makes 4 loaves. Yumm.