Thursday, December 2, 2010

Quilled Snowflake

Ever since I first saw quilled snowflakes over at Ann's blog, all things paper, I've wanted to make some.

You see, I have a thing for snowflakes. I was born in December and they've sort of been a theme surrounding birthday's for me. Some years I had parties in what turned out to be blizzards, other years I got snowflake in the form of a gift. I also have a large collection of snowflake paper punches. For whatever reason, I just love them and had to try making a quilled one.

I've only tried quilling a couple of times before. This time the motions and shapes definitely came easier. Everything felt smoother and more consistent. My slightly wonky flake isn't as beautiful and perfectly shaped as this one-

(Picture from All things paper- by Deb Mackes)

Which I saw on Ann's site and used as my guide. It was designed and made by Deb Mackes, who is obviously a pro at this! I think hers just the most lovely and perfect flake!

I'm happy with how mine turned out, although not as elegant and well proportioned as it's model flake. But feel like with a bit more practice I'll not only be able to get better results, but I'll also be able to come up with some patterns of my own.

I just love how endless the possibilities for these are. In my head I'm envisioning tons of quilled flakes, all different, hanging from the ceiling over the dining room table. Or on the Christmas tree.

And now it's got me thinking, wouldn't some sort of quilled flake exchange be fun! I love the idea of mailing a snowflake to someone and getting another one in return.

I'll keep you updated as my flake making continues.

And if you are interested in making some quilled flakes- here's the page I saw on Ann's blog, there are lots of other beautiful snowflakes. You can also find a pattern from Deb Mackes for another quilled design.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Cupkins is on Monday!

It's December (I can't believe it, already! The year just flew by.) and that means it's time for another Cupkins!

Monday December 6th
I'll be hosting a link party.

This month's theme is Christmas, so I hope you get out your baking gear this weekend and join me by linking your idea for a cupcake or muffin with a Christmas theme.

To get you in that holiday spirit- here's my recipe from last year's Christmas cupkins.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

So much to catch you up on...

Because of this month's mini blog hiatus I feel like I have tons crafty things to catch you up on.

I guess it's really not all that much since with everything going on I haven't been crafting much, but still I feel like after being away from the blog for a few weeks so much has happened.

Like the fact that I took my fist glassblowing class!!!

If you've been reading for a while you know that I've been flirting with glassblowing, taking some workshops when I can, but have really wanted to take some real classes. So as an early birthday gift hubby got me a few private lessons.

Day one seemed long, a little overwhelming, intimidating, tiring and hot (really hot) but I guess that's all to be expected. Afterwards though- I've been thinking both how fun it was, and that I can't wait to go back for class two!

First I watched as my teacher made a simple elegant paperweight. I had made one before in my first workshop so the steps seemed familiar. He also showed me two variations that were aimed towards using the most common tools in a few different ways.

Then it was my turn. I proceeded to make my way through three small paperweights, all in varying states of misshapen lumpiness.

The first was horrible, illustrating perfectly exactly how much of a hand the workshop instructors really take to be sure you end up with a presentable piece.

The second was going really well- until I tried to perfect a few problem areas. I can't be sure until I go back to see it cool- but I think I made it worse.

The third- using color this time was probably the best one.

Then I blew a sphere to practice starting a bubble.

And finally to end the day I made a drinking glass!

Which I still can't believe I was able to make. My teacher had a heavy hand in it, but I was still in control on a lot of the steps and I can't believe it turned out that well.

For the next few lessons I'll be practicing cups and other vessels. Each time having less help from the instructor until I can finally make the entire piece on my own.

I can't wait to see how everything turned out once it cooled. Keep your fingers crossed that nothing cracked or shattered!

(And thanks to hubby for taking all the great pictures.)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Birthday Gift Cake

A few weeks ago we had a birthday party for my mother-in-law. We managed to invite all her friends to her house and get a bunch of food together. All without her knowing about it. To celebrate the occasion I also made my second-ever fondant cake.

I knew from the start I wanted it to look like a couple of gifts stacked on top of each other. One large one on the bottom, which I figured I could make with sheet cakes. And a smaller square one stacked on top that would be made from a sheet cake sliced in quarters and layered.

For the main cake I used 2 layers of sheet cake. Covering them in pink fondant. You'll see in this picture that I didn't cover the entire cake with one piece.

I knew I was going to have a ribbon on this cake so to avoid wrestling with the gigantic piece of fondant I would need to cover the entire thing, I cut a straight edge on a piece large enough to cover the majority of the cake (placing the edge where I knew I'd have the ribbon). Then covered the rest with a smaller piece. Probably not the most professional technique, but much more manageable this way!

The resulting seem will be covered by the ribbon.

The cake is a pretty simple design, not much decorating so the most rewarding part was making the bows. And I was really happy with how they came out.

This is the first one almost finished- yellow with gold metallic edible powder to add sparkle. I made each loop separately, let them dry overnight, then used frosting to piece them together on the cake.

The second cake had an unfortunate accident. It broke into about a million pieces coming out of the pan. At this point I thought I'd have to go with just the one layer but figured I give covering it a try.

2 pieced together layers and lots of delicate frosting later I was ready to cover it. I thought being such a small cake the fondant would help to hold it together, and it certainly helped to firm it up. It wasn't the squarest or most even thing I've seen but it did the job.

I think it turned out pretty cute considering where it started! And I loved how the white bow looked on top.

I also make a gift tag out of the fondant. Once it was dry I wrote on it with a food coloring marker and placed it on the cake.

To survive the 45 minute drive, I waited until we were at the party to "officially" stack the cakes, but here's what it looked like when I "test stacked" them at home.

Surprisingly, making the bows turned out to be the easiest part. I think this would be a perfect beginners cake, not just because I'm a beginner and was able to make it, but because there isn't a lot of structure to worry about when stacking the tiers. And other than the bows, there's not much to the decorating- but it still has a lot of impact at a party.

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