For the love of silver…for the love of life!!

Archive for December, 2010

Making Faces

It has been a hard year and one that I won’t mind seeing the end of….and my last cake for the year has been hard to create too – mainly down to the fact that I am totally exhausted mentally and emotionally which inevitably means creatively too.

The cake I made was a style of cake that has become quite popular and this is now my third version of it…this time for Lyndon who is now 18.  Each time I create a’ footie fan’ cake I am asked to do characters to represent some of the recipients favourite players in their team so this means that the decoration changes each time – even though the cakes I have made so far have all been for Everton football fans.

I try to obtain recent photos of the players from the internet and then make little characature style sketches of them – highlighting their most notable features.  I then try to carry this over into sugarpaste.

…hopefully ending up with a vaguely recognisable character in a very cartoon like style!

So far I seem to have pleased people without causing offence so I am happy!

Well – I have just delivered the cake and I have to admit I was glad to see it go.  I now have a few days to myself, to relax and try to regain some inner calm and hopefully get to a place where I can welcome the new year in with peace and positivity in my heart.

May I wish you all too a peaceful and positive new year…

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Joyeux Noel….

 

 

Well – this is my ‘tour de force’ in the cake decorating field for this year.

A friend of the family has just recently become the owner of a lovely little cottage and has spent the last few months renovating and decorating it… and it now lays claim to the title ‘Petit Bijou’.  I have never actually seen the place but have been given photographs of various bits of the outside of it, from various angles, and, along with a stroke of genius on my part(!), obtained photos of the street view side of the house from Google Maps.  And so, with this motley collection of photos to hand, I have set about trying to recreate her cottage in icing!!!

I began by trying to draw out the architectural features on paper, working out the relative proportions and positions of things from the photos.  I then used the computer to draw out a fairly accurate template of the elevations of the cottage so that I could create a 3 dimensional paper version of the place to see if it would work and make alterations accordingly.

The next stage was to print out a new sheet of template pieces and then place a piece of acetate sheet over the top of it.  I was then able to pipe royal icing onto the acetate sheet knowing that I would be able to flex the sheet and get the dried and hardened icing to peel away from it without breaking.  First the outline of each template piece was piped using a very fine ‘writing’ icing tube/nozzle, then when this was dry I was able to fill in each piece with a flood of royal icing, which fills in up to the dried piped line and then settles and dries to a flat solid piece.

Of course, these little icing walls are rather thicker than the paper template pieces I used to make my original paper model so the construction of the 3D icing cottage worked up to be a little chunkier than I had foreseen…and areas like the little gable window were a bit of a headache but the fact that she wanted it to be a snow scene meant that I could hide a lot of little inaccuracies under the blanket of snow!!!

As it happens, I did have a bit of a problem keeping the ‘snow’ on the roof and so have a rather authentic ‘avalanche waiting to happen’ overhang effect!!!!

There is also a magnificent holly tree in the back garden which I was asked to try to include in the scene on the cake.  I have to admit that this took me a good long time to work out, and, in this case is not entirely made of icing.  The trunk is based around a plastic drinking straw which I was able to cut and flare out to make a substantial starburst style ‘foot’ that could be embedded into the icing ‘paving’ to make a solid foundation.  Into this trunk I inserted pieces of floristry wire which were taped down with floristry tape.  I then wound pieces of cotton around and between the ‘branches’ of wire to create a web of cotton which would be able to support the icing twigs and leaves.  I then set about icing over these structures to create my tree!  It is not an accurate holly shape of tree but I am satisfied with the effect…and should I ever have to create a holly tree in icing again I would strive to make it a better holly tree shape!!

I finished off the scene for the top of the cake with a representation of the raised flower bed, which is adjacent to the tree in the cottage garden, and a tiny snowman, complete with hat and scarf.

The sides of the cake bear the affectionate name of their little residential jewel and, in keeping with the French words already written, a suggestion of Christmas.

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Sometimes, in the darkness, little things happen to make you smile.  After I had uploaded these photographs I noticed that the main photo and photo 3 of the montage have a suggestion that the little cottage is occupied as the lights are ‘on’!!!

I hope you are all having a lovely time in there!!!!

Let Your Light Shine

Although this year has been, and continues to be, a terrible one for our family I have tried very hard to fulfil the commitments I have made to people.  One of these has been to deliver a series of craft workshops to the local MENCAP group (a group of adults who have various physical and mental difficulties).

One of last year’s ‘creations’ proved to be very popular and so I decided to do a variation on the same theme for one of the sessions this year.  Using the same sort of LED flickering tea light candles as last year I stuck disposable plastic shot glasses over the top of the ‘flame’ to make the candle look more like a lantern and to change the lighting effect from last years flickering candle table decoration.

…and so from these humble beginnings – old CDs and DVDs, the bases from disposable wine glasses (which were used last year to make the ‘Tatty Tinsel Fairy‘), disposable plastic shot glasses, various tinsel and Christmas decorations, the candles, some silver card and some sprayed pine cones collected from the local woods – I made up kits for the 15 people in the group so that they could all successfully create their own table decoration by wiring and attaching with double sided tape, all the various components.

Everything went extremely smoothly as I think they are all getting used to the techniques I employ, and by the end of the session everyone had a lovely finished work of art….and I had been showered with hugs and broad smiles and “Thank you”s….

How lovely and rewarding!!

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The second workshop was to make another table top decoration.

It was inspired by a lovely little reindeer ornament I had found in the Christmas section of the local Pound Store and some polystyrene packaging I had acquired over the year.

Along with various bits and pieces to add a bit of Christmas sparkle I put together kits for everybody to make this reindeer running through the snow pulling a sleigh full of Christmas goodies…

Unfortunately, due to illness in the family, I was unable to deliver the third workshop but was able to manufacture the kits and give instructions for someone else to be able to help the group to make a selection of little Christmas tree hangings which enclosed a chocolate treat in each one.

I have been informed that they turned out really well and everyone was really happy!

And so the Christmas craft workshops are over for another year.  Everybody had a good time making their Christmas decorations and we all enjoyed making our personal (creative) lights shine!!

Forever Friends


I’m a bit too old to have grown up with Sesame Street but I sat and watched many, many programmes with my four children when they were little and grew to love the little characters that appeared on the television screen each morning.  Like most people, I have a soft spot for Elmo – and I have to admit that I have a bit of a crush on Count von Count with his wonderful accent!!

Although I am aware that my grandson has some Sesame Street toys I have not had much reason to think about these characters for many years but I have recently had a request for a cake featuring some of them..which was a bit of a surprise since the cake was for a 21st birthday!  But then – when I got to thinking about it, I thought “Why not?” – after all, some friendships forged in childhood can be the strongest and most enduring, so why shouldn’t these well loved old friends be there to help celebrate a 21st birthday??

I have really enjoyed trying to create my version of Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Grover, Elmo and Bert and Ernie and the cake was collected this morning with much excitement and delight which gave me a terrific boost.  It is always very rewarding to have such instant positive feedback.

I wish you the happiest of birthdays Bertie!!

 

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