July 31, 2009

Two Spoonfuls: Wilton II

I'm not going to pass on any great and helpful information this week, I'm just going to tell you some more about my cake decorating odyssey. I just finished Wilton Cake Decorating Course II! Yay! Bring on the fondant! haha

During course II we spent a lot of time making various flowers for our final cake. Remember my last Two Spoonfuls post about Royal Icing? We also learned how to do a basket weave pattern. (I confess, I've learned this before and I prefer the previous method. But hey, whatever works, right?)

Here's how it starts. Lots of marks and toothpicks go into a basket weave. It's actually pretty easy, just very time consuming!

After the basket weave, I added a rope border. The best part about borders is that they cover up the ugly, messy edges of the cake. Nice!

Next comes the fun part. We started by placing the bluebirds and a few of the bigger flowers. From there it's just pure fun. I have a tendency to make my colors very pale. My classmates' cakes were much bolder.

I think I should have made more than one orange flower, but it works.

Here's the final cake in all it's glory. Now we need to eat it! Anyone want to stop by for a little cake & frosting? Maybe we'll use it to celebrate the break in the heat wave we've been having this week. Blech!

Next week I get a break and then I start Course III. We'll be delving into the world of fondant. I'm told that if you make your own, with marshmallows, it actually can taste good. I'll let you know.


How about a little more cake fun? Here are some links to some great cake related sites:

Wilton (of course)

Layer Cake Shop - Really fun cake decorating supplies on Etsy
Joy of Baking - Recipes
Cake Decorating 101 - A cool Flickr group with lots of photos
How to Eat a Cupcake - A cupcake Blog!!

Let's see if Jenn's got something to serve with my cake...

July 28, 2009

Hooray for the White Pencil

Have you ever tried marking dark fabric with one of those white fabric pencils? They always break in the sharpener, and if they don't, the lead just falls out. I usually end up sharpening mine with a knife, but it's still never good enough.

Last week I saw a mechanical fabric pencil online and I was thrilled! Perfect, right? No sharpening, no thick lead and no carving in my sewing room. Hooray!

I was able to find the Fons & Porter version at my local JoAnn store and I even saved 40% with a coupon. So far, I love it. What a great tool. I did a little research online and there seem to be lots of places to buy these online and lots of reviews too. Here are a few resources for you:

Happy marking!

July 20, 2009


I've been doing a little shopping lately.

These two 5x5" photos came from Friendly Made on Etsy. I've had my eye on that dinosaur for months! There's a 3rd print downstairs in our family room.

Another item I've been coveting is this lavender bunny all the way from the UK. Check out Pouch for more cute stuff.

How about a little local handmade goodness? Our farmer's market does one day of crafts and it was yesterday. I couldn't walk away without this cute pincushion! Adorable, no? Unfortunately, I can't send you to a website or anything for this one. :(

I also came home from JoAnn with quite a collection of colorful yarns. My monkeys are going to be so happy, haha. I couldn't resist taking a photo of all these bright colors.

Now, I must get back to work so I can keep shopping. hehe

July 17, 2009

Two Spoonfuls: Royal Icing

This week in my Wilton Cake Decorating class, we started working with Royal Icing. What's Royal Icing, you ask? Well, it's a smooth hard-drying icing that's great for making flowers & other decorations. Once you've made something with it, you can keep it for about two years too. That's pretty cool.

Here's the recipe, compliments of the Wilton website:

Royal Icing
  • 3 tablespoons Meringue Powder
  • 4 cups (about 1 lb.) confectioners' sugar
  • 6 tablespoons warm water

Makes: About 3 cups of icing.

Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks (7-10 minutes at low speed with a heavy-duty mixer, 10-12 minutes at high speed with a hand-held mixer).

NOTE: Keep all utensils completely grease-free for proper icing consistency.

* For stiffer icing, use 1 tablespoon less water.

**When using large countertop mixer or for stiffer icing, use 1 tablespoon less water.

Pretty easy stuff. If you've got any cake decorating supplies at home, I highly recommend you try working with Royal Icing.

In my class this week, we worked on some violets, apple blossoms and violet leaves. Many flowers are made on what's called a flower nail. It's easy to turn as you pipe your icing onto the template.

Unfortunately, my icing was thinned down in class and it got a little too thin. Mine is the green on the right. I made all my colors very pale. I don't think that bright green is going to look good with my pale pink. hmmm, we'll see.

My lavender didn't work either so here are the royal icing violets I made with a classmate's purple icing. I might just whip up a new batch and try again. I definitely need some practice with this stuff.

Here are the apple blossoms. They turned out fine, but I'm not crazy about those yellow dots. I suppose once they're on a cake, the extra color will be nice.

We also made an icing called Color Flow Icing. It has a flowing texture and then dries hard so it's great for making icing shapes like this bird. I traced the bird on a piece of wax paper with white icing, then filled it in with the blue. It was dry by the end of class, but I waited two days to peel it off the paper. This would be great if you wanted to trace a character from a picture or something.

If you want to try making the Color-Flow Icing, here's a link to the recipe and some more information.

Know what else you can do with Color-Flow? Remember those candy dots that came on a strip of paper? I made my own with the leftover icing from my bluebirds. Pretty cool, huh? They look really shiny at first, but they dry with a matte finish, just like the classic dots. :D

I've really been enjoying my cake decorating classes, I can't wait for next week!
Now, I want to see what Jenn's got going in her kitchen...

July 16, 2009

A Little Before and After

Since we moved into our new house I've been doing a lot of painting and door removal and whatnot. I thought I'd share a few of the improvements with you.

For the most part, the house is in good shape. There's just a little bit of 60's leftover. There are a lot of closets in the hall and entryway upstairs. They all had these unpleasant, dark louver doors on them. yuck! I removed all of them and replaced them with the old curtains I made for my condo.

For the long, and not so deep, closet in the hall I just got rid of the doors and painted the shelves white. It's sort of like a built-in for our dvd's now. Some day, Nick will make it into a real built-in. I've repainted all of the dark trim and the bedroom & bathroom doors are white too. That's much better & brighter. You see, Maple likes it. She loves to sit under that skylight.

Now, for the bathroom downstairs. Next to the kitchen, which doesn't look as bad as it really is, this was the worst room in the house. The only room that hadn't been touched in a long time. Enough dark brown for you? It was so ugly that neither Nick or I would even use it. haha

This past weekend my mom & aunt came for a visit so it seemed like a great time to fix up the bathroom a bit. I'm sure at some point we'll do a full remodel, this will hold us over nicely for now.

I put in a new, inexpensive peel & stick tile floor, painted the walls a nice light grey-blue, painted the cabinet white & added some nice chrome handles & pulls. We bought an off-the-shelf laminate countertop at Home Depot to replace the ugly brown one along with two new sinks & faucets and we have a new bathroom! This room also had some ugly closet doors that quickly got replaced with a handmade white curtain (of course). The only thing I have left to do in here is make a little curtain for the window. Not bad for less than $500, right?

July 10, 2009

Thank you, Etsy!

Last week I was lucky enough to appear in one of those Etsy Finds emails that get sent out now & then by our friends at Etsy. WoW! Thanks so much to Etsy for including my little monkey, I had a ton of sales and even passed the 500 sales mark for Monkey Travel Club. I'm just so amazed at how well they've done. I don't know what I would have done without Etsy. More than likely, quit the full time craft making by now. So, thank you Etsy for not only featuring me, but for running and creating an excellent site for all of us handmakers. :)

I had so many orders to fill, I was a monkey (and friends) machine for a few days. Meanwhile, I've been working on remodelling our downstairs bathroom and getting the guest room set up too. Now I need to apologize for not stopping by any of my favorite blogs lately (including my own, haha). I promise, I'll be back when my mom and aunt have visited. I must get back to cleaning the house now, my guests arrive this evening! Yikes!

July 01, 2009

Etsy Love: Jadite Kate

Have you ever hearted something on Etsy and then gone back to savor it & found it sold? That's the worst, right?

Jadite Kate is one of my favorite shops. If you take a peak at my favorites, you'll see a ton of her stuff there. One of my favorite items that recently sold was these awesome glassbake mugs. I'm addicted to anything Jadite or like it, so these are perfect for me.

Photo courtesy jaditekate

Well, the other day I was busy painting our guest room when I decided to take a break. I walked into my kitchen and noticed a box sitting outside the door. I didn't order anything, did I? It's got Nick's name on it. hmmmm? I instantly thought, "maybe Nick bought me those cool mugs!!!!". I let him know he had a package here and he said I could open it. I WAS RIGHT!!!

YAY, what an excellent surprise! I love them. Aren't they great? I can't wait to redecorate the kitchen and hang these over the kitchen window. I love them so much that I just went back to jaditekate's shop and got this. hehe

Now, I must go find something to drink out of one of these mugs. :) Thanks Nick.