Saturday, January 22, 2011

First Wedding Cake Attempt

I got roped into doing a wedding cake for a daughter of a friend. She was asking around if anyone knew anyone who did cakes and a couple people shot my name out there and told her I might be up for the challenge (how do I ever get myself into these things?). Honestly, I was flattered and I hesitantly but happily agreed and said I'd give it a try.

The bride had her cake all planned out and told me what she wanted. White cake, strawberry filling, butter cream frosting and blue snowflakes. Simple enough right? NOT!
First off she wanted a triangle cake. NO ONE carries triangle cake pans! At least not that I could find, so I had to rig up my own using my rectangle ones. And the snowflakes?.....Well, lets just say this was a chore too. She didn't want just cute snowflakes piped onto the cake. She wanted them 3-D!

At first I tried piping snowflakes out of royal icing and letting those dry to use as decoration but they just shattered when I picked them up. So I had to come up with SOMETHING that was sturdy and that could last more than 24 hours on a cookie sheet (that's another story you'll read about below).

I decided to try gum paste and luckily found a friend who owned a set of snowflake cookie cutters! WHEW! Who would have thought snowflake cutters were seasonal merchandise? Right, yeah I know now. So, those were rolled, cut, and then painted with luster dust so they'd be all shimmery, purdy and ready for me to layer them when they dried. Gladly that was my first victory...well for a couple hours anyway. I learned really quickly that 2 year olds cannot, and I repeat CANNOT be trusted. I also learned that setting my cakes on the counter to cool was a bad choice too. I'll just say that I make LOTS of cakes and a few different batches of snowflakes.

Enter the great invention of baby gates!!!.......

Whew! After the kitchen was blocked off I got things done. Good thing too! I was running out of time. I layered the cakes, added the strawberry filling, added cake supports for the second tier, and frosted away. I think the scariest part was putting the second tier on after it was frosted too! But I did manage it.

The cake sat in the fridge overnight since 3-4 hours was all my pregnant legs and feet could take. Then, the next day a second coat of frosting to cover up the crumb layer and the fun really began. I added the blue border and the long awaited snowflakes. Ta DAH! It was done! And after two days of sitting, there were no sags or sinking I was relieved.

I was very pleased with how it turned out. What do you think?

DIY Curtain Rod

What do you do when you have a 4 yr old who loves to hide behind and play in your 4 panels of 83" long curtains but your cheapo metal curtain rod can't take it?
You make a better one! And you DIY (do it yourself).

Here's what I did:

I found these 2 two-packs of cute rod brackets at our beloved orange store (The Home Depot) for around $7 a pack. I however needed five and didn't want to spend another $7 so what do I do? I make my own replica of course! And then spray painted them all black to match.

This is one from the store

And this is the one I made from a piece of ply wood and our jigsaw. Not bad eh?

Then I found these cute decorative rod ends also in a two-pack for just $1! They were oak colored but no need to fear....I've got black spray paint for that too!

The rod part was easy too. We just got a piece of PVC pipe for around $2. Then, cut it down to the 101" that I needed and painted that too! Our free stash of black spray paint ran out so I just got out our left over jar of black paint and brushed it on. Can't beat free!

So total cost for the new 101" rod came to around $10! I can't wait til I can paint the last coat of acrylic sealer on and then hang my 4 navy blue panels!
Then, its all the hide-and-seek a 4 yr old could ever want...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Busy Hands DO Make Happy Hearts.

I really need to add more to this blog. It was my intention but just hasn't happened as of late with our big move and pregnancy.

I have a sign that reads "Busy Hands Make Happy Hearts" that usually hangs in my craft room above the sewing machine, but at this point the craft room hasn't even reached "unpacked" status. However the signs phrase sticks with me today.

Mornings have been really rough for me lately. I want to do nothing but stay in bed and sleep. I dread the efforts of sitting up and hobbling around the house like a penguin. I am now 30 weeks and 6 days along. Only about 5 more weeks to go! I can do this! Or as a dear friend of mine says, "I can do HARD things." My body is tired and sore but I will make it.

Anyway, today has gone well for the most part. The morning may have been slow at first, and I did spend most of the morning laying on the couch watching cartoons with my kids but I don't feel guilty about it at all.

Once the drowsiness subsided I got a burst of energy. And what better way to use it than to do dishes! (yeah right, I am sure we all could think of better things to spend it on) but it had to be done. Then I got the urge to bake bread. So I made up a batch of carrot rolls; and while the dough for that was rising I decided to start baking cakes. (I was recently asked to do a wedding cake for a friend that is getting married next weekend). It is going to be so fun!

And with all that busyness and work I feel so much better about myself! I am in such a better mood, the kids are happy and well behaved, and the house smells wonderful.

Yes I do believe busy hands make happy hearts...