Friday, October 28, 2011

And now for something completely different..

When brainstorming my vision for this little company and blog, I wanted to make it as all-encompassing as I could.  I have a severe case of design ADHD and did not want to limit the things that I could put out there.  That's why I chose the name that I did.  Creo is comprehensive and much more broad than say, Cathy's Cakes.  Cute, but no, thank you.  I run the risk of being all over the place with my topics.  But, whatever.  The benefit is that hopefully you won't get bored!

When I am not baking or crocheting, house projects consume the creative corners of my mind.  I am all about sprucing up on a dime and LOVE the fellow bloggers out there who are as devoted to this mindset as I.  They are an endless source of inspiration.  This project is one that I completed a year or so ago - but I have been planning it in my head for about 14 years.  Ever since HGTV came into my life and taught me that I can do it too!

We were in need of an ottoman/coffee table/storage, and I loved this one from Crate & Barrel.
But at over $500, it was simply beyond the budget.
So, I knew if I could find a pre-assembled frame, I would be off to the races.  I started a search with ReStore (the Habitat for Humanity store for salvaged and donated materials), but scored on Craig's with a listing from a local thrift store.  They were selling salvaged kitchen cabinets and I found one similar in shape to this one.  I think mine is a little deeper, but you get the gist.  Tip: get a real wood cabinet - it will hold up much longer than manufactured wood products.

Next step was to take off the doors so that I was left with just the frame of the piece.  The one that I bought had lots of old nails in it that were not removed during demo, so I had to carefully remove those.  I then started measuring.  Each surface was measured separately and then I calculated how much total fabric yardage I would need to cover.  I used an indoor/outdoor fabric for extra durability.  I also stuck with a solid so that I wouldn't have to worry about matching up stripes or patterns.  Also needed was upholstery batting and a piece of foam for the top.  I bought 4" thick foam at Joann - and it is very expensive - so I used a coupon to offset that expense.  Lastly, a piece of plywood, a piano hinge, a staple gun and casters.  I took my top measurement with me and Lowe's cut the plywood for me.

I was ready to start assembling.  Here were the steps: 
 - cut 4 panels of batting to match the 4 sides of the frame and stapled to the bottom and inside of the base using a staple gun
 - cut 4 panels of fabric to the dimensions of each of the 4 sides of the base frame.  Left plenty of extra allowance for seams and stapling.  With fabric right side in, sewed the 4 corner seams so that I was left with a fabric box.  Made sure to use a heavy duty needle and upholstery thread in my machine.  Slid the fabric square onto the base (it fit very snuggly) and stapled the edges underneath and inside the top - pulling tightly as I went.  Here is a pick of what the inside looked like after this stage was complete.

 - used spray adhesive to attach the foam cushion to the plywood.  Then covered with batting and stapled, pulling as tightly as the batting allowed without tearing. 
 - cut a panel of fabric for the top and 4 panels for the sides of the top.  Sewed the seams so that I had what looked like a shoe box top.
 - Fit this over the top of the foam and batting, pulled tightly, and starting with the sides, started stapling.  Did the corners last.
 - Screwed on the piano hinge, applied casters and loaded it up! 

Here is my baby - so proud of it!  All for a total of $130.  Heck yeah!!  And you can do it too!!

Well, this was fun!  A little departure from sugar and spice - but still very nice!  Look forward to sharing more projects!  Working on making slipcovers for the dining room chairs now!

Until next time!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


One of the great things about this gig is all the great party ideas that come my way.  You folks out there are so fun and creative!  Each time I do a new cake, my kids follow with a bellow of "I want a [insert theme here] party too!"  We'll have lots of ideas to throw around once party planning begins for our household.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of baking a cake for a cutie-pie 6 year old who was putt-putting it up for his big day.  His Mom asked for something "dimensional" to fit the theme of the venue.  Gladly!!  I tried to capture all the typical icons of a mini-golf course.  Animals, palm trees, windmills, bridges and streams - all made of sugar!  The bridge is constructed of gumpaste, the greens and water of fondant.  The birthday boy and the other features are all painted chocolate...100% edible images!

What's your party theme?  Let me create something special and unique for you and your loved ones!

Until next time!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

This week, I built a cathedral.

Ok, so not a real one, but it still felt like quite an accomplishment.  I have always been obsessed with design and architecture.  Beginning with my habit of rearranging my room every few weeks as a young lass, to my absorption of all things man-made during my many years of world travel.  I am so lucky to have seen some of the most spectacular construction on earth and I think I would be an architect if given a chance to do it all again.

This week, one of my favorite people, Sue, hosted a going-away for her daughter's friend who is moving to Germany.  Sue asked me if I could pay tribute to Cologne and its magnificent cathedral through a cake.  Well, I couldn't wait to jump at the chance. 

Rather than pursuing a very literal translation of the building, however, I wanted to find a way to portray it in a more abstract way that would lend itself to the "hand-made" qualities of the painted chocolate technique. I managed to find a watercolor painting of the cathedral that became the perfect launch pad. 
I love the tertiary color palette and the dreamlike quality of this painting.  I made my version multi-dimentional by creating 8 layers of "structures".  And added a good-luck greeting to Glo (the guest of honor) in German and some whimsical embellishments.  All atop a Choco-Mocha cake with Cream Cheese icing that Sue raved was delicious, moist and not too sweet.

Before I sign off, I have to take a moment to brag about my offspring.  They are only 6 (twins), but already seem to share their Mom's wanderlust and fascination with design.  We have plans to paint in Paris one day, and build a hotel in NYC, where we will live.  Avery is particularly handy with a pen and chose the New York skyline as this week's artistic subject.  Seems he may have some talent - I may put him to work in the kitchen soon!
Until next time!