Saturday, November 9, 2013

Daisies and Butterflies

Hi all!
I have a lovely cake to share this week. The client is a former co-worker who is being blessed many times this month with a new baby grandson and the wedding of her own son.  I have provided several cakes for this family...her daughter's rehearsal dinner cake and wedding party cakepops, baby shower cake and a few birthday cakes as well.  This time, Sherry asked me to provide the cake for her son's wedding rehearsal dinner.

She provided a copy of the wedding invitation, which is soft and romantic, the page filled with wildflowers and butterflies in muted colors. The bride also loves sunflowers and I was asked to incorporate those and butterflies.

I have made butterflies for a cake using the chocolate relief method.  I love how they turned out, but they were not the right match for the feel of this cake.  I did some digging and found a baker who uses edible ink to print images of butterflies onto wafer paper.  This paper is made of potato starch and is so delicate and almost transparent.  The butterflies could not look more real, which is exactly what I was going for.  Melanie at PeaceLoveandCakeNY sells these gorgeous creations on Etsy, so I decided to outsource this part of the project.  Melanie was a joy to work with and I couldn't have been happier with her product!

The cake itself was White Almond Sour Cream with Vanilla Buttercream, covered in Vanilla Satin Ice fondant.  The bow and daisies were made of fondant and the bow was highlighted with LustreDust.




Thank you to Sherry for trusting me once again with this special family occasion!

Confectionately yours!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Pretend Weddings

Hi all!
Now that school is back in session, I have finally had time to cross some things off the CREO to-do list. One of which has been so much fun!

Since starting this business, I have been hyper-aware of anything that has to do with baking, cakes and design.  I have been collecting photos found in magazines, books, the internet and Pinterest, and amassing a catalog of ideas for cakes that I would love to one day make.

Many of the most beautiful have been wedding cakes.  I love the idea of expressing such a special event through cake art and I really love that in today's modern weddings, anything goes in terms of color, construction and theme.

While much of my portfolio is already filled with colorful celebration cakes, I have been yearning to try some more elegant wedding designs.  I made three different "mock" cakes, which are actually styrofoam molds made specifically for cake design.  Once I finished one, I took pictures, removed the icing and started again with the next design.  I hope you like them!


This is an ivory white, 3 tier round in buttercream.  Tier 1 (top) is a rosette design, tier 2 is left smooth and tier 3 is a ruffle effect.  This cake would serve approximately 54 guests.


This cake is all about glamour!  I imagine the bride wearing a dress or hair accessory with a similar flower feature.  This version is iced in buttercream, but a fondant covering is also possible.  The flower is fondant.


The "Vow Cake" is one of my favorite modern concepts. I elected to just do a small version to show the idea, but this would be quite impactful on a multi-tier cake.  The wording on this cake are the lyrics to "At Last", the song that I sang to my husband on our wedding day.  Other ideas are vows or a Bible verse. This would also be quite elegant and little more subtle in a tone on tone execution, with the writing the same color as the base icing.  This base is buttercream , but again, a fondant finish is available. The gardenia is made of fondant.

Until next time ~ confectionately yours!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Back to work!

Hello friends and family!
It was a splendid summer...lots of activities, visits with loved ones and quality family time.  I took August off and am back in the kitchen with spatulas blazin'.

I have a few projects to share. One from July, prior to vacation, and 2 that were completed this week.

The first is a Lemon cake with raspberry filling and vanilla buttercream.  This was made for 60th birthday party that was to be celebrated at the beach, so the request was made for the cake to fit the setting.

Shells are made of chocolate and brushed with Lustre Dust to give them a pearlescent finish.  Coral was piped freehand with tinted royal icing.


For any of you with young boys, this next cake should look familiar to you.  The latest tech obsession seems to be Minecraft...a game where you can create your own digital world in which you can then be attacked and have to protect your habitat.  It's a bizarre place, but many boys that I know are nuts over it.  This cake is for a sweet 11 year old in our neighborhood.

This might be one of the most technically complicated cakes that I have made thus far.  In addition to the mixing of several different fondant colors, each of the tiles that you see had to be individually cut and placed on a template, which was then "adhered" to the buttercream finish.  A big lesson in measuring and patience.

My 8 year old twin boys served as technical advisors, teaching me the significance of each of the icons and making sure everything was accurate and in order.  They also requested a Minecraft cake for their own birthday...I'd better start planning now.


Today's delivery was quite special.  My dear friend, Steve, and his sister were hosting a 50 anniversary party for their parents at Pocahontas State Park.  The event was to be fairly casual, with fall colors as the palette. The cake was 3 tier, with White Vanilla Sour Cream and Vanilla Buttercream icing, Red Velvet with Cream Cheese icing and Carrot Pineapple with Cream Cheese icing.  Leaves and flowers are made of fondant and modeling chocolate.

I love the casual elegance of this cake.  It's one of my favorites thus far.  Thank you, Steve, for your trust in me!


Until next time...confectionately yours!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I am still here!

Hi friends and family!
I have been so negligent in my postings as of late.  Just so much going on around here!  Business has been great...brisk and interesting...so much so that I have not had time to write about anything.

So, here is a down and dirty recap of several of the projects that have been in the works over the past couple of months.

Adorable mini-cupcakes to celebrate a book signing at Franklin Goose in Carytown for my dear friend and former colleague, Caley.  She has written a wonderful children's book called "You're Bringing Me a Baby?", which is the story of how a family dog perceives the event of a new baby entering the household.  The book is so precious and beautifully written and illustrated.  Congratulations, Caley!


Red Velvet and Carrot cakes to celebrate high school graduation for lovely twin sisters.  These girls are the daughters of a childhood friend, Rodney, and they will both be going to University of South Carolina.  I added a bunting (I am a little bunting crazy as of late) to bridge the LHS cake to the USC cake.


Another graduation cake...this time for the daughter of a neighborhood friend.  Kelsey is an accomplished swimmer who attended the Leadership program at James River High School and is also one of the swim team coaches in our neighborhood.  Kelsey has to eat a wheat-free diet, so this was my first gluten-free cake.  It was done in the style of a Smith Island cake, which involves slicing the cake layers multiple times and applying a thin layer of buttercream between each layer.  The buttercream on the finish was tinted several shades of blue and applied using a petal technique, which mimics the waves of water.


Our swim team, the White Sharks, sponsors a charity each year and we were looking for a way to raise money for the AngelFish program.  This organization teaches inner city 2nd graders about water safely and how to swim.  I am donating cupcakes and we are selling them at all of our home meets.  I love the life rings with the bite taken out of them.  Thanks to my friend, Molly, and my boys for helping me make the toppers in massive quantities!


Finally, my friend Marilyn issued me another cake challenge for her daughter, Claire.  Or should I say that Claire issued me the challenge!  I have made several cakes for Claire and her family and this year she wanted a veterinarian hospital cake...but she wanted the animals to be princes and princesses.  Of course!  I should have guessed that ;)  To give some context, Marilyn's friend, Lori, is the owner of wonderful clinic called Helping Hands.  They offer surgical services for animals at discounted pricing and have become quite well known for their business model and the good that they are doing in the community.  Claire recently had a chance to "intern" at the clinic, so she is quite passionate about the subject.  And the royal animals....well that is just all 5 year old girl, isn't it?!  I loved making this castle cake and all the injured and sick animals.  It's hard to do an original concept in a cake, but I think this one achieves that!


I have a couple of other projects pending and once those are done, I am taking a little time off to spend some uninterrupted time with my sweet family.  I have to take advantage of these young years before they are gone with the wind!  Baking will resume once school starts, so get on my calendar if you have an event coming up!

Confectionately yours!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

More birthdays...

I had a very special cake delivery yesterday.  But first, a little history.  In my former life, I was a Planning Supervisor in the Media Dept. at The Martin Agency, a leading agency in the US.  In this position, it was my job to select and  negotiate with magazines, TV networks, newspapers, radio stations, websites, etc in order to maximize my client's budget and the percentage of target audience reached.

Although I resigned over 3 years ago, I still keep in very close touch with several of my co-workers, as well as some of the sales representatives from the various media outlets.  My rep from Food Network magazine reached out a few weeks ago with a special request.  She asked me to make a cake...a birthday cake...to celebrate the 100th birthday of the American Cancer Society, who is a client of The Martin Agency.  You may recognize the slogan "Proud Sponsor of More Birthdays" and the celebrity-endorsed awareness and call to action messages that are pervasive in media right now.  The team at the Agency is responsible for that and has done amazing work for the organization.  I was asked to make a cake in honor of the big birthday, to be delivered to the Agency as a surprise for the ACS team and the Media Dept.

My goal was to give this cake a "birthday cake" feel, but incorporate several of the current campaign images. As I was doing my research, I came upon a striking piece of artwork that was created for the organization and inspired by the "more birthdays" theme.  This painting was done by Masha D-yans, who created this "for everyone who's ever wished for clean air.  The American Cancer Society's fight for smoke-free laws is helping make that wish come true".  You can order posters, wrapping paper and e-cards featuring this image at www.morebirthdays.com.


I decided to attempt to replicate part of this painting onto the bottom tier of the cake..hand painting with food coloring and adding texture with cut outs of the white stars and red flowers.

Additionally, I wanted to incorporate the tagline "Finish the Fight" with a bunting that would adorn the top of the cake.

The cake flavor was crowd-favorite White Almond Sour Cream with Vanilla Buttercream and Vanilla Satin Ice fondant.



The delivery of this cake was so bittersweet...getting to surprise some of my favorite people, rewarding and honoring all the hard work that they do for this client. But also a reminder of how much I loved working there, not only for the culture-changing work that comes out of those doors, but for the amazing family that I gained while there.

I heard afterwards that photos of the cake and the team gathered around the cake were shared with the client and other former colleagues as well as posted on The Martin Agency Facebook page.  In addition, I received this email message today. "Your cake was the best cake I’ve ever eaten….the icing, fondant  and cake (very moist) absolutely delicious!  My past experience with fondant has been I don’t eat it…but yours has a wonderful texture and taste.  Wow…its dangerous…I could eat the entire cake.  I love the almond flavor..its my favorite."  My heart is swelling with happiness.

Advertising is a tough business and to keep things in perspective, we often had to remind ourselves that we were not curing cancer.  Hoewever, in the case of The Martin Agency and ACS...they are helping to do just that.  Hats off to TMA and the American Cancer Society for all you are doing to "Finish the Fight".

Confectionately yours!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Far East Fusion

This past week, one of my closest friends gave me one of the biggest challenges of my caking career thus far.  Not so much from a construction point of view, but rather, a design request unlike any other.

Her husband was turning 40 and she asked that the surprise cake incorporate many of his favorite things.  Here's the list...speaks Japanese and loves the culture, plays acoustic guitar, fishes, fave band is the Black Crows.  Holy cake...where to begin?

Well, the guitar part seemed to be the easiest, I was pretty sure that I could create one of fondant and modeling chocolate...and of course, I had to find a way to include Japanese writing.  I then started to peruse various images online...starting with Japanese landscapes and ending with Japanese fish tattoos.  Things were starting to take shape in my head and I became excited to try a couple of new techniques.

The top was a 6" round, onto which I used a transfer technique to hand-paint a fish from a tattoo design that I found.  I traced the fish onto parchment using a food safe pencil, gently held the parchment against the dried fondant, and retraced the back of the image. The fish outline was faintly transferred onto the surface of the cake, where I then went over it with food coloring and a very fine-tipped brush.

I then found the Japanese lettering for "Happy Birthday" and painted that vertically in 3 places.  Last was the black crow (shown in the last photo) and the guitar on top, sitting amongst a spray of Cherry Blossoms. The guitar is 100% edible, except the strings, which are made of fishing line.


For the bottom, I wanted to create a Japanese landscape and was very excited to try an airbrush technique on the fondant.  I covered the 8" tier in yellow fondant, then cut a circle of parchment to act as the sun.  I used shortening to attach the sun template and then lightly sprayed with red and orange edible paint to create a twilight effect.  Once dried, I removed the parchment to reveal the yellow sun.  I then drew some templates and cut some chocolate images to create Mt. Fuji and several pagodas, which I highlighted with white food coloring and silver Lustre Dust.  All of this was applied to the cake and then I drew Cherry Blossom branches using an edible pen.  Those were topped with delicate flowers.  I love the scene that these elements created and feel that the airbrush effect makes it look like so much more than a cake.



Marilyn says that the birthday boy and guests loved the result and were so touched by all of the personal references.  They also loved the White Almond Sour Cream cake with Vanilla Buttercream, always a crowd favorite.

Thank you, Marilyn...my dear friend!  Can't wait for you to assign me my next cake adventure!

Confectionately yours!

Monday, April 29, 2013

SUGAR HIGH!

Business has been brisk over the past several months!  I am so thankful to all of those who have trusted me with their visions of the perfect cake for their special occasions.  It is such a stimulating experience concepting and creating for them and the whole process puts me in my happy place.

I have a couple of projects to share.  First up, a birthday cake for a 2 year old boy who has a love for Mickey Mouse Club.  His Mom, Lauren, and I decided on a fondant covered cake since the clean canvas that it provides lends itself to the cartoon-y quality of the theme.  She also requested a Mickey figurine, which I incorporated with other icons from the show.  I found a tutorial for the modeling of Mickey's head, but was able to improvise the rest of his body through reference to several illustrations.  I think he turned out pretty great!  Thank you, Lauren!



Next up is a very exciting cake for me for a couple of reasons.  It is the first cake that I have been asked to make for a client of the Salisbury Country Club.  I was placed on their referral list last year and the event coordinator there has been very supportive of me and my work.  The couple that requested this cake was planning a wedding and after a tasting, booked me right away.  They are just the sweetest people and I was thrilled to be chosen for this honor.  They came to me with the idea of stacked gifts and requested alternating tiers of vanilla and chocolate.  They also wanted their colors of yellow and lavender incorporated into the ribbons and bows on the "gifts".

Cake tiers are 14", 10" and 6" squares, enough to feed about 120 guests.  Flavors are White Almond Sour Cream with Vanilla Buttercream, Choco-Mocha with Chocolate Buttercream and Choco-Mocha with Vanilla Buttercream.  All delicious combinations!  Ribbons and bows were constructed of fondant and modeling chocolate and painted with Lustre Dust to give them a subtle sheen.  Let me tell you, this cake weighed about 50 lbs!  I had to get my husband to help me with the delivery as there was no way I could lift it alone and not touch the buttercream.  Thanks, honey, for the support!  I pay him in cake;)

The bride, Gloria, took the time to call me the day after the wedding to thank me and tell me how much they and they guests loved the cake design and flavor.  It was even better than they had envisioned, she said.  THAT is what a caker strives for!!  Many thanks and years of best wishes to Gloria and Tony!


Until next time...confectionately yours!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

CAKE NIRVANA!!

Hey all!

I had a big week in the kitchen with some wonderful projects.  I feel like every cake that I work on is my favorite at the time, but I have to say that one of the projects that I did this week is definitely in my top 5.  Not only for the design elements of the cake, but for the creativity that the client allowed with flavors and her additional request to add buttercream shots to elevate the dessert table to something very special and unexpected.

The occasion was a bridal shower for a nephew and his bride-to-be.  This is a couple that is very creative, with a love for the outdoors.  He is a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago and specializes in woodworking, which includes actually making and playing banjos.  So the hostess of the party, my friend, Jodi, asked me to create a figurine of the couple with the following details: in a canoe, him playing banjo, her rowing the boat, him with a fedora and her with auburn hair, braided and wrapped around her head (as shown in the photo that she provided to me).  Funny enough, this level of detail doesn't really scare me that much.  I love the challenge of figuring out how to assemble the puzzle and make it all as custom as possible. I used a combination of modeling chocolate and fondant and I am beyond thrilled with how this turned out.



For the cake, we decided on a birch tree effect with their initials "carved" into the tree.  This was an adult gathering, so we could go nuts with flavors and decided on White Almond Sour Cream cake on the bottom tier, Mexican Hot Chocolate on the top tier..and all iced in Kahlua buttercream.  Yum!!


The peeling birch bark was achieved by rolling out some white modeling chocolate and "tearing" it into pieces so that the edges were jagged.  I then painted the back of the pieces with a mix of brown and black food coloring to give a shadowed effect.  Once dry, I glued them to the cake with buttercream, but allowed one side to stick out as though the bark was peeling off.  The marks in the surface and "carved heart" were made by painting (with food coloring) on the crusted buttercream.  The leaves and acorns were molded of modeling chocolate and the ferns were piped with buttercream.


Also on the table were buttercream shots.  But not just ANY buttercream shots!  Champagne and Bailey's buttercream shots!!  Of course I had to taste as I was making these...one of the hazards of caking ;)...but boy was I happy to indulge this time!  And they were a great dessert treat for the gluten free guests.


I heard from Jodi this morning and word is that everything was a big hit!  I love it when everything pulls together so nicely and all the elements come together to match the image in my mind and the client's mind.  A huge thank you to Jodi for thinking of me for this event...it was an honor!

Confectionately yours!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Here come the brides!!

As Spring begins to spring, so does the season for matrimony!  So far, I have the great honor of making cakes for a few weddings this season, the first of which was last weekend.  

This cake was for a former co-worker of mine and literally, one of the "smartest guys in the room".  He was that guy that we always called on when we were stumped with something media research/Excel pivot table/ Powerpoint-related.  Matt knows it all. And he is largely self-taught, which is just down-right mind boggling.

He and his fiance' had a simple and elegant wedding and requested a cake to match.  They provided me with a photograph, which I reproduced, but in buttercream finish rather than fondant.  The cakes were alternating tiers of White Vanilla Sour Cream cake with Vanilla Buttercream and Choco-Mocha cake with Chocolate Buttercream.  The bands at the case of each tier were done in a 50/50 modeling chocolate/fondant blend.  

A little mention about modeling chocolate.  It is my new best friend.  I have been reading about it in message boards and blogs, but it is not readily available at retail, so I had not tried it until a couple of weeks ago.  Little did I know, I had the ingredients to make it right here and I found a tutorial which gave me the confidence and knowledge to try it.  It is a wonderful material!  It has many of the molding properties of fondant and gumpaste, but it does not stretch and tear when working with it.  It does, however, get soft when handled for a long time, so mixing it with fondant is a great solution.  I can't wait to experiment more...I feel like a whole new world of design options is now open to me. 


What a cute topper they chose!  There are SO many options on the market now - a couple can infuse so much of their personalities onto the cake this way.  Thank you, thank you to Matt and Kim for the honor of baking their wedding cake!


This next item makes me giddy!  This is for all of you who have swiped a finger along the icing border of a cake or stood at the fridge with a spoon, eating ready-made canned frosting like it is ice cream.  Come on, admit it.  You know who you are;)  Well, be still your hearts...get ready for it....BUTTERCREAM SHOTS!!!  Imagine these at cocktail parties, on a dessert bar, as a parting treat after a dinner party.  Completely sinful...but oh, so worth it!  I, myself, only eat cake so I can have frosting, so I LOVE this.  As a friend once said, "I could eat frosting on a boot"!  

The treats below are Vanilla Buttercream, Chocolate Buttercream and SWIRL! Or how about Champagne or Kahlua Buttercream!  Oh, the possibilities!! I will be adding these to my list of offerings...anyone having a party?


Confectionately yours!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Boy's Room #2

Last week, I updated you on some of the projects that I had recently completed in the playroom and Avery's room.  This week, I completed several changes in Peyton's room.  We had separated our twins into separate rooms when they were 4...complete with an HGTV-style reveal.  They literally went to pre-school one day and when they came home that afternoon, I had overhauled each of their rooms and graduated them from toddlerhood to little boy land.  Of course, I had been working on pulling all the pieces together behind the scenes/doors...painting, compiling, organizing.  It was a special day for them as it was the first time that our "twin unit" were being separated and allowed to really start to grow into their own little people.

Peyton's room was the room that they originally shared.  I had painted it a fantastic, rich leaf green color when we first moved in and I still love it.  When he was 4, his room became dedicated to his love of animals, so there were tons of nods in that direction.  He is, however, my little 8 year old who thinks he is 16.  There is something about him that just acts older...like he gets alot more than he should.  It makes me sad, but impresses me at the same time.  He is hyper-aware of details and always wants to know what the plan is, so when I caught the bug to switch his space up a bit, I wanted his input.

The catalyst for this whole thing was the power outage during the Superbowl.  I was completely content watching the game, but when the power went out, I got bored, picked up the iPad and started surfing Craig's List for furniture.  Peyton had mentioned a desk a few times and he definitely needed some more storage in his room.  I stumbled upon an oak student-sized desk with a chair for $20.  It was solid wood, which I wanted, so the boys and I headed out the next day to take a look.  Turns out it was Stanley (a great brand) and in great shape.  So, Peyton approved and I brought it home to prime and paint it the same medium-toned grey that we have in the dining room.  I also covered the chair seat in a fabric that I had laying around and put on some new drawer hardware.  I forgot to get a photo of the original finish, but here it is being primed.



In addition to the desk addition, I had a couple of other things that I wanted to overhaul/add.  The first was a giant bulletin board that I had made for him a couple of years ago.  I think I got this idea somewhere online (pre-Pinterest), and I loved the scale and cost of it, so I made one for both boys.

Start with a sheet of this foam insulation - I think I found it in the roofing area of Lowe's.  The sheet was big enough to cut in half for 2 of them.



Then, literally just wrap it with fabric and secure it with Duck Tape.  Easy-peasy!  The original was wrapped in an inexpensive red cotton fabric, but I am going for neutral accents this time, so I just used a $5 drop cloth. The whole board only weighs about 3 lbs, so I used Command strips to secure it to the wall.  Here's the finished desk with the bulletin board above.


Finally, I come to my FAVORITE part!!  Since I had done a paint treatment on the walls of both the playroom and Avery's room, I wanted to do something special for Peyton as well.  He wanted something cool and industrial looking and I wanted something that would grow with him and that he would still appreciate once he was too cool for school.  So, the grey paint ended up doing triple duty.  I used it to paint his headboard (a handmade Pottery Barn look-alike from the local antiques market - $35) and also created a feature wall of chevron pattern.  However, I added a twist by making the chevron emulate steel beams with rivets.  I am CRAZY for how this turned out!!



This design required alot of calculating, measuring and Frog Tape, which worked great!  It's like blue painters tape, but provides a much better seal, reducing the bleed that often occurs with the blue stuff.  The "rivets" are actually faux nailheads.  I bought a roll of them in the upholstery section of Joanne and used tin snips to cut them into individual pieces.  As I didn't want to put a bunch of holes in the wall, I only used the ones without the spike.  To secure, I used blue DAP moldable adhesive, which will allow me to remove them later without damage to the wall.  It turned out exactly as I had envisioned!

The quote over the bed is an old canvas, covered with drop cloth (obviously, one of my favorite diy materials) and stamped.  It's from an Apple ad from the 1997 Think Different campaign and reads "The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do".  Some powerful motivation for my wild child.


Peyton and Mommy are both very happy with this space.  And it was such an inexpensive transformation!  Now Avery is asking for a desk too.  Hmm...I wonder what ideas that will spawn? ;)

Up next, wedding season is upon us!

Confectionately yours!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

A different kind of "icing"

I have a soft spot for "Steel Magnolias"...the characters, the quotes, the raw emotion.  It's classic, even if you are not from the South.  I even borrowed one of the scenes to tell one of my closest friends that I was pregnant.  You know, the "he's buying me furniture" scene?  Me:  "Scott's buying me furniture."  David: (the shock slowly hitting him) "For the living room?"  Me: (with a smirk on my face) "No, for the nursery."  A sad scene in the movie, but for me it was priceless! What made it especially magical is that David is an actor and I had just that moment finished watching him do a magnificent one man production of Steel Magnolias.  It was sheer brilliance and I wish I could live that perfect evening (sans the morning sickness) over and over again!

Anyway, another one of my fave quotes is "The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize."  It's one of my favorite past times!  Especially when it involves my house.  Since I last updated you on the playroom transformation, I have added a few finishing touches in there and also decided to to some updating to the boys' bedrooms.  First up, the playroom.

For the first project, I drew inspiration from Pinterest.  It's a magnetic Scrabble board that fits inside a picture frame - such a great idea!  Especially for a household with two young readers.  This project cost very little since I had many of the materials on hand.  I had a frame that I have literally been carrying around with me for 20 years...just waiting to do something with it.  I painted it the same color as the inside of my front door - a dark charcoal color and then sanded the edges to age it a little.  I bought a piece of sheet metal and trimmed it to size, then modge podged some pages of a thrift store book to the metal.  I backed the metal with some foam core and inserted it into the frame.  Lastly, I bought some scrabble tiles and extra small magnets on ebay, glued them together and we were ready to go!  Note that the boys went straight for their favorite subject...Ninjago.


Finally, I needed something for the space over the desk area.  Again, I wanted something meaningful and interactive.  Since one of my missions as a mother is to make sure that our sons are well traveled and globally conscious, I want them to appreciate all the places that their parents have been and that we have been to as a family.  I found a piece of fabric on etsy featuring a grey and cream vintage map.  It was the perfect size to staple to a large artists' canvas that I had, which also allows us to pin places as we visit them.  The boys' grandparents have already crossed off their bucket list item to "visit all 7 continents".  Maybe we will do the same one day!





Last up in this installment, a project that has been "pending" for over a year.  I promised Avery I'd paint a mural in his room back in 2011 and I have been procrastinating since then.  Guilt and his pretty green eyes finally got the best of me and I went to work.  I wanted to pay tribute to his favorite subject "the big city", his favorite big city "New York" and give him a little something whimsical at the same time.  Final result....


We both love how this turned out and I think he will appreciate this for several more years.

Coming soon...a transformation to Peyton's room that I am crazy for...because it's cool and cheap!!  And then, Mommy heads back to the kitchen!

Confectionately yours!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Figurines and flowers

Last week was the 4th cake in the series of cakes that I did for the speech therapist at my kids' school.  She had another birthday in the family...this time, her step daughter.  I was asked to make a red velvet cake with vanilla buttercream.  For decor, she supplied me with a photograph and asked me to create figurines of the birthday girl and her 5 year old daughter.  I was told that the mom is fashionable and likes bright colors and that both should wear dresses.

I have done several figurines to date, but each one is a learning experience.  There are so many different techniques out there, especially when it comes to facial features.  I have books and video tutorials bookmarked for reference, so I spend alot of time reviewing those and experimenting with various looks.  I actually did 3 different heads for the mom figure, trying a silicone clay mold, a few different eye and nose methods, and finally, a painted eye.  I love the way they turned out.  I look forward to doing many more of these figurines...they add such a personal touch to a cake.




I also elected to also try my hand at fondant peonies to complement the design and colors.  Although I am happy overall with how these turned out, I will fine tune a few things the next time I do them.  



Thanks so much to Barbara for trusting me with the birthday cakes for all "her girls".  It's a pleasure to be considered for such a special honor.



Confectionately yours!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Gallery of Cakes!

I am so excited to share my work from this past week!  This is a series of cakes that was made for a teacher at my sons' school.  Her family was having a birthday dinner in honor of 3 different birthday girls who all had their special days in the same week.

First up was for a 5 year old who loves American Girl and her 2 pugs.  Often, the most difficult design challenges involve combining several different thematic elements.  I wanted to create figurines of the pugs, but I also wanted to give a nod to American Girl without actually creating a doll.  So, the red with white stars is a play on the logo and company branding. Check out the pug tails - so sweet! Overall, this cake was a good combination of her interests, I think.  Her cake was White Almond Sour Cream with Vanilla Buttercream.




The next one was for a 20 year old college student.  A busy girl who works in retail while in school.  I was given creative license on all design elements, so I loved coming up with the color scheme for this one.  The colors are so harmonious and pretty together.  The bow is fondant and the cake was yellow cake with chocolate buttercream icing.


The last was for a cat lover with a great sense of humor and whimsy.  The yarn ball was a styrofoam ball, covered with the fondant strings that I created with my new toy.  It's a clay extractor - very much like the play-doh press that we all know.  You insert the fondant, attach the design plate that you want and twist away.  Creating this was was much more time-intensive than I thought it would be, but it was worth it.  I love the cats...so cartoon-y.  I found these designs online and hand-drew them onto paper, which I then cut out for a template to cut out the fondant.  The cake was a special order recipe of Cherry Chocolate Chip cake with Chocolate Buttercream icing.  I had never had that flavor before and it turned out delicious!


The day after the party, I received a call from the client.  Her family was SO happy with their gallery of cakes and they raved over the flavors.  I have another order for the same family due in a few weeks...thank you, Barbara!!


Taking a rest for a week or so while I nurse some tendonitis in my right arm....then, back in the kitchen!

Confectionately yours!