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 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!