Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Orange you happy I posted?

Pardon the pun, but rarely do you have an opportunity to make orange jokes!  For this orange occasion, I made Emily and her roommates an orange-themed set for the kitchen.  It all started with this picture I found a while back:

I found a bunch of orange-themed items at the craft store, link plates, napkins, and cups with oranges all over them.  The night before, Emily had found a plain green tablecloth.  I wanted to jazz it up and tie in her theme, so I made a set of placemats and a table runner, which I rolled up and tied off with a green ribbon.

Here are the placemats:

and here is the table (er, counter) runner:

Orange you glad I shared this with you?  (Okay, okay, I'm done!)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Infamous Castle

It's been a week since the wedding, which is long enough to gather the courage to post the castle on the blog.  I made this cake for some friends' wedding last week (with some help from my awesome husband, who is so level-headed in stressful situations).  The castle is not a groom's cake--it's the wedding cake

They asked for a fudge marble castle cake.  I cheated and used the box mixes (10 of them, in all) because I think they are moister than many homemade recipes, but I whipped up batch after batch of my secret recipe icing (okay, Wilton's recipe for icing, but that almond flavoring gives it a "wow" factor!). 

Mmmmm...fudge marbley goodness!

I spent two full days making the cake, and I needed a third to do everything I wanted to do.  I was afraid to start any earlier than that for fear that the cake might dry out.  I wanted to make the turrets prettier, and add vines and leaves around the walls to cover up any imperfections.  While there are plenty of things that I would like to change or correct, I take comfort in the fact that I nailed the taste part of the challenge.  The cake was moist, the icing was yummy, and it wasn't a boring white cake (thanks to the bride and groom for thinking outside the box!).  Here's another up-close picture:

I used a technique on the castle walls that imprints a cobblestone pattern.  (The fondant door had a wood imprint.)  The windows on the turrets were actually Jolly Ranchers that I had melted down and shaped into "stained glass."  The "water" around the castle was blue icing covered in piping gel.  This was my absolute favorite part!  I thought that part looked so cool.  There was grass piped around the edge of the base cake where the grass met the water, and Adam made fondant "rocks" to go around the cake board.  He also added the "teeth" to the crenulations (aka the jagged pieces at the top of the towers).  The bride and groom provided the Lego figures and dragon. 

The biggest lesson I learned from this cake is that I want to work on my levelling skills.  I am so scared that I am either wasting cake or not going to have enough left that I am so hesitant to cut any away.  Seeing the slight lean to the castle shows me that it's worth it to hack it up a little to give it a more solid foundation. 

Two more things I learned:
a) While it's nice to have your cake mostly put together before you deliver it so you can just add some finishing touches on site, it may not be worth it when you hit a bump in the road and a turret falls off and you're gluing it back onto the castle with your emergency reserves of icing while the wedding guests are watching.
b) The castle cake is a one-time thing.  I have no intention of making another one...ever...but I love the people I made it for! :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Recent cards

I love my Cricut!  I made this swirly shoe card for Christy using the new Summer in Paris cartridge.  In case the quote's not showing up, it says "Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but she did it backwards and in high heels." 

I rediscovered a onesie template I had, and since I have quite a few friends who are welcoming little ones right now I made a few: