Monday, July 23, 2012

June Humble Artists Swap

Here is my card from our last swap in June.

The strict guidelines were:
  • Must have a min. of 8 layers stacked
  • Do not use any patterned paper
  • Do not use any neutral cardstock (except for card base)
  • Do not use non-paper embellishments such as ribbon, brads etc
  • Do not use stamp sets with "border" or "background" in their name
  • Use at least 6 different stamped images
  • Create a paper embellishment that can count for at least 2 of the layers
  • Card must be at least 4.25x5.5"
I must say that I really struggled with this one! I scrapped a couple of designs before I settled on this one (mostly because I was running out of time).  I had difficulty not using neutral colors, and I reeeeally wanted to add some ribbon or at least a button...but managed to create them with paper. That's what I like about these swap challenges, they force me to step out of my box and think. No patterned paper allowed? Emboss and stamp!
The cards I received form the other swap gals are stunning as usual, they make it seem so easy! You can find the links to their blogs in my sidebar, go check them out.

Thanks for stopping in today!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Can you absorb sugar calories transdermally?

I sure hope not!  This month has had me up to my elbows in sugar (literally), and I'm sure I've gained 10 lbs just by osmosis and inhalation! Tell me, professional do you not gain weight working with sugar all the time?

Here's my latest project:
  This awesome Mom is going all out for her daughter's Sweet 16. Since she has a summer birthday she has never really gotten a party with all of her friends, so her Mom decided to fix that this year. She wanted a fabulous cake to go along with the amazing day she has planned. She told me her favorite color was purple and she loved zebra print.

And I learned that you can use Stickles on dollar store candles!
Just scrape off the yucky green border that it came with, and add some glam!

I found out that purple is a really hard color to tint my hands were almost fushia for 2 days. Yes, I know you can wear latex gloves to work in the color, but the fondant kept sticking to the gloves so I ditched em.  All in all, I had a blast making this cake!  The zebra stripes were actually very easy after I watched a couple of youtube videos. 

I want to wish Jenn a very special Sweet 16 Birthday!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

What does 4 lbs of sugar look like?

A quick post today to share a Graduation cake I was asked to make for a big party.  Here is what I've been doing for the past 3 days:

Now, this is a gigantic give some scale, the base of the grad cap is a stacked 8" round cake! It was ordered for 75 people, so should be plenty.  The cake is a chocolate fudge sour cream cake with oreo cream filling, covered in buttercream frosting, with fondant/gumpaste accents.  The grad cap board is covered cardboard, but everything else on this cake is edible. The entire grad cap is covered with modelling chocolate.
It didn't actually take 3 days worth of labour. One of these days I will have to time how many actual hours go into a cake like this, but here's how I break it down:

Design Stage-browse internet for ideas, sketch a plan, confirm with graduate's mother, browse recipes, check supplies, order supplies if needed because I live in the middle of nowhere, make up grocery list, buy ingredients, pick up supplies from the post office. (?several random minutes over a week, I'll estimate 2 hours)
Day1-bake the cakes (There are four 9x13" and two 8" round in this one, 20 min mixer time and 4-5 hours oven time but I was also doing laundry) Plus cleanup
Day 2-make filling and fill and stack cakes. Also make icing and crumb coat cakes (maybe 2 hours) Then make fondant and gumpaste accents (while watching TV...probably 3 hours in the evening, and let accents dry/harden overnight) Plus clean up.
Day 3-do top smooth coat icing, add all the accents, pipe the borders (approx. 2 hours), swear 800 times when I smudge the smooth coat with my boob and have to fix it (if you look real hard at the 2nd picture you'll be able to see where), swear another 200 times when I realize that the cake drum board flexes when the cake is moved (causing icing to crackle!) so hunt for another cake board to support weight, swear some more when the second board won't fit in the fridge and have to find another...pause to have an adult beverage and think...find large cutting board that will fit and slide it under the first one without wrecking the cake...get the whole thing into the fridge without wrecking it...have a second adult beverage while staring at the mess that is my kitchen. Then 5 min making a sign for the fridge that says "Open this door and you die" to keep everyone out (I have a second fridge in the garage for extras that I use for my cakes, but the popsicles and beers are in there and it's summer)  So...Day 3 was pretty much all cake related, but if you subtract time spent swearing and drinking...maybe 4 hours actual cake labour) Plus clean up.
Rough total: 3 days of kitchen chaos, 15 hours of work plus clean up time.
It's the clean up that I hate the most. Anything that touches the buttercream icing is very greasy to wash off, and there is usually icing sugar everywhere. I have a rolling cart that I store all my cake decorating supplies in, and it is usually strewn all over the kitchen and needs to be sorted out and put back.

I enjoy doing this for family and friends, but I don't think I could make this a career. Too much to clean up, and way too much swearing and drinking going on :) And, I would need to do this at Cake Boss level to make any money at it. For now, it will be another one of my messy hobbies that my family has to put up with. They don't mind too much, I let them lick the bowls when I'm done.

Happy Canada Day!