Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Spin on Wedding Cake

I get to do a wedding cake in a couple weeks.  As I was meeting with the bride and family, I hoped with all of my heart that I could convince them to either do a cupcake cake or a cake buffet.  The other idea was to put one cake on each table, as the centerpiece, and have the guests serve themselves.  A friend of mine did that a few years back and it was really "sweet"!
I found so many cute pictures.  Of course, the pictures got me nowhere.  They wanted the traditional wedding cake so I thought I would show you what I found and hope that quenches my desire to make some of these.  I simply searched "wedding cupcake cake pictures" at Google and these are what I found.  The cake above was found Here.

How cute is this!!!!  I love the idea of individual cakes.  Waaaaay more work for me, but how unique would this be!
This one is a little busy, but I do like the overall effect.  The decorated boxes are a creative way to present the cupcakes.
How yummy are these balls of cake looking!?!  They are so pretty!  It looks like they were covered with a poured fondant. 
This one comes in YELLOW!  You know I love that!
Into square?  These perfect cubes of sugary goodness are adorable!  There are a couple other cupcake cakes on this site also.  I like this one the best.
Into Black and White?  Or, maybe it is for a music recital or anniversary party, over the hill birthday?  This cake is perfect!  Love the textured fondant toppers.
Don't you just love how they laced this with flowers!?!  I think it makes it look like an actual cake, but with the charm of cupcakes.
Wanna' add some color?
Desire variety?  I think the different flavors here add a little charm.
How adorable is this cake!?!  This photo leaves me speechless!

OK, enough of the cupcake cakes, how about this buffet idea?  The mom was saying they couldn't think of which flavors they wanted more.  I thought the buffet would be a creative, aesthetically pleasing way to give your guests their pick of many flavors.  Check this out.  Apparently I wasn't the first to think of the idea...
This buffet was quaint.  It has that vintage feel.  Don't you love how all the cakes are decorated so differently?
Again, love the look of the different cakes, all on different levels *a key part of the concept*
This was actually an ad for the cake stands, not necessarily for a wedding.
Like them all to look the same?  How cute are these?  This idea, of course, comes from Martha, but I found it HERE.
Now here is an over-the-top cake buffet!  Check out how decorated those cakes are.  It is CRAZY!
Crazy and gorgeous.  How many flowers do you think they used?
Love these babies!  How yummy do they look!?!
These cakes said, "Forget the flowers!"  I love the simple look of the berries. 
Now, this link is worth a click!  Lillyella, of the blog Lillyella-Uniquely You, made the cute cake cards and stands.  There are some very tempting pictures of all the cakes and what kinds they had.  This is a little more of what I was looking for, but with the cakes all white.
This Vintage Cake Buffet is cute.  I love the look of the tall cakes.  It reminds me of Pollyanna.  You know that cake the cook is making for the town's festival. 
Check out the incredible decorating on those cakes!  I had to just stare at them for a while. 
This buffet is lovely.  I think the cupcakes and cookies are a cute touch.
This buffet doesn't really have any cake, but WOW!  Check out those treats!
Another one worth the click.  The photos are of the yellow and white cake buffet.  Again, not completely cake, but lots of cupcakes and the above shown cake pops!!!

Then there is the whole trend of candy buffets at weddings.  We won't go there today. 

If I had it to do all over again, my wedding cake would have been either the cupcake cake or the cake buffet.  Lets face it, it would have been the cake buffet because I can never make up my mind!

So much cuteness, so little time!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I Haven't Finished, But I Have Been Working!

I have been working like crazy coming up with projects for our big craft Saturday we do every year at church, Super Saturday.  A bunch of ladies get together and make stuff.  It is usually Christmas decorations or things you can give as gifts.  This year, we wanted to do things that were about families or things that would give families the opportunity to play together more.  I could not resist the opportunity to make felt food.  Most ladies, when I say the words "felt food" give me very strange looks and say, "what is that!?!"  You and I are much more up on things, right?  We know how totally fun the stuff is and how there is everything imaginable made out of felt.  I have thought and thought, so much so that the tiny stitches holding  my tiny brain in place have started to pop, as I have tried to think up easy felt food patterns that will still look like food if totally messed up by the un-crafter. This is what I came up with...
Easy enough, but I don't think I will include this in the plan.  It took too long to stitch together in the end.  Plus, who wants to cover a stick with felt, and who wants their 2yr old to pull that stick out of the sucker and stick it in some other "sucker"-you know, the sibling type of "sucker."  I made this by sewing a long strip of pink, 1 1/4" wide, and a long strip of yellow, 1 1/4" wide, together.  Then spent a very long time with a very long paintbrush jamming batting clear through the looooooong tube.  Not fun.  Then, very painfully, sat even longer stitching each seam between the twisted rope in place, twice.  I am thinking.....we can still do a sucker.  Actually, it just hit me.  I will do a circle, machine sewn, then they can just stitch the grooves...more to come...Moving along...
Sno Cone. 
Got the idea seeing these from American Felt and Craft.  However, their sno cones are made of wool roving and it can be pricy.  I was trying to make this project cheep affordable :0)  I made a cone, wider than the average ice cream cone, but just as tall.  I filled it with batting, made pompoms out of tule, then stitched them to the top.  Not bad.  I gave the handsome fella a hair cut.  I have to say, they look way better with two colors than just one.
Cotton Candy
I bought a pattern from Bugga Bugs.  I gave up trying to figure it out.  I didn't know if it would be a tube, or what.  It was basically a tube.  You can buy yours here.  For the handle she recommended using heavy weight...what is the stuff called...oh, I need to go to bed....interfacing!?!  Right?  The pellon stuff.  I didn't like it.  It was very hard to sew through.  I think I will just use felt.  Maybe iron on some heat-n-bond to the inside for added stiffness or something, but I really bent up that interfacing trying to stitch the stuff closed.
Double Scoop Chocolate Delight!
Made the cone-to make cones, trace a nice sized dinner plate.  Sew lines about 1/2" apart right down the middle of the plate-sized felt.  Keep sewing lines 1/2" from that first one until you have reached the edge on both sides of the circle.  Then, turn it and sew lines in the intersecting direction.  When you have a waffle-like grid sewn into your circle, cut that circle into fourths.  Take each fourth and sew the long, straight sides together.  Turn it inside out and you have a cone.  Stuff.  For the ice cream, take a small saucer, like you would use under a tea cup.  Trace that onto felt, cut out, run a running stitch around the whole thing.  Tighten a little bit, stuff, stuff some more, then tighten all the way.  Secure your thread.  Stitch the ice cream to the cone.  Yumm.  I added another scoop, one is simply not enough.  I thought it still needed more, so I added a 3/4" strip, about 18" long before ruffling, around the bottom of each scoop.  Now that is an ice cream!
One long tube- I cut mine about 28-30"long, 4" wide.  I doubled over the felt and sewed down the strip, turn inside out, stuff, blahh, blahh, blahh.  Twist to look like a pretzel, hand stitch in place.  Stitch on the "salt crystals"-I stitch each on twice 'cause I am paranoid and know how rough my own children are with things, and how much rougher other kids are when they come over and play with our things.  Last thing I need is someone eating beads :0)

I am actually finished with the felt food samples.  I am not adding any more.  Those couple will keep any beginner busy for days.  What else are we doing for our Super Saturday?
Here is a peek, finished product to come...
Birthday banner-cut out on my new sizzix die!!!  They are such super fast shippers!
Birthday Box
I am totally excited about this one!  One envelope for each month, will have a paper to write down names and birth dates of all celebraters for that month.  There will be a magnet on the back so you can hang it on the fridge if you want.  You can even store the cards for each month in the envelopes!  
Spunked-up note books (inspired by Sisters Stuff-Love Them- Here and Here !!!)
not finished yet-hoping they can keep a few kids quiet during church :0)
Also TOTALLY THRILLED with what I am going to do with this!!! I have driven across the valley TWICE this week to get this metal from my favorite metal supplier.  The first time for the 12x12, the second for the idea that hit me last night.  Just you wait and see......
Now, off to bed!

Another Useless Video That Made Me Chuckle

I am a total Jane Austen fan. This made me chuckle. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Canning Hamburger

I promised you heart-stoppingly disgusting pictures of my hamburger canning process a few days back.  Today is your lucky day!
A friend of mine is having a Food Storage Canning Event and needed the hamburger canned.  I offered to do half of it.  She dropped off 30lbs of raw hamburger for me to play with :0)  I am just warning you now, this is going to be gross.
If you are familiar with canning, you sterilize your jars, lids and wash the screw bands.  I do not keep the jars hot.  The hamburger I put in them is cold and I have broken a few bottles along the way putting cold food in hot jars.  After I sterilize the jars, I let them cool on the counter.  I was doing 30 jars so I just sterilized them all, and by the time I got them all done, the first jars were cool enough to fill.
I really like the 93% fat free beef.  Last time I grabbed the 85% on accident, and there was double the fat in the jar at the end-So Totally GROSS!  In planning for how much meat to buy, you can fit one pound in a pint jar, 2 lbs in a quart jar.  It is pretty much exact, probably why the jars are the sizes they are :0)
Squish that meat in the jar.  I fill it about 2/3 of the way, then I stick my hand in there and moosh through it all to make sure there are no air bubbles.  *Note* I really prefer wide-mouth jars for canning meat-it is easier to get your hand in to moosh, and it is easier to get the cooked meat out later, but either size works.

After that, I fill the jar the rest of the way.  I fill all the jars I am going to process, then add 1/2tsp sea salt to each pint, 1tsp sea salt to each quart.  I was told by my local kitchen store that there is actually less sodium in sea salt than regular table salt, adding one more reason to why it is the only kind of salt I use. 

When all the jars are filled, wipe the brim with a wet rag to get rid of any mess that would keep the lid from forming a seal, and top the jars with the sterilized lids and firmly screw on the screw band.  Process pints for 75 minutes @ 15lbs of pressure.  Process Quarts for 90 minutes @ the same.
Here is my finished product.  One friend of mine says it looks like an ugly science experiment.  The front jar is not meat, but black beans-that is why it looks different.  You process beans the same amount of time.  I had an extra space in the pressure canner and didn't want to waste it so I threw together one jar of beans.
If you are a fan of beans, you wash 2/3c. of dried beans for pint jars, 1 1/3c for quart, throw them in a jar (no pre-soaking needed!), add the same amount of salt in the jars as you do for the meat, then fill the jars the rest of the way with water.  Same processing times as the meat.

One really gross thing about canning your beef is the ring of fat that accumulates at the top.  It might be gross, but that much fat is in the meat whether you can it or cook it on the stove.  It is actually nice this way because I can reach in there with a spoon and scoop it out easily.  I just hate to look at it...or to scoop it for that matter.  I have also been known to rinse the meat after taking it out of the jar to get the rest of the fat off.  Sounds even grosser, doesn't it?  I know, but then we aren't eating it!

Why can your meat?  I don't know why I do it.  I wanted to learn, for some strange, unexplainable reason. 

Bonus points-
More freezer space

 Meat already cooked, just waiting for you to create something yummy

No pan mess/dish washing night after night

You know what is in there

Intense flavor-I will throw taco seasoning in a batch every now and then, also spaghetti seasoning

The pride of knowing that you totally made that, all by yourself

Lastly, it is one small sense of connection to all those fabulous women ancestors of centuries past that worked and slaved, resulting in you and I here to craft today!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Wii Love Cake!

Her-shey Is!!!  I got to make this delicious Chocolate Fudge Peanut Butter Cup Video Game Cake for a party my good friend, and fantastic follower, Jennifer threw for her son.  He is into video games, like any self-respecting teenage boy should be, right?  He has a Wii and a PS2, so what else should be on his cake!?! 
The party was a surprise so she had to ask him randomly what kind of cake would be nice for his birthday.  He came up with "How about chocolate and peanut butter?"  I think this cake fit the bill.
I started with a 10" chocolate fudge cake, torted once with Reese's Peanut Butter Cup filling (my own special concoction).  It was really yummy with this chocolate fudge cake-it was not as sweet as milk chocolate cake, a nice balance with the very sweet PB filling.
I frosted the top with peanut butter buttercream frosting, the sides with chocolate buttercream. 
I think I need a glass of milk just looking at the picture :0)
I chopped up 16 snack sized Reese's PB Cups and smooshed them into the sides.  Next, added the chocolate boarders, small PB Cups around the bottom, and the fondant decorations I made yesterday.
The Wii Mii was the most stressful.  I made a top, a bottom, and a head- all separate pieces, all formed on toothpicks and BBQ skewers.  I got a little anxious and put the head on.  I was worried that if I waited til the next day, the fondant would be too hard for the toothpicks to make it through.  Instead, the guy ended up leaning back a little farther than planned.  The face took a couple wipe offs before I got this one.  I am still not happy with it, but I have to say, it isn't bad for my first fondant molding attempt ever!
The Play Station 2
I made the base out of a Jello box. Madison and Eli both agreed that the box was too square, so we added a store bought rice crispy treat to the one end.  That seemed to do the trick.  I buttercreamed it, then covered w/ black fondant, used a dowel to make the lines in the front, toothpick for the plug holes.
I was rather stressed out by the thought of this controller, but it ended up rather fun once I got started.  I found a picture online to look at.  I didn't have much black fondant left, so I made a log of some gray that I had, then wrapped the black around it.  Then it was playdough time.  I pushed and molded, sliced some with an exacto knife, and vwah-la!  Makes me want to play a mini video game with some barbies or someone very small :0)
I was going to make the white part of the Wii with just fondant, but was worried that it wouldn't stay standing up over night.  I found some more store bought rice crispy treats (someone left after Bunco last week-thank you!) and wrapped them in the white fondant.  The Wii console was very simple to make from there.  I do need to get another fondant paddle.  I used the one I have to push on one side, pushing against my hand on the other.  That made one side smooth, and put finger marks in the other.  I would switch and it would happen all over again.  Frustrating!  I will put that on my shopping list!
I had a ton of fun making all the buttons and details on this Wii-mote.  I used corn syrup for the A button.  It didn't dry in time to put the A on it(needs more than one day I guess), and ended up dripping a little, but I was able to fix it before delivery.

This cake was very enjoyable to make.  It was fun to try my hand at sculpting and makes me want to do some more.  I would recommend using store bought fondant for the molding projects.  I found that the marshmallow fondant was a little dry and cracky, if you know what I mean.  Oh, and speaking of "cracky"...
My poor Mii had a little leaning problem, as mentioned before.  I was able to fix it with some wedges of chocolate from one of those small PB Cups.  Ooops, now the Mii has a little "plumbers problem"  Food thing this cake was for a friend and a friend with a sense of humor!    I wasn't sure what else to do.  With regular frosting you can just pipe over the gaps.  I guess I could have added a belt.  Oh well, I am sure her son loved that added effect :0)

Next, I need to try gum paste.  The price is what stops me, but I am very curious how it is different.  That and molding chocolates.  You can expect to see more projects like this in the future!

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