Saturday, March 1, 2014

Let's catch up over cake...

January is now a distant memory and with the last few weeks being a blur of school starts, swim classes and house renovations, there's not been a lot of time for the kind of creativity that this blog documents!

But there have been two cakes.

First was for my friend's little girl who was coming to Sydney for a very special trip with her mum and who would be celebrating her 7th birthday while she was here.  I wanted to make something with a Sydney theme, showing some of the sights that she would be seeing on her trip.

The toppers were made from mexican paste and I hand-painted the pictures on to the pieces of hardened icing with Wilton gel colours mixed with vodka.  The outlines were done with a black edible pen.  I made all the toppers in advance and iced the cake and poked them in in a record fifteen minutes in the morning as with waffles for breakfast and a trip to Taronga Zoo, time was a bit tight!

Gwenda's monochrome cake...

Then yesterday I put the finishing touches on this cake that I have been making for a friend's mum who is turning 70 today.  There was a moment of high drama last night when I transferred the white fondant to the cake successfully, only to have it split around the top edge and fall off the cake!  That's when I muttered a few expletives under my breath and made a cup of tea to think about plan b.  That's when I decided to do the louvres on the cake (using what fondant I could salvage).

I'm glad I had that little disaster because I like the finished product so much more with the vertical louvres.  The bow, rose and tag I made in advance by using some fondant mixed with Tylose so they would harden.

And, in completely unrelated news, we just finished renovating our rental in New Zealand and I thought you might like a nice little "before and after" bathroom pic.

I have some other exciting news to share, but that will have to be in my next post...

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Guardian

Late November always sees me rushing to finish the Christmas crafting ideas I had in October, so that I can mail off parcels to around the world.

This week I finished this piece for a friend.  The pattern "The Guardian" is one I bought from this lovely site "What Delilah Did". 

Also last week I designed myself a stamp for using on my handmade items and sent it off to this site to have it made up.  The whole process was so easy and the stamp was delivered in two days.  I get really excited about daft stuff like customised stamps, so it was an exciting week for me!

Hopefully The Guardian will watch over my friend's Christmases for many years to come.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Pin Cushion Gift

I usually get started making gifts and decorations for Christmas in October, and even with post-move cupboards still crying out for organisation (and the occasional box left still unpacked), I have made an earnest start.

Miss S's gift for Grandma, last Christmas

Miss S, my seven year-old is starting to take an interest in sewing and embroidery.  She is also obsessed with the winged heart motif and I find it doodled all over pieces of scrap paper everywhere in the house!

So, it was a logical progression to start a sewing kit for her for Christmas, and the design for this embroidered pin cushion was easy to choose.

I used an 18pt linen embroidery fabric in a shade of oatmeal and drew the design, tracing through a light-source from a print-out behind.  I used the same image as Mr Muck's birthday card (see post here).

I then filled in some areas with fabric paint (I use Pebeo fabric paints - just iron when they are dry and they're colourfast).  I then went over the outlines using a combination of split stitch and long-stitch embroidery.

Now to source the other parts of the kit...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Moving on, settling in, catching up...

Neptune's jewellery, Cable Bay, NZ

I can't believe it's been so long since my last post.  I've had a pretty good excuse for my extended bloggy silence.  In late May myself and my whole family left Switzerland where we were living and flew to New Zealand, where we stayed for three months with family.  Then we moved to Sydney, Australia, phew!

Suffice to say there's not been much time (or available resources) for creative projects in the last five months, but that doesn't mean there's been no creativity!

My eldest, Miss S, turned 7 in July and since we were in New Zealand (where it was mid-winter at the time), we decided to have a Swiss Winter themed bash complete with Swiss-chalet-in-the-snow themed cake and the party itself was held at an indoor ski field.

The chalet I made from gingerbread and iced with fondant.  The rest of the cake was my usual chocolate cake iced with chocolate ganache and fondant over top.

This cake would have been different if I had made it at home, as all my specialist equipment was on a container ship heading across the Atlantic!  So it was a low-tech cake, but that in itself was quite fun - using what I had available and being a bit innovative with materials and re-purposing tools from my mum's kitchen drawers.

Moving forward several weeks, last Sunday gone I locked myself in my bedroom and began painting.  I wanted to do a picture for our guest quarters (a self-contained flat downstairs in the house we are renting).  The walls down there are very bare and I had been toying with the idea of doing a painting of a Swiss scene to remind me of our time there.

So this is the finished product - "Limmat at Dusk".  The Limmat is the river that runs through the old part of Zurich city. It felt so great to be painting again.  I can't remember the last time I did a painting, it would be over five years ago at least!

Well, thanks to all my faithful and new readers who have kept up with me during my hiatus.

Watch this space for my posts on early Christmas crafting.  I need to come up with a theme for Christmas this year... any suggestions?

Rachel x

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