Saturday, November 30, 2013
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.
Posted by Rachel B at 12:15 AM
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
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...
Posted by Rachel B at 2:39 AM
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
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?
Friday, April 12, 2013
Yesterday we had a little birthday dinner party for my son Jethro who turned four.
Usually my kids pick a theme for their party and that helps me decide on a cake, but this time it was the other way around.
Months ago when quizzed about what he wanted for his cake, Jet waivered between being quite specific and rather vague. He wanted the exact same cake as last year, but could he have Lightning McQueen on it? Hmmmmm.... I didn't really like the idea of making the same cake twice, nor trying to make a red race car seem congruent with a prehistoric world full of dinosaurs :).
In the end, I decided that his cake would incorporate several of his favourite things, and the best way to do that was to make a toy box cake.
It was a labour of love, and whilst I am glad I made it, it's not a cake I would want to make again because of the time put into it. Several weeks ago I began making toys - nearly all of them - miniatures of Jethro's favourite toys.
There was Stephen the Stegosaurus, his cuddly bedtime friend, made of fondant with gumpaste spikes.
Thomas the Tank Engine, also made of fondant.
Lightning Mc Queen on a puzzle:
This puzzle was made from mexican paste - a modelling paste which dries very hard (recipe here). I then cut it out using this nifty sandwich cutter, before painting the image on with food colouring paste diluted with vodka. The outlines were done with an edible marker.
A simplified version of his favourite stacking rainbow:
The Lego blocks were made from Wilton Candy Melts which I set in a Lego block ice cube tray. I also made some juggling balls, a wooden block, and Chick Hicks, from the first Cars movie.
A couple of weeks ago I covered the cake board in grey fondant and fondant dots so it would look like a Lego board. This is a good thing to do well in advance as you really do need the fondant to dry a bit, and so long as you cover it loosely in clingfilm to keep the dust off, it is OK to be stored for about a month.
The hardest part of the cake was definitely the actual toy box! I baked two chocolate celebration cakes in a roasting tin I had (recipe at the end of this post). I then cut the edges off and stacked them on top of one another. I iced them in chocolate buttercream before decorating with chocolate fondant on which I created a wood-grain effect with a pointed modelling tool.
It was a fun cake to make, despite all the work and despite stretching myself a little too thin whilst doing it!
All this talk of chocolate is making me hungry. Is 10am too early for tea and cake?