Monday, January 30, 2012

Valentine Crafts

I'm not usually one to decorate for the non-holiday holidays such as Valentines Day (I figure if you don't get a day off of work, does it really count??). But then I kept seeing really cute crafts that I wanted to make. And they were just so cheery and since I took down my Christmas decor I've been feeling kind of depressed with the plain and/or winter themed decor (and by decor, I mean the one wreath I made to make myself feel less like all the decor was gone after Christmas).

So over the weekend I went out and got supplies to make the following:
 A heart pillow, that I saw on pinterest. Mine's not done, so this is her picture.

 An argyle wreath. Is this not the most adorable wreath ever? Mine looks just like hers, but it's smaller. I'll show you soon. I promise.

 This was my TV watching project. Pillow hearts! I need many, many more to fill my jar. Well, maybe 4 more. They only take a few minutes. I was lazy and did a whip stitch instead of the blanket stitch like hers above because I didn't want to have to go to youtube and look it up. Yup, that lazy.

Then I thought it would be fun to whip something up for the girls. Why not heart flower hairclips? I started these last week, but didn't get back to them until this weekend. This is what they're supposed to look like:

Mine do not. They're kind of wonky. I'm trying to figure out if there is a way to save them. Ha!

Do you decorate for Valentines day?? I've decided I should decorate for all holidays/seasons as a way to hide my lack of anything remotely close to home decor style...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wilton Course - Final Cake Fondant and Gumpaste

Um, so remember those pesky camera features I know nothing about? Well apparently I took all the in-class pictures with my camera set on vivid colour. Which is apparently another word for freakishly bright-glowy colours. Seriously they hurt my eyes to look at when I uploaded them. I toned them down a bit, but they're still a bit wonky in my mind. I snapped a few more on my counter today so I wouldn't hate all the pictures of my final cake.

See? Kind of glowy daisy centres. And this is after the tone down! Though the cake yellow is more accurate than below...

I retook some of my cake on my kitchen counter in fading light, so hopefully it's not too bad for you to get a true understanding of the colour. But just know none of these are quite true to colour! I will read that camera manual very soon, I promise...

Here are some of my class mate's final cakes as well. And my instructor's. I taught HIM how to make the drape. Ha!

This one her cake cracked and so she iced it together. It was quite lumpy. And then she had trouble with the fondant cracking from drying out. I'm impressed with how much a person is able to hide with flowers and borders!
 We decided that the most impressive fondant cake is a pure white, square cake with nothing on it for embellishments (used to hide all our "sins").  Some day I will be able to make one.

Well, I have now finished the basic wilton classes and made a fondant cake. That's two more off the list, people! Go me!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wilton Course - Fondant and Gumpaste

I meant to write a post about each of the class nights and show you my mad fondant/gumpaste skills each week. And by mad, I mean, how mad I got at the fondant and gumpaste. Ha! Not really... But then in order to show you that means taking pictures.

Mark gave me a new camera for Christmas. I still haven't figured it out. Like even the basics like how to delete pictures. It shouldn't be hard, I know. But I can't figure it out without the manual. Which is on CDrom, which means I have to sit down without the girls distracting me and actually figure things out. So who knows how my pictures are going to look when I upload them.

And that's the reason why I haven't blogged about a lot of things. That's a terrible excuse, I know. But my sister challenged me to do one of those photo a day things starting next week, so hopefully that will help me learn a bit more about my camera.

In the mean time I took some pictures of the flowers that I learned, save for two of them. Which actually makes me sad. I went down to get them from my stash to take pictures of them for you today and I accidentally dropped the container and my carnations and calla lilies shattered. Sad day.

But I have Mums to show you. Well, I mum. I think that's the name of the flower when there's only one. Or is it one of those things that the name itself sound plural?? I don't actually know. Now I'm babbeling.

I also made daisies. Let me have a little wilton rant. They give you these crap plastic cutters in your kit. They suck. They leave little thin edges on all your flowers that make them look "hairy." I learned from another classmate that the trick to overcome this is to put the cutter under the fondant and roll your rolling pin over it instead of pressing down. This was learned after making all my flowers, so I still have to try it. But why the heck can't wilton make a metal one?? And don't they know that if they give us the cheap plastic one that sucks, we'll all go buy the good one and thus make them more money? Who is in charge of their product department. They obviously need some guidance!

Oh and we learned another rose. Wilton sure loves roses. But gumpaste is the easiest one for me, by far. Pretty hard to mess up. That's how I like it.

And of course the calla lilies and carnations that are picture-less. And we learned about borders and covering cake boards (total waste of fondant if you ask me) and how to actually cover a cake (well the round ones, we're on our own for learning square, which I hear is a beast).

Tune in tomorrow to see my final cake. Which I'm going to finally cut into tonight. I've been admiring it on my counter all day. I was even a mean auntie and didn't offer any to my nephew who was eying it this morning!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Things I'm SO over...

 1. Waking up in the night because of children. Or the husband. Or alarm clocks for crazy shifts. Or the wind. Or worse, the neighbour's windchimes.
2. Trying to cook dinner with "helpers" who don't know the definition of the word help.
3. Slow computers, even if it is my own fault for having too many tabs open.
4. Drivers who can't figure out how to drive in winter.
5. Canadian prices vs. American prices. It's ridiculous.
6. Places that don't ship to Canada or can't figure out a way to do it cheaply, causing the shipping to be more expensive than the item.
7. My wardrobe that never seems to have the right clothes in it.
8. Winter.
9. Chalkboard paint, keep calm posters (I've been seriously going on about this one for over a year) and owls. I don't get it.
10. Long hair. You know, the kind with no layers, or shape or anything. To quote Hairspray, "Hair is not supposed to lie there like a dead thing on your face."

Just needed a little rant. Thanks!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Christmas Dresses

I know, Christmas was so last month! But I haven't blogged about some of these things, and since this the closest I get to scrapbooking, I'm going to pepper in a few Christmas posts so that they're documented. You'll forgive me, right??
I would love to know what they're thinking in this picture. So many caption options...
I absolutely love the girls dresses this year (thank you Children's place for such a great deal!). I love that they're raspberry coloured so they don't scream Christmas, which means they can wear them over the winter too. I don't like that they're finicky to wash. And a pain to iron (I figured out that wetting them and putting them on delicate in the dryer is MUCH faster).

This sums up so much of her personality

Now I need to learn to plan for time for pictures and not try to do it in the rush of going out the door. I got pictures of the girls and then after Mady already had her coat on we realized we needed cousin pictures (which is always...interesting to try to pull off). I can't say the littlest ones cooperated very well. But I look forward to these types of pictures showing up at their weddings some day.

Oh my goodness, I love the expressions.

They loved us by this point. Ha!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

WIlton Class Fondant and Gumpaste

In keeping with working on my 30 before 30 list, I signed up for a fondant and gumpaste class at Michaels this month. This will complete 2 items on my list because it will be the end of the wilton classes and it will hopefully have me successfully ice a cake with fondant. If it doesn't we can chalk this class up to an epic fail. Ha!

I'm having a ton of fun learning how to make flowers out of fondant. And I think I've got 2 items now for my 35 before 35 list! Eventually I would love to take the tall cakes class and the advanced gumpaste, but I have way too much to do on my current list, so I'm not letting myself do it now. :)

Our first class we made the bases for roses, mums and carnations, kind of boring stuff, so I didn't take pictures. And then we learned that famous cake topping bow. Which is actually quite simple, and yet finicky to actually get to look nice. Mine was decent for a first attempt, but it will need additional work so as to not crack and to actually fit all the loops into the bow evenly. But then of course I went on-line looking at cakes this week and saw a whole bunch that have a regularly tied-looking bow on top of them and now I want to learn that. Thank goodness for YouTube...Otherwise I'd be cake classes for eternity!

My mother in law and sister in law were visiting on the weekend and both of them have birthdays this week (Happy Birthday!!), so I made them a cake and we celebrated their birthday's a bit early. I didn't have enough of the pink fondant left to make the ribbons to "tie" the cake up, so instead I pulled out some of my Royal icing rose buds. I'm kind of seeing why people keep stashes of flowers on hand. It could be very useful for decorating last minute cakes. Maybe one saturday I'll just make stuff. It would probably good for honing the skill.

Week two we finished our roses, carnations and learned calla lillies. I'll share those in the next day or so. Those are actually pretty cool.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Home Made Christmas Gifts

I had fun making gifts for each of my nieces and nephews this year.

For my oldest niece I made her a necklace with her initial (I totally didn't get a picture).

For my oldest nephew, who is 8, I made marshmallow guns. Totally fun! I follow this tutorial if you're interested. Again, I had it wrapped before I got a picture and then once it was opened, well, they were busy shooting marshmallows...

For my next older nephew, who is 4, he lives in a tiny little town and thus they have to drive a lot in the car (the closest city is 2 hours away). So I made him a bunch of travel bingo style games (there are 2 sheets double-sided) in a pie plate with magnetic buttons and then a marble maze. All of them fit into a little draw string bag.

The youngest nephew is 2 and loves cars. He has some car mats, but they're all huge. I figured a smaller one that fits in the diaper bag (and on a church pew) would probably be a useful and fun item. So I designed this car mat, kind of putting together various ideas from around the internet. I used my silhouette to make the graphic for the front.

And for my youngest niece I made some matching dolls and cups that I saw online last year. I can't for the life of me find the link, so if you know where I got the idea, please pass on the site so I can give credit.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Recovery In Progress...

Well, it's been nearly 2 weeks since Christmas and I finally feel like I have recovered. Mostly.

I don't know if it's the "down time" (and I say that in quotes because Christmas is anything but relaxing down time around here!), but some how it seems that whenever we have a holiday we get sick. This year produced 2 colds, followed by a stomach bug, followed by another cold, with no days in between. I have been scouring my house trying to rid it of anything and everything sick. Which has probably made the recovery longer.

But this week everything goes back to normal, which kind of means I need to get everything back on track, including remembering to take some time to blog. I really do miss it when I don't get to sit down and write. Even if it's writing babble.

I still have posts that I promised you back in December to finally get up. I will get to that this week. Really!

And my dear sweet husband gave me a new camera for Christmas which will make taking pictures easier. Except I need to spend some time with its manual because I find certain menu items once and then can't remember how I got there in order to ever go back. Can you believe I haven't even figured out how to delete pictures? Ya, and it's not even a DSLR. I can't imagine if I had that much of a learning curve. We'll start with this one and go from there. :)