Sunday, July 31, 2011

The end of wedding cake season - thank goodness!

I think that from now on I'm only going to accept wedding cake jobs that take place in the winter.  This summer's heat and humidity did not make for good wedding cake weather. 

Thankfully there were no major mishaps this weekend - even though I piped most of the cake while it sat inside of the refrigerator so the fondant wouldn't get too tacky and the royal icing would set up quickly.

Then we got to spend a lovely hour and a half car ride with my husband holding the cake on his lap the entire time with the air conditioning blasting full force, while he slowly rotated the cake to keep the sun from beating down on one section too long.  That man is fantastic.

Wedding cake

This cake consisted of a tier of vanilla cake with strawberry puree and strawberry buttercream, two tiers of chocolate cake with chocolate ganache and chocolate buttercream, and a top tier of sugar free vanilla cake with sugar free vanilla frosting.  I then covered it in ivory fondant, burgundy ribbons, and hand piped burgundy scrollwork. 

Wedding cake

Have you ever tried to make a burgundy frosting?  It was the hardest part of making this cake.  I think it took me at least $20 worth of food coloring, and the royal icing is definitely more dye than sugar.  Yummy....

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Crewel Summer

 Ugh - I hate to leave the blog sitting unattended for so dang long, but our days have been so busy that by the time I finally get Phoebe into bed for the night, I want to do nothing more than crash on the couch.  Not only am I behind on posting to my own blog - but I'm super far behind in my blog reader, which bums be out.  I've been telling myself that I really need to edit down my subscriptions, but I haven't really had time for that either.  Sigh....

Another thing hindering my posting is that my trusty old Nikon has finally kicked the bucket - hence having to refer to Shake It Photo for blog pics since a new camera is nowhere in our budget.  But anyways, onto more lovely things.  

For mother's day this year, my mom ordered me Alicia Paulson's Daisychain ABC Sampler Kit.  The kit is no longer available, but you can purchase a pdf of the pattern here.
In case you've been living in a hole, Alicia writes the loveliest of lovely blogs, Posie Gets Cozy.  This was the very first blog I ever started reading, and is still my favorite to this day.   

This is my first foray into crewelwork and I am loving every minute of it.  I'm especially enjoying working with the Appleton crewel wool, which is so amazingly soft and really makes your satin stitches look much more polished than they actually are :)

I've been curling up on the couch with this on evenings where I'm just too tired to drag myself to the sewing machine, and it has been so calming to just stitch the night away.

My only wish is that there were more than 26 letters in the alphabet!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A little commissioned work-in-progress

The past couple of days I have been busy turning this pile of scraps.....


.....into pages for another soft book of colors.


I was recently contacted by someone who is attending a baby shower and was asked to bring a book for the baby's library.  She had seen my previous post about Phoebe's book of colors and thought it would be perfect for the shower.  What a lucky baby-to-be!  Phoebe absolutely adored hers, and it was especially great for tummy time - not to mention that she knew all of her colors by the time she was one.

I've been having a lovely time working on this project again - especially not having to measure anything and the surprising configuration the final block ends up being. 

How is everyone else's summer going?  Keeping cool I hope!  Tomorrow I'm going to brave the Ann Arbor Art fair with Phoebe, close to 100 degree temperatures, another pregnant lady, and 1-2 more kids under the age of two.  Wish us luck!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

More wedding cakes

In addition to some yet-to-be-revealed sewing that I got done this weekend, my kitchen was in wedding cake mode once again.  I swear, this summer has been filled to the brim with weddings - and there's still one left to go!

Wedding Cake with navy fondant ribbon

I've had the honor of making most of the wedding cakes for my closest group of friends from college, and with Steve being the last one to tie the knot, I'm hoping that they'll still look to me for birthday, baby, and anniversary cakes :)

This cake was a combination of chocolate cake with cookies and cream filling, and a vanilla cake with layers of key lime curd and key lime mousse. 

Groom's cake - with fondant Detroit Lions, Tigers and Redwings logos

The groom's cake was covered in hand-cut fondant Detroit lions, tigers, and redwings emblems, and per request of Steve himself, was a funfetti cake with rainbow chip filling.

Cutting the cake

Congrats to the newlyweds, Steve and Michelle!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Curtains - one of the easiest, yet most boring sewing projects

Thankfully Phoebe's room only has one window, so sewing two curtain panels didn't get too mind numbing; but hemming four yards of fabric isn't what I consider thrilling sewing.  Nevertheless, a new set of curtains really does make a huge statement for the little amount of work that goes into it.


The fabric is from Anna Maria Horner's new line, Loulouthi, and the print is Summer Totem in Grapefruit - purchased from here.  I really can't begin to tell you how darn much I love this print.  I also have a yard in both the strudel blue and tart colorways just waiting for the perfect project.


I was lucky enough to have a whole two days to myself this weekend while Phoebe and daddy took the train to go visit grandparents, so in addition to the curtains, I finally got around to painting the trim in Phoebe's room.  Most of the trim in our house is a 1970's dark oak color that really darkens up the place.  Even my husband was amazed at how much brighter Phoebe's room is with the simple change to white trim - and that's saying a lot :)

When we moved, we kept her room pretty much the same as her original nursery, and I'm not planning any major changes until we move her future sibling in there with her - which will be quite awhile down the road, since he or she will be staying in our bedroom with us for the first couple of months.


Phoebe playing hide and seek in her new curtains.


Next project on the list (besides painting all of the trim in the rest of the house) is some curtains to cover her exposed closet.  We removed the two doors because they were extremely cumbersome, and opened up into each other, silly enough.  Now I'm just debating whether to hang a long rod across the entire thing with some full curtains, or to just put in two single panels mounted by a tension rod in each doorway.   What do you think?

Friday, July 8, 2011

More pennants - in quilt form

**Edited to add - This quilt is now available in my shop! **

We had the big reveal of our Kona Challenge Quilts last week at our Modern Quilt Guild Meeting, so I can finally share my finished piece with you!  So basically Robert Kaufman provided a charm pack (about 40 five inch squares) to each of the members, and we had to come up with a quilt using only that charm pack and an additional solid or two.  No prints allowed!

So here's what I did....


I ironed a piece of fusible webbing to the back of each of my charm squares....


cut them up into assorted triangles....


and spent about three hours rearranging them until it looked like this....


If you haven't noticed, I'm a bit addicted to pennants.


I ironed them all to a large piece of Kona Snow, then zig-zag stitched around every one of them.  The quilting was done in long swooping lines - following the curve of the pennants, with some extras added in around the open areas.


And since I still had so many scraps left over - already fused and ready to go, I decided to make this quilt reversible! 


Big and little pinwheels and starbursts - and yes, I zig-zag stitched around every piece.  Thank goodness I worked on this with friends at a sew-in or I might have gone crazy!

Be sure and check out the other kona challenge quilts from Modern Quilt Guilds all over the world at their flickr page.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th!

Happy 4th of July to all of my American readers!  We spent our long weekend celebrating with friends and family at a lake in Southwest Michigan.

We celebrated with a new skirt made by momma....


homemade key lime pies,


lots of swimming,


our first fishing lesson with grandpa,



Nobody loves anything as much as kids love bubbles.

BIG bubbles,


boat rides,


beautiful sunsets,


.....and of course, fireworks - made all the more special by watching them on a boat in the middle of the lake.  

Hope you had an equally wonderful time!