Friday, June 3, 2011

21st Birthday Cake... Barbie Style.

It's been over 2 weeks since my last post...  I have doubled my hours at work, and I've been working on a project that is taking foreverr. (don't worry! you'll get to see it later!). Anyway, yesterday was my sister's 21st birthday, so I took a break from that other project to make her a cake.

No, the "1" in "21" was not a typo! Kristin really did turn 21. We had seen pictures of other people's Barbie cakes and wished we had an occasion to make one for. Also, when she lived in Mexico last year, she saw a dress in Chiapas that she loved, and the idea for her birthday cake was born. (Yes, I am horribly aware of that massive, empty spot in the front of the cake.)

I know it doesn't look exactly the same. I explained to her how terrible the black icing would taste, and she gave me a new color scheme to work with. Kristin also decided to have less leaves and no vines or random orange dots between the flowers. It would have been more icing than cake if we had kept them in there.

Anyway, I'm going to break it down to show you how I formed the cake. I'm thinking I'll do a separate post on the flowers, since I came up with them on my own and rather like how they turned out. Just so you know, this cake is deceptively small. It took 3 cake boxes, and there were only 9 mini cupcakes left over.

First off, I poured the batter into 2 different sized glass bowls and one round cake pan. For the cake pan, I baked it according to directions. For the bowls, however, I lowered the temperature by 25ºF and baked until it was all the way done. While that was baking, I searched for my Barbie with red hair and covered her with plastic wrap from her shoulders down. You don't really have to wrap her torso, but I was worried about icing either getting in the cracks or staining the plastic. Once the cakes were done, I cut a hole in the middle, stacked, them, and stuck Barbie in her new dress.

I used this buttercream icing recipe. It tasted really yummy, but the heat and humidity made the flowers sweat, as you'll see later. In an effort to give the dress ripples and waves Because I knew I would be covering up the base with flowers and vines, I didn't smooth out the first layer of icing. Here's a close-up picture of the flowers:

They're really shiny from the all-butter icing. But other than that, they tasted delicious and hardened wonderfully!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

upcycled. crochet sandals.

Last week, I was cleaning out my closet and ran across these little guys.

They're not exactly ugly, but they've definitely seen better days. And it had been so long since I'd worn them, I didn't even remember breaking the left flip flop. Well a few days prior, I got a catalog from Alloy (really random, since I've never bought anything from them) and saw [these] sandals. cutee!! However, I have a strict don't-pay-over-$25-unless-they're-winter-boots policy.

The solution? upcycle!

I used materials that I already had, so the color of yarn (yes. yarn. when they wear out, maybe I'll get hemp.) was between a brown that absolutely did not match and white. Both fabrics used for the back were left over from previous projects. I also did not have any zippers, so I just went for the button-up look.

I kind of rushed through these, so I didn't do a lot of planning. In hindsight, I would have bought something a little sturdier to crochet with, and I would have put interfacing in the back (yes. I know. I can't believe I missed it.).

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

a whale of a cake.

Making this cake was a blast! It took a really long time, but it wasn't really difficult. To be honest, the hardest part was making the shape and putting the first layer of icing on him.

To start, I needed to make the shape. For the base, I used a plain circular cake pan. For his head/body, I used a glass bowl that was safe for the oven (that's super important!). For the tail, I didn't have anything shaped like that already, so I just put batter in a glass bread pan and cut it to the right shape after it was baked. It was actually fun carving out the shape, but it was really difficult, since cake is crumbly.

As you can see, if you plan on covering a cake with decorations, the base layer of icing doesn't need to be perfectly smooth.

For the decorating part, I covered the little guy with stars (which took forever), put a face on him. I had extra light blue icing, so I randomly decided to go back over the top part and make some waves crashing up alongside him. Then I added seashells and seaweed to the base.

Here's a close-up of his face:

Monday, May 2, 2011

cute stripes nail design

It's finals week and I'm stressed. I've been studying all weekend, so I took a break this morning and painted my nails while I made granola (more on that later).

It's super simple. Basically, here's the colors I used:

You can just ignore that gold one on the right. I didn't end up using it. Anyway, I just bought that Sally Hansen Insta-Dri polish the other day and was eager to use it. It's wonderful! It took one coat to get the purest opaque color ever! I also used Freja by Zoya (my favorite brand. ever.) which is actually a metallic polish, so it needs 2 coats. Here's a picture after the base coat and first coat of color:

I've found that when painting nails with two colors, it adds a nice accent if one nail is painted opposite of the others. Anyway, I let them dry, added a second coat to the silver, and painted the stripe. The Insta-Dri dried a little too quickly, so it ended up bumpy, but here's a picture:

As you can see, I just painted a thick stripe diagonally across the nail. This design is very forgiving and allows you to fix any wavy lines by going back over it or making it wider. Just as a general guideline: when you paint your nails with a design, it's best to leave one or two nails solid. Otherwise it might end up looking tacky.

Done! Personally, I prefer to not have symmetrical hands (accent nails and solid nails on the same fingers), but it's all in how you like it. Also, just ignore the nail polish I got on my fingers. I may have been a little careless, since it washes off easily =)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

oh! headband.

Remember in first grade, when the girls all made friendship bracelets? Well I got back into that, but I didn't make a bracelet...

I made a cute little woven headband with elastic in the back.

yay! haha. I wove it (notice it isn't braded. there are 5 wide cords and a thin gold strand). It can be worn all cute and bohemian-like, with the entire headband over the hair, or simple and sophisticated the way a normal headband is worn.

I'm not quite sure what the wider cords are made of.. I should have checked when I was at the store. But I'll be be going back soon, so no worries. The cords are made of 100% rayon, so they're nice and smooth. Seriously. I wear headbands pretty much all the time. It's a bit of an obsession.

As you can see, it's really simple to make. The most time-consuming part is the weaving, and that's not bad at all. Here's a closeup:

The best part about this headband? It cost practically nothing! Definitely cheaper than buying them from a store..

Sunday, April 17, 2011

cherry blossom birthday.

Apparently I've been on a cake craze recently.

Last Thursday was my birthday and, of course, I wanted to make my own cake. Since every other cake I've ever made in my life (two) has been fun or childish-looking, I decided to do something a little more simple and elegant(ish).

The answer? A vanilla cake with lemon filling, topped with cherry blossoms.

It was really yummy! Basically, it was a Pillsbury Classic Yellow cake with lemon Snack Pack pudding for the filling. Since I'm such a picky person, I decided that if I'm going for the elegant look, I would need a square cake. So I did the obvious thing that anyone would do: I went out and bought two 8x8 pans. (yay! My future kitchen has a few more items in the cupboards.)

Ok. Back to the story. So basically, I baked two 8x8 square cakes, let them cool, then cut the tops off so they aren't all uneven on the top. Then comes the filling.  Here's what I used:

Personally, I don't really like the flavor by itself, but it tasted delicious with the cake! A little trick I learned a while back was to put some icing around the edge of the cake before adding the filling. It keeps the pudding from oozing out the sides.

I used two of those individual cups of pudding, but I can't remember the exact amount, because I think I ate some of the pudding beforehand. But anyway, I then placed the other cake upside down on top of the cake with icing and filling. (remember? I cut the tops off of the cakes, exposing the inside. It's a lot easier to ice the cake if the crumbly inside of the cake is not on the outside).

Next I iced and decorated it.. I decided that since I didn't make the cake mix or the filling, I should probably make the icing from scratch.. so I did. And I added some of those lemon packets that you add to water to make it yummy (my dad's idea). So yep. that's it. Here's an up close picture

aaaannndddd.... last picture. a view of the cake after it was cut...

Saturday, April 9, 2011

has it really been that long?

Well it's been three months since my first post.

That statement makes me feel really... lame. for lack of a better word.

but....... I've been busy! Ok. I haven't really been doing that much.. However, I do have some pictures of my semi-productivity.. and if I get motivated later on, I might dedicate a few posts to them...

The second to last image was of the ever-ubiquitous button cover push pins. I just had to try my hand at them.. Also, I followed a tutorial for the camera strap. It can be found here.

well anyway, there are a few other things I'm working on now, but they're big secrets... partially because secrets are fun, and partially because if they turn out horribly, I have plausible deniability. =)