Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A New Beginnining

Well I don't know where to begin really, but if you are reading this, Welcome!  My name is Andrea and I enjoy baking.  Actually, obsessed would be the correct word.  I enjoy reading about baking, watching videos about baking, searching high and low for the best ingredients and supplies and of course the actual baking and decorating process itself.  I recently found that I love to craft as well.  This blog will mainly focus on baking with a few crafty things here and there.  I've been wanting to start a blog for years now, to not only journal my creations but to maybe help inspire others with new ideas.  So let's begin!

Let me take you through a few goodies I've made over the past two months shall we?

Brush Embroidered Sugar Cookie with Pearl Dust
Above was my first attempt at using the brushed embroidered technique.  It wasn't the best but not bad for a first try.  I can't tell you how many times I have watched Amber showing the technique in her video and wanting to one day try it for myself.  If you aren't familiar with Amber, she is an amazing cookie artist and her designs are just breathtaking.  For those cookies I used a flood consistency icing (15 seconds) to flood the cookie and allowing it to dry overnight, before using stiff consistency icing for the embroidery.  I used a damp, square-tipped brush to drag the icing inward, creating a feathered effect.  I then piped a bead border and allowed everything to dry a few hours before painting the embroidered leaf with pearl dust (a mix of alcohol and pearl dust) and dry dusting the pearl dust on the floral embroidery (grey cookie).  This truly was a labour of love.

These mini gingerbread houses were so much fun!  I made them for my younger son's class and my husband joked that maybe next year I would actually let the kids build the houses. Riiiight....  I'm not a control freak.  Really, I'm not.  =)  While I'd love to say that I painstakingly hand-cut all of those little house pieces, I did not.  I came across a very cool 3D cookie cutter by GoodCook that cuts all the pieces to make one house in just one press.  The recipe I used does not spread whatsoever, but does puff slightly, however, these cookies came out perfect and I was able to fit them all together without having to shave down any uneven bits.  I highly recommend this cutter if you plan on making, say, a few dozen mini houses!

Dark Chocolate Cupcake with Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
This cupcake....oh how I loved the way this cupcake turned out.  It was my children's school's 50th Anniversary and I was asked to make cupcakes.  I wanted to create something simple but elegant, after-all it is a 50th Anniversary.  The swiss meringue buttercream was lightly sweetened and topped off with a milk chocolate star, dry brushed with gold pearl dust and a few gold dragees.

Crafts---I wasn't always good at crafts.  In fact, I downright used to suck at crafts.  I loved watching Martha Stewart since I was a young teen, and I would try my best to re-create or interpret ideas she had but all were a fail.  A lot had to do with inexperience but most was due to being impatient.  I hated waiting for paint to dry, or for glue to set.  Nope, when I want something done, I want it done right and I want it done NOW. Well, that didn't work out so well.  A few years and a dozen or so failed attempts later, I've learned to slow down and just enjoy the process.  So here are a couple of successes:

Hand-cut Bats

Halloween Sweet Table
See that ugly dome-shaped hollow in my hallway wall?  My dad put that there when he built the house.  He loves it.  I hate it.  I needed a way to make that eye-sore of a wall feature not so fugly.  I had seen a photo on Pintrest showing paper bats adhered across a living room wall, as if they were flying off into the distance and figured I could do something similar.  Those damn bats...I printed templates off the internet and actually traced each and hand-cut each and every single one of those bad-boys.  I know you're thinking, "well 18 isn't that many?" but what you don't see are the other 30 extending down the rest of the hallway to the kitchen.  
The sweet table was my first and definately not my last.  My younger son's birthday falls on the 30th, the day before Halloween and he wanted a Halloween-themed party this year.  So I had a vision in my head and was actually able to execute it!  My favourite part?  Drumroll please.....
Pinata Cake
I made my first pinata cake!  Not only that, but a rainbow cake!  It wasn't a perfect cake, but it sure did impress my little one, and the rest of the family too.  Hell, it impressed me!  I usually critique every single minute detail but I let this one slide.  I didn't mind the bumpy sides, or the fact that I knew the weight would be an issue and settling would occur.  I didn't mind the fact that the royal icing eyeballs weren't even nor the fact that the colours were more pastel than rainbow-y.  Normally at this point I would've tossed the cake and started fresh.  What I did love was seeing my son's eyes light up as the skittles poured out from within.  He was absolutely amazed (not gonna lie, so was I).  
I'm gonna end this post with two more crafty things, both of which were made from dollar store finds and not too shabby  in appearance if I do say so:

Dollar Store Crafts
I put together the winter wonderland-inspired wreath with hot glue and a dollar wreath, snowflakes, rhinestones, and flowers.  Total cost?  $5 plus tax.  The garland are made from silver wrapping twine, scrapbook paper and of course hot glue.  Total cost?  $4 plus tax and I still have the remaining 30 sheets of scrapbook paper, another 10 snowflakes and twine if I decide to make more.  The blue and silver stars were from a local grocery store, found in their party section.  It matched the colour theme so I figured what the hell.

DIY Advent Calendar
I am so happy with the completed project above.  I had wanted to make my sons an advent calendar, but seeing that it was the beginning of November I knew I was a bit late in the game.  I found these paper bags in the household/grocery section at Target and bought em, not knowing what the heck I was gonna do with them.  After searching on Pintrest for DIY advent calendars I came across paper bag ones but they weren't exactly "right."  After looking at what I had in my crafting bin I decided to turn those little red bags into Santa's belly!  Paper doilies, scrapbooking glue, red paper sacks, gold sharpie, scrapbook paper and the left over rhinestones from the wreath project--total cost?  $6 plus tax and I still have leftovers.  The tough part? Coming up with creative items to put inside the bags!  Some ideas were for a family movie night, a night of ice skating, going tubing at Mount Seymour etc.  

Well, I hope you enjoyed my very first  and VERY LENGTHY post.  Be back soon with new goodies to share!

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