Thursday, April 29, 2010

Birthday cupcake and shoe

To celebrate a friend's birthday, I made this chocolate cupcake with raspberry buttercream frosting. It's a big cupcake--not as big as the giant cupcake I posted earlier this week, but bigger than your average, run-of-the-mill cupcake...probably meant to be more than one serving to someone besides me.

When I was thinking about what I could do to celebrate the birthday, I decided to make a high heeled shoe to go with the cake since my friend always looks great--she dresses well and she has some really incredible shoes. So the shoe is made out of gumpaste, rolled thin and put over forms and allowed to dry for about five days. In order to get the shiny finish on the shoe, I used a paintbrush to apply a 50/50 mixture of corn syrup and gin. (The alcohol makes the mixture thin enough to spread and then evaporates off as it dries.) I will be making more of these little sets for birthdays in the future...they are just the right size to celebrate with something special when a whole cake is overkill.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Crystals and a cupcake

I have had these Swarovski crystals for a couple of months. I kept getting them out, thinking about what to do with them, and putting them away because I wasn't sure how to showcase them properly. I am in love with the colors and the cut. I haven't done much with faceted stones, but wanted to be sure these briolettes didn't get too cluttered with the silver findings. I ended up doing a very simple sterling wrap around the top of the crystals and am thrilled with the outcome:

These will be hard for me to let go of. I often feel a weirdo sense of hesitation when someone wants to buy the jewelry I make, like I'm afraid the pieces might not be going to a good home. Ridiculous, absolutely. It's harder when I have struggled with a technique or am really drawn to the materials, even if I wouldn't actually wear them myself. Sometimes I chicken out completely and give the pieces to friends or family members because then, at least, I know they will be cared for and may get occasional visitation rights. Even though these were not particularly difficult for me to make, I am so taken with the crystals that I will have to stifle the urge to hoard them.

Switching gears, the twin girls next door are turning 16 later this week. I have thought many times over the past couple of years about surprising them with a cake and decided that if there was a year to do it, this was the one. So this afternoon, I delivered this giant cupcake cake to them:

Friday, April 9, 2010

More earrings...

I made this pair of earrings by fold forming the silver, then soldering hammered silver wire to the front of each one to give even more texture to the earring. I liked the overall effect better before I used the dapping block, because once I did that, some of the fold forming lines almost seemed to fall out of the silver. Maybe I didn't have well-defined folded lines? At any rate, I do like them, they just aren't what I thought they would be.

The second pair I made were fairly quick: Swarovski crystals and sterling silver.

Friday, April 2, 2010

April Fool's Day cupcakes

As I mentioned before, I am an overdoer. It's not something I hide. I don't care if people know I like to be the favorite student or employee. Being a parent has given me new opportunities to overdo things, and I take full advantage of things like holidays that aren't really celebrated. The kids and I have a great time doing this stuff together, so everyone wins, but I might be in trouble when Ben outgrows this kind of thing.

We sent two sets of cupcakes out on April Fool's Day for Ben's peers (it only occurred to me at the end of the day that it meant Ben was offered cupcakes twice in one day for a snack, but hey, it's a holiday, right?). One set went to his classroom and the other to his after school group. Both were good-natured April Fool's pranks.

Here are the dirt-and-worm cupcakes we made for his classroom:

Chocolate cupcakes and chocolate frosting, rolled in crushed chocolate cookies with gummy worm embellishments.

And here are the TV dinner cupcakes we sent to his afternoon group:

I found the instructions for these in the Hello, Cupcake! book. There is a whole "April Fools" section in it with lots of ideas I find to be acceptable as a joke. Something that doesn't look like a cupcake, but is=Good and Fun. Something that looks like a cupcake, but is meatloaf=Disgusting and Mean.

The mashed potatoes are just white frosting with caramel sauce drizzled on them and a lemon tootsie roll flattened to look like a pat of butter. The peas and carrots are also repurposed tootsie rolls, and the chicken legs are coated with crushed frosted flake cereal. The "bones" are made from white chocolate piped onto parchment paper before putting them into the cupcakes.

They were fun to make, but extremely time consuming. I had to ditch one of the designs I intended to include (the corn on the cob cupcakes will just have to come later, if I don't eat all of the yellow jelly beans first!) due to time constraints.