Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Zombies in the graveyard cake

Ben's instructions for his birthday party cake this year: Zombies coming up out of the ground in a graveyard.  And don't make it too "cute".  The last several cakes I've made for Ben's birthday celebrations were definitely more cute than creepy.

The graveyard part was going to be easy; I did one last year that turned out pretty well and was really very easy to make.  I did a ton of internet searches for zombies and I was seriously grossed out.  Some things are just not meant to be part of a dessert...and I draw the line at a lot of gore.  So I made what I thought were fairly un-cute-but-not-too-disgusting zombies out of fondant and set them aside about a week before the party.

I made the graveyard part of the cake very similar to the one I did last year but moved the fence down to the bottom of the cake because the zombies were so darn big...they would have been as tall as the fence.  And even though I think there is a large amount of latitude when it comes to things like that on a cake, it was just too obvious. 

Ben loves the number candles...we get one every year even if they don't match anything else on the cake.


One of the guests had some special dietary considerations, so we made a separate treat for him with his own little zombie guy on it.

Ben was happy with it and he had a great time at his party - now we can move on to Halloween planning!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Giveaway winners

The giveaway on my Ellie's Jewels Facebook page ended last night and this morning I got to see who won. I used Rafflecopter to run the contest and then downloaded the entries to do the drawing. Then I used the Random Number Generator to draw the numbers.

Here is one of the reasons I need to keep my day job: every time I do a giveaway (ok, not really that often...just once a year about this time), I want to give every single person a prize.  So I said I was going to giveaway one item but couldn't stop myself and drew two winning numbers.

Congratulations to Alison T. and Susan V.!!  I'm excited to see what they pick....

Friday, October 25, 2013

Giveaway time!

Like to get free jewelry?

I'm doing a jewelry giveaway on my Ellie's Jewels Facebook page!

The winner gets to choose one of these items: 

Set of two sterling stacking rings with initials 

Copper fold formed earrings 

Sterling infinity ring - made to order

$30 gift certificate to my Ellie's Jewels Etsy shop 

Sterling "stick" earrings 

HOW TO ENTER: Go to the Ellie's Jewel's Facebook page and select the Rafflecopter Giveaway App next to the photo albums at the top of the page (this only works in the desktop version, not from your mobile device!!), then follow the instructions - it literally takes about 20 seconds, start to finish. You can enter more than once if you're willing to share this post to your FB page or pin the prizes to your Pinterest account!

One winner will be chosen at random on October 28, 2013 and contacted via FB message to work out the details. The winning item will be shipped USPS within one week of the custom order being finalized....GO ENTER!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Anticlastic copper bangle

I've been sort of chipping away at this bangle bracelet for the last month.  Since the forming requires so many trips under the torch, I would do some forging until the copper became too work hardened to keep going and set it aside.  As I soldered other pieces I would anneal the copper and then do another forging session.

I ended up with an anticlastic bangle with a heat patina (I looooooove the colors I can get from copper that way) and a sterling closure.

I love the edges and the variation in the color - perfect for fall.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Undoing E6000 adhesive

Occasionally there are jewelry projects that need a little extra insurance when it comes to holding things in place.  This isn't an issue with setting cabochons since they have a curved top surface and the bezel can be pushed around it to sort of tuck it in.  But when I set something a little less conventional without that curved surface, it can be a challenge to do it in a way that is secure.

Spent shotgun shells are a good example of this; not only do they not curve like a cabochon, they actually have an extra little lip around the top that sticks out farther than the base.  E6000 is a good adhesive for that situation since it's flexible and pretty indestructible. Once it cures, there is no way the shotgun shell is coming out of the setting - it's waterproof and set for good.

But after I made a couple of rings with spent shotgun shells using the E6000 I realized there was a simple way to cut them down farther than I had previously been able to. So I wanted to see if I could undo the adhesive to try the setting again.

I had read that acetone could be used to undo industrial adhesive, so I set up a spot outside and poured some into a small glass container.  I put the ring in and the lid on so the acetone wouldn't evaporate, then soaked it overnight.  The next day I could easily turn the shotgun shell part of the ring and pull it out - success!  I put the ring back into the acetone for a few more hours and scraped all of the E6000 remnants away with a toothpick.  Simple.

I washed it with soap and water to make sure I got all of the acetone off and reset the shotgun shell then did a final polish. I also added a brushed satin finish to the shell - I love it!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Planning a Halloween cake

Ben's birthday is coming up and as usual we are planning a Halloween themed party.  I asked him what he wanted his birthday cake to look like and we went through the blog posts of the cakes we've already done to see what options were left.

The last couple of years I've made Ben two cakes in October - one for his birthday celebration at home and one for his birthday party with friends. This is working against me in the idea department since I was using up twice as many designs...maybe we can rework an earlier version.

Last year he had a  Dracula cake for the celebration at home to match his costume

 and a graveyard cake for his birthday party with friends.

The year before that I made him two cakes that are by far my favorites of all time.  The pumpkin cake for his family celebration

and the Monster House cake.

The year before that we had little trick or treating ghost cake with an edible chocolate trick or treat bag and glowing sugar eyes - fun to make, but it didn't turn out quite as I'd hoped.

And the first year I was blogging was the year we had his haunted house cake

Even though I did fairly involved cakes for earlier birthdays - Frankenstein, Spongebob Squarepants - I think it would take time to find pictures of them.  One of the benefits of blogging is that I have a whole catalog of things I've made for the past several years all in one place.

So we have a couple of weeks to come up with another Halloween-y cake idea.  Maybe two.  

Friday, October 4, 2013

Birthday sweets in a jar.

My grandma's birthday is this week.  Not only has she always sent a card for special occasions, but they have never arrived late. She is on top of that stuff.   

So we made her some small but decadent fudge brownies topped with chocolate ganache and mini peanut butter cups to celebrate her special day and sent them off in the mail. I'm watching that tracking progress like a hawk to make sure they get to her on time (did you know you can have the post office email you every single time the package is moved during transit?? I also checked to be sure that USPS is exempt from the government shutdown nonsense, and at least for now, it is.)...I'm not as good at getting things out on time as she is.  But they are set to arrive on her birthday so I'm hoping for the best.

I also went ahead and listed them in our Jars Etsy shop - they aren't cake but they're close enough...right?