Monday, July 25, 2011

The Sweet Life Cake Class

I woke up Saturday morning bright and early to beat the heat and humidity (okay I by no means beat it, buuut I eluded the hottest part of the day), and get my run done with so I could go to my Cake Class! As you might remember there was a certain Triathlon Cake that I created earlier the year that won best in show for my overall division. With that win came a basket of goodies, and included in the basket was a cake class voucher which allowed me to take a class with any certified sugar artist. So I started poking around to see what classes are in my area that might peak an interest. I found more than I was looking for! I had NO IDEA that Norman Davis from the Live Food Challenge and the Ultimate Cake off, was located right in my area! Seriously I was stoked! If you do not know who “Norm” is, you are clearly not watching enough TV, so I’ll refresh your memory.

Norman Davis

Norman also presented me with my award back in March… I’m still unsure of if I was more excited to have won or to be shaking his hand (praying cake talent might transfer through the touch!).Capture

Anyways, sure enough The Sweet Life Bakery is just around the corner from when I live, so this is definitely an opportunity I will not be passing up! Like I said, it was Saturday morning and I was ready to roll to class post run. At least I was ready to go; apparently I don’t know how to read a calendar and showed up one day early for class! … Class is on Sunday, successful cake shops typically make wedding cakes on Saturdays! Yikes, what a first impression!

So, I wake up on SUNDAY morning ready to rumble for class! This is what I accomplished!


Believe me I wish I could break this cake down for you and give you step by step instructions, but I don’t think the guys at the Sweet Life would much appreciate it. I do encourage you to take a class with Norman or his partner Zane if you ever get the chance, it was very well structured and informative.

Along with the cake purse we did an entire course on making flowers. I really enjoyed this part of the class, especially because I tend to hide out from any flower work needed.

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These buggers would cost you ~$7 a piece if you were to want a cake with lots of sugar flowers. They took a while to make each individual pedal and then to attach each stem together with floral tape, but I loved the result!

This is the class flyer/information paper that I have from the class. If you want more information head over the Sweet Life and see what they have going on at their website.Capture

That’s all for now. Don’t stray too far though, the purse cake wasn’t the only thing I made this weekend. Hopefully I’ll get myself organized enough to post that one tomorrow!


Monday, July 11, 2011

DIY Ring Pillow and Wedding Garter

If you have been reading my blog for some time now, you will have realized (and hopefully accepted) that I would really rather just do things myself than leave in it the hands of an “unknown”. I searched high and low through out the spring months for a garter that I liked and the same goes with the ring pillow; the fact is Michael’s and AC Moore just weren’t doing it for me. What surprised me the most was that these craft stores were really my only options that I could find that even sold such wedding accessories; the bridal shop where I bought my dress had nothing! So I scratched my head and said…”fine, I’ll do that too!”


So I started with the Ring Bearer pillow! Originally I was going to work the sand dollars in there somehow, but that didn’t workout very well. In the end I went with simple.

The picture reel is pretty straight forward after all you are really only sewing a square!


Visualize and then try to find something in your house that is approximately the size of the pillow that you think you would like (test your ring on the object). Then when measuring the material give the measurements an extra 1/2” length and width for seam allowance.IMG_8860

Pin your two pieces of material with the good sides facing together. Also you will notice at the top of the picture there is a pin going horizontal against what all of the other pins are doing! This is a reminder NOT to sew over this part of the pillow. You need this little space open so you can fold the good sides of the pillow out!


Now as you can see in the little blue window of the sewing machine that I went and set the stich to the Zig Zag fancy stich! This is not necessary for the pillow, but I thought would add a nice detail!

IMG_8867IMG_8868IMG_8869IMG_8871IMG_8873DIY Ring Pillow1

Once the pillow was full assembled I went on and tried out the Boss’s ring and my engagement ring!

DIY Ring Pillow

Sweet! It worked! So now it’s time to move on to the Garter!


I had to do some “altering” of my wedding dress, and in the deconstruction mode of the strap I ended up with an extra flower (as seen above) and I thought that there was no better place to use that extra detail than on my garter! So I found myself back at Michael’s again, only this time I was not looking in the garter section, I was looking at the ribbon! How hard could sewing my own garter be after all? So I picked out the deepest purple I could find in a 2” wide satin ribbon and then I wanted something fun for the accent white part. I considered several ribbons at first. There were zebra stripes, soccer balls, ice cream cones, but none of these held up next to the extra flower I had stashed in my purse! Finally my eyes fell upon the polka dots! This ribbon wasn’t in the fancy satin section so I didn’t see it at first, but when I did… it was love at first sight!!  :)  (too dramatic? sorry)

Back to the sewing machine I went!


The Boss kinda snuck up on me with this picture! As this was before Boise 70.3 you can see I’m sporting my compression socks!


Pin your ribbons together…


Be sure that the elastic is going to fit hassle free in the ribbon tube…


And sew! Since this ribbon was satin it was extremely slippery and after so many inches you had to be super careful to check and see that you were actually still sewing all of the pieces together! If this is your very first sewing project then I would suggest picking a ribbon with more of a ribbing to it! Otherwise you might become so frustrated that you will not finish the project! And believe me, it was very worth it!


The above picture doesn’t show it (doh!) but you should pin the ribbon to the end of the garter, and then use a pencil or something similar to help pull the ribbon through to the other end! Remember the elastic should have been cut to the measurement of your middle thigh area with a little more for seam allowance! It doesn’t matter how much ribbon you used just as long as it is longer than your elastic so it can be scrunched! This length may honestly be determined by your patience! I made mine about two and a half times the length of the garter!

IMG_8909IMG_8917   Using the sewing machine I tried to sew the ends folded over and as neatly as possible! Then with the two ends closed off, I used a bind stich and dark purple thread to sew them together between the seam!

DIY wedding Garter

In the end I actually made two garters because my mom told be that the bride doesn’t usually end up getting the garter back! This I did not know, but I did know that one day I would have really wished that I had that flower back!

So that’s all from the sewing machine! Hope you enjoyed my project and maybe you were inspired to make something of your own!

Friday, July 8, 2011

DIY Wedding Programs and Wedding Menus

As I was having a great time designing the wedding programs, table cards, table center pieces, and dinner menus, I was also extremely picky on all of the same details; I wasn’t going to be happy unless all of the paper details were coordinated! Deep eggplant colored cardstock overlaid with White Linen cardstock (both 60lbs) with purple, Harrington font.IMG_8793The easiest way to cut all of these programs (all 75 of them!) was to plan to cut the width of purple cardstock (regular letter paper size- 8.5 x 11”) in half, and then format the printed (white paper) so that when cut it left a 1/4” boarder of the purple showing. To clarify, the purple card stock was cut in half to 8.5 x 5.5”, and for the white printed paper, I created a table on Microsoft Word was set at 8x5” and did all of the printing inside of that! If you are making these because of my post and you can’t figure it out (no seriously this was the most annoying part of the entire process) just email and I’ll try to help! Please remember to buy extra of EVERYTHING that you need (card stock, ribbon, popsicle sticks, etc.) for “test” samples and mess-ups!

After I figured out all of the measurements and finished driving the Boss nuts with his printer occupied for the entire day, I moved on to my “embossing project”! A good friend of mine made her own baby shower invitations, and the paper part of the invitation was super cute, however what really added a professional (and adorable) look to the invites was the embossing stamp that she added to the top! So I copied her idea, called and asked her for instructions, and finally made my way down to the store the paper source” to buy the goods!


(Embossing turned out to be pretty inexpensive, all I needed was the embossing powder and heat gun. I had already picked up the wedding stamp a while ago on sale at Michaels!)

So I lined up a few samples. Stamped, poured the embossing powder, and hit it with the heat gun… voilĂ ! All in the matter of seconds!


One wedding detail that my mom played and integral part in was tying bows! Now tying bows might not sound too hard, but this lady is known at home for her ability to repetitively tie the most adorable and perfect little bows!


Seriously, there were over 500 bows tied that weekend… and she did them ALL!  And the first thing she tied all of the bows for were the Wedding programs!

With the bows tied, the stamps embossed, cardstock measured and cut, it was time to attach the whole thing to the extra wide popsicle sticks and add the bow! We added the popsicle stick because the temperatures in the Dominican were quiet “warm” and even though we had an amazing breeze off of the water, I couldn’t guarantee that would be the case on the big day… I figured the best option would be to give our guests their own fans!


And unfortunately this is the only picture that I actually have of the finished product! I must have had too much going on that weekend to have be thinking clearly! All the same, I think you get the picture!

Moving on to the Menu Cards!

Since we didn’t find out until pretty much the last minute if we were going to be “allowed” to have plated dinners on the beach or not, these menus were a little more last minute that I would have liked. Everything was measured and cut ahead of time, but there was no way to get the embossing done “pre-printing”, so I ended up just changing the plan from my sand dollar stamp to printing the sand dollar right onto the menu. By adding the sand dollar to the menu it helped tie in the sand dollar name cards/ ornaments and the beach theme!

diy menu

In the end, although I stressed about these a little, I think that they came out pretty nice!

If you are looking to create similar menus for a wedding or an upcoming dinner party these were quite simple to make as well! This time instead of cutting the card stock in half, I cut it into thirds (about 3.7”). The same goes with the white card stock, I set up 3 tables on Microsoft Word that allowed for 1/4” of the purple card stock to show through the sides; this was approximately 3.2” wide and 8” long.

My last tip of the day for making your own programs and menus is if you do not have access to a large paper cutter at your work or school, please do yourself a favor and go to staples (I did my price shopping, and they have the best bang for your buck!) and purchase one of their at home paper cutters that comes with the fold out ruler! Seriously cutting out that many papers with scissors is an awful task that would waste so much time with using the ruler to pre-mark lines, and I just do not think you will get as nice of a result!

Well that is it! I hope if you have been reading over the last few days that you are enjoying the wedding deets, there are a few more posts to come! Eventually I’ll poke in some updates on where the heck we are on the honeymoon! If I haven’t mentioned it yet, the honeymoon is a surprise and I won’t know where we’re going till we get there!

Wedding Photo Update:

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Groom’s Cake

Well I have to say the ONE wedding detail that I was most proud of, just wasn’t able to make the trip! Combined, Ray, my sister, and I, lugged over 300lbs of luggage to the Dominican Republic! Unfortunately, this creation would have had to be carried on (or otherwise risk the chance of being destroyed by the friendly bag handlers) and with regulations and restrictions becoming tighter and tighter these days, in order to carry on this last detail would have meant that I was checking either the wedding gown or the sand dollars. Eventually, something had to get cut :(

So the Boss was nice enough to photograph the heck out of it which would allow me to still share it with you. Here you go!

Tuxedo Groom's Cake (1)

After creating my triathlon cake back in March I realized how sad some people were (including myself) that the cake was actually made out of foam! But that was the rules, and I just went with it! This time, I knew I had to make a cake that would withstand the test of time and not be so offensive as to be based on something I bought from the Home Depot! I hemmed and I hawed and finally I decided on something that I think everyone will accept!


This cake will more than likely never be eaten, however, I believe that anybody reading can appreciate the effort of enormous rice Krispy treat creations! Also this time I did not use plaster (also purchased from the Home Depot!), instead using a good friend to cake designers… royal icing! Basically a sugar based icing that hardens to a cement!


By now you might be wondering why there are in fact 2 cake bases (well, 2 sets of 3 layer cakes), and this is because I was actually going to make a “Bride and Groom” cake, and while this still is a possibility I have been fighting with the bride for several tries now over her dress (much like the internal battle I had with myself over my own wedding gown!!) She still might happen, but I’m not showing her off until I’m 100% satisfied!

So on with the Groom! I have been experimenting with different fondants over the last few months, and for this particular cake I decided to give the good ol’ Ace of Cakes fondant a try! IMG_8727IMG_8728

Once I sized everything up and successfully got the groom in his jacket, I was pretty pleased with the integrity of the black fondant and decided to go fourth! (You might wonder what I’m talking about with the “integrity” of the black fondant, but it is extremely difficult to color your own deep color fondants from a white base; especially black! You have to use so much gel color that the fondant eventually breaks down and is not tacky enough to hold together when laid over the cake edges!)

This fondant however worked, so I went with it!



Tuxedo Groom's Cake (2)Tuxedo Groom's Cake (4)Tuxedo Groom's Cake (5)Tuxedo Groom's Cake (9)

And that’s it for the grooms cake! I truly enjoyed making this cake, and can only hope that someday another bride wants a custom designed grooms cake for her Hubby-to-be!

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