tuesday? how did that happen?

hi folks!

wow i just can’t seem to catch up with myself!  pezza was back at the doctor yesterday and has a sinus infection so she is back on meds and will hopefully feel better tomorrow.  hubby and i have also been battling allergies – that time of year – and both of us just feel drained BLECH!  not fun when you have a work schedule like both of us do!  needless to say i am behind and my house is a total disaster!  errands and then some cleaning today i think – not fun :(

my colored pencil class on color me creative is really filling up and i am just thrilled!  we had our first live chat last night and we have one every monday from 8pm – 9pm eastern time and it is open to anyone – not just students.  so if you are curious about class you can come join in!

i DID manage to get a cake done for my next door neighbor’s son who turned 1.  they were very pleased but i wish i had planned it out better:

the lettering and 1 on top should have been much bigger – not sure what i was thinking when i designed it but as i mentioned – i have been a bit foggy headed with allergies so that’s my story! you CAN see how perfectly they were cut though – love my Cricut Cake now that i know how to use it!

the train running along the side was from everyday paper dolls and had no detail cuts.  i think if i do it again i will use some royal icing to add details if the cut i am using doesn’t have any.  i thought the border was kinda cute with the little balls added.

i can tell you it DID taste devine!  i just used a box cake mix – they really are so good – and my homemade buttercream frosting which everyone always loves.

what else did i do this weekend? well i have this table that has been in the corner of the powder room for years:

now i LOVE this table but it is fairly plain (as it should be if you ask hubby!)  every time i go in there i try to think of what i want to do to it and then it hit me – decoupage.  i just need to put the polyurethane on and find just the right drawer pull to replace the plain one and then i will show you what i did!  LOVE IT!

now i am off to run my errands – heading to the mall – not somewhere i like to go but i must have someone in the tmobile store look at my phone :P

do any of you do any decoupage?  if so i would love for you to let me know.  i have another project idea in mind too for spring…..and by the way, anyone notice how freakin’ many mod podge options there are these days SHEESH!  i would love to hear from anyone with info on the too!

have a great day!!!!

YUM – cake!

hi everyone!

ahhhhh monday….being that i work from home and make my own schedule for the most part Mondays are usually no big deal.  BUT i have had quite a bit of trouble getting my butt back in gear since returning from CHA plus my mom has been here so i don’t work as much while she is visiting.  however today i really need to kick myself back into shape as i have ALOT to do!  i need to make loads of follow up contacts from CHA.  Pezza has been asked to do FOUR Pezza Way videos for different companies!!!  so i need to get that organized.  we have an interview to do with Barbara Trombley – the “Glitter Queen” herself – from Art Institute Glitter for our magazine Through the Craft Room Door.  I will give a fuller report on my CHA adventures tomorrow!

to top it off my poor pezza is sick AGAIN – she has been sick more this winter season than ever before.  her fever reached almost 102 yesterday so no school for her today.  She doesn’t have any other symptoms but her best buddy next door is going in today for a strep test BOO!

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before i get to my project for today i have a winner from Imagine This Friday – Ann Shuman!  she will get te fun heart punch around the page!  congrats!

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So who watched the Super Bowl last night?  i have to be honest the only thing i watched was the half time show and i have to say it ROCKED!  i loved all the songs they did and the peeps in the light up suits SWEET!  i spent the first half downstairs sewing the first of a number of little adorable summer dresses for pezza.  then i went to bed :P  i know i am terribly exciting right…BUT I DID have some super bowl fun – i made a super bowl cake!  used my Cricut Cake machine of course:

Kevin rooted for the Steelers while trev and my mom rooted for the packers so i had to make a half and half cake.

I used my Everyday Paper Dolls Cartridge for the little football players, goal post and footballs.

the side has a banner from Cake Basics and then i added the little footballs.  i FINALLY had enough time and energy to do a bit of “finishing” on this one and added dots of yellow buttercream around the top and bottom.  Kevin said this was the best one yet :)  it was also the easiest one yet – i am really getting the hang of it i think!  i also have lots of brown and yellow gumpaste left over so i see something with sunflowers in our future HAHAHHAH!  Next cake on my agenda will be for valentine’s day – Pezza and i have big ideas for that one!

i can’t believe how easy it has turned out to be to use my Cricut cake machine.  i really struggled with it at first.  i will go through my steps again for anyone who may have missed it!

1. PLAN YOUR DESIGN – it is really the best to plan your design and lay it all out in design studio.  i make a file for each color of gumpaste i will be using.  i use the cake pan size as a guide for sizing my design.  By doing this you can cut your gumpaste quickly before it warms and softens when you take it out of the freezer.  Resist the urge to weld one long border piece – it will be MUCH harder to move and put onto your cake!

2. Make your gumpaste sheets.  i have been using the Cricut Gumpaste in the tub and have been very happy with it.  I use 3 mats when doing this but i may need more….be sure to knead your chunk of gumpaste really well to get it soft and pliable.  now put on some latex gloves, rub them all over with a bit of crisco and start coloring.  i use americolor coloring gel a drop or two at a time..  knead it really well to get the color smooth and not streaky.

3. Roll it out on a flexible plastic mat (cricut mat if you have enough) dusted with a mix of half cornstarch and half powdered sugar.  Roll it really thin!  like really thin!

4. Cover your Cricut mat with crisco – you want a good thorough coating so your gumpaste will stick and not move around.  Lay the mat on top of your gumpaste and then flip your “sandwich” over and carefully peel your top mat off.

5. Trim the gumpaste so it is within the borders of your Cricut mat.  Now roll it out some more – i can usually get it even thinner at this stage.  Trim again to keep from gunking up your rollers.

6. Now put the mat in the freezer for 30 minutes or so.  I do ALL of my mats at once so they can all sit in the freezer.  you can put some saran wrap over them so they don’t dry out.

7. Once the gumpaste has chilled you are ready to cut!  Since you have your design laid out in design studio you can cut all your items from each color quickly.  Once each one is done remove the excess gumpaste and put it back in the freezer.

8. Now you need to put your layers together.  I used some “glue” i made by dissolving a bit of gumpaste in water.  I painted it on the back of my layers as i put them together.  Once done i put them all BACK in the freezer, covered, until i was ready to put them on my cake.  this way they would be a bit sturdier when i move them.

9.  Bake your cake and ice it – i highly recommend Rick’s Special Buttercream – THE BEST!!!!!

10. Now simply add your gumpaste cut outs to your cake!

now off to start my day!  i hope you all have a great week – thanks for stopping by!

hugs

a cute cake for ya!

hi all!

i am beginning to feel panic mode creeping in as CHA gets closer – SO much to do before i leave ACK!  we were also hoping to paint Pezza’s bedroom this weekend so my mom could paint the murals on her walls while she is here but it is looking like that may not happen :(  i guess she will just have to come for another visit but i don’t know when.

Many of the companies have been doing their usual pre-cha release peeks and i have to say there is some good stuff coming!  some of my faves – Ranger and Tim Holtz have some really good stuff coming including new stickles colors, embellies by Webster’s Pages, Crafter’s Workshop, the new paper collections by Best Creations in 6×6 size no less, prima has a number of great things coming – both flowers and papers, stampavie, bo bonny (always yummy) to name a few!  head over to Scrapbook Update for specific links to all your favorite companies and designers!  what are YOU excited about?

**********Cricut alert***************

if you are a cricut user and missed yesterday’s post there is a giveaway going on to help you get more from your mats!  CHECK IT OUT!

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today’s project is another cake!  let me just tell you my cricut cake machine now knows who’s boss! ROTFLMAO!  that week long experimentation learning phase has paid off!

a friend and neighbor whose son is in Pezza’s class asked if i would be interested in making her daughter’s birthday cake.  i said SURE!  i can use all the practice i can get.  so she came over with her daughter and we looked at books and talked about her ideas.  She was having an American Girl Doll party and she wanted one of the dogs, Pepper, on the top of her cake.  not what i expected but…..so i thought and mulled and considered and it occurred to me i had read about printing images on frosting sheets recently and that you did not have to print them yourself.  you could have a bakery do it for you.  so i said send me a picture and i will look into it.  so she sent me the picture with the following instructions – chocolate cake and filling, green icing and pink polka dots on the sides.

ta-da!!!!

Cake Front

Cake Top

Cake Side

i am happy (and relieved) to say they LOVED it!  and i learned more about the process in general!

first printed frosting sheets – EEEEEEAAASSSYYYYYYYY!  so easy.  but here are a few pointers i learned along the way:

  1. you need a really good quality picture – the one i had was very small and i had to enlarge it – doing that distorts the pic a bit and makes it less crisp.
  2. size – might be a good idea to measure your cake first :P  i think mine is slightly large.
  3. Demand a good printout – when i got home i realized he was printed slightly off the sheet so part of his ear was missing and they had smeared some ink onto his face in the handling.

it only cost $6 at the grocery store bakery.  the frosting sheet is actually pretty thick and just lifts right off the paper backing and right onto your cake – NOTHING to it.  some of my next thoughts – designing a digital image with my butt load of digi collections i have and printing it off to put on a cake or printing some of the wonderful images from my Imagine art carts and putting them on a cake……. SWEET!!!!!!!

the icing is just buttercream and i would like to work on getting that smoother.  but OH MAN did it taste good:

and YES she is wearing an apron.  it was in a box of valentine goodies my mom sent and she LOVES it!

ok back to the cake – i cut the border, celebrate and dots from Cricut gumpaste  using my cricut cake.  i colored the gumpaste with Americolor food gels, rolled it out super thin and then rolled it some more and lastly rolled it even more (seriously a lot of rolling but not too bad when you have it all soft from kneading in the coloring gel.)  then i stuck it in the freezer while i laid out my design using design studio – it all fit onto one mat.  i probably left the gumpaste in the freezer for about an hour or so.  i pulled it out, cut it immediately, pulled off the excess and then stuck the designs back in the freezer while i frosted the cake.  pulled them back out and placed them on the cake – DONE.  i could NOT believe how easy it was OMGOODNESS!  now i just want to make MORE!  my next cake adventure will be a birthday cake for trev and my mom – their bdays are a day apart – i fly in from cha feb 1, my mom’s is feb 2, and trev is feb 3!  however now that i am such a cake master *falling over laughing…. regaining myself* it should be a cinch to whip up something fabulous! after that pez and i have a fabulous cake in mind for daddy and then in march i am scheduled to make the first birthday cake for my next door neighbor’s son’s first birthday :)  sheesh i better print off some coupons and go get those cake pans!

ok enough from me for now! t hanks so much for taking time out of your day to stop by and say hi!

have a great weekend!

i love cake! cricut cake post

hi everyone!

well i finally did it – i mastered my cricut cake.  it took me a whole long week of blood sweat and tears but i think i have finally got it!  i will show you the finished product first and then for those interested you can read about the details :)

and the top:

the top layer is white cake with peach filling.  the middle is lemon cake with raspberry filling.  the bottom layer is chocolate cake with white chocolate mousse filling.  all delish but the lemon raspberry was my fave!  we still have entirely too much cake left so i am thinking i may need to eat cake for breakfast today…………

and now for the technical portions – i learned alot so i want to share in case anyone else has a cricut cake they wish they could master.

BUT first we will start with the basics. – this was alot of cake – 6 BOXES of cake mix ACK!  AND cake pans would be a plus next time – turns out what i have are cheescake pans – i don’t know WHY i have cheescake pans – i have had them forever yet don’t remember EVER baking a cheesecake….anyway the pans are only 1″ different in size which does not make for a nice layer effect when doing stacked cakes.  so i will be adding some cake pans to me arsenal one at a time with Ms coupons :)

next the fondant – this is only the second time i have done fondant – i wanted to try marshmallow fondant because i love the look of fondant but no one likes the taste.  well i have decided to ditch fondant all together – 1. it is hard as H*LL to roll it out thin enough and then get it onto the cake looking decent (as you will see in a picture in a minute.)  i was sweating from head to toe i was working so hard rolling this stuff out!  i was actually UP ON THE TABLE using all of my weight to roll it – reeee-donkulus! 2. MY fondant does not look nearly as good as the pictures i see so why waste my time. 3. the whole rest of the process is so time consuming it’s not fun adding the fondant to the steps.  now i CAN say marshmallow fondant tastes really good!  and if you have a kitchen aid mixer – it is very easy to make.  but from now on i am skipping this step.

now let’s talk about the cutting.  i used cricut gumpaste – works well AND tastes pretty darn good in my opinion!  however it took awhile to get the hang of it.  first recommendation – USE YOUR DESIGN STUDIO OR GYPSY!!!  previous attempts i always tediously picked my cuts one at a time and it was just a mess.  this time i laid all of my cuts out in design studio first so i could just take the mat of gumpaste and cut it all at once.

how you prepare it makes a world of difference and i was very confused on this part for awhile but i finally got it down.

1. knead the gumpaste really well to start with so it is nice and elastic-y

2. roll it out on a surface dusted with a mixture of half cornstarch half powdered sugar – i used a plastic cutting board or you could probably just use one of the cutting mats (i highly recommend having 3-4)

3. roll it super duper thin.  when you think it is thin enough it isn’t – roll it some more!

4. grease up your cutting mat well with crisco – not so it is white mind you but you want it GREASED.

5. lay your greased mat over your rolled out gumpaste and then flip it.  press down all over and then carefully pull off your rolling mat.

6. roll out your gumpaste some more – THINNER! hahhahha!  trim your edges to make sure you are inside the cutting lines so your rollers don’t get all gunked up

7. put it in the freezer while you prepare your next mat.  freeze for a good 20-30 minutes.

this winter fun sign is one of the first things i cut – looks AWFUL!  my edges were ragged for one thing.  i also tried letting the gumpaste dry out a bit before cutting instead of the freezer method i described above – NOT the way to go AT ALL. no clean cuts and alot of distortion along the cuts.  plus alot of cracking as it got too dried out while working with it and then went all to h*ll when putting it on a ROUND cake.

next i tried going over all of the cuts a second time with a paring knife – as you can see the light blus cut looks alot better but kinda defeats the purpose of having the cricut to cut KWIM?  as you can see it had to work with these so long that they dried out as well and then cracked when putting them on the cake.

also notice my total fondant fail – now had i used actual cake pans the sizes would have differed enough to allow me to do a border to hide the edge which would have helped but to be honest i was so tired by this point i just didn’t have it in me ACK!

here is a snowflake done after some research and adjustments – you can see it got MUCH better!  i had my speed and pressure both on one – NOT gonna work!  so i turned it up speed – 2 and pressure 3 – cut all the way through and looked WAY WAY better but the added pressure did distort the shapes a little.  that is when i decided to put them in the freezer and then cut the dark blue layers – perfection!  i could have CRIED!  a whole sheet of perfect cuts, not dried out even a tiny bit, put them back in the freezer after cutting and removing the excess and then lifted them off the mat with no trouble whatsoever!!!!!!!!  now that i know how to do it i doubt my next cake will take a WEEK to get the decorations cut out!  these cuts are 2.5″ – 3.5″ – i do not know yet how smaller cuts would do.  i will be trying that one the next one (yes i am actually going to do this again!)  you know after i get real pans……

here is the top showing a snowman close up too:

you can see the white layer is still a bit rugged but the dark and light blues – i finally got it down and those mittens and buttons are pretty small………his face is done with royal icing.

to “glue” the cuts together i just used water and while it worked i think i will use a better option next time…once i find out what exactly that might be – i think you are supposed to melt some gumpaste in water to form a sort of glue…..

overall i was quite impressed with myself and accomplished my goal which was to LEARN!!!  next cake will be for a neighbor’s daughter’s birthday next week but only one layer – no fondant and using a printable icing sheet.  then right after CHA – a birthday cake for my mom.  she will be here staying with pez while i am at cha and her birthday is the day after i get home.  then pez and i have a valentine extravaganza planned for hubby ;)

some comments during this process:

hubby: (on day 5 of cutting out gumpaste) i can’t believe you have spent a WEEK working on a CAKE
hubby: (on baking day when every surface of the kitchen had a layer of cake on it)  how many cake layers is this thing gonna have?!?!?
me: 6
hubby: you need professional help…like the expensive kind….
Pezza: (looking at the front of the finished cake – points to the snowman’s nose) what is that?
me: that’s his carrot nose
Pezza: that’s not a carrot that’s a BOAT!  do the cake over……

enjoy your holiday today for those who are lucky enough to have it off!

The Cake

hi all!

ahhhh – it does feel nice not to have to rush off anywhere in the morning!  so i am sitting here STILL in my pajamas and wishing i coudl stay in them all day.  BUT we have gymnastics at 1:45 so no luck on that!  it has been fairly chilly here lately.  seems like the mild fall weather was a bit short lived….i think it will be in the 60s later this week tho – that’s perfect!

well i thought after all the moaning and groaning i did i should show y’all the finished Pezza cake so here it is along with the cupcakes:

i think it all turned out cute but i feel like it is kinda plain.  perhaps next time i will do the gumpaste decorations FIRST and more ahead of time.  then bake and decorate just before the event…i also will design it in Design Studio first so i can just cut a whole sheet at once – that will save some time and frustration cutting too maybe :P  my next Cake adventure (if there is one hee heee) will likely be cookies.

here is the happy birthday girl:

as long as the birthday girl approves it’s all good right?!?!?!?  AND it DID TASTE DELICIOUS!

i am off to play catch up – i am dreadfully behind on posting my magazine PDFs and for all of you subscribers i DO apologize!!!  don’t forget to check out the submission calls - the more we get the better!!!  we want our magazine to be by all of YOU!

i would also love some input on the last couple issues.  will you be using any of the Holiday Issue ideas?

have a fabulous day!!!

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