Wednesday, January 26, 2011

There's A Penguin In My Fridge!

A penguin cake, that is. 

I wish it was that simple:  just open the refrigerator door one day and there's the penguin cake, nestled in with the carrot juice and yogurt.  And on the shelf right above him are the penguin cupcakes - frosted and ready for a birthday party full of hungry preschoolers.

Actually, I'm kinda glad it didn't magically appear in my fridge.  It was really fun to make and I learned a lot of valuable information that I can now add to my cake-making bag of tricks.  One, it takes A LOT of black food coloring to turn white frosting to a true black which, in turn, gives the partygoers gooey purple tongues.  Two, it's a breeze to sculpt a cake when it's frozen - much less crumbly that way.  Three, working with fondant is not nearly as tricky as it seems, it's quite a forgiving meduim (but it tastes disgusting). 
Overall, I'm very pleased with how my little penguin friend turned out.  He's five layers of 8-inch white cakes with black buttercream frosting and fondant face, tummy and nose.  I totally copied this photo that I found on Flickr - so a huge thank you to "jenifah007" for sharing her genius and inspiring me!

Remember those fondant penguins I posted about awhile ago?  If so, you'll probably recognize them as the toppers on these cupcakes.  The diving into the water guy is still my favorite!

Check out round two of penguin cake and cupcakes...this time in pink and purple!

As seen on   UndertheTableandDreaming    

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Penguin Schemes

My cousin has asked if I would be willing to make her daughter a penguin cake for her upcoming birthday party.  HECK YEAH!  I'll make a penguin cake and some penguin cupcakes! 

I'm still in the scheming phase.  Some might call it the planning phase, but I think "scheming" elicits images of Mr. Burns sinisterly tapping his fingertips together and muttering "excellent" - and that's more fun.

You can tell by my use of ALL CAPS and !exclamation points! that I'm excited about this project. I'll be sure to inundate you with penguin cake photos and penguin cupcake photos once everything's finished. 

So far, these fondant penguins are all I have to share.  Everything else has to be done the day before the party. [note added 01/26/11: check out the finished product] This is my first time working with fondant, and I must say that it's not nearly as tricky as I thought it'd be.  I wish I hadn't spent so many years being intimidated by it.  Don't get me wrong.  I still think fondant tastes disgusting and should be used in moderation - but it's perfect for making little penguin embellishments!

(By the way, the feet in the air penguins are going to be anchored in some blue frosting to make it look like they're diving in...they'll make more sense when I get them on the cupcakes.)

Creations by Kara
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Cross Stitched Names

You know what I've noticed about little girls?  They love anything that has their name on it - or even just their initial.  Like those cute applique letter shirts that I'm sure you've seen or perhaps you've even made one (or several!).  Since I have little faith in my abilitiy to applique something worthy of gift-giving or of sufficient craftsmanship to make it out of the washing machine intact, I'll stick with cross stitch. 

Sorry about the photo quality...taking pictures of things in glass frames is really tricky. 

These were Christmas presents for two of my nieces.  I worked on them off and on all year and then had them framed.  Thank goodness for my 50% off coupon.  I had no idea that custom framing was so pricey!  It was worth it, though, because they turned out quite lovely. 

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I'm Losing My Wife to Crochet!

That's a direct quote from my husband, and he's probably right.  I've often got crochet on my mind and a hook in my hand.  I can't help it!  It's the only craft I've come across that I can work on anywhere and for any length of time.  On a four hour car ride to Canada, while I'm waiting for Susannah at dance class, when the hockey game is's so easy to glance up from your project without losing your place and to pick it up or put it down at a moment's notice.  Plus, the little amigurumi projects are so cute and easy - and they make gifts!  This is what we gave Susannah's preschool teacher for Christmas this year:

I ended up making three pears altogether and gave them to some special people, along with some pear butter that I made in October.  I also made some apple butter and I suppose a jar of that with a crocheted apple would make a nice gift as well, but there are more puns to be had with pears! 

Now for the details that you are probably not interested in, but I record them anyhow because I may need to refer back to them one day:  the pattern for the pear is from Amigurumi World: Seriously Cute Crochet .  For the smaller pear, I used Lion Brand Wool-Ease worsted weight yarn in Avocado (#174).  For the larger pear I used Vanna's Choice medium weight yarn in Kelly Green (#172).  The Vanna's yarn was a dream to work with and it was kinda shiny and smooth.   

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