Saturday, October 23, 2010

My Sister's Quilt #2

I guess it's time to do a little update on the progress of my sister's wedding quilt. Despite the lag between posts, I have been quite busy. The front squares are completely ready and I'm working on the back squares now. For the front, I took the fans that my grandmother hand-quilted and set them into an unbleached muslin fabric. I chose the muslin because there was so much variety in the fan colors that I didn't want to take away from them. That, and the fact that the unbleached quality makes it appear older is very appealing.

After insetting each fan quarter into the muslin piece, I then went back and embroidered along the seams. I originally planned to do different color thread with different patterns, but ultimately decided that off-white would compliment the quilt best. Also, by keeping the embroidery simple, I think it helps unify the quilt. While doing the embroidery I quilted each fan to a piece of batting.

Next step is to do the back the same way - cut, assemble, quilt & emboider. Then, I can start joining the pieces!

My goal is to have this done by Christmas. Wish me luck!

With friendship,


Saturday, October 9, 2010

Mummy Cake

I'll be the first to admit that I'm no Martha Stewart. I'll also be the first to admit that cooking is not my forte. Yet, for some strange reason I am constantly compelled to try and recreate those fabulous cake designs I see in Better Homes & Garden or on those Food Network Challenge shows. I even scoff at those cake disasters on the Cake Wrecks website ( I can do BETTER! MMMUUUUHAHAHAHAHA!

I have no cooking skills. None. Nada. Zip. I can burn ice.

I also know that when it comes to cake decorating, I'm all thumbs. Heck, even someone with all thumbs could do better.

But alas, something pushes me to try. Some glimmer of hope shines periodically in the core of my soul that tells me "this time will be different!"

I know it will turn out bad. Really. Really. Bad. Yet, I still pull out the cake pans and mixer.

This month's inspiration was the mummy cupcakes found on the Better Homes & Garden website:

Adorable, aren't they? They look easy enough. Chocolate cake mix, white frosting and some eyes. EASY-PEASY!

The trip to the panty revealed no chocolate cake mix. Fine, I'll make my own. Two hours later I was armed with a chocolate cake recipe that I found here: Fabulous recipe. Takes great! It's definately a keeper.

I put together the batter and realized I did not have cupcake liners. No worries, I'll just make a three-tiered cake instead. This, my friends, is when I should have awoken Vince.

With cake in the oven I set off to get the frosting. Darn. No white frosting. We have chocolate and milk chocolate and some strange yellow stuff left over from last month's Sponge Bob cake, but no white. Off to search the internet for a buttercream frosting recipe! I found this one - also wonderful. It's so good you'll want to slap someone.

I really liked how she explained how to swap out flavors and change the texture. Tips I knew that my new-found-made-from-scratch-cake-decorating-diva-company-extrodinare could benefit from.

Yes, you SHOULD be laughing at me by now. At this point my 3-year-old had toddled in and said, "Oh No! Mommy cooking!"

But, I was not to be discouraged.

The cakes came together well. They were a little difficult to get out of the pan, but I knew that putting them in the freezer for 5 minutes would solve that. Just a little tip I learned from soap making.

The tiers came out a little more rounded on the top than I had hoped, so I got out my trusty knife to try and even them out. Again, should have awoken the V-Man at this point.

I got my first layer on the plate, then proceeded to frost.

Hmmm. the frosting was separating and starting to run down the sides. After double-checking the recipe I realized at this point that I had used too much butter.

After allowing the cake to sit a few moments, I kind of liked how the oozing was looking. I mean, I was going for a mummy cake after all. Maybe it would be more scary than cute, but I was on the right track.

I added the next layers. Cool, oozing effect all around. But, I knew the top needed to be a bit more stiff. That's when I remembered I could add more powdered sugar to the recipe to get a stiffer recipe.

Darn, out of powdered sugar. Regular sugar will work, right? (Vince is still sleeping at this point, blissfully unaware of what I'm doing to his kitchen).

I added more sugar to get a better consistency. Still a little runny, but good enough for my now scary cake. And it still tasted good and now had a cool crunchy effect!

TA DA! Here's the finished pic:

I even managed to make some eyes with the frosting.

Okay, okay. I KNOW it looks terrible. I know it deserves to be featured in a "don't let this happen to you article." I know this.

But, it tastes amazing. And, since I didn't show the kids what I was trying to make, they are
none the wiser.

With friendship,

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