Friday, July 20, 2012

Handbag cake - complete

I have completed my first 3D cake! And in this photo it looks quite good...but let me tell you, there were some issues along the way! And as usual, I get so caught up in the process that I forget to take photos along the way, so I only have one "progress" photo and this is of the pink fondant icing I had rolled out.
I didn't have too much trouble colouring this fondant, using Americolor "Deep Pink" and unlike the "Fuchsia" that I've used for other things, this didn't seem to fade as it dried. But I have to say that I'm not happy with this icing that I have been using. I meant to buy 3kg of white fondant, but accidentally ordered White Chocolate fondant! And I also used a different brand, this is Cake Art plastic icing and I have to say that I find it really hard to knead and roll out. I get so frustrated with it, and it ends up all over me!!
On the other hand, I use Bakels Pettinice fondant in black and it is just so nice to work with!

So here are some of the troubles that I had:
  • The shape of the cake was just plain tricky, and I was lazy and I didn't ganache the cake, I just used regular icing. So when I laid the fondant on it, it was quite lumpy. Although my fiancĂ© said that the lumps gave it a more 'real' look, like there was stuff in the bag.
  • Smoothing the icing on the edges, the joins, was tricky. I think that instead of just laying one bit of icing over another, I should have squeezed the joins together and cut off the excess. That's what I did on the top of the sides, and it smoothed out a lot better.
  • The criss-crossing - I only had a little ruler, and I have to admit I rushed it, so the crosses didn't match up as I would have liked them. I also may have rushed with the stitching tool a little bit.
  • I used gold shimmer dust on the zip, and I think it looks good, but I had tried to mix it in with some water to make it more like paint, and that didn't happen. I also realised that I hadn't cleaned my paint brush from last time!
  • The handles that I had painstakingly pre-made broke!! One broke when I was trying to move it out of the way. And the other broke after I had put it on the cake! It just fell off and left black marks on the icing!! Grrr!!
  • And then there was the weight of the didn't seem too bad until the day after I iced it, when I opened the box to find it leaning back (thankfully in the right direction, so the decorations were still on the front). How annoying! But once again, fiancĂ© to the rescue: He propped it up with an empty "Rock Star" energy drink can!! 
Thankfully it all worked out in the end. The cake survived until Jessie's birthday, and everyone who ate it said it was nice. Although the cutting of it was kind of confusing!!

But what I learnt from this cake was:
  • Be very careful with the pre-made fondant stuff - maybe use some string or just hold things until you're sure that they're stuck
  • Think about the shape of the cake and the weight, where it might lean and all of that
  • Take your time with the decorations. Think things through and don't be so lazy.
  • Think about all the tools you'll need before you start - so you don't get frustrated with the getting up to get more things so many times!
  • When someone asks if you want help, just accept it!!
  • Next handbag cake will be more of a clutch style :)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Handbag cake - preparations

For a very special person's birthday I have decided to make a handbag cake. Last night I baked the cake and today I started to prepare it.
First I had to cut the cake into sections and then put it back together in a handbag shape, using icing to stick it all together. I'm not 100% happy with how the shape has turned out but I show a friend a photo of it today, and she knew it was a handbag, so I guess that is a plus!!

The next lot of preparation I had to do was for the add-ons to go on the bag - such as the handles, and some letters. So I have used black fondant (I purchased it black, so I didn't have to worry about tinting it), rolled it out fairly thin (not too thin for the handles), and then used a cutter to cut out strips, and a stitching tool to put in stitch maks. I also used a great set of Snap-It letters to cut out my friend's name (and some other random letters to put in my little box of random fondant things).

So the next thing to do will be to cover the cake with pink fondant (which I prepared today) and add the decorations and details. I'm also going to add a zip, so I'll be trying out some gold shimmer paint out and I'm really looking forwad to testing it! Hopefully I'll have it ready for Thursday and hopefully it stays together and doesn't fall over - I have put skewers in to secure it.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Vintage Inspiration

I'm often inspired by vintage things - and we should clarify here what I consider to be vintage, which is anything before the 1970s. Maybe it's because my Mum and Dad were young adults in the 70s, or that my sister was born in the 70s, but I just get offended when I do a search for "vintage X" (usually sewing patterns) and ebay returns things from the 80s!! 80s isn't vintage!

Anyway, back to what I was saying. I'm often inspired by vintage things but tonight I am finding myself more so. I'm typing this with hot rollers in my hair in an attempt to create a vintage hairstyle, and I'm hanging out to wear a dress I just finished making from a vintage pattern. Maybe it's because I've been searching for images to use for bridal hair and make up, and searching for these images has motivated me to watch some old movies as well. Tonight I watched a new movie about an old movie...My Week With Marilyn...and I really enjoyed it. I did have to google straight away to see if Michelle Williams wore padding to get the Marilyn figure, and I was right, she did! I don't have to wear padding, well maybe for the top half, but I have a very obvious difference between my waist and hips, which the dress I made will emphasise. It takes seeing old movie stars to remember that it's ok to have hips and that they're actually attractive! You wouldn't think so looking at todays movie stars.

I'll be wearing a headpiece which has a vintage feel to it and so I've tried to find images of actresses wearing hats or headpieces - but they are so hard to find! So here are some of my vintage images for hair and make up inspiration:

Jane Russell and Ava Gardner. You have to love the brunette vixen from the silver screen. Jane has the honour of having said one of my favourite lines in a movie: "I like a man who can run faster than I can!" (from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. And Ava just has such superb grace.

Ginger Rogers and Marilyn Monroe. Not only did Ginger do everything Fred did but backwards and in high heels, she also always lookd glamorous. I love this movie, Shall We Dance for many reasons: Fred is so funny in it, great songs (They Can't Take That Away From Me and Lets Call The Whole Thing Off), they tap dance on roller skates, and the final dance scene (minus the ballet) is just lovely. I also love her hair in this shot and she is wearing a kind of skull cap head piece that may be similar to mine.

And what can you say about Marilyn, especially before the Kennedy's got to her! She is just lovely.

I have saved the best till last. I kept scouring the internet, doing dozens of google image searches, and getting so frustrated because I just knew that I had seen a photo of what I want to look like on my wedding day but I couldn't track it down. Then I realised why I couldn't find it on the website. The photo I had in my mind was one of my maternal Grandmother, Nanna (Marie) Thompson, that my Mum has up in her house. So I took a photo of it the other day, and considering I do take after my Grandmother to a certain extent, I'm hoping that I might look something like this on my wedding day:

I'm hoping to get a photo of me in my new vintage dress soon (it's been -5 degrees in the mornings at the moment, so I haven't been able to bring myself to frock up) and I will definitely be posting it. And if I work out some perfect roller placement for perfect vintage hair I will post photos of that as well shortly.

In the meantime, what is your vintage inspiration?