Monday, June 13, 2011

Simple WipeOut Cake

One of the first cakes I made this year was a WipeOut cake for my husband's birthday.  It was my first time making and using Italian Meringue Buttercream and also airbrushing!  Both took far more time then I expected so the cake was kept simple. I made the two 'Big Balls' out of Rice Krispy Treats rolled into balls and then covered in fondant and added the gumpaste figure on top.  It was a chocolate cake with chocolate filling.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Cookie Bouquet (and How To)

This year for Easter I decided to try making a cookie bouquet instead of a cake.  It was very time consuming (which I've found most things that look pretty are) so i spread it out over 3 days and had lots of fun making them.



And here is a mini step-by-step How To of how I made the cookies:

You can click on the how-to image to enlarge ;)

Monday, April 18, 2011

When you can't make it, EMBELLISH it! A Toopy & Binoo Purple Birthday Party

UPDATED: scroll to the bottom of this post to see a close up of the Toopy and Binoo Plaque.

This past weekend we had my daughter's 3rd birthday party.  Due to health issues I didn't feel up to making much but with the help of friends and family we had a great time and lots to eat!

I had lots of help decorating and buying items for the dessert table but I wanted it all to be purple, pink and green which isn't easy when you need to rely on purchased items so I got several things that I liked and then 'embellished' them with melted chocolate!  Lots of colored candy also helped with the color theme ;)

My daughter loves the color purple and wanted a Toopy & Binoo theme (they are cartoon characters on a show out of Quebec, Canada).  Catch is that there is little to NO source (that I could find) for Toopy & Binoo party supplies so had to make my own.  I started about 2 months ago and slowly picked away at it a little at a time.

Here is a picture of the dessert table:
As you can see there was lots of purple! I even hung purple table cloths (from the Dollar store) on the wall behind the dessert table to blend it all in ;) And I incorporated the Toopy & Binoo theme by making some Toopy & Binoo tags and adding to some suckers, covering some mini Hershey bars and making a royal icing plaque for the cake! She loved it!

This was my first royal icing plaque and it did not turn out as well as I had hoped - I guess that is why folks always say that you should have a test run if something is new to you ;) But in the end I'm the only one that noticed that it wasn't perfect and my daughter got giddy from joy when she saw it.

The chocolate dipped oreos in the top right hand corner and the chocolate dipped marshmellows in the bottom left corner where fun to make. My daughter helped and although more sugar and chocolate ended up on the floor then on the treats we had a great time together.

I'll come back soon and add some close ups of the Toopy & Binoo items ;)

UPDATED: and here is a close up of the Toopy and Binoo Plaque:
I made it by printing out a picture I found online.  I put and overhead projector sheet on top of the printout and then added a light coating of Crisco to the sheet.  Then used royal icing to outline and color in the picture.  I left it out overnight to dry but that wasn't enough. It really needed at least 2 days. And in the end it was a little too large for the cake so I just took a pair of scissors and cut off the black ring around the edge - but this was only possible because it had still not completely hardend so I guess it all worked out in the end!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentine's Cupcakes - Red Velvet Cucpakes and IMBC

This past weekend I made a batch of Red Velvet cupcakes with an Italian Meringue Buttercream.  Decoreated with red and pink fondant hearts and took to work for a meeting we were having on Valentine's Day.  Everyone loved them! Well, excpet for me.

I used a scratch Red Velvet recipe which I found too dense and dry - but the dry aspect was my fault - I over baked them a bit.  The cupcake itself didn't have a lot of taste either. 

And I was not a fan of the IMBC - although light and fluffy and not sickeningly sweet as American Buttercream I found it tasted like butter - too much so! ;(

I had added some white chocolate to the IMBC but that didn't help ;(  I also made sure the butter I used only had 'cream' listed in the ingredient list (and no additional flavorings or items).. but still not what I wanted.

I guess I'll just have to keep trying new recipies until I find one I like.  Hopefully that won't mean that others won't !!!

And that is why I tried my own 'doctored' version of Red Velvet in the post below (http://cloesspace.blogspot.com/2011/02/doctored-red-velvet-cupcakes.html).

Here is a picture of last week's version (I know you can't see them under the decorations) but they were fun to make and decorate so I had to share ;) :

Doctored Red Velvet Cupcakes

This post goes with the one right before it - while trying to figure out my cupcake liner situation I decided to also try to make some red velvet cupcakes... I had tried a new scratch recipe last week but didn't like the results.  Everyone that had them loved them but I found them too dense - i prefer a very light and fluffy cake - probably because I made so many box mixes over the years!  So I decided to try to alter a plain/vanilla cake mix to make it into Red Velvet.

And before you ask why i didn't just use the Ducan Hines Red Velvet mix - they are not available anywhere within a 200 km radius - trust me i've checked!

I started with a box of Duncan Hines vanilla cake mix.  Put the wet ingredients (per the back of the box) in a bowl and added 1 tbs of red (no taste) gel food coloring.  Beat this up just until mixed and then added the powdered cake mix - but before beating I added 4 tbs of cocoa (to the top of the mound of mix)... then I mixed it per the box directions.

The oven was preheated to 400 degrees. then when I went to put the cupcakes in the oven I lowered it to 350 degrees and baked for 18 min.  Let cool in the pan for 5-10 and then on wire rack until completely cooled.

And this was the result:


I liked the taste (just enough chocolate for me) and a good color.  And most importantly it was very light and fluffy! Just the way I like it!

If anyone knows how I can replicate that texture in a scratch recipe please let me know!!

Altered Cupcake Liners!

Cupcakes are fun and easy to make.. well until you get crazy about the shape and size like I did!

My cupcakes tended to look like this strawberry one: http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/strawberry-cupcakes?&backto=true&backtourl=/photogallery/our-best-cupcakes#slide_2 i.e. smaller at the bottom and then larger at the top .... I find them a bit too small and wanted them to look more like this chocolate one: http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/devils-food-cupcakes-book?&backto=true&backtourl=/photogallery/classic-cupcakes#slide_1 i.e. more uniform from top to bottom (i'm referring to the cupcake itself - the cake part not the topping/icing)...

I used a standard muffin pan and regular medium sized liners... but after getting some input from the wonderful folks at CC I decided to go buy a new pan - a pan that cleary had straighter sides for the cupcakes! I ended up with a Wilton aluminum pan (seen below).

Then I ran into the next problem - liners! Standard liners are made for standard pans (i.e. ones with very slanted sides - smaller at the bottom and larger at the top)... I looked online for a source for the larger bottomed liners but couldn't find any and being impatient I decided to make the best of it and was going to make my own liners to look like this:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/jtomas/3255006824/in/photostream/ made out of squares of parchement paper but that too took too much time (just to make 1) - i was really impatient today ;) so it then hit me - why not 'alter' the ones I had!!

I put the basic liners  that I had (100 for $1 from the Dollar store) into the pan and then looked around to find something like a jar or glass that had a base the same size as the bottom of the cupcake pan... this is what I found and did:

Yup! that's a small jar of CheezeWhiz turned upside down! I added the liner to the pan (pic to the left of the jar), then placed the jar in the liner and twisted/turned/spun it around 3-4 times and then when I removed the jar the liner was a perfect fit (picture to the right of the jar)!

And here is the final result: a cooked cupcake with my 'altered liners'! The sides are much more vertical!! I love it!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

American Girl and Christmas!

I decided to try making cupcake ornaments this year for Christmas.  I think they turned out pretty good!  Took a bit more time than I had hoped but was worth the work!



Also made some Bailey's Chocolate Truffles:



And earlier in the month I made a cake for my FIRST real cake order! An American Girl Doll Painting T-Shirts.  The birthday girl loves her AmericanGirl doll and wanted it on the cake wearing a blue t-shirt.  Since the girls at the party were going to be painting t-shirts I added that element to the cake too! Figure is about 5.5 inches tall and made out of gumpaste.  Chocolate cake with oreo filling covered in fondant.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How to turn your Cricut Expression into a Cricut Fake (Cricut Cake)

I just ran across this and had to post a link to it!   There are two videos that show you how you can 'convert' your Cricut Expression into a 'Cricut Fake' i.e. a DIY type Cricut Cake!

Check it out:  http://joyslife.com/how-to-turn-a-cricut-expression-into-a-cricut-cake/

Are you frustrated trying to cut fondant or gumpaste on your Cricut? Tips that may help!

I've read countless posts on various boards about how frustrated folks are with using their machines to cut fondant or gumpaste and i can appreciate their 'pain'.  I was thinking about this and then realized that it all comes down to the one BIG variable - the material being used.  In fact the only variable is the fondant/gumpaste which unfortunately can vary a lot and thus cause a lot of problems.

IMHO success or failure is completely related to the texture/thickness/firmness of the fondant/gumpaste.  So that is the 'trick' - finding the right combination which will very a lot based on brand of fondant/gumpaste used and the type of microwave used to 'soften' it because the wattage and thus power levels vary (if you even need to go down the road of microwaving it...sometimes you do and sometimes you don't).

So having said that there is a lot of trial and error - which I know doesn't help too much.... the only thing you can do is look for 'clues' as to what is wrong... if the blade is pushing the fondant and making it move (and by this I mean actually moving a big chunk) - think icebreaker going through ice -  the fondant is probably too hard/stiff.... if it is making it crack (again think ice breaker) it is too hard/firm... if it is pushing up little ruffly edges as it cuts (on either side of the blade) it is likely too soft...if it creating little puckers or ruffles in front of the blade as it cuts it is likely too soft ..... well at least that has been my experience.

If you watch the various CHA videos online or other videos on youtube that show fondant being cut pay attention to the texture/pliablity/firmness etc of the fondant AS THEY LIFT IT off the mat AFTER it is cut - that will give you something to aim for..

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Groom's Tuxedo Cake

My latest creation was this Groom's cake that I finished yesturday. This cake was inspired by the many great Groom's cakes that I saw at Cake Central and other places on the internet, specifically one found here: http://www.cakesfun.com/Wedding.php?aa=1&si0=0&si1=18&si2=0

My version is a marble cake with a whipped chocolate ganance filling, chocolate icing and fondant. The dark brown fondant is chocolate fondant that I made myself, the rest is reg purchased fondant (Virgin Ice) that i tinted using gel food coloring.


This picture was taken while the collar was still drying so you can see the plastic wrap that is 'holding' it up... didn't get a shot afterwards...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cupcake Wrappers!

Cupcakes were all the rage last year and still are this year! What could be better than making a batch of cupcakes and then putting them is some GORGIOUS wrappers! After doing some searching I ran across this site that has several FREE SVG files of wrapprs! I love it when people share! There is a also a 'blank' version of the wrapper included so you can personalize it!  Love it!!!

Thank you Judy for creating this and sharing!!

Check it out and check back later for some pictures of my using these files! http://www.iloveknk.com/category/cupcake-wrapper/

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dora's Backpack

My latest creation... a cake that looks like Dora's Backpack!

This cake took me about 8-9 hrs to make but was a hit! My daughter loved it. 

It was made using 6 layers of chocolate cake and chocolate buttercream! Yum!





The step-by-step photos:






and now for some explanation on each step:


  1. I started by baking two 13 x 9 cakes

  2. cut each cake into 3 pieces and level tops

  3. added buttercream between layers and stack

  4. added dowels for support (push all the way in - I left them out to show that they are in there)

  5. added crumb coat (this is an optional step at this point - I did it to add some stability to the cake) and then refridgerate for at least 1 hr - if you have time freeze it! Freezing will make it easier to carve later.

  6. carved cake to form shape of backpack, then add a layer of icing for the fondant to stick to.

  7. colored fondant using the gel colors

  8. rolled out purple fondant and draped over carved cake. The rolled out fondant was in the shape of  a large circle (sort of) so when I placed it over the cake it had lots of 'extra' ... what I did was created darts at the corners (it looked like what a table cloth looks like at the corners on a squre table) and then used scissors to cut off the extra - which in essence created 'seams' down the 4 sides/corners. The fondant 'sealed' when cut - i.e. stuck to itself and in spots I helped it by using my fingers to pinch it together (sorry forgot to take a picture of that part!)... I also forgot to take a picture of the top flap piece - I cut it seperately and added before the next step...

  9. created strips (rolled out some fondant, used a ruler and a sharp knife to cut strips) then used tool to add 'stitching'. then used a little water to 'glue' it to the seams on the cake

  10. used two strips to create straps for the backpack - layed them on their sides up against a box and shaped.  Note: let dry or they will not hold their shape or will break once added to the rest of the cake (I learned this the hard way - notice my finaly cake doesnt' have straps).

  11. made the Map... I used a rectangular piece of fondant and wrapped it around my small rolling pin.. then drew on the face with edible markers and added thin pieces of black fondant to outline his mouth.  I left it on the rolling pin overnight to harden.

  12. created 'pockets' to add to both sides using rectangles - used water as my glue to attach them.

  13. I printed out a picture of the backpack I found online and then cut out the eyes, eyebrows and mouth - used that as a template to cut out the fondant (using a sharp small knife).  Attached using water and then used a clay extruder to make the black 'threads' to go around the pieces.

  14. then used a star cutter to cut out some stars, added white fonant eyes that were cut using an icing tip, and a black edible marker for the facial expressions. Used letter cutters for the name and added fondant to the top of the cake board for color.
This cake was inspried by several I saw on Cake Central and one done by PetrinaS.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Purse Cake

This was my first attempt at a purse cake.  I rushed to make it and it shows.  I baked the cake in the morning and iced and decorated it that afternoon in about 2 hrs... I didn't have time to really let the cake set  nor freeze it so carving it was a bit difficult and messy.  I also ran out of icing and didn't have enough time nor supplies to make more so it wasn't as smooth as I would have liked.  Next time I might do something different with the top strap... not 100% happy with it .  Three layers of lemon cake with vanilla icing are hiding under the fondant.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Another cake!

This is a bridal shower cake I made a few weeks ago.  It was a 3 tier chocolate cake with whipped chocolate ganache filling, and buttercream icing. I made fondant/gumpaste flowers (about 200 small ones, 4 large and 10 medium with buds) and a figure of bride to add to the cake to decorate it. This was my first tiered cake - not something I'll probably do again. I found it too difficult to transport and to assemble in a way that I was confident it wouldn't topple over. I ended up putting it on an MDF board, and putting a large dowel up the middle to support it, plus several small dowels in the bottom layer to support the weight of the upper layers.  It all worked out in the end but I had to hold it in my lap to transport - very nerve racking...  

It took me about 4 hrs to make the figure, about 4 hrs to make all the flowers, and another 3 for the rest... very time consuming but I spread it out over the week before the party.

This was the 3rd figure I've ever made (the first two were 'flower fairies').  It was fun making her clothes and working on her. More practice should speed up the time it takes me to make one and improve the details.

The reviews were great - "it was delish"!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Copic vs SU! Markers (my opinion...)

A little while ago I was considering jumping on to the Copic band wagon.  After buying a few and hitting a few stores and 'testing' colors i fell in love with Copics.  Then I realized how much it would cost to get a 'starter kit'.  Everyone recommends NOT buying kits and instead making your own, which I agree with. The ketch is that to truly be able to use them and color a few images you need several colors. There are many great blogs out there that recommend which colors to start with from what I've gathered it depends on what you will be coloring: flowers, landscapes, or people.

After a few days I went beyond just drawing lines and drooling over the colors and actually colored in an image of a little girl. The colors blended well but I found I needed more colors - more lighter ones.  And, I didn't actually like the finished product.  I didn't like the look of the paper - or should I say the colors - they almost looked like 'pilling' - it's hard to explain, the paper didn't pill but if it had it would have looked like this.  The more you blend the colors the more this happens and the key to Copics is to blend so it wasn't for me.  And yes I did use Copic paper.

So I returned as much as I could and went back to my SU! markers.  I found a great video online (found here: http://paperpleasing.typepad.com/my_weblog/2007/10/no-copics-no-pr.html) and gave it a try.  I actually liked the result much much better!

With the SU! markers you can start with a mid to dark color and 'lift' the color getting much larger shades.... and similarly if you use a light you can go even lighter.... I didn't find this as possible with Copics.  I had to have the lightest color i wanted and at least 2 other markers in a similar color just darker to get as much shading.  Copics do have more options with hundreds of colors where SU! has far less, however by being able to 'lift' color I can create more options.

I will try to take some pics of my comparison and post later.

Friday, July 9, 2010

My Daughter's 2nd Birthday Cakes! - Dora and Dora!

My daughter loves Dora so for her 2nd birthday I decided to make her a Dora cake.  I had planned on using my cricut and some of the SVG files I had created but in then end went in a completely different direction!

I decided to make a cake in the shape of Dora's head .... wasn't sure it would be 'enough' cake for all the guests so planned on putting it on top of a sheet cake.  When I finally made the 2 cakes I was concerend that the sheet cake would not hold the weight of the top layer and didn't want to add dowels so decided at the last minute to make them as 2 seperate cakes... that's what happens when I go with the flow and things don't work out at the last minute - I make more work for myself than necessary!  :)

In the end it all worked out and everyone loved the cakes.

Dora's head was devil's chocolate cake with whipped ganache filling and icing, then covered in hand cut fondant.  The sheet cake is white cake with oreo buttercream filling.  forgot to color the icing yellow so ended up air brushing it... then added another Dora face to it to match the first cake.

My daughter loved them!




Friday, April 9, 2010

Simple steps in cutting out gumpaste images on a Cricut!

Earlier today I was watching the Ultimate Cake Off on TLC (a recorded episode) and one of the contenstants used a Cricut (original one) to cut out gumpaste and add to her cake!  Looked great but int he end she lost - i think it was because the judges didn't like that she didn't hand make the decorations.... oh well, I don't have her years of experience or talent so I will use my cricut! 

Below is an updated set of steps that explains how to use a Circut (or any electronic cutting machine for that matter) to cut out gumpaste for cake decorating. I have the Cricut so that is what I used. It just takes some patience, trial and error... Once you get the hang of it you can cut out letters and shapes but I would not recommend it for small details. It works best for larger more basic shapes or pictures. For the record I did not come up with this idea. A little over a year or more ago I started finding several threads written by different people on various forums that mentioned it. Based on the information I found I gave it a try, but it didn't work ;(.  So I played and played and then finally found a method that worked for me using gumpaste.  Read a previous post with some additional information.

1. First you need gumpaste. Fondant is too soft and doesn't dry fast enough. If you can't find gumpaste, mix about 1 tbs of gum-tex per lb of fondant.

2. Roll out gumpaste into a thin 'sheet' using pasta machine. You need to get the gumpaste as thin as you can get it without being able to see through it when you hold it up.

3. Let gumpaste dry slightly - just dry enough to hold it's shape but not so dry that it cracks or isn't at all pliable.  This is the most important thing about all of this - too wet and it makes it bunch up too dry and it pushes it ....

4. Prepare mat - remove glue form cricut mat OR use the backside of it! OR get a regular plastic chopping mat found a the Dollar store and if necessary cut it down to fit your machine. Lightly 'grease' with Crisco/shortening - this will act as the 'glue' to hold the gumpaste while being cut.

5. If making a small cut, position gumpaste or image 'between' the machines rollers (so that they don't leave a mark on your image). If making a large cut you need to move the middle rollers to the sides.

6. Use any cartridge you have for your cricut to cut out gumpaste images or use any SVG file you have via SCAL or MTC software.

Machine Used: Cricut Expression
Blade: the regular blade (not the deep cut one)
Pressure Setting: settings vary depending on how dense/stiff the gumpaste has gotten - mine is usually set to 4 but I've also used 5.  What I do is make a test strip of gumpaste and then play with the pressure setting until it works/I get the result I want. 
Speed:  is always set to medium (by default) - I just leave it there.

If you search Google and YouTube you will find various methods for cutting gumpaste and for cutting a cool prodcut called SugarVeil.  Plus a lady who is selling a video she put together. I've never seen it so can't comment on it's content. And Provo Craft (the company that makes the Cricut) has now built and is selling a version of the machine just for cake decorating.  I'm sure others will follow.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

cakes, cakes and more cakes!

Along with creating Dora files for my cricut and making tear bears I also have been spending some of my time making cakes for family and friends....

I decided to try decorating cakes about a year ago when I decided to try to make my daughter's 1st birthday cake.  It was a lot of hard work but it was fun! I think I'm addicted!  I obviously have far too many addictions but all are harmless - well except to my waist line!

All of these cakes were made in the past year.  I'm self taught - have read a few books, articles online, watched some youtube videos and asked qeustions on some cake decorating forums.  I would love to get some feedback so please leave a comment.


This is a picture of my first decorated cake! It was for my daughter's 1st Birthday (last year). The bottom is chocolate with whipped chocolate ganache filling, the top is lemon cake with lemon buttercream filling. I used the paper towel method to smooth out the buttercream and then made a lot of butterflies, lady bugs, snails, bees and flowers out of fondant to decorate the cake. The finishing touch was a flower fairy that I spent a lot of time on just to have her fall off the counter and smash (on the morning of the party!). Luckily I had made a second one for fun, not as detailed, and ended up using her. I had a lot of fun making this.  I am now officially addicted to making and decorating my own cakes!


This is a picture of cake made to resemble a little girl's dress. It was a 'practice cake' for my daughters baptism. Chocolate cake with a berry filling. I used fondant for the dress. Hand carved/shaped the dress. This was made last summer. But due to time constraints and the fact that we were in another country for the baptism we ended up buying a cake.


Next is a maple pecan cake with maple buttercream icing. Wrapped in a white, dark and milk chocolate ribbon. Pecan's and chocolate dipped manderines on top.  Yummy!


I set up a halloween party/playdate for my daughter this past October and wanted to make a special cake. I purchased the Wilton pumpkin pan at Winners and then made a citrus cake which was covered in fondant. All figures are hand made of fondant or gumpaste.


 I had seen something like this online and couldn't resist trying it! Made these Mummy Pops and brought them into work for everyone to enjoy at Halloween. Made out of chocolate cake, dipped in white chocolate.


Next I made this retirement cake for a lady at work. Since we work for the 'telephone' company I made a little retro style phone and added to the top. Also added a white fondant flower to the front. Chocolate cake with whipped chocolate ganache filling, and white buttercream icing. She loved it!


And finally, the other day I made this unicorn cake.  A friend requested that I make her a 'pretty unicorn' cake for her birthday. This is what I came up with. Carrot pecan cake with cream cheese icing, covered in home made marshmellow fondant. Added some shimmer dust to add some sparkle and some diluted food paste for accents on the ears and lips. This was hand carved/shaped.


The next cake I plan on making is my daughter's 2nd Birthday cake... Since she loves Dora it is going to be a Dora cake... I still haven't decided what it will look like but I do know that all of these cakes take a lot of time and effort so it might be a while before I make another one!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Nurse Tear Bear and Boy Bear

I decided to make a Nurse bear to go along with my Dr.. although both tend to wear green scrubs I decided to go more traditional with the Nurseand put her in white.

I used the Paper Dolls Dress Up and Everyday Paper Dolls Cricut cartridges for their clothes.  Had to alter them a bit using the software - to make them 'fit' a bear body better ;)

I also made a white boy bear that is sitting. No clothes for him ;)
While making both of these I also created my own templates so that I have something to start with each time.  I tried to freehand them but that just doesn't work for me - I know they are all supposed to be different but when things are very unproportional it drives me batty and all my freehand stuff was very unproportional and took way to long to do ;)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tear Bear Doctor

I made another Tear Bear head last night and today wanted to give her some clothes so decided to use her in a layout I'm going to do later next month.  The layout will be of the delivery of my daughter.  I had all female nurses and Doctors the day of my delivery and almost all wore the same green scrubs so I decided to make a female Dr bear to go along with the layout.

Here clothes and all the accessories are from the Everyday Paper Dolls Cricut cartridge.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Great Tear Bear How-To

UPDATED: Okay so this week I'm obsessed with Tear Bears! I saw some really cute bears and couldn't figure out how the faces were made but then I found this 3 part  video (which unfortunately was taken down because the creater 'upset the Tear Bear community by posting this how-to'...  I'm a firm believer in sharing knowledge and how-tos so I'm not so much of fan of those that don't believe in teaching others! I dought they were born knowing how to do things without having to learn...URG....

In any case, after watching the video I made 2 more bears - Peek-a-Boo Bears! The one big difference I saw was that these bears were more fluffy and I achieved that by using a regular tooth brush! I also decided to use a Martha Stewart heart puch for the eyes and nose. I love the way they look with the hearts!  In the video the tip is to use a denture brush but I didn't have one.  A regular tooth brush with the bristles cut down a bit works great!.  The other big tip in video which I've read before but never tried before is to use chalk to add some shadowing and highlights.  Although it almost can't be seen in the picture below, it really did make the brown bear a lot cuter! It didn't seem to work as well with the lighter bear.

Here's a picture of my two latest bears. For some reason they are 'over exposed'... likely the background... sorry but you get the idea!
Aren't they adorable!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tear Bear re-fluffed

I read about a tool that many use to fluff their tear bears.. looks like a tooth brush but has metal bristles and is sold in a pack of 3 (different roughness of bristles on each) for about $3 at Home Depot.  So off I went!  Got them and they do help but I still can't get him to look as fluffy as some that I've seen online... but that might be due to the actual mulberry paper that i used.

Here's an updated picture of him.  He doesn't look much different in the picture but is far more fluffy then the first one.

My First Tear Bear!

After all my comments about Tear Bears and after watching various videos and reading several 'How-Tos' I decided that it was time for me to try making my own Tear Bear!

Here is what he looks like:


I think he turned out great for a first attempt!  The only thing I'd change is maybe fluff him up a bit more next time!

I started with a template for the pieces but then found that they didn't really look the way I wanted so I modified the template to be more like what I wanted.  I used a light brown and a beige mulberry paper for the body and then cut out little white ovals for the eyes and a nose in black (both freehand).  I used a blue and a black SU! marker for coloring in the eyes and a white marker for the dots on the eyes.  The mouth is drawn in with the black SU! marker.  I then used a brown colored pencil to highlight the edges of all the pieces and a pink pencil to add some rosy cheeks!

I used glue to put the pieces together - not sure if that was a good idea as I can still see some of the glue coming through...

Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bear and Bunny SVG files

After admiring some Tear Bears online I decided to make an SVG file for a bear and a bunny that i could use until such time that i get up the courage to try making my own Tear Bears!



Updated: These files work now!You can find the SCUT2 file here.  or the SVG file here . If you use the SVG file with SCAL you will need to import it and then select it and go Object, Break Apart to get the pieces.  If it opens up very large in SCAL use the properties window (usually on the left of the screen) to resize it by first putting a check mark in the 'keep proportions' box and then changing the width or hight to something like 10.  It will be much easier to do this BEFORE you break apart the pieces. 

All pieces to make the bunny and bear are separate pieces, I just left them layered in the file so you could see the finished product.  You can move all the pieces individually when you open the SVG file in SCAL or MTC.  I used different colors so that each pieces is clearly visible on the image above.  I even put in some eyebrows and a mouth but I'd suggestion drawing them in rather then cutting out and using the tiny pieces.  Little white dots (marker) can also be added in the eyes to make them 'sparkle'.  And the bears eyes should be black - I used pink only to make them stand out.

They both need a smile don't they.... well DRAW one on! I will! and add  some rosy cheeks with chalk....

Enjoy!

Tear Bears!

I love Tear Bears and have found a great How-To!  It incorporates the use of the Paper Dolls Cricut Cartridge (fro the clothes) and making Tear Bears! What could be better?!  These little bears add so much to a scrapbook layout! I can't wait to try one! Check out the link: http://www.paperscissorsinc.com/2008/03/cricut-paper-dolls-sailor-bear-tear.html

and here is another great blog that tells you how to make them: http://hubpages.com/hub/Free-Tear-Bear-Instructions-for-Scrapbookers

and another great tutorial: http://createwithheart.blogspot.com/2009/01/tear-bear-tutorial.html

and tips for making fluffy bears (plus online supply shop): http://www.mulberrybear.com/servlet/the-3122/Free-tips-for-making/Detail

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wireless Baby!

I'm preparing some layouts for a retreat I'm attending later next month and one of the layouts I want to do is of when my daughter lost that last little bit of umbilical cord.  The title of the layout will be 'I'm Wireless', so I found a cell phone here on the Craft Edge Forum and now made a radio/cell tower SVG to go with it!



I modified the 'sound waves' a bit to make them smaller. The radio/cell tower SVG file can be found here.

Please note: I did not create the original image - it is the property of the creator and came from here:
 http://vietnameseworkersabroad.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/radiotower.jpg

No More Cricut Font Cartridges!

I have decided that I am not going to buy any more Cricut Font Cartridges! Why you ask? Well because I discovered Inkscape and SCAL a while back and have found that with SCAL you can cut out any font you have on your PC for free!  Inkscape is also free and SCAL costs about the same as one cartridge so you do the math! It's a great way to save a ton of money and still have all the fun!!! You can also use SCAL to cut out any SVG file you find online that is free too!!!

You can go here to download a free version of Inkscape, here to download a free trial version of SCAL and this is one of hundreds of sites you can go to to download free fonts to your PC!

Check out this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QH2flUV2s2Q

Cut and Decorate Fabric with your Cricut!

Okay so we know we can cut paper, vellum and vinyl with a Cricut machine.  But the projects you can work on with your Cricut seem to be endless!  Especially with some of the great creative individuals out there!  You can also use your Cricut to cut out fabric for appliques or stencils made of freezer paper and paint on fabric!

Again, this stuff isn't new but I'm a visual person so these videos are great for me:
Stiffen Fabric and Cut with Cricut
Cut Fabric to make Appliques
Create Freezer Paper Stencils using Cricut

And don't forget that we can also cut out gumpaste and sugarveil to decorate cakes using our Cricut! Read previous posts for more info!

videos - using fondant/gumpaste for cake decorating using your Cricut

I just did a search on YouTube and found several videos that show how to use the Cricut (the new one and the old ones) to cut out fondant or gumpaste for cake decorating.  Do your own search or check these out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hhyh_qfZSP8

and if you look at the numerous videos taken at the CHA 2010 showyou will see all the tricks in doing it!

Making Gumpaste out of Fondant

To make any type of figures for cakes or to use in your Cricut machine to cut out images you really need to use Gumpaste.  You will get better results since Gumpaste dries faster and thus will hold it's shape better.  If you just want to cover an entire cake to make it look smooth then use Fondant - it's softer and more pliable.

I can't get ready made gumpaste around here so I buy fondant from Walmart (cheapest source around here) and then add some Gum-tex to the fondant to turn it into gumpaste (about 1 tbs per lb of fondant). Another alternative is to make your own fondant out of marshmellows!  You can find several marshmellow fondant recipes at CakeCentral.com  I have tried it and it is pretty easy and much cheaper then buying - even from Walmart!

Decorating Cakes using your Cricut

For those that like to make and decorate their own cakes but are like me and can't get the hang of using buttercream or aren't creative don't worry! You can use an electronic cutting machine to cut out images to add to your cakes.  Family and friends will be so amazed and wont believe you made them yourself! Now this doesn't mean that you'll be an expert cake decorator - I respect the fact that that takes years of experience and training (self training or formal).... but it will allow you to make amazing 'embellishments' to add to your cakes.

The folks over at CakeCentral.com have over 30 pages of comments and notes on how to do it.  To read more go HERE

And if you have a Cricut and SCAL software you need to check out these links. This site is full of great designs in SVG format that would look great on cakes!

Friday, February 12, 2010

using a Cricut to cut out gumpaste for cake decorating

Updated

With the release of the CricutCake there is no doubt that you can cut gumpaste or icing sheets to use as decorations on cakes. Or if you like to use stencils why not use vellum to cut them out too!

The idea of using an electronic cutting machine to cut gumpaste is not new. A long time ago I read about it on various Cricut and Cake Decorating boards and then did a seach in Google. I found several articles written by different people that outlined how to do it and tried a few of their suggestions. Didn't work at first but after some time of playing with it and trying different things I found that it could be done quite easily with a regular machine - almost any electronic cutting machine for that matter! It just requires a bit of trial and error - don't give up if it doesn't work the first time or two ;)

Don't believe me? Then consider the differnces between the regular Cricut and the CricutCake (which I mention in a previous post here) and then watch this video that shares some tips and tricks: http://creativecritterscricutclub.blogspot.com/2010/01/cricut-cake.html . At the end of video you will see several icons across the bottom with other videos of the same event. All information is openly shared by ProvoCraft representatives that are fully aware that they are being taped. You can use gumpaste or icing sheets or any other edible medium for that matter - anything that you can roll out to be thin enough to fit under the cutting blade. And as they stated, shortening makes a great glue to hold it in place while it is being cut.

And if you'd like to try cutting something other then gumpaste or icing sheets, check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U607X1xhrHI&feature=channel.  It's using the same idea as with the gumpaste - just a different product.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The New CricutCake!

I just saw some info on the Cricut site about a new machine. It's called the CricutCake - it looks like it's a version of the existing Expression machine but with a few alterations to make it more usable for cutting fondant or gumpaste in the Cricut! Click here to go to their site for info and a video. If you are interested in seeing another video of it in action check out this blog: Creative Critters Cricut Club.

My first thoughts on this machine (this is only MY opinion):
I think making a machine specific to cake decorating is a great idea and I WANT ONE but i just can't afford another machine and I'm not sure how big the market is for something so specific.

They really stress that the benefit to this machine is that it is 'food safe'. I'm sure it is but i'm not so sure what about the current one wouldn't be... with a few adjustments I think it can work. The only two things that ever touch the fondant are the mat and the blade so as long as those two are food safe then i don't think the rest would matter really. Unless I'm missing something here?

I have used my current Cricut machine as is for some time now to cut out gumpaste to decorate cakes. But when they start to sell the mats and the blades (for replacements)  for the new machine I think I'll get some and try it to see what if any difference I see.

And yes, gumpaste (which can be made using fondant with Tylose or GumTex added)  has some (but very very little) moisture in it and yes the shortening for the matt is greasy so it wouldn't be a good idea to get it all over or inside the regular machine but if you are careful it shouldn't' be an issue. And they have a cover for the key pad to protect it - looks like a piece of plastic to me - sort of looks like Glade Press & Seal which could also be used to cover the small gap under the rollers (so that nothing gets in there).

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Summer Cards

Before heading for summer vacation I managed to make a few cards. Below are two. I used my Cricut for the Owl card and for parts of the football card. I also used my Cuttle bug and the bubble folder for the texture on the ball.




Scrapbook Layouts - Never Finished...

I seem to never finish my scrapbook layouts anymore... I start, get a lot done but then something about them isn't right or isn't exactly how I pictured so I can't finish them.... or at least consider them finished. Both the Giggle Monster and Dora layouts that are shown below are examples of that. The Dora layout needed more color, embellishments and the title didn't stand out as much as I wanted. Since posting the picture I have added some ribbon, flowers and am in the middle of replacing the title with more of the typical Dora bold colors. I also need to add the journalling ;) The Giggle Monster layout is also unfinished. This one too had a title that didn't stand out so I took it off with the intent to replace with a darker shadow color. BUT then I lost the font! I spent months trying to track it down but luckily I did. Then I had PC issues so couldn't cut anything out (that relied on using software). I'm finally up and working again and hope to work on it later this month.

My Poor Neglected Blog

I've been very busy lately and as a result this poor blog has been neglected ;( But I have noticed that I've been getting a lot of hits and almost all are for the Dora in a Skirt cut file I uploaded! I hope you are enjoying it!

One of my New Year's resolutions is to make time to work on more cut files and I will try to add as often as possible. If you are downloading a copy and you do use it please come back and leave a comment. I love comments!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Giggle Monster Layout

I also worked on another layout the same day. This one also had text cut out using my Cricut, SCAL and a cricut cartridge. Again, I still need to do the journalling.


And here is a link to the font used: http://www.fonts101.com/xt_fontdetails_az_FID!12533~Giddyup_Web~font.html - the font is called "GiddyUp Web".

Dora Layout

My DD loves Dora! This is a 12x12 layout I created using my Cricut machine. I used SCAL for the fonts as well as a cricut cart (but I can't remember which one right now). The Dora image was found online as a free SVG. The colors are actually quite bold but don't show up well in the picture.

Now I just need to add some journalling!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Creating an embossigng folder using your Cricut

I was playing with my new Cuttlebug and realized that the embossing folders are just made up of positive and negative images so I decided to try using my Cricut to create my own embossing folder. It took me a few minutes of staring at a Cuttlebug folder to figure out how to make one and then came up with this process (which I'm sure others have too).


The short explanation is that you use your Cricut to cut out the shape you want on chipboard or any thick material - i used my favorite cracker boxes. You then glue or tape the negative pieces of the image to one side of the 'folder' and the positive to the other.

The instructions are below. You can click on the images to see a larger version.

Enjoy!

Created by Cloetzu@hotmail.com ©

‘Tools’ Required: Cricut machine, pieces of ‘box paper’ (for example a cracker box) or chip board, glue/double sided tape, Cuttlebug, paper cutter, DSS (optional).


The result will look something like this:








1. Create Design in DSS or just use Cricut on its own for the shape/text.











2. Use Cricut to cut out your image/shape/text on to ‘box paper’ (for example a cracker box) or chipboard (use an existing embossing folder to judge how think the chip board/’box paper’ needs to be).









3a. Glue positive image to one side of ‘box paper’ then lay the negative side on top (into it) and add tape to negative pieces,













3b. Then place sheet of ‘box paper’ over it and press down,











3c. Negative pieces will stick to top piece when you remove it/flip it over).









4. Now attach these pieces to a larger piece of ‘box paper’ that has been folded in half to create the ‘folder’ (you also need this extra layer to get the right thickness for the Cuttlebug and to keep it in the correct position – before taping together make sure the top and bottom layer are ‘sandwiched’ correctly – i.e. they ‘fit’ into each other). Note: you can skip this step and do it as part of step 3 if you use really thick ‘box paper’. Finally, cut off any extra paper and add a sample of the embossed image to the front of your new folder.









Your finished folder will look like this.