Friday, 26 August 2016

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Cake

Jen had a fair amount of time on her hands while she waiting for her A level results, so she went all out on Christina's birthday cake. Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is another popular TV show in our house, so Jen chose this as a theme. The front of the cake shows the S.H.I.E.L.D logo mounted on a brick wall. Jen achieved the brick effect using an embossing tool and then painstakingly brushed black colour dust in the cracks. The back of the cake shows the Hydra logo which has infiltrated  the S.H.I.E.L.D. organisation. I thought the reveal effect worked very well. An added bonus was the shadow created by the torn edges of the icing - to me it looks like limbs of the Hydra logo reaching out of the cake.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Feeling proud .....

I'm a very proud mother, so you'll have to excuse this rather self-indulgent post. Last Thursday the months of anxious waiting were finally over and Jen received her A-level results. It was a fantastic set of results and included a well deserved A* in Graphics. Final exams in arts A-level subjects compose of a project which will run over a couple of months. So we had seen Jen's exam project as it developed and knew that she had done a pretty special piece of work. But as we're her parents, we may be a little bit biased. 

Jen's exam project was to develop the brand for Kiln Inn, a fictional chain of hotels, designing posters and other branded items. In Jen interpretation of the brief, Kiln Inn included stylish hotels in secluded locations. The logo was a stylised mountain range, with echoes of a facets on a gem stone.

At point I should say that I'm not only a proud mother but also a proud wife. Over the last 18 months Graeme has designed and built a CNC router from scratch in our garage. He managed to get his machine to a working state just in time to produce some of the branded ideas Jen had come up with. These items were a tray showing the logo, door numbers and key rings. Jen produced the design files and Graeme's machine carved the design into the wood. Considering Graeme had only cut a couple of items on his machine before this, the results were stunning.

I was able to help out in a  small way as well. Jen designed a image that could be engraved on a tall glass. I used the image file to cut a vinyl stencil using my Silhouette Cameo.

Then Jen stuck the stencils on a pair of glasses and applied Amor Etch. The Amor Etch has to be rinsed carefully after ten minutes, giving a subtle but effective result.

The best way to photograph etched items is to fill the glass with black tissue paper. Unfortunately we didn't know that when these phots were taken.

To produce branded toiletries bottles, Jen repurposed bottles we had previously collected from Center Parcs.

Bringing it altogether, it certainly looked like a hotel I would like to stay at. With A levels out of the way, Jen will head off to Nottingham at the end of next month to study Architecture. It will be strange not to have her around but I am excited that she is able to take this fantastic opportunity.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Sewing Machine Cake

I challenged my daughter, Jen, to make a sewing machine cake for my friend, Steph's birthday. Steph is my sewing partner in crime. A couple of years ago Steph bought a Singer featherweight, so this was the obvious choice. Jen has never seen a Singer Featherweight so she had to look up some images on the internet to use as a guide. It's interesting to see what details she picked out.

When she made this cake, Jen was in a lull between finishing her graphics A level exam at the end of April and start of her remaining exams in June. So she had some time but not too much. I suspect given the opportunity she would have added a foot but the cocktail stick needle did add some structural support.

I was pleased that used this cake as an opportunity to try out some new techniques, such as the quilting round the side of the base cake. The roses were made a special rose cutter which she had been keen to try. The sewing machine itself was made using rice krispie and marshmallow technique she used the camera cake and the "Owl I want for Christmas" cake. It was so pretty to look at, it was 3 days before we could bring ourselves to start eating it.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Chrysanthemum Brooch

I made this brooch as a present for my friend, Steph's birthday. The design is from "Bead Metamorphosis" by Lisa Kan. The rivoli is Crystal Volcano. I also used bronze daggers beads  and purple iris gold rizo beads. The design of the back of this brooch cleverly incorporates the brooch pin. It took me a while to find the round brooch back the design required, but it was worth the effort. I found the daggers in the completed brooch were a bit too loose, which may have been my tension. To get around this I built up an extra couple of peyote rings behind the daggers to stop them getting pushed back.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

TV Projects

I almost called this post "So That's Where I Put It!". Earlier this year a couple of blogs I read have shown Anne's Orchard bead embroidery kits. I knew I had done one but I couldn't remember where it was. Then last month my friend Steph visited and brought 2 yummy balls of alpaca and silk yarn from NZ. When I put the yarn in my TV project bag, I found where my beaded fox had been lurking. Like most crafters I don't like watching TV without keeping my hands busy. My TV projects are usually knitting or cross-stitch but can be anything that doesn't require too much concentration.


This wasn't technically a TV project because I sat at a table to do the fox and only finished the background in front of the of the telly. But like many of my TV projects, unless it's done for a specific purpose, when it's finished it just gets left in the bag. It was a really fun project to do and I would recommend the kits.

This cross-stitch design is the Orangery at Dunham Massey Hall, a National Trust property near my parents. I bought the kit 10 years ago and it was on the go a fair amount of that time. I'm dreading taking those drawing pins out because I know they've rusted.

This bookmark is in better condition. It's the Sulu Islands Sash Panel from Travellers Tales. I remember starting this on holiday 2 years ago, but I bought the kit quite a while before that. 

 Finally here's the TV project bag itself. The pattern is Gracie from Lazy Girl Designs. Considering it's 10 years old I think's lasting quite well.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Camera Cake

Our friend Steve has a big birthday this year and as we were meeting up for a weekend at Center Parcs, we challenged Jen to make him a cake. As Steve is a keen photographer, a camera was the obvious choice. Jen used her own Canon SLR as a model. She included so much detail, on the front and the back. 


The camera was made using a mixture of rice krispies and marshmallows, so that it wouldn't be too heavy for the cake. This was the same technique she used on the "Owl I want for Christmas" cake.

Here's a photo she took with her own camera. It rather puts my phone camera shots to shame. She has started taking pictures of my beadwork and embroidery as opportunities to practice. So if some of the photos on my blog start to look a bit more professional - now you know why.


Monday, 13 June 2016

Purple Granada Pendant

It's almost six months since my last post with pictures of our Christmas tree. It seems wrong to post more Christmas pictures in June but I'd like to do one more Christmas related post to clear the buffers. Last year I taught my Mum how to braid with a Kumihimo disk. She got the hang of it and went on to produce a braid long enough for me to make a necklace for her. Then of course the necklace needed a pendant so together we picked out the beads for a Granada pendant. Granada is a Sabine Lippert design from her Beaded Fantasies book. The colours were so dark I found I got the best photographs by hanging it on the Christmas tree.

Here is this year Christmas cake, which is another masterpiece by our daughter Jen. It's based on a design from the 2015 winter issue of Cakes and Sugarcraft magazine.
This year, Jen got our younger daughter, Christina, involved. I think there maybe another budding sugarcraft artist in the house. At some point on Christmas Eve, Christina created this cute little chap.