Made by hands, expressed from the heart.

Friday, August 31, 2012

I want a new table.

I found out the reason why the kitchen table I bought was so inexpensive. Not even a year after, the white cover started to peel, the sides started to scratch, and the top also had food stains all over. But it was still solid, usable, so why not repair it? In the first picture I have the white cover already peeled (it was white plastic), and just the raw piece of the table. After that it was painted with regular black spray paint, which dried after a couple of hours.The final touch was to give that high gloss finish, using a product called Pour On. It is a little tricky to apply, because it needs to be spread carefully so it doesn't leave bubbles. Then it takes 3 days to dry, so nobody can touch it until ready. But in the end I got my new table. I like this product because it gives a shiny coat, giving the appearance of glass. Like it?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The cake I made for my mother(s)

Me and my husband had a chance to bring our mothers several times from Brazil. They lived in the same city, traveled together year after year to see us, and got used to airplanes, flying, and traveling (something that they never had the opotunity to do). They got along very well and my mother-in-law always made sure my mother was fine and happy, and that's why I consider her a mother too. But there was this one time that they got robbed at gunpoint hours before flying, and had their whole luggage taken (thankfully nobody got hurt). On that day, they were so scared that they called us cancelling the trip. But since their passports and plane tickets were safe with them, we convinced them to come. At JFK, between all the people arriving holding their luggages, we saw them holding each other and laughing. It was funny and sad, because everybody else was carrying a lot of bags, and they had all their clothes stolen. So in order to distract them from the event, we had a little party with friends and I made one cake for each. So I just made two simple cakes, and used fondant to make the roses. It is not a complicated process to make the roses, shaping the individual petals and folding around each other. Then the roses were placed around the cake, and some bows to make it prettier. Having the chance to show our moms another country was incredible. And I consider myself very lucky that I got to show my mother the life I chose to live, and the meet the city she always saw in the movies. They enjoyed their trip as always, and went back with a whole new wardrobe.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Summer Party!!!

Party in the summer is always fun. Party with family members you see once every other year, is the best!! My dear cousin from Divas came from Brazil with her family, my sister came from West Virginia for vacation, and my good friend Dinarte was back from Portugal so he came to join us. I always wanted a Luau Party, so working around this theme, I planned an evening of entertainment and food. Planning my table, I made one piece myself for the center of the table, that could be used for cupcake holder or just decoration. I don't know if martini glasses have anything to do with Hawaii, but they looked nice at the table, especially with the little umbrellas. They were both inexpensive and found at Party City .
Then went to Michaels to make a centerpiece for my table. For the base, I stacked two large styrofoam wreats glued together, and cut a disc with cardboard to glue it on top. Then used scrapbook paper to wrap around and on top. For the second level I did the same thing, using a smaller diameter styrofoam wreath. For the smallest cylinder on top, I cut an empty container of oatmeal, and wrapped the same way. At last the fun part, I found stickers related to the theme, and put ll over it. Just for the Luau sign to stand up, I had two wine corks with barbecue sticks to help hold the sign. It dressed the table very well.
At the dollar store I found some lanterns and decorations related to the theme.
Notice the green and the red flames, they were attached to luau torches from Party City But the color flames came from Lowe's, and sold in cans.
And one last detail that made the night complete: NO MOSQUITOES! I found this product called Therma Cell, and had the best reviews to keep mosquitoes off from an area as big as 15X15 feet. It comes in a lantern light and the repelent come in refills that last 12 hours. We all spent hours outside at night, including the kids, and nobody got one mosquito bite. And THAT makes a perfect night.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Baby cake, literally.

My boss hired me once to make a cake for a baby shower, so I had to show up with something special. Since I wanted to try something different, I decided to put a baby on top of the cake. The bed was a rectangular shaped cake covered with white butter frosting, to make a mattress. But since I decided to complicate, I had to make another thick cake, so I could sculpt the the head and the body. Once the cake piece was cut up with a sharp knife, in the shape of a head, I covered with fondant and placed on the bed. The body was roughly shaped and placed with the head, with no need to make legs or arms, because everything as to be covered with the blanket. The ears, hands, and feet with toes were made only with fondant. The baby was painted with airbrush, and eyes and mouth painted with a small paintbrush. For the blanket, the fondant was mixed before using food coloring and roughly kneaded. The sides of the bed were made also with fondant, previously rolled out and dried. Once dried, the pieces were cut with a big knife, and the heart shape cut with a cookie cutter. They loved the cake, but unfortunately the mother-to-be had gestational diabetes, so she couldn't eat it. Hopefully she kept the pictures (although this is a low quality picture, done before the digital camera era. And plus the photographer, which would be me, cut a piece of the head in the picture).

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sugar Paste is my friend

Even though I try to stay away from sugar, one thing I always use is sugar paste, or fondant. It is a wonderful, pliable material, so easy to make any king of sculpture. And makes any party fun or a nice gift, like this Venus Flytrap cake. What I usually do is baking a cake a in a terracotta pot, that was washed and lined with parchment paper. After cooled, the top is covered in chocolate frosting and crumbled chocolate cookies, to make the dirt. For this cake in the picture, there was no time to get a terracota pot, so a regular cake pan was used for the cake, and the topping was made the same way. At last the fondant was made in different colors using food coloring, then the face and little details were added. Just one tip, if the sculpture is big, it is better to make a day before, so it can dry, become more firm and don't collapse. Is this cake photogenic or not?.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Lazy Pops

Cake pops are such a hit right now, a cake that is easy to serve and looks like a decoration. The genius that came up with this idea is the woman that created Bakerella, a wonderful site with sweet recipes and ideas that I use all the time (thank you). But recently I discover a short cut, and when I feel lazy or short in time, I use my new kitchen gadget called baby cakes. It is a little machine that bakes the cake batter in a pop shape. Once the little balls are baked (takes 4 minutes each batch) and cooled, they are dipped in melted chocolate and decorated with candy, sprinkles, or painted using food coloring pens. It brings up a smile even on those who don't care for sweets.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Look at my Sign!

Waiting for someone to come from the airport is nerve wrecking! I never know if the cab driver will find my house, if there is traffic, or if the rain today delayed my cousin's flight. She is the extraordinaire chocolate maker from Divas. She built a successful business in Brazil making fine desserts for weddings, birthdays, gifts, and teaches her art for chocolate lovers. Her amazing blog
Chocolatria gave me inspiration to start my own, and maybe one day I will have as many followers like she does. Well, using an opened cardboard box I wrote the sign and used all the different paint I had available: fabric paint, paper paint, oil and even chalk. To draw the taxi, airplane and the house I looked at different illustrations on the Internet. Then two final holes on top with a piece of leftover ribbon to hang in front of the house. Hopefully they will see it.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Wedding Birds

Sometimes it is not easy to please a bride, but making a gift from your heart is always meaningful, in my view. My nice co- worker Sally is planning her simple, inexpensive, and relaxed wedding. Her family will get together in a small island, bring the food by boat, cook together and celebrate their union. She was trying to make the cake topper herself, but I decided to step in and help her. The choice she made was these two little birds, and I tried my best using Fimo clay. It is very easy to model, come in different colors, and hardens when is baked. The legs had to be made by wire, then covered with the clay, baked separately and then glued to the body. In order for them to stand up in the wood base, I had to leave a longer piece of the wire by their feet, so I could stick it in a whole made in the wood. The girl bird's clothes and the top piece of the hat was made of fabric, then glued with glue gun to secure. The boy's tie was made of a real tie from the groom, and glued as well. I hope it looks good on the cake.