Monday, 26 November 2012

'Twas the Night Before Christmas Mouse Cake in Pastel Colours

The festive season is almost upon us and if you are looking for ideas on how to decorate your Christmas Cake, then this ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas Cake makes a fabulous centre piece to your Christmas table. I’ve chosen pastel sugarpaste colours to use on my Mice in Bed Christmas Cake, but you can follow the concept in any colour scheme.

Here are some hints and ideas on how I made this ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas Cake:

To make the bed head board, I cut a thin cake board to size, and covered both sides in white sugarpaste. I used a ribbon cutter and an edge-crimper to emboss the panelling. I created the posts by covering plastic cake dowels in fondant.The mice in bed were modelled in flower paste coloured with Dark Brown food colouring paste and the detailing was picked out in ivory and black coloured flower paste.

The Christmas fruit cake was covered in marzipan and sugarpaste, then I made the pillows by making little “ravioli” shaped parcels on sugarpaste encased in a flower paster cover. Before drying out, I dented the pillows so that the mice head would be able to rest naturally in them. The blanket was made from loosely draped sugarpaste, which I coloured into a light mint green colour for a subtle pastel Christmas Cake.

To make the stockings, I rolled a long sausage of Christmas Red sugarpaste, which I cut into three pieces and shaped. I hollowed out the top of stockings so that I could tuck in a present once they had dried out. Before adding the white “fur” trim, I roughed up the surface of my white fondant with a bristle brush to create a textured finish.

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there!

Hope that this has given you ideas for decorating your own Christmas Cake, do let me know what you think.

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Saturday, 24 November 2012

If The Shoe Fits

Hello, I have been after this gorgeous shoe stamp set for a while but it kept on going out-of-stock before I could buy it. Finally, I managed to buy it and on receipt, I immediately thought it would look wonderful stamped and embossed in white. What do you think?

Card Recipe:
Stamp: Creative Impression
Colouring Mediums: White Embossing Powder, Memento Ink Pad
Paper & Card: Karen Neuburger, Pearlescent Card
Tools: Spellbinders, Silhouette Cameo, Grand Calibur, Martha Stewart Punch, Stamps Away Inky Mat
Embellishments: May Arts Crochet Lace, Organza Ribbon, , hand-made beaded Hat Pins, Zva pearl swirls, rhinestone crystals

To make this card, I first stamped and embossed the shoe image in white embossing powder onto light blue pearlescent cardstock. To achieve a clean image, I first dusted the card with corn flour (yes – that’s right, corn flour from the kitchen cupboard!) – it has great anti-static qualities and doesn’t leave a chalky finish in the way that talc is prone to.

I cut out the shoe image with spellbinders then created a faux nestie layer by tracing around the outside of the same die and cutting it out with scissors. The scallop edge was achieved with a Martha Stewart border punch which was then trimmed. I will post a tutorial on how to do this when I’ve got a mo! 

I dyed my May Arts cream lace with a Memento ink pad and my new Stamps Away Inky Mat to coordinate with the Karen Neuburger paper. My dress form was cut out using my Cameo Silhouette and then glittered.
And, of course, I had to make up a couple of little hat pins to zush thing up!

I am entering this card into the following challenges:
Creative Card Crew - Anything Goes
Deep Ocean Crafts - Pastels
Divas By Design - Two Different Patterned Papers
Oldie but a Goodie - Anything But Christmas
Papertake Weekly - Ribbons & Pearls
Stampin' for the Weekend - Use some texture
Pretty Little Riboon - Die Cuts/Punches, Ribbon and Charms

Stamptacular Sunday - Recipe Challenge
The Stamp Man - Emboss It

Hope you like this; do leave a comment if this has pleased you. Pin It Now!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Caramel Macchiato Cupcakes

I created these gorgeous Caramel Macchiato Cupcakes for my Dad for his 81st birthday lunch, as he loves coffee cake. There are a number of stages to making these cupcakes, so they are not a quick and easy make, but they are very much worth the effort for a special occasion!


For the Cupcakes:
225g Plain Flour
225g Homemade Vanilla Sugar
1 1/4 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1/2 Tsp Salt
2 Large Free Range Eggs
1 plump Vanilla pod
125ml Sunflower Oil
125ml Milk
4 Tbsps Instant Coffee

For the Soaking Syrup
5 Tbsp water
75g natural caster sugar
2 Tbsp instant coffee
1/4 Tsp vanilla bean paste

For the Caramel Sauce
250ml double cream
125ml water
200g natural caster sugar
15ml light corn syrup or glucose

Preheat oven to 180 degrees (160 degrees in fan oven).
Spray silicone molds with cake release.
In a large mixing bowl sift together all the dry ingredients.
In a jug, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla pod seeds, then pour onto dry ingredients and beat on medium speed for 2 mins.
Lightly beat in the coffee granules until they are almost fully dissolved. Your batter should be a light brown colour with specks of coffee, (if this is not to your taste, then warm the milk for 1 min in microwave and dissolve coffee in this, cool completely, then whisk in eggs, oil and vanilla as above).
Fill your silicone molds to approximately 2/3 full, (I used these sweet little teacup silicone cases, which are readily available to buy).
Place cupcakes in your preheated oven and bake for c15 minutes. The cakes are cooked when lightly golden in colour and an inserted toothpick comes out.

To make the soaking syrup, put the sugar and water into a pan. Do not stir!
Cook on a medium heat, swirling occasionally until all the sugar has dissolved. Do not stir!
Bring up to a brisk boil and simmer for 1 min. Allow to cool slightly then stir in vanilla bean paste and instant coffee.
Whilst the cupcakes are still warm, pierce with a skewer then drizzle 1-2 teaspoons of syrup on each cake.
Allow cupcakes to cool completely.

To make the caramel sauce
Warm the cream in a saucepan or microwave to scalding, and then keep warm whilst making caramel.
Put the water, sugar and corn syrup (or glucose) in a pan over a gentle heat. Swirl occasionally until all the sugar has dissolved but Do Not Stir!
When the sugar has melted and all the granules have dissolved, turn the heat up to high so that the liquid begins to bubble and darken. Simmer until the mixture becomes the colour of dark honey and thickens. This will probably take 5-8 minutes but watch it carefully as it only takes a few seconds to change from caramel to burnt sugar, gently swirling the pan only if necessary (to ensure it melt and cooks evenly) until it turns a nice golden brown.
Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the hot cream in a slow, steady stream. Be very careful as this will make it bubble and splutter but it will die down.
Leave to cool. Reserve 1/2 to fill and then drizzle over cakes

To make the caramel buttercream
Cream the butter and icing sugar together for at least 4- 5 minutes, then beat in the half the cooled caramel. The addition of the caramel makes a slacker buttercream, so you may need to put it into the fridge for 20mins to firm up before piping.

To Assemble the Cupcakes
After the syrup-soaked cupcakes have cooled completely, slice off the tops and make a small hole in the centre of your cupcake (I use an apple corer). Fill the hole with half of the reserved cooled caramel sauce, and replace the top of the cupcake.

Fill an icing bag fitted with a wide star piping tip with the caramel buttercream and ice the cakes. Drizzle cakes with remaining caramel. Serve and enjoy! Pin It Now!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

I Scream For Ice-Cream!

Can you believe it is now November? I just don’t know where this year has gone! Well, if it is November, then it’s time for Dad’s Birthday Card. I got the idea for this Dad Birthday Card as my Dad’s very partial to pudding, especially Ice-Cream, so the House Mouse Ice-Cream stamp seemed very appropriate.

Card Recipe:
Stamp: Ice-Cream House Mouse from Joanna Sheen
Colouring Mediums: Memento Ink, Promarker Pens
Paper & Card: DCWV, Conqueror, card from stash
Tools: Spellbinders, Silhouette Cameo, BigShot, Martha Stewart Punch, Tim Holtz Ruler, Martha Stewart Score Board
Embellishments: Baker’s Twine, Buttons, Rhinestones

Apart from the button, rhinestones and twine, I made all the embellishments on this card using my Cameo, spellbinders dies, Martha Stewart punches and scoreboard. I hope you like all the layers and points of interest.

The mice, which have been stamped twice and decoupaged, have been coloured in with Promarkers, including the gorgeous Grey Squirrel in the 2012 Autumn Limited Edition set.  I've loved the wonderful colours in this series of pens, absolutely fabulous.

The DCWV papers I used were perfect for the project, and I've had this particular stack for about 5 years before using it!

I am entering this card into the following challenges:

Cards For Men: Sketch
Crafts & Me Challenge: Bling It Up
Die Cuttin Divas: Anything Goes
Here Comes The Boys: Die Cuts & Punches
I Love Promarkers: Cute
LEJ Designs: Anything Goes
Love to Create: Lots of Layers
Oldie But A Goodie: Spots & Stripes (5 year old DCWV papers!)
Paper Crafting Journey: Ribbon or Twine
Pile it On: For the Birthday Boy
Stampin' for the Weekend: Anything Goes
Tuesday Morning Sketches: No 170

Reading comments from fellow crafters is such a pleasure, so I do appreciate it if you can take the time to leave a comment. Thank you!
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