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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Cake Decorating

I started my first Wilton cake decorating class last Thursday and it was amazing!! I didn't think I really knew that much more than the average baker, so every time the ladies said, "I didn't know that!" I felt really good about teaching! 

I took some cupcakes to work the other day for someone's birthday, Vanilla Chai cupcakes to be exact, and they were kind of amazing. The girl who I took them to gave me the nickname "Kelly the Cupcake Kid." I love it! I really enjoy making cupcakes because they are so easy. And the first night of the class was all about cupcakes, so I was in my zone. 
But next week is about cakes. And while I have decorated them, I'm no expert! So I wanted to get in some practice. And Marius was so gracious as to have his 16th birthday just when I needed to practice decorating a cake!! 
Red is really hard to make, FYI. It takes a LOT of food coloring.
I toyed with a World of Warcraft cake, but didn't think my skills were quite there yet. Marius likes Bob Marley, so the red, yellow and green cake was born. The layers on the inside match the frosting on the outside. (I just now realized I did the frosting upside down... red was supposed to be on the bottom and green on the top. Oops.) The cake layers are flavored almond, lemon, and chocolate. 
The top has a pink shadow because I was trying a piping gel technique to give me a guide for the lettering. But I didn't have clear gel. And the pink was pretty bright. But the good news is that technique is pretty easy to master!

Ok, so wish me luck for the next session!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Going to longer lengths

I decided to try out the maxi length skirt and dresses that are popular this year. I actually looked into buying one, but didn't find anything I liked. (except for one that I couldn't afford!) So I made my own!

I started with a simple skirt to try out the length and make sure I liked it. 
Voile fabric, simple a-line elastic waist skirt. Added a short skirt on the inside for a lining since the fabric is pretty sheer. 

This one is a skirt pattern that I really liked that I modified to be a long dress. I'm not really happy with what I did with the sleeves, so I might go back and change that. I wore this for the 50th wedding anniversary party.
Pattern: McCall's 6120 extended to dress length
Fabric from Girl Charlee

And lastly I made one out of the new Bianca shirt pattern from Made by Rae. This one is my favorite I think.
This one is made out of rayon and is so soft! I wasn't sure how the Bianca pattern would work extended this long, but I'm really happy with it!

With all three of these I took an existing pattern and extended the length to reach my toes, using the same angle the pattern already had. Each one above is with a different type of fabric and they all worked really well. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

June Recap

We did a little bit of traveling in June, as most people seem to do. There were weeks where it seemed every office was staffed with substitutes because EVERYONE was on vacation!

We started off the month with a quick trip to Munich where our friends were renewing their vows on their 20th wedding anniversary. On our way home we took a spur of the moment trip to the famous Neuschwanstein castle! After 12 years of living here I thought I had better see the most famous castle in the world!

Hohenschwangau
 Neuschwanstein
Rob preached on Father's Day - his second time to preach in German!
We adopted a new kitten. She needed a home and we wanted a kitten. A facebook poll decided she is a cross between an Exotic and a British Shorthair. We call her Katniss.
Ethan had surgery to remove the rod that was healing his broken arm.

We just returned from a quick trip to the US for Rob's parent's 50th Wedding Anniversary.
 While we were there the kids got to hang out with cousins they had never met.

And we got to spend some time with my parents.
We went to NASA!
And Haven dyed her hair purple. By mistake. 
So we had an adventurous June! 

Monday, June 16, 2014

X and + Quilt

Everyone is on the X and + Quilt bandwagon these days it seems! I actually started mine a year ago, but just finished it in May. My dear friend Ariane turned 50 and this quilt was for her.


 She loves orange. It's her favorite color! The fabric is from the Moda "Comma" line from last year (or was it the year before...). It's all punctuation marks, so it was fun to make a quilt that is X's and +'s with punctuation mark fabric!

This quilt is double sided! I actually started out with this side, which is a Zen Chic pattern for Moda called Card Trick, I think. I instagrammed this in March of 2013 saying I wasn't sure if I liked it and it might become a backing. And that's exactly what happened.

This is the "front" but really they are both stand alone quilt tops! This is the X and + pattern. This is also a Zen Chic pattern from Moda, but I found a free tutorial for the block here if you are interested. Apparently the block can be dated back to 1938!
Modern fabrics with a traditional pattern. That's how I like to quilt - bridging old and new.

And this was my favorite moment of handing the quilt over. Several of the ladies from the church swarmed as soon as we unfolded the quilt!


I love that so many young people are enjoying quilting and that we can all share a love for fabric and design even when our color and pattern choices are so wildly different than "traditional" quilting. I guess I'm not really a modern quilter. I'm not into improve, or crazy curves or any of that artsy stuff. But I'm not traditional either. I can't stand Thimbleberries or Civil War reproduction fabrics! (Sorry!) But somewhere in the middle is a happy place where I can combine modern fabrics with traditional quilt designs and be happy.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

May Recap

May was a very busy month, as it is every year. I really think this is the month that tests my strength and builds my resiliency for the rest of the year. Every year I can say "well, I survived May, therefore I can survive anything." Nothing bad happened, praise God! It was just crammed pack with activity!! I needed two weeks to decompress before I even wanted to look at photos! And I probably missed something...

I'll start with food. I did a lot of baking this month!

Haven needed apple pie at the last minute for some school project. Apple pie is like the one dish that I can't make and give away. If I'm going to make it I want to eat it! Well, I didn't have enough flour for two pies, and of course it was after the stores had closed when I got the request for pie. (all the moms - if you haven't had this experience yet, you will.) So anyway, I decided to make apple roses instead of pie. That way it wouldn't need much crust and I could make some for us to eat.


I followed this tutorial, except I used pie crust instead of puff pastry. I also cooked the roses in a muffin tin so that they would stay tightly rolled. They tasted just like apple pie, but the presentation was amazing! Pin-win!

My second pin-win was Neapolitan Cupcakes. I used the tutorial for the concept, but used three cake recipes instead of trying to split one into three flavors.
That's chocolate, strawberry and vanilla cake all in one cupcake. These were so good I ate mine without frosting. For everyone else I used my tried and true buttercream frosting. 

The next project took about a month of practice and planning. Our dear friend Ariane turned 50 and I wanted her birthday treats to be as special as she is. She loves orange, so the color was easy to choose!
Those are chocolate petites fours and they were not easy!! But they were delicious!

The cake was covered in fondant to make the ruffles. It was my first time doing this technique and I need more practice, but I think I get the general concept.

I made this quilt forever ago and new I wanted to give it to Ariane because of how much orange is in it. I finally gave it to her for her birthday. I'll post more about this quilt later.


 My friend Tawny moved in May. Back in March she gave me a bag of fabric and asked if I would turn it into a quilt for her. This is the finished quilt. I had the boys hold it over the balcony so I could get a picture of it. I'll post more on this quilt later too.
On the work front I didn't have too many classes this month. Everyone was busy, I think. I did teach these two sweet kids how to make aprons.
My colleague "Kitty" and I participated in the Career Fair at the high school and represented careers in Art.
 And we had our annual Arts and Crafts Contest.
One of the entries was hangers that had been wrapped in strips of old clothes that had sentimental value. We received them in a box, but I wanted to do something special with them. So they became an art installation.
They were cooler in person. It was hard to get a good picture.

On the home front - Haven had her Spring Concert, which is all the various bands and the two choirs. There's about 300 kids that participate in the music program! (Her school has about 800 kids) It was long, but they did a great job!
 At the music awards banquet Haven got a letter for choir! She also got a big surprise when she was one of the choir kids to receive Outstanding Vocalist! AND she made it into Harmony Express next year, which is a smaller group that you have to audition for and get picked. So proud of her!!
 Going to a military school most of Haven's friends move away every few years. But this young lady is one that we have known since both the girls were four years old! She is home-schooled so they had a special graduation ceremony for her at the church. (She accelerated and graduated early)
 Ethan had a sock hop at school. We had a little trouble getting a "greaser" jacket, but his hair was great! This is him being too cool to smile for the camera.
 Ethan and Rob went on a camping trip with the church kids group. It was super cold that weekend, but they had a good time!


 And lastly... I got a new bike. The best bike ever! I bought the basket on the front of the bike before I found the actual bike, but I knew exactly what I wanted. When the PX had this one I bought it without knowing how I was going to get it home! A friend with a van came to the rescue! Now I ride to work every day, as long as it isn't raining.
Ok, are you exhausted just reading this? We were seriously exhausted after experiencing it all!! And this is just the stuff I got pictures of! Here's hoping for a relaxing summer!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Bianca Pattern from Made By Rae

Back in my March recap I mentioned that I got to be a pattern tester for the new Made by Rae pattern, Bianca. I was super excited to get to participate!
 Taping patterns together is more fun when you use washi tape!

At first I wasn't sure if I was going to like the fit on me.
 But then I made it. And I like it a lot! For my first version I made the tunic and put the facing on the outside with a lace someone gave me. The fabric was a gift too, from Jennifer!
 I decided it was too much pink there on my chest and it needed a deeper V, so I seam ripped it back and made it a little deeper.
 Here's a close-up of the pattern as written...
 ...and my deeper v neck.
 Maybe a little too deep... but I like that better with the facing on the outside.
 My second version is the shirt length out of Anna Maria Horner voile.
I stuck with the pattern as written on this one and it turned out perfect! The cap sleeves are built right into the pattern. No extra sleeves to attach.
I used the elastic casing on the back for both versions. My elastic thread was all dried out, and the casing was easy to work with. The elastic comes around to the front and gathers the fabric instead of using darts for shaping. It's pretty clever, and easy, and COMFY!
Bianca is for sale over at Made by Rae and you can pick up a copy here.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

April Review

April wasn't quite as busy as March, but it was still a full month!

At work I taught three fun ladies how to quilt!
 And two people started their trip around the world with me!
 We tried something new with a Crafter's Flea Market. People brought their craft supplies to sell and trade. It didn't have a whole lot of people, but it was fun and we'll do it again!
 My girl pal Martha turned 50 and we had a super fun birthday party! She is one of the most generous people I know!
 Haven went away to her first school camp. She auditioned and got accepted to Honors Music Festival and sang in the choir. They were away for a week and sang for 8 hours every day to prepare for the concert!
 The concert was in a beautiful German building and they all sounded fantastic! The school video taped and streamed it live so family was able to watch it from anywhere in the world! Very impressive!
 Haven dyed her hair blonde. (which I forgot to mention to family BEFORE they watched the concert...)
Ethan broke his arm AGAIN. He was riding his bike on the bmx bike track and lost his grip. Poor kid. He's a trooper though. He had surgery and they inserted a little pin to hold the bone in place. He is out of the cast now, but will have the pin in for another month at least.
 I didn't really get pictures at Easter, but I did catch the cat discovering his basket!
 I learned something new!
Rob and I got to go to the Toppers awards ceremony to pick up the trophy.

And I went to Canvas and Corkscrews again and painted a tribute to Germany. :)
It was a fun and joyful month!