Monday, January 27, 2014

Review: DIY "fondant" cake topper using Wilton's Shape-N-Amaze Edible Decorating Dough

H's 3rd birthday is coming up, and we are having a party! But after brainstorming and fretting and pinning about a million ideas for the perfect party… I decided to take it easy on myself and let someone else do most of the heavy lifting. (I've already had a few big parties this year, and I kind of need a break! Especially now that I'm in my 3rd trimester and starting to feel it.)

So we are having a gymnastics party at the gym where she took lessons over the summer, and probably will again this summer.

Still, I couldn't have a party without a FEW special touches, so I decided to make and decorate the cake myself. Even though I have never made a layer cake in my life, let alone a custom-decorated one!

Pinterest saved the day again, of course, giving me all the info I needed to make a great layer cake from scratch and ice it in a way that is easy but looks fancy (well, my practice version turned out great, anyway -- will blog about that later!).

I knew I would also want to make something really personalized to put on top, but all my Pinterest-ing left me feeling a little nervous about making my own fondant, etc.  So I decided to do a "semi-homemade" version using this pre-colored product from Wilton.

And here's the result after maybe an hour of work last night. A little gymnast girl who looks a lot like mine!

(I even made her leotard to match the one H will wear to her party, haha!)


It was really, really easy to do! It comes out of the package really hard, but you knead it in your hands and it softens up. The rest is just forming shapes, like you would with modeling clay or play dough. And what toddler's mom isn't already a play dough superstar, right?

It isn't super-cheap ($5 per color) but I have a lot left over. I also only purchased two colors-- the peach (called "natural") and the royal blue. I made the hair color by adding a tiny bit of orange gel food coloring to a bit of the peach. It worked in easily, so customizing colors is totally doable.

I made the eyes with a toothpick and smile with a spoon. I used broken bits of toothpick to attach the limbs. It is now drying/hardening, and from what I read online, should last for ages if I store it in a cool, dry place after it's hardened.

It's theoretically edible, but I can't imagine anyone wanting to eat it! (Still, it's nice to know there's nothing in it that will poison our cake!) Since no one will be eating it, I didn't think it would be too bad to fudge on the "edible" part by using a Q-tip to brush on a tiny bit of real blush on her cheeks. :-)

One last little trick I think may save us some hassle on the party day (please excuse the suggestive pic!):


I poked a few holes underneath so we can attach her to the cake with toothpicks. Wouldn't do to have our gymnast falling over!

All in all, I really like this product! I'm sure I will be using it again.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Back in the saddle

Singing: Hello, yeah, it's been awhile…
              not much… how 'bout youuuuuu?

OK, I'm giving away too much information about my dorky taste in music.

But really, it's been awhile! Christmas was even busier than usual this year, it seems, and then N and I each had a death in our respective sides of the family, and then we started working in earnest on converting the playroom to a nursery for the upcoming addition to the family (a project I can't wait to share!) so there hasn't been a whole lot of down time for sewing or for blogging.

Maybe that's why, when I finally got back into the sewing room today, I made so many dumb mistakes. I'm just rusty, I guess. I also had a little learning to do on the new sewing machine I got for Christmas (I know! That makes  three new machines in one year -- I'm so spoiled!) but I can already tell I'm really going to like it. I'm just not used to a sewing machine that can do so many things by itself. (And feeling a little bit guilty about replacing my old, super-basic workhorse, to be totally honest!)

Anyway, the point is, the top I made today took me a whole lot longer than it should've, due to my own silly mistakes and slowness. But I think the end result is cute and I'm looking forward to trying this top again to see if I can do better next time.


The pattern I used for the top is the very cute and straightforward Izzy Top from Climbing the Willow. The designer, Teri, has just added a bunch of new sizes (for free!!) on her blog, so I was able to use the 3T instead of sizing up the original 2T.  It isn't tricky at all, so I'm not quite sure why I kept messing things up, but you just have days like that, you know? Maybe it's baby brain.



I also added some decorative topstitching along the neckline and hem, just because (1) I'm the biggest fan of topstitching ever and (2) I was having fun seeing what my new machine can do all by itself! For a budget-friendly machine, this thing is really impressive (although I suspect the self-threading mechanism may be more trouble than it's worth). I'm really enjoying playing with it.  I just love Brother machines! (I wish they were paying me for saying that!)

Anyway, it sort of gets lost on that busy fabric, but it will be fun to add those little extra-special touches to a lot of outfits now with all the decorative stitching options.

This line of stitching is actually straight -- the hem was just lying wavy… wavily… whatever.



For the button placket I used a bit of the corduroy to tie the outfit together, and then a covered button I have had for ages (but only one -- who knows where it came from?!) that has an orange on it. It's a little kooky, but I figured there are only so many opportunities to use such a random button, and besides, butterflies LOVE oranges. ;-)


The bottoms where whipped up in about half a minute (it seemed) using the Basic Pant pattern from MADE. This is a great standby pattern that I will use a LOT (unisex is nice, since baby #2 is a boy!). I love that it has a lower rise in the front than the back so it is shaped with a little booty, like a real kid. Also, it's just super-easy and quick to make a nice, durable pair of pants, so what's not to like!

Anyway, that's the new outfit. Cute for late winter with a sweater, I'm thinking, and then it will be wearable right through spring.  And the top should be great through summer with jeans or shorts. 

Fabric:  top: Cocoon by Valori Wells (Kind of a funny choice since I have a mild phobia of butterflies in real life! But H loves them, and she will look so cute in this.)
             pants: Kaufman (maybe?) 21-wale corduroy I've had in my stash for a year

SINGING: And I'd really love to see ya toniiiiight…

Ugh, I'm the lamest. ;-)

EDITED to add pictures of the outfit in the wild. She was obviously being ultra-cooperative. ;-)


Well, hellloooooo, Crazyface!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Review: DIY "fondant" cake topper using Wilton's Shape-N-Amaze Edible Decorating Dough

H's 3rd birthday is coming up, and we are having a party! But after brainstorming and fretting and pinning about a million ideas for the perfect party… I decided to take it easy on myself and let someone else do most of the heavy lifting. (I've already had a few big parties this year, and I kind of need a break! Especially now that I'm in my 3rd trimester and starting to feel it.)

So we are having a gymnastics party at the gym where she took lessons over the summer, and probably will again this summer.

Still, I couldn't have a party without a FEW special touches, so I decided to make and decorate the cake myself. Even though I have never made a layer cake in my life, let alone a custom-decorated one!

Pinterest saved the day again, of course, giving me all the info I needed to make a great layer cake from scratch and ice it in a way that is easy but looks fancy (well, my practice version turned out great, anyway -- will blog about that later!).

I knew I would also want to make something really personalized to put on top, but all my Pinterest-ing left me feeling a little nervous about making my own fondant, etc.  So I decided to do a "semi-homemade" version using this pre-colored product from Wilton.

And here's the result after maybe an hour of work last night. A little gymnast girl who looks a lot like mine!

(I even made her leotard to match the one H will wear to her party, haha!)


It was really, really easy to do! It comes out of the package really hard, but you knead it in your hands and it softens up. The rest is just forming shapes, like you would with modeling clay or play dough. And what toddler's mom isn't already a play dough superstar, right?

It isn't super-cheap ($5 per color) but I have a lot left over. I also only purchased two colors-- the peach (called "natural") and the royal blue. I made the hair color by adding a tiny bit of orange gel food coloring to a bit of the peach. It worked in easily, so customizing colors is totally doable.

I made the eyes with a toothpick and smile with a spoon. I used broken bits of toothpick to attach the limbs. It is now drying/hardening, and from what I read online, should last for ages if I store it in a cool, dry place after it's hardened.

It's theoretically edible, but I can't imagine anyone wanting to eat it! (Still, it's nice to know there's nothing in it that will poison our cake!) Since no one will be eating it, I didn't think it would be too bad to fudge on the "edible" part by using a Q-tip to brush on a tiny bit of real blush on her cheeks. :-)

One last little trick I think may save us some hassle on the party day (please excuse the suggestive pic!):


I poked a few holes underneath so we can attach her to the cake with toothpicks. Wouldn't do to have our gymnast falling over!

All in all, I really like this product! I'm sure I will be using it again.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Back in the saddle

Singing: Hello, yeah, it's been awhile…
              not much… how 'bout youuuuuu?

OK, I'm giving away too much information about my dorky taste in music.

But really, it's been awhile! Christmas was even busier than usual this year, it seems, and then N and I each had a death in our respective sides of the family, and then we started working in earnest on converting the playroom to a nursery for the upcoming addition to the family (a project I can't wait to share!) so there hasn't been a whole lot of down time for sewing or for blogging.

Maybe that's why, when I finally got back into the sewing room today, I made so many dumb mistakes. I'm just rusty, I guess. I also had a little learning to do on the new sewing machine I got for Christmas (I know! That makes  three new machines in one year -- I'm so spoiled!) but I can already tell I'm really going to like it. I'm just not used to a sewing machine that can do so many things by itself. (And feeling a little bit guilty about replacing my old, super-basic workhorse, to be totally honest!)

Anyway, the point is, the top I made today took me a whole lot longer than it should've, due to my own silly mistakes and slowness. But I think the end result is cute and I'm looking forward to trying this top again to see if I can do better next time.


The pattern I used for the top is the very cute and straightforward Izzy Top from Climbing the Willow. The designer, Teri, has just added a bunch of new sizes (for free!!) on her blog, so I was able to use the 3T instead of sizing up the original 2T.  It isn't tricky at all, so I'm not quite sure why I kept messing things up, but you just have days like that, you know? Maybe it's baby brain.



I also added some decorative topstitching along the neckline and hem, just because (1) I'm the biggest fan of topstitching ever and (2) I was having fun seeing what my new machine can do all by itself! For a budget-friendly machine, this thing is really impressive (although I suspect the self-threading mechanism may be more trouble than it's worth). I'm really enjoying playing with it.  I just love Brother machines! (I wish they were paying me for saying that!)

Anyway, it sort of gets lost on that busy fabric, but it will be fun to add those little extra-special touches to a lot of outfits now with all the decorative stitching options.

This line of stitching is actually straight -- the hem was just lying wavy… wavily… whatever.



For the button placket I used a bit of the corduroy to tie the outfit together, and then a covered button I have had for ages (but only one -- who knows where it came from?!) that has an orange on it. It's a little kooky, but I figured there are only so many opportunities to use such a random button, and besides, butterflies LOVE oranges. ;-)


The bottoms where whipped up in about half a minute (it seemed) using the Basic Pant pattern from MADE. This is a great standby pattern that I will use a LOT (unisex is nice, since baby #2 is a boy!). I love that it has a lower rise in the front than the back so it is shaped with a little booty, like a real kid. Also, it's just super-easy and quick to make a nice, durable pair of pants, so what's not to like!

Anyway, that's the new outfit. Cute for late winter with a sweater, I'm thinking, and then it will be wearable right through spring.  And the top should be great through summer with jeans or shorts. 

Fabric:  top: Cocoon by Valori Wells (Kind of a funny choice since I have a mild phobia of butterflies in real life! But H loves them, and she will look so cute in this.)
             pants: Kaufman (maybe?) 21-wale corduroy I've had in my stash for a year

SINGING: And I'd really love to see ya toniiiiight…

Ugh, I'm the lamest. ;-)

EDITED to add pictures of the outfit in the wild. She was obviously being ultra-cooperative. ;-)


Well, hellloooooo, Crazyface!