Friday, April 16, 2010

Easy and awesome cake for the amateur cake maker!

One last post on my daughter's birthday and I'll move one... I promise! I know it was already two months ago! To be honest, I just haven't taken pictures of my other projects lately and the birthday pictures are easily accessible. Haha! I'm just that lazy.

OK! So my daughter wanted a Cinderella castle cake. This might seem like a simple undertaking for a creative cake-maker, but cake-making seems a little out-of-reach for me. I mean, I know I could make it taste good, but food presentation, especially with decorative frosting, is not my thing. I am a self-labeled imperfectionist and perfect swirls of frosting are not going to come out of my frosting tube, I guarantee it. So with that in mind, I set out to make a simple cake in a castle shape... at least convincing enough for a four-year-old.

I started by making an ice cream cake. I lined a 9x13" pan with parchment paper and mixed up some confetti cake from a box. Once baked and cooled, I lifted it from the pan and cut it in half. I took a box of strawberry ice cream and cut it in half so I had two slabs, each piece about the size of one half of the cake. I sandwiched this between the two cake halves and cut the cake sides with a bread knife to the edge of the ice cream slab. Next, I cut away the four corners and placed two ice cream cones (cake style) in each corner, first an upside-down one on the base, then a right-side up one on top of it. I used a little ice cream to stick them to the cake and between the cones to stick them together. Once it was covered in plastic wrap, I stuck it in the freezer overnight. The frozen ice cream stuck the cones in place like glue and made the cake very simple to frost!

The next morning, I used a simple buttercream frosting (colored blue of course!) and covered the entire thing... cake and cones. I thought I would have to work quickly to keep the cake from melting, but it turned out that the frozen cake hardened the frosting as I went and made the frosting much easier! I finished with a few sprinkles, but with any imagination and time this castle could be decorated quite elaborately! All in all, this was one of the easiest frosted cakes I have ever made!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Holly, the princess fairy costume doll!

It has been six weeks since my older daughter's birthday, but we've been living in hectic chaos since then... traveling out of state, having family in from England, my brother and sister-in-law's wedding reception in the backyard, birthday parties, events, you name it. Sadly, my little crafty blog took a back seat for a few weeks, but here is the long-awaited post about Holly and her princess dresses!

Holly is a 17.5 inch tall waldorf doll with light skin tone, big blue eyes, and shoulder-length light brown hair. To encourage bonding to her princess-and-fairy-loving mama, I included five outfits for playtime: Snow White, Cinderella, Tinkerbell, Belle, and Ariel.

Snow white:

This dress was made almost entirely from leftover scraps. The skirt was remnants left over from the Belle costume I made this winter. I am planning on listing it on my Etsy site in the fall. The trim on the bodice front was leftover from the Aurora costume in my girls' dress-up stash, and the sleeves are extra material from my older daughter's birthday/Easter dress.


This dress was also made from the birthday/Easter dress remnants. The underskirt for both this and the other full-skirted dresses is a simple tulle tutu with long pieces of tulle tied around an elastic loop. It fills out these full skirts very nicely. The sleeves and peplum are made of bubble organza from Joann's... I have never tried it before but it was on sale. I was very pleased with the effect, although I would not have left the edges unfinished at the sleeves if I realized it would fray, but it has been very minor.


I had to experiment with her wings to come up with this effect. I used bubble organza in lavender and sewed a simple butterfly wing shape. I then used thick decorative aluminum wire from the floral section to make the wing frame and stitched the organza closed around it. I then attached the wings to an elastic loop that goes around Holly's waist. The dress snaps in the back around the wings.


This dress was a last-minute add-on. After finishing the rest, I still had quite a bit of yellow material left over, but it turns out it was just barely enough! Each of the skirt swags is made of two very slim crescent shapes sewn together, and this was the last part I cut out of the fabric. After the last of the 16 crescents was cut, I literally had no fabric scrap large enough to make a 17th if it had been necessary! Talk about making good use of my yardage!


This was a fun little creation! I had been wanting to make mermaid costumes for waldorf dolls for a long time, so I had time to think on how this would be done. There are some adorable waldorf mermaid dolls, but I had not seen anyone make a costume to turn a normal waldorf doll into a mermaid. This was my solution and it turned out great! The top is basically the same as Bell's underdress, but with ribbons as a halter instead of tank straps. Instead of a dress skirt, it is tapered up a bit in the center and finished. The bottom is a stretchy costume material with sequin-dots, and stitched onto the bottom, which extends just past Holly's feet, are strips of green tulle, lavender bubble organza, and the green costume dot material. She is also wearing some Mardi Gras beads here, but even without them, so is a very convincing mermaid!

Of course, being the fiercely independent sewer that I am, I took much poetic license sewing these to make them fit the project in my head, but I started with Simplicity 5705 for general pattern pieces of all princesses except Ariel. Thankfully with a 17.5 inch doll to work with, it was easy to find an American Girl pattern with all the princesses I needed rolled into one pattern!