Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tile Coasters

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds everyone happy and healthy!  Lately, I have been exploring other forms of medium to express my art.  I am not certain how it came about, but all of a sudden I want to paint and sculpt and design......  I am thrilled that I am inspired!  Here are some pics of the tile coasters that I have been making - hopefully you will also feel some inspiration to go create!






Thank you for looking!

Best wishes always,
Dana

Sunday, November 13, 2011

New Holiday Cookies!

Hello everyone - I hope this post finds you all happy and healthy!  I have been very busy with my new Etsy store and have not been able to blog as much as I would like.  I am making a pre-New Year resolution to put aside time every week for a new post ;-)

In the interim, I would like to show you some new Holiday cookies I have created.  I hope you like them.





Thank you so much for looking!  I will be back this week with a tutorial!
Best wishes,
Dana

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Toba Garrett Inspired Brush Embroidery Cookies

Hello!  I hope everyone is well and enjoyed the long Labor Day weekend!  I have been very busy - trying to get my new Etsy Store up and running as soon as possible. I hope to be open within the next two weeks. I will keep you posted.  In the interim, I would love to show you my new logo ;-)


I recently made more brushed embroidery cookies.  I think you will see a major difference from those in my last post.  Of course, I am going to tell you how I achieved a better result.  The following pics are of the new cookies, inspired by Toba Garrett.


The design is based on Toba Garrett's Victorian Brushed Embroidery cookie from her book Creative Cookies, which I sell in my amazon store.  Her piping work is so delicate and elegant.  The book explains, in detail, all the steps needed to make a gorgeous cookie.  She also includes various patterns, which I found to be extremely helpful.

Now - on to my secret tool that I used to get the very fine, detailed results.  Look closely, not TOO closely ;-),  at the piped stamen.  When I piped them, they actually came out perfectly round, no points to pat down.  At first I thought it was a fluke, but it continued to happen.  How???  Drum roll please..... PME tips.  They are magic - it is as if they will not allow you to make a mistake.  I have never had such a stress free time piping.  In fact, I would go as far as saying, it was a joyful experience!  The results of the branches this time around were also far superior to those I made in my last post.

I used a #1 PME tip for the new cookies pictured above.  I used a #1 Wilton tip for the cookies from the last post.  Vivre la diffĂ©rence!

I purchased my tips from Karen's Cookies.  They were not that easy to find and I knew from her reputation that she was a trusted source.  She has exceptional customer service to boot!.


I encourage you to go to her web site, as it is a treasure trove of supplies and free tutorials!

As always, I hope you found this information helpful and truly enjoy connecting with you!

Be well!
Dana

Monday, August 22, 2011

Halloween Cookies - Brush Embroidery Tutorial

There are certain things in life, I just do not want to take part of....jogging is one and piping with royal icing is another ;-)  I did, however, want to try and make some elegant Halloween cookies.  I had a master plan and I was going to get on the B.E. bandwagon.  These are the cookies that were the product of that plan.



I spent many hours studying others' work.  The pressure was on, as my predecessors had made stunning cookies using the brush embroidery technique.  Everyone has a different style and various approaches to their work.  I basically gleaned bits and pieces of everyone's tips, tutorials and art to get my results.  I am definitely going to try other methods and will keep you posted on the results that I get with each.

In the interim, I am posting three videos from different sources that show varying methods of brush embroidery.  The first is by Elaine MacGregor.  This is a more traditional approach and the results are exquisite.


The next tutorial is from a Wilton instructor (I apologize, but they did not state her name), using the Wilton Method.


The third video was produced more recently by an exceptional decorator, Ali, from Ali Bee's Bake Shop.  Not only is Ali talented, but she's got "heart"!  She and her family just relocated to Joplin, MO! I encourage you to go to her Facebook page and let her know how much we appreciate her tutorial!


So that, my dear friends is my post on brush embroidery.  As always, if you have any questions, tips, comments or pics to share, please let me know.  I will be happy to post the information.

Be well!
Dana

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Picnik - Before and After Pictures of My Work

Everyone loves a "before and after" picture - right?  I had such an enormous response from my last posting of the results I get with Picnik; that I could not resist to show you some "before and after" pictures of my work.

I feel as if I am showing you pictures of myself without make-up on! I have decided that helping you with the quality of your pictures trumps my vanity ;-).  Here it goes....













If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!
Have a great day!
Dana

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Picnik - a FREE online-photo editing tool

I found a treasure!  Perhaps I was not the first to discover it, but now that I have, I wanted to run and blog about it.

I am forever trying to take better photographs of my work.  I read and read on how to take a better photo and have had only a modicum of improvement.  It seems as if everyone else is mutli-talented.  Their art is gorgeous in and of itself, then the photo they post is perfect too!  How do they do it?  Well, I do not have all the answers, but I did find a decent solution for myself, until I get better equipment.

Picnik is an on-line photo editing tool that is genius!  Apparently, it is on par with Photoshop and very user friendly.  The basic program is FREE.  You can also upgrade to a premium membership for more advanced effects, like airbrushing.  As soon as I am able to upgrade, I WILL be airbrushing every photograph of myself that has ever been taken since the age of 10! ;-)  In the interim, I am very pleased with the results that I am able to achieve, for my cakes and cookies, with the free membership.

This is a photograph of a Halloween Cupcake I made last year.  I used a very expensive backdrop at the time the photo was taken - a white paper towel.





Not very impressive.... The next photograph is after I used Picnik.  I took the exact same photo, cropped it, used "auto-fix" to adjust the color and added a "vignette" background.

 Major improvement!!  For a second look, also using Picnik, I took the initial photo, cropped it, used "auto-fix" and then gave it a "matte" finish.

I am totally diggin' the look!


You can use Picnik with your Facebook, Flickr, Picasa Web Albums and more!  I hope I was able to give you some useful information.  As always, I would love to hear your feedback.  Please feel free to send me your "before and after" photos using Picnik and I will be happy to post them.

Have a wonderful day!
Dana

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Beatles: Remembered In A Cookie

I think this is a fabulous way to bring in the new month....a post starting with a cookie silhouetting The Fab Four on their Abbey Road album cover!


Lest we forget the music that inspired the cookie......for your listening pleasure ;-)


These vanilla sugar cookies are hand painted on fondant.  In addition to The Beatles, my inspiration came from http://hanielas.blogspot.c​om/2011/03/beatles-cookies​-take-stage.html Haniela made her own stencil for her cookies (she has more patience than me! ;-)) She has a wonderful tutorial on her blog PLUS she made FAB caricatures of the FAB FOUR!  Apparently, as I am writing this post, I see we have a "word" of the day.  I promise not to use it again, at least not in the next 5 minutes or so.


I hope I did the image on the next cookie justice, thus needing no introduction....


Another icon and musical genius - Michael Jackson!  I actually had the privilege of seeing him perform live at Radio City Music Hall; his performance being nothing short of spectacular.

The last cookies are of birds on a branch.  Again, hand painted on fondant.


I so enjoyed making these cookies and plan on doing more silhouettes soon.  As always, thank you so much for looking.  I appreciate everyone's encouragement and support.  Five minutes has past - so I wish everyone a FABULOUS day! Dana


Monday, July 25, 2011

Going Green: with cookies!

Hello! A little tidbit on going green...  According to Kim Stoegbauer of The TomKat Studio and featured blogger for Design Happens, HGTV, the color of the month is LIME.  She put together some beautiful inspiration boards, which galvanized me to create something, anything, in green!  After a sleepless night thinking about designs, I created the following cookies.  They are decorated with fondant in hues of green.  I used two of Autumn Carpenter's impression mats, one for the elephant, and one for the swirl with pearls.  For a video on how to use impression mats from Autumn Carpenter click here.








Have a wonderful day! 
Dana

Friday, July 22, 2011

Inspired By Michelle Cake Design: Ganache Tutorial


Hello!  I am baking and decorating divine smelling chocolate cookies today for the contest CopperGifts.com is holding.  All the information for the contest is posted on my Facebook Page.  Also included on my FB is a link for the chocolate cookie dough recipe from The Decorated Cookie.

In the interim, I did want to post something for you to see.  I have noticed a lot of interest on Facebook for a tutorial on how to ganache a cake.  I found three fantastically informative videos from Inspired by Michelle Cake Design.  Needless to say that her work is beautiful and her blog is a “must see”!  I know these will be helpful tutorials.  Thank you Michelle!!!



Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Creating A Woodgrain Effect with Sugarpaste by Elaine Thomas aka Mystical Mischief

Hello!  I hope everyone had a good weekend.  I received a newsletter this morning from Elaine Thomas and immediately thought to share it with you.  This is a video on how Elaine produced a woodgrain effect with her sugarpaste.  I never saw it being done like this!  The result is so realistic! Great if you want to make woodgrain planks for your cake board.  Elaine has a number of tutorials available on her on-line shop .  These fabulous tutorials include everything from creating a Fantasy Castle Cake to Floppy Rabbit and Teddy Bear Modeling.  Elaine has a Facebook Page too, which of course I would recommend "liking" to be up to date with all her creations!  Please remember to send me your work from anything that you learned from my blog.  I would be happy to share it!  Be Well! Dana

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sweetopia.net Tutorial on Icing Cookies with a Marbling Effect

Ok - I feel as if I have been neglecting the cookies of the world. Cookies are not my forte, so I am going to share with you some designs and tutorials from FABULOUS decorators who can "cookie" with the best of them! Sweetopia.net  is a blog that I follow on a daily basis. She also has a Facebook Page . I recommend you take a look, as her cookies are perfection! It will inspire you to get out that cookie dough and ice your days away! Have fun! Dana

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Peggy Porschen Inspired Hydrangea Cupcakes

Hello!  I have been wanting to make these Hydrangea cupcakes ever since I first saw them in Peggy Porschen's book, "Simple Spectacular Cakes".  This is my interpretation of her design. ;-) They are Vanilla Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream (more on that in a moment).  The Hydrangea are made with fondant.


Once again, I used the cupcake liners from "Celebrate It" and was very pleased with the way they held their color and design.  They were only $2 for 75 liners from Michaels!!  I wanted to post the recipe for the Lemon Buttercream, which in the end was one of the most delicious buttercreams ever in the history of buttercreams, but I had a slight drama with it.  The original recipe called for 1/2 c fresh lemon juice.  Note to self - unless you are making enough buttercream for a small village, this is tooooo much.  So, as not to waste what I already made, I adapted the recipe; because icing the consistency of soup is very difficult to pipe;-)  I added more sugar, I added more butter, I prayed - and then I put it in the refrigerator - and prayed some more! Ta Da - workable buttercream.  I will re-work the recipe and post it for you, so you never have to go through that trouble!

I am selling the Hydrangea cutters and veiners from Petal Crafts in my store.  I am also carrying Peggy Porschen's "Simply Spectacular Cakes" book with pictures and instructions on how to make Hydrangea cupcakes.  Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. Be well! Dana 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Petal Craft Cutter and Veiner Sets with instructions

Hi everyone! I hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend! Very short post tonight - but excellent news! I am now carrying the Petal Craft line of cutters and veiner sets ;-) Each set comes with instructions. Please send me pics of anything you make from these and I will be happy to post them! Dana
 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

More from Magnolia: Recipes From The World Famous Bakery and Allysa Torey's Home Kitchen

One more post before Independence Day! I made this red velvet cupcake using the recipe from More From Magnolia: Recipes from the World Famous Bakery and Allysa Torey's Home Kitchen, which can be found in my store.  I just found this excellent video with Bobbie Lloyd of New York's Magnolia Bakery, demonstrating how to make them.  I posted the actual recipe on my Facebook page.  Enjoy!!



Thursday, June 30, 2011

Push-up Cake Pops

So excited! I just started selling Push-up Cake Pops and stands for them in my Amazon Store. Just click on the link and it will take you there directly. I will post recipes soon ;-) Dana
 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Zoe Francois tutorial on smoothing your buttercream

This is an excellent tutorial from Zoebakes.com! You can find the tools you need in my Amazon store.  I carry various size spatulas and a turntable. Enjoy!


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Flower Pot Cupcake Tutorial



Tools
Satin Ice Fondant
Paint brushes
FMM Strip cutter
Pizza cutter
Rolling pin
Wilton "king" size cupcake pan
Fondant Smoothers
Gumpaste glue
Wilton tip 1A
Off-set spatula
1. Bake your cupcakes in the "King "size cupcake pan using your favorite cake recipe.  Remember to grease the pan generously.  Make certain that you put enough batter in the pan so that the cupcakes form a dome.  This way you can easily cut off the domes to make them level.






2. Let the cupcakes completely cool before you cut them or take them out of the pan.  Place cooled cupcake upside down on cake board and brush off the crumbs.  Now you are going to crumb coat your cupcake with buttercream.  At this point, I put my crumb coated cupcake in the refrigerator to set-up while I am rolling out the fondant.  It makes the cake easier to work with.





3. Roll out your fondant, cover cake, and smooth.  I use the pizza cutter to make a clean line when getting the excess fondant away from cake.





4. Roll out your fondant to make your rim ( you are going to cut a strip). Take your strip cutter and cut a strip long enough to go around cake, with a little overage, so you can cut a neat join.


5. Carefully roll up strip to make it easier for you to place on the cake. With a paint brush, lightly wet the area on the cake where you will place the rim, so that it will stick.  You can use water or gumpaste glue. Now take the strip and unroll it around the cake.


6. Let your flower pot dry as is (upside down) overnight.  Once it is dry, carefully take an off-set spatula and set it right-side up.  Decorate your flower pot however you like - the possibilities are endless.  I chose to paint mine with stripes using food coloring mixed with lemon extract.



7.  I used a Wilton tip 1A to make my buttercream swirl, then carefully placed gumpaste daises (see previous tutorial) on top.  I used six daises, but made several extra in case of breakage.  I broke 3 of them ;-)


Everyone has their own way of making their flower pot cakes, but this is how I make mine.  I hope I was able to help you learn some tips.  Thank you for looking and have a wonderful weekend!


Friday, June 17, 2011

The new Miette cookbook is now available!!!

I am sooo excited - I have been waiting for the cookbook from Miette to come out for ages and it's finally here!! I am selling this book and others on my amazon store. Just click here ;-) 
 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

1000 Ideas for Decorating Cupcakes, Cookies & Cakes

I was honored to have two of my designs published in this book.  I was in the company of extraordinarily talented artists.  This book is a great resource to give inspiration to all at any skill level!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Cupcakes Take The Cake Blog Posts Bumble Bee Cupcakes

I am soooo excited that Cupcakes Take The Cake blogged about the bumble bee cupcakes ;-) I have been following their Blog for the last 2 years!!