28 Drawings Later: Day One

I came across this challenge last month. The premise is simple. During February, draw, design, sketch, paint and create 28 pieces of artwork, a piece a day. I fell in love with the idea and the old fine art student in me is bursting to be unleashed.

I decided my first piece was going to be a typographic based artwork (possibily to go into the newly painted bathroom), I was going to do it digitally and then thought that it would look great as an acrylic piece.

Rather pleased with the result, the colours are lovely and vibrant and It only took me a couple of hours to do, in between everything else that needs doing. Maybe tomorrow I will attempt an old sckool pencil still life? Eek!

You can find out more about the 28 Drawings Later: February Drawing Challenge on the facebook page.

Rainbow coloured birthday cake

Spencer from Thomas the Tank Engine - October 2008
I always try and make my own birthday cake for the little Crayons when I can, for a number of reasons. The main one being that if I make it I know what ingredients has gone into it and Miss Crayons elaborate tastes changes year on year, so it’s hard to find a supermarket that can keep up with her. Also, one of my best friends lives down the road and she knocks out some amazing cakes, so it’s a case of ‘keeping up with the Kiwis’.

Angelina ballerina - October 2009
In the previous years I have made a ‘Spencer Train’ cake, my first foray into the world of sugar paste. I also attempted an ‘Angelina ballerina’ cake which was a butter cream decoration experiment.

This year I set myself the task of creating a rainbow cake. The main reason being that Miss Crayons is obsessed with ‘Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’, so when I saw the lovely Ruth Clemens’ (aka The Pink Whisk) rainbow cake on her blog I was totally inspired and knew I had to try it.

The main thing about this cake is that it’s huge! You also have to be very prepared and have all the cases lined and ready to go. I borrowed some colour paste and we chose a selection of colours, although we should have put more into the red. You also need to clear the fridge to chill the cake, Mr Crayon’s beers got relegated to the bench after a bit of protest.

Here are some photos of the preparation. I needed 2 large trays and a smaller tray. I wanted a rectangle cake, but you can do the same for with circular tins. You basically make a large cake mix and then split them into 5 bowls and add the colouring to each bowl. You then bake it all and then let each layer cool completely. Butter cream is used to bind the layers together and to seal the outside of the cake. It’s then left to cool for a couple of hours before being iced and decorated.

I had a rough idea that I wanted to make a coat of many colours and have the name in a Joseph font (circa. Jason Donovan) on the cake. In the end I used 1KGs of white sugar paste icing to cover it and make a small coat from.

The finished cake!
The multicoloured layers
I used the coloured paste to paint the coat, after a couple of attempts using food colouring (too watery) the paste was the best thing to use, just like doing a watercolour painting really. I finished off the detailing with a black food marker and some sparkly balls. There was a fine line between multicoloured coat and dressing gown, so after lots of ‘help and advice’ from my dinner guests I think we pulled it off. The little Crayons helped by adding the silver ball decorations to the sides and the board the following morning.

You were right Ruth, it was worth all the faffing to hear all the delighted ‘wows’ and the big smiles from the little people at the party and we managed to comfortably feed 25+ people with it.

If you would like to try this, please visit Ruth’s excellent blog for the recipe and step by step instructions on how to do it. Ruth was the first finalist of the BBC2’s The Great British Bake Off, so you know you are in excellent hands.

Funky Diva Designs – Custom Oilcloth Bag

I have been following Anna of @funkydivadesigns on twitter for a while and recently she posted new pictures of an oilcloth bag she had made for herself. I admired the bag very much at the time and a couple of weeks ago I put in an order for my very own oilcloth bag.

How hard was it to spec out a new handbag? Well, not hard at all really. I chose the fabric and then I sent Anna an email with some tweaks on her existing design and that was as much work as was required by me. I then sat back, enjoyed some cake and waited for the results.

Anna very kindly kept me updated with sneaky peek twitter update photos and at the last minute we decided to add some grab handles, which makes this shoulder bag completely practical for all occasions.

I love the bag and for some pennies you too could have a bag made to your exact specification! This is why I love commissioning work directly from designer/makers.