colored strips

Session #2: Can you live without it? Well, define LIVING.

Time to tempt and tease you again. I apologize in advance, but as you know… some things just can’t be helped.

Ok, you’ve asked about my favorite tools, so this is the second installment/commentary/straightupNEEDtoknowabout session we ’bout to have.

The first was about my ever increasing and unquenchable love for color shapers.  Don’t have some? GET some. (Yeah, that’s right… I’m talking dirty like Woody from Toy Story, now. Remember? “Don’t have a moving buddy? GET ONE.” K, nevermind. Moving on…)

This second session needs to be about my 6 wheel pastry cutter!! (Ok, well, actually, I have a 12 wheel… but we all know about my lil’ “over the top” issue.)

This thing… this friend to the friendless, hope to the hopeless… this simple machine (yeah, picked that one up from the kids’ homework) of pure beauty…well, let’s just say that if my house is ever on fire, ENGULFED in flames, and my children are all safely removed from harm, (and my husband is NOT looking my way) I maaaaaaay just run back in, real quick-like, and save my pretty pastry cutter from imminent death.

Yes.

THAT’S the level of love I hold for this tool.   On a scale of 1 – 10 in “worth-it-ness”, this baby busts through the top and comes in at a solid 500 BAZILLION.   No.  I’m not kidding.

Gone are the days of cutting out single strips of fondant, one at a time!

Gone are the days of painfully measuring ALL FOUR SIDES of the right sized square or rectangle I need.

Now?  NOW?  Now, I simply pull the brackets to the right width, adjust the little turny (this word found in the SCD-  ”Shawna’s COMPREHENSIVE Dictionary“) setting on the top, and can cut SEVERAL of the same sized strips of fondant/gumpaste/modeling chocolate at the same time… to my heart’s content!  Wha?? DANG.

Plain and simple, I should’ve bought this baby THE DAY I decided to make decorated cakes.  No two ways about it.  ’Nough said.

Alright, now you know.  But be forewarned… not all pastry cutters are created equal!!  Simple fact- in this department, you get what you pay for.

If you get the cheapest, you will be unhappy… curses involving “jiggly wheels” and “junky parts” and all.

Stick with middle-of-the-road or more expensive.  Trust me… it’ll be worth it.

Here’s one that will serve your purposes nicely…

American Metalcraft MWPC6X2 Stainless Steel 6-Wheel Pastry Cutter

Seriously guys… I use mine on ALMOST every cake I make.  It just always seems to come in handy.  Dissappointed, you shall not be.  Fur SHIZZLE. ;)

 

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Shoes AND Cake? *Swoon* A Match Made in Heaven….

Yes. It’s true. So let me just say it. My name is Shawna McGreevy, and I am a shoeaholic. Now, if you’ve never experienced this kind of, um… ISSUE yourself, or have had any experience dealing with someone struggling with this addiction, I advise you to be kind.

There may be a line drawn in the sand between you and us, but no… don’t throw stones. We ALL have our problems. You have some too… I won’t be fooled.

So there, I’ve said it. I’m not in denial. And I’m WORKING on it, K? But SERIOUSLY, when I come across an online shoe shop that custom designs shoes to resemble SWEETS… ya know, ice cream, cinnamon buns, CAKE!, am I EXPECTED to just sit back and mosey on by?

CAN I BE JUDGED for giving in to temptation and having a pair of these gorgeous, unique, CRAZY COOL shoes, custom designed for me? No. I’ve decided. I simply can not.

SOOOOOOOOO, when I *ahem* received my RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME heels in the mail, from this ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC shoe designer, the Shoe Bakery, I just about peed myself from excitement. THEY ARE GORGEOUS. I LOVE THEM. My precious… (ok, I’ve maybe used that line once or twice, but it just WORKS… a lot.)

I wore them to the fabulous VIP, Sweet Magazine launch party in Australia, and I kid you not, they were an INSTANT hit. Actually, I’m not sure anyone really looked at my face that night. My feet have NEVER gotten so much attention. Ever. And they loved it. In fact, my feet are begging me to wear the shoes again, like, NOW… but I digress.

You KNOW I had to try to recreate them in sugar, right? I mean, make non-edible shoes that look like sugar into edible shoes that ARE, in fact, sugar? Irresistible. But why stop there? Why not take it one tiiiiny step farther and make a matching handbag… out of cake… that looks like cake…to match the shoes… that are supposed to look like cake? Duh, right?

And who knows? Maybe the Shoe Bakery will be smitten, and just plain CONVINCED that they need to start designing matching handbags to be sold along side their shoes? I mean, we are self-respecting girly girls, are we not? And how are we supposed to live with an AMAZING pair of shoes, and NOT have a beautiful handbag to match???

Ok, so maybe I have a FEW problems. Step away from the stones. I’m only little. ;)

You can find the shoe kit I used to make the edible heel, here.

And I thought I’d snap some WIP (work in progress) pics for you while I was having my fun.

 

I airbrushed the pink and mint colors on the shoe, but almost completely ruined that finish when I decided to spray a shiny lacquer on afterwards… so BEWARE! If you’re gonna go with a shiny spray after you’ve airbrushed, make sure the first coat is reeeeeeally light and not dripping AT ALL. Or you can just wave goodbye to that perfect finish you once had.

Oh, and you WANT both the multi wheel pastry cutter and one of those clear, quilting rulers that I used for the stripes on the bag (picture below).  Trust me on this.  Both have respectively saved my life on SEVERAL occasions.

 

Go visit the Shoe Bakery (just click on the pink word and it will magically appear). You will fall in love. Instantly. (But I can’t guarantee that drool won’t start flowing, immediately. Just sayin’.)

 

bear 1

99 Bottles of Milk on the Wall…

The brief… a lil’ boat, the design to be based upon some mutlicolored/patterned fabrics the Grandma was going to use to create some lil’ sailboat centerpieces, herself.  The soon to arrive bundle of drooling joy’s name is to be Carter… and a sea creature or two involved might be cute.

This design is what came to mind.

Question here… have you ever commissioned the help of a non-caking “civilian” (like, for instance, maybe your husband who was standing very close by while you were having a moment of caker’s block) and asked him/her to give you their opinion about where a decoration should be placed upon the cake that you’d been working on ALL DAY LONG, only to have him/her offer up about, oh, a BAZILLION different options, all of which you’d already thought of  but were hoping could be narrowed down by your “hopefully” helpful civilian, though unfortunately COULD NOT seemingly be narrowed down by said civilian because he/she is actually an engineer (and if you’ve lived with one of those, well then… you can just stop reading right now cause you KNOW exactly what I’m talking about) and he/she doesn’t necessarily have the ability nor the inclination to tell you what he/she thinks would look best… he/she only feels the need to tell you all of the possibilities and exactly how each one might impact the structure of the cake and whether or not it makes sense?

Yeah.  Me too.  *sigh*  Good thing he’s reaaaaallly hot. ;)

Moving on…

So, want to know some of the cool tools I used to help make this design?  I love each and every one of them!  (But, then again, I do have a little addiction issue, don’t I?   Whatever.  I’m over it.)

Just click on the pink words, and they’ll take you to my precious… *ahem* I mean, my tools.  (They can all also be found on my tools and products page, BTW, which has all my OTHER favorites, too!  I know, I know… “get thee behind me.”  K.)

 

My work mat everyone asks me about!!  IT.IS.AWESOME.  Looked for a suitable one everywhere and this one is PERFECT.

Martha Stewart Star mold. (Comes with a frame mold and a few others.  LOVE THEM.)

Marvelous Molds Chevron Onlay.  If you use them right, these onlays are A DREAM COME  TRUE.  For realz.  I have lots.

Wafer paper for the sails.  OHMYGOSHYOUHAVETOSTARTUSINGTHISSTUFFRIGHTNOWWWWWW!!!!  Seriously.

Martha Stewart alphabet mold to spell out Carter.  Use this a lot ’cause I just love the font.

Wood grain impression mat.  Can’t even count how many times I’ve used this.  (And it comes with THREE OTHER mats, too!  Score!!! )

 

And if you REALLY want to torture yourself (or just ’cause your spouse to daydream about throttling you… just for a minute) go check out my favorite Tools/Products page  It’s fun.  Really, REALLY fun. ;)

4723_Shoes-and-bags-for-divas-HD-wallpaper

So… Want the Skinny on the Divas of the Cake World, or What??

Come on… you KNOW you want to know what these amazingly talented people are REALLY like, right?  Well, I’ve just been given the most amazing gift of rubbing shoulders and having meals with some of these crazy artists, and now I’VE GOT THE SKINNY for you!  (Aka, I can give you the BEHIND THE SCENES low down on the good, the bad and the GORGEOUS.)

If you don’t yet know the talent of some of these cake giants, I highly recommend you look them up.  ’Cause straight up- you’re MISSING OUT, if you don’t.

They are some of my very favorite people in this magical world of cake, and I can now, personally vouch for their personalities.  How on EARTH did I get to be so blessed?

(Maybe it was that one pair of shoes that I NEEDED by didn’t buy… you never know how God’s mind works.) ;)

K, so let me just give it to you straight… shall I?

Raewyn Read of CakesbyRewyn : This woman stole my heart.  She is kind, generous, FUN, ALWAYS happy… and she straight up took CARE of me for my entire stay in Australia… bringing me here and there, making sure I was comfy and entertained.  A CLASS ACT, who I will cherish eternally, right here.  End of story.  (EVEN though she has made the crow’s feet at the corner of my eyes, like, RIDICulously worse from the amount of laughing fits she caused me… the ENTIRE time.)

 

Sheryl Bito of BunsInTheOven Cupcakery :  Sheryl (otherwise known as Buns… or my fav, Bunsey) was one of my first favorites of the cake world… and I can now, safely say, I’m a FANTASTIC judge of character (hee hee).  Bunsey ALSO took care of me in Oz… making sure I was all set for my classes and helping me prep.  She is warm and witty, the kind of girl you could spend all night chatting on your bed with… feet in the air, encased in fluffy slippers, and sipping a mug of hot cocoa (that may quite possibly be laced with whiskey. ;)   I love her.  FOREVER.  (And FLIPPING talented, ta boot.)

 

Jacki Fanto of Blissfully Sweet :  I’ve got two words for you… RA-DICULOUSLY FUN.  That is how best I can describe Jacki.  I think we both squealed with glee when we finally saw each other… and the first hug was EPIC.  I was in stiches MOST of the time we talked, and my cheeks were killing me by the end of each night of hanging with her… entirely her fault.  I simply didn’t want to leave her.  I’m her fan for ALL of time.

 

Jacinta of Kidacity :  Jacinta, oh Jacinta… how I love this girl.  Besides being one of the MOST.TALENTED (and I MEAN, most talented) cake artists I know, she is humble to a fault, always puts others first, and would give you the shirt off her back if it meant keeping you warm.  Along  with that, she somehow manages to make you laugh out loud every other minute of the time spent with her.  What more can be said?  She is special to me, this one.

 

Zoe Clark of Zoe Clark Cakes : I just spent a little bit of time chatting with Zoe, but let me tell you, she is an absolute GEM.  She’s so down to Earth, charming, friendly… and honestly, it’s as if she doesn’t even know what a superstar she is!  Though, how could she not?  She’s a household name.  And now I wish I WAS her.  Gorgeous, insanely talented, and you haven’t even heard her British accent!  Not fair, I tell you.  Not fair at all. ;)

 

 

 

 

 

Faye Cahill of Faye Cahill Cake Design :  Ohmygosh I had lunch with FAYE CAHILL!  The queen of all cakes, beautiful and elegant!  Ahhhhh!!  Here’s the best part… she IS what she makes.  Faye is as beautiful, elegant, soft and sweet as the gorgeous creations that come from her magical hands.  I was secretly hoping she was a complete troll, just so I could feel a little bit better about the fact that her cakes are, like, way too perfect… but alas, it is not so.  I am in EVEN more awe of her now, and will simply ALWAYS swoon over her.  *swoon*

 

Nina BlackBurn of Make Pretty Cakes :  Nina was one that I looked for whenever I was lonely at the show.  This girl has a way of lighting up the room.  You just can’t help but smile when Nina’s around.  A GINORMOUS heart, stinking brilliant (excuse my language) in every way, and so relaxing to be around.  She’s like a pretty magnet… I always wanted to be near her.  I still do.  I miss Neeners.

 

 

 

Lisa Grech-Staehr of Sweet Disposition Cakes : I did not know Lisa before the show.  She was introduced to me during a fun lunch outing, and let me just say… I’m not sure how I got along NOT knowing her before.  Simply, she is my  kinda people. Sarcastic in the most fun, endearing way possible and just so friendly… and THEN I saw her work.  This woman is one of the most TALENTED, undiscovered ROCK STARS of the ENTIRE CAKE WORLD.  Have you SEEN this woman’s work!! ohmygosh.  That is all… OH.MY.GOSH.

 

 

Lori, The Caketress :  Lori is an absolute Diva of the cake world.  She is gorgeous.  She is sexy (whistling like a man right now ;) ).  She is a true, free spirited artist.  And it is clear from rubbing shoulders with her for just a few minutes… she is a lover of all things fashionable, including but not limited to, BEAUTIFUL shoes!  Be still my heart!  A friend, indeed. ;)

 

 

 

 

 

Michelle Green of The Business of Baking and Three Sweeties : I could have extended my stay JUST to have a little bit more time to hang out with Michelle.  She is so much fun, I don’t even have the words for it.  I am IN LOVE with her sarcastic yet charming, spunky personality… and I have to say, she is one of my FAVORITE new friendships I left Australia with.  I just can’t tell you enough how much I enjoyed her.  If only you could meet her…

 

Sharon Wee of Sharon Wee Creations : I only spent a tiny bit of time with Sharon, but from the little time I did spend, I must say… to meet her is to instantly like her.  She is always smiling… always willing to help.  Sharon just seems lovely.  And may I also just say, BIIIIIIIIG talent can sometimes come in small, pretty packages. ;)

 

 

 

 

Lisa Brown of Sweet Magazine :  Lisa is fun.  Lisa is cool.  Lisa is generous.  Lisa is a worker BEE.  In short, Lisa is FANtastic.  Lisa is the owner/creator of one of the most beautiful cake magazines on the planet.  (And Lisa’s got THE GREATEST family, ever.) You want to know Lisa. ;)

 

 

 

And last, but CERTAINLY NOT LEAST (as many of you may know) is Kate of The Greedy Baker: Kate.  My beautiful friend, who I finally got to meet, fighting the battle of her life.  Kate… quiet and tired but still smiley, listening to all of us chatter and carry on with hardly a care in the world, while she’s faced with pain and heartache every day.  Kate… fun, talented,warm and cozy, who made the long, nine hour trip it took to get to us.  Kate, who has already been through more than most of us can begin to imagine.  I love Kate.  And believe me when I say, you would too.

 

 

If you click on the pink names, it will take you to their pages.

You NEED these people in your life.  Trust me.

A big part of this life we live is about the relationships we have.  You can be one of the most talented, hard working people on the planet, but if you have not relationships with like minded people (and even UNlikeminded people… not a word, I know) then you have harldly anything worth having.  I truly believe that.

The show was great, yes.

But the people… the people brought the joy and the life to the trip.

The people… I am proud to call my friends.

Elsa off center wide

“The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway”… said ONLY Queen Elsa. Ever.

I sat in that movie theater with my four kiddos AND three of my nieces, watching the movie they’d been BEGGING us to bring them to see since the first moment they laid eyes on that absurdly addicting preview.

It was good, yes.  Funny, witty, charming… those Disney writers are CLEARLY good at what they do… but I DIDN’T know that this movie would reveal the newest, most BEAUTIFUL Disney princess yet to be created! (IMHO, of course.)

Now, I’m not blonde.  And while I have many blonde’s in my life who I love DEARLY, I have never pined to be counted among them.  I’m cool with brunette.  I can be dark and mysterious.  Sometimes.  Maybe.  Ok, fine, I’m rarely ever mysterious, but I LIKE dark hair.  Oh, nevermind.

My POINT is, it’s not ’cause Elsa’s blonde that I find her so gorgeous.  Honestly, I don’t know WHAT exactly it is about her, but I DO know that right then, I knew that I NEEDED to try to make her in cake form.

So when I walked out of that theater, looked over at MY little blonde baby girl (who’s just turned eight) and said, “Um… you think Elsa for your birthday?”… and then she, with her toothy smile completely taking over her face, simple stated, “YEEEEEES!” … well, I KNEW I had to get this one right.
20 buckets… no BARRELS of sweat later, and the same amount of  luck (Ok, I don’t really believe in luck, I personally think God decided to cut me some slack on this one after having had a bit of a tough week, recently)…

 

she came out how I  WANTED her to!!  WHA??????  I’m ecstatic.  She’s my first “bust” cake, too!  My little Sofia was so proud to show her off, that all I could do was smile.  And thank God that I DIDN’T give up on her after about 15 minutes into the project, like I wanted to.
Remember, this business requires QUITE a bit of vision… ’cause if I always predicted how my cake would look after observing the first few stages, I would STILL be huddled up in a corner somewhere, rocking back and forth, sobbing and mumbling incoherently.

You’ve got to be able to SEE how it could turn out.   And then pray REALLY hard that you’re right. ;)

 

 

 

 

Here are some “work in progress” pics, if you don’t believe me. :D (Head and hair are made of solid modeling chocolate… which I plan on showing you how to make soon and where to buy your candy wafers from to make it, ahem, PASTRY PORTAL!!  Blue part of dress is fondant, sleeves are wafer paper, colored light blue with disco dust applied.  Board is covered in royal icing, piping gel and clear sanding sugar.)