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Do you Belieb in the magic of Christmas?

Well, whether you are a Belieber or not,  it’s CHRISTMAS TIME!!!!!  And when I found  out that a sweet 13 year old girl named Natalie, who LOVES to decorate cakes, has struggled through a tragedy no girl should ever have to endure, I couldn’t resist making a special birthday cake for her this year.

Natalie lost her mama to cancer a couple of years ago.  I’m not even going to speculate here.  I’m not even going to pretend to be able to explain what Natalie has and IS feeling.  What can be said when such heartache happens?  I don’t know.  I don’t have the words.

But, I know Natalie loves to make cakes.  And so do I.

 

I ALSO know that Natalie IS a Belieber.  ;) She’s definitely into The Biebs (much to her father’s chagrin) … my little nickname for the very famous young pop star, Justin Bieber.    AND, it’s Christmas.

 

Make her a special cake for her birthday?  Uh…yeah.  That’s a no-brainer.

So, I combined the two theme’s… made some small chocolate ornaments (the same way I make my ornament cupcakes), went for a funky, modern tree design, hand painted The Biebs onto fondant with all edible mediums (I’ll be posting “The Making of The Biebs” video on my YouTube channel soon), threw in a bit more holiday fun, and voila!

 

 

A special Christmas Belieber cake to hopefully bring a little extra cheer to Natalie’s holiday this year.

Happy birthday Natalie, and I pray that you and your family have a very, very merry Christmas this year, love.

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Want to be taken seriously, or not? Photograph your Cakes WELL.

Ok, guys… we need to talk.  I’ve been meaning to have this heart to heart with you for a while, and in light of my recent discovery, I believe now is the PERFECT time.

Let me first ask you a question or two…  Do you make cakes?  Do you pour your heart and soul into each one of them because it’s your love… your art?  What do you want?  Do you WANT to be taken seriously?

Alright, now I’m not looking to overwhelm you here.  I just need you to know something if you answered “YES!” to that last question of mine.  Ready for it?  Here is it…

You NEED to start taking good pictures of your cakes, or you will NEVER be taken seriously!!

No, I’m not trying to be harsh, I really just want to help you.  As many of you know, I have a day devoted on my facebook page to sharing.  It’s called Saturday Showdown, and it gives anyone who’d like to take part, an opportunity to share their work based on the current week’s theme.

I can not TELL you how many times I have come across a BEAUTIFUL cake… that will just be ignored by most of the world because of how it was photographed.

THAT, is a travesty!

What do I mean?  Let me give you an example using my own work.

We’ll use my She-pirate made of modeling chocolate (’cause I’ve got her lying around ;) ).

Look at the difference in these two pictures…


Tell me… if you were looking around for someone else’s work to share on your page or even just looking for a new cake artist to follow, which one would YOU notice?

There are SOOO many things wrong with the picture on the left that I can not even list them here. (And it’s NOT just the fact that you can see what my littlest has been working on for breakfast in the background.)  But here’s the good news…  I have help for you!

I have just read THE PERFECT ebook to help you take your pictures from the one on the left… the the one on the RIGHT!

Whether you’re using a point and shoot, DSLR or EVEN your iPhone camera… this book is a MUST!  I have just read through it, and I can not sing it’s praises loud enough!  It breaks everything down for you so that the info is not overwhelming, but so helpful in teaching you how to take pictures that showcase your hard work… not detract from it.

This book, Tasty Food Photography by Lindsay, the founder of the Pinch of Yum blog has taken my photography to the next level and gotten me really excited about photographing my cakes!

The book is only $19, and I am TELLING YOU… it will be the best investment you will make, thus far!

I am going to be completely honest with you, after reading this book, I immediately went to sign up for her affiliate program!  I am just SO convinced that you need to read this book, and that you will love it, that I’m willing to stake my name on it!

Ok, our chat is over… I release you now. ;)  But trust me on this.  I wish I had bought this book BEFORE I photographed my very first cake!  (Would’ve maybe helped the crow’s feet I’ve got going in the corners of my eyes from every time I’ve cringed, looking at it.  Uhhhhlllllll. )

Click on this picture to get to the book that can help you to finally get taken seriously …

Tasty Food Photography eBook

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Sugar Peony Video Tutorial is UUUUUP!

I’ve got a brand spankin’ new schedule set up for myself for this brand new year, and I intend to stick to it if it KILLS me! (Well, maybe I don’t want to DIE, so much… but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.)

This past week was my first “go” with the new plan, and by GOLLY, I’ve DONE IT! (Ok, so it’s only been three days, but baby steps people… baby steps.)

Anywho… my plan was to get my gumpaste peony tutorial up and running for you by Tuesday night… and you’ll never believe this, but I had it done MONDAY night! Go me, go me….go, go, go ME! ;)

Ok, so here it is. But a couple of notes first…

The peony is my VERY FAVORITE flower. With that being said, I must tell you…I just have a hard time putting only a few petals on my sugar peonies. I’m not emotionally able to do it. SO, I make them FULL. Which means, this tutorial is not necessarily a QUICK one, but it IS very simple, and hopefully that makes up for it. :D

Also, I like to speed up my videos. That’s just how I roll. I understand that’s not everybody’s style, but it’s how I like to do it, so I’m sticking with it.

With THAT being said, please keep in mind that you can pause the video as many times as you need to… to read what’s on the screen or to just stop and focus on a particular part. I pause a video a GAZILLION times when I’m watching a tutorial so that I can really take it all in. So don’t forget about that indispensable feature!

And above all enjoy! (Even if you think my music is unbearable. I’d love to play my videos to a little Michael Jackson action and show you my moves… but then we’d have a WHOLE new set of issues.) ;)

 

Here it is!  

 

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Light up some SUGAR? Absolutely.

This cake. *sigh* This was one of those “be prepared to alter your vision or you will not survive” cakes.

I started off making the candles. That went surprisingly well. I used rice krispie treats, buttercream, modelling chocolate, and some thin birthday candles to get the job done. (See the mini picture tutorial below to for the construction details.)
I made the “silver platter” out of pastillage for added firmness, and the little sparkly balls out of candy wafers and disco dust. All went as planned.

And then disaster struck. (Gosh, so dramatic!)

You will laugh. You will think me an imbecile. It is not pretty. But what am I if not honest… so I’m going to tell you, anyway. (And remember, I never CLAIMED to be the brightest bulb in the pack.)

So, I thought it would be a GREAT idea to add silver leaf to the bottom tier!! For the first time! Without having researched it at all! Like an idiot.

I went and ordered some up… not realizing that you NEED (and please, TRUST me when I emphasize the word “NEED” here) to order the silver leaf that is on TRANSFER SHEETS. NOT THE LOOSE SHEETS. (Ahem, lesson learned.) Before my order arrived, and I had an epiphany of how MAYBE I oughtta actually look up how to apply this stuff, it came to my attention that I ordered the wrong kind.

So, when my LOOSE sheets of silver leaf arrived, and I so nonchalantly decided I would try to apply it anyway… well, let’s just say, the sweat started to roll down just about EVERY area of my body. It was NOT going well, and it was soon clear that I needed to ABORT MISSION.

Here’s the fun part (and the part that maybe, kinda, SORTA redeems me… a little)… as I so desperately tried to rub off the silver leaf with some water and a paintbrush, I noticed something.

HOLD THE PHONE!! I think I actually kind of LIKE the rubbed silver leaf look!! I stared at it for… a REALLY long time, looking at it this way and that, and couldn’t get past the fact that it had a pretty darn fantastic “antiqued, vintage” look to it. So I took a chance. I applied all the rest of the silver leaf I had, rubbed over it with water and that trusty old paintbrush, stood back, took a deep breath and opened my eyes.

I was in love. My stupidity led to something, dare I say, BETTER for look of this particular cake? I think it may have. See, my favorite saying IS true… even a BLIND squirrel finds a nut every once in a while!

(And THIS blind squirrel even video taped the whole ordeal for you, just in case it DID work out in the end. So be on the lookout for an “antiqued vintage silver leaf finish” tutorial up on my YouTube channel, soon.) ;)

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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FREEEE Tutorials Every WEEK, Y’all!!!

Extra, Extra!  Read All About it!!

 

Alright guys… I asked… you spoke up…

and we ’bout to BLOW IT ON UP IN HE-YAH!!!

YOU WANT TUTORIALS.  That much is clear.   More and more tutorials… and you’re even willing to pay for them, I know.

I’m gonna work on getting more free YouTube tutorials of my own work out to you on a regular basis, and more inexpensive $5 tutorials with a bit more instruction, as well, but we’ve been talking over here at McGreevy Cakes, and it’s been officially decided…

I am now going to be posting TWO blog posts each week.  

One, in the same fashion I’ve already been posting, with a new cake design of mine along with a li’l personal story and some tips and tricks of the trade to accompany it.

But the SECOND post of the week will now be centered around a FREE TUTORIAL put together for you by someone else!

And here’s the fun part… I’ll be scouring the internet looking for some fantastic tutorials to share with you guys, but YOU can submit some to me as well!!

If you’d like to be featured (or see someone featured who you think is the BEE’S KNEE’S) on my blog, just go to my new “Submissions” tab on my website and follow the rulesies…

and send me some STUFF, and I may just put yo’ STUFF up on my blog so everyone can learn to be as awesome as YOUUUUU! ;)

We’ve also got a BIIIIIIIIIG giveaway in the works, along with a whole re-design of our website on the way, so HOLD TIGHT… and definitely subscribe to our blog (box on the right of my homepage… and you get a free Penguin tutorial sent to you, too!!) if ya wanna know what’s happenin’ ’round here…. and to get your free tutorial sent to your inbox every week, of course!

Alright, to kick off the week, I’m sharing with you MY new free video tutorial on how to create this antique silver leaf look!

You can view it HERE… and don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel while you’re there (*AHEM* or right now if you feel so led ;) ) to get all of my new tutorials as they come out!

ALLLLLLLRIGHTY THEN!  

Be on the lookout for all o’ the awesome free tutorials comin’ yo’ way!  And don’t forget about the giveaway comin’ soon too.  If I can get the sponsored prize that I’m HOPIN’ for…. well…. let’s just say, you ain’t gonna wanna miss THIS!

Oh, and SEND ME SOME STUFF!!!!!

Can’t wait to see whatchu GOT

Yeeeeeee-HAAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWW!!

(*Ahem* I’m just a teensy bit excited.  Pay no attention.)

 

See you sooooon!! Xx

One tier.

Naw, I think two.

How ’bout some flowers?

K, maybe a few more. ;)

A chocolate rose, or two…

(You can make this modeling chocolate rose the same way you make gumpaste roses, using my free rose video tutorial, HERE!)

My version of a wafer paper anemone.  Hmmm… maybe a tutorial soon? ;)

And some modeling chocolate berries and leaves.

You can purchase some edible silver leaf on transfer sheets through my Tools Shop, HERE!

And I’d love to know what you think!  Tell me, how does free tutorials to your inbox every week sound?

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Moses. World’s most STUBBORN Basset Hound.

Moses.

That was his name.

He was sweet.  He was spunky.  He was often funny… but MORE often, he was stubborn as a mule.

Moses, quite frankly, was a pain in the BEHIND.

But he was just about the cutest puppy you ever did lay eyes upon.  I’ll admit it… he had us from “Hello”.

 

My brother had come home with him as a gift to my parents, one day.  You see, our two childhood dogs has since passed away, and my family, being the animal lovers that we are, couldn’t be without a furry, loyal companion to love, for too long.

(Ok… I’m actually more of a CLOSET animal lover.  I try to keep it on the down low, so my kids don’t catch wind of it and start ramping up their begging sessions for an indoor pet.  My plate, right now, is heaping.  And an *cough* another *cough* animal to take care of may just be the straw that breaks the camel’s ENTIRE BODY, sending it to it’s very early grave… NEVER TO RETURN.  Catching my drift, here?  K… shhhhh.)

I was in college at the time, yet still living at home with my sister and my parents.  My brother, on the other hand was set to attend a college halfway across the country… so when he left for school (the first time any of us had moved out, you see) Moses maybe-kinda-sorta stood as a stand in for my big bro, in my parents eyes.

And while my brother had most certainly not been coddled by my parents while growing up, THIS dog was as spoiled as the day is long.  No wait… LONGER.

It seemed EVERY time I needed to rush out of the door for one of my classes or to make it to work on time, Moses had to “go out”.  You know… PEE.  So, (because I was, clearly, a GIGANTIC sucker) I let him out.

And I waited.

EONS later, once that darned dog had done his “duty”, I called him to come back in so that I could get my butt out the door and maintain some level of dignity with my superiors at work/school.

And what did that dog do??  I tell you no lie, he looked me straight in the eye, cocked his head ever so slightly, and sat his big ol’ butt RIGHT DOWN where he was, and waited.

Waited for what, you ask??  That silly, incredulous dog was waiting for a treat.

Like, SERIOUSLY.

No, he didn’t get a treat every time someone ELSE let him in from outside, but somehow that dog KNEW when I was in a hurry, and KNEW that I would eventually cave in… that I’d go against ALL the I believe in concerning the world of training and rearing up, well, ANYTHING, and give him a treat just to get his lazy BAHIND back into the house!  EVERY.SINGLE.TIME.  Without fail.

I was used and abused.

And then there were the “ice cream episodes”.

A beloved, traditional late night snack of ours in the Doeing (my maiden name) household, used to be a nice big bowl of ice cream… for as far back as I can remember.

Well, somewhere along the line, Moses decided it was to be HIS late night snack as well.  So whenever someone had a bowl of ice cream they were working on, Moses would trot on over… sit his pampered rear down at your feet, and proceed to stare at you, with rivers of saliva streaming down the sides of his mouth onto the floor, for as long as it took you to “enjoy” your bowl of deliciousness.  And if you didn’t save him some, you were riddled with guilt and remorse as my parents then stared YOU down and asked, “How COULD you?”

My mom was a complete clean freak and STILL encouraged this kind of behavior!

After you gave him his proclaimed “share” of the booty, you then had to go get some paper towels and cleaner to wipe up his saliva.

Like something out of a sitcom, I tell you!

And ANOTHER thing, if this dog didn’t want to move… he DIDN’T.  Yeah, good luck with THAT one.

 

Oh, Moses used to drive me insane!

Yet, years later, after I had long since married Thomas and moved out of the house…  when it was clear that Moses was not much longer for this life, somehow, all I could see was that insanely cute little puppy, with those ridiculously long ears that he used to constantly trip over, cocking his adorable little head to the side as if to say “could you come cuddle with me?”

And after he passed?  I quietly, secretly wished I could save him just one more bowl of ice cream.

My Mama wanted me to make “Moses” for her birthday this year.  I happily agreed. Xx

For my fellow cakers, some work in progress pictures…

The body was strawberry sour cream cake iced in vanilla buttercream, and then covered in white modeling chocolate.

His head is solid modeling chocolate.

See my Modeling Chocolate video tutorial, here, for the recipe and directions to make your own modeling chocolate!

I used an armature structure to support his head.  (I’ll have a video tutorial available soon, that will explain how I made it.)

All of his legs/paws and his tail are made from modeling chocolate.

I added a “fur-like” detail using a pointy stick tool. (Umm… not sure of the official name for that one, but a toothpick would do the job just as well.)

I made a white bow out of modeling chocolate, as well, but removed it before I airbrushed Moses’s color on… and then popped it onto his back, afterwards.

 His entire coloring was done with an airbrush.

Save your pennies for an airbrush if you don’t yet have one!  You NEEEEEEEEEEEEED one.

You will fall in love and NE-VAH look back.

Pinky swear.

Here’s a link to my tools page, that lists what airbrush package I own and love, and also lists several of my other favorite tools!!!!

With his final touches… buttercream grass and confectioner’s glaze for his eyes and nose.

Both of which you can also find on my tools page!

 

 

 

 

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A Magazine-And-News-Featured-Gobsmackin’ Good Time!

I was absolutely tickled PINK to be asked by Rosie of Cake Masters Magazine to be part of their “Around the World in 40 Cakes” special feature for the September issue of the magazine! To be among 39 other cah-RAAAZY awesome cake artists, each representing some fun part of this insane planet we live on, in cake form? For the magazine feature? Ummm, how cool would THAT be?

So you can imagine how hard it was going to be to have to tell her that I just couldn’t do it.

I was SWAMPED for that month, and had no foreseeable time to sneak it in… ANYWHERE. NONE. AT ALL. I had already “snuck” in too many projects for that time span and was totally in WAY over my head.

And then I said, “YES!“, anyway.

‘Cause sometimes my mouth doesn’t play nice with my brain. (Well, ok, fine. It hardly ever does.)

I committed. And soon after, I prolly NEEDED to be committed. (You know… padded room, funny farm, barred windows? Right.)

I look back, and I’m quite positive that it’s only by the SEVERE mercy and complete grace of God that I made it through that month… AND made my deadlines.
And I also look back and shiver at how very, VERY close I was to turning Rosie down, and NOT being part of this very cool feature. ‘Cause HO-LEE SMOKES… it’s been picked up by the DailyMail and the Telegraph over in the U.K….

AAAAAND it’s just been featured on ABC News, over here in the States!! (And as a very little ,and yet, entirely HUGE, added bonus for me… my Lady of the North Pole cake photo has been included in each publication!  GOBSMACKED MUCH??   Um yeah… my face is completely stinging from the gobs.)

Alright, so a little about my cake design and execution…

There was a process… I had some say… and at the end of the day, I was assigned the North Pole to represent.  Which seemed vuuury cool… until I actually started the brainstorming process, that is.

Yes there’s Santa and all o’ that jazz, but as far as the landscape goes… well, ACTUALLY, there ISN’T technically a LANDscape, so much.  It’s not land.  It’s just (in a very cold nutshell) a HUGE expanse of snow and ice.

Like, LOTS of it.

And not much else.

And I was just so uninspired that it was nearly depressing.  Thomas even tried to help get my creative juices flowing… and COMPLETELY failed. (Gosh, that sounds kinda diva-ish, doesn’t it?)  My brain could just NOT get excited about ANY of the ideas we came up with.

And THEN it came upon me.

I don’t know how or why, but the idea of a beautiful, regal “Lady of the Snow” crashed into my head.  Heck, it built a little campfire, busted out the marshmallows, and was clearly NOT going anywhere.  Like, ever.

What’s a girl to do?  I went with it.  And The Lady of the North Pole was born.

Now, WHAT lady of the North Pole, you ask?

Come on… you know… the one who wanders that barren landscape, keeping charge over her polar bear cubs… declaring allegiance to nothing but this hauntingly beautiful expanse of snow and ice whilst waiting, silently, for her true love to find her??

No?   Ok, well, they MAY have taken her out of the textbooks…ya know… prolly not wanting her to be hunt down by any CRAZIES or anything.  Yes, that’s it.  I’m sure of it. *cough*

Anywho, I had fun bringing her to life, uh, to CAKE, and thought I’d show you some pics I snapped along the way!

OH! and I got to use a couple of my new, lace,  Marvelous Molds molds (yes, that sounds weird) for her outfit, and I just LUUUUURVE them!  They worked PERFECTLY and were JUST what I needed to fancy her up a bit.

Singing her way through the snow and ice…

WITH eyelids, of course.

I used modeling chocolate for  the decoration on this entire project.  Under her skirt would normally be the cake, but as this was designed specifically for a magazine, I carved a styrofoam dummy in place of carving an actual cake.

A tip to get your carved styro dummy ultra smooth when needed?  Rub sand paper over it and then wipe it down before adding some shortening to adhere your fondant or modeling chocolate.

I wanted her coloring to be very subtle… and chilly… since she’s supposed to represent ice and snow.  I changed her makeup a few times, actually.  I settled upon some subtle black under her eyes and a very light, shimmery blue for her eye shadow.  All achieved with petal dusts and small paintbrushes.

A tip to get color off of your modeling chocolate?  Just use a tiny bit of water and a paper towel to rub it off.  Works like a CHAMP.

 

Then I started on her clothing.  For her corset, I used Earlene’s Enhanced Lace, “Judy” by Marvelous Molds.  I used it twice… once for the front and once for the back.  They fit nearly PERFECTLY and really looked just like a fancy corset! SCORE!!

For the detail near the top of the skirt, I used Earlene’s Enhanced Lace, “Edna” by Marvelous Molds.

And for the trim near the bottom of the skirt, I used Earlene’s Enhanced Lace, “Maxine” by Marvelous Molds.

Alright, I wanted to add some embossed detail to part of the skirt and also  to her cloak, so I took my Wonder Cakes, Tricot Decor Chic mat by Silikomart, and instead of making up a batch of edible lace with it, I rolled it onto my modeling chocolate to get this lovely embossed pattern… which I then dusted with my new PurColour brilliant powder from the Pastry Portal, and voila!  Shimmery loveliness!  Wish I’d gotten a pic of her cloak for you.  It looked pretty cool with this treatment!

(I hadn’t added the shimmer dust to the back of her skirt, as I’d decided I wanted to add a cloak and it would therefore be covered.)

You can see how the mold I used for her corset looked from the back, in this pic.

 Once I had finished adding all of the modeling chocolate details, I used my light blue petal dust, (think it’s called aquamarine, but regardless, it was veeeeery light) and a tiny bit of silver luster dust and colored her up!

I then added a few silver dragees here and there, and then some clear sanding sugar for the board and the li’l bear’s nose, and she was finally done!

The Lady of the North Pole.

(She’s been walking around on that ice for a while now.  Know anyone good we can set ‘er up with?  He’s gotta be able to handle some chilly nights, though.

Just sayin’.)

To see all of the jaw dropping 40 cakes involved in this special ediiton, you can purchase your copy of Cake Master September issue, here!

 

 

 

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One Stormy Night… Two Planets Collided.

 When I met my husband, Thomas, we were both sophomores in college.

My friend told me about this guy… her boyfriend’s best friend since, like, BIRTH, that I NEEDED to meet. He was a bit on the quiet side, but extremely friendly, chivalrous (he opened doors and pulled out chairs for her when NO ONE ELSE ON THE PLANET still did that sort of thing… including her own boyfriend *AHEM*), street smart AND intelligent (imagine THAT), had a KILLER smile, loved his guitar, played football for our local university…

and he was HOT as all get out.

Yeah right. I lived on planet Earth. And on planet EARTH, men like THAT were the subjects of fairy tales.
And they did not live, mind you, in Buffalo, New York.

But I decided to humor her, anyway. (Even if most of it was untrue, I wasn’t above oogling a li’l eye candy for an evening, was I?)

So I walked in. And then HE walked in. And the eye candy festival had OFFICIALLY begun.
SMAAA-OKIN’, the man was.
And by the end of the night, I was nearly convinced that my friend HADN’T, in fact, lost her marbles. That this guy might ACTUALLY be all of the things she said he was.
OH. EM. GEEEEE. Maybe… just MAYBE I was right, smack dab, in the middle of one of those fairy tales.
And I had EVERY intention of finding out.

Turns out (thank goodness), he did too. We were both VERY intrigued.
And much to my unending glee, he was all of those things I was told about and more. Like, for REALZ.

What I DIDN’T realize, until a bit later, is that we actually WERE from two different planets.
That undeniable fact hit me like a ton of bricks… upon meeting his parents.

Let’s just say I think I nearly caused multiple cardiac arrest as I walked past the threshold of that doorway, into the McGreevy household.

I had… MAKEUP on.
There were… EARRINGS in my ears.
My fingernails were painted a very bright shade of pink.
And I clearly used “product” in my hair. (I had a perm. It made my hair… big. No judging.)

All of this was very “normal” or “standard”, if you will, in my world.

But I had just walked into a scene from “Little House on the Prairie” upon entering that room, and the homesteaders looked as if they’d just seen Bigfoot.

We were ALL agog and aghast.
And to top it all off, I was the very FIRST girlfriend Thomas had ever brought home! (Which, incidentally, explained how the boy was the best kept secret in town, but did nothing to help my “outlandishness”, so to speak.)
WHAAAA????
Alright, I’m not going to sit here and bore you (though, as you might suspect, “boring” may not be the most accurate word) with the details of my journey over the next four years with this family, but I WILL say this…

they love me. And I LOVE them.

Maybe it didn’t start out that way… maybe they were secretly certain that I had retracted talons embedded into my hands and feet, and maybe I was convinced that they had just emerged from a large, underground capsule after several years of intense isolation upon first meeting them… but either way, we grew on each other.

I truly have a second family that I trust with my life and the lives of my children. They’ve embraced me and called me their own. And the blessing they have been to me over the past twenty years has been, frankly, priceless.

My cup runneth over.

So I figured it was about time I actually made them a cake for one of their joint birthday parties… ya think? GEESH.

My mother-in-law has a thing for lighthouses, as she grew up on the shores of Long Island… always frolicking by the “wahtah”.  (Sorry Mom, had to sneak that much loved accent in there.)
And my father-in-law loves a good storm. He is forEVER checking the weather forecast, hoping for some inexplicable storm to descend upon us all for an undetermined amount of time. (It’s a McGreevy thing. Don’t ask… I STILL can’t figure it out.)
And since it was a joint birthday celebration… a “stormy” lighthouse it was to be.

Kinda like the night our two worlds collided…

a bit stormy, but with a little light shining through. ;)

I used a large circle cutter (see the set I have, HERE, that is a main staple in my tools closet) to cut out several layers of rice krispie treats, that I stacked and glued on top of each other with ganache, to form the base of the light house.  You can use cake instead of rice krispie treats if you need the extra servings.  See my “recipes page” HERE, for my cake recipes and my ganache recipe.

I covered the rkt in a layer of ganache, and then used modeling chocolate (see my video on how to easily make your own, HERE) to add the brick walls and all other decoration.

I used dry spaghetti sticks dyed with black food coloring to make the spindles of the railing.

I used grey petal dust and black airbrush food coloring (using the toothbrush “flicking” method) to get the “weathered” look.  And my kiddos helped me shape modeling chocolate into lots of different sized rocks for the base of the lighthouse.

Once the lighthouse was finished, I prepared my 10″ round cake (ganached and covered in my FAV fondant, and the only brand I’m happy using, found, HERE), added supports (bubble tea straws, found HERE) inside the cake, and then placed the board with the lighthouse on it, on top of the cake.

Then, I whipped up some royal icing… left some of it white and colored some of it blue, and “stroked” it on with my angled spatula to form the waves.

After I added some white to the blue waves, I then brushed some confectioner’s glaze, found HERE (vuuury cool stuff, btw), onto the water and the rocks to give it a nice, wet look.

Voila!

But, of course, I’ve video taped the whole process for you and will be sharing it on my YouTube channel, soon, just in case, ya know, you want to see. ;)

You can subscribe to my channel, HERE, to catch the video as soon as it comes out!

 

cropped flowers

Wafer.Me.Happy. !!!

 

Wafer paper.

It is ALL the rage.

Some people love it… some people hate it…. some people know nothing about it and think we’ve all gone mad.
(Which may actually BE the case, but let’s not digress.)

Me? Well… I am a lover.
From the moment I laid eyes on a cake having incorporated this heavenly, edible paper (I think one of the first I saw was my friend Kara’s GORGEOUS cake, here, of Kara’s Couture Cakes. Eye bulging, salivia-slippin’-out-of-the-corners-of-my-mouth, GORGEOUS… knaw I’m sayin’?) I fell in love with the possibilities my li’l brain instantly envisioned!

Ok… now “envisioned possibilities” are really great and all.  I mean, I love visions as much as the next guy… but what GOOD are they if you can’t actually bring them to life, right?

In other words… I had NO FLIPPING IDEA HOW TO WORK WITH WAFER PAPER.  Heck, I didn’t even know where to get the stuff…. or even what it’s official name was to start Googling it (I just don’t know how to spell that word so I’m ignoring it and moving on) as a while ago, almost every artist who’d used it seemed to call it something different.

Um, FRUSTRATED much?

But Google and I are buddies.  We spend a LOT of time together, you see.  And as a result, I know JUST how to push ‘er buttons and get ‘er goin’.  (hee hee, get it?  K.  Nevermind.)

Anyway,  after some trial and error (and just the teeniest of head bashing)  I figured it out.  (I’m not suuuper great at asking for help.  I know… add it to my long list of “much needed therapy sessions ’cause I’m riddled with issues”. *sigh* )

AHEM, I found a source (good o’l Amazon came through for me once again)… and I WENT TO TOWN on this stuff.  I dabbled and dipped.  I poked and prodded.  I pushed and SHOVED.  I ripped and TORE.  I curled up into a tight fetal ball…

And then I had a REVELATION. (I know… weeeeird.) Piping gel is nice.  Water is good.  But what about STEAM?  Could it work?  Could steam get me the bend I need to shape this stuff the way I wantta?

Hadn’t heard of anyone using it… so maybe I’s just completely daft and hanging somewhere out in left field, admiring the butterflies… but MAYBE not.  (Stop laughing.  That’s not nice.)

What if I took out my li’l travel steamer and… experimented?  I mean, I had PLANS for this stuff, and thus far, it just wasn’t completely cooperating.

So I tried it.

AND IT WOOOOOOOORKED!!!!!

Holding it for however long I needed to, right in front of that blissful stream of steam, enabled me to manipulate it HOWEVER I wanted!!!

I could make EASY RUFFLES!  I could bend pieces I had cut out to form PETALS.  I could make clothing for my modeled FIGURES, even!  Life could now be SO MUCH EASIER!

ARE YOU HEARING THE WORDS THAT ARE COMING OUT OF MY MOUTH????

Oh wait… you can’t hear me.  Right.

K… ANYWAY… I made the all of the flowers (except the white rose buds) in this recent wedding cake, right here, WITH WAFER  PAPER.   Roses and small dahlias.   NO drying time!   Busted out my “precious” (aka, my airbrush) when I was done, and brought some color to their world…. and viola!

They’re easy… they’re light (no worries about them falling off o’ the cake)… and they’re WAY quicker to make than their gumpaste versions, I’ll tell ya!

Moral of the story?

YOU NEED WAFER PAPER IN YOUR LIFE.

Stop fighting it.  Don’t be sceeered.  Let it overtake you.  It’s ok…

It won’t hurt.  It is only goodness and light.

(And strangely addicting to chew on during projects.  *AHEM* But that just may be me.)

Gosh, I am a head case. ;)

Check out my  free WAFER PAPER RUFFLES TUTORIAL by clicking HERE!

Check out where I get my WAFER PAPER from by clicking on my affiliate link, HERE!

Check out what kind of STEAMER I use by clicking on my affiliate link, HERE!

And of course… I plan on having a wafer paper rose and dahlia (and even peony) tutorial available to you in some form or another!

You can subscribe to my blog, HERE, (on my homepage in the box to the right) if you haven’t already, and you’ll get my updates as soon as they come out. :)

And you can subscribe to my YouTube channel, HERE, if you want to be sent my free tutorials, automatically!

 

NOW, GO GET YO’ WAFER ON, I SAY!!!  Xx