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9 Ladies Dancing! (With a Sparkly Bow Tutorial!)

On the 9th day of Chriiiistmas, my true love gave to meee….

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Nine ladies dancing!!!

 

Ok, so you can’t see all nine of them, I know.  But trust me, they’re there!  The other eight are in the boxes… see the one’s head popping out, trying to escape??

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So, they may be a bit squished in there… limbs all twisted up and tempers flaring.  Could be a few cat fights happening in those cramped spaces, I don’t know.

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But they’re in there.  And they’re ready to dance.  And that’s what was promised on the ninth day of Christmas.

So, that’s what I delivered.

Nothing was ever said about HAPPY dancing girls.  But I digress… ;)

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I had a vision for this one.  And while it didn’t start off exactly like THIS, I DID know that I wanted to use a gold and silver and white color scheme.  I knew I wanted to make a fancy dress on a pretty lady who was gettin’ her groove on… and I knew I somehow wanted the whole presentation to be a bit elegant, as well.

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Coming up with a design to fit all o’ that criteria proved to be a bit more challenging than I had expected.

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But, I busted out my Marvelous Molds onlays (which I’m in deep, dreamy love with as you may already know), broke out the gold highlighter dust and some of my left over edible silver leaf, dug out my gold and silver hologram disco dust (’cause this wasn’t HAPPENIN’ without a li’l glitter), whipped out some wafer AND rice paper this time, and GOT to gettin’ to it.

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Did a li’l o’ this, and a bit o’ that… and this is what I ended up with.

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Well, ok… I’ll give you a teensy bit more description than that… ;)

 

Some progress pics with descriptions of how it all went down… and a free sparkly, loopy bow video tutorial at the end!

 

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So I sculpted a couple of ladies’ heads, to start.  I sculpted them out of modeling chocolate, painted on some details using petal dusts mixed with lemon extract, and added some silver dragees to embellish. (All of which can be found listed in my Tools Shop, HERE.)

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Then I covered my cakes with fondant (I’m only happy using Carma fondant ’cause it’s so stinking AWESOME to work with, btw, and I’ve got that listed in my Tools Shop, as well, HERE.)

I went and got my Marvelous Molds onlays out (this one is the Elisa Strauss Bird Onlay and I’m completely IN LOVE with it) and used those to get some patterns onto my “present box” tiers.  (Check out my blog post on using these crazy awesome onlays, HERE.)

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And once I got the patterns on, I used a little silver leaf to get them all silver and shiny… to try to capture the essence of vintage style present boxes.

And I’ve got a video tutorial coming up on how to apply the onlays onto the cake, and also how to apply the silver leaf onto the onlays.  Soon, I pinky promise. ;)

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Then, I flipped the bottom tier cake upside down add added a strip of fondant around the top edge (of which is now on your work surface ’cause you flipped it) to make it look like a box.

A day before putting the cake together, I constructed the lid of the top tier out of pastillage, which is much like gumpaste but dries much more quickly and harder, and of which I also have listed in my Tools Shop, HERE).

I airbrushed the pastillage lid with gold sheen airbrush color once it was dry, but I was nervous to do the same to the faux lid on the bottom tier, thinking that gold overspray would probably get onto the cake.

So instead, I mixed some gold highlighter dust with lemon extract and painted it on.  But you can see in this photo how it didn’t cover well.  I decided to go over the paint job with a dusting of the dry highlighter dust once it was dry to see if that would help…

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and it worked like a charm.  (And I should’ve done the same with the pastillage lid so that they matched better… but didn’t think of it ’till AFTER I took the photos.

‘Cause I’m a little slow.  This you already know.

Moving on…

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I stacked the cakes (using bubble tea straws as supports, listed in my Tools Shop, HERE) and then to get the lid to stay “open” on the top tier, I inserted wooden skewers… two at the same height spaced but across from each other, and one a bit lower towards one end of the cake.

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I brushed some melted chocolate onto the tops of the wooden skewers and laid the lid on top of them, positioned how I wanted it.

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Next, I went about making my sparkly, loopy bow (free video tutorial below :) ) and attached it onto the top…

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and added a few long ribbon tails hanging down along the side.

The cake board I embossed using a lace mat (listed in my Tools Shop, of course :) ) and then airbrushed when I airbrushed the pastillage lid.

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I used wafer paper that I folded (all accordion-like and then folded in half) to fill in the gap between the cake and the lid.

Then I stuck a lady’s head in there and made some hands to attach to the lid so that it looked like she was holding it open.

(I didn’t make hands for her at first, and Thomas said she looked like she was about to be decapitated. *sigh* )

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(See, no hands… preparing herself, rather cheerily mind you, for imminent death.)

I added a disco dust encrusted modeling chocolate rope and a silver leaf coated tag of wafer paper with a mod choc number 9 on it to let the world know that there were a total of NINE ladies involved in this shindig.

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Then came the other lady’s modeling chocolate body, with some swinging hips that just won’t quit. ;)

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I decided (since I had some in the house from a botched attempt at ordering wafer paper the first time around) to try my hand at using rice paper for the lady’s dress this time.  I had read how Nadia of Chokolate uses it for her GORGEOUS sculpted ladies’ clothing, and wanted to experiment with it a bit.

I haven’t seen it myself, but I believe Nadia has a tutorial available on how to use rice paper this way on her business page, Chokolate.

I definitely need to play around a bit more with it, but I loooooved using it for her dress!  Such a lovely alternative, I think, to using fondant!

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Gave her some groovin’ arms, dusted some highlighter on her dress to add some pizzazz…

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a sparkly ribbon ’round the cake board, and it was done!

But they’re in there, I tell you.

The rest of those ladies are IN the boxes.

Just ’cause you can’t see them, doesn’t mean I cut any corners and didn’t sculpt 7 more ladies!!

(Just go with it… it’ll make me feel better if you just nod and smile…

just this once. ;) )Xx

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Here’s the video tutorial on how to make the sparkly, loopy bow…

 

 Oh, and one more thing!  Here’s a little video we (all of the contributors of this 12 Days Christmas project) put together for you to try to spread a little extra Christmas joy this holiday season.

Hope you get a laugh or two out of it (but just one or two laughs is quite enough, thank you very much)…

and we wish you all a VERY, VUUUURY merry Christmas!! Xx

Here’s the video…

 

Affiliate links to some of my favorite tools…

 

 

 

And see more of my favorite tools in my Tools Shop, HERE!

airbrush

Check out my full length, $5 tutorials in my Tutorials Shop, HERE!

Subscribe to my blog to receive your free penguin tutorial (exclusively for subscribers) and to stay up to date with new tutorials, helpful tips & tricks, and my latest cake designs.

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8 Maids a Milking, With Raewyn Read!!

On the 8th day of Chriiiiiistmas, my true love gave to me…

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8 maids a milking!!!

 

The very fabulous Raewyn Read of Cakes by Raewyn chose day number 8 of the famous holiday song, “The 12 Days of Christmas” to use as her inspiration for her piece in our Christmas project, this year!

Let me tell you just a li’l bit ’bout Rae.

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‘Cause, you see, I’ve met her.  I headed over to the Cake, Bake & Sweets Show in Sydney, Australia last year to teach a couple of classes, and I had previously become friends with this talented lady, online.  So when I got there, Rae came to get me.

And “get” me, she did.

I’m not sure there was a moment while in her presence, the entire trip, that I was not THOROUGHLY enjoying myself.

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We laughed and I think we even cried (though, that might’ve been related to the fact that we somehow lost her car in the 100 gazillion story car park that we had left it in… not having a CLUE on which level, even, we parked it, as we were having so much fun chatting away after having locked it up and carried on to our destination.  But I digress…).

By the time our visit was through, the woman had captured my heart.  She was a humble, hilarious, beautiful, CRAZY angel who decided I was to have a good time on that trip.

And she made it her mission to see that I did.

And I will ALWAYS love her for it… for that, and for the wonderful human being that she is.  ‘Cause being a crazy talented cake artist isn’t even close to the best thing about her.  Xx

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Some progress shots that Rae took for you so you could get an idea of how she made her sweet li’l maids…

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You can check out more of Rae’s gorgeous work, HERE, on her Facebook page!

 

 

 

 Oh, and one more thing!  Here’s a little video we (all of the contributors of this 12 Days Christmas project) put together for you to try to spread a little extra Christmas joy this holiday season.

Hope you get a laugh or two out of it (but just one or two laughs is quite enough, thank you very much)…

and we wish you all a VERY, VUUUURY merry Christmas!! Xx

Here’s the video…

 

Affiliate links to some of my favorite tools…

 

 

 

And see more of my favorite tools in my Tools Shop, HERE!

airbrush

Check out my full length, $5 tutorials in my Tutorials Shop, HERE!

Subscribe to my blog to receive your free penguin tutorial (exclusively for subscribers) and to stay up to date with new tutorials, helpful tips & tricks, and my latest cake designs.

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7 Swans a Swimming, Cake Masterpiece!

On the 7th day of Chriiiiistmas, my true love gave to me…

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7 Swans a Swimming!!

 

I need to give you a little back story, here.  You see, the artist who created this masterpiece is not only one of THE most talented cake artists around, she also holds a bit of a special place in my heart.

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Her name is Jessica Harris, of Jessica Harris Cake Design, for those of my friends reading this who are not submersed in the cake world and just like to see fun cakes every now and then.

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But for those of you who ARE cake artists, yourselves, you most likely already know this girl.  She is none other than the absolutely BRILLIANT Jessicakes!  At least, that’s the name she was known as up until about a few months ago, when she did a redesign of her platform and is now known under her new, classy title, Jessica Harris Cake Design.

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No matter which name is used to refer to this woman, it is most definitely referring to utter brilliance!  A master of this craft is Jessica, specializing in modern designs, but just as able, obviously, to conquer the “fun” side of the business as well.

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And she was one of the FIRST cake artists I was obsessed with when I was a newbie, myself.

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Her work is flawless.  EVERY time.  It is mindbogglingly clean and precise… and don’t even get me STARTED on her sense of design!

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In short, this woman ROCKS the cake world… she has recently become a good friend of mine… and as you can only imagine, I am completely CHUFFED (ok, so maybe I’m a wanna be Brit… I can’t help it) that she hopped on board our little Christmas project, here, and banged out this BEAUTIFUL piece of artwork, cake style of course!

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And on top of THAT, she’s put together a few tutorials of how she made some aspects of this baby.  One tutorial is right here, found below, and the others can be found on HER blog, HERE!   (Which, incidentally, if you this blog, you simply MUST check out hers, as well.  You’ll fall in love.  I kid you not.)

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Woman blows my mind. With EVERY cake she makes.

Which is probably going to start taking it’s toll, as I’d had only so much brain power to begin with.

So if I’m ever declared “deceased”due to an exploded brain, well… you’ll know just who to blame.  Just sayin’. ;) Xx

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Jessica’s fondant grass tutorial…

I decided to add some Tylose powder to my marshmallow fondant in order to make a gumpaste type product instead of buying or making gumpaste.  I had the fondant on hand, so it was easier to do it this way.  I added about a teaspoon of Tylose to 1/2 pound of fondant.  Next grab a golf ball size of “gumpaste” (or whatever your project requires) and create three shades of green then roll it out THIN…I went to the #4 on the pasta machine.  I wanted to use three colors of green to make it look a bit more organic and not so flat.  I love a little color variation!

After you roll it out, let the fondant/gumpaste sit for a bit so it’s not so stretchy.  Marshmallow fondant with Tylose takes a bit to set up, so I let mine sit a good 30 min, but could have gone longer.

Start cutting 1/4″ long strips from the gumpaste.  Then, cut strips into uneven, smaller strips so there is lots of size variation.  I ended up taking a pair of scissors I use for fondant and cutting points in the tips of the grass.  I tried doing it with the scalpel, but the fondant was a bit too stretchy.  The scissors worked SO fast and was way easier!

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Once I had all my strips cut out, I grabbed a cookie sheet and lined it with some wax paper and began laying each strip out slightly different.  Some I curled slightly, some I placed on their sides and twisted, some I leaned up against the side of the pan.  The more variation the better.  Make sure you make a good amount of smaller ones…they hide the larger ones in the front.  I actually ended up cutting down a few taller grasses because I needed more little ones as I was assembling.

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Now, let your little grasses sit somewhere safe for 4-5 days so they get nice and hard!! :)

You also need to make the “stands” to attach the grasses!!  I kept thinking, “how am I going to make them stand up!?”  I  knew they were not going up against a cake, but would be sticking out of the snow at the foot of the bank along the side and some would even be sticking straight up from the water and snow without anything to support them.

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So, in the #1 picture below, you can see a dark green fondant ribbon in the upper left corner.  I took my left over green “gumpaste” and created thick ribbons (#1 on the pasta machine), about 1″ high, and stood them up on end in various positions on my cake board where I wanted the grass to sit.  I positioned them so they would stand on their own.  Then, I let those dry 3-4 days.  These little ribbons would give me something to “glue” my grass to and would follow the shape that I wanted the grass to have on the board.  For the grass up in the back to the right of the tree, I actually had a ribbon circle and ended up sticking some grass in the center, then along the outside so it looked like a clump of grass!! :)  It worked beautifully!!

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So, in the picture above, you can see I had my grasses and my fondant ribbon ready to go and hardened (#1).  I used some green melted chocolate as “glue” (#2) and began attaching my gumpaste grasses to the ribbon stand I made.  I put some in the back, and along the sides.  I layered them however it looked best.  This actually took me a good amount of time because it was like a big puzzle.  Not all the grasses wanted to work together due to the ways I had dried them.  So, it was fun figuring it out!!  Continue to add more and more grass onto the ribbon until the ribbon is covered and you like the look!!

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Now, to attach your ribbons to the bank or the board, just use a little more melted chocolate and you’re good to go!  I added the “snow” and poured the water after I had the grasses in place so they looked “buried” under the snow and water.  The snow was poured royal icing that I dusted with corn starch and the water was piping gel I poured onto the board.

I hope that helps you for your next “grass” type cake project!! :)

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 Again, go to Jessica’s blog, HERE, and check out her swan, book and tree stump tutorials!

 

 Oh, and one more thing!  Here’s a little video we (all of the contributors of this 12 Days Christmas project) put together for you to try to spread a little extra Christmas joy this holiday season.

Hope you get a laugh or two out of it (but just one or two laughs is quite enough, thank you very much)…

and we wish you all a VERY, VUUUURY merry Christmas!! Xx

Here’s the video…

 

Affiliate links to some of my favorite tools…

 

 

 

And see more of my favorite tools in my Tools Shop, HERE!

airbrush

Check out my full length, $5 tutorials in my Tutorials Shop, HERE!

Subscribe to my blog to receive your free penguin tutorial (exclusively for subscribers) and to stay up to date with new tutorials, helpful tips & tricks, and my latest cake designs.

* indicates required



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Six Geese a Layin’… And a Mini-Tutorial, Too!

On the 6th day of Chriiiiistmas, my true love gave to me…

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6 Geese a Layin’!

 

Mandy Hedglin of All the King’s Horses Cake Creations is CA-RAAAAAAAZY,  lemme just give it to you straight.

She’s gorgeous, she’s brilliant, she’s talented… but most importantly, she’s more fun than a barrel o’ monkeys, this one!

To sum it up, Mandy is an absolute GEM.  The kind you want to wear, like, EVERY second of the day.

And I just love it when she comes out to play.

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Mandy’s assignment was to create her interpretation of “6 geese a layin'” from the holiday song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” in sugar form.  Soooo… she made six geese… A LAYIN’.  (Celebratin’ Christmas the SMART way, if you ask me. )

And she put together a li’l  mini picture tutorial for you just in case you ever need to whip one up, real quick!

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For the top of your cupcake.

Not for dinner.

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Well, I GUESS it could be for dinner if you like your goose on the sweeter side, but I digress…

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A note from Mandy…

When Mr. Rudy asked me to be a part of a Christmas collaboration, I was THRILLED. Then seeing the AMAZING group that I was a part of, I kept pinching myself.

When I chose 6 geese a layin’….I thought RIGHT away I wanted to do something different and silly. My brain saw 6 geese LAYING on the beach. I wanted to create a little scene and different bathing-suit-wearing geeserelaxing in the sun.

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The geese themselves were fairly easy to make…just a few quick steps and my naked birds were born. The details took more time. I wanted each one to have a fun and unique swimsuit and beach towel to make it bright and colorful. I also added a sand “snowman” and a cheeky lil’ bird with a bottle of Grey Goose in her wing.

The entire creation is made entirely out of fondant/gumpaste mix, brown sugar and graham crackers.

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See more of Mandy’s work (like THIS gorgeousness) over on her Facebook page, All the King’s Horses Cake Creations, HERE!

 

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Oh, and one more thing!  Here’s a little video we (all of the contributors of this 12 Days Christmas project) put together for you to try to spread a little extra Christmas joy this holiday season.

Hope you get a laugh or two out of it (but just one or two laughs is quite enough, thank you very much)…

and we wish you all a VERY, VUUUURY merry Christmas!! Xx

Here’s the video…

 

Affiliate links to some of my favorite tools…

 

 

 

And see more of my favorite tools in my Tools Shop, HERE!

airbrush

Check out my full length, $5 tutorials in my Tutorials Shop, HERE!

Subscribe to my blog to receive your free penguin tutorial (exclusively for subscribers) and to stay up to date with new tutorials, helpful tips & tricks, and my latest cake designs.

* indicates required



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5 Golden Rings Cake Tutorial from Elisa Strauss!!

 On the FIFTH day of Chriiiiistmas, my true love gave to me…

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Fiiiiiiive, goooooooolden riiiiiiiiiiings!!!

 

For day number five of our “12 Days of Christmas… CAKE style” project, the VUUUUUURY AWESOME, Elisa Strauss of Confetti Cakes went with a fun, nostalgic interpretation, incorporating some childhood memories into the design of her “five golden rings” cake.

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She decided to create a gorgeous and fantastically large Russian doll ornament in cake form, while painting the five golden rings onto that perfect little reindeer at the doll’s belly.

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So stinking creative it’s scary!

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(No really… her brain scares me.  It’s too large.  Makes me feel like I need to pump mine up on steroids or somethin’.  Do they HAVE medication for that? But I digress…)

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Elisa has also been so generous as to write up a tutorial for you on how she went about creating the details on this beauty!!

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Smart AND generous!!  Hmphf.  Now she’s just showing off. ;)

 

ELISA’S RUSSIAN DOLL ORNAMENT + FIVE GOLDEN RINGS TUTORIAL!

I confess, I have always wanted to make a Russian Doll. When I was little I would play with my set of stacking dolls all the time. And as you may have guessed, I didn’t grow-up celebrating Christmas but I LOVE everything about the decorations and the music and the happy feeling the world gets all over. So when I was given the FIFTH DAY of our little collaboration I was thrilled to incorporate- “Five Golden Rings” (did you hear me singing that part as I wrote it?) into my Russian Doll Christmas Ornament Cake.

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I used to work in fashion, this was way before PINTEREST was around, and before we started a new project we would have inspiration boards- this is how I start most projects. It helps me figure out design, color, size and placement.

 

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Out of parchment I created a template the size of my cake. I baked a sheet cake, 13” x 18” x 1” and cut out six 5-rounds (one-inch high each) I stacked the cakes, between ½” layers of buttercream and carved away using my template (Freeze the cake for at least an hour before you carve to help keep the shape). Frost the cake and then its ready to be covered in fondant. I used the same template (keep it clean people!) to cut out my fondant in two separate pieces, a little bigger then the template. I show how to “piece” fondant in a lot of my videos on YouTube , in my books and on Craftsy.com


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Here I have both sides covered and because I am using Fondarific fondant the seams disappear into themselves with a little rubbing. To make it extra smooth sometimes I take a little ball of fondant and rub it all over a sculpted cake, no fondant smoothers here because the cake is so curvy. In the end my cake stood 8-inches tall and 5-inches at the widest part.

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I used the BACK of a 2-inch round cutter to indent the face and the BACK of a 2.5” x 3.5” Oval Cutter on her belly!

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I’ll be honest, I had a lot of trouble with my babushka’s head scarf. First I tried a scalloped edge (see above) but that didn’t go so well. In the end I reverted back to my piecing method again. I took a 9-inch round cardboard and used it as a template to cut out a 9-inch circle from the hot pink fondarific fondant. I cut it in half and on one side it was solid (the back of the head) and on the front I cut out the face area using the same 2-inch round cutter.



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To turn my doll into a christmas ornament I used the smallest oval cutter in my set (1-inch wide) and cut out from the same pink fondant as the scarf. I used one of my favorite cutters, (no idea where I got it from so please don’t ask!) Using a veining tool and this awesome teeny weeny ball tool (from MorselsbyMark) I made little side decorations. I also took a 20-gauge wire and painted them all gold for the topper.

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Next, I used the ruffle border mold, painted the beaded part gold and wrapped around the base of the cake.

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To create the face I used the top of #806 pastry tip for the cheeks, formed the lips and hair by hand.

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For the eyes, I used pastry tips #2, #7, #12 along with a black marker. Isn’t she pretty?

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Next comes our vintage looking reindeer, with the Five Golden Rings of course! I painted him with petal and luster dusts mixed with lemon extract. To get the image onto the cake, I cut out a piece of gum paste using the same oval cutter as before. Let it stiffen a little bit and then used my tracing to transfer the design onto the oval. Before I started painting I attached the oval onto the cake- that way I didn’t have to move it once it was painted!

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I like to use a mechanical pencil to create the template and then rub the back to transfer the design. When I’m painting I think of it almost like watercolors, lots of layers. Here I used the petal dust colors of different shades of brown, white, and apricot.


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Final touches: I use the black marker for the eyes and nose, used green and red luster for the scarf and I painted the bell and rings in gold luster.

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Now the real fun started, I got to add a bunch of details. I found this old pearl mold. I used the smallest size (about ¼-inch) in pale blue and the vintage button mold. I painted both with a fabulous luster dust from James Roselle, Peacock Blue.

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Vintage Button Mold

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The small vintage button ended up in her hair and the pearls lined the bottom of the scarf (I’ll add some more later on)


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I had this crazy idea that I wanted the center oval to be surrounded by a scalloped edge painted in gold.  So I found my set of fluted cutters and cut-out a circle. I used my small ball tool and embossed the edges of the scallop. Next I cut away a bit of the center of the circle to pull in the sides to make the oval shape (are you still with me?) then I used the same oval cutter as before (2.5” x 3.5”) and cut out the center. I painted it gold first then placed it on the cake.

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Tadah!  It actually worked!

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I couldn’t help myself, as my dad says, “More is more”  so I added more pearls along the ruffle on the base and along the bottom of the doll. I didn’t use any guide but it would have been much smarter to outline the swags ahead of time. I also used the pink fondant from before and added small dots ( #7 pastry tip) around the center oval.

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Even though the doll was complete I had to add something around the sides, I knew it had to be yellow. I wanted to use the vintage button again but instead I used these new fun Daisy Chain onlay. It’s actually so beautiful if you use the other part- not the flowers but the chain part, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it now that my cake was almost done! So I cut out just the flowers and used a small pastry tip #5 and cut out some centers. And of course I had to paint the edges gold too.

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Before gold

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After gold edges

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There she is- ready to hang on a gigantic tree :-)

Check out Elisa of Confetti Cakes here…

 

Oh, and one more thing!  Here’s a little video we (all of the contributors of this 12 Days Christmas project) put together for you to try to spread a little extra Christmas joy this holiday season.

Hope you get a laugh or two out of it (but just one or two laughs is quite enough, thank you very much)…

and we wish you all a VERY VUUUURY merry Christmas!!

Here’s the video…

 

 

 

Affiliate links to some of my favorite tools…

 

And see more of my favorite tools in my Tools Shop, HERE!

airbrush

Check out my full length, $5 tutorials in my Tutorials Shop, HERE!

Subscribe to my blog to receive your free penguin tutorial (exclusively for subscribers) and to stay up to date with new tutorials, helpful tips & tricks, and my latest cake designs.

* indicates required