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TRULY Marvelous Molds Onlays!

I didn’t think they would work.

No, that’s not true… I was absolutely POSITIVE that they wouldn’t work.

And yet, somehow, I went ahead and bought three of them anyway, and based an entire wedding cake design on them.  Yes.  I threw caution to the wind and put all o’ my money on one lucky number… that I didn’t even believe in.  I was desperate, and those beautiful designs on those ridiculous onlays were EXACTLY what I needed for this one particular cake.

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 Lattice onlay on the bottom tier.

Damask onlay on the middle tier.

Medium chevron onlay on the top tier.

I’ve repented for such nonsense, since.  But, here’s the thing… God had mercy on my reckless soul… and those crazy onlays ACTUALLY WORKED!!

Now, I know that sounds ridiculous.  Like I’ve gone and dove head first off of the deep end into a completely emptied pool… lined with concrete.

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I mean, HOW could something that looks too ridiculously good to be true, ACTUALLY BE TRUE? I don’t know.  I still haven’t figured it out.  But it’s real.  It’s REALLY real.  The Marvelous Molds onlays really do work!

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 Medium chevron onlay on the bottom tier.

In my defense, I DID watch Chef Dominic’s (founder of Marvelous Molds and Make Your Own Molds) little video on exactly how to use the onlays… and he just made it look so SIMPLE.  But I am no fool. (Quiet.  No commenting on that.)  I KNOW that something looking “simple” hardly ever really is.

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 Medium chevron onlay on the bottom tier.

Elisa Strauss for Marvelous Molds button mold,

buckle mold,

and short fur impression mat used on the teddy bear.

And yet, when I went at those onlays for the very first time (practically SWEATING mind you, ’cause I was using them on my cousin’s wedding cake that I had a set amount of time to crank out without a minute extra to spare and if these onlays didn’t work I had, like, ZERO backup plans ready) carefully following Chef Dom’s instructions, they were an absolute DREAM COME TRUE.  And they straight up, SAVED MY BEHIND.

I’ve been a believer from then on in.

And I bought more.

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I used three of Marvelous Molds Lace Molds in this Lady of the Snow cake.

 

Heck, I bought a ton of Marvelous Molds OTHER products, as well.  I own more of their molds, onlays and impression mats than I have time to count.  And sometimes I get the small urge to actually frame them and hang them over my mantle.

THAT’S how much I love them.  They are, FAR AND AWAY, my FAVORITE line of cake decorating products out there. They are, *gollum* My Precioussssss. (Only my Lord of the Rings groupie friends can truly understand the significance of that last statement.)

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 Medium chevron onlay used on the cake board!

Now, they have their issues, as do we all.  Nothing is and ever will be completely perfect in every way… but the issues are small and nearly insignificant next to their benefits.

One issue I’ve found is that I’ve never been able to get them to end perfectly next to each other at the back of the cake.  There’s always a bit of a gap left.  But honestly, that’s no biggie.  You can get creative and just add a set of edible buttons in between to fill in the gaps, like I did with my chevron onlay on my navy and peony wedding cake… or you can even just cut part of the last onlay’s design off while it’s in the onlay… enough so that what’s left will fit perfectly into the remaining gap on the cake. (Which I plan on videoing for you and showing you at some point since I never pressed the little red “record” button while trying to capture this for you during my last project.  Grrr….)

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A brooch mold used to bridge the gap between the first and last section of the chevron onlay.

Notice the gap in the damask tier.  I’d plan better next time and come up with a solution for that… or just make that the back of the cake.

The only other small issue I’ve found is that the onlays are designed to stand, bottom to top, on a 4″ high cake.  My cakes are always 5″ high.  But that, again, is easily dealt with.  I’ve added a ribbon border to the bottom of my cake after I’ve applied the onlay to the cake starting from the top (which you can easily do by flipping your fondant covered cake when you apply the onlay) and it’s worked perfectly.  I’ve also just let the onlays end where they will (4″ high) with some blank space at the top of the tier… and it still looks lovely.  So, not really a problem at all.

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 Medium Chevron Onlay

My point here is simple.  They save time and they save extreme heartache while doing the job, beautifully.  (Which leads to significantly less head bashing.)

I think you need to get yourself an onlay, an impression mat and at least one mold made by Marvelous Molds, and try them out.  If you do, you also need to watch Chef Dominic’s video on how to use them properly… and if you follow his directions, when you’ve finished your cake, you may just fall down onto your knees, overcome with extreme joy and gratitude…

for Chef Dominic AND for me.  (‘Cause I told you about them.  And that’s gotta count for something, right? hee hee) Xx

 

Click HERE or  to watch Chef Dominic’s video on how to properly use the Marvelous Molds Onlays!



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Used a fondant ribbon to fill in the extra inch of blank cake.

 

Some tips while using the onlays:

  • Mix in a little bit of tylose into the fondant you’ll be using for the onlays.  It helps firm it up just a bit and keep it from sticking and gettin’ all wonky on you.
  • Roll out your fondant very thin… and then run it through a pasta roller on a thin setting to get it all the same thickness.  This helps tremendously with “cutting” out the design, but also with your design looking “matched” up on the cake.
  • Shake some powdered sugar into the onlay (and then fold it and bounce it off of your counter top to remove any excess sugar) before each time that you put fondant into it.  This further helps keep the design from sticking to the onlay.
  • Don’t slop too much water onto the back of the fondant once you’re ready to apply it to the cake.  Use just enough to help it stick.
  • When applying, keep one hand firmly on the onlay while using your other hand to gently rub down on the back of the onlay and gently peel back the onlay just a tiny bit at a time to make sure the design is sticking and not pulling off.
  • Line the onlay up as close as possible to the previous section of fondant you applied, when adding your new section.
  • DEFINITELY have a backup plan of how you’ll join the design in the back in case it doesn’t match up perfectly.

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 And you can definitely use the onlays on buttercream as well, like I did here with the zebra stripes.  You need to be a bit more careful, and chill the buttercream first, but it definitely does work!

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Marvelous Molds Zebra Onlay, on a buttercream finish.

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To view all Marvelous Molds Onlays, click HERE or on the banner below…

 

Affiliate links to some of my favorite tools…

 

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

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

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Ornament Cupcakes $5, Full length Class!!

Christmas.

There’s simply nothing like it.

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You know, I’m being completely honest when I tell you that it was never JUST about the presents for me.  Yes, the presents were HIGHLY desired when I was a kid… I mean, that’s just a given… but it was how my mom DID Christmas that really got me all kinds of excited, back then.

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We used to climb up into the attic together every year to bring the multitude of cardboard boxes filled to the brim with sparkly, red and green decorations down from the dregs.  We’d pile the boxes all into a room, while they waited patiently to be opened and unloaded of their precious cargo.

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We’d then dig out our favorite Christmas records, start the player… and we would LIGHT UP that house, decorating just about every corner you could find.  THAT was my happy place.  (It seems I’ve loved “decorating” from the start. ;) )

Soon after, my mom would make every kind of Christmas cookie imaginable and tuck them all away into a huge Tupperware container that she’d eventually have to hide from us each year, as we would come home from school each day, get all sneaky like and start shoveling in cookie after cookie.  (She didn’t have the heart IN THIS ONE AREA to order us to stop, so she just kept finding new hiding spots instead.)

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Christmas has always been my favorite time of year because of it.

And I’ve carried on the tradition of decking out the house with my own kiddos.  They LIVE for the day after Thanksgiving when we bring bin after bin of our own sparkly decorations up from the basement.  And I just love how much they love it all.

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Ok, I fully admit… I’m not a huge cookie maker.  Don’t know why.  Cookies just never snagged me the way, *ahem* OTHER things have :) but the idea of some pretty, sparkly Christmas ornament cupcakes?  Now THAT had me from “Hello”.

So I went about trying to find an easy way to make them… and low and behold, I had a little brainstorm! I tried out a method that I hoped would give me perfectly rounded, delicious ornament toppers EVERY time… and it worked!!  AND it’s easy!!  And the kiddos can even help you decorate them!

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Which means more Christmas memories and traditions can be built.

‘Cause someday, they’re gonna look back and smile, telling THEIR babies just how special you made things for THEM.

And really… what more can we ask for than that? Xx

 

I’ve got a full length, Holiday Ornaments Cupcake video tutorial available for only $5, HERE (or click the picture below), if you want to check it out!

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Affiliate links that may be helpful…

 

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

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

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A Classic Teddy Bear Cake Tutorial!

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It’s for real!  There’s a new McGreevy baby boy to be born, and let me tell you… we JUST can NOT wait!

Let me spell this out for you a bit… I have SEVEN nieces, and three girls of my own.  Did you catch that?  That makes TEN GIRL cousins/sisters in our family for my only son.  Now, we do have a nephew whom we love to death… but he’s the oldest of the bunch at the ripe old age of 16 and he lives far away, so my five year old little man only has his support on special occasions.

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For most of the year, my little guy is riding solo in a sea of tiny women.  Yes, I know that many a man would not necessarily mind that scenario… but these are his RELATIVES.  Not ONLY must he be surrounded by a multitude of little mother hens on just about EVERY occasion of his life, but he will someday find himself (no doubt, since he is the protective type already) up to HERE with trying to scare off the boys that’ll be endlessly swarming ’round his “girls”.

So now you see… my poor guy’s gonna need a li’l backup.

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And backup is what he’s FINALLY gonna get!

Thomas’s brother and my fantastic new SIL are three months shy of bringing said backup into this world.  So it’s no surprise that my Finn often randomly sends up a little prayer for his soon to be born, testosterone filled cousin at bedtime.

He’s ready.  And he’s EXCITED.  And so are WE!

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So I went and got my gray and navy blue GROOVE on (the colors of baby boy McGreevy’s new “crib” ;) ) and got busy on his baby shower cake this past weekend!

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Having found a picture of a vintage type stuffed teddy online that I fell in love with, I did a little tweaking… a little twisting… a little turning, with a bit of tomfoolery mixed in, (ok, yes… I just like saying that word) and ended up with this chevron sittin’, vintage stylized, navy and gray, teddy cake design..

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with some matching teddy cupcakes to be sent home as favors.

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Both of which I videoed the making of, just in case anyone was interested in how I put them together. :)

Here’s the free video of the making of the teddy cupcake toppers…

 

Click HERE or on the picture below to view the details of my full length, teddy bear cake tutorial,

available now for only $5!

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(Let me just note here that there’s a styrofoam ball used as the base of the head of this teddy cake.  The body of the bear is actual cake though, and you can substitute rice krispie treats for the foam ball in the head using this tutorial if you’d rather keep it all edible.  But to make the head using cake would require a much more elaborate structure, which I didn’t have the extra time to construct this time around.  So this is a bit of an easier version. :) )

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I’d also like to mention, here, that Thomas’s two sisters are also pregnant at the moment.  SQUEEEE!!!!  And while they INSIST upon annoying me with deciding not to find out what the gender of their little peanuts are *sigh*, there’s a CHANCE that one or both of them are boys!

 

I shall not get my hopes up.  I shall stay cool, calm and collected, assuming that there will be two more beautiful baby girls added to our family gatherings…

but if any of y’all are up for a li’l extra prayer to be added to your list, maybe you could just send up a teeny testosterone laced one for my little guy?

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One new boy cousin is infinitely better than nothing and by far, good enough… but three or four McGreevy boys lined up shoulder to shoulder, standing guard for their sea of pretty cousins/sisters would be awfully intimidating, wouldn’t it? ;) Xx

 

Just a few progress pictures and notes for you…

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The sculpted cake body, with modeling chocolate legs and feet.

 

 

bear head in flour

 

I placed the head onto a bed of flour when I needed to set it down to work on it, so that it wouldn’t affect the “roundness” of it.

 

head and body

 

Head attached and clothing (made of modeling chocolate) begun.  (And what he looked like before I brushed some black petal dust onto his fur to bring him to life, a bit.)

I used Elisa Strauss’s/Marvelous Molds’ short fur impression mat to get the “hair” look on the modeling chocolate.  You can find the impression mat by clicking the picture below.

buttons and buckle mold

 

I also used Elisa’s (Marvelous Molds) button mold AND buckle mold for some details on the clothing.  LOOOOOOVE them!

You can find Elisa’s button mold, buckle mold and short fur onlay by clicking HERE–>>Fashion Accessory Molds Collection,  

or by clicking the image above.

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I painted a little silver luster dust mixed with lemon extract onto the buckle mold to make it look like metal…

and I brushed a little confectioner’s glaze onto the button and eyes to shine them up a bit.

And I also brushed some black petal dust onto his fur and into the creases of his clothing for a bit more definition.

(I also show you how to make striped fondant, like his scarf, in the teddy tutorial, coming soon!)

 

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And I ALSO used the medium chevron onlay by Marvelous Molds for the bottom tier!

(Gee, can you tell how MARVELOUS I find these molds? ;) )

You can find the chevron onlay I used, and many other VERY cool ones by clicking the picture below…


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Alright now, BRING.ON.THE.BOYS! ;)

Affiliate links to some of my favorite tools…

 

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

 

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

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Sculpting Edible Arms and Hands (K. That just sounds weird.)

So we’ve been over sculpting faces.  (Check out my blog featuring free videos on how to sculpt a face for your figures, HERE!)

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And it’s not easy, I know, but with time and practice you’ll be happier and happier with your results.  It’s true… you’ll go from Swamp Thing to runway model in no time.  Ya just gotta KEEP AT IT.

Time to move on to sculpting the arms and hands.

Now I know many of you may be thinking, “What’s the big deal?  That’s, like, SOO easy, my CAT can do it in her sleep.” And while many of you may have some riDICulously talented cats, I contend that sculpting a hand and/or arm is only easy AFTER you’ve seen or figured out some helpful tricks.

Dora close up

There are nuances and tiny details to the hands that can make or break the look of your whole figure.  Things you can EASILY miss if you’re not careful in your studies.  I shall give you an example that still gets me all hot and bothered every time I look at it.

Here’s a cake I made a while back… the angel on top being one of my first sculpted figures.  I had made it as a tribute to an amazing woman who had just recently lost her battle with cancer.

crying angel

And I cringe EVERY time I see it.

It’s that HAND.

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I can see nothing else but that horribly sculpted, awkward… just plain WEIRD looking hand.  And I can’t get past it.

But the thing is, I didn’t SEE that hand until I was done with the whole cake.  And what I mean is this… it was one of the first times I had really sculpted a hand, which I thought would be super simple to do, so I just did it without really paying attention to the details of the actual human hand… and then carried on with the rest of the project.

And because I didn’t pay attention to that one little thing, it has marred the entire project. (Yes, I know… an artist is always WAY harder on themselves than anyone else, but there’s really no denying that that ugly hand just ISN’T quite right.)

Wish I had a REDO.  BIG time.  But I don’t.  And I’ll tell you… it’s a mistake I decided I would NOT be making again.  (Hopefully. *sigh*)

So what’s the moral of the story?  Little details can often have a HUGE impact on your project… ESPECIALLY with your figures.

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And I am putting together this blog, today, to make it just a bit easier for you to pay attention to your “stuff”.  I’ve researched the sculpting of hands and arms and have found some great free tutorials, below, that I find are very good demonstrations of how to go about this very topic.

Some are more detailed… some are simple yet effective.  You can take this “art” to whatever level you’re happy with… but these tutorials will, at the very least, give you an idea of what needs to be paid attention to while making some realistic arms/hands for your sugar figures.

So that you can keep your cringing episodes to a minimum.

‘Cause cringing causes wrinkles.

And, well… I don’t want to talk about THAT. *cringe*  SHOOT!!!

 

Here’s a good picture tutorial for you by Deb Wood at Enchanted  Hearts.

(Click on the picture below to view the tutorial.)

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Deb is working with clay in this tutorial, but it is very similar to working with modeling chocolate (my favorite medium to work with.  Click HERE to read about it and see a free video tutorial on how to easily make your own modeling chocolate).  The only difference is that modeling chocolate will heat up in your hands, so if you’ve got a “hot hand” problem, keep an ice pack close by and pick it up now and then to cool them off.  And if it’s TOO hot and humid in your workspace, you’re probably going to need to stick to fondant or gumpaste.

Here’s another good picture tutorial by CDHM, Custom Dolls, Houses and Miniatures.

(Click the picture below to view the tutorial.)

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Here’s a great video tutorial by Amanda Day, Doll Makers Dream.

(Click the picture below to view the video tutorial.)

amanda day doll

Amanda is also working with clay… and she has SEVERAL free, helpful, doll making tutorials on her website, HERE.

And here’s one last video tutorial by Aula de Biscuit.

Aula de Biscuit

This video’s in a different language, and since I don’t speak it ;) I hit the mute button and speed the video up a bit to get a quick rendition of the her style.  I’m not positive what medium she’s working with, but I don’t think it’s clay or modeling chocolate or even fondant.  Makes no difference, your edible mediums will work the same way.

I hope these tutorials are helpful in giving you an idea of where to start when sculpting some great arms/hands for your figures!

And I’d LOOOOVE to see some of your finished pieces!  In fact, if you’ve used ANY of my own tutorials and/or my tutorial recommendations, please pop on over to my Facebook page, McGreevy Cakes, and share a photo of your work on my wall!

K, now get yo’ hands ready… and go make some HANDS with yo’ hands.

Handy. ;) Xx

(And check out some of the links below to see some of my FAVORITE modeling tools. :) )

Affiliate links to some of my favorite tools…

 

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

 

 

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NOT your average punk. Steampunk Sugar Geeks Project!

“Punk” was never my thing.  I’ll admit… I was a goody two shoes.  Never wanted to get anyone upset or let anyone down.  And being a punk just seemed a bit too shady for me.


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What I didn’t realize is that “punk” really means all sorts of things, these days… and often, it’s more associated with the word “fringe” or “edgy” rather than just attitudinal.  And “fringe” doesn’t have to be “bad”.  It doesn’t mean you’re hurting anyone or scoffing others for your own selfish good.  And it doesn’t mean you’re doing anything WRONG.

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It just means you’re maybe doing things a bit differently than the norm.  Changing it up a bit.  Gettin’ in touch with your inner “funky”.  And in my 37 years of old age ;)  I’ve come to realize that THAT can be a VERY good thing… and also that always following the “norm” is quite frankly, highly overrated.

And that’s basically what the genre “Steampunk” reminds me of.  Old western but with a fun, funky fringy twist, involving a lot of coppery gears and goggles.  A fun spin on an already cool era.

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The “Wild Wild West” movie with Will Smith and Salma Hayak was my first taste of the genre… that’s when I fell in love with it, and I’ve been dying to make a steampunk styled cake since I first laid eyes on one.

So, for sure, having been invited to participate in the Steampunk Sugar Geeks collaboration this year was a sweet little treat for me.  (Pun intended.)

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All of the artists involved had to pick a topic to “Steampunk”.  You know… fish, stoves, houses, SHOES even, and I chose “doll”.  Yes, I wanted to make a steampunk doll.  BADLY.  I just had a vision (after having searched the internet and googled pictures of the like, of course) and was SERIOUSLY excited to try to make it happen in cake form.

And this is what came together for me.

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You’ll soon see below that she’s not pretty in her early stages.  Fact is, she started off a bit scary with her big eyes and pinched lips… and very strange red knob on her head… but my vision was strong, and it involved a cheeky little thing with a bit of fun attitude, so I stuck to my guns and forged ahead.

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Remember I’ve mentioned that one of the biggest requirements in this line of work (or any line of work related to art, I imagine) is to be able to SEE it… even when you can’t… quite… see it?  When your project looks like something out of the movie “Swamp Thing” in it’s beginning stages, you need to hold tight to the vision in your head and keep at it without breaking down and turning into a complete HOT MESS?

Yeah.  Well, this here was one of those times.  Nearly scrapped the whole thing half way through,but decided to take my own stupid advice to hold the line and see what happened.

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So I did.  And here she is… my Steampunk Sugar Geeks Collaboration doll.

Who almost bit it.  But was salvaged, instead, in hopes of a vision realized.

(Sheesh… always suspected a nice head of red hair could make everything better.  Phooey. ;) )

To see all of the the artists and their projects involved in this fun cake collaboration, check out the Steampunks Sugar Geeks website HERE!

 

Some progress pics so you can see JUST what I mean…

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 Solid modeling chocolate head.

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Fondant eyes

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 Fondant eyelashes.

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 Painted (with airbrush color) tiny eyelashes and detail in the eye.  Petal dust eye shadow, lipstick and blush.

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 I added the red blob of modeling chocolate onto the top of the head to give her higher hair.

The big hat that she’s sitting on is, in this case, carved styro (which would be the cake if making it for a customer) wrapped in embossed modeling chocolate (using an impression mat).  The gears and such were made using a mold and then painted with copper highlighter.

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 I then cut a flat top for her head so the hat would sit nicely.

Added purple of her skirt and painted on the black stripes using airbrush color.

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 Used my Tricot chic decor mat by Silikomart to make edible lace for the first time!  LUUUUUUUURVE it!!!

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 Added layers of edible lace and fondant to the side and back of the skirt, and lace for the hem of the skirt and sleeves, and also for the bust of the blouse.

Used a teeeeny little gear mold for the details on the clothing.

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 Had me feeling much better after I added her red modeling chocolate hair.

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 Made her hat out of solid mod choc too, and stuck it on with a toothpick.  THAT is the beauty of modeling chocolate, my friends!  No sagging or drooping and NO wait time!  HEAVEN.ON.EARTH.

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 But really… what’s a girl without her steampunk eye patch?

I mean, come on. ;)

Learn how to make your own modeling chocolate with my FREE recipe video, HERE!

And learn how to take AWESOME photos of your work by reading how I learned, HERE!

 

Affiliate links to some of my favorite tools…

 

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

 

 

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