Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sew Excited

This weekend I had the pleasure of visiting heaven on Earth. Hardly hyperbole.

I've been trying to find where the local quilt shops are in this area since they're the only place to buy premium fabric. I knew Ann Arbor had the Ann Arbor Sewing Center but I hadn't yet checked it out until yesterday.

As soon as I walked in, I knew I was in for a treat. The place is huge with over 6500 fabrics to choose from and every possible item you could want. Seriously, everything I've heard of, use, and/or want was there. Insul-bright batting, Mary Ellen's Best Press, Bernina accessories (they're a Bernina dealer, squee!), Amy Butler patterns, Moda jelly rolls, Master Piece thread, King Tut thread, Frixion pens, etc etc etc. Oh, and sewing classes. I'll be taking some of those next year for sure.

I walked around for over an hour, staring at everything. The whole time in there, all I could think was, "Oh my god oh my god...they have EVERYTHING." Prices were average which I'm more than happy with.

This is my haul! Sorry it's on its side, my Internet is being awful right now and it'll take me about 15 minutes to re-upload a rotated one. As you can see, I picked up several of the items I mentioned above, plus some FQs (6/$9.99!), Bernina bobbins, freezer paper, and some handy dandy clips. They gave me a free thread clipper thing as I was a new customer. Yay! I came home and spread it all out. Anthony has pointed out that when I get excited about my craft stuff, I start singing to my purchases. I'm such a geek.

This is my Sew Stitchy quilt using the 3 Dudes jelly roll quilt pattern tutorial that the Missouri Star Quilt Company did. A lucky person who shall remain nameless will be getting one of these for Christmas, but in different fabric. No clue when I'll have time to do it but it's gotta get done! Anyway, I love Aneela Hoey's Sew Stitchy for Moda fabric so much that I couldn't decide which one I'd use for the back, so I ended up buying a layer cake and I guess it's going to be a reversible quilt when I'm done. With fabric this cute, how could you ever pick just one?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wilton Gum Paste & Fondant Classes 1 and 2

Three weeks ago I started the gum paste and fondant course. While fondant is not something I see myself working with very much, I did still want to learn a bit about it. Also, I got the student kit for $14 with a coupon at JoAnn. Considering it retails for $50 in Canada, I was pretty stoked.

Class one agenda:
  • Gum Paste and Fondant 101
  • Bow Loops
  • Mum Base, Rose Base
  • Carnation Base
  • Assembling a Bow

I don't have photos of the bases, but here is how my bow turned out:

I think this is really pretty and I do think I'd use this on a cake. This is bright orange as I was trying to use up the package of fondant I bought for the one fondant class in course 2 (still annoyed as that was kind of a waste of money).

Course 2 agenda:
  • Basic Principles of Floral Cake Design
  • Calla Lily
  • Rosebud and Rose
  • Carnation
  • Calyxes and Leaves
  • Assembling the Calla Lily
My carnation didn't turn out great as I missed the instruction about how to do the top, but I think the rose and the calla lily are really cute, especially the calla lily.

Again with the bright orange, haha. You're supposed to have a small piece of spaghetti stuck into the bottom of the flowers so you can stick them in your cake, but mine had broken off.

Unfortunately I'll be missing the 3rd class as it was moved to Friday to accommodate our instructor's desire to go Black Friday shopping on Thursday night. Fortunately I looked in the book and I'm not interested in learning how to cover a cake base. Seems like an even bigger waste of money to me, though it does look decorative.

Sorry for the lack of detail...I've had no time to sit down and write out more substantial entries. I only have 3 more weeks of sewing and one more cake decorating class until I have more free time. It's a good thing too, I'm starting to getting a little fatigued of all this running around.

100th Post

For my 100th post on this blog, here are some projects I've completed or am working on.
 This is the quilt from my learn to quilt class. Since I didn't pre-wash the fabrics, the fabric is now a little crinkly. I like this look and doubt I will prewash in the future unless size is important. I'm very happy with my quilt, despite a few mistakes. Some of the binding is coming off after the wash too and I still need to attach a label. 

This is an iPad mini cover I made myself. Coincidentally, I had exactly enough fabric left over from the quilt I'm working on. There's a few little mistakes and I'm still not great at attaching zippers, but I am getting better. Overall, I'm really happy about this. It even has an iPhone-sized pocket inside. The inside is lined with quilters' flannel in a gingham fabric to match the checkerboard look.

 These are some zippered bags I made one weekend I was home and bored. The green wristlet and the big striped bag are quilted with batting in between. These were all fun and easy to make.

This is one of the quilts I'm working on. It's a jelly roll race quilt. I still need to attach the borders and finish it up. Sigh...too many projects, not enough time. I used a jelly roll (bali pop) of batiks called Rum Raisin by Hoffman Fabrics. I'm not a batik fan but these colours are beautiful in person. This is a little more "grown up" than the other two quilts I'll have made for myself.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Wilton Flowers and Cake Design Classes 2-4

My original plan was to write an entry for each lesson of the Wilton classes but I'm obviously falling behind due to all my other obligations, so I'm going to condense this into one entry.

Lesson 2:

On the agenda:
  • Making Royal Icing
  • Making a Parchment Bag (we do the cling wrap method instead)
  • Flower Nail
  • Rose Base (review from course 1)
  • Apple Blossom, Primrose
  • Rosebud
This was the first time I ever made royal icing and I wasn't sure what type of consistency to make it, and I ended up making it too thick/stiff. Since I had pre-bagged all my icing, I had no way of watering it down. Fortunately the instructor had a plastic juice cup, but then I ended up making the icing too watered down. I was getting so frustrated with it that I wanted to just leave and try again later, but I forced myself to stick it out.

Here's what the flowers are supposed to look like:
Apple blossom, primrose, rosebud

I promptly threw out all my pathetic attempts. No photos. I was frustrated about this class all week afterwards.

Lesson 3:
  • Daffodil
  • Violet
  • Using the Lily Nail, Lily
  • Making Stems
  • Guidelines for Flower Arrangements
  • Wilton Rose
I was looking forward to learning the Wilton rose and I ended up being pretty good at it! I had the instructor check my icing consistency beforehand and this time, I didn't make the mistake of pre-bagging things in case the consistency was off.

Here's what the flowers are supposed to look like:
That lily doesn't look like how we learned, the petals are different.

Here's some of my flowers:

Lesson 4:
  • Floral Cake Design
  • Reverse Shell
  • Basketweave
  • Finishing our cake
The reverse shell is kind of weird. I like it and will probably use it, but I'd want to practice it more first. Our instructor explained it as making question marks and backwards question marks.

As you'll see below, I put basketweave on my cake and it turned out pretty good. That's what everyone who saw my cake commented on. Back in April, I had bought a cake with basketweave on it and was mesmerized at how difficult it looked. Turns out, it's not hard at all. I recommend learning it even for casual cake decorators. It makes your cake look so professional and it covers up crappy icing jobs on the side (hello, my cake!).

So here was my final cake!

Ta da! I took the inspiration from the previous Wilton Method course 2. From what I can tell from looking at blogs when the old classes were still current, everyone who took course 2 made a cake similar to this. I thought it was so pretty and reminiscent of springtime, so it was a nice contrast to the terrible weather outside.

FYI the right side of the cake has wonky-looking basketweave because I had an odd number of vertical weaves. In order to "fix" that at the end, you pipe weaves diagonally into the adjacent empty spaces and then dub it "the back of the cake." :-)

Yes, I'm aware daffodils aren't pink but I made them in class when I only had pink!
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