Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Machine Quilting Issues

No pictures today, just some talkin'.  I'm trying to remember to stop by every few days to chat, but more often than not, realize that I thought about it, and realized I had something else to do.  Making that pledge to be more open about my process right before the holiday....what was I thinking?!  Anyway, yesterday I sat down with Stephanie's baby quilt to begin quilting it for real, and boy! Do I need some practice! My swirlys are lopsided and uneven, and my bamboo-ish filler design for the sashing is....leaving something to be desired.  I'm sad to say that I think this quilt will go down as a FMQ practice quilt that I actually gave as a gift to a close friend!! Oh, the horrors! 

Currently, I am on a break after sewing for 15 minutes, trying to prevent sore muscles and frustration.  Trying to figure out how to use my fingertips to move the quilt without having to pinch it up to move it.  I wish I could steal  snag borrow mom's sewing table; it has a nice hole to drop your machine into, leaving your quilt at the level of the needle, like a perfect extension table.  I asked for a nice extension table for Christmas, not the $200+ full-sized sewing table, but the little attachments you can add when quilting.  However, even if I do receive it (HINT HINT, I WANT THAT TABLE!! ;)  it will not come before I have done most of the work for this quilt.  Sadly, DH and I jury-rigged an extension table from a cardboard box and tape, but it's not a very smooth surface, so the quilt sandwich doesn't to move as nicely as it should.

Anyway, my break-time is over, and I must return to the quilt for at least one more round before we call this evening a total KO.  Eventually, I WILL defeat the process of FMQ, but it probably won't be tonight.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Adventures in Decorating

Today, I decorated the cutest cupcakes in the world. Bought the book, "Hello, Cupcake" and it has the best ideas ever.  Now I desperately need the companion book, "What's New, Cupcake"!!! Check out the adorable Snow Family and trees.....

Aren't they just precious???  I love that she uses every day candies and such to decorate her creations.  Starburst, however are NOT as easy as she makes it out to roll out, but once I got the hang of nuking them for 5 seconds to soften 'em up a bit, it wasn't so bad.  I will say that in the future, I will be buying appropriate decorating tips and bags, because the zippie bags she suggests just didn't work out the way I expected them to. It's difficult to cut the accurate shaped tips to create the leaves.  I will NOT do that again. 

But I do like her recipe for making a firmer cake that doesn't fall apart, I LOVE it!  She adds 1 cup of buttermilk in place of whatever amount of water the box calls for.  Then you use the required amount of oil, and use 4 eggs.  The cake has a much firmer, yet still light texture that was a breeze to decorate.  Which would have been marvelous to have when I made Stephanie's baby shower cake, and I had to glue it together with icing all over to make it the correct shape.  It all worked out in the end, the finished cake was beautiful and she loved it, but I had to keep shoving the cake into the freezer to get it to firm up a bit before trying again!

Exhibit A: Messy cake

Exhibit B: Beautiful cake

Messy exhibit will NEVER happen again, now!!  I can't wait to try new ideas with cakes and cupcakes!