Monday, 21 May 2012

The Making of a Bumblebee Birthday cake

A baby girl turned two in this house last week. A little girl who's obsessed with bees and laybeeberbs at the moment. So, rather than my usual 'naive-style' (looks like it was made by a child of 3) chocolate and smarties cake, the girl, the boy and I decided that I should make the bee cake from my baking book.

I had the bright idea of using liquorice wheels, unravelled, for the black stripes, but it wasn't to bee as the supermarket had obviously had a last-minute rush on liquorice.

Let me tell you, the amount of food colouring needed to dye fondant icing to anything beyond a murky shade of grey is considerable. So much, in fact, that it becomes a tacky, gluey mess, completely unrollable. I had to spread it on with a butter knife dipped in boiling water. The result is very ... erm ... textural.

Bumble bee birthday cake

I managed to laugh through the appalling mess, even when my eldest wandered in and said 'oh ... an evil bee'. Then the middle child came in and said 'his eyes look a bit sort of evil'.

Evil bee cake looks malevolently at good bee cake

evil bee looks malevolently at good bee

 The littlest family member, however, was delighted to see her inexpertly-made cake and immediately pronounced 'it's a bee' (no trace of the 'E'-word), and 'bee goes bzz'. Mission accomplished.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Have fabric, will sew

Fabrics and habdash

New fabric acquisitions are always to be celebrated. I was very excited to be let loose in a fabric shop in Monmouth on a recent family outing. Eldest daughter and I cruised the shelves and came away with a fairly modest selection - a few yards of pretty ribbons, bindings and lace trims, and a half metre of a London landmarks print by Benartex Fabrics. Meanwhile, the husband, son, and smallest, wandered the street outside and did not complain at all about how long we had been, or appear silhouetted in the shop doorway every five minutes looking pained. No, not once.

dottie quilt backing

Then this week, the arrival by post of the long-awaited Moda 108" wide dottie quilt backing fabric. I've been struggling with a decision over the backing for my scrap vomit quilt top for eons, and finally a solution. I chose the grey dottie as my B blocks are in charcoal grey solid and I wanted a real contrast too between the bonkers colours of the front and a plainer back. Also, squares versus dots, always a winner. And I'm all for not having to piece quilt backs; have you seen Katy's campaign over on her blog? Hopefully there'll be even more choice of extra-wide quilt backings in the not-too-distant future, but in the meantime, the dotties will do very nicely indeed! Mine is from M is for Make. Kate has the grey, red, lime and aqua in stock at £9.50 per half metre, which is easily cheaper than trying to back a quilt of this size in standard 44" wide fabric. Having wrestled the quilt, wadding and backing into submission with about 300 safety pins last night, I'm more or less ready to quilt.

I'm handquilting this one; I may be some time.

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