Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Successful Idea

We don't have a bed frame. There are several reasons. One, we have a very thick pillow top mattress as well as box springs, so our bed is plenty high for short people like me to climb into or for little babies to accidentally fall off of. Another reason is that if the mattress is on the floor, no dust accumulates underneath is (hooray for less cleaning!). The third reason is that we just never got around to getting a bed frame, and since the bed works marvelously the way it is we probably won't get around to it for a while. ; )

However, I did get tired of the white box spring always peeking out underneath the quilt. So, I decided to make a bed skirt to cover it up. I bought some lovely red fabric that coordinated beautifully with the red accent wall in my fall colored bedroom. Then my idea evolved to making an elastic-edged band (sort of like part of a fitted sheet, only with elastic on both edges). The result is pictured above.

I'm very pleased with how it turned out and even imagined that my bed felt a little different when I got into it last night because it was more attractively dressed. The only problem, in fact, was that as I was sewing happily, I realized that I could have simply gotten an extra fitted sheet, put it onto the box spring, and saved myself a bit of work. I'll keep that in mind in case I ever change my room colors...
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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Cake-y Stuff

Recently, my interest in decorating cakes has been revived. Several factors contributed to my inspiration. One factor is that two of my sisters-in-law took beginning cake decorating courses and shared their new found knowledge and experiments, and another factor was the purchase of a book on making sugar-paste-decorated party cakes (Carol Deacon's Party Cakes for Children published by New Holland Publishers). I had been wanting to buy it for a while, but when I saw that it was on clearance at our local bookstore, I just had to buy it. Flipping though gave me a multitude of ideas to spin off of (I rarely try to duplicate something I see--rather, I tend to be inspired to try an idea of my own that seems "bigger and better" or maybe just more to my own taste). As you can see, I had a lot of fun making the results pictured on the left.

The roses and "pearls" on the chocolate cake and the decorations for my son's first birthday cake (the little boys surrounded by their toys) were made out of sugarpaste. A couple of years ago, I found a simple sugarpaste recipe that did not call for harder-to-find ingredients like powedered egg whites. I discovered that it is rewardingly easy to work with, and though it doesn't get totally hard, it is firm enough to handle a little bit and put on a cake.

Simple Sugar Paste
1 tablespoon butter or shortening
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or mint extract, almond exctract, or extra corn syrup if you don't want a brownish tinge)
1 cup powdered sugar
Beat the butter, corn syrup, and extract until smooth. Add powedered sugar and stir.Knead the mixture until smooth. Add food coloring, if desired. (The cake decorator's paste food coloring works best, but you can use the liquid kind too if you add a bit of powdered sugar to compensate for the extra moisture.)

Form your sugarpaste into whatever shape you would like. It's like ploaydoh, you just have to have fun and experiment.

Another exciting cake related discovery was just how easy and ganache is to make. These two cakes are frosted with it.

Here is a recipe for whipped ganage (the proportions for making a ganache glaze are different, so don't try using this recip as a glaze).

Whipped Ganache
1 cup heavy whipping cream
4 oz. bittersweet, semisweet, milk, or white chocolate finely chopped.
Bring the cream to a boil. Pour it over the finely chopped chocolate. Cover the mixture and let it stand for 10 minutes. Stir it until it is perfectly smooth. Re-cover and refrigerate it for a few hours, until it is completely chilled. Beat on low to medium speed only until ganache is holding it's shape (be careful not to overbeat it). Use the ganache immediately.
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

An Introduction of Sorts

Well, this is my momentous first blog post. I’ve been wanting to have my very own blog for a while but have felt rather daunted by the thought and have always had plenty to do with my extra time. However, I had a couple of hours this evening to get started while I was hanging out with my husband who was recording in the basement and thought I’d give it a go.

As the title suggests, this is a blog to journal my life as a homemaker. I look forward to being able to talk about and display some of my projects, discuss some of the excitement of being a mother and wife, and have somewhere to just have fun polishing up my writing skills about whatever I feel like writing about. I suspect that it will contain quite a gallimaufry of subjects.

In this blog, I hope to keep friends updated and amused by my adventures. I also hope to find some readers currently outside of my friends and family. I would like to encourage other homemakers in their chosen vocation and even provide a few laughs when appropriate. Hopefully I’ll even be able to convince some skeptics that some people, at least, can be happy and fulfilled as a homemaker/stay at home mom and be quite different from the unfortunate stereotype of either a bon-bon eating, cheap romance reading, lazy, wimp lolling around home all day while her husband labors at his chosen career; or a brow-beaten, uneducated, harried wife trying to care for unruly children while her husband is off enjoying himself. Perhaps that language is a bit strong. However, I hope that I fit in neither category (even remotely).

I am thrilled to be living my dream of being a wife and mother, and I love my job. It is so fulfilling.

I hope you enjoy my blog and I look forward to writing more!