Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Recap

In 2010...

Baking took up most of my time, especially during the last couple of months.  I never ever imagined I would be asked to make a cake for someone outside my family, much more, get paid for it.  Now I don't even have time to bake for them!  I learned a lot of new techniques and honed my cake decorating skills a litte bit more.

Just a few of the cakes I made during the year.  The top row are the cakes which I am most proud of!
I think my most popular post for the year was the one with the Ube Macapuno Cake recipe.  I received heaps of emails asking for help and advice, as well as, messages of thanks for sharing my recipe.  Really, this is one popular cake among Filipinos!

Sadly, sewing had to take a back seat.  I wish I had more time and more new ideas.  I came out with only two new patterns for my Etsy shop.  But definitely, sales were better than ever before.  Thank you to those who bought eBooks from me.  I hope you all were completely satisfied with your purchases.  Keep on sewing!

Digital camera and toilet paper roll cozies
I just had a trip to Spotlight and purchased some great materials.  My fabric stash is growing and really needs to get moving.  Hopefully, inspiration will set in very soon.

I finished a few more sewing projects but the two I absolutely loved were my daughter's school laptop bag and my black mini messenger bag.

I sewed the mini messenger bag back in September and have been using it everyday since.

Overall,  2010 was a very good year.  I am grateful and thankful for everything, despite the fact that I lost one of my brothers in May.  I am aware that I am not getting any younger (and will in fact turn another year older in a few days) but I am more fulfilled now than in years past.   I have a loving and supportive family.  They are very happy with my little successes as I am with theirs.  We are all healthy and materially blessed as well.  I need not ask for more.

I know we all have things to thank for and lots to look forward to.  May we all have a blessed 2011!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas greetings

From my family to yours...

Warmest thoughts and best wishes for a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Thank you for a great crafting and baking year!

PS.  Here are a few pics of the Christmas cake I made for my family. 

I am really getting a hang of (and enjoying) gumpaste moulding!  I love how my Santa turned out and how he sits on a golden base.

Modesty aside, I'd say this is a remarkable improvement from last year's cake!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Giveaway day winner

The response to Giveaway Day was overwhelming!  My iPhone's Wi-fi actually broke down and I believe it was because of the tremendous amount of email notifications (for every comment posted) that were being pushed from the server to the phone!  Anyhow, a big thank you for taking time to participate.  Hopping from one blog to another was quite fun, wasn't it? 

Thank you, too, for sharing with me your personal Christmas wishes.  I love the fact that many of you weren't asking for anything material.

It's been a tough past few days for me, having to finish several cake orders over the weekend and also having to deal with my youngest son being sick since Friday.  He's been feverish due to a throat infection and has also been vomiting.  As he is always the life of our home, seeing him weak, in pain, and very quiet just breaks my heart. 

In a big way, my son's sickness is helping me see this Christmas for its true meaning.  I have momentarily forgotten about the presents and have been concentrating on nursing my child back to good health and assuring him that he will be well real soon.  Having a healthy and happy family (as some of you expressed in your comment) is definitely greater than any material thing anyone can offer!

So now, going back to the giveaway, I am happy to announce the lucky new owner of my patchwork pouch, as determined by the random number integer...

And comment #54 was...

Congratulations, Stefanie!  I will be getting in touch with you shortly.  I do hope your Christmas wish comes true!

Before I go, let me just share with you this one cake I made this past weekend...a Lightning McQueen cake! It was for a 2-year old boy's birthday.

I actually received this cake order way back in early November, so it really seems I have been thinking about it forever.  I had several ideas in mind but in the end, I opted for simple gumpaste decorations...a round base with a black and white checkered pattern, flags with letters spelling out the birthday boy's name, and a trophy candle holder.

As usual, making the decorations were pretty much a trial and error thing for me.   I knew my skills would not be able to handle making a gumpaste Lightning McQueen so I played it safe and used a real toy instead (which the birthday boy got to keep afterwards). I really liked making the Piston Cup candle holder.  It was my first time painting over gumpaste and the gold colour turned out pretty neat.

So, there you go.  Another Giveaway Day over.  Another crafting year to look forward to.  Till then, I've still got some more cakes to bake for Christmas.

Enjoy your week!  And just in case I don't get to do another post before Saturday, I want to wish you now a very Merry Christmas! Peace, love and joy to you all!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Giveaway Day 2010

Giveaway Day 2010

It's that time of the year again.  I've actually been anticipating this day for the past couple of months now but when I finally found out at Sew Mama Sew! when it was actually going to be, I caught myself unprepared.

I've been so busy baking cakes lately that I have not found time to do anything specifically for this purpose.  If only I could ship you one of my cakes, I would.....but Giveaway Day must go on and so, for this year, I am sharing something I have made and showed you in the past instead.  I am pretty sure many of you will be interested in this one...

I blogged about this pretty patchwork pouch sometime ago here.  I couldn't decide if I wanted to sell it or keep it for myself, but here it is now, up for grabs!

To have a chance to win this, just leave your name in the comments section and please don't forget to include any form of contact information (blog URL, email address) so I can easily reach you in the event that you win.   While at it, why don't you share with me what present you guys wish to receive this Christmas?  As for me, anything I can use for my baking/cake decorating or sewing would be most appreciated!

Giveaway starts on the 13th and will run until Sunday, the 19th.  Everyone and anyone can join...I am willing to ship to anywhere worldwide! Winner will be determined through random number generator next Monday and will be posted here shortly after.

Have fun and join as many giveaways as you can!  For a complete list of all Giveaway Day participants, click here. Hope you all win something!

P.S. While you're here, you might also want to sign up to be a Heart of Mary follower (if you aren't already).  Browse around a little just might find something of interest to you!


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Isabella Rose...

If not for her, I wouldn't have dared to try making anything with fondant or gumpaste.

Earlier this year, I was asked to make cupcakes for this little girl's baptism.  The baby booties topper was my first taste of modelling with fondant/gumpaste.

Since then, I've tried to mould several other things from gumpaste.  Not much really...mostly just flowers...but I welcomed each learning experience with much eagerness.

Even though I was given such a short notice to make a birthday cake for Isabella Rose's first birthday, I happily accepted.   I could have just made a very simple cake but I wanted to make this one quite memorable.  

This is my FIRST ever gumpaste figure.  Inspiration for this came from this video.  I was apprehensive to do it at first but it all worked out great!

To support the skirt while it dried, I put a small single muffin mould underneath.
Below is the finished cake which I absolutely am very thrilled about.  Apart from the candle (which I stuck into a rose), everything is edible.  I actually placed a small inverted cupcake under the girl's skirt for added support. 

I've never met Isabella Rose.  I've just seen pictures of her.  But I will forever remember her as she grows older because of what I've learned and accomplished as I made cakes for her!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mini Tutorial: How to Make a KitchenAid Mixer Cover

Last week, my sister in-law invited me to their home so I could teach her how to successfully bake a chiffon cake.  As she has a KitchenAid mixer, I wanted to show her how easy it was to beat the eggwhites stiff.  She bought her mixer early this year but has not done much with it really.  

I had always seen her mixer uncovered and her birthday is in a couple of guess what I decided to make for her?

There's no mixer underneath.  The cover is so thick and sturdy, it holds its shape perfectly and stands up on its own.

My fabric has directional prints, so as you can see,  the design on the main body is upside down on this side.  I should have taken the photo from the other side!

This is one of those things I wish I could keep for myself, not only because the cover turned out very pretty, but mainly because of the amount of work I put into it.  First of all, I am not a quilter so I was quite impatient with the quilting part of the process.  And why on earth I did so many lines when I could have done less, I really don't know.  Another thing is that I have a fear of bias binding and I also don't quite enjoy hand sewing. I have in fact avoided having to deal with bias binding for the longest time.  Having said that though, it turned out there was nothing to fear after all.  (But I did prick my fingers a few times.)

What made the whole project easier was that I already had an existing pattern.  If you remember, I made a cover for my own KitchenAid mixer sometime ago.  The way I made that one is actually different (this new one is way better), but the fabric pieces are basically the same.

So, ok.  The title of this post suggests that I have a tutorial for this mixer cover.  I call it a mini tutorial because I did not take photos as I sewed.  This will not be as detailed as my other tutorials so some experience in sewing is quite vital.  I am afraid beginners might get lost somewhere. Basically, I will just be providing you with the pattern, the material requirements, and the general steps on how to make your own cover.  Please take note that my cover was made for a 5 quart KitchenAid ARTISAN mixer. 

MINI TUTORIAL: How to Make a KitchenAid Mixer Cover


1 meter quilting weight cotton fabric for outer cover (non-directional prints preferred)
1 meter quilting weight cotton fabric for lining **
1 meter sew-in cotton or polyester batting
quilt basting spray
about 5 meters double fold bias tape in coordinating colour
matching thread
other sewing essentials such as scissors, needles, ruler, marker, pins, sewing machine, etc.

** This cover is reversible.  If you want a change in look every now and then, choose a pretty lining fabric.


1. Download pattern for the front/back panel here.  With Page Scaling set to NONE, print out the pattern pages.  Cut out the pattern pieces just outside the thick black lines and glue together as instructed.

Please take note that since the patterns were drawn with thick marker, you may find slight discrepancies in the measurements.  Please countercheck with indicated measurements and adjust accordingly, if necessary.

After assembling the pattern pieces, you should have something like this:

This is the complete pattern for the front/back panels of the mixer cover.

2.  From main fabric, lining, and batting, cut the following:

    2 pieces each -  16"(L) by 11"(W) for the front and back panels
    1 piece each - 36"(L) by 16"(W) for the main body

3.  For the front, back and main body panels, sandwich batting between the lining (wrong side up) and the main fabric (right side up).  Following the manufacturer's instructions, use quilt basting spray to temporarily adhere layers together. 

4. Quilt panels as desired. (In my cover, the horizontal and vertical lines are about 1 1/4" apart.)

5.  Using the pattern piece as a guide, cut the front and back panels to size.  Trim the main body to 34 3/4" (L) by 15" (W).

6.  To assemble the cover:

Start with the front panel.  Find and mark the center of the curved top.  With lining sides together, match the center of one long edge of the main body panel with the center of the front panel.  Pin together starting from the top, then go down the sides.  Machine sew using a 1/4" seam allowance.

Do the same with the back panel.

7.  Apply bias tape to the front and back seams.  (I machine sewed the bias tape on one side and hand sewed the other side for a neat finish.)

8.  Finish off by applying bias tape along the bottom edges.

Was that understandable?  Frankly,  I am not used to writing a tutorial without loads of pictures to go with it, so I hope that was clear enough.  The structure of the mixer cover is really very simple.  Quilting and bias binding did complicate the whole thing just a bit.  You may opt not to quilt or maybe you can use stiff interfacing instead of batting.  It's up to you. 

Anyway you choose, hope these instructions will be of some help.  Happy sewing!  And happy baking too!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Purple, Green, and Pink

Whew!  Thank goodness the super busy weekend's finally over.  Yes, I survived it and got everything done...and done well, if I may say so myself. Four cakes delivered in one day!

Three of the cakes were Ube Macapuno.  Filipinos do not seem to get enough of this...and understandably so. The fourth cake was for the surprise masquerade themed birthday party of my niece.  It was a two-layered mocha chiffon with creamy vanilla frosting. I had a lot of fun making it.

Except for the candle and the skewers, everything else on the cake was edible.

I was really proud of this gumpaste masquerade mask.  I got the idea on how to make it from this forum
 Nearly everybody's initial reaction upon seeing the cake was "You made that???????".  I really took that as a compliment (rather than a downplay of my capabilities) because it only shows that a self-taught homebaker like me can produce something that looks quite professionally made. 

The colour combination on the cake ended up like that first of all, because my niece's favourite colour is purple.  And then, I made the mask green because I only had green lustre dust on hand and I wanted the mask to have that extra glow.  The pink, I added last, and only because I've seen the three colours combined in fabric.

The fabrics on this pincushion (my latest) was from a vintage fabric roll that came with 25 lengths of six different prints.  I reckoned that if the fabric makers thought this combination was good then it probably would look good as well on my cake!  Do you think so too?

Enjoy the week ahead!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Work in progress

As I mentioned in my previous post, my niece, Claire, is turning 13 soon (on Saturday, the 13th, to be exact).  Her mom has been organizing for her a surprise masquerade themed party.  She has requested me to make the birthday cake, if possible, to coincide with the said theme.  Having no idea what to do (like always), where else can I turn to but the web?  It's amazing what one can learn so quickly from the internet. 

Currently on my work table are these....waiting to harden and dry...

The green lustre dust is not so obvious in the photo, but in person, especially under the lights, the mask has a pearly glow.

Except for the skewers, everything else is edible.  Those little shiny beads are cachous.
Should I attach feathers to the mask?  My daughter reckons I shouldn't bother, but then, all the masquerade mask photos I see on the net have feathers.  What do you think? 

I'm still planning how to lay these gumpaste toppers out on the cake.  I'm actually a little stressed out cause I have two other cakes to make for that same day plus it's my husband's birthday on the 13th as well.  I might not have time to make him a cake!

Fingers crossed, hopefully, I will get everything done.  Till then, have a great week ahead!

Friday, November 5, 2010


Here are a few cute shopping finds and things I've recently made that I'd like to share with you!

Have you seen this around?

They're not ordinary nesting dolls....they're called M-cups, you know why?

Because...they are matryoshkas made to measure!  

Each Russian doll half represents a different measure...starting from a quarter cup up to one whole cup.  I found it at a bookstore (of all places) while I was browsing through baking books.  I ended up buying it instead of a book.  I don't think I would actually use it just seems too pretty to make dirty. 

You can find out more about M-cups and other similar products here.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ * * * * * ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

If you follow Pink Penguin, then surely you've already seen and drooled over her pincushions.  It's so inspiring to see what great things one can do with little fabric scraps which will otherwise just be thrown out. 

I'm not a quilter and I've never done a log cabin patchwork block before.  I needed to research on how to do that first and then I had to make up my own measurements for the strips.  It was quite easy and I ended up sewing two pincushions yesterday!

The fabrics aren't very much coordinated on my first pincushion but I think it turned out lovely just the same.  Just for information,  I started out with a 1.5" square in the center and ended up with a 5.5" square block.

The second one I made turned out more adorable.  As much as I would like to keep it, I can't, because it's for my niece who is turning 13 very soon.  She has recently taken a keen interest in sewing and is in fact asking her parents for a sewing machine this coming Christmas.

The ribbon on the side says "SEWING Original Handmade".  It's from Japan (where else?) and I found it on Etsy.

I'm planning to give my niece more bits and pieces for her sewing...maybe some pins and thread, and this thing which I had bought a while back...

Can you guess what this little guy is?

It's a retractable tape measure!  How cute is that???? 

It's one of those things I bought on a whim and not because I needed it. I actually have three more retractable tape measures.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ * * * * * ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Lastly, here's a pirate-themed cake I recently made for a gorgeous little boy's 4th birthday party.  It's a four-layered chocolate cake and as per the mom's request, it's eggless.  My decorations were kinda messy but thankfully, it was still a hit! 

One of these days, I will share with you the recipe for this eggless cake. My husband and kids actually like it better than the one with eggs.

I've always had difficulty with piping out letters but I think I did a pretty decent job with this one...

Ok, that's about it for now.  I'm off to put my washing up on the clothesline.  It's a nice, sunny day today here in Melbourne!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Still watching over me

Most of you already know that my mother passed away in early 2009.  October 27 last year, on the occasion of her birthday, we had a very simple celebration to remember her by.  That day was the day I baked my very first batch of red velvet cupcakes.  Everyone in the family loved this new thing.  Little did I know that those cupcakes would change the course of my life in the coming year.

After I gave boxed red velvet cupcakes as presents last Christmas, my family and friends were quite impressed that they began urging me to start a home-based cupcake business.  I was hesitant of course...I didn't have the confidence nor the skill to bake for people other than my family.  My sister in-law gave me a needed push by handing me my very first cake order.  That was around January.  Since then, I've gotten 24 more...first from just friends, then from friends of friends, and on few occasions, from someone I didn't even know.  Not bad. 

My confidence level is still low though. I tend to look at photos of other people's cakes and then frown upon mine.  There is certainly still so much more to learn and improve on.  What keeps me going is the belief that home-baking is always best.  And even if my cakes and cupcakes do not look as professional as those from the bake shops, the homemade goodness does speak for itself.

It was not a coincidence that this all started on my mother's birthday.  She's still watching my back...from up there.  I will forever be her little girl.

I know that she's pleased that after years and years of searching for what I wanted to do with my life, it certainly looks like I finally found it. 

The cake's for you, mom.  I love you. Thank you for watching over me.