Tuesday, September 18

The Cross-Cultural Wedding Cakes

Since my cousin and her new husband have just celebrated their one-month anniversary this week, it’s probably time I post some cake pictures. Here’s one of their wedding cakes, very similar in structure to the one I made for a Marriage Retreat Weekend, except that I made the inserts wider. And since there were globes on every table (the groom is American, the bride is German), I decided to wrap the inserts with map paper.


The flowers were very much inspired by a photo of a cake Jana found online. I made sure to save the source so I could credit it when I wrote the inevitable blog post, but now I can’t find it again. Ack! So here’s a close-up of MY flowers, instead.


That’s a LOT of flowers. At the last minute, I called up some reinforcements – a few of the American Heritage Girls that I lead – and we had a grand time coloring and rolling and pressing and shaping.


The other cake, sort of a “groom’s cake,” was a Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, or Black Forest Cherry Cake, a Bavarian specialty. I’d never made one before, probably because I’d tried a piece once, when I was about nine, and hated the taste. But cherry liqueur and I get along much much better now; I could eat this cake all day every day! So yummy!!!


Ooh, I wish I would’ve gotten a picture of the inside. It’s three layers of cherry-liqueur-drenched chocolate cake, divided by layers of cocoa cream filling and this amazing cherry compote. Mmm, methinks I should make another soon. Ooh, I also thought I could earn “Best Mom Ever” points at my kids’ German Immersion charter school by making Black Forest Cherry Cupcakes and leaving them in the teachers’ lounge. A cherry-liqueur flavored cupcake with a cone shape cut out of the top and filled with the cherry compote, then the cone shoved back into place (or eaten by me), and then the whole thing covered with the whipped cream icing, sprinkled with dark chocolate shavings. Doesn’t that sound yummy?!?

Oh and the topper on the cake: When Paul and Jana were here and we were discussing the cake, Paul discovered there wouldn’t be a topper on the “real” cake, other than the flowers. So that’s where the idea came to do this other cake, and someone suggested that they use Playmobile figures instead of buying a generic couple topper. (Playmobile – the quintessential German toy.) I sent them up to the toy area, thinking they’d come down with our “sporty” figures, since both of them are into fitness. They did grab the bike, then hitched it to the carriage and added a prince and princess. Clearly, both of them are also into silliness! Just take a look at their fun engagement photos on Facebook!

And finally, seeing the Playmobile sitting around the kitchen for a few days, my oldest was inspired to make a little stop animation video as a wedding present for them. So that’s what I’ll end with:

(Translation: “Ach du meine Guete!” is German for “Oh my goodness!”)

(And anyone who’s been visiting this blog for a year or more: did you recognize the folded star made from music sheets?)

Thursday, August 9

Personalized Teachers’ Bags


Had a bit of a break there between the last post and this one! In fact, my kids are now only 18 days away from the start of their new school year. But here are the purses that my girls, together with their classmates, gave their teachers last May.

And since I’m not feeling particularly verbal today, I’ll make this Show ‘n Tell more show and less tell. So the few “in process” shots I’m including have no further explanation; but often a picture is enough, and if you have questions, you can also email me or ask down in the comments. (Click on any of the photos to see a larger version.)

For Frau B---, who is comfortable, casual, and natural, who “sang” into the hearts of her first graders (after the upheaval of their saying goodbye to not one but two other teachers who had to leave due to cross-country moves and other unforeseen issues) and who brought about beautiful growth in each of the children.

BagB adjustable straps (2)
BagB adjustable straps (1)BagB adjustable straps (3)
BagB embroidery couchingIMG_1911BagB leaf applique technique
BagB bird closeup
BagB outsideBagB strapBagB peek at inside

And for Frau K----, who is cosmopolitan and hip yet also caring and nurturing, who is returning back to Germany after her 3-year teacher exchange in Minnesota (hence the shape of the applique), and who is deeply loved and admired by her class of third graders.

IMG_2171BagK medium-long strap
BagK top knotIMG_2123
BagK heart embroidery closeup
BagK printing on fabric
BagK inside2BagK inside1
BagK short strapBagK strap hardware
BagK outside front

I must say, I’m getting excited for school to start again. Not so much because I long for a return to routine and structure to our days, but rather because I’m thrilled that our experiment to throw our kids into the German immersion charter school had such great results and I’m eager for it to continue and now include my youngest as well.

Sunday, June 3

A bird on a bag is worth two in the brain…

Haven’t posted much recently, and not sure I’ll be able to post much in June, but I figured I’d steal a few minutes to show an “in process” shot.


This idea has been floating around in my mind for weeks. It feels good to finally have it coming to life. The above piece of brown fabric will become the outside of a bag for S’s teacher, who loves birds and nature. (I’m following JCaroline’s Hobo Bag pattern, with a few tweaks.)

Here’s a peek at the inside. I’m a firm believer that all large pursey-bags must have inner pockets! JCaroline’s tutorial included how to add a zippered pocket but I also used parts of this tutorial at CraftPassion.


And while at CraftPassion.com, I found a tutorial for making a 6-compartment slip pocket, which was helpful because I couldn’t remember my previous method. My pocket set is bigger than hers and sewn on slightly differently, but the idea is the same.


Hmm, don’t have any shots of the other bag, for H’s teacher. But that one’s coming along too – grey with “barberry red” piping and some sort of applique that I’m still figuring out. Better get back to them – last day of school is Thursday!

Thursday, May 10

Finger-Loop Braided Bracelets

Here’s another thing I forgot to post – the finger-loop braided bracelets we made at AHG camp in March. Does anyone remember these? Maybe from seventh grade summer camp? You hook five loops onto your fingers, grab them back and forth in a certain order, and end up with a cord-like braided bracelet, like the orangish one shown in the photo below.


I went online to find some info to help me brush up on the technique and hit paydirt at loopbraider.com. Amazing braider, Ingrid, has loads of tutorials and pictures and samples and tips and and and.

After poking around there a little, I found that with one simple adjustment (grab “over” instead of “through” on one side), I could make a flat braid (bluish one in the middle below) instead of a thicker cord-like braid (orangish one at left).


And I also found out that using seven strands isn’t much for difficult than using five (resulting in the wider multi-colored braid in the photo above, far right). Ingrid does braids with more than a dozen loops! Haven’t tried that yet, but I am inspired to.

What I did try though is using something other than embroidery floss. I wondered if strips of knit fabric could make a chunkier bracelet. An old T-shirt was soon sacrificed to the experiment.


Result? Too chunky (in my opinion) for a bracelet, but wonderful (after I used longer strips) as a headband.


I just need to get off  my duff and finish up the ends properly. Right now, they’re just a mess of straggly ends attached together with about a dozen safety pins! But I can’t decide if I want to just sew a patch of fabric over that whole mess and hope that the natural stretch of the fabric and braid is enough for comfortable putting on and wearing, or if I should sew a strip of fabric to each end so it can be tied…


Decisions, decisions. (I hate ‘em.)

So now, if you have a bit of time, go lose yourself in Ingrid’s loopbraider.com tutorials, dig out some floss, and make some bracelets for your favorite kid/tween/teenager. Or yourself. : )

Monday, April 30

Birthday Gifts

Between my three girls, it seems like there’s a birthday party to attend every week right now. We’ve been buying some of the gifts but have made some too.

A pink purse for Miss A, who loves to dress up.

IMG_1382  IMG_1380

A bright purse, filled with markers and a small covered notebook, for Miss C down the street.


A purse for zebra-loving Miss L will be done by tomorrow.


And a larger bag for Miss E who loves big cats (leopards, cheetahs, etc.)


Miss E also likes cats and horses, so Heidi made a poster for her too. A collage out of construction paper and colored pencils. Talking about her process, I asked if she’d sketched the shapes out first. “Nah, I just cut it out.” That girl amazes me on a regular basis. The 3-D writing – with shadows – on the birthday card ain’t too shabby either!


And I made something for my sis-in-law’s birthday too, as well as buying something made by Mo, but I haven’t sent it yet. And her birthday was more than a month ago. What is wrong with me?!?


Related Posts with Thumbnails