Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Butterflies, Butterflies, Santa Hats and Christmas Trees

Wow, what a whirlwind of an end of the year it has been! I apologize for not keeping up more with my blog. Things were a bit hectic at the end of the semester. But, I managed to get through it and now I have too much time on my hands! I went from being super busy, to being free 5 days a week. Something is going to have to change or I might go insane! haha

Okay, so last time I was getting ready to finish up my butterfly cake for my pastry class and my reliquary for my sculpture class. Both turned out great and I was so excited! First, the cake.

It was a nerve wracking day for my final pastry class. I was all set to go but was so nervous! My fondant went on beautifully, and the butterflies looked gorgeous. However, we were all having problems with our royal icing. See, there are two different ways to make this type of icing. One is with egg whites and the other is with something called Meringue Powder (basically dried egg whites). We all like to use meringue powder because it is less messy and you don't have to refrigerate the icing. The only downfall is, it can produce clumps. Now, the brand I use at home I have never had problems with, but for some reason the brand of powder we had at school was so difficult! We ALL had lumps in our royal icing. Well, this makes it hard to pipe with a metal piping tip. So, I had to improvise and use a paper cone instead. The problem with that is, you don't get a perfectly round stream of icing. So, that part of my cake could have been a lot better, but I "made it work" as Tim Gunn would say. :-) The butterflies were easy to attach but in the end, I should have made even MORE than I did (and I thought I had extra!). But all in all I was SUPER happy with how it came out and I got a 95% on it so I am happy.

On to sculpture. I think I mentioned previously that we were making reliquaries.

"Reliquary: a repository or receptacle for relics."
"Relic: a surviving memorial of something past or an object having interest by reason of its age or its association with the past."

So, I chose a 14k gold butterfly charm that I was given when I was about 7. It was given to me by my biological father who passed when I was 10. Butterflies are also something that remind me of both my grandmother on his side, as well as my Grandma B. Something about Grandmas and butterflies...haha. Anyway, we were to build something to hold it in that would show it off and represent it. Oddly enough, mine turned out looking like something out of Snow White...and similar to a tree. Family tree perhaps? Who knows. It was not conscious. Art has a way of developing in ways you wouldn't even imagine. I started off in a completely different direction and ended up with something I was very proud of. Now, I did not make the hearts, the bird, or the front oval frame, but I did use power tools for the back, the neck, and the base as well as put it all together and hand painted everything. I love it. It is sitting on the other side of my bedroom as a reminder that I am not only artistic and talented, but a symbol of my emergence into a new career that is happy and beautiful! On the back is an Irish Blessing about butterflies. I am Irish on both sides of my family but my Grandpa on my father's side was SUPER Irish.

The last week of school I made some Red Velvet cupcakes with Candy Cane frosting. YUM! They were a hit in class and my Mom even took some to her English department office for all the teachers to munch on.

Then comes Christmas. My FAVORITE holiday. Oddly, it took a while for me to get into Christmas this year. But Christmas day was wonderful. I had a great breakfast with my Mom and her boyfriend and we opened presents and then I went to my Dad's house to hang with him and my cousins and open up presents and make...CAKE POPS!!!! It was my first time showing someone how to do them as well as using a design out of my Bakerella cake pop book. I chose two things that were simple and the same shape. It was a hit! We had so much fun and everyone got in on the fun. We ended up making round pops too that I have dubbed "ornament" cake pops. haha That way they could look any way they wanted. Everyone is so creative! Here are a few pictures of our creations.

Then last but not least....one of my cousins got me the CUTEST Christmas tree ornament. Look how adorable!!!

I can't get over its cuteness! :-)
I made some gluten free banana bread this week too, but pictures of that are boring. heehee Next up...to use my new Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker my bestie got me for my birthday! I got lemons off the Dad's lemon tree and the metal freezer bowl is in the freezer preparing to be used already. YAY!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and have a fantabulous New Year!!

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