Photostory – Graduation cupcakes

27 09 2009

In my day job I’m a high school teacher. Tomorrow I have my last lesson with Year 12 before they graduate (they still have their exams to do though). I have to say that this group haven’t been my favourite class ever (they’re lovely but don’t do nearly enough work!), but I was looking for something to occupy my afternoon so I thought I’d make them each a cupcake for graduation.

Here was my reminder:


Whilst I wanted something to fill in my afternoon, I’m not completely insane, so I used these:


which makes life easy since you only need to add a couple of ingredients:


and mix:


It’s hard trying to hold the mixer with one hand and take a photo with the other!

Try not to do what I did…. It was one of those accidents in slow motion – I could see it happenning but there was nothing I could do to stop it!


Pour the batter into cupcake cases:


And bake for 20 minutes of so:


Once the cakes are cooled, I covered them with a thin layer of Betty Crocker frosting, so the fondant would stick:


When you take the fondant out of the package and cut off what you need, it’s very hard and brittle. It takes a lot of kneading to transform it from this:


into nice smooth fondant that can be rolled out and cut into shape for the top of the cupcakes:


For the decoration I took some black flower paste (which is VERY sticky stuff!), and cut out some rectangles for the top of the mortarboards:


I made a long rectangle also out of black flower paste, turned it into a tube, and stuck it on top of the rectangle to form the part of the mortaboard that sits on your head.


The white dust on some of them is excess cornflour, which I use when I roll out the paste. I’m not sure how to avoid the problem… without the cornflour it’s too sticky to roll but on black flower paste, it stands out! Lucky the side facing up in the above photo is actually the bottom!

Then I stuck the “hats” onto the cupcakes with a little royal icing.


They look a little plain though. I think they need a tassel:


And here they are all lined up, ready to go:


Another view:


I’m sure my students will think they’re cute… and who knows, maybe it will motivate them to do lots of study before their exams! (Yeah, ok, it probably won’t).

But more than anything it was fun to document the whole process. Hope you liked looking at the photos!


Secret project revealed…

22 09 2009

Well, Lily Boot guessed correctly! The secret project is Christmas decorations for my family! But since I haven’t even told my family or friends that I have this blog (I guess the blog is a secret too) I can show you guys what I came up with!

This is the first time I have actually come up with my own pattern for something… I suppose I have always been a little un-inventive, and whilst I’m good at following the patterns of others’ I never really thought about coming up with my own ideas!

Anyway, the idea was to come up with a peacock ornament, but once I picked out my blues and greens, I figured why not have a peacocks in pinks and oranges and reds. I think it looks just as nice, even if it’s not the traditional colours! They’re made of felt, buttons, beads and embroidery threads, and filled with polyfill to give them some shape.

Hopefully my family will like them. Since there are no small children in the family we have the rule of no presents at all, so I like to make something small to give each person on Christmas morning.

Anyway, here they are! (Sorry about the bad photography, but I am only free to take photos at night at the moment when the light is bad).





Shhh… Secret Project!

19 09 2009



I love combining colours… it makes me happy!

Any ideas what you think it will be?

Cake Inspiration

11 09 2009

I had a friend over for dinner the other night, and whilst she was here she was asking me about cake decorating. She’s doing cup cakes for her sister’s baby shower and we were looking through my cake decorating book collection.


It’s quite a collection really, and the most exciting part is that I don’t think I have bought any of the books at full price. I’m a cheapskate like that! In fact, my cake decorating book collection is about as big as my fiction collection and about as big as my other non-fiction book collection.


It was nice to pull them all out and browse through, imagining all the things that could be made!  I’ll wait and see what my friend decides to make, but no doubt for a baby shower, it will be both sweet (literally and figuratively) and cute!


Alpine is getting there

9 09 2009

Well I have basically finished knitting Alpine. I have done the back, two fronts and sleeves. It’s now lying in my spare room, having just been blocked. I needed to stretch it a fair bit when I was blocking it to size. Somehow, the dimensions when I was blocking it seemed a little big. Maybe my knitting was a little tight, or maybe I am just not used to blocking things. I still have heaps to learn about knitting, that’s for sure…


Once it’s blocked properly, I’ll sew it all together, then I need to pick up stitches to knit a band around the neck.

I’m not really sure what this will look like on. The picture in the pattern is pretty (otherwise wht would I knit it?), but the size doesn’t seem quite right and I’m pretty sure the wool will be too thick for what I want it for. I used the same wool from Bendigo Woollen Mills that I used for my Central Park hoodie, 12ply rustic. Problem is that my Central Park hoodie is really warm and thick, and really this is meant to be a short sleeved cropped cardy for warmer weather.

Still, I’m *that* close to the end, and I am famous for not finishing projects I start, so however it shapes up, I’d like to finish it, even if it’s just so I can say I did! And, with any luck, it will be at least wearable!


Bits and Pieces

7 09 2009

Yesterday was Father’s Day. My family in Australia is very small… so I spent the day yesterday with my parents, just the three of us. We went to a local park by the river for a picnic, which we haven’t done for ages. It was lovely and relaxing just sitting in the sun, soaking up the rays. In fact, I missed a spot on my nose and my neck with the sunscreen and consequently have two red patches!

As we sat in the sun watching all the families around us playing, I worked on a knitted square for my Wrap with Love blanket.

This evening after work, I’ve been cutting squares of fabric (again!) for my quilted patchwork Christmas ornaments. Even though I cut fabric for about an hour, there’s still many hours of cutting fabric left! The silly thing was, I thought the blade of my new rotary cutter had gone blunt already, and I took it out to change it. Lo and behold, I discovered that there were actually two blades there! I had been wondering why it didn’t seem to be cutting terribly well…

Anyway, I’m off to craft a little more now so that I have some pics to post next time!