Friday, September 3, 2010

SuperMagnus!

Magnus has been showing rather a lot of interest in the dressing-up box recently. So far this week we've had Alice, Dorothy, Upsy Daisy and Snow White. Cute as he looks in a dress, I thought it was about time the poor child had some dressing-up clothes of his own. So here is SuperMagnus!

The pattern was based on this free download pattern from Sewing Mamas, a very friendly forum for anyone who sews for kids. I used fleece that I already had for the cape and the applique is felt

It was very quick to make especially as I left the edge of the cape unfinished. Some of the sewing is a bit wobbly because I was working with a little helper, but he had lots of fun pushing the foot pedal to make the sewing machine stop and go. The neck is held together with Velcro which should come undone if it gets caught on anything. I have a feeling this won't be the last one I make...

SuperMagnus to the rescue!













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Cakes







This post has been sitting half-finished in my draft folder since before the summer, oops (and sorry Fanny!) so I'm just going to post it now anyway because I've started sewing again after a little lull, and hopefully there'll be other stuff to post about soon:

These are all the cakes I made for the Alice in Wonderland obsessed one for her 4th birthday recently (I do think that's an improvement on last year's princess obsession). The Eat Me cupcakes were for pre-school on her actual birthday and the big Alice cake and the other cupcakes were for her party.

Living in the US has made me too much of a label-reader to be able to bring myself to buy the ready-made fondant icing here so I thought I'd have a go at making my own. I had a bit of trouble choosing a recipe though, all of my UK recipes books seem to call for egg whites, which I wasn't too happy about using for cakes that I was sending in to Freja's school. The US recipes which I found online all seemed to call for shortening which is also something I couldn't bring myself to buy after reading the back of the packet. I eventually found this one (Recipe 1) which uses just water, sugar, glycerin, glucose and gelatin. I looked in the grocery stores for the glucose and the glycerin but couldn't find any, so I had to go to the craft shop Michaels.

The recipe was pretty easy although plain gelatin does smell a bit gross, it brought back memories of rendering down the suet for my mincemeat!I found I had to add a little bit more water as I was kneading in all the sugar but it eventually all came together and I had a nice big smooth ball of fondant. I doubled the recipe because I wanted to keep some for the big cake, and ended up with a ball about the size of a large grapefruit.

For the Eat Me cupcakes I used some gel food colours to make pink, blue, and yellow and added a bit of vanilla extract as I was kneading the colour in to make the icing taste a bit nicer and soften it up a little bit. I rolled it out on a board covered in icing sugar and used some cutters from Ikea to cut out little scalloped circles and some pink hearts which I left overnight to harden.

The buttercream is Martha Stewart's Fluffy Vanilla Frosting recipe which is just sugar and butter and vanilla with lots of beating air into it.

For the cupcakes I tried a new recipe, Martha Stewart's One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes which has since become my go to recipe for cupcakes because they come out nice and flat and easy to decorate. The batter is really runny so I've found the easiest way to get them into the cases is to pour it from a jug, and for the best results use a tin that is as deep as the paper cases.