Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Simple Cake Decorating Ideas That Anyone Can Do

I love a home made cake, it always tastes SO much nicer than shop bought. Decorating them doesn't have to be difficult really - honest!

simple cake decorating ideas that anyone can do

Over the years I must have made hundreds of cakes, for birthdays, Easter, Christmas, fathers day, mothers day, visitors coming round, "well done" for school reports/passing exams/being star of the week! 

Here is a section of the ones I've made over the years with just a word or two about how to make them. They are home made, they are not professional, I don't work for Charm City Cakes, some are a little lopsided now that I see them in a photo. I promise you in real life they looked fine and tasted great too.

I'm hoping you will be inspired to have a go.

Lesson 1: You can achieve a lot with sweeties

simple cake decorating ideas that anyone can do
Chocolate buttons. minstrels and maltesers.
(The recipe for this chocolate cake & icing with step by step instructions, can now be found here)

simple cake decorating ideas that anyone can do
This was a whole family effort from a few years ago now. We found it hard to break up and eat because it was soooo beautiful!

simple cake decorating ideas that anyone can do
Can't go wrong with smarties and jelly babies

simple cake decorating ideas that anyone can do
More smarties. I crushed them and put them in the cake mix too - very nice!

simple cake decorating ideas that anyone can do
The internet is full of this cake in various forms with various sweets. It really is dead easy, I used chocolate finger biscuits round the edge rather than kitkat as we like them better. The Aero bubbles were a surprise when I opened the packet, I was expecting them to be all brown! Still I had brought 3 bags so after than kind of investment there was no way they weren't all going on the cake.

Lesson 2: Ready made icing gives a better finish (but I don't think it tastes as good)

simple cake decorating ideas that anyone can do
I'm not sure this needs any explanation, chocolate ready made icing, chocolate stars and a little bit of piping that's as neat as I can do. You can find the chocolate cake recipe I always use here.

simple cake decorating ideas that anyone can do

Buttercream in chocolate and vanilla with milk and white chocolate buttons. This didn't look so sunk in the middle in real life, and now I look at the photo I really could have put it on a better board! (and yes I know its the wrong number of squares, but the buttons were a bit on the big side)

simple cake decorating ideas that anyone can do
This was kind of easy, the nice bright red was ready made fondant. I stuck the triangles on to the cake then piped little white dots, you might find it easier to pipe them first. I also tried piping the streamers and bows but in the end I rolled long thin sausages of fondant and stuck them on with just a little bit of water.

Lesson 3: It doesn't have to be perfect to be perfect
simple cake decorating ideas that anyone can do
To make the batarangs I printed a picture from the internet as a template and cut it out. Then rolled the ready made black icing out quite thick, laid the paper template on top and cut round with a little knife. I cut some in half and poked a cocktail stick half in them whilst they were still soft and then gave them about 24 hours to dry out a bit and harden. I sprayed them silver with Dr Oetkers silver cake decorating spray and let that dry, they needed a couple of coats really.

simple cake decorating ideas that anyone can do
He's a little bit short and slightly lopsided but is still one of my favourite cakes ever. I made a couple of cakes in a regular tin to cut up and one in a small pudding bowl for the top.

simple cake decorating ideas that anyone can do
Just printed a picture from the internet and did my best. Not epic but at least recognisable!

simple cake decorating ideas that anyone can do
Easy peasy. The hardest thing is getting a good red food colouring so it's not a bit pink!

simple cake decorating ideas that anyone can do
We needed two cakes one year, one for the party day(when they watched one or other of the Transformer films - I don't remember which)  and one for the actual birthday so this seemed like a plan. I ended up printing a full sized image of each face thingy from the internet, cutting it out and laying it on the rolled out icing so I could cut round it. I did have to do a little bit of simplification. 

simple cake decorating ideas that anyone can do
More star wars, little lightsabers just rolled out from ready made icing.

simple cake decorating ideas that anyone can do
He's quite cute...

simple cake decorating ideas that anyone can do
......he's even cuter!

simple cake decorating ideas that anyone can do
My, my Yoda, what big ears you have! "To hear you with all the better, humh"

Lesson 4: If your friend has a beautiful cake stand, try to borrow it
simple cake decorating ideas that anyone can do
Pretty paper cases, a swirl of buttercream and a few little chocolate stars

Lesson 5: Little balls of icing round the bottom are dead easy and hide any unevenness at the bottom
simple cake decorating ideas that anyone can do

This was one of the first "fancy" cakes I made for a friend's daughter's 18th Birthday Party. The little decorations on the top of the wires are just paper so that they are not too heavy, I thought they might slide down the cake throughout the party but they stayed put.

simple cake decorating ideas that anyone can do
This is ready made fondant icing, I thought I could roll out the pink icing and add the white dots before I put it on the cake. Don't do that! The dots all stretch into ovals. I had to cover each one up with another white dot. 

Lesson 6: Piping with melted chocolate is difficult
simple cake decorating ideas that anyone can do
This is just a regular sponge cake covered in buttercream and piped with chocolate. Chocolate is a pain to pipe with. You have to be REALLY QUICK as it solidifies as you pipe. On refection I would recommend making some sort of chocolate icing. This is something I always forget until I am half way through and all the half melted chocolate is blocking up the end of my piping bag!



Lesson 7: Fancy or Simple, both are lovely!
simple cake decorating ideas that anyone can do

This is probably the most impressive cake I've ever made, it was for my friend's son when he went into the Forces. I wont pretend this was simple - it wasn't! I'm just showing off really, sorry!

simple cake decorating ideas that anyone can do
And sometimes really simple is just fine. This is banana cake with lemon icing to celebrate my daughter passing her driving test.
(Rock 'n Roll lifestyle in our house - living large!)

You might also be interested in:
Cake Making for absolute beginners Part 1
Cake Making for absolute beginners Part 1
Chocolate Fudge Dip
Chocolate Fudge Dip
My Nan's Shortbread Biscuits
My Nan's Shortbread Biscuits
Christmas Pud Sweets from Chocolate Buttons
Christmas Pud Sweets from Chocolate Buttons

I'll be linking up with all these amazing Link Parties, you should check them out.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Old Bracelet to New Statement Necklace Repurpose

Broken jewellery can sometimes be made into something new without being too difficult.
Old Bracelet to New Statement Necklace refashion
I had a lovely pink bracelet that a friend had given me a few years ago. I wear a lot of pink so I've worn it loads. The other day it snapped and I couldn't just restring it because I had lost a few pieces.
Old Bracelet to New Statement Necklace refashion
I really like all these statement necklaces that are around at the moment (all the beautiful people on 90210 seem to have loads!) so I thought these longish rectangular beads might work.

I added used some little silver beads I already had and some waxed thread, also from another project.
Old Bracelet to New Statement Necklace refashion
My thread is about 64cm/25", that way it's just long enough to slip over my head without having to worry about a fastening of any kind. I just threaded the beads on and then tied a knot. Without the little silver beads between them the pink beads didn't hang right, I just experimented with what I had until I was happy.
Old Bracelet to New Statement Necklace refashion
Old Bracelet to New Statement Necklace refashion

(It's a bit chilly outside for too many pictures, my youngest just took a quick photo then we ran back in!)

The length seems pretty good to me and now I have a beautiful new necklace for no money and about 15 minutes of my time. Now, how can I make a new pink bracelet.......

Update - I've made a few bracelets since first posting here, my replacement pink bracelets can be found here.


You might also be interested in: 

Chain and Thread Bracelet
Chain and Thread Bracelet
Geometric Bangle Refashion
Geometric Bangle Refashion
Doctor Who Scarf Bracelets
Doctor Who Scarf Bracelets
3 Pink Bracelets
3 Pink bracelets
I'll be linking up at all these amazing link parties, do make sure you check them out.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Infinity Loop Scarf


WAY back in about 1986 I bought myself a scarf with money from one of my first ever wage packets. I wore it throughout the 80's - round my neck, in my hair with a bow (thinking I looked like Madonna/Cyndi Lauper!), instead of a scrunchie round my ponytail....

I never really throw anything away - this is not good news if you want a tidy house but it is great for new projects from old things. I thought this poor old scarf might make a good Infinity Loop scarf, so I joined up the short end and tried it on. Not good, it was a bit thin, not substantial enough somehow so I had a rethink and backed it with some silky fabric from an old skirt.

Do you have an old scarf that needs a makeover? 

Tutorial
You will need:

An old scarf and a toning piece of fine fabric the same size to be the lining
or
two pieces of fabric the same size as a scarf. (Don't pick anything too heavy or it wont drape nicely)
Thread & a sewing machine
and about 30 minutes

My scarf measured  140cm(55") x 24cm(9.5")    

Some of this tutorial is pictures instead of photos because I actually made this months ago (pre blog)
Pin the scarf and fabric right sides together, then stitch along both long sides leaving a narrow seam allowance. Leave a gap of about 2.5cm/1" at each end.
Turn the tube you have just made through so the right side is outside now.

Place the right sides of the scarf together and pin in place. Fold the lining down out of the way, you might even want to pin it so it doesn't flap up and get in the way. Then stitch across the scarf, taking a narrow seam.
Lie it out flat with the lining facing up and remove any pins. Let the left side lining flop down into place then fold a narrow hem on the right hand side and pin it on top. This is hard to describe, the picture shows it best. Then just stitch down the seam to hold it all in place.

The other side will look like this
It doesn't have to be too neat, this will be at the back of your neck anyway!


I did try ironing this when it was finished but it looked awful. It's much better all scrunched up, so when I'm not wearing it I twist it up...
...until it twists back on itself and keep it in the drawer like this:
I wear mine looped round twice and it seems like a nice length, but a bit longer or shorter would be fine too I think. Have go with whatever you have!

You might also be interested in:
Tea Towel Tote
Tea Towel Tote
Stripy T-Shirt Refashion
Stripy T-Shirt Refashion
Embroidered Gloves
Embroidered Gloves
Easy to Sew Cushion Covers
Easy to Sew Cushion Covers
Linking up at all these amazing link parties, do make sure you check them out.