Posts tagged How to
Posts tagged How to
I know it might be a little taboo to say that I love something that has been done a hundred times but I can’t help myself. I LOVE this ombre cake. It would be so cute for a bridal shower or even a birthday cake.
Covering cake with Fondant
When it comes to covering the cake with fondant, is was actually quite easy.
Hint: Buy premade fondant, don’t try to make it yourself!
ONE: roll out the fondant to about one eighth inch thickness using powdered sugar to keep the fondant from sticking to the rolling pin.
TWO: loosely roll the fondant up on the pin to carefully unroll it over the top of your cake.
THREE: very gently smooth the edges of the fondant. Your hands’ heat will help to relax and smooth the fondant.
FOUR: cut around the base of our cake with a sharp knife.
Now that you have a fondant covered cake, you’re ready to ombre!
I used icing dye by Wilton icing coloring in the ‘rose’ color. I just barely dipped my clean paint brush into the dye and the diluted it in water. You can use the fondant scraps to test the color prior to painting on the cake. I started with the most diluted color on the top, and then worked my way down with less and less diluted coloring.
If there is any mess- up, you can just stick your brush into the water and lightly even out the dye. It was quite easy!
* Design & Photo Credit: House of Ernest
Sure, they’re small details – but from the knot to the dimple, these little nuggets of neckwear knowledge will have you tying together your suit like a polished pro.
Now that you have the bow tie figured out, here are a few dos and don’ts about ties – an everyday suiting staple.
What a great way to dress up a package, a bottle of wine or any gift: a hand-crafted paper bow in this crisp red or yellow chevron pattern. Below you will find a link to download and print both the red and yellow paper bow templates. Once you have opened the pdf, simply print onto your everyday printer paper (not card stock). There is also a pdf download for a template so that you can print that on card stock, cut it out and use it as a template for your own paper.
Once you have printed your paper bow templates,
follow the step-by-step guide below to make your packages pop!
Photo Credits: ellinee.com
Guest Blog: Summer
When I was first teaching myself to work with fondant, I found one of the hardest parts was actually covering the cake and having it look smooth. I struggled with pleats around the bottom, cracking and tearing fondant and corn starch or powdered sugar spots all over the fondant.
I looked at pictures and instructions, watched youtube videos and read forums. While there is a lot of good information out there, I felt like there was a lack of good suggestion all in once place or the videos went by so quickly. I watched adept hands make quick work of covering a cake with no issues and I struggled to figure out what they were doing.
I’m going to take you through my biggest tips and pointers for getting a nice finish so you can learn to cover your cake without pleating, tearing, holes, or any other frustrating issues that have you beating your head against the counter. This is good for those new to fondant as well, however, I will say that watching videos does help immensely so combine my information with some other videos and information out there.
Tip 1: Start with the right fondant
I originally used marshmallow fondant. While it’s easy to make and I’ve seen other people achieve professional-looking results with it, I found it sticky and hard to work with and I had issues getting it the right consistency. I started making fondant from scratch and the best recipe and the one I use all the time is Michele Foster’s Fondant recipe. A half batch (what I usually make) will cover up to one 10-inch round and it’s actually not all that hard to make.
One thing I found that really helped me was to buy a package of pre-made, high quality fondant to see what the consistency was like. That way I could better achieve the correct consistency when making it at home. I bought a container of Satin Ice, but I’ve heard good things about FondeX. Just avoid the Wilton stuff, okay? (Ick!)
Tip 2: Get your icing as smooth as possible
The icing on your cake (under the fondant) should be as smooth and hard as possible. For this reason, many people really like working with ganache under fondant. You can get it as smooth as glass and it sets up as hard as a rock. I like ganache, but it’s really rich and expensive so I mostly work with meringue buttercreams under my fondant which also provide a nice smooth surface. I use metal bench scraper and an icing spatula to get my buttercream smooth before I apply my fondant.
Tip 3: Knead your fondant in pieces
I divide my fondant into several pieces to knead it. Then I zap each piece in the microwave for two 5-second increments to soften it slighty (no more than 5 seconds per zap or you’ll melt it!) and then I work it on the counter. I keep the other chunks wrapped in plastic wrap so that they don’t get dry and crusty while I work.
While I’m kneading each section, I add a dollop of shortening and a dollop of glycerine to soften the fondant and make it smoother and more pliable. The shortening also helps the fondant to be less sticky. That way, you can use less corn starch (or powdered sugar) when you’re rolling. Corn starch and powdered sugar leave white stuff everywhere and can dry out your fondant.
Once you’ve gotten all the chunks kneaded individually, put them together and knead the fondant until it’s warm, soft, smooth and pliable. Remember silly putty? It should be a lot like that in consistency
Tip 4: Put away the spray bottle
I had always read that you should spray the cake with water (after frosting) before putting the fondant on. This never worked properly for me. The coverage was always uneven, with some spots too wet and some too dry, and the fondant was always slipping around and gooey. What a mess!
Then I watched someone apply piping gel with a pastry brush on youtube. Ding! I don’t generally have piping gel on hand, but the pastry brush works perfectly. I generally use water with a small amount of tylose powder dissolved in it (which is what I use to adhere pieces of fondant or gumpaste together when making my figures or applying them to the cake). But water works, too. The coverage is nice and even and you can apply it pretty thinly. It also helps do some final smoothing on your cake. Win!
Tip 5: Use your corn starch or powered sugar sparingly
Less is more. My preferred anti-stick is corn starch. Really, you don’t need much corn starch to keep the fondant from sticking to your counter and rolling pin. I dust just a slight amount on my slightly flattened disc of fondant, rub it around, flip and do the same on the other side. Then I sprinkle a small amount around the countertop where I’ll be rolling.
As I roll, I put my hands under and all around the edges to make sure it isn’t sticking to the counter. If need be, I sprinkle just a bit underneath and rotate the fondant slightly to distribute.
Tip 6: Roll it out bigger than you think it needs to be
Measure your cake across the top and sides. Got that added up? Great, add another 2 inches to the dimension. So if you measured 10 inches across the top and your cake is 3 inches tall, that’s 16 inches of cake total. Roll out the fondant to at least 18 inches. I actually like a little more. More fondant along the bottom means you have more to work with when it comes to lifting and smoothing around the bottom and less opportunity for pleating and folding along the bottom.
Tip 7: Roll it up
When you’re ready to put it onto the cake, roll the whole thing back onto your rolling pin. Don’t try to lift it with your arms or your hands and put it onto the cake. You’ll get more air bubbles if you try to do it like that. The rolling pin method allows you to roll it slowly over the top of the cake.
Tip 8: Secure the top edges first
Once you’ve rolled it onto the cake, secure all around the very top first. This will prevent the weight of the fondant from pulling away from the edge and tearing your fondant. The other thing that helps prevent fondant from tearing and breaking is the glycerine and shortening you added when you kneaded the fondant earlier as well as using a scant amount of corn starch (or powdered sugar).
Tip 9: Lift up and in
Now you’re going to work your way down from the top, smoothing out the fondant. Work your way around the cake, smoothing a half inch to an inch at a time all the way around, then keep going around until you get to the bottom. Sounds easy, no? This is the moment of truth. The trick? As you smooth with one hand, use your other hand to lift up the excess fondant on the bottom and push in towards the cake just slightly. It sounds completely counterintuitive, but just try it. Up and in. All that excess will help you with this. Keep lifting as you smooth down.
Tip 10: Cut, smooth, cut
Once you’ve smoothed it all out with your hands all the way around, cut off all the excess with a pizza or pastry cutter.
Then use a fondant smoother to smooth it all down. Push in and move it up and down all around the cake. You’ll end up with a little bit more along the bottom edge. Use your cutting wheel to cut it again as close as you can to the bottom edge.
Tip 11: Use a butter knife to get a clean edge
Are you always putting something around the bottom of your cake to hide that ragged edge? I take a butter knife and work my way around, using it to gently remove and/or tuck in any excess underneath and create a nice smooth edge.
If there’s still a lot you didn’t get, use the pizza cutter again. If it’s just a tiny bit stuck to the cake board, you can scrape it off with the butter knife. If there’s some that is uneven, use the butter knife to press it gently up into the cake.
That’s it! Now you have a smooth cake with no folds or pleats and a nice clean edge along the bottom. Now you don’t have to worry about positioning your decorations to cover up your mistakes!
*Photo Credits: Sugar Coated Chronicles
Ever wonder how some people can make their cupcakes turn out so pretty? The trick is to pipe the icing onto your cupcakes instead of just frosting it on with a butter knife.
Piped icing makes cupcakes taller, more elegant, and in my opinion more tempting. It’s not overly difficult to learn to work with a piping bag…Yes you do it with a little practice!
One stumbling block in learning to pipe is that it can be messy to get the icing from the bowl into the bag. That is why I am going to show you how to avoid the frustration of getting the icing all over your hands, tools and counter.
This easy tutorial will start you out with a solid foundation for your icing adventures. Neat freaks—this lesson is for you!
What You’ll Need
1. A bowl of fresh room temperature icing. In this example, we’re using vanilla meringue buttercream.
2. A reusable piping bag. I like to use Ateco bags , but what you’re looking for is a sturdy bag that’s fairly large so you don’t have to refill it too many times while you are working. If you only plan to make small batches, then a smaller bag will do just fine.
3. A large piping tip. For this example I’m using an open star tip.
4. A rubber spatula.
5. A plastic bowl scraper that has a straight edge…and your secret weapon.
6. A tall glass or mug. A glass that’s about this shape.
Let’s get started!
Drop your tip down into the piping bag, small side down. Notice I am not using a plastic coupler here - it’s not really necessary unless you’re going to be switching the tip a lot with the same icing in the bag. I just use lots of bags, usually one per flavor.
Take your newly tipped bag and put it into your tall glass or mug. Putting the bag in a mug or glass just makes it easier if you are new to the experience. Fold the top edges of the bag down around the outside of the glass, about halfway down. Congratulations, you are ready to fill your bag with that delicious icing you just made (or bought…I won’t tell)! Once you are more comfortable with the process, you can fold the bag over one hand and fill it with the other.
Above, you can see the no-glass method.
Grab your trusty spatula and start transferring icing into the bag. Don’t worry if you get icing on the edges. You turned it inside out for a reason. You will be filling it about halfway, which will allow you enough control of what you are piping, plus give you something to hold onto at the top.
Once you’ve filled the bag up to the edge of the glass, or maybe just a little higher, lift the bag up by the edges and gently shake everything down toward the tip. Satisfying, right?
Take the flat edge of your bowl scraper and push any remaining icing down.
Grasp the top of the bag and give it a twist or two to make the icing snug and cozy inside.
Holding the bag as pictured, squeeze a little icing back into your bowl to get rid of any air pockets.
You now have a perfectly filled icing bag that is ready to begin decorating delicious cupcakes!
There are a few colors on the spectrum that I think are crowd pleasers and pink is by far one of them. It is delicate, lovely and reminds us of all things pretty. Just like this bouquet recipe designed by wedding florist Oak & the Owl Interior and Floral Design Studio.
Flowers needed to duplicate this bouquet
* Photographed by Tonya Goettsche.
Many couples dismiss the idea of hiring a wedding planner thinking it will be out of their budget. This may be a big mistake. A professional wedding planner can help you plan your wedding while saving you money!
How do wedding planners charge?
1. Standard fee—regardless of the size of your wedding or your budget.
Some people like a fixed price; they know what they are getting and how much it’s going to cost. However, a stock standard price usually means a stock standard wedding. Make sure you’re happy with the inclusions and the fees.
2. Percentage of your budget.
Other couples feel the percentage system is fair—those with bigger budgets to pay more, while people with smaller budgets pay less. If you choose this option, ensure you establish a price cap; the costs could skyrocket, especially if your budget is creeping steadily upwards. By the same token, if your budget decreases, you shouldn’t expect their fees to decrease either.
3. By the hour or per service provided.
Paying by the hour/service is not usually recommended; you won’t be able to accurately estimate how much you’ll spend on your planner, which will be a major component of your budget. The ‘pay as you go’ system might seem affordable at first, but might end up costing you a lot more by the time the wedding is done and dusted.
4. Bespoke—a fee based on your wedding, your needs and your budget.
The bespoke fee system allows you to talk in-depth with your planner about your real budget and what you want on your wedding day. This is the approach I take to charging for my services, and it’s a fixed price. I always tell my couples, my fee is X and it’s the only item on the budget that won’t change. It won’t decrease, but it also never increases, even if your budget doubles or the number of guests you have changes, my fee stays the same.
So, what am I up for?
You can find planners to suit any budget, from one end of the market to the other.
At the lower end, you may only be paying for planning or on the day coordination; a basic package that gives you basic services. The lower end of the market might also see you with a younger company and more junior consultants (of course, there are also experienced planners operating in the lower end of the market, offering competitive rates!).
Be sure to see what the cost includes. At the high-end price range that should include all your planning, styling (which typically does not include the hire items or florals, these are extra!) and on the day coordination. You should know that you will have more than one person working on your wedding day, and that those people have worked on your wedding planning the whole way through.
For high-end prices, you should have a dedicated planner as well as assistants you can call whenever you need to talk to someone. Be wary of planners who sign you up with lots of promises, then hand you over to junior assistants for the duration of the planning. Whilst this isn’t necessarily a bad thing—a good assistant is worth their weight in gold!— you also must be able to contact your senior planner instantly if you ever need to.
Before you meet with a wedding planner
Google them, check out their Facebook and Twitter pages.
Next, think about what you want from a wedding planner.
Find out what each planner offers. This might sound obvious, but you don’t get married very often and may not have a good idea of what wedding planners do, so check their websites first to see what their ‘standard’ inclusions are.
Once you know what you want and have a fair idea of what planners are offering, then it’s time to shortlist a few and make an appointment to see them. A lot of planners will offer a complimentary, obligation free consultation. Use this consultation to discuss your wedding ideas, how they can help you and to see if you like them.
You should walk away from each consultation with:
Choosing your wedding planner
So let’s say you meet with three planners and you like all three. How do you decide?
1. Look at the costs. Are the packages all-inclusive? Will you get a bill at the end of the day (or close to your wedding day) for extras like face-to-face meetings, travel, parking, extra staff etc.
2. Look at their contracts. All planners have them and they tell you about the inclusions and extra fees. Compare the contracts, highlight the things you don’t like and definitely address this with each planner. Also, please be aware that some planners only use their vendors – meaning some get ‘kick-backs’ from these vendors for using them and not always because they are great vendors to use.
So, whilst I cannot tell you exact costs for wedding planning or other services offered by planners, I can tell you this, doing your homework, paying good money for good people and having a good relationship with your planner will make all the difference to the journey up to and including your wedding day.
It’s the difference between a good wedding and a great one!
* Photography via Bells n Whistles
Make your favors and gifts stand out by embellishing them with an elegant personalized ribbon. Not sure how to tie a perfect bow with a ribbon? Watch this video to learn how to tie the perfect bow around a gift box or favor box. This simple gift wrapping trick will certainly make it easy for you.
Guest Blog: Kaitlyn Dawn
*Photo Credits: Wedding By Color
Glass etching is a fun way to add a personal touch to your glasses, wine bottles, vases, or even mirrors.
Flea-market finds and dollar-a-glass specials can be transformed with monograms, stripes, and whimsical polka dots.
When using etching cream, wear plastic gloves and an old shirt with long sleeves, and be sure to work in a well-ventilated area.
Start by deciding upon your design
* Use masking tape to make stripes
* Adhesive hole-reinforcers (for loose-leaf paper) to make the polka dots.
* Use stencils - Available at any craft store.
* Make your own stencil. - In the photo above the M stencil was created by enlarging the typeface on a photocopy machine and cutting a stencil. (To make a monogram stencil, place the enlarged letter on a piece of Con-Tact paper, which has a sticky back that will adhere to glass. Trace the letter, then cut it out with a utility knife, discarding the letter itself and reserving the template — remember to reserve the center cutouts of letters with closed shapes, like O and A.
When applying your design, always clean and dry the glass first; press the design onto the glass, and rub hard.
Using a paintbrush, apply a thick layer of etching cream to the glass. (Avoid spills, since cream will leave permanent marks.) Wait 5 minutes, then rinse off the cream with warm water, and remove the stencil. Practice on a jar until you’re comfortable with the process; the cream is simple to use, but for best results, the design must be applied carefully and smoothly.
* Photo Credit: Martha Stewart
Admittedly, weddings are joyous occasions. Beautiful flowers and centerpieces. Bridesmaids and groomsmen looking stunning, everything seems perfect-almost. If you or your fiancé have lost a parent or other loved one, the wedding celebration will be slightly less than perfect because of their absence. Many couples struggle with the best way to honor their loved ones at this special time without dampening the mood.
Bridal Bouquet Charm
One of the sweetest ways to honor a loved one is with a photo charm attached to your bridal bouquet. This is a very personal yet simple DIY project. Simply purchase a memory charm, add a photo, and tie it to your bouquet with a pretty ribbon. A good source for charms is a company called Photo Jewelry Making. They sell a memory charm kit which includes the charm, a photo resizer cd, and special photo paper.
After the wedding you can add the charm to a chain and wear it as a special keepsake pendant, or add it to a keychain. You could even use the charm for a special Christmas decoration to hang on your tree.
Another idea is for the groom to wear a photo charm on his boutonniere.
Memory Photo Wine Stoppers
If a photo charm isn’t really to your liking, how about honoring your loved one with a special photo wine bottle stopper - available here.
As with the charm you simply add a special photo to the stopper. You can put this wine stopper into the special bottle of wine you and your groom will drink from when toasted at the reception. That way your loved one will be there celebrating the toast with you. After the reception you will have a very special wedding memento for your home bar.
STUFFING THE ENVELOPES
One question brides often have is how they should stuff their envelopes – What order should the items go in? Should the invitation face the flap or the front of the envelope? These are all very good questions, especially since invitation suites can include multiple cards along with the invitation, such as response cards, reception cards, directions, etc. Here’s a little visual guide to help answer those questions.
Let’s demonstrate with an average suite which includes an invitation with double envelopes, a response set and enclosure card:
After receiving your invitations, the first thing you will need to do is address the invitation envelopes. The recipient’s name and address is written on the outer envelope (which has glue on the flap for sealing), while just the names are written on the inner envelope. To make life easier for your guests, you should also add stamps to the pre-addressed response envelopes:
Once the envelopes are addressed and ready for stuffing, compile the various stationery elements. The cards should be arranged by size, from the largest to the smallest. For this suite, the cards were placed in this order:
1. The invitation, which is the largest card sits at the bottom of the stack
2. The response card and pre-printed response envelope should be paired together
3. The response card should be tucked under its envelope’s flap, turned vertically, then placed on top of the invitation
4. The enclosure card should also be turned vertically then placed at the top of the stack
Next, insert the stack of cards into the inner envelope with the text facing up towards the flap so the design is visible when the inner envelope is first opened:
Place the inner envelope inside the outer envelope. Make sure the names on the inner envelope face up towards the flap so the writing is visible when the outer envelope is opened:
The last thing to do is visit the post office with one of the fully assembled sets to determine how much postage is needed. Depending on the size, shape (square envelopes require more postage) and number of inserts, the postage needed could vary quite a bit. Add your postage and that’s it!
* Stationery design and photos are from the fabulous Betsy White Stationery Boutique (Be sure to check them out for all your stationery needs!)
While there are many aspects of the wedding I love, I have to say one of my favorites is a pretty wedding cake. The more pizazz the better.
With a little time and patience, you can make these incredibly eye-catching tiny roses. Ideal for cupcake toppers or a wedding cake. It is actually quite easy to do, you will only need a few things to get the process rolling.
Here are the Supplies You Will Need:
1. Pre made fondant (skip the urge to make the more cost effective marshmallow fondant, unless you are really an achiever, as this can cause mental trauma)
2. Non-stick silicone mat or powdered sugar
3. Pizza cutter
4. Rolling pin
5. Small Pastry Brush
6. Gin or Vodka – Alcohol is preferred for fondant as it evaporates more quickly then water. It provides the moisture you need to “glue” the fondant together without making everything wet. But remember, fondant is sugar. And sugar + water = big sloppy mess so if you do use water, be very stingy with it.
Step 1: Knead your fondant to soften, then roll out onto a sugar covered surface or onto a silicone mat. You want to roll it as thin as possible, while still being able to handle it without it tearing, so anywhere between a 1/4” – 1/8”.
Cut off the wobbly edges so you have a nice rectangle/square/uniform-shape-of-some-type, and cut into 1” strips. Cover these with plastic wrap so they stay soft, removing one at a time to work with.
Brush a thin line of alcohol along the bottom-inside of the strip, and begin tightly rolling from one end, loosening as you go. Pinch and gather at times during the roll to create creases and give the rose a non-uniform look. Gently roll the bottom of the the rose back and forth between your fingers to get rid of the excess fondant you will have there. Let the flowers air dry for a bit and use them as cupcake toppers or attach them to a cake (with more alcohol) while still soft and flexible.
Notes on fondant for first timers:
• Its just like play dough! And just as edible!
• You can throw your fondant in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to soften it more easily. Still knead it afterwards, but this gets it moving much more quickly!
• The fondant will begin to dry and stiffen immediately if left uncovered and give your roses crackly edges, this is why it is important to keep it covered and only remove one strip at a time to work with.
• You can save the excess fondant you pinch off! Just cover it every time you pinch it off until you have enough to roll out and make more strips. Give it a good kneading before you do!
Photo Credits: Weddingchicks.com
Hi Erin of Sparkle & Hay here, absolutely thrilled to be visiting with you today. My blog Sparkle & Hay focuses 100% on rustic chic wedding inspirations, so today I’d love to share with you a few quick how-to’s to keep in mind when planning a Rustic Chic event!
Image via the Sweetest Occasion.
The Venue Selection:
Even with all of the lovely details you can infuse into your big day the number one influencing factor to the “feeling” of your event (besides your glowing smile) is your venue. The most commonly considered venue space for a rustic chic event is a barn; what I would call the classic rustic chic venue. However, there are so many other possibilities to achieve a rustic chic ambience; tents (amazing what you can do with them), vineyards, backyard gardens, parks/park lodges, ski lodges, old factories (I love the mix of an old-school industrial look), you just have to be on the lookout for plenty of exposed wood & great lighting. For example, my reception was at a vineyard which was originally a WWII aircraft hangar. Normally when you think of a hanger you think of metal, but as this one was so old it was all (gorgeous) old wood – perfect to be transformed into a rustic chic space.
Above images, and all images below, via Sparkle & Hay.
Flowers, Lighting & Linens:
Two crucial elements to carrying out a rustic chic vision. The flowers should be soft, with primary colors being in the pastel family (accent flowers can be darker) & you can never have too much moss. We incorporated hay/wheat into our wedding as well – with shimmering (sprayed with a shimmer spray) bunches atop the dessert table. Lighting is also so absolutely positively important. Soft, romantic lighting is crucial to create your rustic chic event; make sure you have plenty of candles, and look into what kinds of rental options are available in your area. (Yes, you too can have that chandelier in a barn – through the magic of rentals!)
When planning your bridal style you should 150% follow your wedding inspiration as a guide. Soft, flowy, and gauzy dresses are ideal for a rustic chic wedding dress. J.Crew and Ivy & Aster have some of my favorite styles. But even if you always dreamed of a big poufy princess dress you can still have that – rustic chic style! A twirly tulle dress or slinky mermaid gown can both look perfectly rustic chic mixed with the right hair and accessories!
I hope you enjoyed my few tips on how-to plan a Rustic Chic wedding! Thank you so much for having me.
Erin * Sparkle & Hay