9 Mar 2015

All Change!

Well, not all. For anyone paying attention, the background and header have had a slight re-vamp as has the colour. I loved the images but the pink was a bit to heavy. The look now is Victorian images on a 50's colour palette. I apologise as I have not put up the Pintrest and Instagram buttons/widgets. This was a conscious decision as I would still like to keep that side of things private.

The blog colour change is part and parcel of the craft room change. I have been continuing to potter about and get things finished. I managed to get rid of the curtains and finished my niece's quilt that has been 2 years in the making. Massive loads off my shoulders. I'm really pleased with the quilt, which I will do a proper post on with photo, but it sum's up Neices's style perfectly. And I can personally vouch for it's snugness!
The blanket is also the spur for the colour change and theme change of the room. It features several Cath Kidston style patterns, 2 rose, 2 spotty and 2 checked. All shades of Red, Blue, Pink and Green. Red and Pink together. Totally against the rules that I grew up with but actually they go well. And it just reeks 50's retro pattern. The more I worked on the quilt, the more I fantasised about a 50's retro kitchen, complete with proper unit's that have the curved, plain doors. Lots of blue and red and pink and white. Now it's not going to happen in our kitchen, but actually there is no reason that I can't evoke the same style elements in my half of the Craft Room.

So I have started to make proper plans for the re-vamp. It needs doing as half of the space is going to be given over to OH at some point in the future. I got my graph paper out and the tape measure and have a scaled image. We are managing to re-use a LOT of what we already have. And the best part?? I get a Kallax. Which is the new name for Expedit, which is a dream come true! Measurements won't allow for a 5x5 but I can have a 4x4 with a 4x1 on top. All in lovely clean and affordable White. I'm also keeping my white topped desk with the pink legs.

Part of the reason for finally purchasing the unit is that I had a dawning realisation. I can't fit my storage to my stuff because I have TOO MUCH. So I have to fit my stuff to my storage. Have to, no questions, no arguments. I have been using stuff and finishing projects which is helping. I had a massive purge of papercraft stash which I have donated to my MIL's card making circle so I know it won't be wasted. But there is still more stuff......

In order to help get the best in secondary storage I have drawn out the 5x4 grid with the desk and will be marking it and making lists for what is to go where and in what container. I can see already that there might need to be some custom built solutions to be designed to house the small things. But I want to know that it will work before I start laying out precious Birthday money.

I will be doing lots of posts on this subject, to show progress, ideas and things that I already do. I've had my own craft room for 5 years now and I have a few things that have worked. I'd love to hear any tips that you have too.

Love Elliefantasy xx

8 Mar 2015

Rainbow Pinata Cake

Yet another idea that blossomed into existance nearly exactly as imagined. Only nearly as it was just a "tad" bigger than I had expected and it needed supports to prevent an avalance. 

 I can't remember where the idea for Rainbow cake came from but the explanation of a pinata cake was given to me by the eventual recipient of the cake (only fair) If you are unfamiliar with this idea then it is beautiful in its simplicity. Basically you cut a section from the middle of your cake, fill it wilth sweets and seal the cavity. When you cut inside then sweets will tumble gloriously from the cake as an extra whammy of yummy extravagance. 

The Rainbow cake can be found here on BBC Good Food. It is a really good recipe and it has a lot of helpful advice about colouring and the frosting that they used. I have been reading and re-reading all the information for 3 weeks before actually making it, which I did find was helpful and calming. My own notes on the recipe/method are these

  • Make sure that you weigh the bowl that you are going to use first!
  • I made enough for 8 sponges, divided the mixture into 7 bowls and coloured each bowl with 1 whole tube of Dr Otker food colouring gel. I used all but 2 dessert-spoons of each mixture for each layer to get a small enough sponge. (The extra 2 spoons went into a seperate multicoloured cake that unfortunately I didn't cook for long enough, but it looked very cool!)
  • My cakes ended up fairly flat. I also did have 8 sandwich tins to cook with but that is because I raided my mum's tins as well as my own.
  • I made my cakes on a Tuesday and froze them. I got them out on Thursday night and they were fine for icing on Friday night. (I could have gotten them out Friday morning but I had a minor panic that they weren't cooked and would have needed to purchase new ingredients Friday lunchtime if this had been the case.)
  • I had heard many ideas for how to get uniform cuts from the middle but I personally used a pint glass. You cut one sponge at a time but leave a good indent on the next layer to use as a guide. Cut before you start construction, icing will just make more mess!
  • My layers were (top to bottom) Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Violet, Pink. I cut through the middle 5 layers. If I was going to do it again, I might have just gone through Yellow to Violet as once we had cut though half the cake, the red layer suffered structural integrity under the layer of icing and caved in.
  • I brought my icing. Shock horror but I was working on tight time pressures and had no car so couldn't dash out to get new ingredients if it had all gone wrong. 
  • I love the Betty Crocker icing tubs, I used 2 cream cheese round the outside and 1 of buttercream which I coloured with the Sky Blue and Ultra Violet to get a lovely blue that matched the blue in the baby blanket for the piped icing. It was more important on the day to get a colour match than have home-made icing, and it saved me a LOT of time. 
  • To construct the cake I did the following:
    • Pink layer on the cake board
    • Spread layer of cream cheese on bottom of Violet layer, place on top of Pink
    • Repeat for all layers until you have done the orange layer.
    • PUT IN YOUR SWEETS! I used 4 full tubes of Smarties. I could have used 4 more.
    • Spread a layer of cream cheese on top of Orange layer and put Red layer on top.
    • If you need to, cut round the edges to make sure that there are no jutting-out layers. I didn't do this and had to do a lot of build up to get over the blue layer.
    • Take into Living Room to show OH and be smug. You can, you are a genius.
  • It might seem like a long time to get the cream cheese frosting on the outside and I worried that I didn't have enough but I did after lots of patience and slathering with a palette knife. Just keep going and have a pint of water on hand for all the times you catch a drip on your finger and eat it!!
  • At this point mine started to lean. If yours does then straighten it up and put into some stakes. I used kebab sticks but then swapped them for some long cake pop sticks from Dunelm which were more subtle. Keep them in until you cut the cake, it will need all the help it can get.
  • I went a bit nuts with the piping because I was playing with a new bag and nozzles. I could have done less but I was excited that I managed to get it done.
  • Breathe.
  • Go and find a cake tin that fits. If you can't, we tented it with tin foil A bit of the extra piping came off but no one minded. 
  • We also put it in the fridge overnight which I think helped. Make sure your fridge isn't too full though as we had to remove a shelf!
And that is it. I am very proud of it, and my friend loved it. It tasted fine and actually cut down into a lot of pieces so everyone can get a good helping. A full slice will take a whole dinner plate though!