Friday, 31 December 2010

My greetings cards

I thought it would be nice to put a link on my blog to my greeting cards website Snowball Card Designs. Each of the cards I have made is either a one off or one of a very limited number. I love it when I get inspiration from something I have seen or when I revisit my "stash" and suddenly know how to use the thing I bought some time ago; and the feeling of satisfaction when the creation is complete is great.

I have been making cards for family and friends for a few years now and also sold some in a local shop in Twickenham (until the arrival of Justin cut short the time I had to spend making cards). I am beginning to get a little bit more time again and I hope to make a selection of Valentine's and Mother's Day cards in the New Year.

I have put a couple of pictures of my favourite cards below. Hope you like them ...


© 2010 Nicola Noble

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Santa got stuck

Sophie was given a chocolate biscuit house kit for Christmas and we made it today. It is such a cute gift - a complete kit of (loosely) interlocking chocolate biscuits and a selection of sweets and icing flowers/stars/holly leaves to decorate it, plus the finishing touch of Santa's feet on a cocktail stick to put on the roof.

The construction of the biscuit house was moderately tricky and so I did most of this for Sophie but then she was in charge of the artistic bit and I was impressed by her confidence in going off plan. I iced and she placed and the end result was a success.

We just have to wait to show Nana tomorrow (the gift came from her) and then we can eat it - yummm.

If you are interested the kit came from The Village Workshop and you can order a variety of biscuit house kits from their website

Friday, 3 December 2010

Decorating my Christmas cake - 2010

Monday was the last day of my cake decorating course (boo) and we finished by decorating a Christmas cake. I opted to buy a ready-made undecorated Christmas cake from M&S and to concentrate on the decorating, at least ensuring that the cake was edible!

My design was very simple and comprised a dark blue sky with a snowy landscape, Christmas trees and a few sparkling stars. I had planned to add some snowflakes but once the rest was put together there wasn't space for them.

A few days before the Monday session I covered a round cake board with white fondant icing and put a blue ribbon around the edge. This was done in advance to let the fondant harden so that it was less likely to mark when putting the cake onto the board.

During the session I covered the cake with marzipan fixed on with apricot glaze then added the blue fondant cover. I rolled the icing out to perfection but while I was covering the marzipan with a coating of vodka (to help the fondant stick) the blue fondant stuck to the table and from then on it was less than perfect. As always the room we do the course in was far too hot and the icing kept sticking and then it cracked when I put it on the cake. The marzipan and blue fondant were put onto the cake on a spare cake board and then the cake was transferred (with care) to the covered board. This helped prevent the covered cake board becoming messy/damaged with apricot glaze or while trimming the marzipan or blue fondant.

Thankfully my design included a layer of white fondant icing as a snowy landscape so I was able to cover the worst cracks in the the blue fondant. The tutor had a fabric patterned rolling pin which added some nice texture to the snowy landscape.

I cut white Christmas trees out (thanks to my daughter for letting me borrow her Playdoh cutter for the small trees!) and decorated them with a scroll type embosser. I placed one large tree onto the snowy landscape and padded the very top out by cutting out another tip of the tree and placing this underneath to keep the whole tree level. I then placed small trees along the "skyline" on the top and down the sides.

I then took a few different size stars that I had made previously, brushed with sparkle powder and allowed to harden, and pressed them into the blue fondant on the top of the cake and the sides. To finish I sprinkled some edible disco glitter over the cake.

Overall I am quite pleased with the finished cake but think I need to add Merry Christmas somewhere. I may opt for "plastic" wording or may try and pipe the words in dark blue icing onto a white fondant scroll. I guess it depends on how well my piping of letters turns out ...

© 2010 Nicola Noble