Saturday, May 23, 2009

Anna Glow Fest is here!

The balloon festival in Anna (TX), Anna Glow Fest, started last night. There were quite a few people around for a Friday night. I missed the actual "glow", but I did see the balloons illuminated while they were being inflated - quite impressive.

I succeeded in making a few knitted hot air balloon ornaments. I'll make more during the day today, while I don't have customers. I was lucky enough to find some very pretty beads in the right shape for hot air balloon necklaces and earrings, so I have several of those, too. I hope the weather holds.

Hmm. If I look outside now, I may be able to see some of the balloons. The wind is from the north and Anna is north of here.

More later.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What's new for Third Monday Trade Days - May 2009

I've been working on new floral arrangements for Trade Days this month. You'll also be able to see new earrings, and, I hope, new necklaces for summer. I'm experimenting with new earring styles, more posts instead of dangles, different combinations of materials, summer colors. If you've never been to Third Monday, you don't know what you're missing.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Brownies and Cakes

In this instance, "Brownies" are of the Girl Scout variety. I had a ball teaching 13 2nd-grade Brownies to ice a cake and decorate it. The troop leader, a couple of Brownies, and a couple of moms helped get everything set up. Then the fun began.

I showed the girls how to ice a cake, then they iced theirs. Then the moms and I used cookie and fondant cutters to put designs on the cakes, I demonstrated how to pipe stars, and the girls were off, decorating their hearts out. The girls did an amazing job icing and decorating their cakes, sometimes with a little adult help, but mainly on their own. I think they had as much fun as I did. When it came time to clean up, there was surprisingly little mess that had escaped to the floor.

So, a great, big, "Thank You!", to the troop leader, all the Moms who helped, and to all the Brownies who decorated cakes with me yesterday afternoon.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Icing flowers for the left-handed decorator

History: When I was a child, I would pick up a crayon, or pencil, or whatever, in each hand and write with it. Finally, my sister (13 months my junior) pointed out that, "You're only supposed to write with one hand." Since the rest of my family is right-handed, I chose my right hand, but used my left hand for a lot of things, dealing cards comes to mind. Years later, a neurologist told me I'm actually left-handed.

Time passed, and I started taking cake decorating lessons. Then came "the rose". Yikes! The rest of the class turns their flower nails the "right" way - counterclockwise. I turn mine the "wrong" way - clockwise. I still moved my hand toward me. My roses looked like - well, you can imagine - a pile of icing, certainly not a rose. So, I practiced and practiced, and practiced some more, and figured out the key - the direction you turn the nail, the direction you move your hand, and the direction you tilt the tip all have to agree. Once I figured this out, my roses started to look like roses.

Then I became a cake decorating instructor. Oh, now I have a left-handed student. Let's see if the old left-handed tendencies are still strong enough to make a rose. How about that? I CAN DO IT! HOORAY! YIPPEE! Well, my first left-handed student decided to make her roses "right-handed", which was fine with me. Then I posted on a discussion forum that I can help "lefties" with their flowers. A request finally came in, hence the Buttercream Flower Video.

The video comes in 2 flavors, "pc" and "mac". It shows how to make a rose and how to start a daffodil, an apple blossom, and a pansy. I left out the final details for the last three flowers, since the direction you turn the nail doesn't matter. If you need higher-resolution video, please let me know. The "standard" quality video is nearly 700 MBytes, far larger than the allowed video size. The "pc" version is on the left, the "mac" version on the right.

I hope this video helps.